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On January 19, 1809, Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Poe's father and mother, both professional actors, died before the poet was three years old, and John and Frances Allan raised him as a foster child in Richmond, Virginia. Eldorado, written in 1849, shows the despair that is so common in Poe's work. According to legend, El Dorado is a city of gold and unimaginable wealth, and it derives its name from the Spanish word for "golden." Historically, the rumour of this mystical city hiding somewhere in South America has sparked a number of futile quests among the Spanish conquistadors of the sixteenth century. Notably, Gonzalo Pizarro and Francisco de Orellana led an expedition in search of the spices and gold of El Dorado, but the voyage ended in disease and hunger, although Orellana eventually discovered the Amazon River. Other searches for the city were similarly unsuccessful, and Poe indirectly alludes to this history of El Dorado in his poem by referencing its famous inaccessibility. In the poem, a gaily dressed and gallantly singing knight has searched day and night for Eldorado, but as time passes, he grows older and more melancholy because he cannot find it. As he loses his strength, he asks a "pilgrim shadow" of Eldorado's whereabouts, and the shadow replies that he must go "over the mountains of the moon" and "down the Valley of the Shadow" to find Eldorado. You can listen online to free English audiobook “Eldorado” by Edgar Allan Poe on our website.

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