Shades of Reflection

    Edgar Allan Poe


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    Join date : 2012-03-02

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    Post  Tula on Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:44 pm

    The Raven

    Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
    Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
    As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
    `'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
    Only this, and nothing more.'

    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
    And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
    For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
    Nameless here for evermore.

    And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
    Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
    `'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
    Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
    This it is, and nothing more,'

    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
    `Sir,' said I, `or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
    That I scarce was sure I heard you' - here I opened wide the door; -
    Darkness there, and nothing more.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
    Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
    But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, `Lenore!'
    This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, `Lenore!'
    Merely this and nothing more.

    Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
    Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
    `Surely,' said I, `surely that is something at my window lattice;
    Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
    Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
    'Tis the wind and nothing more!'

    Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
    In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
    But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
    Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
    Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

    Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
    By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
    `Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,' I said, `art sure no craven.
    Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the nightly shore -
    Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!'
    Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

    Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
    Though its answer little meaning - little relevancy bore;
    For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
    Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door -
    Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
    With such name as `Nevermore.'

    But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only,
    That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
    Nothing further then he uttered - not a feather then he fluttered -
    Till I scarcely more than muttered `Other friends have flown before -
    On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.'
    Then the bird said, `Nevermore.'

    Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
    `Doubtless,' said I, `what it utters is its only stock and store,
    Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful disaster
    Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
    Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore
    Of "Never-nevermore."'

    But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
    Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
    Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
    Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
    What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
    Meant in croaking `Nevermore.'

    This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
    To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
    This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
    On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
    But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
    She shall press, ah, nevermore!

    Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
    Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
    `Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee
    Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
    Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!'
    Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

    `Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
    Whether tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
    Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
    On this home by horror haunted - tell me truly, I implore -
    Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!'
    Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

    `Prophet!' said I, `thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil!
    By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
    Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
    It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore -
    Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?'
    Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

    `Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!' I shrieked upstarting -
    `Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
    Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
    Leave my loneliness unbroken! - quit the bust above my door!
    Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!'
    Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.'

    And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
    On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
    And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
    And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
    And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
    Shall be lifted - nevermore!

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    Post  Tula on Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:46 pm

    A Dream Within A Dream

    Take this kiss upon the brow!
    And, in parting from you now,
    Thus much let me avow-
    You are not wrong, who deem
    That my days have been a dream;
    Yet if hope has flown away
    In a night, or in a day,
    In a vision, or in none,
    Is it therefore the less gone?
    All that we see or seem
    Is but a dream within a dream.

    I stand amid the roar
    Of a surf-tormented shore,
    And I hold within my hand
    Grains of the golden sand-
    How few! yet how they creep
    Through my fingers to the deep,
    While I weep- while I weep!
    O God! can I not grasp
    Them with a tighter clasp?
    O God! can I not save
    One from the pitiless wave?
    Is all that we see or seem
    But a dream within a dream?

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    Post  Tula on Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:49 pm


    Kind solace in a dying hour!
    Such, father, is not (now) my theme-
    I will not madly deem that power
    Of Earth may shrive me of the sin
    Unearthly pride hath revell'd in-
    I have no time to dote or dream:
    You call it hope-that fire of fire!
    It is but agony of desire:
    If I can hope-Oh God! I can-
    Its fount is holier-more divine-
    I would not call thee fool, old man,
    But such is not a gift of thine.
    Know thou the secret of a spirit
    Bow'd from its wild pride into shame.
    O yearning heart! I did inherit
    Thy withering portion with the fame,
    The searing glory which hath shone
    Amid the jewels of my throne,
    Halo of Hell! and with a pain
    Not Hell shall make me fear again-
    O craving heart, for the lost flowers
    And sunshine of my summer hours!
    The undying voice of that dead time,
    With its interminable chime,
    Rings, in the spirit of a spell,
    Upon thy emptiness-a knell.

    I have not always been as now:
    The fever'd diadem on my brow
    I claim'd and won usurpingly-
    Hath not the same fierce heirdom given
    Rome to the Caesar-this to me?
    The heritage of a kingly mind,
    And a proud spirit which hath striven
    Triumphantly with human kind.

    On mountain soil I first drew life:
    The mists of the Taglay have shed
    Nightly their dews upon my head,
    And, I believe, the winged strife
    And tumult of the headlong air
    Have nestled in my very hair.

    So late from Heaven-that dew-it fell
    (Mid dreams of an unholy night)
    Upon me with the touch of Hell,
    While the red flashing of the light
    From clouds that hung, like banners, o'er,
    Appeared to my half-closing eye
    The pageantry of monarchy,
    And the deep trumpet-thunder's roar
    Came hurriedly upon me, telling
    Of human battle, where my voice,
    My own voice, silly child!-was swelling
    (O! how my spirit would rejoice,
    And leap within me at the cry)
    The battle-cry of Victory!

    The rain came down upon my head
    Unshelter'd-and the heavy wind
    Rendered me mad and deaf and blind.
    It was but man, I thought, who shed
    Laurels upon me: and the rush-
    The torrent of the chilly air
    Gurgled within my ear the crush
    Of empires-with the captive's prayer-
    The hum of suitors-and the tone
    Of flattery 'round a sovereign's throne.

    My passions, from that hapless hour,
    Usurp'd a tyranny which men
    Have deem'd, since I have reach'd to power,
    My innate nature-be it so:
    But father, there liv'd one who, then,
    Then-in my boyhood-when their fire
    Burn'd with a still intenser glow,
    (For passion must, with youth, expire)
    E'en then who knew this iron heart
    In woman's weakness had a part.

    I have no words-alas!-to tell
    The loveliness of loving well!
    Nor would I now attempt to trace
    The more than beauty of a face
    Whose lineaments, upon my mind,
    Are-shadows on th' unstable wind:
    Thus I remember having dwelt
    Some page of early lore upon,
    With loitering eye, till I have felt
    The letters-with their meaning-melt
    To fantasies-with none.

    O, she was worthy of all love!
    Love-as in infancy was mine-
    'Twas such as angel minds above
    Might envy; her young heart the shrine
    On which my every hope and thought
    Were incense-then a goodly gift,
    For they were childish and upright-
    Pure-as her young example taught:
    Why did I leave it, and, adrift,
    Trust to the fire within, for light?

    We grew in age-and love-together,
    Roaming the forest, and the wild;
    My breast her shield in wintry weather-
    And when the friendly sunshine smil'd,
    And she would mark the opening skies,
    I saw no Heaven-but in her eyes.

    Young Love's first lesson is-the heart:
    For 'mid that sunshine, and those smiles,
    When, from our little cares apart,
    And laughing at her girlish wiles,
    I'd throw me on her throbbing breast,
    And pour my spirit out in tears-
    There was no need to speak the rest-
    No need to quiet any fears
    Of her-who ask'd no reason why,
    But turn'd on me her quiet eye!

    Yet more than worthy of the love
    My spirit struggled with, and strove,
    When, on the mountain peak, alone,
    Ambition lent it a new tone-
    I had no being-but in thee:
    The world, and all it did contain
    In the earth-the air-the sea-
    Its joy-its little lot of pain
    That was new pleasure-the ideal,
    Dim vanities of dreams by night-

    And dimmer nothings which were real-
    (Shadows-and a more shadowy light!)
    Parted upon their misty wings,
    And, so, confusedly, became
    Thine image, and-a name-a name!
    Two separate-yet most intimate things.

    I was ambitious-have you known
    The passion, father? You have not:
    A cottager, I mark'd a throne
    Of half the world as all my own,
    And murmur'd at such lowly lot-
    But, just like any other dream,
    Upon the vapour of the dew
    My own had past, did not the beam
    Of beauty which did while it thro'
    The minute-the hour-the day-oppress
    My mind with double loveliness.

    We walk'd together on the crown
    Of a high mountain which look'd down
    Afar from its proud natural towers
    Of rock and forest, on the hills-
    The dwindled hills! begirt with bowers,
    And shouting with a thousand rills.

    I spoke to her of power and pride,
    But mystically-in such guise
    That she might deem it nought beside
    The moment's converse; in her eyes
    I read, perhaps too carelessly-
    A mingled feeling with my own-
    The flush on her bright cheek, to me
    Seem'd to become a queenly throne
    Too well that I should let it be
    Light in the wilderness alone.

    I wrapp'd myself in grandeur then,
    And donn'd a visionary crown-
    Yet it was not that Fantasy
    Had thrown her mantle over me-
    But that, among the rabble-men,
    Lion ambition is chained down-
    And crouches to a keeper's hand-
    Not so in deserts where the grand-
    The wild-the terrible conspire
    With their own breath to fan his fire.

    Look 'round thee now on Samarcand!
    Is not she queen of Earth? her pride
    Above all cities? in her hand
    Their destinies? in all beside
    Of glory which the world hath known
    Stands she not nobly and alone?
    Falling-her veriest stepping-stone
    Shall form the pedestal of a throne-
    And who her sovereign? Timour-he
    Whom the astonished people saw
    Striding o'er empires haughtily
    A diadem'd outlaw!

    O, human love! thou spirit given
    On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven!
    Which fall'st into the soul like rain
    Upon the Siroc-wither'd plain,
    And, failing in thy power to bless,
    But leav'st the heart a wilderness!
    Idea! which bindest life around
    With music of so strange a sound,
    And beauty of so wild a birth-
    Farewell! for I have won the Earth.

    When Hope, the eagle that tower'd, could see
    No cliff beyond him in the sky,
    His pinions were bent droopingly-
    And homeward turn'd his soften'd eye.
    'Twas sunset: when the sun will part
    There comes a sullenness of heart
    To him who still would look upon
    The glory of the summer sun.
    That soul will hate the ev'ning mist,
    So often lovely, and will list
    To the sound of the coming darkness (known
    To those whose spirits hearken) as one
    Who, in a dream of night, would fly
    But cannot from a danger nigh.

    What tho' the moon-the white moon
    Shed all the splendour of her noon,
    Her smile is chilly, and her beam,
    In that time of dreariness, will seem
    (So like you gather in your breath)
    A portrait taken after death.
    And boyhood is a summer sun
    Whose waning is the dreariest one-
    For all we live to know is known,
    And all we seek to keep hath flown-
    Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall
    With the noon-day beauty-which is all.

    I reach'd my home-my home no more
    For all had flown who made it so.
    I pass'd from out its mossy door,
    And, tho' my tread was soft and low,
    A voice came from the threshold stone
    Of one whom I had earlier known-
    O, I defy thee, Hell, to show
    On beds of fire that burn below,
    A humbler heart-a deeper woe.

    Father, I firmly do believe-
    I know-for Death, who comes for me
    From regions of the blest afar,
    Where there is nothing to deceive,
    Hath left his iron gate ajar,
    And rays of truth you cannot see
    Are flashing thro' Eternity-
    I do believe that Eblis hath
    A snare in every human path-
    Else how, when in the holy grove
    I wandered of the idol, Love,
    Who daily scents his snowy wings
    With incense of burnt offerings
    From the most unpolluted things,
    Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven
    Above with trellis'd rays from Heaven,
    No mote may shun-no tiniest fly-
    The lightning of his eagle eye-
    How was it that Ambition crept,
    Unseen, amid the revels there,
    Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt
    In the tangles of Love's very hair?

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    Post  Tula on Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:52 pm


    There are some qualities--some incorporate things,
    That have a double life, which thus is made
    A type of that twin entity which springs
    From matter and light, evenced in solid and shade.
    There is a two-fold Silence--sea and shore--
    Body and soul. One dwells in lonely places,
    Newly with grass o'ergrown; some solemn graces,
    Some human memories and tearful lore,
    Render him terrorless: his name's "No More."
    He is the corporate Silence: dread him not!
    No power hath he of evil in himself;
    But should some urgent fate (untimely lot!)
    Bring thee to meet his shadow (nameless elf,
    That haunteth the lone regions where hath trod
    No foot of man) commend thyself to God!

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    Post  Tula on Thu Mar 15, 2012 4:54 pm


    By a route obscure and lonely,
    Haunted by ill angels only,
    Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
    On a black throne reigns upright,
    I have reached these lands but newly
    From an ultimate dim Thule-
    From a wild clime that lieth, sublime,
    Out of SPACE- out of TIME.

    Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
    And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
    With forms that no man can discover
    For the tears that drip all over;
    Mountains toppling evermore
    Into seas without a shore;
    Seas that restlessly aspire,
    Surging, unto skies of fire;
    Lakes that endlessly outspread
    Their lone waters- lone and dead,-
    Their still waters- still and chilly
    With the snows of the lolling lily.

    By the lakes that thus outspread
    Their lone waters, lone and dead,-
    Their sad waters, sad and chilly
    With the snows of the lolling lily,-
    By the mountains- near the river
    Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,-
    By the grey woods,- by the swamp
    Where the toad and the newt encamp-
    By the dismal tarns and pools
    Where dwell the Ghouls,-
    By each spot the most unholy-
    In each nook most melancholy-
    There the traveller meets aghast
    Sheeted Memories of the Past-
    Shrouded forms that start and sigh
    As they pass the wanderer by-
    White-robed forms of friends long given,
    In agony, to the Earth- and Heaven.

    For the heart whose woes are legion
    'Tis a peaceful, soothing region-
    For the spirit that walks in shadow
    'Tis- oh, 'tis an Eldorado!
    But the traveller, travelling through it,
    May not- dare not openly view it!
    Never its mysteries are exposed
    To the weak human eye unclosed;
    So wills its King, who hath forbid
    The uplifting of the fringed lid;
    And thus the sad Soul that here passes
    Beholds it but through darkened glasses.

    By a route obscure and lonely,
    Haunted by ill angels only,
    Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
    On a black throne reigns upright,
    I have wandered home but newly
    From this ultimate dim Thule.

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    Post  Tula on Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:14 pm


    'T WAS 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 proud part
    Thou bearest in Heaven at night,
    And more I admire
    Thy distant fire,
    Than that colder, lowly light.

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    Post  Tula on Thu Mar 15, 2012 5:17 pm


    (Attributed to Poe)
    [From The Yankee, December, 1829.]

    THOU dark, sea-stirring storm,
    Whence comest thou in thy might —
    Nay — wait, thou dim and dreamy form —
    Storm spirit, I call thee — 't is mine of right —
    Arrest thee in thy troubled flight.
    Thou askest me whence I came —
    I came o'er the sleeping sea,
    It roused at my torrent of storm and flame,
    And it howled aloud in its agony,
    And swelled to the sky — that sleeping sea.
    Thou askest me what I met —
    A ship from the Indian shore,
    A tall proud ship with her sails all set —
    Far down in the sea that ship I bore,
    My storms wild rushing wings before.
    And her men will forever lie,
    Below the unquiet sea;
    And tears will dim full many an eye,
    Page 157
    Of those who shall widows and orphans be,
    And their days be years — for their misery.
    A boat with a starving crew —
    For hunger they howled and swore;
    While the blood from a fellow's veins they drew
    I came upon them with rush and roar —
    Far under the waves that boat I bore.
    Two ships in a fearful fight —
    When a hundred guns did flash
    I came upon them — no time for flight —
    But under the sea their timbers crash
    And over their guns the wild waters dash
    A wretch on a single plank —
    And I tossed him on the shore —
    A night and a day of the sea he drank,
    But the wearied wretch to the land I bore —
    And now he walketh the earth once more —
    Storm spirit — go on thy path —
    The spirit has spread his wings —
    And comes on the sea with a rush of wrath,
    As a war horse when he springs —
    And over the earth his winds he flings —
    And over the earth — nor stop nor stay —
    The winds of the storm king go out on their way.

    P —

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