Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Israfel” (Text-04), Graham’s Magazine, October 1841, 19:183


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[page 183, full page, continued:]

ISRAFEL.*

——

BY EDGAR A. POE.

——

[column 1:]

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

Pauses in Heaven,

With the rapid Pleiads, even,

Which were seven.

 

And they say (the starry choir

And the other listening things)

That Israfeli’s fire

Is due unto that lyre

By which he sits and sings —

The trembling living lyre

With those unusual strings.

 

But the Heavens that angel trod,

Where deep thoughts are a duty —

Where Love is a grown God —

Where Houri glances are

Imbued with all the beauty [column 2:]

Which we worship in the star —

The more lovely, the more far!

 

Thou art not, therefore, wrong,

Israfeli, who despisest

An unimpassioned song,

To thee the laurels belong,

Best bard, because the wisest.

Merrily live, and long!

 

The ecstasies 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 bliss

Is the sunshine of ours.

 

If I did dwell

Where Israfel

Hath dwelt, and he where I,

He might not sing one half so well

One half so passionately,

While a bolder note than this might swell

From my lyre within the sky!

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 183:]

* And the angel Israfel, or Israfeli, whose heart-strings are a lute, and who is the most musical of all God’s creatures. — KORAN.


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Notes:

None.


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[S:1 - GM, 1841] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Israfel [Text-04]