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Spirits of the Dead -Edgar Allan Poe

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Hannah Petroll

on 2 February 2016

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Transcript of Spirits of the Dead -Edgar Allan Poe

Reading of the Poem
Theme of the Poem
The theme of "Spirits of the Dead" is that death is inevitable, but it also works in mysterious ways by having many affects on those who have had to deal with deaths of loved ones. These affects include deep sadness, isolation, and finally figuring out that they can’t do anything to stop death. Poe uses various examples of symbolism, personification, and imagery to portray the dark and depressing mood of this poem.

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 death around thee—and their will
Shall overshadow thee: be still.

The night, tho’ clear, shall frown—
And the stars shall look not 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!
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was born in Boston on January 19, 1809. Unfortunately, both of his parents died when he was very young; Poe then lived with a couple in Richmond, Virginia. He started writing poetry at a young age. His inspiration to become a writer was Lord Byron, a British poet. Poe attended the University of Virginia, but not without a large, growing debt. He then moved back to Richmond, where his adoptive father treated him harshly and his adoptive mother was dying of tuberculosis. During this time, Poe did manage to get some of his works published.
Still impoverished, Poe returned to his hometown in hopes to find a home. His aunt and younger cousin Virginia gladly took him in. After, Poe moved with his aunt and cousin back to Richmond, where he married Virginia. Meanwhile, Poe was writing for a few different magazines. Once Virginia contracted tuberculosis, he secretly published “The Raven” as a news story in 1845. Poe’s life went even more downhill from there, still filled with despair. On October 7, 1849, Poe mysteriously died, however, his works became even more famous.
Hannah Petroll
Spirits of the Dead -Edgar Allan Poe
I am alone
Thoughts of death
Nobody to interrupt
My solitary time

Be quiet in that solitude
But isn’t really lonely
The spirits of the dead who
Lived their lives are here
Death surrounds me
The spirits want me to be still

The clear night is solemn
The stars won’t look down
From above
Giving hope to people
But the red-burning stars
Seem to give me
Burning, angered thoughts
And they will never leave me

I won’t forget these thoughts
These visions won’t go away
From my soul, passing
As easily as dew dripping from grass

There is no breeze
As with the mist
It is shadowed yet tranquil
Represents how death
Is everywhere and inevitable
Death works very mysteriously
Poem
Paraphrase
Full transcript