To Marie Louise Shew (Poem by Edgar Allan Poe)

Best Poem

To Marie Louise (Shew)
By Edgar Allan Poe

To Marie Louise Shew (1)

Of all who hail thy presence as the morning — 
Of all to whom thine absence is the night — 
The blotting utterly from out high heaven
The sacred sun — of all who, weeping, bless thee
Hourly for hope — for life — ah, above all,
For the resurrection of deep buried faith
In truth, in virtue, in humanity — 
Of all who, on despair's unhallowed bed
Lying down to die, have suddenly arisen
At thy soft-murmured words, "Let there be light!"
At thy soft-murmured words that were fulfilled
In thy seraphic glancing of thine eyes — 
Of all who owe thee most, whose gratitude
Nearest resembles worship, — oh, remember
The truest, the most fervently devoted,
And think that these weak lines are written by him — 
By him who, as he pens them, thrills to think
His spirit is communing with an angel's.


To Marie Louise Shew (2)

Not long ago, the writer of these lines,
In the mad pride of intellectuality,
Maintained "the power of words" — denied that ever
A thought arose within the human brain
Beyond the utterance of the human tongue:
And now, as if in mockery of that boast,
Two words — two foreign soft dissyllables — 
Italian tones, made only to be murmured
By angels dreaming in the moonlit "dew
That hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon hill," — 
Have stirred from out the abysses of his heart,
Unthought-like thoughts that are the souls of thought,
Richer, far wilder, far diviner visions
Than even the seraph harper, Israfel,
(Who has "the sweetest voice of all God's creatures,")
Could hope to utter. And I! my spells are broken.
The pen falls powerless from my shivering hand.
With thy dear name as text, though hidden by thee,
I cannot write — I cannot speak or think — 
Alas, I cannot feel; for 'tis not feeling,
This standing motionless upon the golden
Threshold of the wide-open gate of dreams,
Gazing, entranced, adown the gorgeous vista,
And thrilling as I see, upon the right,
Upon the left, and all the way along,
Amid empurpled vapors, far away
To where the prospect terminates — thee only!


Note on To Marie Louise Shew (1)
"To M— L— S—," addressed to Mrs. Marie Louise Shew, was written in February 1847, and published shortly afterwards. In the first posthumous collection of Poe's poems these lines were, for some reason, included in the "Poems written in Youth," and amongst those poems they have hitherto been included.

Note on To Marie Louise Shew (2)
"To—," a second piece addressed to Mrs. Shew, and written in 1848, was also first published, but in a somewhat faulty form, in the above named posthumous collection.

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