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What are some poetic devices in the poem "Lenore" by Edgar Allan Poe? LENORE by Edgar...

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kyla234 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted June 24, 2013 at 7:00 PM via web

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What are some poetic devices in the poem "Lenore" by Edgar Allan Poe?

LENORE by Edgar Allan Poe

Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll!- a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river;
And, Guy de Vere, hast thou no tear?- weep now or nevermore!
See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
Come! let the burial rite be read- the funeral song be sung!-
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young-
A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.

"Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,
And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her- that she died!
How shall the ritual, then, be read?- the requiem how be sung
By you- by yours, the evil eye,- by yours, the slanderous tongue
That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young?"

Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song
Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong.
The sweet Lenore hath "gone before," with Hope, that flew beside,
Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy
For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies,
The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes
The life still there, upon her hair- the death upon her eyes.

"Avaunt! avaunt! from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven-
From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven-
From grief and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of
Let no bell toll, then,- lest her soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
Should catch the note as it doth float up from the damned Earth!
And I!- to-night my heart is light!- no dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old days!" 

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted June 27, 2013 at 3:33 PM (Answer #1)

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Here are some poetic devices that Edgar Allan Poe uses in his poem, "Lenore."

INTERNAL RHYME: Words within the same line that rhyme. "Lenore uses this technique numerous times, including the following:

Line 2: Let the bell toll!—a saintly soul floats...

Line 3: And, Guy De Vere, hast thou no tear?

Line 4: See! on yon drear and rigid bier...

ALLUSION: references to other works of literature or to mythology.  

Poe makes two allusions to ancient Greek literature and mythology:

Line 2: a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river;  This is a reference to the River Styx, one of the rivers that flowed through the underworld of Greek mythology

Lines 25-26: no dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old days!  A paean means a song of praise; its origin is from the ancient Greek and Roman songs of praise to the gods.

Poe also makes several allusions to the Christian prayer service:

Line 10: How shall the ritual, then, be read?—the requiem how be sung...  A requiem is a Catholic mass for the dead

Line 13: Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song...  "Peccavimus" is Latin for "we have sinned."  Poe is probably alluding to a 16th century church hymn, by Christopher Tye, that begins with this word.

HYPERBOLE: exaggeration.  We can infer from the poem that Lenore must have been a beautiful young woman who died young.  Poe, however, describes her, and her ascent to heaven, in exaggerated terms. 

Line 2: a saintly soul

Line 6: the queenliest dead that ever died so young

Line 23: [Lenore goes]  to a golden throne, beside the King of Heaven!

Line 27: the angel


Almost every line of the poem has 14 syllables.

Most of the poem consists of iambs, i.e. one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable.  This can be seen best in Line 3, where Poe italicizes the word "thou," in order to maintain the rhythm:

And, Guy De Vere, hast thou no tear?—weep now or nevermore!

RHYME SCHEME: Although the rhyme scheme of "Lenore" is not consistent, it always uses several lines in a row that rhyme.  The first and third stanzas, for example, uses the scheme: AA, BB, CCC.  The last stanza uses the scheme: AAA, BB, CC

PARTIAL RHYME: "Lenore" includes several partial, or imperfect, rhymes.

Lines 1 and 2 rhyme "forever" with "river." 

Lines 20-21 rhyme "riven" with "Heaven." 




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