Friday, September 11, 2009

Eldorado, a poem by Edgar Allan Poe.

Post 323 - As we think about creating a better life, here's a poem of inspiration by Edgar Allan Poe. Edgar Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1809. His parents died when he was young and he was then taken in by John and Frances Allan, of Richmond, Virginia, although they never formally adopted him. After spending a short period at the University of Virginia and briefly attempting a military career, he parted ways with the Allans in 1829. Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American short story writers and is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. In January 1845, Poe published his poem The Raven to instant success. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.

Poe died under very mysterious circumstances. On October 3, 1849, he was found on the streets of Baltimore delirious, "in great distress, need of immediate assistance," according to the man who found him. He was taken to the Washington College Hospital, where he died on Sunday, October 7. Poe was never coherent long enough to explain what had happened to him, and, oddly, when he was found, he was wearing clothes that weren't his own. He's said to have repeatedly called out the name "Reynolds" on the night before his death, though it's still unclear to whom he was referring. All medical records, including his death certificate, have since been lost.

As he once said, "The boundaries which divide life from death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?"

Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe.

Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old -
This knight so bold -
And o’er his heart a shadow
Fell, as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow -
“Shadow,” said he,
“Where can it be -
This land of Eldorado?”

“Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,”
The shade replied,
“If you seek for Eldorado!”

1 comment:

Everett Allan Emerson said...

Dear John - Poe has continued to inspire me through this poem for more than 60 years. I memorized it as a teen (then neither gaily bedight nor gallant, but healthy and promising), and now I am riding boldly. Another philosophy-of-life writer (can't remember his name at the moment) said it another way: "Live each day as if you were going to live forever."