The Complete poems of Edgar Allan Poe, by Edgar Allan Poe

Bridal Ballad

Bridal Ballad (1837)

First published simply as “Ballad” in the January 1837 edition of the Southern Literary Messenger, it was later retitled as “Bridal Ballad” when it was printed in the July 31, 1831 edition of the Saturday Evening Post. The poem is unusual for Poe because it is written in the voice of a woman, specifically a recently-married bride. Despite her reassurances that she is “happy,” the poem has a somber tone as it recounts a previous love who has died. In marrying, she has broken her vow to this previous lover to love him eternally.

Poe biographer Daniel Hoffman says that “Bridal Ballad” is guilty of “one of the most unfortunate rhymes in American poetry this side of Thomas Holley Chivers.” He is referring to the name of the bride’s dead lover, “D’Elormie,” which he calls “patently a forced rhyme” for “o’er me” and “before me” in the previous lines Aldous Huxley made the same observation, calling the rhyme “ludicrous” and “horribly vulgar.”

The poem is one of the only works by Poe to be written in the voice of a woman. See also the humorous tale “A Predicament.”

The ring is on my hand,

And the wreath is on my brow;

Satin and jewels grand

Are all at my command,

And I am happy now.

And my lord he loves me well;

But, when first he breathed his vow,

I felt my bosom swell —

For the words rang as a knell,

And the voice seemed his who fell

In the battle down the dell,

And who is happy now.

But he spoke to re-assure me,

And he kissed my pallid brow,

While a reverie came o’er me,

And to the church-yard bore me,

And I sighed to him before me,

Thinking him dead D’Elormie,

“Oh, I am happy now!”

And thus the words were spoken,

And this the plighted vow,

And, though my faith be broken,

And, though my heart be broken,

Here is a ring, as token

That I am happy now!

Would God I could awaken!

For I dream I know not how!

And my soul is sorely shaken

Lest an evil step be taken —

Lest the dead who is forsaken

May not be happy now.

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/p/poe/edgar_allan/p74p/poem41.html

Last updated Monday, March 17, 2014 at 17:10