Edgar Allan Poe

(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849 / Boston)

To Helen - 1848 Poem 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!

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

Do you like this poem?
5 person liked.
1 person did not like.

Form:


Read poems about / on: july, moon, fate, sorrow, heaven, light, fire, poetry, hope, lonely, pride, sad, happy, world, beauty, night, home, wind, sea, dark

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (To Helen - 1848 by Edgar Allan Poe )

  • Gold Star - 34,472 Points Frank James Ryan Jr...fjr (1/28/2015 2:06:00 AM)

    A poem depicting great conflict within this master bards mind, and overall life....Love was lost too many times...His vices well indulged to numb his misery...Yet, Edgar Allan Poe stood and to this day stands alone on his very own literary tier of excellence! ~You were & in many ways still the MAN, Dr. Poe! ~Frank James Christopher Ryan, Jr.~ (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 921 Points Mark Arvizu (9/17/2014 9:32:00 AM)

    Beautiful................. (Report) Reply

Read all 2 comments »

Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Caged Bird
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
Trending Poets
Trending Poems
  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  3. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  4. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  5. Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, Dylan Thomas
  6. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  8. If, Rudyard Kipling
  9. A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe
  10. As I Grew Older, Langston Hughes
[Hata Bildir]