Eulalie by Edgar Allan Poe: Summary & Analysis

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Taking a break from Edgar Allan Poe's more macabre writing, we get a glimpse at the transforming power of love in ~'Eulalie.~' In this lesson, we'll read the poem, look at a summary and break down what Poe was saying.

Poe's Emotion

It can never be said of Edgar Allan Poe that he left you wondering what he was thinking. The author and poet wrote with an intensity and mystery that became characteristic of his writing, whether he was discussing murder and madness in ''The Tell-Tale Heart,'' or the emotion of life-changing love in his poem, ''Eulalie.''

''Eulalie,'' written in 1845, is a lyric poem, the type of writing that focuses on the author's emotions with a pleasing rhythmic tone. Poe is writing this poem in first person viewpoint, meaning we're hearing the poem through Poe's own words with terms like ''I'' and ''my.'' Clearly, since we know Poe is speaking about someone he loves, that this is an important subject matter we should look at more closely.


Let's start with a reading of this brief poem:

I dwelt alone
In a world of moan,
And my soul was a stagnant tide,
Till the fair and gentle Eulalie became my blushing bride-
Till the yellow-haired young Eulalie became my smiling bride.

Ah, less- less bright
The stars of the night
Than the eyes of the radiant girl!
That the vapor can make
With the moon-tints of purple and pearl,
Can vie with the modest Eulalie's most unregarded curl-
Can compare with the bright-eyed Eulalie's most humble and careless curl.

Now Doubt- now Pain
Come never again,
For her soul gives me sigh for sigh,
And all day long
Shines, bright and strong,
Astarte within the sky,
While ever to her dear Eulalie upturns her matron eye-
While ever to her young Eulalie upturns her violet eye.

In this poem, Poe is detailing how lonely his life was when he was by himself, but how all of that changed when Eulalie became his wife. In fact, in the second stanza Poe shows how smitten he is with his new bride, calling her eyes brighter than the stars, and describing her hair as more beautiful than the beauty and power of the moon.

Poe concludes the poem by telling readers how the pain and doubt of his solitary life will never again touch him now that Eulalie is by his side. She ''shines, bright and strong,'' Poe tells us, comparing her to a Middle Eastern goddess, Astarte, who watches Eulalie with pride and approval from the heavens. We are led to believe in the poem's last stanza that now that Poe and Eulalie are joined in marriage, their souls are intertwined and everything good will follow them.

Analyzing ''Eulalie''

We know from historical accounts that Poe likely wrote ''Eulalie'' about his wife, Virginia, and how her love and presence in his life moved him from a world of sadness and depression to a life of joy and completeness. It's the type of poem that almost every woman hopes to have written about herself someday, right?

Without getting too in-depth, Poe endured the loss of some important female figures in his life, including his mother when he was just a young boy. It's likely that his relationship with his Eulalie filled some hole in his life that had been left empty after years of tragedy and depression.

Early in the poem, we get a glimpse of Poe's life before Eulalie, which was characterized by loneliness and despair. Yet, Poe does not dwell on his life before; the entire premise of the poem is to honor Eulalie and the difference she has made in his life.

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