It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
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.
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 some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed-
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.
'Twas noontide of summer,
And mid-time of night;
And stars, in their orbits,
Shone pale, thro' the light
By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!
My spirit not awakening, till the beam
Of an Eternity should bring the morrow.
Yes! tho' that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,
The ring is on my hand,
And the wreath is on my brow;
Satin and jewels grand
Are all at my command,
Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
I dwelt alone
In a world of moan,
And my soul was a stagnant tide,
Till the fair and gentle Eulalie became my blushing bride-
"Seldom we find," says Solomon Don Dunce,
"Half an idea in the profoundest sonnet.
Through all the flimsy things we see at once
As easily as through a Naples bonnet-
For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,
Brightly expressive as the twins of Leda,
Shall find her own sweet name, that nestling lies
Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.
Hear the sledges with the bells-
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
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.
Elizabeth, it surely is most fit
[Logic and common usage so commanding]
In thy own book that first thy name be writ,
Zeno and other sages notwithstanding;
Romance, who loves to nod and sing,
With drowsy head and folded wing,
Among the green leaves as they shake
Far down within some shadowy lake,
O! nothing earthly save the ray
(Thrown back from flowers) of Beauty's eye,
As in those gardens where the day
Springs from the gems of Circassy-
Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. He died on October 7, 1849, Baltimore, Maryland. He was an American author, short-story writer, poet, editor and literary critic who is famous for his cultivation of mystery, detective fiction and the macabre and considered part of the American Romantic Movement. He is fable “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (1841) initiated the modern detective story, and the atmosphere in his tales of horror is unique in American fiction. His “The Raven” (1845) numbers among the best-known poems in the national literature. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career. Edgar may have been named after a character in William Shakespeare's King Lear, a play the couple was performing in 1809.
Poe was the second child of the English-born actress Elizabeth Arnold Poe and David Poe, Jr., an actor from Baltimore. He had an elder brother, William Henry Leonard Poe, and a younger sister, Rosalie Poe. His father abandoned their family in 1810, and his mother died a year later from tuberculosis. Poe was then taken into the home of John Allan, a successful Scottish merchant in Richmond, Virginia, who dealt in a variety of goods including tobacco, cloth, wheat, tombstones, and slaves. The Allans served as a foster family and gave him the name "Edgar Allan Poe", though they never formally adopted him. Then he was sent to Scotland and England (1815–20) for classical education, which he continued in Richmond. He attended the University of Virginia for 11 months in 1826, but his custodian was so enraged by his gambling losses that he refused to allow him to continue. Poe returned to Richmond to find his sweetheart, (Sarah) Elmira Royster and got engaged. He went to Boston, where in 1827 he published a pamphlet of youthful Byronic poems, Tamerlane, and Other Poems. Poverty forced him to join the army but, on the death of Poe’s foster mother, John Allan purchased his release from the army. He helped Edgar's get an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Military Career Unable to support himself, on May 27, 1827, Poe enlisted in the United States Army as a private. Using the name "Edgar A. Perry", he claimed he was 22 years old even though he was 18. He first served at Fort Independence in Boston Harbor for five dollars a month. That same year, he released his first book, a 40-page collection of poetry, Tamerlane and Other Poems, attributed with the byline "by a Bostonian". Only 50 copies were printed, and the book received virtually no attention. Poe's regiment was posted to Fort Moultrie in Charleston, South Carolina and traveled by ship on the brig Waltham on November 8, 1827. Poe was promoted to "artificer", an enlisted tradesman who prepared shells for artillery, and had his monthly pay doubled. After serving for two years and attaining the rank of Sergeant Major for Artillery (the highest rank a noncommissioned officer can achieve), Poe sought to end his five-year enlistment early. He revealed his real name and his circumstances to his commanding officer, Lieutenant Howard. Howard would only allow Poe to be discharged if he reconciled with John Allan and wrote a letter to Allan, who was unsympathetic. Several months passed and pleas to Allan were ignored; Allan may not have written to Poe even to make him aware of his foster mother's illness. Frances Allan died on February 28, 1829, and Poe visited the day after her burial. Perhaps softened by his wife's death, John Allan agreed to support Poe's attempt to be discharged in order to receive an appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. Poe finally was discharged on April 15, 1829, after securing a replacement to finish his enlisted term for him. Before entering West Point, Poe moved back to Baltimore for a time, to stay with his widowed aunt Maria Clemm, her daughter, Virginia Eliza Clemm (Poe's first cousin), his brother Henry, and his invalid grandmother Elizabeth Cairnes Poe. Meanwhile, Poe published his second book, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems, in Baltimore in 1829. Poe traveled to West Point and matriculated as a cadet on July 1, 1830. In October 1830, John Allan married his second wife, Louisa Patterson. The marriage, and bitter quarrels with Poe over the children born to Allan out of affairs, led to the foster father finally disowning Poe. Poe decided to leave West Point by purposely getting court-martialed. On February 8, 1831, he was tried for gross neglect of duty and disobedience of orders for refusing to attend formations, classes, or church. Poe tactically pled not guilty to induce dismissal, knowing he would be found guilty. He left for New York in February 1831, and released a third volume of poems, simply titled Poems. The book was financed with help from his fellow cadets at West Point, many of whom donated 75 cents to the cause, raising a total of $170. They may have been expecting verses similar to the satirical ones Poe had been writing about commanding officers. Printed by Elam Bliss of New York, it was labeled as "Second Edition" and included a page saying, "To the U.S. Corps of Cadets this volume is respectfully dedicated." The book once again reprinted the long poems "Tamerlane" and "Al Aaraaf" but also six previously unpublished poems including early versions of "To Helen", "Israfel", and "The City in the Sea". He returned to Baltimore, to his aunt, brother and cousin, in March 1831. His elder brother Henry, who had been in ill health in part due to problems with alcoholism, died on August 1, 1831. Publishing Career After his brother's death, Poe began more earnest attempts to start his career as a writer. He chose a difficult time in American publishing to do so. He was the first well-known American to try to live by writing alone and was hampered by the lack of an international copyright law. Publishers often pirated copies of British works rather than paying for new work by Americans. The industry was also particularly hurt by the Panic of 1837. Despite a booming growth in American periodicals around this time period, fueled in part by new technology, many did not last beyond a few issues and publishers often refused to pay their writers or paid them much later than they promised. Poe, throughout his attempts to live as a writer, had to repeatedly resort to humiliating pleas for money and other assistance. After his early attempts at poetry, Poe had turned his attention to prose. He placed a few stories with a Philadelphia publication and began work on his only drama, Politian. The Baltimore Saturday Visiter awarded Poe a prize in October 1833 for his short story "MS. Found in a Bottle". The story brought him to the attention of John P. Kennedy, a Baltimorean of considerable means. He helped Poe place some of his stories, and introduced him to Thomas W. White, editor of the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond. Poe became assistant editor of the periodical in August 1835, but was discharged within a few weeks for being caught drunk by his boss. Returning to Baltimore, Poe secretly married Virginia, his cousin, on September 22, 1835. He was 26 and she was 13, though she is listed on the marriage certificate as being 21. Reinstated by White after promising good behavior, Poe went back to Richmond with Virginia and her mother. He remained at the Messenger until January 1837. During this period, Poe claimed that its circulation increased from 700 to 3,500. He published several poems, book reviews, critiques, and stories in the paper. On May 16, 1836, he had a second wedding ceremony in Richmond with Virginia Clemm, this time in public. The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket was published and widely reviewed in 1838. In the summer of 1839, Poe became assistant editor of Burton's Gentleman's Magazine. He published numerous articles, stories, and reviews, enhancing his reputation as a trenchant critic that he had established at the Southern Literary Messenger. Also in 1839, the collection Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque was published in two volumes, though he made little money off of it and it received mixed reviews. Poe left Burton's after about a year and found a position as assistant at Graham's Magazine. In June 1840, Poe published a prospectus announcing his intentions to start his own journal, The Stylus. Originally, Poe intended to call the journal The Penn, as it would have been based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In the June 6, 1840 issue of Philadelphia's Saturday Evening Post, Poe bought advertising space for his prospectus: "Prospectus of the Penn Magazine, a Monthly Literary journal to be edited and published in the city of Philadelphia by Edgar A. Poe." The journal was never produced before Poe's death. Around this time, he attempted to secure a position with the Tyler administration, claiming he was a member of the Whig Party. He hoped to be appointed to the Custom House in Philadelphia with help from President Tyler's son Robert, an acquaintance of Poe's friend Frederick Thomas. Poe failed to show up for a meeting with Thomas to discuss the appointment in mid-September 1842, claiming to be sick, though Thomas believed he was drunk. Though he was promised an appointment, all positions were filled by others. One evening in January 1842, Virginia showed the first signs of consumption, now known as tuberculosis, while singing and playing the piano. Poe described it as breaking a blood vessel in her throat. She only partially recovered. Poe began to drink more heavily under the stress of Virginia's illness. He left Graham's and attempted to find a new position, for a time angling for a government post. He returned to New York, where he worked briefly at the Evening Mirror before becoming editor of the Broadway Journal and, later, sole owner. There he alienated himself from other writers by publicly accusing Henry Wadsworth Longfellow of plagiarism, though Longfellow never responded. On January 29, 1845, his poem "The Raven" appeared in the Evening Mirror and became a popular sensation. Though it made Poe a household name almost instantly, he was paid only $9 for its publication. It was concurrently published in The American Review: A Whig Journal under the pseudonym "Quarles". The Broadway Journal failed in 1846. Poe moved to a cottage in the Fordham section of The Bronx, New York. That home, known today as the "Poe Cottage", is on the southeast corner of the Grand Concourse and Kingsbridge Road. Virginia died there on January 30, 1847. Biographers and critics often suggest Poe's frequent theme of the "death of a beautiful woman" stems from the repeated loss of women throughout his life, including his wife. Increasingly unstable after his wife's death, Poe attempted to court the poet Sarah Helen Whitman, who lived in Providence, Rhode Island. Their engagement failed, purportedly because of Poe's drinking and erratic behavior. However, there is also strong evidence that Whitman's mother intervened and did much to derail their relationship. Poe then returned to Richmond and resumed a relationship with his childhood sweetheart, Sarah Elmira Royster.
Literary Influence During his lifetime, Poe was mostly recognized as a literary critic. Fellow critic James Russell Lowell called him "the most discriminating, philosophical, and fearless critic upon imaginative works who has written in America", though he questioned if he occasionally used prussic acid instead of ink. Poe was also known as a writer of fiction and became one of the first American authors of the 19th century to become more popular in Europe than in the United States. Poe is particularly respected in France, in part due to early translations by Charles Baudelaire. Baudelaire's translations became definitive renditions of Poe's work throughout Europe. Poe's early detective fiction tales featuring C. Auguste Dupin laid the groundwork for future detectives in literature. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle said, "Each [of Poe's detective stories] is a root from which a whole literature has developed.... Where was the detective story until Poe breathed the breath of life into it?" The Mystery Writers of America have named their awards for excellence in the genre the "Edgars". Poe's work also influenced science fiction, notably Jules Verne, who wrote a sequel to Poe's novel The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket called An Antarctic Mystery, also known as The Sphinx of the Ice Fields. Science fiction author H. G. Wells noted, "Pym tells what a very intelligent mind could imagine about the south polar region a century ago." Like many famous artists, Poe's works have spawned innumerable imitators. One interesting trend among imitators of Poe, however, has been claims by clairvoyants or psychics to be "channeling" poems from Poe's spirit. One of the most notable of these was Lizzie Doten, who in 1863 published Poems from the Inner Life, in which she claimed to have "received" new compositions by Poe's spirit. The compositions were re-workings of famous Poe poems such as "The Bells", but which reflected a new, positive outlook. Even so, Poe has received not only praise, but criticism as well. This is partly because of the negative perception of his personal character and its influence upon his reputation. William Butler Yeats was occasionally critical of Poe and once called him "vulgar". Transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson reacted to "The Raven" by saying, "I see nothing in it" and derisively referred to Poe as "the jingle man". Aldous Huxley wrote that Poe's writing "falls into vulgarity" by being "too poetical" —the equivalent of wearing a diamond ring on every finger. It is believed that only 12 copies of Poe's first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems, have survived. In December 2009, one copy sold at Christie's, New York for $662,500, a record price paid for a work of American literature.
Eureka: A Prose Poem, an essay written in 1848, included a cosmological theory that presaged the Big Bang theory by 80 years, as well as the first plausible solution to Olbers' paradox. Poe eschewed the scientific method in Eureka and instead wrote from pure intuition. For this reason, he considered it a work of art, not science, but insisted that it was still true and considered it to be his career masterpiece. Even so, Eureka is full of scientific errors. In particular, Poe's suggestions opposed Newtonian principles regarding the density and rotation of planets.
Poe had a keen interest in cryptography. He had placed a notice of his abilities in the Philadelphia paper Alexander's Weekly (Express) Messenger, inviting submissions of ciphers, which he proceeded to solve. In July 1841, Poe had published an essay called "A Few Words on Secret Writing" in Graham's Magazine. Realizing the public interest in the topic, he wrote "The Gold-Bug" incorporating ciphers as part of the story. Poe's success in cryptography relied not so much on his knowledge of that field (his method was limited to the simple substitution cryptogram), as on his knowledge of the magazine and newspaper culture. His keen analytical abilities, which were so evident in his detective stories, allowed him to see that the general public was largely ignorant of the methods by which a simple substitution cryptogram can be solved, and he used this to his advantage. The sensation Poe created with his cryptography stunt played a major role in popularizing cryptograms in newspapers and magazines. Poe had an influence on cryptography beyond increasing public interest in his lifetime. William Friedman, America's foremost cryptologist, was heavily influenced by Poe. Friedman's initial interest in cryptography came from reading "The Gold-Bug" as a childï-interest he later put to use in deciphering Japan's PURPLE code during World War II.
The historical Edgar Allan Poe has appeared as a fictionalized character, often representing the "mad genius" or "tormented artist" and exploiting his personal struggles. Many such depictions also blend in with characters from his stories, suggesting Poe and his characters share identities. Often, fictional depictions of Poe use his mystery-solving skills in such novels as The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl.)
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes! - that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it 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.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,
In the sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
Of late, eternal Condor years So shake the very Heaven on high With tumult as they thunder by, I have no time for idle cares Through gazing on the unquiet sky.
The want of an international Copy-Right Law, by rendering it nearly impossible to obtain anything from the booksellers in the way of remuneration for literary labor, has had the effect of forcing many of our very best writers into the service of the Magazines and Reviews.
Hear the sledges with the bells— Silver bells!
There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.
The waves have now a redder glow— The hours are breathing faint and low— And when, amid no earthly moans, Down, down that town shall settle hence, Hell, rising from a thousand thrones, Shall do it reverence.
Lo! Death has reared himself a throne In a strange city lying alone Far down within the dim West, Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best Have gone to their eternal rest.
Resignedly beneath the sky The melancholy waters lie. So blend the turrets and shadows there That all seem pendulous in air, While from a proud tower in the town Death looks gigantically down.
Semi-Saracenic architecture, sustaining itself as if by miracle in mid air; glittering in the red sunlight with a hundred oriels, minarets, and pinnacles; and seeming the phantom handiwork, conjointly, of the Sylphs,... the Fairies,... the Genii, and ... the Gnomes.
Banners yellow, glorious, golden, On its roof did float and flow
But evil things, in robes of sorrow, Assailed the monarch's high estate;
In the greenest of our valleys By good angels tenanted, Once a fair and stately palace— Radiant palace—reared its head. In the monarch Thought's dominion, It stood there!
like a ghastly rapid river, Through the pale door A hideous throng rush out forever, And laugh—but smile no more.
Nor will this overwhelming tendency to do wrong for wrong's sake, admit of analysis, or resolution into ulterior elements. It is a radical, a primitive impulse—elementary.
There might be a class of beings, human once, but now to humanity invisible, for whose scrutiny, and for whose refined appreciation of the beautiful, more especially than for our own, had been set in order by God the great landscape-garden of the whole earth.
Think ... before the words—the vows are spoken, which put yet another terrible bar between us.... I call upon you in the name of God ... to be sincere with me—Can you, my Annie, bear to think I am another's?
In writing these Tales ... at long intervals, I have kept the book-unity always in mind ... with reference to its effect as part of a whole.
My love—my faith—should instil into your bosom a praeternatural calm. You would rest from care.... You would get better.... And if not, Helen,... if you died—then at least would I clasp your dear hand in death, and willingly—oh, joyfully ... go down with you into the night of the Grave.
The history of all Magazines shows plainly that those which have attained celebrity were indebted for it to articles similar in natureto Berenice—although, I grant you, far superior in style and execution. I say similar in nature. You ask me in what does this nature consist? In the ludicrous heightened into the grotesque: the fearful coloured into the horrible: the witty exaggerated into the burlesque: the singular wrought out into the strange and mystical.
Imperceptibly the love of these dischords grew upon me as my love of music grew stronger.
During these fits of absolute unconsciousness I drank, God only knows how often or how much. As a matter of course, my enemies referred the insanity to the drink rather than the drink to the insanity. I had indeed, nearly abandoned all hope of a permanent cure when I found one in the death of my wife.
You need not attempt to shake off or to banter off Romance. It is an evil you will never get rid of to the end of your days. It is a part of yourself ... of your soul. Age will only mellow it a little, and give it a holier tone.
Men die nightly in their beds, wringing the hands of ghostly confessors ... on account of the hideousness of mysteries which will not suffer themselves to be revealed.
The prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure ...: buffoons,... improvisatori,... ballet-dancers,... musicians,... Beauty,... wine. All these and security were within. Without was the "Red Death."
As the strong man exults in his physical ability, delighting in such exercises as call his muscles into action, so glories the analyst in that moral activity which disentangles.
the wind came out of the cloud chilling And killing my Annabel Lee.
And so all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride In her sepulchre there by the sea— In her tomb by the side of the sea.
I must not only punish, but punish with impunity. A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.
I was a child and she was a child, In this kingdom by the sea; But we loved with a love which was more than love -- I and my Annabel Lee.
The radiance was that of the full, setting, and blood-red moon, which now shone vividly through that once barely- discernible fissure,... extending from the roof of the building, in a zigzag direction, to the base. While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened.
Thank Heaven! the crisis — The danger, is past, And the lingering illness, Is over at last M, And the fever called "Living" Is conquered at last.
"Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
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 some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
While the angels, all pallid and wan, Uprising, unveiling, affirm That the play is the tragedy "Man", And its hero the Conqueror Worm.
But see, amid the mimic rout A crawling shape intrude!
The skies they were ashen and sober;
We now demand the light artillery of the intellect; we need the curt, the condensed, the pointed, the readily diffused—in place of the verbose, the detailed, the voluminous, the inaccessible. On the other hand, the lightness of the artillery should not degenerate into pop-gunnery—by which term we may designate the character of the greater portion of the newspaper press—their sole legitimate object being the discussion of ephemeral matters in an ephemeral manner.
And we passed to the end of a vista, But were stopped by the door of a tomb— By the door of a legended tomb; And I said—" What is written, sweet sister, On the door of this legended tomb?" She replied—"Ulalume—Ulalume!— 'Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!"
A strong argument for the religion of Christ is this—that offences against Charity are about the only ones which men on their death-beds can be made—not to understand—but to feel—as crime.
It was night, in the lonesome October
In the misty mid region of Weir—
The nose of a mob is its imagination. By this, at any time, it can be quietly led.
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.
There are few cases in which mere popularity should be considered a proper test of merit; but the case of song-writing is, I think, one of the few.
To be thoroughly conversant with a Man's heart, is to take our final lesson in the iron-clasped volume of despair.
To vilify a great man is the readiest way in which a little man can himself attain greatness.
Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term Art, I should call it "the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul." The mere imitation, however accurate, of what is in Nature, entitles no man to the sacred name of "Artist."
I never can hear a crowd of people singing and gesticulating, all together, at an Italian opera, without fancying myself at Athens, listening to that particular tragedy, by Sophocles, in which he introduces a full chorus of turkeys, who set about bewailing the death of Meleager.
The writer who neglects punctuation, or mispunctuates, is liable to be misunderstood.... For the want of merely a comma, it often occurs that an axiom appears a paradox, or that a sarcasm is converted into a sermonoid.
That man is not truly brave who is afraid either to seem or to be, when it suits him, a coward.
Romance, who loves to nod and sing, With drowsy head and folded wing,