Poe's Poetry

Doubtful Poems: The Village Street

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!