"Al Aaraaf" is an early poem by American writer Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1829. It is based on stories from the Qur'an, and tells of the afterlife in a place called Al Aaraaf. At 422 lines, it is Poe's longest poem.
"Al Aaraaf" is the longest poem Poe wrote and was inspired by Tycho Brahe's discovery of a supernova back in 1572 which was visible for about seventeen months. Poe identified this nova with Al Aaraaf, a star that was the place between paradise and hell. Al-A`raaf (Arabic الأعراف, alternatively transcribed Aʿraf or Al Orf) was a place where people who have been neither markedly good nor markedly bad had to stay until forgiven by God and let into Paradise, as discussed in Sura 7 of the Qur'an. As Poe explained to a potential publisher:
Its title is "Al Aaraaf" from the Al Aaraaf of the Arabians, a medium between Heaven and Hell where men suffer no punishment, but yet do not attain that tranquil & even happiness which they suppose to be the characteristics of heavenly enjoyment.
In the opening section of the poem, God commands Nesace, a name for Beauty's spirit, to convey a message to "other worlds". Nesace rouses the angel Ligeia and tells her to awaken the other thousand seraphs to perform God's work. Two souls, however, fail to respond: the "maiden-angel" Ianthe and her "seraph-lover" Angelo (Michelangelo), who describes his death on earth and the flight of his spirit to Al Aaraaf. Ianthe and Angelo are lovers, and their failure to do as Nesace commanded results in God not allowing them into heaven.
"Tamerlane" is an epic poem by Edgar Allan Poe. The poem itself follows a Turkic conqueror named Tamerlane. The name is a Latinized version of "Timur Lenk", the 14th-century warlord, though the poem is not historically accurate.
Tamerlane ignores the young love he has for a peasant in order to achieve power. On his deathbed, he regrets this decision to create "a kingdom [in exchange] for a broken heart". The peasant is named Ada in most of Poe's original version of the poem, though it is removed and re-added throughout its many revised versions. The name "Ada" is likely a reference to Ada Lovelace, the daughter of Lord Byron, a renowned poet whom Poe admired. In fact, the line "I reach'd my home — my home no more" echoes a line in Byron's work Don Juan.