To The River by Edgar Allan Poe

Illuminated Poetry POWER POINT -1xw15j3

“To The River” – by Edgar Allan Poe (assonance fair river in thy bright, alliteration wandering water,

The poem is about a man encapsulated by the varied beauty of a woman. And how the lake is beautiful, for it is just a reflection of her beauty. And just like the river he too is beautiful, for he holds her image. “To The River” addresses a social custom; which is love. The man is talking to himself about how beautiful this girl is and how she vary beauty reflects within the water. Throughout the entire poem, it is quite abstract using the river as a metaphor for his perception of her. Utilizing connotation when he says “which glistens then, and trembles” just as a river trembles when brushed by the beauty of the wind. He trembles by the sight of his lover. Also, “the heart which trembles” this is connotation for his rapidly beating heart when she’s around. Poe’s diction towards the subject revolves around the river; for example “crystal, glistens, stream, wave.” Poe’s tone towards the poem is entirely different to his later works of horror and depression. As this poem is again ambiguous but, is about love. For example; “Thou art an emblem of the glow of beauty — unhidden heart,” this man is completely in love with this maiden of the Lake. “To The River” is written as two stanzas. The first stanza contains six lines with rhyme scheme ABACCB, while the second stanza contains eight lines with rhyme scheme ABABCDCD, all rhyme is end rhyme and is open. He makes the poem sound optimistic and happy by utilizing assonance and euphony “fair river in thy bright,” alliteration “wandering water.” This poem is one giant metaphor, filled with symbolism “for in my heart as in thy stream; her image deeply lies” comparing his heart to a stream. Flowing steadily and is everlasting. The title works well in conjunction to the poem. “To The River” describes the setting, yet leaving it ambiguous enough to leave some mystery. And the poem is quite ambiguous as the meaning differs from person to person with the common theme of love. Edgar Allan Poe demonstrates his skill and utter mastery of his craft by being able to grasp the reader from the title to the bitter end. And “To The River” is no different. We can all relate to the character through our mutual love for others and how the most common of streams can be beautiful.

To The River” by Edgar Allan Poe – 1829 

Fair river! in thy bright, clear flow

Of crystal, wandering water,

Thou art an emblem of the glow

Of beauty — the unhidden heart —

The playful maziness of art

In old Alberto’s daughter;

But when within thy wave she looks —

Which glistens then, and trembles —

Why, then, the prettiest of brooks

Her worshipper resembles;

For in my heart, as in thy stream,

Her image deeply lies —

The heart which trembles at the beam

Of her soul-searching eyes.

Choices: Why I choose the pictures I did

picture #1

The poem describes this riverbed, and I wanted to find a river bed that was quite tranquil, calm, and beautiful.

picture #2

“Thou art an emblem of the glow of beauty — the unhidden heart.”

When I read this line, I always would imagine a golden heart shrouded in darkness. Only able to see by its golden glow.

picture #3

“The playful maziness of art of old Alberto’s daughter.”

When I read this line, I would think of abstract blotches of paint. To demonstrate the “maziness” Poe was writing.

picture #4

“but when within thy wave she looks — which glistens then, and trembles.”

this line always made me think of a beautiful eye that is just sparkling.

picture #5

“Why, then, the prettiest of brooks her worshipper resembles.”

I would always see a woman that is physically a part of the lake. That her body is the body of water Poe describes

picture #6

“For in thy heart as in thy stream.”

Edgar Allan Poe is describing that is heart is like a stream so I thought it would be fitting if a river would look like a heart.

picture #7

“her image deeply lies.”

I wanted to find an image that looks as if she vary image engraves into the man’s brain, that it would demonstrate not only her beauty but also his love for her.

picture #8

“The heart which trembles at the beam, of her soul-searching eyes.”

I love this picture because the eye looks as if it is staring directly into space, seeing the vary soul of the universe.

Music Choice:

Song used: Grace by Sophie Hutchings

The song has this beautiful melody which gradually builds like Poe’s love for this girl. And the beats just fall seamlessly into the rhythm of the poem. The song is tranquil, calm and elegant just like the poem.


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