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Poe's Love Poetry

Updated on July 18, 2015
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Gary R. Hess is the author of two poetry books, "Looking Glass" and "Poetic Night".

Love in the Time of Poetry

Poe has always been one of my favorite authors. At first, I was required to read his writings for 7th grade English class, but later, I realized that they are much more than a tool used by teachers to torture their students. They are brilliant, at least in my mind.

Edgar Allan Poe is perhaps best known as the man who wrote "The Raven", but he is much more than that. He wrote horror, love, and yes, even some humor. He was a newspaper man, an editor, a reviewer, and a soldier who was accepted at West Point.

Kindle Poetry Book

Poetic Night: Poems of Captivation
Poetic Night: Poems of Captivation

A child lost without answers. A teenager lost without direction. A young man lost without love. Poetic Night is a collection of Hess's greatest early poems.

 

Edgar Allan Poe's Love Poetry

Edgar Allan Poe was a magnificent love poet. "A Valentine", "Annabel Lee", and "To Helen" are just a few of his greatest love poems. He is a writer. He wrote what mattered to him and in the way his heart felt was best. It allowed his name to be attached to many different genres and allow almost anyone the ability to enjoy, at least some, of his work.

Nonetheless, his love poems are attached to his many love interests which can easily be assumed by the titles of said poems.

A Valentine

by Edgar Allan Poe

For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,

Brightly expressive as the twins of Leda,

Shall find her own sweet name, that nestling lies

Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.

Search narrowly the lines!- they hold a treasure

Divine- a talisman- an amulet

That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure-

The words- the syllables! Do not forget

The trivialest point, or you may lose your labor

And yet there is in this no Gordian knot

Which one might not undo without a sabre,

If one could merely comprehend the plot.

Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering

Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus

Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing

Of poets, by poets- as the name is a poet's, too,

Its letters, although naturally lying

Like the knight Pinto- Mendez Ferdinando-

Still form a synonym for Truth- Cease trying!

You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do.


"Frances Sargent Osgood", who was a friend of Poe's while working for the Broadway Journal

Annabel Lee

by Edgar Allan Poe

It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there 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.

She was a child and I 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 winged seraphs of heaven

Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,

In this kingdom by the sea,

A wind blew out of a cloud by night

Chilling my Annabel Lee;

So that her high-born kinsman came

And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in a sepulchre

In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half 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 a cloud, 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:--

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise but I see 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 sepulchre there by the sea--

In her tomb by the side of the sea.


To Helen (1831)

by Edgar Allan Poe

Helen, thy beauty is to me

Like those Nicean barks of yore,

That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,

The weary, wayworn wanderer bore

To his own native shore.

On desperate seas long wont to roam,

Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,

Thy Naiad airs have brought me home

To the glory that was Greece

And the grandeur that was Rome.

Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche

How statue-like I see thee stand,

The agate lamp within thy hand!

Ah, Psyche, from the regions which

Are Holy Land!


To Helen (1848)

by Edgar Allan Poe

I saw thee once- once only- years ago:

I must not say how many- but not many.

It was a July midnight; and from out

A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring,

Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven,

There fell a silvery-silken veil of light,

With quietude, and sultriness, and slumber,

Upon the upturned faces of a thousand

Roses that grew in an enchanted garden,

Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tiptoe-

Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses

That gave out, in return for the love-light,

Their odorous souls in an ecstatic death-

Fell on the upturn'd faces of these roses

That smiled and died in this parterre, enchanted

By thee, and by the poetry of thy presence.

Clad all in white, upon a violet bank

I saw thee half reclining; while the moon

Fell on the upturn'd faces of the roses,

And on thine own, upturn'd- alas, in sorrow!

Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight-

Was it not Fate, (whose name is also Sorrow,)

That bade me pause before that garden-gate,

To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses?

No footstep stirred: the hated world an slept,

Save only thee and me. (Oh, Heaven!- oh, God!

How my heart beats in coupling those two words!)

Save only thee and me. I paused- I looked-

And in an instant all things disappeared.

(Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted!)

The pearly lustre of the moon went out:

The mossy banks and the meandering paths,

The happy flowers and the repining trees,

Were seen no more: the very roses' odors

Died in the arms of the adoring airs.

All- all expired save thee- save less than thou:

Save only the divine light in thine eyes-

Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes.

I saw but them- they were the world to me!

I saw but them- saw only them for hours,

Saw only them until the moon went down.

What wild heart-histories seemed to he enwritten

Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres!

How dark a woe, yet how sublime a hope!

How silently serene a sea of pride!

How daring an ambition; yet how deep-

How fathomless a capacity for love!

But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight,

Into a western couch of thunder-cloud;

And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees

Didst glide away. Only thine eyes remained;

They would not go- they never yet have gone;

Lighting my lonely pathway home that night,

They have not left me (as my hopes have) since;

They follow me- they lead me through the years.

They are my ministers- yet I their slave.

Their office is to illumine and enkindle-

My duty, to be saved by their bright light,

And purified in their electric fire,

And sanctified in their elysian fire.

They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope),

And are far up in Heaven- the stars I kneel to

In the sad, silent watches of my night;

While even in the meridian glare of day

I see them still- two sweetly scintillant

Venuses, unextinguished by the sun!


Poe's Short Stories

Poe helped modernize American horror by writing concise yet powerful short stories and poems. He was a poet, yet also a short story master. His writings like "The Black Cat", "The Cask of Amontillado", and "The Pit and the Pendulum" are seen as some of the best short stories of not only his era but throughout American history.

Here are a few of his greatest works, including a teaser paragraph.

"The Black Cat"

FOR the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not --and very surely do I not dream. But to-morrow I die, and to-day I would unburthen my soul. My immediate purpose is to place before the world, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of mere household events. In their consequences, these events have terrified --have tortured --have destroyed me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them. To me, they have presented little but Horror --to many they will seem less terrible than baroques. Hereafter, perhaps, some intellect may be found which will reduce my phantasm to the common-place --some intellect more calm, more logical, and far less excitable than my own, which will perceive, in the circumstances I detail with awe, nothing more than an ordinary succession of very natural causes and effects.

"The Cask of Amontillado"

THE thousand injuries of Fortunato I had borne as I best could; but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge. You, who so well now the nature of my soul, will not suppose, however, that I gave utterance to a threat. At length I would be avenged; this was a point definitively settled - but the very definitiveness with which it was resolved, precluded the idea of risk. I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.

"The Pit and the Pendulum"

I WAS sick -- sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me. The sentence -- the dread sentence of death -- was the last of distinct accentuation which reached my ears. After that, the sound of the inquisitorial voices seemed merged in one dreamy indeterminate hum. It conveyed to my soul the idea of revolution -- perhaps from its association in fancy with the burr of a mill wheel. This only for a brief period; for presently I heard no more. Yet, for a while, I saw; but with how terrible an exaggeration! I saw the lips of the black-robed judges. They appeared to me white -- whiter than the sheet upon which I trace these words -- and thin even to grotesqueness; thin with the intensity of their expression of firmness -- of immovable resolution -- of stern contempt of human torture. I saw that the decrees of what to me was Fate, were still issuing from those lips. I saw them writhe with a deadly locution. I saw them fashion the syllables of my name; and I shuddered because no sound succeeded. I saw, too, for a few moments of delirious horror, the soft and nearly imperceptible waving of the sable draperies which enwrapped the walls of the apartment. And then my vision fell upon the seven tall candles upon the table. At first they wore the aspect of charity, and seemed white and slender angels who would save me; but then, all at once, there came a most deadly nausea over my spirit, and I felt every fiber in my frame thrill as if I had touched the wire of a galvanic battery, while the angel forms became meaningless specters, with heads of flame, and I saw that from them there would be no help. And then there stole into my fancy, like a rich musical note, the thought of what sweet rest there must be in the grave. The thought came gently and stealthily, and it seemed long before it attained full appreciation; but just as my spirit came at length properly to feel and entertain it, the figures of the judges vanished, as if magically, from before me; the tall candles sank into nothingness; their flames went out utterly; the blackness of darkness supervened; all sensations appeared swallowed up in a mad rushing descent as of the soul into Hades. Then silence, and stillness, night were the universe.

"The Telltale Heart"

TRUE! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses - not destroyed - not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily - how calmly I can tell you the whole story.

What is your favorite Poe poem?

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    • SilentMagenta profile image

      SilentMagenta 

      3 years ago

      I remember reading "The Cask of the amontillado" (I hope I spelled it right). I love the spookiness of story. I was always curious to what exactly did he do to deserve such a violent death in the story. However, this is my first time reading annabelle lee. Thank you for introducing me to his more loving side.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      6 years ago from United States

      Poe is definitely one of my favorites! This is a wonderful reminder that Poe wrote more than just "The Raven," which everyone seems to recognize :)

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      6 years ago

      What a great page dedicated to Poe Love Poetry. Thank-you for adding it to the plexo on Facebook Poetry.

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 

      8 years ago

      Well, I go with the classic "The Raven" as I have always loved birds. Poe, what a talented poet and writer.

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