Eldorado Poem by Edgar Allan Poe

The poem’s title, ‘El Dorado,’ refers to a mythical city made of gold. The poem’s title, ‘El Dorado,’ refers to a mythical city made of gold. This article explores the summary, theme, and form of Eldorado Poem, before delving into four stanzas that reflect the themes of death and despair. 

El Dorado

One of Edgar Allan Poe’s final poems is thought to be ‘Eldorado.’ It was first published in Flag of Our Union in Boston in 1849, during the gold rush.

This context may have influenced Poe’s creation of the “gallant knight” seeking wealth and paradise. Scholars have frequently drawn parallels between the quest of the knight in ‘Eldorado’ and Poe’s quest for happiness in his life.

Poe died six months after completing the work. Several composers have set ‘Eldorado’ to music and used it in the lyrics of popular songs since it was written.

Eldorado Poem

Gaily bedight,

A gallant knight,

In sunshine and in shadow,

Had journeyed long,

Singing a song,

In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old,

This knight so bold,

And o’er his heart a shadow

Fell as he found

No spot of ground

That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength

Failed him at length,

He met a pilgrim shadow;

“Shadow,” said he,

“Where can it be,

This land of Eldorado?”

“Over the mountains

Of the moon,

Down the valley of the shadow,

Ride, boldly ride,”

The shade replied,–

“If you seek for Eldorado!”

Edgar Allan Poe

Allan Poe is widely regarded as one of the most famous authors and poets of the nineteenth century. Famous poems like “The Raven” and short stories like “The Tell-Tale Heart” are among his works. Poe’s work is distinguished by its dark themes of despair, murder, and mystery.

“Eldorado,” written in the final year of Poe’s life, was one of his final works. Evidence from letters written to friends suggests that Poe was depressed or at the very least in a bad mental state during this period in his life.

As we read and analyze “Eldorado,” keep the circumstances and Poe’s personal life experiences in mind.

Analysis of Eldorado Poem

Here we analyze the poem using the following parameters:


Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Eldorado’ uses the metaphor of a knight seeking the lost city to discuss the futility of dreams and lifelong pursuits.

The speaker begins the poem by stating that there was a knight who had spent his entire life traveling through “sunshine and…shadow.” He was on the hunt for Eldorado, the lost paradise city said to be buried beneath a mountain of gold. The knight never found the city despite searching for years.

The speaker describes the knight’s strength failing him in the middle of the poem. He was getting old and was about to die. This is when he comes across a tree along the road.

This person, or perhaps a ghost from the afterlife, informed him that the only way to Eldorado is through death. It necessitates traveling through places like the Bible’s “valley of the shadow of death.”


In ‘Eldorado,’ Poe explores some intriguing themes. Dreams, journeys, and death are examples of these. The latter is something that, despite his bravery and determination, even the knight cannot avoid.

It represents the end of his life, as well as the end of everyone reading this piece and the poet who wrote it. His journey took far longer than he would have liked, but he was determined to find Eldorado and the wealth that it held.

His dreams were unattainable, which many people, including the poet, could probably relate to.

Form and Structure

‘Eldorado,’ by Edgar Allan Poe, is a four-stanza poem divided into six-line sextets. These sextets adhere to a consistent rhyme scheme that conforms to the AABCCB pattern, changing end sounds as the poet sees fit.

This piece contains two lines that end in the same way throughout the poem. In all four stanzas, lines three and six ends with the rhyming words “shadow” and “Eldorado.” This results in a refrain that enhances the rhythm and adds a haunting musical quality to the lines.

The lines are less consistent when it comes to the meter. The stanzas do not follow any particular metrical pattern.

They alternate between iambic dimeter and trimeter. Lines one, two, four, and five are in iambic dimeter for almost all of the stanzas. This means that each line has two two-beat sets. The first is unstressed, while the second is stressed.

The last two lines are distinct. Seven syllables are used in the first, second, and third stanzas, with a hanging, unpaired unstressed syllable at the end. This is true until the final stanza when the pattern changes to trochaic tetrameter. There are four sets of four beats in the lines “Down the Valley of the Shadow” and “‘If you seek Eldorado!” The first is stressed, while the second is not.

Literary Techniques

In ‘Eldorado,’ Edgar Allan Poe employs a number of literary devices. Enjambment, repetition, and imagery are just a few examples.

The latter is one of the novel’s most important literary devices. Several interesting examples can be found, including the first lines of stanza four. “Over the Mountains / Of the Moon, / Down the Valley of the Shadow,” they said.

Enjambment is a common formal device used in poetry to end lines and begin new lines in unexpected places. It also aids in controlling the rate at which the reader moves through the poem. Consider the transitions in the second stanza between lines four, five, and six.

Finally, there are several instances of repetition in the poem. The use of the word “Eldorado” at the end of the last line of each stanza is the most obvious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *