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To Helen Analysis



Author: Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe Type: Poetry Views: 3965

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I saw thee once- once only- years ago:

I must not say how many- but not many.

It was a July midnight; and from out

A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring,

Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven,

There fell a silvery-silken veil of light,

With quietude, and sultriness, and slumber,

Upon the upturned faces of a thousand

Roses that grew in an enchanted garden,

Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tiptoe-

Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses

That gave out, in return for the love-light,

Their odorous souls in an ecstatic death-

Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses

That smiled and died in this parterre, enchanted

By thee, and by the poetry of thy presence.



Clad all in white, upon a violet bank

I saw thee half reclining; while the moon

Fell on the upturn'd faces of the roses,

And on thine own, upturn'd- alas, in sorrow!



Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight-

Was it not Fate, (whose name is also Sorrow,)

That bade me pause before that garden-gate,

To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses?

No footstep stirred: the hated world an slept,

Save only thee and me. (Oh, Heaven!- oh, God!

How my heart beats in coupling those two words!)

Save only thee and me. I paused- I looked-

And in an instant all things disappeared.

(Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted!)



The pearly lustre of the moon went out:

The mossy banks and the meandering paths,

The happy flowers and the repining trees,

Were seen no more: the very roses' odors

Died in the arms of the adoring airs.

All- all expired save thee- save less than thou:

Save only the divine light in thine eyes-

Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes.

I saw but them- they were the world to me!

I saw but them- saw only them for hours,

Saw only them until the moon went down.

What wild heart-histories seemed to he enwritten

Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres!

How dark a woe, yet how sublime a hope!

How silently serene a sea of pride!

How daring an ambition; yet how deep-

How fathomless a capacity for love!



But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight,

Into a western couch of thunder-cloud;

And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees

Didst glide away. Only thine eyes remained;

They would not go- they never yet have gone;

Lighting my lonely pathway home that night,

They have not left me (as my hopes have) since;

They follow me- they lead me through the years.

They are my ministers- yet I their slave.

Their office is to illumine and enkindle-

My duty, to be saved by their bright light,

And purified in their electric fire,

And sanctified in their elysian fire.

They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope),

And are far up in Heaven- the stars I kneel to

In the sad, silent watches of my night;

While even in the meridian glare of day

I see them still- two sweetly scintillant

Venuses, unextinguished by the sun!








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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

Nice try, but no.
This poem was written after one of his best friends mother died. Her name was Jane, but Poe liked the name Helen better. As to the actual analysis; in my opinion, there are so many different explanations, it's hard to put them into one comment.

| Posted on 2009-03-11 | by a guest


.: test :.

This is a test of posting. This should work fine and stuff as long as I make this a decent length. This is a test of posting. This should work fine and stuff as long as I make this a decent length. This is a test of posting. This should work fine and stuff as long as I make this a decent length. This is a test of posting. This should work fine and stuff as long as I make this a decent length.

| Posted on 2007-12-11 | by a guest


.: :.

Upon looking closely, this poem seems to have a lonesome, longing air to it. Perhaps it is that the woman of his dreams is just a figment of his imagination, seen only in the mist or in dreams...

Whatever the reason may be, those feelings just kind of pulled me in when I read this, and I thought to myself, "He [the man in the poem, not necessarily Mr. Poe himself] might have seen her in his mind, imagining all of the garden around her, and he felt true happiness. But then his mind broke free of the spell, and he saw life as it really was. Empty, and dark. But he still had the one hope of closing his eyes, and seeing the one he loved."

*shrugs*
Just an idea!
~~LF~~

| Posted on 2005-11-24 | by Approved Guest




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