Home  »  The Oxford Book of English Verse  »  696. For Annie

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.

Edgar Allan Poe. 1809–1849

696. For Annie

THANK Heaven! the crisis— 
  The danger is past, 
And the lingering illness 
  Is over at last— 
And the fever called ‘Living’         5
  Is conquer’d at last. 
Sadly, I know 
  I am shorn of my strength, 
And no muscle I move 
  As I lie at full length:  10
But no matter—I feel 
  I am better at length. 
And I rest so composedly 
  Now, in my bed, 
That any beholder  15
  Might fancy me dead— 
Might start at beholding me, 
  Thinking me dead. 
The moaning and groaning, 
  The sighing and sobbing,  20
Are quieted now, 
  With that horrible throbbing 
At heart—ah, that horrible, 
  Horrible throbbing! 
The sickness—the nausea—  25
  The pitiless pain— 
Have ceased, with the fever 
  That madden’d my brain— 
With the fever called ‘Living’ 
  That burn’d in my brain.  30
And O! of all tortures 
  That torture the worst 
Has abated—the terrible 
  Torture of thirst 
For the naphthaline river  35
  Of Passion accurst— 
I have drunk of a water 
  That quenches all thirst. 
—Of a water that flows, 
  With a lullaby sound,  40
From a spring but a very few 
  Feet under ground— 
From a cavern not very far 
  Down under ground. 
And ah! let it never  45
  Be foolishly said 
That my room it is gloomy, 
  And narrow my bed; 
For man never slept 
  In a different bed—  50
And, to sleep, you must slumber 
  In just such a bed. 
My tantalized spirit 
  Here blandly reposes, 
Forgetting, or never  55
  Regretting its roses— 
Its old agitations 
  Of myrtles and roses: 
For now, while so quietly 
  Lying, it fancies  60
A holier odour 
  About it, of pansies— 
A rosemary odour, 
  Commingled with pansies— 
With rue and the beautiful  65
  Puritan pansies. 
And so it lies happily, 
  Bathing in many 
A dream of the truth 
  And the beauty of Annie—  70
Drown’d in a bath 
  Of the tresses of Annie. 
She tenderly kiss’d me, 
  She fondly caress’d, 
And then I fell gently  75
  To sleep on her breast— 
Deeply to sleep 
  From the heaven of her breast. 
When the light was extinguish’d, 
  She cover’d me warm,  80
And she pray’d to the angels 
  To keep me from harm— 
To the queen of the angels 
  To shield me from harm. 
And I lie so composedly,  85
  Now, in my bed 
(Knowing her love), 
  That you fancy me dead— 
And I rest so contentedly, 
  Now, in my bed  90
(With her love at my breast), 
  That you fancy me dead— 
That you shudder to look at me, 
  Thinking me dead. 
But my heart it is brighter  95
  Than all of the many 
Stars in the sky, 
  For it sparkles with Annie— 
It glows with the light 
  Of the love of my Annie— 100
With the thought of the light 
  Of the eyes of my Annie.