The Bells, and Other Poems

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 30

fervid, flickering torch of life was lit
From the sun and stars, whence he had drawn forth
A passionate light--such for his spirit was fit--
And yet that spirit knew not, in the hour
Of its own fervour--what had o'er it power.


2

Perhaps it may be that my mind is wrought
To a fever by the moonbeam that hangs o'er,
But I will half believe that wild light fraught
With more of sovereignty than ancient lore
Hath ever told--or is it of a thought
The unembodied essence, and no more
That with a quickening spell doth o'er us pass
As dew of the night-time o'er the summer grass?


3

Doth o'er us pass, when, as th' expanding eye
To the loved object--so the tear to the lid
Will start, which lately slept in apathy?
And yet it need not be--(that object) hid
From us in life--but common--which doth lie
Each hour before us--but _then_ only, bid
With a strange sound, as of a harp-string broken,
To awake us--'Tis a symbol and a token


4

Of what in other worlds shall be--and given
In beauty by our God, to those alone
Who otherwise would fall from life and Heaven
Drawn by their heart's passion, and that tone,
That high tone of the spirit which hath striven
Tho' not with Faith--with godliness--whose throne
With desperate energy 't hath beaten down;
Wearing its own deep feeling as a crown.



_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

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Page 1
"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;-- 'Tis the wind and nothing more.
Page 2
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 above my chamber door-- Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
Page 3
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee--by these angels he hath sent thee Respite--respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore! Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.
Page 4
" "Be that 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 has 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.
Page 5
The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men.
Page 6
Now in no one of the seven apartments was there any lamp or candelabrum, amid the profusion of golden ornaments that lay scattered to and fro or depended from the roof.
Page 7
the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to harken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused revery or meditation.
Page 8
But to the chamber which lies most westwardly of the seven, there are now none of the maskers who venture; for the night is waning away; and there flows a ruddier light through the blood-coloured panes; and the blackness of the sable drapery appals; and to him whose foot falls upon the sable carpet, there comes from the near clock of ebony a muffled peal more solemnly emphatic than any which reaches _their_ ears who indulged in the more remote gaieties of the other apartments.
Page 9
The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the grave.
Page 10
It was then, however, that the Prince Prospero, maddening with rage and the shame of his own momentary cowardice, rushed hurriedly through the six chambers, while none followed him on account of a deadly terror that had seized upon all.
Page 11
In painting and gemmary, Fortunato, like his countrymen, was a quack--but in the matter of old wines he was sincere.
Page 12
"Come," I said, with decision, "we will go back; your health is precious.
Page 13
" He again took my arm, and we proceeded.
Page 14
"True," I replied; "the Amontillado.
Page 15
" "Yes," I said, "let us be gone.
Page 16
Against the new masonry I re-erected the old rampart of bones.