A Paean

A poem by Edgar Allan Poe


How shall the burial rite be read?
The solemn song be sung?
The requiem for the loveliest dead,
That ever died so young?


Her friends are gazing on her,
And on her gaudy bier,
And weep! oh! to dishonor
Dead beauty with a tear!


They loved her for her wealth
And they hated her for her pride
But she grew in feeble health,
And they love her that she died.


They tell me (while they speak
Of her "costly broider'd pall")
That my voice is growing weak
That I should not sing at all


Or that my tone should be
Tun'd to such solemn song
So mournfully so mournfully,
That the dead may feel no wrong.


But she is gone above,
With young Hope at her side,
And I am drunk with love
Of the dead, who is my bride.


Of the dead dead who lies
All perfum'd there,
With the death upon her eyes.
And the life upon her hair.


Thus on the coffin loud and long
I strike the murmur sent
Through the gray chambers to my song,
Shall be the accompaniment.


Thou diedst in thy life's June
But thou didst not die too fair:
Thou didst not die too soon,
Nor with too calm an air.


From more than friends on earth,
Thy life and love are riven,
To join the untainted mirth
Of more than thrones in heaven.


Therefore, to thee this night
I will no requiem raise,
But waft thee on thy flight,
With a P├Žan of old days.

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