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About this Poem 

From The Works of Edgar Allan Poe in Five Volumes: The Raven Edition (P.F. Collier, 1902)



     In Heaven a spirit doth dwell
         “Whose heart-strings are a lute;”
      None sing so wildly well
     As the angel Israfel,
     And the giddy stars (so legends tell)
     Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell
         Of his voice, all mute.

     Tottering above
         In her highest noon
         The enamoured moon
     Blushes with love,
         While, to listen, the red levin
         (With the rapid Pleiads, even,
         Which were seven,)
         Pauses in Heaven

     And they say (the starry choir
         And all the listening things)
     That Israfeli’s fire
     Is owing to that lyre
         By which he sits and sings—
     The trembling living wire
     Of those unusual strings.

  * And the angel Israfel, whose heart-strings are a lut, and
  who has the sweetest voice of all God’s creatures.—KORAN.

     But the skies that angel trod,
         Where deep thoughts are a duty—
     Where Love’s a grown up God—
         Where the Houri glances are
     Imbued with all the beauty
         Which we worship in a star.

     Therefore, thou art not wrong,
         Israfeli, who despisest
     An unimpassion’d song:
     To thee the laurels belong
         Best bard, because the wisest!
     Merrily live, and long!

     The extacies above
         With thy burning measures suit—
     Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love,
         With the fervor of thy lute—
         Well may the stars be mute!

     Yes, Heaven is thine; but this
         Is a world of sweets and sours;
         Our flowers are merely—flowers,
     And the shadow of thy perfect bliss
         Is the sunshine of ours.

     If I could dwell
     Where Israfel
         Hath dwelt, and he where I,
     He might not sing so wildly well
         A mortal melody,
     While a bolder note than this might swell
         From my lyre within the sky.

This poem is in the public domain. 

This poem is in the public domain. 

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

Born in 1809, Edgar Allan Poe had a profound impact on American and international literature as an editor, poet, and critic.

by this poet

   Gaily bedight,
   A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
   Had journeyed long,
   Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

   But he grew old,
   This knight so bold,
And o'er his heart a shadow
   Fell as he found
   No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

   And, as his strength
   Failed him at
Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of "Mother,"
Therefore by that dear name I long have called you—
You who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you
     ‘Tis said that when
     The hands of men
     Tamed this primeval wood,
     And hoary trees with groans of woe,
     Like warriors by an unknown foe,
     Were in their strength subdued,
     The virgin Earth Gave instant birth
     To springs that ne’er did flow
     That in the sun Did