Monday, April 17, 2017

The Gazelle - A Parody of Poe's "The Raven" by Philip P. Cooke 1845

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A peculiar sign of the wide influence exercised by The Raven is the number of parodies and imitations it has given rise to: whilst many of these are beneath contempt some of them, for various reasons, are worthy of notice and even of preservation. The first of these, probably, in point of time if not of merit, is The Gazelle, by Philip P. Cooke, a young Virginian poet, who died just as he was giving promise of future fame. His beautiful lyric of Florence Vane had attracted the notice of Poe, who cited it and praised it highly, in his lectures on "The Poets and Poetry of America." The Gazelle might almost be regarded as a response to the elder poet's generous notice. Poe himself observes, that this parody "although professedly an imitation, has a very great deal of original power," and he published it in the New York Evening Mirror (April 29th, 1845), with the remark that "the following, from our new-found boy poet of fifteen years of age, shows a most happy faculty of imitation"—-John H Ingram

Far from friends and kindred wandering, in my sick
and sad soul pondering,
Of the changing chimes that float, from Old Time's
ever swinging bell,
While I lingered on the mountain, while I knelt me
by the fountain,
By the clear and crystal fountain, trickling through the
quiet dell;
Suddenly I heard a whisper, but from whence I could not tell,
           Merely whispering, "Fare thee well."

From my grassy seat uprising, dimly in my soul surmising,
Whence that voice so gently murmuring, like a faintly
sounded knell.
Nought I saw while gazing round me, while that voice
so spell-like bound me,
While that voice so spell-like bound me—searching in
that tranquil dell,
Like hushed hymn of holy hermit, heard from his
dimly-lighted cell,
           Merely whispering, "Fare thee well!"

Then I stooped once more, and drinking, heard once
more the silvery tinkling,
Of that dim mysterious utterance, like some fairy,
harp of shell—
Struck by hand of woodland fairy, from her shadowy
home and airy,
In the purple clouds and airy, floating o'er that mystic
And from my sick soul its music seemed all evil to expel,
           Merely whispering, "Fare thee well!"

Then my book at once down flinging, from my reverie
up springing,
Searched I through the forest, striving my vain terror
to dispel,
All things to my search subjecting, not a bush or tree
When behind a rock projecting, saw I there a white
And that soft and silvery murmur, in my ear so slowly
           Merely whispering, "Fare thee well!"

From its eye so mildly beaming, down its cheek a
tear was streaming,
As though in its gentle bosom dwelt some grief it
could not quell,
Still these words articulating, still that sentence ever
And my bosom agitating as upon my ear it fell,
That most strange, unearthly murmur, acting as a
potent spell,
           Merely uttering, "Fare thee well!"

Then I turned, about departing, when she from her
covert starting,
Stood before me while her bosom seemed with agony
to swell,
And her eye so mildly beaming, to my aching spirit
To my wildered spirit seeming, like the eye of Isabel.
But, oh! that which followed after—listen while the
tale I tell—
           Of that snow-white sweet gazelle.

With her dark eye backward turning, as if some
mysterious yearning
In her soul to me was moving, which she could not
thence expel,
Through the tangled thicket flying, while I followed
panting, sighing,
All my soul within me dying, faintly on my hearing fell,
Echoing mid the rocks and mountains rising round
that fairy dell,
           Fare thee, fare thee, fare thee well!

Now at length she paused and laid her, underneath an
ancient cedar,
When the shadowy shades of silence, from the day
departing fell,
And I saw that she was lying, trembling, fainting,
weeping, dying,
And I could not keep from sighing, nor from my sick
soul expel
The memory that those dark eyes raised—of my long
lost Isabel.
           Why, I could not, could not tell.

Then I heard that silvery singing, still upon my ear
'tis ringing,
And where once beneath that cedar, knelt my soft-eyed
sweet gazelle,
Saw I there a seraph glowing, with her golden tresses
On the perfumed zephyrs blowing, from Eolus' mystic
Saw I in that seraph's beauty, semblance of my Isabel,
           Gently whispering, 'Fare thee well!'"

"Glorious one," I cried, upspringing, "art thou joyful
tidings bringing,
From the land of shadowy visions, spirit of my Isabel?
Shall thy coming leave no token? Shall there no
sweet word be spoken?
Shall thy silence be unbroken, in this ever blessed dell?
Whilst thou nothing, nothing utter, but that fatal,
   'Fare thee well!"'
          Still it answered, 'Fare thee well!'"

"Speak! oh, speak to me bright being! I am blest
thy form in seeing,
But shall no sweet whisper tell me,—tell me that thou
lovest still?
Shall I pass from earth to heaven, without sign or
token given,
With no whispered token given—that thou still dost
love me well?
Give it, give it now, I pray thee—here within his
blessed dell,
         Still that hated 'Fare thee well.'"

Not another word expressing, but her lip in silence
With the vermeil-tinted finger seeming silence to
And while yet in anguish gazing, and my weeping eyes
To the shadowy, silent seraph, semblance of my
Slow she faded, till there stood there, once again the
white gazelle,
         Faintly whispering, "Fare thee well!"

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