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A Pæan
by Edgar Allan Poe

US poet, critic and short story writer. Poe is best known for his macabre horror stories including The Fall of the House of Usher, The Gold Bug and The Black Cat (1842). His key poems include Lenore (1831), The Raven (1842), Ulalume (1847). He also wrote some critical essays including The Philosophy of Composition (1846), Time and Space (1844) and The Poetic Principle (1850), and a novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (1838). Poe had a great influence on a number of writers including Arthur Conan Doyle and Jules Verne.

A Pæan
by Edgar Allan Poe


How shall the burial rite be read?
    The solemn song be sung ?
The requiem for the loveliest dead,
    That ever died so young?


Her friends are gazing on her,
    And on her gaudy bier,
And weep ! - oh! to dishonor
    Dead beauty with a tear!


They loved her for her wealth -
    And they hated her for her pride -
But she grew in feeble health,
    And they love her - that she died.


They tell me (while they speak
    Of her "costly broider'd pall")
That my voice is growing weak -
    That I should not sing at all -


Or that my tone should be
    Tun'd to such solemn song
So mournfully - so mournfully,
    That the dead may feel no wrong.


But she is gone above,
    With young Hope at her side,
And I am drunk with love
    Of the dead, who is my bride. -


Of the dead - dead who lies
    All perfum'd there,
With the death upon her eyes,
    And the life upon her hair.


Thus on the coffin loud and long
    I strike - the murmur sent
Through the grey chambers to my song,
    Shall be the accompaniment.


Thou died'st in thy life's June -
    But thou did'st not die too fair:
Thou did'st not die too soon,
    Nor with too calm an air.


From more than fiends on earth,
    Thy life and love are riven,
To join the untainted mirth
    Of more than thrones in heaven -


Therefore, to thee this night
    I will no requiem raise,
But waft thee on thy flight,
    With a Pæan of old days.

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