The North American Review (vol. 224)
Like, but unlike, the sun that shone,
The waves that beat the shore,
The words we said, the songs we sung,
Like, unlike, evermore .
For ghosts unseen crept in between,
And when our songs flowed free,
Sang discords in an undertone,
And marred our harmony.
" The past is ours, not yours, " they said:
" The waves that beat the shore,
Though like the same, are not the same,
O, never, nevermore! "
The author of the above remarkable stanzas is also unknown.
The poem is entitled Again, and Poe must have admired it
greatly, though he never mentions it in any of his essays or criti
cisms on poetry. The fact is that Poe not even once praised the
poetry of an anonymous poet, although not much of the poetry
of his day escaped his notice. Again probably was written in
America half a century before Poe.
Undoubtedly Poe had read a great number of similar stanzas
without being overmuch impressed. Not even Lowell ' s Thren-
odia could make him see the possibilities of the word " never
more. " No wonder. Lowell was no metricist, his stanzas lack
that undefinable something which irresistibly appeals to us in
spite of ourselves. This is the way not to write poetry:
Gone, gone from us! and shall we see
These sibyl-leaves of destiny,
Those calm eyes, nevermore?
Those deep, dark eyes so warm and bright,
Wherein the fortune of the man
Lay slumbering in prophetic light,
In characters a child might scan?
So bright, and gone forth utterly!
O stern word Nevermore!
Poe saw nothing to admire in this. " Nevermore, " without a
rhyming word in close proximity, he hardly noticed.
Evermore, however, opened wide his eyes. He scanned the
stanzas, and his unerring eye and ear found them almost fault-