“Song” is a ballad-style poem, which was first published in Tamerlane and Other Poems in 1827, the speaker tells of a former love he saw from afar on her wedding day. A blush on her cheek, despite all the happiness around her, displays a hidden shame for having lost the speaker’s love.
It is believed to reference Poe’s lost teenage love Sarah Elmira Royster, who broke off her engagement with Poe presumably due to her father. She instead married the wealthy Alexander Shelton. If this is the case, Poe was taking poetic license: he was not in Richmond at the time of her wedding.
I saw thee on thy bridal day —
When a burning blush came o’er thee,
Though happiness around thee lay,
The world all love before thee:
And in thine eye a kindling light
(Whatever it might be)
Was all on Earth my aching sight
Of Loveliness could see.
That blush, perhaps, was maiden shame —
As such it well may pass —
Though its glow hath raised a fiercer flame
In the breast of him, alas!
Who saw thee on that bridal day,
When that deep blush would come o’er thee,
Though happiness around thee lay;
The world all love before thee.
Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:12