Poem of the day

Ulalume
by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

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 an alley Titantic,
⁠   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: —
Oh, hasten!—oh, let us not linger!
⁠   Oh, 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 splendor is beaming
⁠   With Hope and in Beauty to-night:—
⁠   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
⁠T   hat 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 has 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-hannted woodland of Weir.”

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