Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”

“We loved with a love that was more than love.”

“I have great faith in fools – my friends call it self-confidence.”

“All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”

“I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched.”

“From childhood’s hour I have not been. As others were, I have not seen. As others saw, I could not awaken. My heart to joy at the same tone. And all I loved, I loved alone.”

“There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.”

“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”

“Never to suffer would never to have been blessed.”

“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.”

“Sleep, those little slices of death — how I loathe them.”

“Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.”

“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought – from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.”

“It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.”

“All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.”

“I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active – not more happy – nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.”

“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”

“Science has not yet taught us if madness is or is not the sublimity of the intelligence.”

“Invisible things are the only realities.”

“With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion.”

“Sometimes I’m terrified of my heart; of its constant hunger for whatever it is it wants. The way it stops and starts.”

“I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow.”

“There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told.”

“Deep in earth my love is lying and I must weep alone.”

“The best things in life make you sweaty.”

“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.”

“The true genius shudders at incompleteness – and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not everything it should be.”

“I dread the events of the future, not in themselves but in their results.”

“The past is a pebble in my shoe.”

“The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.”

“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.”

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”

“Now this is the point. You fancy me a mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded…”

“There are moments when even to the sober eye of reason, the world of our sad humanity may assume the semblance of Hell. ”

“Yet mad I am not…and very surely do I not dream.”

“Every moment of the night
Forever changing places
And they put out the star-light
With the breath from their pale faces”

“The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?”

“To elevate the soul, poetry is necessary.”

“I intend to put up with nothing that I can put down.”

“Convinced myself, I seek not to convince.”

“There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion.”

“That which you mistake for madness is but an overacuteness of the senses.”

“And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.”

“And I fell violently on my face.”

“True, nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am, but why will say that I am mad?! The disease had haunted my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. Of all the sense of hearing acute.”

“And all I loved, I loved alone.”

“Stupidity is a talent for misconceptions.”

“Even in the grave, all is not lost.”

“Perversity is the human thirst for self-torture.”

“Fill with mingled cream and amber,
I will drain that glass again.
Such hilarious visions clamber
Through the chamber of my brain —
Quaintest thoughts — queerest fancies
Come to life and fade away;
What care I how time advances?
I am drinking ale today.”

“Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger, portion of truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant.”

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. In their gray visions they obtain glimpses of eternity, and thrill, in waking, to find that they have been upon the verge of the great secret. In snatches, they learn something of the wisdom which is of good, and more of the mere knowledge which is of evil.”

“Mysteries force a man to think, and so injure his health.”

“The rain came down upon my head – unsheltered. And the wind rendered me mad and deaf and blind.”

“Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made.”

“If you run out of ideas follow the road; you’ll get there”

“Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow–
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream:
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision or in none,
Is it therefore the less _gone_?
_All_ that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.”

“…And, all at once, the moon arouse through the thin ghastly mist, And was crimson in color… And they lynx which dwelleth forever in the tomb, came out therefrom. And lay down at the feet of the demon. And looked at him steadily in the face.”

“And so being young and dipped in folly I fell in love with melancholy.”

“A woman being never at a loss… the devil always sticks by them.”

“The ninety and nine are with dreams, content, but the hope of the world made new, is the hundredth man who is grimly bent on making those dreams come true.”

“The idea of God, infinity, or spirit stands for the possible attempt at an impossible conception.”

“The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame.”

“Villains!’ I shrieked. ‘Dissemble no more! I admit the deed! Tear up the planks! Here, here! It is the beating of his hideous heart!”

“We gave the future to the winds, and slumbered tranquilly in the present, weaving the dull world around us into dreams.”

“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 if some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. “‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door–Only this and nothing more.”

“In criticism, I will be bold, and as sternly, absolutely just with friend and foe. From this purpose nothing shall turn me.”

“A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it.”

“When, indeed, men speak of Beauty, they mean, precisely, not a quality, as is supposed, but an effect – they refer, in short, just to that intense and pure elevation of soul – not of intellect, or of heart.”

“But our love was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.”

“Either the memory of past bliss is the anguish of to-day; or the agonies which are have their origins in ecstasies which might have been. ”

“Everything we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”

“Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore…”

“Imperceptibly the love of these discords grew upon me as my love of music grew stronger.”

“We had always dwelled together, beneath a tropical sun, in the Valley of the Many Colored Grass.”

“For the moon never beams, without giving me dreams, of the beautiful Annabel Lee, And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes, of the beautiful Annabel Lee”

“…that fitful strain of melancholy which will ever be found inseperable from the perfection of the beautiful.”

“…A change fell upon all things. Strange brilliant flowers, star-shaped, burst out upon the trees where no flowers had been before. The tints of the green carpet deepened; and when, one by one, the white daisies shrank away, there sprang up, in place of them, ten by ten of the ruby-red asphodel. And life arose in our paths; for the tall flamingo hitherto unseen, with all gay glowing birds, flaunted his scarlet plumage before us. The golden and silver fish haunted the river…”

“A man’s grammar, like Caesar’s wife, should not only be pure, but above suspicion of impurity.”

“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.”

“I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty.”

“To be thoroughly conversant with Man’s heart, is to take our final lesson in the iron-clasped volume of Despair”

“Out- out are the lights- out all! And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,
While the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.”

“In our endeavors to recall to memory something long forgotten, we often find ourselves upon the very verge of remembrance, without being able, in the end, to remember.”

“To vilify a great man is the readiest way in which a little man can himself attain greatness.”

“The pioneers and missionaries of religion have been the real cause of more trouble and war than all other classes of mankind.”

“No thinking being lives who, at some luminous point of his life of thought, has not felt himself lost amid the surges of futile efforts at understanding, or believing, that anything exists greater than his own soul.”

“True! – nervous – very, very nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?”

“A million candles have burned themselves out. Still I read on. (Montresor)”

“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence.”

“Lord help my poor soul. (Last words of…)”

“Thank Heaven! The crisis. The danger is past, and the lingering illness, is over at last /, and the fever called ”Living” is conquered at last.”

“There is an eloquence in true enthusiasm”

“After reading all that has been written, and after thinking all that can be thought, on the topics of God and the soul, the man who has a right to say that he thinks at all, will find himself face to face with the conclusion that, on these topics, the most profound thought is that which can be the least easily distinguished from the most superficial sentiment.”

“The result of law inviolate is perfection–right–negative happiness. The result of law violate is imperfection, wrong, positive pain.”

“In the Heaven’s above, the angels, whispering to one another, can find, among their burning terms of love, none so devotional as that of ‘Mother.”

“That man is not truly brave who is afraid either to seem or to be, when it suits him, a coward.”

“In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream”

“It is a happiness to wonder; — it is a happiness to dream.”

“Our talk had been serious and sober,
But our thoughts they were palsied and sere –
For we knew not the month was October,
And we marked not the night of the year –
(Ah, night of all nights in the year!)
We noted not the dim lake of Auber –
(Though once we had journeyed down here) –
Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,
Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.”

“But see, amid the mimic rout
A crawling shape intrude!
A blood-red thing that writhes from out
The scenic solitude!
It writhes!- it writhes!- with mortal pangs
The mimes become its food,
And seraphs sob at vermin fangs
In human gore imbued.

Out- out are the lights- out all!
And, over each quivering form,
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,
While the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, “Man,”
And its hero the Conqueror Worm.”

“If we cannot comprehend God in his visible works, how then in his inconceivable thoughts, that call the works into being?”

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before”

“Music, when combined with a pleasurable idea, is poetry; music, without the idea, is simply music; the idea, without the music, is prose, from its very definitiveness.”

“And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy dark eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams–
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams!”

“I do not suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.”

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 death around thee—and their will
Shall overshadow thee: be still. […]”

“There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion, even by the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made.”

“Deep into the darkness peering,
long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal
ever dared to dream before.”

“From childhood’s hour, I have not been. As others were; I have not seen. As others saw; I could not bring my passions from a common spring. From the same source, I have not taken. My sorrow; I could not awaken. My heart to joy at the same tone; And all I loved, I loved alone.”

“In the deepest slumber-no! In delirium-no! In a swoon-no! In death-no! even in the grave all is not lost.”

“To him, who still would gaze upon the glory of the summer sun, there comes, when that sun will from him part, a sullen hopelessness of heart.”

“Man’s real life is happy, chiefly because he is ever expecting that it soon will be so.”

“A judge at common law may be an ordinary man; a good judge of a carpet must be a genius.”

“That single thought is enough. The impulse increases to a wish, the wish to a desire, the desire to an uncontrollable longing, and the longing (to the deep regret and mortification of the speaker, and in defiance of all consequences,) is indulged.”

“Beauty of whatever kind, in its true development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.”

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