Israfel

Israfel” is a poem that was written by the grand American poet Edgar Allan Poe. This poem is written about an angel who he calls ‘Israfel’.

When Edgar Allan Poe was writing this poem it invokes the angle. The poem was first published in a magazine. So, let us get started with the poem.

Summary

At the beginning of the poem, he says that Israfel is an angel who has a sweeter voice among all the gods and goddesses. In Koran, we will find all her details.

In the very first lines, the poet says that in heaven she stays who has a voice like a string of lute. Nobody can sing like her as she sings a song. This is no other than Israfel.

She ceases all the hymns and she spells his voice to make others mute. In the first stanza, he is describing the sweet voice of Israfel.
By her voice, everything totters, even the highest noon as it stars blushing with love.

“While, to listen, the red levin
(With the rapid Pleiads, even,
Which were seven,)
Pauses in Heaven.”

the moon starts blushing by listening to the ‘red levin’ with the ‘pleiads’. A total of seven  pause in heaven. So, in this stanza, her voice is being compared with other components.

They talk about how the starry choirs and others used to listen to things. Israfeli’s fire seems like it is owing to the lyre (‘lyre’ is a musical instrument). He starts singing by sitting and raising the voice like unusual strings.

“But the skies that angel trod,
Where deep thoughts are a duty,
Where Love’s a grown-up God,
Where the Houri glances are
Imbued with all the beauty
Which we worship in a star.”

These lines are taken from the fourth stanza of the poem where he says in the sky the angels use to dance to his song. That becomes a deep duty of the angels where they put up a gown of love and the ‘houri’ glance stays there.

Israfel, angle of soft voice
Israfel, angle of soft voice

The scenario is imbued with beauty and we worship them by looking at the stars. So, there is a mild satire because the poet is talking about their entertainment that we celebrate.

Therefore, the is poet is saying that Israfeli’s art is not wrong. It despised the impassioned song. The song that it is singing is not matching to her perfectly. It is the wisest who is living longer in heaven.

“The ecstasies above
With thy burning measures suit—”

By these two lines, he describes the ecstasy with that only the burning measures suit. Love, passion, joy, hate everything to stay in the favor of the lute. Nothing stands for Israfeli. This is why the stats stay muted in the sky.

Now, the seventh stanza opens with another image where the poet saying that the heave is thine though the world is of sweet and sours.

“Our flowers are mere—flowers,
And the shadow of thy perfect bliss
Is the sunshine of ours.”

The flowers in the world sprouts and the shadow of them also perfectly bliss in the sunshine. The sunshine is of them who live in the world.

The Book Cover of Israfel
The Book Cover of Israfel

In the late and final stanza, Poe is uttering that if he can dwell in the country where Israfel also dwelt and sing so freely as it sings, then it could be a melody.

“While a bolder note than this might swell
From my lyre within the sky.”

So, the poet wants to go to a country where Israfel sings. While a bolder note swell from the lyre with the sky poet wants to go there for the voice.

Analysis

There is a romanticism in the voice of the poet. With that, the poet also has a love for music when he starts the poem, he opines that Israfel has a melodious voice and the poet loves it very much.

In the middle of the poem, he compares the voice with some other opponents. There is a mild satire when the poet is uttering that other Angels are dancing to Israfeli’s voice.

Israfel
Israfel

His voice is so beautiful that it does not match the dance of other angles. At the end of the poem, he says that he wants to go to the place where Israfel dwells and he wants to taste the tune of Israfeli.

Theme

‘Romanticism’ is the central theme of the poem. Here, the poet talks about the melodious voice and also compares the voice with ‘lyre’. So, the poet is in love with the soft tune of Israfel that transforms into a major theme of the poem.

Literary Devices

The poem ‘Israfel’ consists of eight stanzas and there are all total fifty- two lines. There is no perfect rhyme scheme that Poe used. But that we find are ‘ABACBC ABAABA’. Though many literary devices are being added here.

First comes ‘Assonance’ that means the repetition of vowel sounds in a line or in a sentence just like,

“In Heaven, a spirit doth dwell
“Whose heart-strings are a lute”;
None sing so wildly well”

Here, the ‘s’ sound is being repeated.

Exaggeration is another poet’s use that means explaining a simple thought in many ways, just like expanding the same thing.
There we also find hyperbole that means giving stress to a single phrase to highlight that. Like,

“With thy burning Measures suit.”

Here, ‘burning measures’ is a hyperbole.

Except for these literary devices we have ‘symbolism’, ‘imagery’ but these are minor devices.

Questions

What is the poem Israfel about?

The poem ‘Israfel’ is about the magnificent voice of an angel.

What does Israfel mean?

Israfel is an angel and is depicted as an angel of music.

What type of poem is Israfel?

It is a Romantic poem by Edgar Allen Poe.

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