Elizabeth

Elizabeth, it surely is most fit
[Logic and common usage so commanding]
In thy own book that first thy name be writ,
Zeno and other sages notwithstanding;
And I have other reasons for so doing
Besides my innate love of contradiction;
Each poet - if a poet - in pursuing
The muses thro' their bowers of Truth or Fiction,
Has studied very little of his part,
Read nothing, written less - in short's a fool
Endued with neither soul, nor sense, nor art,
Being ignorant of one important rule,
Employed in even the theses of the school-
Called - I forget the heathenish Greek name
[Called anything, its meaning is the same]
"Always write first things uppermost in the heart."

by Edgar Allan Poe

Comments (13)

Each poet - if a poet - in pursuing The muses thro' their bowers of Truth or Fiction, Has studied very little of his part, Read nothing, written less - in short's a fool Endued with neither soul, nor sense, nor art, Great poem, thanks poet.
A fantastic poem but not one of Poe's greatest works.
Susan is correct that this poem is an acrostic. She mentions that the first letters of each line spell out the name Elizabeth. That is true, but if you keep reading, it also spells out the name Rebecca after that. However, then she says that the initials L.E.L. are in the third line. I don't see that. In fact, I can't find the letter L at all in the third line.
What a great basic truth for all poets or writers of any kind is revealed in his last line: Always write first things uppermost in the heart. Write what you know. Great advice for all.
It sounds as though Poe is being satirical in this poem; like he is making fun of himself as a poet.
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