The Literary Maiden

A compendium of obscure 19th century writing.

Tag: write

A Fragment-By William Henry Leonard Poe


Well! I have determined–lightly it may be–but when there is nothing to live for–nothing that the heart craves anxiously and devotedly, life is but a kind of prison house from which we would be freed.

I feel even at this moment a something of impatience to know what death is–and although I am now writing the very last words this band will ever trace–yet even the outward show–the trifles of the world beguile me–

The ink is not good–I have stirred it–’tis better now, and I have mended my pen–’tis disagreeable, even if it is our very last letter, to write with a band pen–a blot!–I must erase it–this when an hour will finish my existence!–an existence of wretchedness–one of weary, bitter disappointment.

I feel as if hungry, and suddenly a sumptuous feast before me–surfeiting myself–revelling in my thoughts–indulging in what I have been afraid to think of–I have but a short hour to live, and the ticking of the clock before me, seems a laughing spectator of my death–I wish it had life–it would not then be so gay–nay, it might be a partner of my melancholy.

Pshaw! this pen–surely my hand must have trembled when I made it–I have held it up to the light–Heavens’ my hand does tremble–No! tis only the flickering of the lamp.

It will–at least it may be asked, why I have done this–they ay say I was insane–the body which is earthed cannot feel their taunts, and the soul cares not.

I have a strange wish even at this time–it is that some maiden would plant flowers on my grave–which my mortality would add life to.

When there is no hope–no cheering prospect to brighten, no land to mark the bewildered scaman’s way–why not try death?

“And come it slow or come it fast,
It is but death that comes at last.”

There are many who would rather linger in a life of wretchedness, disappointment–and other causes which blight many a youthful heart, and make ruin and desolation in the warmest feelings–yes! even the lip must smile and the eye be gay–although whne night brings us to our couch we unconsciously wish it was for the last time.

Such is man–such is mankind!–I have still one half hour to live–one half hour!–yet I look around me as if it was the journey of a day, and not an eternal adieu!–Why should I live? Delighting in one object, and she

“The fairest flow’r that glittered on a stem
To wither at my grasp.”

No more–the pistol–I have loaded it–the balls are new–quite bright–they will soon be in my heart–Incomprehensible death–what art thou?

I have put the pistol to my bosom–it snapped–I had forgotten to prime it–I must do it–

In the act of doing so it went off, and I awoke and found myself rolling on the floor, having fallen from my bed in the agitation of a most strange and singular dream.

W. H. P.

(*Transcribed while watching Plain Jane. Thought you all might like to know. This was posted, as requested, for a dear friend of mine. I quite liked this piece.)

Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe

Today marks Edgar Allan Poe’s 205th Birthday. I am so proud and delighted that his legacy continues to live on. He has made such a mark on the world and my heart, and I am grateful each day to have discovered this incredible writer and poet.

Now, to share a couple of his poems that I’ve held dear for a while now—

“The skies they were ashen and sober;
The leaves they were crisped and sere –
The leaves they were withering and sere;
It was night in the lonesome October
Of my most immemorial year:
It was hard by the dim lake of Auber,
In the misty mid region of Weir –
It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,
In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

Here once, through and alley Titanic,
Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul –
Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.
These were days when my heart was volcanic
As the scoriac rivers that roll –
As the lavas that restlessly roll
Their sulphurous currents down Yaanek
In the ultimate climes of the pole –
That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanek
In the realms of the boreal pole.

Our talk had been serious and sober,
But our thoughts they were palsied and sere –
Our memories were treacherous and sere, –
For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!) –
We noted not the dim lake of Auber
(Though once we had journeyed down here) –
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.

And now, as the night was senescent
And star-dials pointed to morn –
As the star-dials hinted of morn –
At the end of our path a liquescent
And nebulous lustre was born,
Out of which a miraculous crescent
Arose with a duplicate horn –
Astarte’s bediamonded crescent
Distinct with its duplicate horn.

And I said: “She is warmer than Dian;
She rolls through an ether of sighs –
She revels in a region of sighs:
She has seen that the tears are not dry on
These cheeks, where the worm never dies,
And has come past the stars of the Lion
To point us the path to the skies –
To the Lethean peace of the skies –
Come up, in despite of the Lion,
To shine on us with her bright eyes –
Come up through the lair of the Lion,
With love in her luminous eyes.”

But Psyche, uplifting her finger,
Said: “Sadly this star I mistrust –
Her pallor I strangely mistrust:
Ah, hasten! -ah, let us not linger!
Ah, fly! -let us fly! -for we must.”
In terror she spoke, letting sink her
Wings until they trailed in the dust –
In agony sobbed, letting sink her
Plumes till they trailed in the dust –
Till they sorrowfully trailed in the dust.

I replied: “This is nothing but dreaming:
Let us on by this tremulous light!
Let us bathe in this crystalline light!
Its Sybilic splendour is beaming
With Hope and in Beauty tonight! –
See! -it flickers up the sky through the night!
Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming,
And be sure it will lead us aright –
We safely may trust to a gleaming,
That cannot but guide us aright,
Since it flickers up to Heaven through the night.”

Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her,
And tempted her out of her gloom –
And conquered her scruples and gloom;
And we passed to the end of the vista,
But were stopped by the door of a tomb –
By the door of a legended tomb;
And I said: “What is written, sweet sister,
On the door of this legended tomb?”
She replied: “Ulalume -Ulalume –
‘Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!”

Then my heart it grew ashen and sober
As the leaves that were crisped and sere –
As the leaves that were withering and sere;
And I cried: “It was surely October
On this very night of last year
That I journeyed -I journeyed down here! –
That I brought a dread burden down here –
On this night of all nights in the year,
Ah, what demon hath tempted me here?
Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber –
This misty mid region of Weir –
Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber,
This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.”


Annabel Lee
A Dream Within A Dream
The Raven
To the River

The Pirate by Henry Poe-Part One

In the next few posts, I will be scribing William Henry Leonard Poe’s stories, as I had done with his poetry.

Now, I happily present The Pirate, part one.
[Part Two]

To the Editor of the North American.
On my last voyage to the West Indies, a friend whom I met after a long separation, related to me the following adventure, and as it appeared singular and romantic, I made a memorandum of it, and I now transcribe it from my “log book” for your use, which you are at liberty to do with as you may deem proper. Yours, W.H.P.
I went to the Havana in the summer of 182-, on business, and having settled it to my satisfaction, engaged my passage in a vessel bound to New York–We had been but a few hours on the voyage when I felt that weariness and pain which indicates the approach of the yellow fever. I continued to grow worse, and to add to my distress, the vessel began to roll violently and sea-sickness with all its horrors cause upon me–I would have sacrificed every thing for a quiet place in which to die, as I felt that this was all I could wish for. Overcome at length with weakness, and completely exhausted, I fell asleep, from which I was awakened by a confused noise. I at first believed it was merely imagination, but as it became louder, I felt convinced that what I heard was a reality. At length the cabin door opened, and several persons descended. Our captain approached my birth and told me the vessel had been captured by pirates, and that we were now standing in for the land. I heard the first part of his speech with an apathy which my illness only can account for;-but the very name of land seemed to operate like a charm upon me. A young man now approached and told me to be under no apprehension, as no personal injury was intended, and that every care should be bestowed upon me. He inquired the nature and state of my disease, and brought me a cordial, which considerably relieved me. In a short time we were at anchor, and I was told our vessel would be detained for a day or two, and after a few articles had been taken out, permitted (cannot read word here) proceed on her voyage. The same person subsequently entered, and observed that I could be much better attended on shore, where I would be relieved from the bustle and confusion of the vessel. To this I cheerfully assented, and in the afternoon I was placed in a boat and carried to a hut near the beach;-here I was treated kindly, and every attention paid me. I had been three days on shore when the young man (whom I now discovered to be captain of the corsair) arrived, and told me our vessel would sail in an hour, and if I wished to proceed in her I was at liberty to do so, although he remarked, in my present state it would no doubt cost me my life:-and that if I would trust to him, and could bear the detention of a month or so, he would convey me to some part of Cuba, from whence I could easily procure a passage home. Believing a removal in my present state would be almost certain death, added to a strong desire to know more of a man who appeared so different from what I had heard of men engaged in the profession with which he was connected, made me assent to his proposal. In about a week I was decidedly convalescent, and I felt really grateful for the kindness of the youthful outlaw. One evening on entering my room he expressed himself gratified to see me so much recovered, as he was to sail in the morning for the other side of the islands, and it was his wish that I should accompany him, as it was likely he would fall in with some vessel bound to the United States, and I could thus get home–the next morning we were underweigh.

It was near midnight when I was awakened by a deep groan in the cabin in which I slept–I raised my head and perceived the captain gazing on a small but beautiful dagger, which he was holding to the light as if to see more plainly–before him on the table, as well as I could judge, lay a miniature–he was in tears, and appeared much affected–In a few moments he placed them in his desk and went on deck. I mused some time on the singularity of this man, who seemed fitted for a situation better than that of a piratical captain:–he was rather small in his person, but well formed–had been handsome, I should think, but sorrow seemed to have set her seal upon his brow; his hair exhibited the marks of premature old age, although he could not be more than twenty-three.

The next night I determined to watch and see if he would again look at the dagger–he at length came down, and after sitting some time in a contemplative posture, opened the desk and again the dagger met my eye–Curiosity could bear it no longer–“What a singularity beautiful dirk,” I exclaimed–he started as if he had been shot, but suddenly reocvering himself, said, with a look which seemed as if he would reach my very thoughts, “Why did you make that remark?” I felt abashed, but he immediately added, “Since you appear anxious to know my history, I will tell it you. Do you see that,” he exclaimed, as he moved the light nearer and placed the dagger before me–“‘Tis blood,” I answered, sickening at the sight–“Ay, ’tis blood!–blood! to save one drop of which I would give all this miserable body contains–and yet,” added he, wildly, “’twas I that shed it!”–He buried his face in his hands and groaned deeply–in a few moments he became more composed, and began his story.

Poe’s Brother’s Poetry-Part Four-Final

You can view the first three posts here, here, and here.

Let us commence.

There are thoughts so wild in our childhood’s hours,
That they charm the soul in its early dreaming–
We gaze and we clasp life’s with’ring flowers
While joy in our eye is gladly beaming.
Ah little we reek while life’s tide is flowing,
In laughing waves that will break at last,
That all those fond hopes which are fair and glowing,
Will languish and die when our youth is past.
Yes! gaily we sport on life’s sunny sea,
With our oars of Hope in the water splashing–
And gaily is flying life’s brilliant spray
As thro’ the waters we’re madly dashing.
The waters of Life! are they gently stealing,
Or do they come in their sternest power?
Wild’ring the soul with the wildest feeling,
Wearing the heart in its sadden’d hour.

Inspir’d by faith’s illuming ray
To seek a home unknown,
Pensive the Patriarch trod his way,
Trusting in God alone.
Full many a wishful look he cast,
The wide, wide world around,
As on in solitude he passed,
Absorb’d in thought profound.
Dim night anon its curtain drew,
Soft slumber lent repose
When straight a figured scale in view,
With awful grandeur rose:
Then he beheld an angel throng
Strew’d o’er the glittering line,
That up and downward pass’d along
On embassies divine.
While yet the mystic pencil wrought
The visionary scene,
The soul new kindling fervours caught–
A glow of joy serene:
Though sunk in deep oblivion’s rest,
Each outward sense enchained,
There sprang an Eden in his breast–
Divine communion reigned.
Ah! why distrustful mortals, why
Renounce celestial care?
The arm that wields yon orbs on high
sustains each atom here!
Sooner shall fail the mother’s heart
Towards the infant son;
Sooner the floods their course depart,
And to their fountains run–
Than the blest streams of heav’nly love
In constant tides to flow,
From their enchantless source above,
To cherish man below!
The sun may set in lasting night,
The changeful moon decay–
And every brilliant star of light,
Fall from its sphere away!
Yet form’d on virtue’s lofty scale
From height to height to soar,
And o’er the grave and death prevail
When time shall be no more.
Still shall the soul’s essential fire
(Spark of the world of mind),
Burn on unquenched, when these expire,
And leave no trace behind.
While measuring out life’s little span
Of sorrows, crosses, joys,
Dispensed in mercy all to man–
And speaking wisdom’s voice.
HIs Maker’s Omnipresent pow’r
And watchful providence,
Are round him every live-long hour,
A succor and defence!
The meek and “contrite heart” he sways
And makes his temple there;
Attunes its trembling chords to praise,
And gratitude, and prayer.
He bids each boisterous tumult cease,
While hope high-winged o’er Time
Life Noah’s dove in search of peace,
Soars to a happier clime.

PSALM 139th
Lord! thou hast searched and scanned me through,
My inmost soul hast open thrown;
Naked I stand before thy yiew(possibly view, I believe this was a typo in the book)–
Each thought far off to thee is known.
My daily paths thou art among–
Around me, where I lay my head;
Thou know’st each word upon my tongue,
And spiest through all the walks I tread.
Filled with abasement and amaze–
Trembling before thee low I bend;
Such knowledge, such mysterious ways
I cannot reach, nor comprehend.
Where from thy presence shall I fly?
And whither from thy spirit go;
If I ascend to heaven on high–
Or make my bed in hell below,
Of if I take the wings of morn,
And dwell amid the utmost sea;
Thou still art there! no distant bourne–
From thy right hand shall set me free!
If of the darkness I should say,
‘Twill surely veil me–lo! the night,
Pierced by the all-pervading ray–
Around me shines with radiant light.
Alike to thee, night’s sable veil,
And the full day’s meridian blaze;
Thou source of light that ne’er shall fail,
And life that knows no end of days!
Thee will I praise–for thou hast joined
Thus fearfully my wondrous frame;
Thy marvellous works, Eternal mind!
All good, thy glorious power proclaim.

*Once again, the question marks are words that I am not able to discern.

**These pieces have been copied out of the book Poe’s Brother, by Hervey Allen and Thomas Ollive Mabbott, copyright 1926, book no. 773/1000.

***I hope you have enjoyed! This is the final installment of his poetry, however I will be posting his stories and reviews soon. Be on the look out!

Poe’s Brother’s Poetry-Part Three

You may see the previous two posts here and here.

I shall proceed.

For the North American.
Despair! despair!–oh what art thou?
I wish to know thee now–
Art in the blue seas wave
That fain would lave
The tow’ring mountain’s base,
Yet can only chase
The ocean’s sands away?
Or art thou in the childish cry
That mourns for you bright moon on high?
Or art though (when the wilding sea
Is raging fierce, tempestuously)
In the seaman’s heart
When forced to part
From all his soul holds dear,
With nought to leave but one sad tear?–
Or art thou when bright swords are flashing
And gay and glorious souls are dashing,
In vain to save a hero’s life?
Wh falls–but ’tis in honor’s strife–
Or art thou with the lover?
When Hope itself is over–
What shriek is there?
It is Despair–
That wildly,–madly cries, “I’m there.”

LINES, written extempore on a tombstone with a pencil–1827.
There is a something in this holy place
That winds itself around the wearied–tired heart–
So still–nought save the moaning wind
As it rushes thro’ the wild and rankling grass–
(Flourishing green with the bloom of youth–
Luxuriant with the loveliness of life:)
Waking the thoughts which wander
To another and a better world–
And this I gaze upon is Beauty’s grave!
Can the charms that circled in this fairy form
Die forever?–Must the soul that spoke in eyes
Which shone as light’ning from the summer skies,
Moulder in the dust? Must it sleep on
As if the grave would never ope again?
If there is no Eternity–why shrink?
Why languish here?–when Death would be a blank–
An end forever!–‘Tis this reason,
This innate fear of what is reasonable!–
Can’st gaze on that bright heaven
And say, “there is no Eternity!“–the dumb language
Of those peopled stars–the rustling of the summer
Speak to the doubting ear-Believe!

Dream’st thou of love?
Are sunny thoughts now playing o’er thy brain?
Or is it wilder’d with an anguishe’d pain?–
Are other worlds now living in thy breast
Where Hope lies still as if she fain would rest,
And Care is flying, in the distance seen
With wildest eye, and sad despairing mien–
As if now jealous of the smile that plays
Upon those lips—like thoughts of other days
Crossing the mind with sad and mournful sweetness–
With smiling sighs–sighs for their transient fleetness–
Or is a thought of madness(readness?) in they heart?
Of disappointment–rashness-and the smart,
Of wounded love! around thee stealing,
With all its wildness–bitterness of feeling,
That wears the soul–as if it lov’d to be
Banquetting on youthful hearts in madden’d ecstacy?

*Once again, the question marks are words that I am not able to discern.

**These pieces have been copied out of the book Poe’s Brother, by Hervey Allen and Thomas Ollive Mabbott, copyright 1926, book no. 773/1000.