"Prologue (Ligiea)"
album _The Raven_
(Lou Reed, 2003)

written by Lou Reed

Young Poe:

        In the science of the mind
        there is no point
        more thrilling than to notice
        which I never noticed in schools
        that in our endeavors
        to recall to memory something long-forgotten
        we often find ourselves upon the very verge of remembrance
        without being in the end
        able to remember

        Under the intense scrutiny of Ligeia's eyes
        I have felt the full knowledge
        and force of their expression
        and yet been unable to possess it
        and have felt it leave me as so many other things have left
        the letter half-read, the bottle half-drunk
        finding in the commonest objects
        of the universe a circle of analogies
        of metaphors for that expression
        which has been willfully withheld from me
        the access to the inner soul denied

        Eyes blazed with a too-glorious effulgence
        pale fingers transparent, waxen, the hue of the grave
        Blue veins upon the lofty forehead swelled
        and sunk impetuously with the tides of deep emotion
        and I saw that she must die
        that she was wresting with the dark shadow
        Her stern nature had impressed me
        with the belief that, to her
        death would come without its terrors
        but not so
        I groaned in anguish at the pitiable spectacle
        I would have soothed
        I would have reasoned
        But she was amid the most convulsive of writhings
        Oh, pitiful soul
        Her voice more gentle
        more low, and yet her words grew wilder of meaning
        I reeled, entranced, to a melody more than mortal

        She loved me, no doubt
        and in her bosom
        love reigned as no ordinary passion
        But in death only was I impressed
        with the intensity of her affection
        Her more than passionate devotion amounted to idolatry
        How had I deserved to be so blessed
        and then cursed with the removal of my beloved
        upon the hour of her most delirious musings

        In her more than womanly abandonment to a love
        all unmerited and unworthily bestowed
        I came to realize the principle of her longing
        It was a yearning for life
        an eager, intense desire for life
        which was now fleeing so rapidly away
        as she returned solemnly to her bed of death
        And I had no utterance capable of expressing it
        except to say
        Man doth not yield to the angels
        nor unto death utterly
        save only through the weakness of his feeble will

        I became wild with the excitement
        of an immoderate does of opium
        I saw her raising wine to her lips
        or may have dreamed that I saw fall within a goblet
        as if from some invisible spring
        in the atmosphere of the room
        three of four large drops
        of a brilliant and ruby-colored fluid
        While Ligeia lay in her bed of ebony
        the bed of death
        with mine eyes riveted upon her body
        Then came a moan
        a sob low and gentle but once
        I listened in superstitious terror but heard it not again
        I strained vision to see any motion in the corpse
        but here was not the slightest perceptible
        Yet I had heard the noise
        and my whole soul was awakened within me
        The red liquid fell and I thought, Ligeia lives
        and I felt my brain reel
        my heart cease to beat
        and my limbs go rigid where I sat
        In extremity of horror
        I heard a vague sound issuing from the region of the bed
        Rushing to her I saw
        I distinctly saw
        a tremor upon her lips
        I sprang to my feet and chafed
        and bathed the temples and hands but in vain
        all color fled
        all pulsation ceased
        Her lips resumed the expression of the dead
        the icy hue, the sunken outline
        and all the loathsome peculiarities of that
        which for many days has been the tenant of the tomb

        And again I sank into visions of Ligeia
        And again I heard a low sob
        As I looked she seemed to grow taller
        What inexpressible madness seized me with that thought?
        I ran to touch her
        Her head fell, and her clothing crumbled
        and there streamed forth huge masses of long disheveled hair
        It was blacker
        than the raven wings of midnight

transcribed by Shiroh KOUCHI (wildside@mx21.tiki.ne.jp)