Romance by Edgar Allan Poe

“Romance” is one of the rarest creations of Edgar Allan Poe, where the American writer, poet, and literary critic took a break from his genres of gore and horror, to write about romance, grasping the essence of nature.



Romance, who loves to nod and sing
With drowsy head and folded wing
Among the green leaves as they shake
Far down within some shadowy lake,
To me a painted paroquet
Hath been—most familiar bird—
Taught me my alphabet to say,
To lisp my very earliest word
While in the wild wood I did lie,
A child—with a most knowing eye.

Of late, eternal condor years
So shake the very Heaven on high
With tumult as they thunder by,
I have no time for idle cares
Through gazing on the unquiet sky;
And when an hour with calmer wings
Its down upon my spirit flings,
That little time with lyre and rhyme
To while away—forbidden things—
My heart would feel to be a crime
Unless it trembled with the strings.

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Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Romance”

“Romance” stands out in the loop of poetry due its eye-catching abundance of the bird motif in the poem. In the first two lines of the poem, it gives the characteristics of a bird that the author sees. To him “Romance” represents a bird, a bird with a folded wing. In the fifth and sixth lines the poet refers Romance as a “painted paroquet (Parakeet)” and “a most familiar bird.” The poem shows the contrast in the most beautiful way referring to the ideal world represented as pure and innocent youth, and the harsh real world.

The poet carefully dissects the poem into two different stanzas keeping the innocence in the first, and portraying the harsh nature of the universe in the second. In the first line of the second stanza, he mentions “eternal Condor years”, meaning many passing years. He uses “with tumult as they thunder by” to describe how the condor soars across the sky. The poet mentions “an hour with calmer wings”, which shows the elation of the poet.

In the first half of the poem, romance is seen as a reflection in a shadowy, blurry lake, portraying the physical attributes of a painted parakeet. The poet states that while the writer was still a child, the “bird” taught him the alphabets to survive in the wild woods. On the other hand, in the second part, the writer has gone through years of journey and is older, and every time the condor is mentioned, his tone changes.

Whenever the poet sees the sky, the poet knows that the condor is following him and thus has no free time for unimportant business. The poet portrays what the condor is to him; a part of his soul. And to him, every passing second that he finds he wants only one thing, for spending time on any other thing, to him, is a crime by heart.

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