Saturday, October 3, 2009

Poe Fridays (on Saturday)

This week's selection is a poem, The Haunted Palace. I'm including the full text below -

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.

I find this poem more melancholy than frightening - I realize it's about a palace that is haunted by the ghosts if its former ruler and his court, but I just find myself feeling sad for them. They don't seem like especially cruel ghosts, and it seems more like they became ghosts because of some tragedy that happened - "evil things, in robes of sorrow" - than because of something wicked. Maybe it's because I tend to find myself having sympathy for ghosts and things when they have a good backstory. I do think this was a good choice for fall - I feel a bit of that same melancholy around this time of year, with the days getting shorter and winter coming. I think it fit my mood, and so resonated with me.

Poe Fridays is hosted by Kristen at WeBeReading.

1 comment:

Kristen M. said...

What I enjoyed with this one was actually that ability of Poe to bring out such an emotional response from the reader. He's really a master at manipulating the reader.