[This is the 1827 version of The Lake by Edgar Allan Poe]

In youth's spring, it was my lot
To haunt of the wide earth a spot
To which I could not love the less;
So lovely was the loneliness
Of a wild lake, with black rock bound.
And the tall trees that tower'd around.
But when the night had thrown her pall
Upon that spot-- as upon all,
And the wind would pass me by
In its stilly melody,
My infant spirit would awake
To the terror of the lone lake.
Yet that terror was not fright--
But a tremulous delight,
And a feeling undefin'd,
Springing from a darken'd mind.
Death was in that poison'd wave
And in its gulf a fitting grave
For him who thence could solace bring
To his dark imagining;
Whose wild'ring though could even make
An Eden of that dim lake.

Lyrics submitted by precipitate

The Lake song meanings
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  • 0
    General Commentthis is probably the most beautiful song I've ever listened to [ever ever ever].
    precipitateon March 03, 2005   Link
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    General CommentSuch a simple song, so delicate it could be broken with a sneeze. To be listened to whilst watching a loved one dying or whilst touching your new born child or drowning. It's so moving and Antony's stunning voice just grabs hold of your heart and keeps a firm hold. One of my favourite Antony and the Johnsons songs
    mozza_fanon September 07, 2005   Link
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    General CommentThere was this uncomfortable familiarity when I first heard this song. And then I realised. It's a adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's The Lake - To.

    Hauntingly beautiful......
    ymjp100on December 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCome on - brilliant does not justify
    mohoon January 31, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with Precipitate. Possibly one of the most beautiful songs I've heard. It's such an effective juxtoposition of the old and the new. A perfect combination of lyric, voice, and music. Simply sublime! (And Poe pretty much defines the sublime right in the middle of his poem, lol.)
    hallospacegirlon December 16, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCan anyone give out a theory on this poem?
    buddion December 16, 2007   Link
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    General CommentI must like this song VERY much, seeing that I'm back. LoL. My interpretation of the poem: When the narrator was young and naive, he would go looking for very inspirational and beautiful places. He finda a secluded lake. And in his poetic frenzy he declares it to be absolutely fucking beautiful. He glorifies its loneliness and the beauty of loneliness. But then night falls and suddenly, being there alone, the darkness and loneliness is no longer so "cool" anymore, and he gets freaked out by REAL loneliness and terror and depression. He thinks about beauty, and he thinks about death. He looks into the black water and thinks that if he jumped in and drowned, it would put a silence to all of the terrible thoughts in his head. Death here, he thinks, would be a great place for that naive man who actually foolishly thought that this place was an Eden. I think it's from the perspective of an older and wiser man, looking back on his younger self. Obviously, my interpretation sucks away ever drop beauty from this poem.
    hallospacegirlon January 24, 2008   Link
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    General Commenti think it's about being able to appreciate the beauty in something totally, utterly depressing; and that happiness can take on many different forms.

    the lake embodies the part of the author who finds pleasure in reflecting about death and dark thoughts, and how he becomes aware of his pleasure, and is at once saddened and fufilled by this realization.
    claudel22on April 04, 2008   Link
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    General Commenti like both interpretations, thanks to hallospacegirl and claudel22!

    this song is outstanding
    i'm in love with it
    x_to_goon June 12, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentworth noting: (according to my award-winning 9th grade literature teacher) Poe believed that people are most perfect at birth, when they are closest to God, and that each and every experience takes you farther from God and therefore detracts from the perfection, but that death is a return to God and perfection. thus, Poe wanted to get as close to death as possible without actually dying in order to taste that perfection, so he used a lot of drugs and whatnot; this attitude was also reflected in his literature, most (i think possibly all, actually...) of which had to do with death. My teacher began and ended this lecture with a very simple sentence: "Poe is a freak."

    needless to say, this is an amazingly beautiful poem, amazingly beautiful musical rendition (as is always the case with Antony)
    HiOnMusicon September 16, 2009   Link

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