Quaint and Curious - Parodies and Pastiches of Poe's The Raven

On the Death of Edgar A Poe

The Home Journal • reprinted in The Mount Vernon Democratic Banner, Dec 24 1864

They have laid thee down to slumber where the sorrows that encumber
Such a wild and wayward heart as thine can never reach thee more;
For the radiant light of gladness never alternates with sadness,
Stinging gifted souls to madness, on that bright and blessed shore;
Safely moored from sorrow’s tempest, on that “distant Aidenn” shore,
Rest thee, lost one, evermore.
Thou wert like a meteor glancing through a starry sky, entrancing—
Thrilling, awing, wrapt beholders with the wondrous light it wore;
But the meteor has descended, and the “Nightly” shadows blended,
For the fever-dream is ended, and the fearful crisis o’er—
Yes, the wild unresting fever-dream of human life is o’er,
Thou art sleeping evermore.
Ocean, earth, and air could utter words that made thy spirit flutter—
Words that stirred the hidden fountain swelling in the bosom’s core;
Stirred it till its wavelets, sighing, wakened to a wild replying,
And in numbers never dying sung the heart’s unwritten lore,
Sung in wild, bewitching numbers, thy sad heart’s unwritten lore,
Now unwritten nevermore.
There was something sad and lonely in thy mystic songs that only
Could have trembled from a spirit weary of the life it bore—
Something like the plaintive toning of a hidden streamlet moaning
In its prismed darkness — moaning for the light it knew before—
For the fragrance and the sunlight that had gladdened it before,
Sighing, sighing, evermore.
To thy soul, for ever dreaming, came a strange effulgence, beaming,
Beaming, flashing from a region mortals never may explore;
Spirits lead thee in thy trances through a realm of gloomy fancies,
Giving spectres to thy glances man had never seen before—
Wondrous spectres such as human eye had never seen before
Were around thee evermore.
Thou did’st see the sunlight quiver over many a fabled river—
Thou did’st wander with the shadows of the mighty dead of yore—
And thy songs to us came ringing, like the wild, unearthly singing
Of the viewless spirits winging o’er “the night’s Plutonian shore.”
Of the weary spirits wandering by the gloomy Stygian shore,
Sighing dirges evermore.
Thou did’st seem like one benighted, one whose hopes were crushed and blighted—
Mourning for the lost and lovely that the world could not restore—
But an endless rest is given to thy heart, so wrecked and riven,
Thou hast met again in Heaven with the “lost” and loved “Lenore,”
With the “rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore;”
She will leave thee nevermore.
From the earth a star has faded, and the shrine of song has shaded,
And the Muses veil their faces, weeping sorrowful and sore—
But the harp, all rent and broken, left us many a thrilling token:
We shall hear its numbers spoken, and repeated o’er and o’er,
Till our hearts shall cease to tremble — we shall hear them sounding o’er,
Sounding ever, evermore.
We shall hear them, like a fountain tinkling down a rugged mountain—
Like the wailing of the tempest mingling ’mid the ocean’s roar;
Like the winds of autumn sighing when the summer flowers are dying,
Like a spirit-voice replying from a dim and distant shore;
Like a wild, mysterious echo from a distant, shadowy shore,
We shall hear them evermore.
Nevermore wilt thou, undaunted, wander through the palace haunted,
Or the “Cypress vales Titanic” which thy spirit did explore—
Never hear the “Ghoul” king, dwelling in the ancient steeple telling,
With a slow and solemn knelling, losses human hearts deplore—
Telling, “in a sort of Runic rhyme” the losses we deplore;
Tolling, tolling, evermore.
If a “living human being” ever had the gift of “seeing”
The “grim and ghastly” countenance its “evil” Genius wore—
It was thou “unhappy” master, whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till “thy” songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of “thy” “hope the melancholy burden bore,
Of never, nevermore.”

Sarah Tittle Bolton (1814–1893) was known for a while as the “poet laureate of Indiana”, living in Indianapolis, and in Geneva, Switzerland, where her husband was United States consul. She published a volume of poems in 1865.

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