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The Sleeper

Poems have the tendency of stick with me, like melted taffy on your fingers they stay with me till the next one finds me. For some time now this one has been hanging around. Like all of the words written by Mister Poe these paint a picture too hard to classify with words. Enjoy!!!

The Sleeper by Edgar Allen Poe

At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And, softly dripping, drop by drop,
Upon the quiet mountain top,
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley.
The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin molders into rest;
Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take,
And would not, for the world, awake.
All Beauty sleeps!–and lo! where lies
Irene, with her Destinies!

O, lady bright! can it be right-
This window open to the night?
The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
Laughingly through the lattice drop-
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
Flit through thy chamber in and out,
And wave the curtain canopy
So fitfully–so fearfully-
Above the closed and fringed lid'
Neath which thy slumb'ring soul lies hid,
That, o'er the floor and down the wall,
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear?
Why and what art thou dreaming here?
Sure thou art come O'er far-off seas,
A wonder to these garden trees!
Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress,
Strange, above all, thy length of tress,
And this all solemn silentness!

The lady sleeps!
Oh, may her sleep,
Which is enduring, so be deep!
Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
This chamber changed for one more holy,
This bed for one more melancholy,
I pray to God that she may lie
For ever with unopened eye,
While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!

My love, she sleeps!
Oh, may her sleep
As it is lasting, so be deep!
Soft may the worms about her creep!
Far in the forest, dim and old,
For her may some tall vault unfold-
Some vault that oft has flung its black
And winged panels fluttering back
,Triumphant, o'er the crested palls,
Of her grand family funerals-
Some sepulchre, remote, alone,
Against whose portal she hath thrown,
In childhood, many an idle stone-
Some tomb from out whose sounding door
She ne'er shall force an echo more,
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!
It was the dead who groaned within.

"A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool."- William Shakespeare

4 comments:

Very cool verse - you remember that all?

April 28, 2009 at 12:48 PM  

I've never really understood this poem -

As far as I can tell, on a foggy mid-summer night, a man goes to visit his loved one, who is "sleeping" (that is, dead) at a cemetary.

He brings her flowers. Irene is dead, but although dead, she continues to to be a part of his world.

He is frightened and awed at the same time - and wonders what she dreams about in her eternal slumber. She came from a greater place far away and brought life to his world (perhaps to him - is this woman his mother?)

However, he feels that now she deserves her rest and is in a far better place. Or at least thats how I view it.

Its sort of a dark love letter.

April 28, 2009 at 5:08 PM  

Marty: I can recite it, but I had help from my book as to how it is written exactly

Iggy:From my understanding it is just that... A dark morbid love letter. That Poe was deeply disturbed!

April 29, 2009 at 9:13 AM  

Have you ever read Catallus?

This poem reminds me of his poems for his lover who left him, Lesbia.

You'll like his poems as long as you find good translations...old latin is tough to translate with it's true essence.

April 29, 2009 at 9:52 AM  

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