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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 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 bidden by thee,
I cannot write—I cannot speak or think—
Alas, I cannot feel; for 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.
Source: The Best of Poe: Literary Touchstone Classic, ©2005 Prestwick House. All Rights Reserved. Full copyright.
dissyllables – a word having two syllables
Hermon Hill – a reference to the Bible, Psalms 133:3
Israfel – the angel said to have the most beautiful voice of all
adown – down upon
empurpled – purple colored