When the lyric ended, it was like the ceasing of the gypsy's chant in Browning's Flight of the Duchess; and I remember nothing more, except that in walking back to Cambridge my comrades and I felt that we had been under the spell of some wizard.
Indeed, I feel much the same in the retrospect, to this day.
The melody did not belong, in this case, to the poet's voice alone: it was already in the words.
His verse, when he was willing to give it natural utterance, was like that of Coleridge in rich sweetness, and like that was often impaired by theories of structure and systematic experiments in metre.
Never in American literature, I think, was such a fountain of melody flung into the air as when Lenore first appeared in The Pioneer; and never did fountain so drop downward as when Poe re-arranged it in its present form.
The irregular measure had a beauty as original as that of Christabel ; and the lines had an ever-varying, ever-lyrical cadence of their own, until their aut
me one asked Emerson a few years since whether he did not think H. H.
the best woman-poet on this continent, he answered in his meditative ay, Perhaps we might as well omit the woman, thus placing her, at least in that moment's impulse, at the head of all. He used to cut her poems from the newspapers as they appeared, to carry them about with him, and to read them aloud.
His especial favorites were the most condensed and the deepest, those having something of that kind of obscurity which Coleridge pronounced to be a compliment to the reader.
His favorite among them all is or was the sonnet entitled
Thought. Messenger, art thou the king, or I?
Thou dalliest outside the palace-gate Till on thine idle armor lie the late And heavy dews: the morn's bright, scornful eye Reminds thee; then, in subtle mockery, Thou smilest at the window where I wait Who bade thee ride for life.
In empty state My days go on, while false hours prophesy Thy quick return; at last in sad despair I cease