696. For Annie

Edgar Allan Poe. 1809-1849

THANK Heaven! the crisis--
  The danger is past,
And the lingering illness
  Is over at last--
And the fever called 'Living'
  Is conquer'd at last.

Sadly, I know
  I am shorn of my strength,
And no muscle I move
  As I lie at full length:
But no matter--I feel
  I am better at length.

And I rest so composedly
  Now, in my bed,
That any beholder
  Might fancy me dead--
Might start at beholding me,
  Thinking me dead.

The moaning and groaning,
  The sighing and sobbing,
Are quieted now,
  With that horrible throbbing
At heart--ah, that horrible,
  Horrible throbbing!

The sickness--the nausea--
  The pitiless pain--
Have ceased, with the fever
  That madden'd my brain--
With the fever called 'Living'
  That burn'd in my brain.

And O! of all tortures
  That torture the worst
Has abated--the terrible
  Torture of thirst
For the naphthaline river
  Of Passion accurst--
I have drunk of a water
  That quenches all thirst.

--Of a water that flows,
  With a lullaby sound,
From a spring but a very few
  Feet under ground--
From a cavern not very far
  Down under ground.

And ah! let it never
  Be foolishly said
That my room it is gloomy,
  And narrow my bed;
For man never slept
  In a different bed--
And, to sleep, you must slumber
  In just such a bed.

My tantalized spirit
  Here blandly reposes,
Forgetting, or never
  Regretting its roses--
Its old agitations
  Of myrtles and roses:

For now, while so quietly
  Lying, it fancies
A holier odour
  About it, of pansies--
A rosemary odour,
  Commingled with pansies--
With rue and the beautiful
  Puritan pansies.

And so it lies happily,
  Bathing in many
A dream of the truth
  And the beauty of Annie--
Drown'd in a bath
  Of the tresses of Annie.

She tenderly kiss'd me,
  She fondly caress'd,
And then I fell gently
  To sleep on her breast--
Deeply to sleep
  From the heaven of her breast.

When the light was extinguish'd,
  She cover'd me warm,
And she pray'd to the angels
  To keep me from harm--
To the queen of the angels
  To shield me from harm.

And I lie so composedly,
  Now, in my bed
(Knowing her love),
  That you fancy me dead--
And I rest so contentedly,
  Now, in my bed
(With her love at my breast),
  That you fancy me dead--
That you shudder to look at me,
  Thinking me dead.

But my heart it is brighter
  Than all of the many
Stars in the sky,
  For it sparkles with Annie--
It glows with the light
  Of the love of my Annie--
With the thought of the light
  Of the eyes of my Annie.

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition