Edgar Allan Poe, the macabre poet, is worth quoting on Halloween.
Edgar Allan Poe, the American author, poet, editor and literary critic was best known for his macabre writing, be it poetry or short story. He is also credited as being responsible for the invention of the detective fiction genre – an ironic accreditation considering the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death. He was found on October 3, 1849 wandering the streets of Baltimore, delirious and not wearing his own clothes. He was admitted to hospital where he died four days later and was never coherent enough to explain what had happened to him. All medical records and his death certificate have been lost, but newspapers at the time reported his death as being due to “congestion of the brain,” a diagnosis which was most often a euphemism for alcoholism. “The Cask of Amontillado,” “The Premature Burial,” and “The Tell-Tale Heart” were all stories I was introduced to in high school. For me, he is one author who should be revisited at Halloween.
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!