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POE.

1811 - 1849.

EDGAR ALLAN POE, perhaps the most brilliant, and surely the most unfortunate, of young American poets, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1811, and died in 1819. Left a penniless orphan on the death of his parents, who were members of the theatrical profession, he was adopted by a rich merchant of Baltimore, and sent to school. In 1822 he entered the University of Virginia, but his habits soon becanie so dissolute as to conspel his expulsion. His benefactor refusing young Poe's demands for money to be squandered at the gaming-table, the latter resolved to go, like Byron, to the aid of the strugưling Greeks. He went to Europe, but never reached the theater of war, and in about a year was sent home by the United States Consul at St. Petersburg. His long-suffering benefactor next procured him an appointment to West Point; but the high-spirited youth could not endure the strict discipline of cadet-life, and in less than a year he was again expelled. Again he was received at the house of his benefactor, but his stay, this time, was short; for some offense whose nature has never been clearly explained, he was shut out forever from the house that liad been his only home. He at once entered upon that career of literary Bohemianism which was to end only with his life. In 1829 a small collection of his poems was published in Baltimore, and was received with encouraging favor ; but his literary work done prior to his twenty-fourth year had little permanent value. While editing the Southern Literary Messenger, at Richmond, Virginia, 1835 – 37, he married his consin, Virginia Clemm. In 1839 he went to New York, where he wrote for newspapers and magazines, and in 1840 to Philadelphia, where he edited Graham's Magazine. Returning to the tirst-named city, he engaged in miscellaneous literary labor, contributing his most famous poem, The Raven, to Colton's Whig Review, in February, 1815. His life, during the next four years, was a sad one; poverty continually oppressed him ; his loving and suffering wife was taken from him; and, at last, having become almost a vagabond, he was carried to the Baltimore Hospital, where he died, October 7, 1819, aged thirty-eight years. Although Poe is best known as a poet, many of the ablest critics agree that he was even greater as a writer of tales. In this department of literature he occupied a niche in which he has had no successor. His imagination was exceptionally powerful, his love of the weird and marvelous very strong, and his skill in producing somber and uncanny effects was extraordinary.' Though he wrote a good deal of verse, but a small proportion of it is worthy of his genius. As a critic he was remarkable mainly for his violent abusiveness, and his Literati of New York City, though spicy reading, gives no evidence of high critical power. Two or three of his poems, The Raven, The Bells, Annabel Lee, and perhaps some others, will always be read and admired. The story of his short life conveys a solemn warning, and suggests the thought that the most brilliant intellectual gifts are a curse rather than a blessing, if unaccompanied by a vigorous directing and controlling moral sense.

It confirms, too, the notion that marked precocity is unfavorable to, if not absolutely incompatible with, healthy and fruitful intellectual development. In the most prosperous natures, the moral growth precedes the mental, - is its guide and support. Yet Poe is to be pitied rather than condemned : his faults grew out of his misfortunes.

ANNABEL LEE.

It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden lived, whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought

Than to love, and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea ;
But we loved with a love that was more than love,

I and my Annabel Lee,
With a love that the wingéd seraphs of heaven

Coveted her and me.

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The angels, not so happy in heaven,

Went envying her and me.
Yes ! that was the reason (as all men know)

In this kingdom by the sea,
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we,
Of
many

far wiser than we;
And neither the angels in heaven above,

Nor the demons down under the sea, Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.

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For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee,
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
And so, all the night-tide I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life, and my bride,

In her sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.

FROM 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.
“'T is some visitor," I muttered, “ tapping at my chamber door ;

Only this, and nothing more."

Open then 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 an instant 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.

By the

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Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, grave

and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure ro

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 !”

THE BELLS.

I.

HEAR the sledges with the bells,

Silver bells,
What a world of merriment their melody foretells !

How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,

In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens seem to twinkle

With a crystalline delight, ---
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,

To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,

Bells, bells, bells,
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

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II.

Hear the mellow wedding bells, —

Golden bells !
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells !

Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight !
From the molten-golden notes,

And all in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats

On the moon !
O, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells !

How it swells !

How it dwells
On the Future! how it tells

Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing

Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,

Bells, bells, bells, –
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells.

III.

Hear the loud alarum bells,

Brazen bells !
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells !

In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!

Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,

Out of tume,
In the clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire

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Leaping higher, higher, higher,

With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor,

Now now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.

O the bells, bells, bells,
What a tale their terror tells

Of despair!
How they clang and clash and roar!

What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,

By the twanging,

And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows;
Yet the ear distinctly tells,

In the jangling,

And the wrangling,

How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells,

Of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells,

Bells, bells, bells, -
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells !

IV.

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Hear the tolling of the bells,

Iron bells ! What a world of solemn thought their monody compels

In the silence of the night,

How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone;

For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats

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