Lenore: That Rare And Radiant Maiden

Author: Eduardo Freire Canosa
(University of Toronto Alumnus)

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—

Nameless here for evermore.


  1.    Who Really Was Guy de Vere?

  2.    Julian the Apostate, a dramatic Poem

  3.    The Duke of Mercia, an historical Drama. The Lamentation of Ireland, and other Poems

  4.    A Song of Faith: Devout Exercises and Sonnets

  5.    Lenore

  6.    Afterword

1. Who Really Was Guy de Vere?

Caspar David Friedrich Discovering who "Guy de Vere" was will confirm or deny the suspicion that "Lenore" might be Poe's pseudonym for the wife or the mistress of another man. The writer "come of a race noted for vigor of fancy and ardor of passion" wrote at least seven love poems to ladies whose names were purposely camouflaged as follows, (i) "To ---" (ii) "To F---" (iii) "To F---S S. O---D" (iv) "To Helen" (v) "To Helen" (vi) "To M---" and (vii) "To M. L. S---". Various scholars have identified "F---S S. O---D" as Frances Sargent Osgood, a married poetess of some renown, the addressee of (iv) "To Helen" as Mrs. Helen Stannard, the addressee of (v) "To Helen" as Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman, and "M. L. S---" as Mrs. Marie Louise Shew, Virginia's nurse. The suspicion is warranted therefore.

A second misgiving, linked to Poe's childhood, was laid to rest. The child Poe moved with his foster family to Great Britain in 1815 and did not return to the United States until 1820. Overseas the Allan family stayed in London but unaccountably sent 6-year-old Poe away to grammar school in Irvine, a village near Glasgow on the south foreshore of the Firth of Clyde. The 1816-17 school year saw the 7-year-old child lodged at a boarding school in the affluent Chelsea district of London. From the autumn of 1817 onward he studied at Reverend John Bransby's Manor House School in Stoke Newington, another borough of London. These frequent changes of learning institution together with the school-year-long estrangement from his foster family in the very country that a mere forty years earlier had attempted to vanquish the American rebels—a fact that his classmates were probably more than willing to remind him of privately and publicly—must have filled the adopted child with a profound sense of insecurity and alienation and must have made it difficult for him to work and play with the native pupils.


From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then—in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,3
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

In the year 1820 the child Poe sailed with his foster family back to Richmond, VA.

Since the surname "De Vere" calls up the prestigious ancestry of the Earl of Oxford, the possibility arises that, partly as a reminiscence of his years spent in Britain, Poe might have referenced an actual "Guy de Vere" from that distinguished lineage. A perusal of the De Vere genealogy yielded the following list of male forenames, alphabetically ordered,

  1. Alphonso
  2. Aubrey
  3. Edward
  4. Frances
  5. Francis
  6. Geoffrey
  7. Gilbert
  8. Hawise
  9. Henry
  10. Horatio
  11. Hugh
  12. John
  13. Maud
  14. Mortimer
  15. Philip
  16. Ralph
  17. Richard
  18. Robert
  19. Roger
  20. William

In the absence of any more hypotheses it is time to inspect the poem Lenore itself for clues about "Guy de Vere." The first impression gleaned is that the personage quoted on stanzas 2 and 4 is an educated gentleman of social rank above the "wretches" who can hardly conceal their glee at Lenore's passing (2.3-5).


Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll!—a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river;
And, Guy de Vere, hast thou no tear?—weep now or nevermore!
See! On yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
Come! Let the burial rite be read—the funeral song be sung!—
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young—
A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.

"Wretches! Ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,
And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her—that she died!
How shall the ritual, then, be read?—the requiem how be sung
By you—by yours, the evil eye,—by yours, the slanderous tongue
That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young?"

Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song
Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong.
The sweet Lenore hath "gone before," with Hope, that flew beside,
Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride—
For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies,
The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes—
The life still there, upon her hair—the death upon her eyes.

"Avaunt! Tonight my heart is light. No dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old days!
Let no bell toll!—lest her sweet soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
Should catch the note, as it doth float up from the damnéd Earth.
To friends above, from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven—
From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven—
From grief and groan to a golden throne beside the King of Heaven."

Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever! (1.1): Pointer to Ecclesiastes 12:6-7.

And, Guy de Vere, hast thou no tear?—weep now or nevermore! (1.3): The Shakespearean-sounding pronoun "thou" and the archaic present tense 2nd singular "hast" point to a British gentleman. This manner of speech continues on 1.4 ("yon" and "thy") and 3.4 ("thee" and "thy").

Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride (2.1): Lenore is linked to wealth and pride and so must Guy de Vere be: the British gentleman is a member of the nobility.

Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong (3.1-2): Peccavimus is Latin for "We sinned." The British nobleman thus addressed is a religious Roman Catholic.

Avaunt! Tonight my heart is light. No dirge will I upraise, but waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old days! (4.1-2): Guy de Vere finally complies with the request to compose a poetic song for Lenore (1.5-7, 3:1-2) but he will upraise a paean instead of a dirge. The Roman-Catholic British nobleman must be a composer of religious anthems (1.6) Sabbath songs (3.1) dirges and songs of praise (paeans) of some renown.

Armed with these clues, and being a priori satisfied with a 75% match, a historical search was made for a contemporary of Poe who would fit the depiction of "Guy de Vere." The search yielded an unexpected success.

SirAubrey De Vere Sir Aubrey de Vere Aubrey Hunt (b. 1788, d. 1846) was the only son of Sir Vere Hunt and Hon. Eleanor Pery. The father Sir Vere Hunt was the second son of the 16th Earl of Oxford and owned the title of 1st Baronet of Curragh in county Limerick, Ireland.4 The mother Eleanor Pery was the sister of the Earl of Limerick and the daughter of Lord Glentworth, Church of England bishop of Limerick.

The child Aubrey Hunt was first educated at home by private tuition. His profound love of Nature prompted him to write descriptive poetry from a very early age.

In his boyhood he was sent away to Ambleside in the Lake District of Cumbria, Northwest England, under the care of a private tutor, the Rev. John Dawes. He was captivated by the natural beauty of the area and returned to it for visits as an adult. One of his boyhood hobbies was the thorough study of ancient and modern military campaigns with the aid of maps and books.

Thereafter he was enrolled in the prestigious Harrow School of London where he and Lord Byron became childhood friends. After graduation he returned to Ireland and pursued higher education at Trinity College of Dublin.

In 1807 he married Mary Spring-Rice of Mount Trenchard, eldest daughter of Stephen Edward Rice and sister of Lord Monteagle.5 The young couple had five sons and three daughters. The firstborn son was Sir Vere Edmund de Vere (b. 1808, d. 1880) who succeeded to the title upon his father's death. The second son was William Edward de Vere (b. 1811, d. 1904). His younger brother Stephen Edward de Vere (b. 1812, d. 1904) was an outstanding poet and a convert to Roman Catholicism. Aubrey Thomas Hunt de Vere (b. 1814, d. 1902) was another outstanding poet, and he converted to Roman Catholicism in 1857. Major Francis Horatio de Vere (b. 1828, d. 1865) joined the Royal Military Engineers and was shot dead by a sapper during a parade at Brompton Barracks in Chatham, Kent, Southeast England.

Aubrey Hunt wrote the following sonnet about family life in 1816 and published it in 1823. It is evident from the poem that Mary Spring-Rice was expecting their second daughter (lines 1-2). The children who appear in these verses can be guessed at: Stephen Edward (v. 3) Vere Edmund (v. 4) their first daughter (v. 5) and William Edward (vs. 7-8). One boy is missing, he may have been baby Aubrey Thomas, perhaps sleeping indoors under a nurse's care.

The Family Picture

WITH work in hand, perchance some fairy cap
To deck the little stranger yet to come;
One rosy boy struggling to mount her lap—
The eldest studious, with a book or map—
Her timid girl beside, with a faint bloom,
Conning some tale—while, with no gentle tap,
Yon chubby urchin beats his mimic drum,
Nor heeds the doubtful frown her eyes assume.
So sits the mother! with her fondest smile
Regarding her sweet little-ones the while;
And he, the happy man! to whom belong
These treasures, feels their living charm beguile
All mortal cares, and eyes the prattling throng
With rapture-rising heart, and a thanksgiving tongue.

(The Duke of Mercia. Sonnets, #8, p. 282)

Aubrey Hunt served one term as High Sheriff of county Limerick in 1811.

He succeeded to his father's title in 1818, becoming 2nd Baronet.

He made a mild attempt to enter politics, and for a time was Sheriff of the County Limerick, but, on being defeated in an attempt to represent the county in Parliament, he desisted and devoted his life to travel and poetry, as well as to the care of his large estates at Curraghchase and at Glangoole, County Tipperary. He rebuilt the family house at the former place and made it one of the county's glories by employing John Flaxman, the celebrated sculptor, to work a frieze in the main hall.

(http://www.limerickcity.ie/library/ [7 Dec 2016]. Limerick City Library)

Curraghchase  house

The estate initially known to Englishmen as "Currah" (modern spelling: Curragh, a Gaelic word meaning "bog") was a land grant by Cromwell in 1657 to one of his officers, Vere Hunt. The property is located twenty kilometers away from the city of Limerick. The 2nd Baronet rebuilt the original manor house built by Hunt, adorned the family residence "with the eye of a painter," and assembled a good collection of military, poetry and history books in the library; he is probably also responsible for the small family-pet cemetery near the mansion. He changed the name of the estate to "Currah Chase" in 1833 (modern spelling: Curraghchase).

The 2nd Baronet undertook a vast tree-planting project in Curraghchase and created the three hundred hectares of forest land that still stand today. The woods are a mixture of broadleaf and evergreen trees: sycamores mingle with hornbeam, Scots Pine, beech, ash, hazel and several kinds of oak trees.

Fire gutted Curraghchase House in 1941, leaving only the exterior walls standing. The Forestry Division of the Irish government purchased the property in 1957 and turned the land into a national forest and park with eight kilometers of marked trails. A protected species of bat nests in the burnt-out cellars today.

"A Poet's Home" which appeared in the Poems section of The Duke of Mercia (1823) expounds the baronet's vision of the ideal home, some of whose features doubtlessly applied to Curraghchase House: a cottage closed with trees of every flower and leaf, airy yet sheltered, roses and flowers climbing over the white walls, a patch of blooming, aromatic shrubs before the porch, a spacious library with a deep bow window sunlit through green leaves, "our bright-faced infant throng," faithful friends who gather round the household fire in the evening to recite poetry, dance or listen to music; and gathered round his door "a busy, cheerful, virtuous poor, homely in speech and pure from art, Truth and the Bible in their heart."

The 2nd Baronet changed his surname by royal licence to "Sir Aubrey de Vere" in 1833 to flaunt the family's ties to the House of the 1st Earl of Oxford. House De Vere's motto is Vero Nihil Verius (Nothing is truer than the truth). Its French epigram is Verité Vient (Comes Truth).

Sir Aubrey de Vere's early works were historical dramas: Julian the Apostate, a dramatic Poem (1822) and The Duke of Mercia, an historical Drama. The Lamentation of Ireland, and other Poems (1823). The author's name printed for both books is "Sir Aubrey de Vere Hunt."

3 The rich red sandstone about the Firth of Clyde in Scotland.

4 Ireland was under British occupation at the time, at the close of the historical period known as Protestant Ascendancy and at the start of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801-1912).

5 Of course the hypothesis of a possible tryst between Edgar A. Poe and the wife or mistress of "Guy de Vere" is refuted and hastily discarded.

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2. Julian the Apostate, a dramatic Poem

"Julian the Apostate" found an admiring and enthusiastic audience and received unstinted praise from the critics. One wrote, "Lord Byron has produced nothing equal to it," and another, "Scott has nothing so intellectual or so elevated among his exquisite sketches."

(C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917)

Julian the Apostate, a dramatic Poem (London: Warren, 1822) is a play by any other name. The following excerpt illustrates the work's narrative style. The setting is the interior of the Temple of Mars. Emperor Julian, standing on the steps of the altar, speaks to the Roman populace. He is attended by Maximus the Chief Priest, who stands before the altar, by lesser priests and by military officers.

The people shout:

Long live the Emperor!
Long live our General! Julian lead to conquest.

JULIAN comes forward slowly.

The people shout:

Kind master, generous friend! God save thee, Julian!


My friends, I thank you: yes, my friends ye are,
To you I owe my throne—you have preserved it.
Nor have I been ungrateful: bear me witness,
When all our barriers, guarded by faint hearts,
Were broken—and advantaged by the times
The wild barbarian came like a flood upon ye,
Whose standard then was foremost to the rescue?
Whose red right hand redeemed your wasted fields—
Your smoking homes? Who struck from savage grasp
The uplifted sword, even at your children's throat?
Tore from his arms the unviolated wife,
And daughter still a virgin? Yes, they fled
Our banners, as the vapour flies the sun-beam.
And, oh! when gentle peace came like a bird,
And spread her fond wings over us, my sway
Fell on you lightly, as the wholesome dew—
Where'er the yoke lay sore, old imposts pressed,
I smote them with reforming zeal, and poured
Oil on your wounds, and cherished you to health.
Now once again does harsh necessity
Clothe us in sullen armour. Gods approve
Our enterprise. The mighty oracles
Have spoken with the voice of destiny!
You too, my people, by this acclamation
Fiat our purpose, and invest your prince
With more than regal terrors. Is't not so?

(People shout)

Draw then your swords, bold youth—to arms, to arms—
As ye do trust to clasp unravished brides,
As ye do hope to see connubial pledges,
As ye would still inherit from your sires
Sweet homes, untrodden by tumultuous war,
I call ye forth to arms.

The people shout:

Lead on, lead on
To victory!—Julian and victory!

(Julian the Apostate, pp. 116-18)

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3. The Duke of Mercia, an historical Drama. The Lamentation of Ireland, and other Poems

Sir Aubrey de Vere dedicated The Duke of Mercia, an historical Drama. The Lamentation of Ireland, and other Poems (London: Hurst and Robinson, 1823) to his father-in-law "as a memorial of gratitude for an inestimable gift." The following excerpt from The Duke of Mercia illustrates the work's narrative style. The setting is the Danish camp. Canute the king of the Danes converses with two earls, Turkill and Gothmund, on the eve of battle against Edmund, surnamed Ironside, king of England.


Roll'd in her shadows, the wan spirit of night
Descends: so frowningly our fortunes lour;
And angry nature heralds in a day
Of danger, it may be of doom, to us.


The road is open to retreat.


Not so.
From a fair field the brave have no retreat.
I have consider'd deeply, and here plant
My standard—on this rock.

(Enter BULLOIGN, introduced)


The Earl of Bulloign?
Welcome, brave soldier!


Royal sir, my errand
Is of such nature as a princely heart,
Swoln with the blood of warlike ancestry,
Will glory to make good. Our valiant Edmund,
Who in this tug of war hath well approved
His noble lineage, and may proudly deem
Canute his glorious peer, hath long in tears
Of blood deplored this desolating strife;
And, even in death, would gladly seal a peace
By his best blood cemented: therefore it is,
And with no sanguinary, vengeful thought,
Or vain disparagement of Canute's prowess,
He hath commanded me—waving all vantage
The chance of this unequal field allows—
To dare his rival to the mortal lists:
There, hand to hand, as well becomes brave men,
To terminate this quarrel. In such spirit,
Here I fling down his stainless knightly gage.


My lord! my heart leaps to requite your challenge
As its brave bearing well deserves. What say ye,
My Danish men? Shall we not fitly thus
Purchase triumphant peace? Nay, nay, good Turkill,
Obstruct me not—the tide of common blood,
Could that suffice, too freely has been pour'd.
—Eustace of Bulloign, take this glove of mine
Back to the King of England: pledge that to-morrow
The Danish or the Saxon sun shall set.
On our part we appoint Earls Turkill, Gothmund,
And Anlaffe, marshals of the lists.


On ours, We shall depute Lords Frithegist and Morcar,
And (though scarce worthy of such fellowship)
Myself, poor Eustace Bulloign, brother of England.


Bulloign, your hand? I know none worthier.

(Exit Bulloign)

The time, my lords, 'twixt heaven and me
May be but brief; which, for our kingdom's welfare,
And our soul's comfort, must be husbanded.

(Exeunt Turkill, Gothmund, and company)


(after pacing apart for some time, with hurried step)

I thank ye, spirits of my ancestors!
Now look ye down on my aspiring soul,
And make me dreadful as the icy winds
That slay whate'er they breathe upon! Just vengeance!
Rush to my heart! make all my muscles steel—
Keen as my wrongs, as pliant as my will!
Spirit of Odin! to my life-blood leap—
And with thine ancient terrors light mine eyes,
That with my port I may appal all hearts!—
Thou gory mace! thou trenchant sword! twin ministers
Of fate and glory, to my heart I catch ye—
Fonder than ever father clasp'd his first-born!
—Ha! at the touch, the hot blood through my veins
Rushes like molten metal—Vengeance, thou’rt mine!
Glory, thou art my mate! empire, my guerdon!
—Lash your o'erwearied team, thou sluggish day,
And light me to the goal!—I tread on air!

(Exit into his tent)

(The Duke of Mercia, pp. 171-75)

The Lamentation of Ireland opens the book's section titled "Poems." It is dedicated to the Right Honourable Maurice Fitzgerald, knight of Kerry.6 The setting is the delta of the Shannon River on a calm, soothing summer evening. The author strolls absent-minded along the river's bank and lays down on a wave-worn rock. A blind old man, guided by a boy, approaches the seashore with faltering steps, drooping form and low, dejected head, "to pour a requiem to the dead, at the still close of day"; the aged bard blurts out a lament for Ireland. A brief excerpt follows.

The Lamentation of Ireland


"And why unstrung, unheeded, lies the lute?
Why does the warlike harp in silence sleep?
Cold is the slave's sad heart—and his lips mute—
Dishonour'd woman bows her head to weep:
Music has lost its charms of yore:
The martial hymn can kindle hearts no more,
Nor steal from memory scenes that make the flesh to creep.

"It cannot now restore lost liberty!
Th' oppressive yoke hath still'd each pulse of flame,
Whose fiery current once, tumultuously,
Had flash'd through every vein in tides of shame.
If but the hoary harper sang
The deeds of early days, or wildly rang
His country's living woes, his country's dying fame.

"Oh! say not weaker fires glow’d in each breast
Of those subdued yet honourable men:
That patriotic love more lightly prest—
That agonising thoughts of home were vain.
But we were not united, and they came
With all Ambition's singleness of aim—
How could unmarshal’d hosts their firm phalanx sustain!

"No—we might boast in our long lineage,
All that we love and reverence in mankind:
Hero and bard, the patriot and the sage,
With strength of arm, and energy of mind;
And, in the homeward bowers of love,
Fond wives and bashful maids were seen to move,
In every virtue strong, by every grace refined.

"Alas! dim shadows of immortal mind,
That, cloud-like, sweep o'er memory's silent waste,
Mark'd by no eye but his, the unconfined,
Bold votary of song!—how swift ye haste,
Upon the subtle winds of Time,
(Fast fading pageants of a fickle clime)
To yon dark bound, whence ye may never more be traced!"

(The Duke of Mercia, pp. 223-24)

The Poems section contains fifteen poems and eighteen sonnets. The following honours his wife.

To M.

YOU ask, for what I love thee, dearest!
Thy mind's unspotted purity.
You ask me, why I call thee fairest?
Because that mind is in thine eye.

'Tis not the sober claim of duty,
Nor feature's charm, nor wit's gay flight,
That binds me;—'tis the moral beauty
That clothes thee in an angel-light.

And yet thou art as fair a creature
As ever sprang from Nature's hand;
Of faultless form, and blooming feature,
With wit and wisdom at command.

But, oh! thou hast a richer treasure—
Thy gentle heart, thy soul, for me!
For these I'll love thee without measure,
And love thee—to eternity!

(The Duke of Mercia, pp. 252-53)

Sir Aubrey de Vere would not write another historical drama until 1844. It was published posthumously.

In the year 1844 De Vere was confined to bed with a painful disease and while here composed his greatest work, Mary Tudor: An Historical Drama. He completed it in September of the same year and Cardinal Manning wrote: "Perhaps my feeling may be tinged with a sympathy, but Gladstone's is not, and we agree in considering Mary Tudor the finest drama since Shakespeare's time."

(Limerick City Library)

6 Sir Maurice Fitzgerald the 14th Knight of Kerry fought on the Catholic side at the Battle of the Boyne. Under British rule he became a member of Parliament and Deputy Lieutenant of Kerry, he died in 1729.

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4. A Song of Faith: Devout Exercises and Sonnets

The second baronet devoted the remainder of his life to family, travel, poetry and the management of Curraghchase and the estate at Glangoole. He refrained from writing anything major until nineteen years after The Duke of Mercia. Then, four years before his death, he published the volume of poetry titled "A Song of Faith: Devout Exercises and Sonnets" (London: William Pickering, 1842).7

A Song of Faith: Devout Exercises and Sonnets is the work that Edgar A. Poe would have read. He reacted to the lecture by refurbishing his short poem A Paean (1831) into the significantly different Lenore (1843) thereafter penning the short story Eleonora (1844) and subsequently his most renowned poem The Raven (1845).8

Sir Aubrey de Vere dedicated A Song of Faith: Devout Exercises and Sonnets to William Wordsworth,

To know that you have perused many of the following Poems with pleasure, and did not hesitate to reward them with your praise, has been to me a cause of unmingled happiness. In accepting the Dedication of this Volume, you permit me to link my name—which I have hitherto done so little to illustrate—with yours, the noblest of modern literature. I may at least hope to be named hereafter as one among the friends of WORDSWORTH.

In the preface the author explains that he should be taken as a layman, not as an ecclesiastical authority, and perhaps in an oblique retort to Poe's criticism of religious poets, he adds that he writes religious poems because "our noblest impulses and purest emotions partake of poetry." 9

The Holy Spirit


THE Sadducee hath said there is no Soul,
Angel, nor Resurrection after death:
Yet there seems room to doubt that even he
Denied the Being of the Spirit of God—
For he denied not God—and God is Spirit.
The Pharisee, by him despised, confessed
A resurrection; and, in a sense restrained
Spirits angelical, created Powers.
Therefore they erred, not knowing yet the truth
By gospel light revealed: for to the Jews,
Whose law of faith was God in Unity,
The mystery profound of Three in One
Was undeveloped. Prophecies were dark,
And faint traditions fell as shadows, cast
Down from unseen Realities, 'till Earth
Received her Christ, and when He passed away,
Him whom He sent: the Holy Paraclete—
Acknowledged, not to outward sense revealed,
But known within the heart and by His Fruits.

(A Song of Faith, #8, p. 57)

The Church Catholic


THE supernatural Truths revealed in Christ,
The sacraments and holy ceremonies
Used as He hath appointed, which lead on,
Nay instigate to Godliness, and fence
From sin, and are memorials of His gifts,
Sure warrants of our faith, and marks whereby
His Flock may be distinguished—furthermore
Men's union with these things, in word and deed,
While by their lawful Pastors undefiled,
Leaders along the paths of holiness,
They walk instructed—these denote the true
And manifest condition of "The Church";
Essential, proper, and inseparable.
Ponder these things; discuss in humbleness:
So chastened Reason shall submit to Faith,
And help thee to shake off all adversaries,
As the vexed viper from the hand of Paul.

(A Song of Faith, #9, p. 65)

The Praise of God


HONOUR, and Glory, and Dominion,
Belong to God! like incense they ascend
Up from Earth's altar to his throne in Heaven!
For Him all sacrifices burn; to Him
All sceptres bend, all diadems bow down:
Empires are evanescent as the dew
That gems the path of morning among flowers.
What Power like His whose lifted hands send down
The lightnings, and with thunder shake the rocks?
Who good and fair, and worthy of all love,
As He whose charities like manna fall
On every creature? Who so wise as He
To whom all depths of knowledge lie as clear
As the calm crystal of the tropic sea?
For whom Time hath no mist, Nature no veil,
Depth no obscurity, no dimness height!
Who fashions for the spirit in the brain
Engines of eloquence, treasuries of thought!

(Devout Exercises, #11, p. 128)

Sacred And Profane Writers

LET those who will hang rapturously o'er
The flowing eloquence of Plato's page;
Repeat, with flashing eye, the sounds that pour
From Homer's verse as with a torrent's rage;
Let those who list, ask Tully to assuage
Wild hearts with high-wrought periods, and restore
The reign of rhetoric; or maxims sage
Winnow from Seneca's sententious lore.
Not these, but Judah's hallowed bards, to me
Are dear: Isaiah's noble energy;
The temperate grief of Job; the artless strain
Of Ruth, and pastoral Amos; the high songs
Of David; and the tale of Joseph's wrongs,
Simply pathetic, eloquently plain.

(Sonnets. I. Religious and Moral, #11, p. 145)


WHY have the mighty lived—why have they died?
Is it ever thus, in awful wreck, to strew
Such fields as thine, remorseless Waterloo?
—Hopeless the lesson! Fate hath ever cried
Vainly to man, "So perish human pride!"
Still must the many combat for the few—
Still must the noblest blood fair earth bedew—
Tyrants, slaves, freemen, mouldering side by side!
On such a day the world was lost and won
By Pompey, at Pharsalia; such a day
Saw glorious Hannibal a fugitive;
So faded, 'neath the Macedonian sun,
Persia's pale star; so empire passed away
From Harold's brow—but he disdained to live!

(Sonnets. II. On Character and Events, #2, p. 171)

The Rock of Cashel

ROYAL and saintly Cashel! I would gaze
Upon the wreck of thy departed powers
Not in the dewy light of matin hours,
Nor the meridian pomp of summer's blaze,
But at the close of dim autumnal days,
When the sun's parting glance, through slanting showers,
Sheds o'er thy rock-throned battlements and towers
Such awful gleams as brighten o'er Decay's
Prophetic cheek. At such a time, methinks,
There breathes from thy lone courts and voiceless aisles
A melancholy moral; such as sinks
On the lone traveller's heart, amid the piles
Of vast Persepolis on her mountain stand
Or Thebes half buried in the desert sand.

(Sonnets. III. Descriptive, #4, p. 193)

On the Funeral of A Lady And Her Son

THERE I beheld them last—nay, still behold—
The mother, and her son, both on one bier,
In their small coffins sleeping; both so dear
To me and mine! The heavy death-bell tolled;
And there was gathering of the young and old
Round those sad obsequies: I, in the rear,
Stept in slow grief, and deep religious fear;
Wrapping my heart in my cloak's silent fold!
And as the earth on each dark coffin's lid
Fell, there were tears (O how sincere!) and cries,
From the thick-crowding Poor, that rose unbid.
Ay, in far countries, there were streaming eyes,
And bosoms choked with sobs; such as suit well
A loss whose memory is indelible.

(Sonnets. IV. Personal. Miscellaneous, #10, p. 227)

Henry the Eighth

A REFORMATION needful, it was good
That he, the strong man, missioned to unbar
A Nation's prison, should be one endued
With iron heart, and eager hand for war:
Of vision stern, and piercing; slow to spare;
Prompt, resolute, and in his angry mood
Fatal: a captain whose crowned helm from far
Might lead the van of battle unwithstood.
Such Henry was; thus wrought; though red with crimes;
Voluptuous, despotic, pitiless;
Yet royally endowed for perilous times;
A weapon coarse yet apt; where gentleness
Had but provoked a wide spread martyrdom:
An Attila to scourge a latter Rome!

(Sonnets. V. Historical, #13, p. 249)

"Thy Kingdom Come." 1.

THY diadem is Grace, Thy sceptre Power,
Lord of that kingdom which shall have no end!
Thou, at whose frown Hell quakes, and demons cower,
With Thee shall Man debate—shall Earth contend?
Thou Chainer of the Proud! Thou who canst bend
Stiff-necked Rebellion in his fiercest hour—
O mighty Monarch! dost Thou condescend
To visit Man; partake a Mortal's bower?
Giver of all things! Didst Thou share with Man
His common wants? Prince of the star-set heaven!
Didst Thou lie down in the grave's narrow span?
O! once again to us—condemned, forgiven—
Return in glory, righteous Judge! and grant
Triumphant Palms to Thy Church militant!

(Sonnets. VI. On the Lord's Prayer, #8, p. 271)

Edgar A. Poe acknowledged the high calibre of De Vere's poetry by donning his "Guy de Vere" with lofty poetic flush and flourish on the two stanzas of Lenore where the baronet is "quoted."

Incidentally the name "Aubrey de Vere" fits like a glove on line 1.3 of Lenore the poem,

And, Guy de Vere, hast thou no tear?—weep now or nevermore!

Aubrey de Vere, hast thou no tear?—weep now or nevermore!

7 The name of the author printed for this volume of poetry is "Sir Aubrey de Vere."

Although some sources state that Sir Aubrey de Vere converted to Roman Catholicism, the Catholic Encyclopedia does not support the claim. The first line of De Vere's historical sonnet titled "Henry the Eighth" (reproduced above) shows where his religious sympathies lay. Still the Church of England is known as the "Anglican Catholic Church" for its similitude with the Roman Catholic Church,

The Church of England consciously retained a large amount of continuity with the Patristic and Medieval periods in terms of its use of the catholic creeds, its pattern of ministry, its buildings and aspects of its liturgy, but which also embodied Protestant insights in its theology and in the overall shape of its liturgical practice. The way that this is often expressed is by saying that the Church of England is both "catholic and reformed."

(http://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/history.aspx [7 Dec 2016]. The Church of England)

8 The earlier poem A Paean (1831) does not contain the word "Lenore." Edgar A. Poe brought the name Lenore into his poetry after A Song of Faith: Devout Exercises and Sonnets had been published in 1842.

9 Edgar A. Poe disliked religious poets and dismissed metaphysical poems as unworthy of the name. "I see no reason, then, why our metaphysical poets should plume themselves so much on the utility of their works, unless indeed they refer to instruction with eternity in view; in which case, sincere respect for their piety would not allow me to express my contempt for their judgement; contempt which it would be difficult to conceal, since their writings are professedly to be understood by the few, and it is the many who stand in need of salvation" (Posthumous Collection of Criticism, 1850).

10 This poem was first published in The Duke of Mercia, an historical Drama. The Lamentation of Ireland, and other Poems. The only significant difference is punctuation and unnecessary capitalization. In these regards the earlier version is better and is the one reproduced above.

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5. Lenore

Caspar David Friedrich Chapter 1 established that Guy de Vere is the Anglo-Irish poet Sir Aubrey de Vere, a highly respected author of Poe's day.

Dr. John Jebb wrote about him,11

How deeply subservient he made his highly-gifted intellect to the best purposes of morality and Christianity; and this pious inclination increased with his years. His surely was a happy life in the best sense of the word.

(Limerick City Library)

Lenore is both the love of this pious poet and the lost love of the soliloquist of The Raven. She must then represent a spiritual gift, grace, quality or virtue that De Vere is blessed with and which Edgar A. Poe no longer has. The pertinent clue is given on verses 3.3-4 of Lenore the poem,

The sweet Lenore hath "gone before," with Hope, that flew beside,
Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy bride—

The sweet Lenore is ascending to a golden throne beside the King of Heaven accompanied by Hope and by the baronet's love. Therefore she must be a personification of faith, the third member of the famous triad spelled out by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13:13.

11 Dr. John Jebb (b. 1805, d. 1886) was an Anglo-Irish Anglican priest and writer on church music. In 1843 he was made rector of Peterstow, a village in Herefordshire, West England. In 1858 he was made prebendary of Hereford Cathedral.

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6. Afterword

Lizzie Doten Elizabeth Doten (b. 1829, d. 1913) was a "medium or speaker" who claimed to receive poems from invisible intelligences in the spiritual world. In the prologue to Poems from the Inner Life (Boston: William White, 1864) Doten explains that "in the mysterious depths of the Inner Life, all souls can hold communion with those invisible beings who are our companions both in Time and Eternity." She makes no effort to persuade sceptics. When their souls sincerely hunger after revelation, she writes, they will seek and find it. The author considers herself—and many others—predestined from birth to "catch the thrill of the innumerable voices resounding through the universe" and to translate their messages into human language despite a translator's own imperfections. Quite a number of the poems published in the book, she states, were written several years before her appearance before the public as a medium or speaker. They were mostly the fruit of the slow process of thought, she admits candidly, "yet for some of these, even, I can claim as direct and special an inspiration as for those delivered upon the platform." A poem that convinced her about the reality of external inspiration was "Song of the North," received in April, 1853. This poem foresaw the tragic outcome of Sir John Franklin's expedition to find the Northwest Passage at a time when "strong hopes were entertained of the discovery of Franklin and his men, together with their safe return."

The first poem delivered to her by Poe arrived unexpectedly. "The influence of Poe was neither pleasant nor easy," she relates, "I can only describe it as a species of mental intoxication, I was tortured with a feeling of great restlessness and irritability, and strange, incongruous images crowded my brain." Some images were dazzling, others dark and repulsive. The experience of giving one of his poems on the stage would leave her feeling "quite ill for several days."

The lengthy poem "Farewell To Earth," a fragment of which is reproduced below, purports to have been given under the influence of Edgar A. Poe. "It was given in the city of New York, Monday evening, Nov. 2, 1863." 12 Doten describes her own verbal relay on stage as "the faintest possible echo of that most musical and majestic lyric which thrilled the harp-strings of my being."

"Farewell To Earth" is Poe's final communication to humans, Doten maintains, and is also the culmination "in the higher life" of Poe's transformation into a hero, the victorious overcomer of "every barrier that impeded the free out-growth and manifestation of his diviner self." "As he last appeared to me," she continues, "he was full of majesty and strength, self-poised and calm"; he had a radiant countenance and wore an olive wreath around his brow "whose leaves glowed like fire"; he stood on a mountainside "white and glittering like crystal."

One line of this poem employs Paul's triad of faith, hope and love. The verse is highlighted yellow.

Farewell To Earth. [Poe.]


Farewell! Farewell!
Like the chiming of the bells,
Which a tale of triumph tells,
As the news in tuneful notes,
Leaping from the brazen throats,
On the startled ether floats;—
So, in freedom, great and glorious,
Over the flesh and sense victorious,
Does the Spirit leap o'er the barrier which across its pathway lies!
Greater far than royal Caesar,
Fearless as the northern AEsir,
Drawn by Love's celestial magnet, winged with faith and hope it flies,
Upward o'er the starry pathway, leading onward through the skies,
To the land of Light and Beauty, where no bud of promise dies.

There, through all the vast Empyrean,
Wafted, as on gales Hesperian,
Comes the stirring cry of "Progress"! telling of the yet to be.
Tuneful as a seraph's lyre,
"Come up higher! Come up higher!"
Cry the hosts of holy angels; "learn the heavenly Masonry:
Life is one eternal progress: enter, then, the Third Degree;—
Ye who long for light and wisdom seek the Inner Mystery!"

(Poems from the Inner Life, p. 162)

12 That is two and a half years into the American Civil War (1861-65).

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