A Grand Poem
Poems of the Inner Life 1864
From the throne of life eternal,
From the home of love supernal,
Where the angels make music o’er the starry floor,
Mortals, I have come to meet you,
And with words of peace to greet you,
And to tell you of the glory that is mine forevermore.
Once before, I found a mortal
Waiting at the heavenly portal—
Waiting out to catch some echo from that ever-opening door;
Then I seized this quickened being,
And through all his inward seeing,
Caused my burning inspiration in a fiery flood to pour.
Now I come more meekly human,
And the weak lips of a woman,
Touched with fire from off the altar, not with burning, as of yore,
But in holy love descending,
With her chastened being blending,
I will fill your soul with music from the bright celestial shore.
As one heart yearns for another,
As a child turns to its mother,
From the golden gates of glory, turn I to the earth once more;
Where I drained the cup of sadness,
Where my soul was stung to madness,
And life’s bitter, burning billows swept my burdened being o’er.
Here the harpies and the ravens,
Human vampires, sordid cravens,
Preyed upon my soul and substance, till I writhed in anger sore;
Life and I then seemed mismated,
For I felt accursed and fated,
Like a restless, wrathful spirit, wandering the Stygian shore.
Tortured by a nameless yearning,
Like a fire-frost, freezing, burning,
Did the purple, pulsing life-tide through its feeble channels pour;
Till the golden bowl, life’s token,
Into shining shards was broken,
And my chained and chafing spirit let from out its prison door.
But, whilst living, stirring, dying,
Never did my spirit cease crying:
“Ye who guide the fates and furies, give, oh! give me, I implore—
From the myriad host of nations,
From the countless constellations,
One pure spirit that can love me — one that I, too, can adore.”
Through this fervent aspiration
Found my fainting soul salvation;
Far from out its blackened fire quick did my spirit soar,
And my beautiful ideal,
Not too saintly to be real,
Burst more brightly on my vision than the fancy formed Lenore.
’Mid the surging sea she found me,
With the billows breaking round me,
And my saddened, sinking spirit in her arms of love upbore;
Like a lone one, weak and weary,
Wandering in the mid-night dreary,
On her sinless, saintly bosom, brought me to the heavenly shore.
Like the breath of blossoms blending,
Like the prayers of saints ascending,
Like the rainbow’s seven-hued glory, blend on souls forevermore;
Earthly lust and lore enslaved me,
But divinest love hath saved me,
And I know now, first and only, how to live and how to adore.
O, my mortal friends and brothers!
We are each and all another’s,
And the soul which gives most freely from its treasures hath the more.
Would you lose life, you must find it,
And in giving love you bind it,
Like an amulet of safety to your heart for evermore.
Lizzie Doten (1829–c.1913), an inspirational and “spiritual trance speaker”, would proclaim poetry dictated to her by spirits, including that of Edgar Allan Poe. “The influence of Poe,” she wrote, “was neither pleasant nor easy. I can only describe it as a species of mental intoxication.”
Return to the Quaint and Curious index for more pastiches and parodies of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”.