Treasure Island

Edgar Allan Poe

(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849 / Boston)

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Spirits Of The Dead


Thy soul shall find itself alone
'Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone;
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 death around thee, and their will
Shall overshadow thee; be still.

The night, though 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 for ever.

Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
Now are visions ne'er to vanish;
From thy spirit shall they pass
No more, like dew-drop 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!

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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Read poems about / on: solitude, red, heaven, hope, alone, dark, death, light, god, night, life, star, tree

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Comments about this poem (Spirits Of The Dead by Edgar Allan Poe )

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  • Natasha Foster (3/1/2013 10:47:00 AM)

    To Lilith: I have a book of his short stories and poems, too! Isn't he the most amazing author? ! He's my #1 favorite of them all. (Report) Reply

  • Assorted Thoughts (2/7/2012 6:52:00 PM)

    Poe actually did achieve a fair amount of accolades during his lifetime.
    Unlike some other poets, the most accurate reviews of his work were recorded during his existence.
    History has deemed Poe as king of the damned and as long as we adhere to that formula he will never find peace… if you believe in that sort of thing ? (Report) Reply

  • Alek Lenth (2/7/2012 6:03:00 PM)

    I have always admired how Poe takes direct command of color and light in his poems. Although often cast as dark and grey, when he bursts in with red it really sets my mind for the strangeness about to come... (Report) Reply

  • Juan Olivarez (2/7/2012 9:07:00 AM)

    Edgar Allan Poe in my opinion is the greatest of all American poets. Greater by far that Walt Whitman. My proof is this, everybody can recite several of Poe's poems. The only one's tat I know people can recite of Whitman is Oh Captain My Captain.Whitman though a great orator and writer wrote poems that are so forgettable. Poe was in a class all his own. The way he used words is unmatched by any other poet on Earth. (Report) Reply

  • Manonton Dalan (2/7/2012 3:43:00 AM)

    i was just little kid when my father passed away;
    that first night was full of thoughts where did he go,
    a place we know little about. maybe he will come
    back from those distant hill so quiet or maybe will
    come back like breeze to kiss my face...but never
    did. my sadness went away in few days. (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Poewhit (2/7/2010 4:05:00 AM)

    POE, brings a real perspective of GOD, the universe and the minute size of a dew drop.Capturing the mortal clay of our selfs, in the vastness of GODS heaven (Report) Reply

  • Indira Renganathan (2/7/2010 3:47:00 AM)

    A released spirit after death doesn't mean to be the liberated soul.....it's only the spirit fresh with the dead's still alive thoughts or emotions from which the soul is to depart once for all for next birth after a destined period....and that is the mystery of mysteries....the poet has depicted it beautifully.... (Report) Reply

  • Terence George Craddock (2/7/2010 2:09:00 AM)

    Edger Allan Poe is the master of the macabre in both short story and in verse. The persona of this poem relates another of Edger's possible thematic dimensions of death. These spirits of the dead are lost souls newly come into death, and we witness their first hour of death, as our own potential after life. 'Into thine hour of secrecy', could be our own fate or destiny, our own first awakening in death. The newly deceased are advised 'Be silent in that solitude', in that first hour, because
    In life before thee, are again
    In death around thee, and their will
    Shall overshadow thee; be still.
    The concept of spirits long dead assuming greater power than the newly dead is embedded in many cultures. The poem attains rich macabre imagery but the essence is
    Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish,
    Now are visions ne'er to vanish;
    These words describing thoughts and visions ne’er to banish or vanish, imply an eternity to face the consequences of our deeds in life in a limbo of the lost. Another rich tale from a master, at invoking settings of emotive alternative realities. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (2/7/2010 1:58:00 AM)

    With the death everything will not disappear of a person! Spirit of persons like the light of hope burning inside, like the dew dropp on leaves and mist on hills will be there forever. This will be as mysterious as the mist on the hill ever! Nice speculation over matter after death! (Report) Reply

  • Ross Tirapelle (11/25/2009 9:20:00 PM)

    It sems like a warning to me... Tread light when you walk upon the dead or ghosts and goblins will come and shake your bed. I love Poe! (Report) Reply

  • Patrick Bois (2/7/2009 3:19:00 PM)

    He's talking about the incessant dialogue between mortality and immortality, mortals and immortals, and how that's a mystery. It pays to reread before pinning down something so masterful. (Report) Reply

  • Glen Moore (2/7/2008 10:15:00 AM)

    The poem flows well. He sees an emptiness to death. I can understand how someone could feel that way. But death has not stopped life. Wonderful people pass through the world and really leave legacies and positive memories. John Donne 'For Whom the Bell Tolls, ' has a fuller view of death.

    I suppose Poe is talking about the mystery of death. Perhaps that is the theme. But he let his characteristic dreary and morbid feelings make the mystery too much indifference and misery. (Report) Reply

Read all 24 comments »

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