Real and Imaginary Poetry

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EL 266

"And this ray is a fairy ray --
Did you not say so, Isabel?
How fantastically it fell
With a spiral twist and a swell,
And over the wet grass rippled away
With a tinkling like a bell!"
- Poe, Fairyland

"This wonderful plan, without danger or loss,
    Keeps your cash in your hands, where nothing can trouble it;
And every time that you fold it across,
    'Tis as plain as the light of the day that you double it!"
- Poe, Epigram for Wall Street

In the selections given, Poe talks about both real and imaginary worlds. Epigram for Wall Street and Ode to Science both describe the "real" world, while Fairyland and The Haunted Palace have imaginary elements to them.

In Ode to Science Poe makes it much clearer that the prefers the imaginary world to the real, because science has taken away the allure of the magical. He also brings this up in Fairyland when he is speaking of the moonbeams. Poe calls them "fairy rays," saying that they float down to earth with a twinkling upon the grass. Indeed he does mention the scientifically waxing and waning of the moon, but he does not dwell on this idea. In order for his romanticism to shine through, Poe chooses to represent the more magical elements of nature.

Epigram for Wall Street is most definitely a "down to earth" poem, where Poe discussing the benefits of Wall Street.   In this passage, I detect a hint of sarcasm where he says, "Keeps cash in your hands, where nothing can trouble it."  Since Poe spoke so lowly of science in other poems, I cannot imagine that he would be a fan of Wall Street. I most definitely believe there is something more to this passage.

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