The Village Street by Edgar Allan Poe

In these rapid, restless shadows,
Once I walked at eventide,
When a gentle, silent maiden,
Walked in beauty at my side.
She alone there walked beside me
All in beauty, like a bride.

Pallidly the moon was shining
On the dewy meadows nigh;
On the silvery, silent rivers,
On the mountains far and high,—
On the ocean’s star-lit waters,
Where the winds a-weary die.

Slowly, silently we wandered
From the open cottage door,
Underneath the elm’s long branches
To the pavement bending o’er;
Underneath the mossy willow
And the dying sycamore.

With the myriad stars in beauty
All bedight, the heavens were seen,
Radiant hopes were bright around me,
Like the light of stars serene;
Like the mellow midnight splendor
Of the Night’s irradiate queen.

Audibly the elm-leaves whispered
Peaceful, pleasant melodies,
Like the distant murmured music
Of unquiet, lovely seas;
While the winds were hushed in slumber
In the fragrant flowers and trees.

Wondrous and unwonted beauty
Still adorning all did seem,
While I told my love in fables
‘Neath the willows by the stream;
Would the heart have kept unspoken
Love that was its rarest dream!

Instantly away we wandered
In the shadowy twilight tide,
She, the silent, scornful maiden,
Walking calmly at my side,
With a step serene and stately,
All in beauty, all in pride.

Vacantly I walked beside her.
On the earth mine eyes were cast;
Swift and keen there came unto me
Bitter memories of the past—
On me, like the rain in Autumn
On the dead leaves, cold and fast.

Underneath the elms we parted,
By the lowly cottage door;
One brief word alone was uttered—
Never on our lips before;
And away I walked forlornly,
Broken-hearted evermore.

Slowly, silently I loitered,
Homeward, in the night, alone;
Sudden anguish bound my spirit,
That my youth had never known;
Wild unrest, like that which cometh
When the Night’s first dream hath flown.

Now, to me the elm-leaves whisper
Mad, discordant melodies,
And keen melodies like shadows
Haunt the moaning willow trees,
And the sycamores with laughter
Mock me in the nightly breeze.

Sad and pale the Autumn moonlight
Through the sighing foliage streams;
And each morning, midnight shadow,
Shadow of my sorrow seems;
Strive, O heart, forget thine idol!
And, O soul, forget thy dreams!

 

Note on The Village Street

“The Village Street” appeared in the Broadway Journal, and, like several of his known pieces, bore no signature. In order to satisfy questioners, an editorial paragraph subsequently appeared, saying they were by “A. Ide, junior.” Two other poems had appeared in the Broadway Journal over the signature of “A. M. Ide.” In order, doubtless, to give a show of variety, Poe was then publishing some of his known works in his journal over noms de plume, and as no other writings whatever can be traced to any person bearing the name of “A. M. Ide,” it is not impossible that the poems may be by the author of “The Raven.” Having been published without his usual elaborate revision, Poe may have wished to hide his hasty work under an assumed name. The three pieces are “To Isadore,” “The Village Street,” and “The Forest Reverie.” The reader can judge for himself what pretensions they possess to be by the author of “The Raven.”

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