Edgar Allan Poe

Poetry    &    Stories

Spirits of the Dead

Thy soul shall find itself alone
'Mid dark thoughts of the gray tombstone -
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.

Be silent in that solitude
Which is not loneliness, for then
The spirits of the dead who stood
In life before thee are again
In dead around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee: be still.

The night, tho' clear, shall frown,
And the stars shall not look down
From their high thrones in the heaven
With light like Hope to mortals given;
But their red orbs, without beam,
To thy weariness shall seem

As a burning and a fever
Which would cling to thee forever.
Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish -
Now are visions ne'er to vanish;
from thy spirit shall they pass
No more - like dew-drops from the grass.

The breeze - the breath of God - is still,
And the mist upon the hill
Shadowy - shadowy - yet unbroken,
Is a symbol and a token, -
How it hangs upon the trees,
A mystery of mysteries!

The Haunted Palace

In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace
Snow-white palace reared its head.
In the monarch thought's dominion
It stood there!
Never Seraph spread his pinion
Over fabric half so fair.

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow
This all this was in the olden
Time long ago
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the rampart plumed and pallid,
A winged odour went away.

All wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows saw
Spirits moving musically
To a lute's well tuned law,
Round about a throne where sitting
In state his glory well befitting,
The sovereign of the realm was seen.

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door ;
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

But evil things in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch's high estate!
Ah, let us mourn for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him desolate!
And round about his home the glory,
That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

And travellers now within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows, see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody;
While, like a rapid ghastly river,
Through the pale door;
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh but smile no more.

The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore --
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
" 'T is some visitor, " I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--
Only this and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow -- vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow -- sorrow for the lost Lenore--
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me -- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before:
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating.
" 'T is some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door--
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door--
That it is and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger: hesitating then no longer,
"Sir, " said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore:
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"-- here I opened wide the door--
Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there wondering fearing.
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before:
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word "Lenore!"--
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore--
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore--
'T is the wind an nothing more!"

Open here i flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door--
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just a bove my chamber door--
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore--
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning -- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human beeing
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door--
Bird or beast upon the sculplured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the Raven sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpoor.
Nothing further then he uttered, not a feather then he fluttered--
Till I scarcely more then muttered, "Other friends have flown before --
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utteres is it only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore --
Till the dirges of his Hope the melancholy burden bore 
Of 'Never - nevermore.'"

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door,
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore--
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking, "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl, whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er
But whose velvet-violet lining with lamp-light gloating o'er
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God has lent thee -- by these angels he hath sent
Respite -- respite the nephente from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh, quaff this kind nephente and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! -- prophet still, if bird of devil!
Whether Tempter sent, or whatever tempest tossed thee ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted --
On this home by Horror haunted -- tell me truly, I implore --
Is there -- is there balm in Gilead? -- tell me -- tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! -- prophet still, if bird of devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us -- by that God we both adore--
Tell his soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore --
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! -- quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor,
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted -- nevermore!

Classic Poe ~ Tales of Terror

The Black Cat

The Fall of the House of Usher

The Oblong Box

The Premature Burial

The Devil in the Belfry

The Murders in the Rue Morgue
(2 parts)

The Pit and the Pendulum

The Tell-Tale Heart