Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Poetical Works
Edgar Allan Poe

Part 2 out of 5

In thy seraphic glancing of thine eyes--
Of all who owe thee most, whose gratitude
Nearest resembles worship,--oh, remember
The truest, the most fervently devoted,
And think that these weak lines are written by him--
By him who, as he pens them, thrills to think
His spirit is communing with an angel's.


* * * * *


Not long ago, the writer of these lines,
In the mad pride of intellectuality,
Maintained "the power of words"--denied that ever
A thought arose within the human brain
Beyond the utterance of the human tongue:
And now, as if in mockery of that boast,
Two words--two foreign soft dissyllables--
Italian tones, made only to be murmured
By angels dreaming in the moonlit "dew
That hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill,"--
Have stirred from out the abysses of his heart,
Unthought-like thoughts that are the souls of thought,
Richer, far wilder, far diviner visions
Than even the seraph harper, Israfel,
(Who has "the sweetest voice of all God's creatures,")
Could hope to utter. And I! my spells are broken.
The pen falls powerless from my shivering hand.
With thy dear name as text, though hidden by thee,
I cannot write--I cannot speak or think--
Alas, I cannot feel; for 'tis not feeling,
This standing motionless upon the golden
Threshold of the wide-open gate of dreams,
Gazing, entranced, adown the gorgeous vista,
And thrilling as I see, upon the right,
Upon the left, and all the way along,
Amid empurpled vapors, far away
To where the prospect terminates--_thee only_!

* * * * *


Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
There shrines and palaces and towers
(Time-eaten towers and tremble not!)
Resemble nothing that is ours.
Around, by lifting winds forgot,
Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.

No rays from the holy Heaven come down
On the long night-time of that town;
But light from out the lurid sea
Streams up the turrets silently--
Gleams up the pinnacles far and free--
Up domes--up spires--up kingly halls--
Up fanes--up Babylon-like walls--
Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers
Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers--
Up many and many a marvellous shrine
Whose wreathed friezes intertwine
The viol, the violet, and the vine.

Resignedly beneath the sky
The melancholy waters lie.
So blend the turrets and shadows there
That all seem pendulous in air,
While from a proud tower in the town
Death looks gigantically down.

There open fanes and gaping graves
Yawn level with the luminous waves;
But not the riches there that lie
In each idol's diamond eye--
Not the gaily-jewelled dead
Tempt the waters from their bed;
For no ripples curl, alas!
Along that wilderness of glass--
No swellings tell that winds may be
Upon some far-off happier sea--
No heavings hint that winds have been
On seas less hideously serene.

But lo, a stir is in the air!
The wave--there is a movement there!
As if the towers had thrust aside,
In slightly sinking, the dull tide--
As if their tops had feebly given
A void within the filmy Heaven.
The waves have now a redder glow--
The hours are breathing faint and low--
And when, amid no earthly moans,
Down, down that town shall settle hence,
Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
Shall do it reverence.


* * * * *


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 moulders 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
(Her casement open to the skies)
Irene, with her Destinies!

Oh, 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 dim 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 hath 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.


* * * * *


The ring is on my hand,
And the wreath is on my brow;
Satins and jewels grand
Are all at my command.
And I am happy now.

And my lord he loves me well;
But, when first he breathed his vow,
I felt my bosom swell--
For the words rang as a knell,
And the voice seemed _his_ who fell
In the battle down the dell,
And who is happy now.

But he spoke to reassure me,
And he kissed my pallid brow,
While a reverie came o'er me,
And to the churchyard bore me,
And I sighed to him before me,
Thinking him dead D'Elormie,
"Oh, I am happy now!"

And thus the words were spoken,
And thus the plighted vow,
And, though my faith be broken,
And, though my heart be broken,
Behold the golden keys
That _proves_ me happy now!

Would to God I could awaken
For I dream I know not how,
And my soul is sorely shaken
Lest an evil step be taken,--
Lest the dead who is forsaken
May not be happy now.


* * * * *



"The Raven" was first published on the 29th January, 1845, in the New
York 'Evening Mirror'--a paper its author was then assistant editor of.
It was prefaced by the following words, understood to have been written
by N. P. Willis:

"We are permitted to copy (in advance of publication) from the second
number of the 'American Review', the following remarkable poem by
Edgar Poe. In our opinion, it is the most effective single example of
'fugitive poetry' ever published in this country, and unsurpassed in
English poetry for subtle conception, masterly ingenuity of
versification, and consistent sustaining of imaginative lift and
'pokerishness.' It is one of those 'dainties bred in a book' which we
feed on. It will stick to the memory of everybody who reads it."

In the February number of the 'American Review' the poem was published
as by "Quarles," and it was introduced by the following note, evidently
suggested if not written by Poe himself.

["The following lines from a correspondent--besides the deep, quaint
strain of the sentiment, and the curious introduction of some
ludicrous touches amidst the serious and impressive, as was doubtless
intended by the author--appears to us one of the most felicitous
specimens of unique rhyming which has for some time met our eye. The
resources of English rhythm for varieties of melody, measure, and
sound, producing corresponding diversities of effect, have been
thoroughly studied, much more perceived, by very few poets in the
language. While the classic tongues, especially the Greek, possess, by
power of accent, several advantages for versification over our own,
chiefly through greater abundance of spondaic feet, we have other and
very great advantages of sound by the modern usage of rhyme.
Alliteration is nearly the only effect of that kind which the ancients
had in common with us. It will be seen that much of the melody of 'The
Raven' arises from alliteration and the studious use of similar sounds
in unusual places. In regard to its measure, it may be noted that if
all the verses were like the second, they might properly be placed
merely in short lines, producing a not uncommon form: but the presence
in all the others of one line--mostly the second in the verse"
(stanza?)--"which flows continuously, with only an aspirate pause in
the middle, like that before the short line in the Sapphio Adonic,
while the fifth has at the middle pause no similarity of sound with
any part beside, gives the versification an entirely different effect.
We could wish the capacities of our noble language in prosody were
better understood."

ED. 'Am. Rev.']

* * * * *


The bibliographical history of "The Bells" is curious. The subject, and
some lines of the original version, having been suggested by the poet's
friend, Mrs. Shew, Poe, when he wrote out the first draft of the poem,
headed it, "The Bells. By Mrs. M. A. Shew." This draft, now the editor's
property, consists of only seventeen lines, and reads thus:


The bells!--ah the bells!
The little silver bells!
How fairy-like a melody there floats
From their throats--
From their merry little throats--
From the silver, tinkling throats
Of the bells, bells, bells--
Of the bells!


The bells!--ah, the bells!
The heavy iron bells!
How horrible a monody there floats
From their throats--
From their deep-toned throats--
From their melancholy throats
How I shudder at the notes
Of the bells, bells, bells--
Of the bells!

In the autumn of 1848 Poe added another line to this poem, and sent it
to the editor of the 'Union Magazine'. It was not published. So, in the
following February, the poet forwarded to the same periodical a much
enlarged and altered transcript. Three months having elapsed without
publication, another revision of the poem, similar to the current
version, was sent, and in the following October was published in the
'Union Magazine'.

* * * * *


This poem was first published in Colton's 'American Review' for December
1847, as "To----Ulalume: a Ballad." Being reprinted immediately in
the 'Home Journal', it was copied into various publications with the
name of the editor, N. P. Willis, appended, and was ascribed to him.
When first published, it contained the following additional stanza which
Poe subsequently, at the suggestion of Mrs. Whitman wisely suppressed:

Said we then--the two, then--"Ah, can it
Have been that the woodlandish ghouls--
The pitiful, the merciful ghouls--
To bar up our path and to ban it
From the secret that lies in these wolds--
Had drawn up the spectre of a planet
From the limbo of lunary souls--
This sinfully scintillant planet
From the Hell of the planetary souls?"

* * * * *


"To Helen" (Mrs. S. Helen Whitman) was not published Until November
1848, although written several months earlier. It first appeared in the
'Union Magazine' and with the omission, contrary to the knowledge or
desire of Poe, of the line, "Oh, God! oh, Heaven--how my heart beats in
coupling those two words".

* * * * *


"Annabel Lee" was written early in 1849, and is evidently an expression
of the poet's undying love for his deceased bride although at least one
of his lady admirers deemed it a response to her admiration. Poe sent a
copy of the ballad to the 'Union Magazine', in which publication it
appeared in January 1850, three months after the author's death. Whilst
suffering from "hope deferred" as to its fate, Poe presented a copy of
"Annabel Lee" to the editor of the 'Southern Literary Messenger', who
published it in the November number of his periodical, a month after
Poe's death. In the meantime the poet's own copy, left among his papers,
passed into the hands of the person engaged to edit his works, and he
quoted the poem in an obituary of Poe in the New York 'Tribune', before
any one else had an opportunity of publishing it.

* * * * *


"A Valentine," one of three poems addressed to Mrs. Osgood, appears to
have been written early in 1846.

* * * * *


"An Enigma," addressed to Mrs. Sarah Anna Lewig ("Stella"), was sent to
that lady in a letter, in November 1847, and the following March
appeared in Sartain's 'Union Magazine'.

* * * * *


The sonnet, "To My Mother" (Maria Clemm), was sent for publication to
the short-lived 'Flag of our Union', early in 1849, but does not appear
to have been issued until after its author's death, when it appeared in
the 'Leaflets of Memory' for 1850.

* * * * *


"For Annie" was first published in the 'Flag of our Union', in the
spring of 1849. Poe, annoyed at some misprints in this issue, shortly
afterwards caused a corrected copy to be inserted in the 'Home Journal'.

* * * * *

10. TO F----

"To F----" (Frances Sargeant Osgood) appeared in the 'Broadway Journal'
for April 1845. These lines are but slightly varied from those inscribed
"To Mary," in the 'Southern Literary Messenger' for July 1835, and
subsequently republished, with the two stanzas transposed, in 'Graham's
Magazine' for March 1842, as "To One Departed."

* * * * *


"To F--s S. O--d," a portion of the poet's triune tribute to Mrs.
Osgood, was published in the 'Broadway Journal' for September 1845. The
earliest version of these lines appeared in the 'Southern Literary
Messenger' for September 1835, as "Lines written in an Album," and was
addressed to Eliza White, the proprietor's daughter. Slightly revised,
the poem reappeared in Burton's 'Gentleman's Magazine' for August, 1839,
as "To----."

* * * * *


Although "Eldorado" was published during Poe's lifetime, in 1849, in the
'Flag of our Union', it does not appear to have ever received the
author's finishing touches.

* * * * *


"Eulalie--a Song" first appears in Colton's 'American Review' for July,

* * * * *


"A Dream within a Dream" does not appear to have been published as a
separate poem during its author's lifetime. A portion of it was
contained, in 1829, in the piece beginning, "Should my early life seem,"
and in 1831 some few lines of it were used as a conclusion to
"Tamerlane." In 1849 the poet sent a friend all but the first nine lines
of the piece as a separate poem, headed "For Annie."

* * * * *


"To M----L----S----," addressed to Mrs. Marie Louise Shew, was written
in February 1847, and published shortly afterwards. In the first
posthumous collection of Poe's poems these lines were, for some reason,
included in the "Poems written in Youth," and amongst those poems they
have hitherto been included.

* * * * *


"To----," a second piece addressed to Mrs. Shew, and written in 1848,
was also first published, but in a somewhat faulty form, in the above
named posthumous collection.

* * * * *


Under the title of "The Doomed City" the initial version of "The City in
the Sea" appeared in the 1831 volume of Poems by Poe: it reappeared as
"The City of Sin," in the 'Southern Literary Messenger' for August 1835,
whilst the present draft of it first appeared in Colton's 'American
Review' for April, 1845.

* * * * *


As "Irene," the earliest known version of "The Sleeper," appeared in the
1831 volume. It reappeared in the 'Literary Messenger' for May 1836,
and, in its present form, in the 'Broadway Journal' for May 1845.

* * * * *


"The Bridal Ballad" is first discoverable in the 'Southern Literary
Messenger' for January 1837, and, in its present compressed and revised
form, was reprinted in the 'Broadway Journal' for August, 1845.

* * * * *


* * * * *


Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll!--a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river.
And, Guy de Vere, hast _thou_ no tear?--weep now or never more!
See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
Come! let the burial rite be read--the funeral song be sung!--
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young--
A dirge for her, the doubly dead in that she died so young.

"Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,
And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her--that she died!
How _shall_ the ritual, then, be read?--the requiem how be sung
By you--by yours, the evil eye,--by yours, the slanderous tongue
That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young?"

_Peccavimus;_ but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song
Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong!
The sweet Lenore hath "gone before," with Hope, that flew beside,
Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride--
For her, the fair and _debonnaire_, that now so lowly lies,
The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes--
The life still there, upon her hair--the death upon her eyes.

"Avaunt! to-night my heart is light. No dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight with a paean of old days!
Let _no_ bell toll!--lest her sweet soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
Should catch the note, as it doth float up from the damned Earth.
To friends above, from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven--
From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven--
From grief and groan to a golden throne beside the King of Heaven."


* * * * *


Thou wast that all to me, love,
For which my soul did pine--
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.

Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the Future cries,
"On! on!"--but o'er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast!

For, alas! alas! with me
The light of Life is o'er!
"No more--no more--no more"--
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree,
Or the stricken eagle soar!

And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy dark eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams--
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams!

Alas! for that accursed time
They bore thee o'er the billow,
From love to titled age and crime,
And an unholy pillow!
From me, and from our misty clime,
Where weeps the silver willow!


* * * * *


Type of the antique Rome! Rich reliquary
Of lofty contemplation left to Time
By buried centuries of pomp and power!
At length--at length--after so many days
Of weary pilgrimage and burning thirst,
(Thirst for the springs of lore that in thee lie,)
I kneel, an altered and an humble man,
Amid thy shadows, and so drink within
My very soul thy grandeur, gloom, and glory!

Vastness! and Age! and Memories of Eld!
Silence! and Desolation! and dim Night!
I feel ye now--I feel ye in your strength--
O spells more sure than e'er Judaean king
Taught in the gardens of Gethsemane!
O charms more potent than the rapt Chaldee
Ever drew down from out the quiet stars!

Here, where a hero fell, a column falls!
Here, where the mimic eagle glared in gold,
A midnight vigil holds the swarthy bat!
Here, where the dames of Rome their gilded hair
Waved to the wind, now wave the reed and thistle!
Here, where on golden throne the monarch lolled,
Glides, spectre-like, unto his marble home,
Lit by the wan light of the horned moon,
The swift and silent lizard of the stones!

But stay! these walls--these ivy-clad arcades--
These mouldering plinths--these sad and blackened shafts--
These vague entablatures--this crumbling frieze--
These shattered cornices--this wreck--this ruin--
These stones--alas! these gray stones--are they all--
All of the famed, and the colossal left
By the corrosive Hours to Fate and me?

"Not all"--the Echoes answer me--"not all!
Prophetic sounds and loud, arise forever
From us, and from all Ruin, unto the wise,
As melody from Memnon to the Sun.
We rule the hearts of mightiest men--we rule
With a despotic sway all giant minds.
We are not impotent--we pallid stones.
Not all our power is gone--not all our fame--
Not all the magic of our high renown--
Not all the wonder that encircles us--
Not all the mysteries that in us lie--
Not all the memories that hang upon
And cling around about us as a garment,
Clothing us in a robe of more than glory."


* * * * *


In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace--
Radiant palace--reared its head.
In the monarch Thought's dominion--
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow,
(This--all this--was in the olden
Time long ago),
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A winged odor went away.

Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
To a lute's well-tuned law,
Bound about a throne where, sitting
In state his glory well befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch's high estate.
(Ah, let us mourn!--for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him desolate !)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
To a discordant melody,
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
And laugh--but smile no more.


* * * * *


Lo! 'tis a gala night
Within the lonesome latter years!
An angel throng, bewinged, bedight
In veils, and drowned in tears,
Sit in a theatre, to see
A play of hopes and fears,
While the orchestra breathes fitfully
The music of the spheres.

Mimes, in the form of God on high,
Mutter and mumble low,
And hither and thither fly--
Mere puppets they, who come and go
At bidding of vast formless things
That shift the scenery to and fro,
Flapping from out their Condor wings
Invisible Wo!

That motley drama--oh, be sure
It shall not be forgot!
With its Phantom chased for evermore,
By a crowd that seize it not,
Through a circle that ever returneth in
To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
And Horror the soul of the plot.

But see, amid the mimic rout
A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
The scenic solitude!
It writhes!--it writhes!--with mortal pangs
The mimes become its food,
And the angels sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.

Out--out are the lights--out all!
And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,
And the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, "Man,"
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.


* * * * *


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, evinced in solid and shade.
There is a twofold _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!


* * * * *


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 weird 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 dews 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 gray 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.


* * * * *


Fair isle, that from the fairest of all flowers,
Thy gentlest of all gentle names dost take!
How many memories of what radiant hours
At sight of thee and thine at once awake!
How many scenes of what departed bliss!
How many thoughts of what entombed hopes!
How many visions of a maiden that is
No more--no more upon thy verdant slopes!

_No more!_ alas, that magical sad sound
Transforming all! Thy charms shall please _no more_--
Thy memory _no more!_ Accursed ground
Henceforward I hold thy flower-enamelled shore,
O hyacinthine isle! O purple Zante!
"Isola d'oro! Fior di Levante!"


* * * * *


At morn--at noon--at twilight dim--
Maria! thou hast heard my hymn!
In joy and wo--in good and ill--
Mother of God, be with me still!
When the Hours flew brightly by,
And not a cloud obscured the sky,
My soul, lest it should truant be,
Thy grace did guide to thine and thee
Now, when storms of Fate o'ercast
Darkly my Present and my Past,
Let my future radiant shine
With sweet hopes of thee and thine!


* * * * *



"Lenore" was published, very nearly in its existing shape, in 'The
Pioneer' for 1843, but under the title of "The Paean"--now first
published in the POEMS OF YOUTH--the germ of it appeared in 1831.

* * * * *


"To One in Paradise" was included originally in "The Visionary" (a tale
now known as "The Assignation"), in July, 1835, and appeared as a
separate poem entitled "To Ianthe in Heaven," in Burton's 'Gentleman's
Magazine' for July, 1839. The fifth stanza is now added, for the first
time, to the piece.

* * * * *


"The Coliseum" appeared in the Baltimore 'Saturday Visitor' ('sic') in
1833, and was republished in the 'Southern Literary Messenger' for
August 1835, as "A Prize Poem."

* * * * *


"The Haunted Palace" originally issued in the Baltimore 'American
Museum' for April, 1888, was subsequently embodied in that much admired
tale, "The Fall of the House of Usher," and published in it in Burton's
'Gentleman's Magazine' for September, 1839. It reappeared in that as a
separate poem in the 1845 edition of Poe's poems.

* * * * *


"The Conqueror Worm," then contained in Poe's favorite tale of "Ligeia,"
was first published in the 'American Museum' for September, 1838. As a
separate poem, it reappeared in 'Graham's Magazine' for January, 1843.

* * * * *


The sonnet, "Silence," was originally published in Burton's 'Gentleman's
Magazine' for April, 1840.

* * * * *


The first known publication of "Dreamland" was in 'Graham's Magazine'
for June, 1844.

* * * * *


The "Sonnet to Zante" is not discoverable earlier than January, 1837,
when it appeared in the 'Southern Literary Messenger'.

* * * * *

28. HYMN

The initial version of the "Catholic Hymn" was contained in the story of
"Morella," and published in the 'Southern Literary Messenger' for April,
1885. The lines as they now stand, and with their present title, were
first published in the 'Broadway Journal for August', 1845.

* * * * *





_Alessandra_. Thou art sad, Castiglione.

_Castiglione_. Sad!--not I.
Oh, I'm the happiest, happiest man in Rome!
A few days more, thou knowest, my Alessandra,
Will make thee mine. Oh, I am very happy!

_Aless_. Methinks thou hast a singular way of showing
Thy happiness--what ails thee, cousin of mine?
Why didst thou sigh so deeply?

_Cas_. Did I sigh?
I was not conscious of it. It is a fashion,
A silly--a most silly fashion I have
When I am _very_ happy. Did I sigh? (_sighing._)

_Aless_. Thou didst. Thou art not well. Thou hast indulged
Too much of late, and I am vexed to see it.
Late hours and wine, Castiglione,--these
Will ruin thee! thou art already altered--
Thy looks are haggard--nothing so wears away
The constitution as late hours and wine.

_Cas. (musing_ ). Nothing, fair cousin, nothing--
Not even deep sorrow--
Wears it away like evil hours and wine.
I will amend.

_Aless_. Do it! I would have thee drop
Thy riotous company, too--fellows low born
Ill suit the like of old Di Broglio's heir
And Alessandra's husband.

_Cas_. I will drop them.

_Aless_. Thou wilt--thou must. Attend thou also more
To thy dress and equipage--they are over plain
For thy lofty rank and fashion--much depends
Upon appearances.

_Cas_. I'll see to it.

_Aless_. Then see to it!--pay more attention, sir,
To a becoming carriage--much thou wantest
In dignity.

_Cas_. Much, much, oh, much I want
In proper dignity.

(haughtily_). Thou mockest me, sir!

(abstractedly_). Sweet, gentle Lalage!

_Aless_. Heard I aright?
I speak to him--he speaks of Lalage?
Sir Count!
(_places her hand on his shoulder_)
what art thou dreaming?
He's not well!
What ails thee, sir?

_Cas.(starting_). Cousin! fair cousin!--madam!
I crave thy pardon--indeed I am not well--
Your hand from off my shoulder, if you please.
This air is most oppressive!--Madam--the Duke!

_Enter Di Broglio_.

_Di Broglio_. My son, I've news for thee!--hey!
--what's the matter?
(_observing Alessandra_).
I' the pouts? Kiss her, Castiglione! kiss her,
You dog! and make it up, I say, this minute!
I've news for you both. Politian is expected
Hourly in Rome--Politian, Earl of Leicester!
We'll have him at the wedding. 'Tis his first visit
To the imperial city.

_Aless_. What! Politian
Of Britain, Earl of Leicester?

_Di Brog_. The same, my love.
We'll have him at the wedding. A man quite young
In years, but gray in fame. I have not seen him,
But Rumor speaks of him as of a prodigy
Pre-eminent in arts, and arms, and wealth,
And high descent. We'll have him at the wedding.

_Aless_. I have heard much of this Politian.
Gay, volatile and giddy--is he not,
And little given to thinking?

_Di Brog_. Far from it, love.
No branch, they say, of all philosophy
So deep abstruse he has not mastered it.
Learned as few are learned.

_Aless_. 'Tis very strange!
I have known men have seen Politian
And sought his company. They speak of him
As of one who entered madly into life,
Drinking the cup of pleasure to the dregs.

_Cas_. Ridiculous! Now _I_ have seen Politian
And know him well--nor learned nor mirthful he.
He is a dreamer, and shut out
From common passions.

_Di Brog_. Children, we disagree.
Let us go forth and taste the fragrant air
Of the garden. Did I dream, or did I hear
Politian was a _melancholy_ man?



ROME.--A Lady's Apartment, with a window open and looking into a garden.
LALAGE, in deep mourning, reading at a table on which lie some books and
a hand-mirror. In the background JACINTA (a servant maid) leans
carelessly upon a chair.

_Lalage_. Jacinta! is it thou?

(pertly_). Yes, ma'am, I'm here.

_Lal_. I did not know, Jacinta, you were in waiting.
Sit down!--let not my presence trouble you--
Sit down!--for I am humble, most humble.

_Jac. (aside_). 'Tis time.

(_Jacinta seats herself in a side-long manner upon the chair, resting
her elbows upon the back, and regarding her mistress with a contemptuous
look. Lalage continues to read._)

_Lal_. "It in another climate, so he said,
Bore a bright golden flower, but not i' this soil!"

(_pauses--turns over some leaves and resumes_.)

"No lingering winters there, nor snow, nor shower--
But Ocean ever to refresh mankind
Breathes the shrill spirit of the western wind"
Oh, beautiful!--most beautiful!--how like
To what my fevered soul doth dream of Heaven!
O happy land! (_pauses_) She died!--the maiden died!
O still more happy maiden who couldst die!

(_Jacinta returns no answer, and Lalage presently resumes_.)

Again!--a similar tale
Told of a beauteous dame beyond the sea!
Thus speaketh one Ferdinand in the words of the play--
"She died full young"--one Bossola answers him--
"I think not so--her infelicity
Seemed to have years too many"--Ah, luckless lady!
Jacinta! (_still no answer_.)
Here's a far sterner story--
But like--oh, very like in its despair--
Of that Egyptian queen, winning so easily
A thousand hearts--losing at length her own.
She died. Thus endeth the history--and her maids
Lean over her and keep--two gentle maids
With gentle names--Eiros and Charmion!
Rainbow and Dove!--Jacinta!

(_pettishly_). Madam, what is it?

_Lal_. Wilt thou, my good Jacinta, be so kind
As go down in the library and bring me
The Holy Evangelists?

_Jac_. Pshaw!


_Lal_. If there be balm
For the wounded spirit in Gilead, it is there!
Dew in the night time of my bitter trouble
Will there be found--"dew sweeter far than that
Which hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill."

(_re-enter Jacinta, and throws a volume on the table_.)

There, ma'am, 's the book.
(_aside_.) Indeed she is very troublesome.

(_astonished_). What didst thou say, Jacinta?
Have I done aught
To grieve thee or to vex thee?--I am sorry.
For thou hast served me long and ever been
Trustworthy and respectful.
(_resumes her reading_.)

_Jac_. (_aside_.) I can't believe
She has any more jewels--no--no--she gave me all.

_Lal_. What didst thou say, Jacinta? Now I bethink me
Thou hast not spoken lately of thy wedding.
How fares good Ugo?--and when is it to be?
Can I do aught?--is there no further aid
Thou needest, Jacinta?

_Jac_. (_aside_.) Is there no _further_ aid!
That's meant for me. I'm sure, madam, you need not
Be always throwing those jewels in my teeth.

_Lal_. Jewels! Jacinta,--now indeed, Jacinta,
I thought not of the jewels.

_Jac_. Oh, perhaps not!
But then I might have sworn it. After all,
There's Ugo says the ring is only paste,
For he's sure the Count Castiglione never
Would have given a real diamond to such as you;
And at the best I'm certain, madam, you cannot
Have use for jewels _now_. But I might have sworn it.


(_Lalage bursts into tears and leans her head upon the table--after a
short pause raises it_.)

_Lal_. Poor Lalage!--and is it come to this?
Thy servant maid!--but courage!--'tis but a viper
Whom thou hast cherished to sting thee to the soul!
(_taking up the mirror_)
Ha! here at least's a friend--too much a friend
In earlier days--a friend will not deceive thee.
Fair mirror and true! now tell me (for thou canst)
A tale--a pretty tale--and heed thou not
Though it be rife with woe. It answers me.
It speaks of sunken eyes, and wasted cheeks,
And beauty long deceased--remembers me,
Of Joy departed--Hope, the Seraph Hope,
Inurned and entombed!--now, in a tone
Low, sad, and solemn, but most audible,
Whispers of early grave untimely yawning
For ruined maid. Fair mirror and true!--thou liest not!
_Thou_ hast no end to gain--no heart to break--
Castiglione lied who said he loved----
Thou true--he false!--false!--false!

(_While she speaks, a monk enters her apartment and approaches

_Monk_. Refuge thou hast,
Sweet daughter! in Heaven. Think of eternal things!
Give up thy soul to penitence, and pray!

(arising hurriedly_). I _cannot_ pray!--My soul is at war with God!
The frightful sounds of merriment below;
Disturb my senses--go! I cannot pray--
The sweet airs from the garden worry me!
Thy presence grieves me--go!--thy priestly raiment
Fills me with dread--thy ebony crucifix
With horror and awe!

_Monk_. Think of thy precious soul!

_Lal_. Think of my early days!--think of my father
And mother in Heaven! think of our quiet home,
And the rivulet that ran before the door!
Think of my little sisters!--think of them!
And think of me!--think of my trusting love
And confidence--his vows--my ruin--think--think
Of my unspeakable misery!----begone!
Yet stay! yet stay!--what was it thou saidst of prayer
And penitence? Didst thou not speak of faith
And vows before the throne?

_Monk_. I did.

_Lal_. 'Tis well.
There _is_ a vow 'twere fitting should be made--
A sacred vow, imperative and urgent,
A solemn vow!

_Monk_. Daughter, this zeal is well!

_Lal_. Father, this zeal is anything but well!
Hast thou a crucifix fit for this thing?
A crucifix whereon to register
This sacred vow? (_he hands her his own_.)
Not that--Oh! no!--no!--no (_shuddering_.)
Not that! Not that!--I tell thee, holy man,
Thy raiments and thy ebony cross affright me!
Stand back! I have a crucifix myself,--
_I_ have a crucifix! Methinks 'twere fitting
The deed--the vow--the symbol of the deed--
And the deed's register should tally, father!
(_draws a cross-handled dagger and raises it on high_.)
Behold the cross wherewith a vow like mine
Is written in heaven!

_Monk_. Thy words are madness, daughter,
And speak a purpose unholy--thy lips are livid--
Thine eyes are wild--tempt not the wrath divine!
Pause ere too late!--oh, be not--be not rash!
Swear not the oath--oh, swear it not!

_Lal_. 'Tis sworn!


An Apartment in a Palace. POLITIAN and BALDAZZAR.

_Baldazzar_. Arouse thee now, Politian!
Thou must not--nay indeed, indeed, thou shalt not
Give way unto these humors. Be thyself!
Shake off the idle fancies that beset thee
And live, for now thou diest!

_Politian_. Not so, Baldazzar!
_Surely_ I live.

_Bal_. Politian, it doth grieve me
To see thee thus!

_Pol_. Baldazzar, it doth grieve me
To give thee cause for grief, my honored friend.
Command me, sir! what wouldst thou have me do?
At thy behest I will shake off that nature
Which from my forefathers I did inherit,
Which with my mother's milk I did imbibe,
And be no more Politian, but some other.
Command me, sir!

_Bal_. To the field then--to the field--
To the senate or the field.

_Pol_. Alas! alas!
There is an imp would follow me even there!
There is an imp _hath_ followed me even there!
There is--what voice was that?

_Bal_. I heard it not.
I heard not any voice except thine own,
And the echo of thine own.

_Pol_. Then I but dreamed.

_Bal_. Give not thy soul to dreams: the camp--the court
Befit thee--Fame awaits thee--Glory calls--
And her the trumpet-tongued thou wilt not hear
In hearkening to imaginary sounds
And phantom voices.

_Pol_. It _is_ a phantom voice!
Didst thou not hear it _then_?

_Bal_ I heard it not.

_Pol_. Thou heardst it not!--Baldazzar, speak no more
To me, Politian, of thy camps and courts.
Oh! I am sick, sick, sick, even unto death,
Of the hollow and high-sounding vanities
Of the populous Earth! Bear with me yet awhile
We have been boys together--school-fellows--
And now are friends--yet shall not be so long--
For in the Eternal City thou shalt do me
A kind and gentle office, and a Power--
A Power august, benignant, and supreme--
Shall then absolve thee of all further duties
Unto thy friend.

_Bal_. Thou speakest a fearful riddle
I _will_ not understand.

_Pol_. Yet now as Fate
Approaches, and the Hours are breathing low,
The sands of Time are changed to golden grains,
And dazzle me, Baldazzar. Alas! alas!
I _cannot_ die, having within my heart
So keen a relish for the beautiful
As hath been kindled within it. Methinks the air
Is balmier now than it was wont to be--
Rich melodies are floating in the winds--
A rarer loveliness bedecks the earth--
And with a holier lustre the quiet moon
Sitteth in Heaven.--Hist! hist! thou canst not say
Thou hearest not _now_, Baldazzar?

_Bal_. Indeed I hear not.

_Pol_. Not hear it!--listen--now--listen!--the faintest sound
And yet the sweetest that ear ever heard!
A lady's voice!--and sorrow in the tone!
Baldazzar, it oppresses me like a spell!
Again!--again!--how solemnly it falls
Into my heart of hearts! that eloquent voice
Surely I never heard--yet it were well
Had I _but_ heard it with its thrilling tones
In earlier days!

_Bal_. I myself hear it now.
Be still!--the voice, if I mistake not greatly,
Proceeds from younder lattice--which you may see
Very plainly through the window--it belongs,
Does it not? unto this palace of the Duke.
The singer is undoubtedly beneath
The roof of his Excellency--and perhaps
Is even that Alessandra of whom he spoke
As the betrothed of Castiglione,
His son and heir.

_Pol_. Be still!--it comes again!

(_very faintly_). "And is thy heart so strong [1]
As for to leave me thus,
That have loved thee so long,
In wealth and woe among?
And is thy heart so strong
As for to leave me thus?
Say nay! say nay!"

_Bal_. The song is English, and I oft have heard it
In merry England--never so plaintively--
Hist! hist! it comes again!

(more loudly_). "Is it so strong
As for to leave me thus,
That have loved thee so long,
In wealth and woe among?
And is thy heart so strong
As for to leave me thus?
Say nay! say nay!"

_Bal_. 'Tis hushed and all is still!

_Pol_. All _is not_ still.

_Bal_. Let us go down.

_Pol_. Go down, Baldazzar, go!

_Bal_. The hour is growing late--the Duke awaits us,--
Thy presence is expected in the hall
Below. What ails thee, Earl Politian?

(_distinctly_). "Who have loved thee so long,
In wealth and woe among,
And is thy heart so strong?
Say nay! say nay!"

_Bal_. Let us descend!--'tis time. Politian, give
These fancies to the wind. Remember, pray,
Your bearing lately savored much of rudeness
Unto the Duke. Arouse thee! and remember!

_Pol_. Remember? I do. Lead on! I _do_ remember.
Let us descend. Believe me I would give,
Freely would give the broad lands of my earldom
To look upon the face hidden by yon lattice--
"To gaze upon that veiled face, and hear
Once more that silent tongue."

_Bal_. Let me beg you, sir,
Descend with me--the Duke may be offended.
Let us go down, I pray you.

_Voice (loudly_). _Say nay_!--_say nay_!

_Pol_. (_aside_). 'Tis strange!--'tis very strange--methought
the voice
Chimed in with my desires and bade me stay!
(_Approaching the window_)
Sweet voice! I heed thee, and will surely stay.
Now be this fancy, by heaven, or be it Fate,
Still will I not descend. Baldazzar, make
Apology unto the Duke for me;
I go not down to-night.

_Bal_. Your lordship's pleasure
Shall be attended to. Good-night, Politian.

_Pol_. Good-night, my friend, good-night.


The Gardens of a Palace--Moonlight. LALAGE and POLITIAN.

_Lalage_. And dost thou speak of love
To _me_, Politian?--dost thou speak of love
To Lalage?--ah woe--ah woe is me!
This mockery is most cruel--most cruel indeed!

_Politian_. Weep not! oh, sob not thus!--thy bitter tears
Will madden me. Oh, mourn not, Lalage--
Be comforted! I know--I know it all,
And _still_ I speak of love. Look at me, brightest,
And beautiful Lalage!--turn here thine eyes!
Thou askest me if I could speak of love,
Knowing what I know, and seeing what I have seen
Thou askest me that--and thus I answer thee--
Thus on my bended knee I answer thee. (_kneeling_.)
Sweet Lalage, _I love thee_--_love thee_--_love thee_;
Thro' good and ill--thro' weal and woe, _I love thee_.
Not mother, with her first-born on her knee,
Thrills with intenser love than I for thee.
Not on God's altar, in any time or clime,
Burned there a holier fire than burneth now
Within my spirit for _thee_. And do I love?
Even for thy woes I love thee--even for thy woes--
Thy beauty and thy woes.

_Lal_. Alas, proud Earl,
Thou dost forget thyself, remembering me!
How, in thy father's halls, among the maidens
Pure and reproachless of thy princely line,
Could the dishonored Lalage abide?
Thy wife, and with a tainted memory--
My seared and blighted name, how would it tally
With the ancestral honors of thy house,
And with thy glory?

_Pol_. Speak not to me of glory!
I hate--I loathe the name; I do abhor
The unsatisfactory and ideal thing.
Art thou not Lalage, and I Politian?
Do I not love--art thou not beautiful--
What need we more? Ha! glory! now speak not of it:
By all I hold most sacred and most solemn--
By all my wishes now--my fears hereafter--
By all I scorn on earth and hope in heaven--
There is no deed I would more glory in,
Than in thy cause to scoff at this same glory
And trample it under foot. What matters it--
What matters it, my fairest, and my best,
That we go down unhonored and forgotten
Into the dust--so we descend together?
Descend together--and then--and then perchance--

_Lal_. Why dost thou pause, Politian?

_Pol_. And then perchance
_Arise_ together, Lalage, and roam
The starry and quiet dwellings of the blest,
And still--

_Lal_. Why dost thou pause, Politian?

_Pol_. And still _together_--_together_.

_Lal_. Now, Earl of Leicester!
Thou _lovest_ me, and in my heart of hearts
I feel thou lovest me truly.

_Pol_. O Lalage!
(_throwing himself upon his knee_.)
And lovest thou _me_?

_Lal_. Hist! hush! within the gloom
Of yonder trees methought a figure passed--
A spectral figure, solemn, and slow, and noiseless--
Like the grim shadow Conscience, solemn and noiseless.
(_walks across and returns_.)
I was mistaken--'twas but a giant bough
Stirred by the autumn wind. Politian!

_Pol_. My Lalage--my love! why art thou moved?
Why dost thou turn so pale? Not Conscience self,
Far less a shadow which thou likenest to it,
Should shake the firm spirit thus. But the night wind
Is chilly--and these melancholy boughs
Throw over all things a gloom.

_Lal_. Politian!
Thou speakest to me of love. Knowest thou the land
With which all tongues are busy--a land new found--
Miraculously found by one of Genoa--
A thousand leagues within the golden west?
A fairy land of flowers, and fruit, and sunshine,--
And crystal lakes, and over-arching forests,
And mountains, around whose towering summits the winds
Of Heaven untrammelled flow--which air to breathe
Is Happiness now, and will be Freedom hereafter
In days that are to come?

_Pol_. Oh, wilt thou--wilt thou
Fly to that Paradise--my Lalage, wilt thou
Fly thither with me? There Care shall be forgotten,
And Sorrow shall be no more, and Eros be all.
And life shall then be mine, for I will live
For thee, and in thine eyes--and thou shalt be
No more a mourner--but the radiant Joys
Shall wait upon thee, and the angel Hope
Attend thee ever; and I will kneel to thee
And worship thee, and call thee my beloved,
My own, my beautiful, my love, my wife,
My all;--oh, wilt thou--wilt thou, Lalage,
Fly thither with me?

_Lal_. A deed is to be done--
Castiglione lives!

_Pol_. And he shall die!


(_after a pause_). And--he--shall--die!--alas!
Castiglione die? Who spoke the words?
Where am I?--what was it he said?--Politian!
Thou _art_ not gone--thou art not _gone_, Politian!
I _feel_ thou art not gone--yet dare not look,
Lest I behold thee not--thou _couldst_ not go
With those words upon thy lips--oh, speak to me!
And let me hear thy voice--one word--one word,
To say thou art not gone,--one little sentence,
To say how thou dost scorn--how thou dost hate
My womanly weakness. Ha! ha! thou _art_ not gone--
Oh, speak to me! I _knew_ thou wouldst not go!
I knew thou wouldst not, couldst not, _durst_ not go.
Villain, thou _art_ not gone--thou mockest me!
And thus I clutch thee--thus!--He is gone, he is gone--
Gone--gone. Where am I?--'tis well--'tis very well!
So that the blade be keen--the blow be sure,
'Tis well, 'tis _very_ well--alas! alas!


The Suburbs. POLITIAN alone.

_Politian_. This weakness grows upon me. I am fain
And much I fear me ill--it will not do
To die ere I have lived!--Stay--stay thy hand,
O Azrael, yet awhile!--Prince of the Powers
Of Darkness and the Tomb, oh, pity me!
Oh, pity me! let me not perish now,
In the budding of my Paradisal Hope!
Give me to live yet--yet a little while:
'Tis I who pray for life--I who so late
Demanded but to die!--What sayeth the Count?

_Enter Baldazzar_.

_Baldazzar_. That, knowing no cause of quarrel or of feud
Between the Earl Politian and himself,
He doth decline your cartel.

_Pol_. _What_ didst thou say?
What answer was it you brought me, good Baldazzar?
With what excessive fragrance the zephyr comes
Laden from yonder bowers!--a fairer day,
Or one more worthy Italy, methinks
No mortal eyes have seen!--_what_ said the Count?

_Bal_. That he, Castiglione, not being aware
Of any feud existing, or any cause
Of quarrel between your lordship and himself,
Cannot accept the challenge.

_Pol_. It is most true--
All this is very true. When saw you, sir,
When saw you now, Baldazzar, in the frigid
Ungenial Britain which we left so lately,
A heaven so calm as this--so utterly free
From the evil taint of clouds?--and he did _say_?

_Bal_. No more, my lord, than I have told you:
The Count Castiglione will not fight.
Having no cause for quarrel.

_Pol_. Now this is true--
All very true. Thou art my friend, Baldazzar,
And I have not forgotten it--thou'lt do me
A piece of service: wilt thou go back and say
Unto this man, that I, the Earl of Leicester,
Hold him a villain?--thus much, I pr'ythee, say
Unto the Count--it is exceeding just
He should have cause for quarrel.

_Bal_. My lord!--my friend!--

_Pol_. (_aside_). 'Tis he--he comes himself!
(_aloud_.) Thou reasonest well.
I know what thou wouldst say--not send the message--
Well!--I will think of it--I will not send it.
Now pr'ythee, leave me--hither doth come a person
With whom affairs of a most private nature
I would adjust.

_Bal_. I go--to-morrow we meet,
Do we not?--at the Vatican.

_Pol_. At the Vatican.

(_Exit Bal_.)

_Enter Castiglione_.

_Cas_. The Earl of Leicester here!

_Pol_. I _am_ the Earl of Leicester, and thou seest,
Dost thou not, that I am here?

_Cas_. My lord, some strange,
Some singular mistake--misunderstanding--
Hath without doubt arisen: thou hast been urged
Thereby, in heat of anger, to address
Some words most unaccountable, in writing,
To me, Castiglione; the bearer being
Baldazzar, Duke of Surrey. I am aware
Of nothing which might warrant thee in this thing,
Having given thee no offence. Ha!--am I right?
'Twas a mistake?--undoubtedly--we all
Do err at times.

_Pol_. Draw, villain, and prate no more!

_Cas_. Ha!--draw?--and villain? have at thee then at once,
Proud Earl!


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