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Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe

Israfel

       In Heaven a spirit doth dwell
         "Whose heart-strings are a lute";
       None sing so wildly well
       As the angel Israfel,
       And the giddy stars (so legends tell),
       Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell
         Of his voice, all mute.

       Tottering above
         In her highest noon,
         The enamored moon
       Blushes with love,
         While, to listen, the red levin
         (With the rapid Pleiads, even,
         Which were seven,)
         Pauses in Heaven.

       And they say (the starry choir
         And the other listening things)
       That Israfeli's fire
       Is owing to that lyre
         By which he sits and sings-
       The trembling living wire
         Of those unusual strings.

       But the skies that angel trod,
         Where deep thoughts are a duty-
       Where Love's a grown-up God-
         Where the Houri glances are
       Imbued with all the beauty
         Which we worship in a star.

       Therefore thou art not wrong,
         Israfeli, who despisest
       An unimpassioned song;
       To thee the laurels belong,
         Best bard, because the wisest!
       Merrily live, and long!

       The ecstasies above
         With thy burning measures suit-
       Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love,
         With the fervor of thy lute-
         Well may the stars be mute!

       Yes, Heaven is thine; but this
         Is a world of sweets and sours;
         Our flowers are merely- flowers,
       And the shadow of thy perfect bliss
         Is the sunshine of ours.

       If I could dwell
       Where Israfel
         Hath dwelt, and he where I,
       He might not sing so wildly well
         A mortal melody,
       While a bolder note than this might swell
       From my lyre within the sky.

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