by: John Henry Boner (1845-1903)

      ERE lived the soul enchanted
      By melody of song;
      Here dwelt the spirit haunted
      By a demoniac throng;
      Here sang the lips elated;
      Here grief and death were sated;
      Here loved and here unmated
      Was he, so frail, so strong.
      Here wintry winds and cheerless
      The dying firelight blew,
      While he whose song was peerless
      Dreamed the drear midnight through,
      And from dull embers chilling
      Crept shadows darkly filling
      The silent place, and thrilling
      His fancy as they grew.
      Here with brows bared to heaven,
      In starry night he stood,
      With the lost star of seven
      Feeling sad brotherhood.
      Here in the sobbing showers
      Of dark autumnal hours
      He heard suspected powers
      Shriek through the stormy wood.
      From visions of Apollo
      And of Astarte's bliss,
      He gazed into the hollow
      And hopeless vale of Dis,
      And though earth were surrounded
      By heaven, it still was mounded
      With graves. His soul had sounded
      The dolorous abyss.
      Poor, mad, but not defiant,
      He touched at heaven and hell.
      Fate found a rare soul pliant
      And wrung her changes well.
      Alternately his lyre,
      Stranded with strings of fire,
      Led earth's most happy choir,
      Or flashed with Israfel.
      No singer of old story
      Luting accustomed lays,
      No harper for new glory,
      No mendicant for praise,
      He struck high chords and splendid,
      Wherein were finely blended
      Tones that unfinished ended
      With his unfinished days.
      Here through this lonely portal,
      Made sacred by his name,
      Unheralded immortal
      The mortal went and came.
      And fate that then denied him,
      And envy that decried him,
      And malice that belied him,
      Here cenotaphed his fame.

"Poe's Cottage at Fordham" is reprinted from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed. Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.




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