Edgar Allan Poe: Eulalie

Detail from the "Annie" daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe (1849)

Detail from the “Annie” daguerreotype of Edgar Allan Poe (1849)

This poem celebrates how the poet emerged from “a world of moan” and found happiness when he encountered his bride, the “young Eulalie”, a “radiant girl” who brightened his life.

It was probably composed early in 1843, and it appeared first in the July 1845 isue of American Review. There are several versions of this poem (3 of them on Wikisource). The one I give follows the so-called “Stuart” manuscript (also transcribed on Wikisource); this manuscript may be the one shown on Wikipedia.

rose rose  Eulalie  rose rose

rose  I dwelt alone
rose  In a world of moan,
And my soul was a stagnant tide
Till the fair and gentle Eulalie became my blushing bride —
Till the yellow-haired young Eulalie became my smiling bride.

rose  Ah, less, less bright
rose  The stars of the night
Than the eyes of the radiant girl,
rose  And never a flake
rose  That the vapor can make
With the moon-tints of purple and pearl
Can vie with the modest Eulalie’s most unregarded curl —
Can compare with the bright-eyed Eulalie’s most humble and careless curl.

rose  Now Doubt — now Pain
rose  Come never again,
For her soul gives me sigh for sigh
rose  And all day long
rose  Shines bright and strong
Astarté within the sky,
While ever to her dear Eulalie upturns her matron eye —
While ever to her young Eulalie upturns her violet eye.

According to a straightforward interpretation, the poem refers to Poe’s wife Virginia Eliza Clemm, aged 13 when they married. Indeed, shortly after the death of Virginia on January 30th, 1847, Poe wrote on the back of the “Stuart” manuscript a two-line poem mourning her:

Deep in earth my love is lying
rose  And I must weep Deep in Earth.

There is another version of it:

Deep in earth my love is lying
rose  And I must weep alone.

The gentle love of a young girl—the most beautiful treasure in a poet’s life.

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2 thoughts on “Edgar Allan Poe: Eulalie

  1. Poe WOULD have preferred a big girl of 23, but had to do with what he had.
    He was NOT a girl lover, but when will your blog address this?
    I reckon he thought her INFERIOR to a full woman.
    You CAN’T use 19th century values and apply them today.
    Were POE alive today, he would be writing the same poetry, but to a young woman who is age-appropriate.
    There is NO evidence that he felt ANY special feelings toward her BECAUSE she was a girl as opposed to a woman of twenty.

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    • … “a girl as opposed to a woman of twenty.”
      Who is opposing girls to adult women? Not Poe, who married Virginia when she was 13-year-old, and loved her until her death at age 25. Nor Ruskin, who fell in love with Rose La Touche when she was aged 9, and asked her hand when she was 17. Nor Peter Freuchen who married Navarana when she was aged 13 and loved her until her death 10 years later. Nor me: I have spoken about love in general, with love poems concerning a girl or woman of unspecified age, or poems addressed to girls of various ages (up to young womanhood). I have also reproduced two poems by a boy-lover (Fabian Strachan Woodley) and positively reviewed some work by a partisan of Greek-style pederasty. All forms of love are good here.
      Bigotry, hatred and sectarian identity, like opposing hetero- to homo- or girl-love to woman-love, have no place in Agapeta. Hence I removed the lesbo-phobic element from your “pseudonym.”

      Like

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