By Edgar Allan Poe 1831

I. #

In Heaven a spirit doth dwell
Whose heart-strings are a lute —
None sing so wild — so well
As the angel Israfel —
And the giddy stars are mute.

II. #

Tottering above
In her highest noon
The enamoured moon
Blushes with love —
While, to listen, the red levin
Pauses in Heaven.

III. #

And they say (the starry choir
And all the listening things)
That Israfeli’s fire
Is owing to that lyre
With those unusual strings.

IV. #

But the Heavens that angel trod
Where deep thoughts are a duty —
Where Love is a grown god —
Where Houri glances are ——
— Stay! turn thine eyes afar! —
Imbued with all the beauty
Which we worship in yon star.

V. #

Thou art not, therefore, wrong
Israfeli, who despisest
An unimpassion’d song:
To thee the laurels belong
Best bard, — because the wisest.

VI. #

The ecstasies above
With thy burning measures suit —
Thy grief — if any — thy love
With the fervor of thy lute —
Well may the stars be mute!

VII. #

Yes, Heaven is thine: but this
Is a world of sweets and sours:
Our flowers are merely — flowers,
And the shadow of thy bliss
Is the sunshine of ours.


If I did dwell where Israfel
Hath dwelt, and he where I,
He would not sing one half as well —
One half as passionately,
And a stormier note than this would swell
From my lyre within the sky.