Al Aaraaf

Author: Edgar Allan Poe  | Date: 1829


O! nothing earthly save the ray

(Thrown back from flowers) of Beauty’s eye,

As in those gardens where the day

Springs from the gems of Circassy-

O! nothing earthly save the thrill

Of melody in woodland rill-

Or (music of the passion-hearted)

Joy’s voice so peacefully departed

That like the murmur in the shell,

Its echo dwelleth and will dwell-

Oh, nothing of the dross of ours-

Yet all the beauty- all the flowers

That list our Love, and deck our bowers-

Adorn yon world afar, afar-

The wandering star.

’Twas a sweet time for Nesace- for there

Her world lay lolling on the golden air,

Near four bright suns- a temporary rest-

An oasis in desert of the blest.

Away- away- ’mid seas of rays that roll

Empyrean splendor o’er th’ unchained soul-

The soul that scarce (the billows are so dense)

Can struggle to its destin’d eminence,-

To distant spheres, from time to time, she rode

And late to ours, the favor’d one of God-

But, now, the ruler of an anchor’d realm,

She throws aside the sceptre- leaves the helm,

And, amid incense and high spiritual hymns,

Laves in quadruple light her angel limbs.

Now happiest, loveliest in yon lovely Earth,

Whence sprang the "Idea of Beauty" into birth,

(Falling in wreaths thro’ many a startled star,

Like woman’s hair ’mid pearls, until, afar,

It lit on hills Achaian, and there dwelt)

She looked into Infinity- and knelt.

Rich clouds, for canopies, about her curled-

Fit emblems of the model of her world-

Seen but in beauty- not impeding sight

Of other beauty glittering thro’ the light-

A wreath that twined each starry form around,

And all the opal’d air in color bound.

All hurriedly she knelt upon a bed

Of flowers: of lilies such as rear’d the head

On the fair Capo Deucato, *002 and sprang

So eagerly around about to hang

Upon the flying footsteps of- deep pride-

Of her who lov’d a mortal- and so died. *003

The Sephalica, budding with young bees,

Upreared its purple stem around her knees:-

And gemmy flower, of Trebizond misnam’d- *004

Inmate of highest stars, where erst it sham’d

All other loveliness:- its honied dew

(The fabled nectar that the heathen knew)

Deliriously sweet, was dropp’d from Heaven,

And fell on gardens of the unforgiven

In Trebizond- and on a sunny flower

So like its own above that, to this hour,

It still remaineth, torturing the bee

With madness, and unwonted reverie:

In Heaven, and all its environs, the leaf

And blossom of the fairy plant in grief

Disconsolate linger- grief that hangs her head,

Repenting follies that full long have fled,

Heaving her white breast to the balmy air,

Like guilty beauty, chasten’d and more fair:

Nyctanthes too, as sacred as the light

She fears to perfume, perfuming the night:

And Clytia, pondering between many a sun, *005

While pettish tears adown her petals run:

And that aspiring flower that sprang on Earth, *006

And died, ere scarce exalted into birth,

Bursting its odorous heart in spirit to wing

Its way to Heaven, from garden of a king:

And Valisnerian lotus, thither flown *007

From struggling with the waters of the Rhone:

And thy most lovely purple perfume, Zante! *008

Isola d’oro!- Fior di Levante!

And the Nelumbo bud that floats for ever

With Indian Cupid down the holy river- *009

Fair flowers, and fairy! to whose care is given

To bear the Goddess’ song, in odors, up to Heaven: *010

"Spirit! that dwellest where,

In the deep sky,

The terrible and fair,

In beauty vie!

Beyond the line of blue-

The boundary of the star

Which turneth at the view

Of thy barrier and thy bar-

Of the barrier overgone

By the comets who were cast

From their pride and from their throne

To be drudges till the last-

To be carriers of fire

(The red fire of their heart)

With speed that may not tire

And with pain that shall not part-

Who livest- that we know-

In Eternity- we feel-

But the shadow of whose brow

What spirit shall reveal?

Tho’ the beings whom thy Nesace,

Thy messenger hath known

Have dream’d for thy Infinity

A model of their own- *011

Thy will is done, O God!

The star hath ridden high

Thro’ many a tempest, but she rode

Beneath thy burning eye;

And here, in thought, to thee-

In thought that can alone

Ascend thy empire and so be

A partner of thy throne-

By winged Fantasy, *012

My embassy is given,

Till secrecy shall knowledge be

In the environs of Heaven."

She ceas’d- and buried then her burning cheek

Abash’d, amid the lilies there, to seek

A shelter from the fervor of His eye;

For the stars trembled at the Deity.

She stirr’d not- breath’d not- for a voice was there

How solemnly pervading the calm air!

A sound of silence on the startled ear

Which dreamy poets name "the music of the sphere."

Ours is a world of words: Quiet we call

"Silence"- which is the merest word of all.

All Nature speaks, and ev’n ideal things

Flap shadowy sounds from visionary wings-

But ah! not so when, thus, in realms on high

The eternal voice of God is passing by,

And the red winds are withering in the sky:-

"What tho’ in worlds which sightless cycles run, *013

Linked to a little system, and one sun-

Where all my love is folly and the crowd

Still think my terrors but the thunder cloud,

The storm, the earthquake, and the ocean-wrath-

(Ah! will they cross me in my angrier path?)

What tho’ in worlds which own a single sun

The sands of Time grow dimmer as they run,

Yet thine is my resplendency, so given

To bear my secrets thro’ the upper Heaven!

Leave tenantless thy crystal home, and fly,

With all thy train, athwart the moony sky-

Apart- like fire-flies in Sicilian night, *014

And wing to other worlds another light!

Divulge the secrets of thy embassy

To the proud orbs that twinkle- and so be

To ev’ry heart a barrier and a ban

Lest the stars totter in the guilt of man!"

Up rose the maiden in the yellow night,

The single-mooned eve!- on Earth we plight

Our faith to one love- and one moon adore-

The birth-place of young Beauty had no more.

As sprang that yellow star from downy hours

Up rose the maiden from her shrine of flowers,

And bent o’er sheeny mountains and dim plain

Her way, but left not yet her Therasaean reign. *015


Related Resources

Edgar Allan Poe

Download Options

Title: Al Aaraaf

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options

Title: Al Aaraaf

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: Edgar Allan Poe, "Part I," Al Aaraaf Original Sources, accessed June 14, 2024,

MLA: Poe, Edgar Allan. "Part I." Al Aaraaf, Original Sources. 14 Jun. 2024.

Harvard: Poe, EA, 'Part I' in Al Aaraaf. Original Sources, retrieved 14 June 2024, from