Tamerlane and other poems (1884)/Fugitive pieces

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603763Tamerlane and other poems (1884) — Fugitive piecesEdgar Allan Poe



I SAW thee on the bridal day,

When a burning blush came o'er thee,
Tho' Happiness around thee lay,
The world all love before thee.

And, in thine eye, the kindling light
Of young passion free
Was all on earth, my chained sight
Of Loveliness might see.

That blush, I ween, was maiden shame;
As such it well may pass:
Tho' its glow hath raised a fiercer flame
In the breast of him, alas!

Who saw thee on that bridal day.
When that deep blush would come o'er thee,
Tho' Happiness around thee lay;
The world all Love before thee.—


OH! that my young life were a lasting dream!
My spirit not awakening, till the beam
Of an Eternity should bring the morrow.
Yes! tho' that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,
'Twere better than the cold reality
Of waking life, to him whose heart must be,
And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,
A chaos of deep passion, from his birth.
But should it be—that dream eternally
Continuing—as dreams have been to me
In my young boyhood —should it thus be given,
'Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven.
For I have revell'd when the sun was bright
I' the summer sky, in dreams of living light,
And loveliness,—have left my very heart
In climes of mine imagining, apart
From mine own home, with beings that have been
Of mine own thought—what more could I have seen?
'Twas once—and only once—and the wild hour
From my remembrance shall not pass—some power
Or spell had bound me—'twas the chilly wind
Came o'er me in the night, and left behind
Its image on my spirit—or the moon
Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon
Too coldly—or the stars—howe'er it was
That dream was as that night-wind—let it pass.

I have been happy, tho' [but] in a dream.
I have been happy—and I love the theme:
Dreams! in their vivid colouring of life
As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife
Of semblance with reality which brings
To the delirious eye, more lovely things
Of Paradise and Love—and all our own!
Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.

THY soul shall find itself alone—
Alone of all on earth—unknown
The cause—but none are near to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.
Be silent in that solitude,
Which is not loneliness—for then
The spirits of the dead, who stood
In life before thee, are again
In death around thee, and their will
Shall then o'ershadow thee—be still:
For the night, tho' clear, shall frown;
And the stars shall look not down
From their thrones, in the dark heaven,
With light like Hope to mortals given.
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy withering heart shall seem
As a burning, and a fever
Which would cling to thee for ever.
But 'twill leave thee, as each star
In the morning light afar
Will fly thee—and vanish:
—But its thought thou canst not banish.
The breath of God will be still;
And the mist upon the hill
By that summer breeze unbroken
Shall charm thee—as a token,
And a symbol which shall be
Secrecy in thee.


TWAS noontide of summer.
And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, thro' the light
Of the brighter, cold moon,
'Mid planets her slaves,
Herself in the Heavens,
Her beam on the waves.
I gazed awhile
On her cold smile;
Too cold—too cold for me—
There pass'd, as a shroud,
A fleecy cloud,
And I turn'd away to thee.
Proud Evening Star,
In thy glory afar,
And dearer thy beam shall be;
For joy to my heart
Is the proad part
Thou bearest in heaven at night.
And more I admire
Thy distant fire,
Than that colder, lowly light.


A DARK unfathom'd tide
Of interminable pride—
A mystery, and a dream,
Should my early life seem;
I say that dream was fraught
With a wild, and waking thought
Of beings that have been,
Which my spirit hath not seen,
Had I let them pass me by,
With a dreaming eye!
Let none of earth inherit
That vision on my spirit;
Those thoughts I would control,
As a spell upon his soul:
For that bright hope at last
And that light time have past.
And my worldly rest hath gone
With a sigh as it pass'd on:
I care not tho' it perish
With a thought I then did cherish.

How often we forget all time, when lone
Admiring Nature's universal throne;
Her woods—her wilds—her mountains—the intense
Reply of HERS to OUR intelligence!


IN youth have I known one with whom the Earth
In secret communing held—as he with it.
In daylight, and in beauty from his birth:
Whose fervid, flickering torch of life was lit
From the sun and stars, whence he had drawn forth
A passionate light—such for his spirit was fit—
And yet that spirit knew not, in the hour
Of its own fervour, what had o'er it power.


Perhaps it may be that my mind is wrought
To a fever by the moonbeam that hangs o'er.
But I will half believe that wild light fraught
With more of sovereignty than ancient lore
Hath ever told—or is it of a thought
The unembodied essence, and no more,
That with a quickening spell doth o'er us pass
As dew of the night-time o'er the summer grass?


Doth o'er us pass, when, as th' expanding eye
To the loved object—so the tear to the lid
Will start, which lately slept in apathy?
And yet it need not be—(that object) hid
From us in life—but common—which doth lie
Each hour before us—but then only, bid
With a strange sound, as of a harp-string broken.
To awake us—'Tis a symbol and a token


Of what in other worlds shall be—and given
In beauty by our God, to those alone
Who otherwise would fall from life and Heaven
Drawn by their heart's passion, and that tone,
That high tone of the spirit which hath striven
Tho' not with Faith—with godliness—whose throne
With desperate energy 't hath beaten down;
Wearing its own deep feeling as a crown.

A WILDER'D being from my birth,
My spirit spurn'd control,
But now, abroad on the wide earth.
Where wanderest thou, my soul?

In visions of the dark night
I have dream'd of joy departed—
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.

And what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turn'd back upon the past?

That holy dream—that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding—

What tho' that light, thro' misty night
So dimly shone afar—
"What could there be more purely bright
In Truth's day-star?

THE happiest day—the happiest hour
My sear'd and blighted heart hath known,
The highest hope of pride and power,
I feel hath flown.

Of power! said I? yes! such I ween;
But they have vanished long, alas!
The visions of my youth have been—
But let them pass.

And, pride, what have I now with thee?
Another brow may even inherit
The venom thou hast pour'd on me—
Be still, my spirit.

The happiest day—the happiest hour
Mine eyes shall see—have ever seen,
The brightest glance of pride and power,
I feel—have been:

But were that hope of pride and power
Now offer'd, with the pain
Even then I felt—that brightest hour
I would not live again:

For on its wing was dark alloy.
And as it flutter'd—fell
An essence—powerful to destroy
A soul that knew it well.


IN youth's spring it was my lot
To haunt of the wide earth a spot
The which I could not love the less;
So lovely was the loneliness
Of a wild lake, with black rock bound,
And the tall pines that tower'd around.
But when the night had thrown her pall
Upon that spot—as upon all,
And the wind would pass me by
In its stilly melody,
My infant spirit would awake
To the terror of the lone lake.
Yet that terror was not fright—
But a tremulous delight,
And a feeling undefined,
Springing from a darken'd mind.
Death was in that poison'd wave
And in its gulf a fitting grave
For him who thence could solace bring
To his dark imagining;
Whose wildering thought could even make
An Eden of that dim lake.