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!”

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edgar Allan Poe's poem Eldorado

47 Comments

  1. Gregory says:

    i love the poem and its meaning, that there is a place that you want to be throughout your life but you may never find it.

  2. debra says:

    we belive this is a prson who has strong feeling about a medow. am i right????

    class 10 at high school

  3. Emile Moelich says:

    For all the prospectors for Eldorado, this is the poem to put up in the office.

  4. obyM says:

    The is my first from EAP, and i think i have not read anything as good as this. its so unique. i think the poem is about determination and faith in your puisuit in life, even if you dont get it you know you tried and did your best.

  5. Kern says:

    I wonder how old many of you are. How long have you sought your Eldorado? When you have riden long enough, you will find your strength failing you at length. We set out well apointed at the start of our quests and riding boldly forth. At some point, we look around and wonder will we ever reach our Eldorado. Ascribe to the pilgrim’s shadow whatever identity you like, the advice remains sound. If you wish to reach Eldorado, or anywhere else, you must ride boldly ride in search of, pursuing it, building it, creating it.

  6. Russellboy says:

    I looking at this poem for a project!

  7. Christina says:

    I think it show one should keep trying and u may reach your goal

  8. prplheffalump89 says:

    i think this is a poem that some what encourages his readers which is the complete antithesis of him all toghether b/c we normally see dark things in his writings. But all in all, it could have been encouragement to himself and all the things he was going through. he wrote this poem after Virginia died and he probably realized that he needed encouragement to help him get through. Which we see didn’t work so well in his later years.

  9. Philippe says:

    I think the part of the poem where the shadow tells tge knight to look over th mountains over the moon is not very clear…
    What does it mean?

  10. Dionre Bratten says:

    i love this poem. A knight searching for the city of gold that doesn’t exist. I love the was EAP hides the meaning of this poem. You really have to know your history for this poem to find the true meaning. If you know anything about Sir Walter Raleigh thats a good start…This is one of the best poems i have ever saw because i can actually understand it. I love poety.

    Diondre

  11. rb says:

    instead of dismal….as sum have said…eldorado, to me ..is encouraging….for the knight…is told quite clearly..ride boldly…if u seek eldorado…good advice…u may never attain it..but life is in ‘the ride’…and one must be bold…

    btw, i have the poem on my site…and sum other scite…..check it out…hope u get a laugh…

    http://wil3.typepad.com

    later aces….

  12. Christina says:

    I love this poem. Yes, it indeed has a dismal message, yet the sing songy rhythm seems to be contradictory to its depressing message. I believe that the the part where it says:
    “In sunshine and in shadow,”
    the sunshine represents faith and the shadow represents doubt.

  13. Nahom T. says:

    in my regard the poem ‘Eldorado’ by Edgar allan poe is simply the ‘best’. Its central idea is that we can get eldorado ‘the land of gold’ only in heaven i.e. life after death.in my point of view poe wrote this story to reflect the mere fact that one gets inner peace and wealth through his deeds at earth which later are the conditions in which he is judged in heaven.

  14. jennifer says:

    The origin of El Dorado comes from 16th century British men, such as Sir Walter Raleigh who searched for a land of gold, called El Dorado in Guiana and through out South America but never found it, because it didn’t exist

  15. Trip says:

    Does anybody know where “eldorado” by E. A. Poe was published? And perhaps also in europe?! Would be very helpful.
    thx,
    bye

    TT

  16. eldorado says:

    WOW. JUST. WOW

  17. JD says:

    Poe is a magnificant writer!I absolutly adore all his pomes and short stories.

  18. Zach says:

    dude i done saw the road to el dorado. it dont give this here poem good justice. i like that there movie lots and lots. that guy that done speaked about them queers was right. they is queer. i dont care much for this poem but i liked it lots and lots. thank ya’ll and goodnight from the big FREDNECK MARYLAND

  19. bk says:

    Poe as brilliant as he was, made quite a few interesting references in this poem. The reference to El Dorado itself was based on the Spanish explorers looking for the famous “City of Gold”. Which ofcourse was never found. His reference to a young noble knight searching for this famed city, shows the impetuous nature of youth. And he shows how the futile search ends in death when the shadow apears. Is he saying that for those of us who have an unreachable dream, that the sweet serenity of death is as good as reaching our goal? Perhaps. He at this point in his life was an avid absybth user and found great solice in escaping reality. Sad as it is, Poe felt a great loss in his life and spent a great deal of time reflecting on it. He wanted the woman of his dreams to come back, but alas that did not happen. Maybe the message here is simply that if you have an unreachable goal the only bit of peace you’ll find is when you are dead…

  20. Dan says:

    I’m one of those that grew up loving the recitation by James Caan in the John Wayne movie by this same name. I never knew where these lines actually came from until now. I decided to do a web search after hearing Kiefer Sutherland quote some of the lines in Young Guns II. I am glad that I did so, I never had a clue that this was from Poe.

  21. umh says:

    what does the shadow mean? it appears in every stanza and has different meanings. what do they mean respectively? i believe that eldorado is actually a place that you can never get there. it’s not realistic just like the dreams during the time of gold rush.

  22. anva says:

    eldorado is not about heaven, its about the light at the end of the tunnel dont give up what seems so far is yet so near. ilearned this poem in 6th grade and it has me where iam 2 day-striving on

  23. john says:

    For anyone concerned, Poe was a Manic-Depressive,(moods swinging from very good to very bad). I think that he was trying to express the struggle in his own life,seeking peace of mind and sprit… the truth be known he may have never found it.One thing we must all realize is that death comes to us all,the smart thing to do is have yourself prepared to meet God on his terms,and conditions,Christ is the only way!

  24. Dan Ellerton says:

    I agree that El Dorado is the dream within our heart and the journey to reach it although very difficult at times can be attained if we don’t give up. It reminds me of the Proverb: “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing; it is the glory of kings to seek it out.”
    The poem is quoted throughout the John Wayne movie entitled “El Dorado”. It is my favorite John Wayne movie ever!

  25. Lou Parris says:

    Demon Killer wrote that El Dorado was actually heaven. I don’t think so. There is some question about Poe’s religious beliefs. Some hold that he was an atheist; others that he never lost his religions background. In an case, I don’t think this poem has anything to do with religion.

  26. sahara says:

    This poem gives me deep impression that the author chase Eldorado throughout all his life.Im my opinion the author want to tell us don’t give up your dream.

  27. Demon Killer says:

    This poem talks about how Poe is seeking a great thing, but he can’t find it. Then when he dies he asked the shade were’s Eldorado. The shade tells him were it is, but Eldorado is actually heaven.

  28. Andrew says:

    Sad, but great poem. I memorized it in 7th grade and I still beleive that it is a great poem, 5 years later.

  29. melissa reedy says:

    i like it

  30. Tobias says:

    Es Ist sehr gut!!!

  31. jenn says:

    i guess that eldorado is the lost city in poe’s heart, perhaps its where he held the little hope he had for contentment

  32. Jessica says:

    Wow I am doing a report on him in school and he was so depressed after his wife/cousin died I think that El Dorado was his way of looking at his life and that it was his version of saying that he is worn out by the end but he sees the light of heaven and is ready to go

  33. Steven says:

    I think that this poem isn’t all that happy at all… the gallant knight might relate to Poes own life. he seeked happiness and a “shadow” fell over him as he realized that there is no real happiness in life. the pilgrim’s shadow might be depression or thoughts of death as the shadow tells him that the only el dorado is in the life after.
    “over the mountains of the moon
    down the valley of the shadow
    ride boldly ride
    the shade replied
    if you seek for el dorado”

  34. Angelica Williams says:

    I think that Eldorado expresses Poe hope to find some peace or his own Eldorado. This poem shows another side of Poe. Most of the poems that Poe had wrote are depressing, but this poem shows the never ending search of his own Eldorado. It baffled me to find out that Eldorado was the last poem that Poe wrote. He died right after he wrote Eldorado, moreover that left me to wonder did he ever find his Eldorado.

  35. eric says:

    i really like this poem and it seems to me that poe may have been loking for his own Eldorado while writing this poem.

  36. Michael Kennedy says:

    i relly like this poem because of the mood.

  37. Patrick says:

    The interesting thing about “Eldorado” is that it seems to contrast drastically with the rest of Poe’s works. While “Eldorado” uses adjectives like “bold” and “gallant”, Poe’s other poems contain the sort of hint of sorrow or unhappiness that he felt his lifestyle reflected. For example, compare the text of Eldorado to this passage from “The Raven”:”Once upon a midnight dreary, while I wandered weak and weary…”. If there contained Poe’s ordinary message of gloom in “Eldorado”, it is certainly more subtle than those of his other works.

  38. Caitlin Fazendin says:

    I love this poem it so sweet.

  39. Donfizzle says:

    Well written,Perhas to well written,brillant I have always been interested in this type of poetry. This man was a pyscho genius, Im glad he was here to rite poems on this planet and not mars or another random planet. OK PEACE HOMIEZ!!!!!

  40. desiree says:

    I THINK THAT THIS IS A VERY HEART TOUCHING POEM, AND ALSO I THINK THAT MORE PEOPLE NEED TO READ IT TO SEE THE REAL TRUE MEANING OF THE POEM.MY FAVORITE EDGAR ALLEN POE POEM IS THE RAVEN I KNOW IT IS A SAD AND DEPRESSING POEM BUT IT IS BEAUTIFUL IN IT’S OWN WAY.
    AND THATS WHAT I THINK ABOUT THE POEMS BY EDGAR ALLEN POE. BY DESIREE’ LYNN HARRIS

  41. Anne-Marie says:

    I must say that Eggar was a very depressed man but he can bring in such a lively manner!

  42. Em says:

    I never knew that this was by Poe. If you’re interested in literature and film, this poem was used in the John Wayne movie “El Dorado.”

  43. Sadie says:

    I think that in order to appreciate Poe’s full view on Eldorado, one must first delve into the realm of a Dark Poet, or rather Dark Romantic. Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, but one thing that makes the works of a Dark Romantic is the aspect of tragedy and loss in their words. Death is a release from the pain of living, because no matter how wonderful and happy one’s life is, we are born dying, and it doesn’t matter what’s on the other side, it’s release.
    We like to tell ourselves that bliss, heaven or whatever you would like to name it, is here, that it’s closer than we think. It’s not. We catch glimpses of it from time to time, but we are never really able to make it there. The goal that’s just out of reach.
    I remember the first time I had ever read Edgar Allen Poe’s works. I was in the third grade and he was my favorite author from the first time I read The Black Cat, to the time I memorized the Raven in the fourth grade, and Eldorado in the Fifth grade. I’ll always remember that because my fifth grade teacher was upset about the fact that I wrote dark poems, and understood his works. I’ll never forget Ms. Hussman’s reaction to me when I recited Eldorado, and 15 of the 20 stanzas of The Raven for the class and proceeded to explain the two poems to the class, and her.
    🙂
    Eldorado will always be one of the many poems of his that has touched my life the most. It’s the silver lining on the dark clouds of my life.

  44. granitefox says:

    great poem, but I had to memorize the whole Raven, and say it to my class, in SIXTH GRADE! whooie!
    _______________________________________________________

  45. Dave says:

    This is an incredible poem. Im only in grade 9 but i have been fascinated with his works since grade 7. He is an absolute genius and has influenced me on the way I write dark poetry. For example…. Crimson
    Death, a figment of a desperate mans imagination. Life, a stain of pleasure on our souls. The present leaves a crimson outline, of a man, who went insane, over the pleasure of life.

    They are very different, but the way I write sort of combines his type of poetry, and the way i imagine it to be. He has influenced me on all my writing, and is truly an unrivaled genius.

  46. Carissa says:

    MAN WHAT A GREAT POEM! Dont you think, when i was in 8th grade i had to memorize that biotch and say it to my class…haha oh what great fun! I still remeber it til this day.

  47. Lena says:

    Hard as it is to disagree with a genius, I do… I genuinely prefer the view point that eternal bliss is to be found not in death (as the shadow traveler suggests) but within oneself. So while I agree entirely that the quest over the entire Earth should have been fruitless, I really think that Eldorado lies closer than Poe suggests.

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