In Heaven a spirit doth dwell
“Whose heart-strings are a lute”;
None sing so wildly well
As the angel Israfel,
And the giddy stars (so legends tell),
Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell
Of his voice, all mute.

Tottering above
In her highest noon,
The enamored moon
Blushes with love,
While, to listen, the red levin
(With the rapid Pleiads, even,
Which were seven,)
Pauses in Heaven.

And they say (the starry choir
And the other listening things)
That Israfeli’s fire
Is owing to that lyre
By which he sits and sings-
The trembling living wire
Of those unusual strings.

But the skies that angel trod,
Where deep thoughts are a duty-
Where Love’s a grown-up God-
Where the Houri glances are
Imbued with all the beauty
Which we worship in a star.

Therefore thou art not wrong,
Israfeli, who despisest
An unimpassioned song;
To thee the laurels belong,
Best bard, because the wisest!
Merrily live, and long!

The ecstasies above
With thy burning measures suit-
Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love,
With the fervor of thy lute-
Well may the stars be mute!

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

If I could dwell
Where Israfel
Hath dwelt, and he where I,
He might not sing so wildly well
A mortal melody,
While a bolder note than this might swell
From my lyre within the sky.

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

4 Comments

  1. Beatrice says:

    Israfel,angel of the fiery sword,Ignis Dei! I think Poe plays with the possibility of changing dwelling places,could any one of us in Heaven do things as good as an Angel of God?

  2. rajae says:

    i know that the angel israfel well blow the trumpet on judgement day.the first blow of his trumpet will shater the world and the second will awaken the dead and summon them to judgement.i know this idea from the holy quran.

  3. wenda says:

    i think poe writes this poem based on his lifetime.

  4. helena says:

    I think that the angel Israfel is mentioned in the holy Quran, and may be more sacred to the muslim faith.

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