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Spirits of the Dead by Edgar Allan Poe


"Spirits of the Dead" is a poem written by Edgar Allan Poe. It was first titled "Visits of the Dead" during its first publication in Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827). The title was then changed for the 1829 publication of Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems.

The dialogue is between a person visiting a grave and the dead speaker. The version below is from 1829.

"Spirits of the Dead" consists of five stanzas of varying lengths. Each stanza is written as rhyming couplets.


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.

Written in .

Next: Stanzas
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Literary Movement
Romanticism, 19th Century

Death, Spirit

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