Richmond Read-along 30
Welcome back to the Richmond Read-along! Today we’re reading a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. Orphaned as a child and estranged from his foster family at university over his ever-increasing gambling debts, Poe was transient for much of his life. He drifted from city to city to find work, all the while publishing poetry and stories where he could. By the time of his fittingly mysterious death at 40, he had published several books of poetry and multiple short stories that have since been collected and republished in numerous volumes. His best known poem is “The Raven,” and many of his short stories are famous enough to have worked their way into popular culture. There are even scores of Edgar Allan Poe memes and cartoons, as can be seen below:
Today we are reading “The Haunted Palace:”
In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace-
Radiant palace- reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion-
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!
Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow,
(This- all this- was in the olden
Time long ago,)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A winged odor went away.
Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
To a lute’s well-tuned law,
Round about a throne where, sitting
In state his glory well-befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.
And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.
But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate.
(Ah, let us mourn!- for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.
And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
To a discordant melody,
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
And laugh- but smile no more.
You can find this poem, and others, on EdgarAllanPoe.co.uk; along with a biography of Poe. You can also see our earlier post on Baudelaire; Baudelaire was the first translator of much of Poe’s work into French, expanding his popularity.
Join us again tomorrow for the next Richmond Read-along!