TOO MUCH by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was one of the most famous and influential American poets. She led a very private life, rarely leaving

TOO MUCH

by Emily Dickinson

I should have been too glad, I see,
Too lifted for the scant degree
Of life’s penurious round;
My little circuit would have shamed
This new circumference, have blamed
The homelier time behind.

I should have been too saved, I see,
Too rescued; fear too dim to me
That I could spell the prayer
I knew so perfect yesterday, —
That scalding one, “Sabachthani,”
Recited fluent here.

Earth would have been too much, I see,
And heaven not enough for me;
I should have had the joy
Without the fear to justify, —
The palm without the Calvary;
So, Saviour, crucify.

Defeat whets victory, they say;
The reefs in old Gethsemane
Endear the shore beyond.
‘T is beggars banquets best define;
‘T is thirsting vitalizes wine, —
Faith faints to understand.

Biography

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was one of the most famous and influential American poets. She led a very private life, rarely leaving her hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts, where she pursued her passion for writing poems that broke conventional rules of style and theme.

Though she wrote nearly 1800 poems, less than a dozen were published during her lifetime. She was known for being reclusive and eccentric, interacting largely through letters. Her poems reflect deep insights into death, religion, nature, love and other weighty topics.

After Dickinson died, her sister discovered the enormous collection of unpublished poems and and wanted them published.. Emily Dickinson garnered recognition for her innovatively sparse, untitled form as well as her symbolic richness and bold questioning of core beliefs and doctrines. Her body of work became very influential for modernist and contemporary poets.

Today, Emily Dickinson is considered one of the towering figures of American literature. Though she never formally studied poetry and had little exposure to literary society, she is now studied globally and continues to inspire writers with the intensity and enigmatic beauty of her small yet profound poems.

The farthest thunder that I heard XXVI by Emily Dickinson

The farthest thunder that I heard XXVI

by Emily Dickinson

The farthest thunder that I heard
Was nearer than the sky,
And rumbles still, though torrid noons
Have lain their missiles by.
The lightning that preceded it
Struck no one but myself,
But I would not exchange the bolt
For all the rest of life.
Indebtedness to oxygen
The chemist may repay,
But not the obligation
To electricity.
It founds the homes and decks the days,
And every clamor bright
Is but the gleam concomitant
Of that waylaying light.
The thought is quiet as a flake, —
A crash without a sound;
How life’s reverberation
Its explanation found!

Analysis 

Central Metaphor:

The lightning bolt serves as a metaphor for those sudden, unexpected moments that profoundly impact and alter one’s life. The reference to being personally “struck” hints at pivotal moments – falling in love, experiencing loss and grief, achieving a long-held dream. The poem suggests these moments reverberate through the rest of one’s life.

Tone:

While the tone contains awe, there is also intimacy in the speaker’s personal confrontation with the lightning. This mirrors the intimacy of experiencing a life-defining moment. There is also nostalgia in “rumble still,” hinting at remembering a pivotal instant years later.

Theme:

The transformative power of sudden moments is the overarching theme connecting the poem to the human experience. Additional themes that relate to life include the foundational role certain experiences play in constructing our lives and identities, and the ripple effects from impactful events.

Imagery:

The imagery of a lightning strike parallels the imagery one might use to describe a life-altering event – being “struck” by something with force, being rattled, having your whole world illuminated. The “clangor” and “gleam” suggest the noise and brightness of pivotal moments. Thunder echoing for years mirrors the longevity of these moments.

Overall Message:

The poem is emphasizing how brief, potent moments can define our existence – striking quickly yet impacting all the days that follow. Like lightning, these experiences are central to human life and development. The poem is a tribute to these flashes that explanations and words fail to capture fully.

Guided Questions for The farthest thunder that I heard XXVI by Emily Dickinson

  1. How does the imagery of lightning work as a metaphor for a sudden life-changing experience? What parallels can be drawn?
  2. The speaker says the lightning “founds the homes and decks the days.” What does this suggest about the importance of pivotal moments in our lives?
  3. The reverberation of the lightning is compared to “life’s reverberation.” What do you think the poem is saying about how impactful experiences continue to affect us long after they’re over?
  4. The speaker says “I would not exchange the bolt / For all the rest of life.” What does this convey about the transformative power of lightning/pivotal moments?
  5. The last two lines say these moments provide “explanations” for our lives. What explanation do you think is being referred to here?
  6. The last line describes lightning as a “crash without a sound.” Why do you think the poet chose to describe this destructive force in this unusual way? What meaning are they trying to convey?

Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions! Analyzing poetry more deeply often requires slow, thoughtful reflection and discussion.

Biography

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was one of the most famous and influential American poets. She led a very private life, rarely leaving her hometown of Amherst, Massachusetts, where she pursued her passion for writing poems that broke conventional rules of style and theme.

Though she wrote nearly 1800 poems, less than a dozen were published during her lifetime. She was known for being reclusive and eccentric, interacting largely through letters. Her poems reflect deep insights into death, religion, nature, love and other weighty topics.

After Dickinson died, her sister discovered the enormous collection of unpublished poems and and wanted them published.. Emily Dickinson garnered recognition for her innovatively sparse, untitled form as well as her symbolic richness and bold questioning of core beliefs and doctrines. Her body of work became very influential for modernist and contemporary poets.

Today, Emily Dickinson is considered one of the towering figures of American literature. Though she never formally studied poetry and had little exposure to literary society, she is now studied globally and continues to inspire writers with the intensity and enigmatic beauty of her small yet profound poems.

Because I could not stop for Death by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was one of the most original and influential poets in American history. Though she lived

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then ‘t is centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.

###

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) was one of the most original and influential poets in American history. Though she lived a largely reclusive life in Amherst, Massachusetts, she produced a body of work consisting of nearly 1,800 poems that contained unique creative expressions and broke from conventional writing styles of the 19th century. Dickinson was ahead of her time, pioneering unconventional capitalization and punctuation that gave her poems deeper layers of meaning. Though less than a dozen of her poems were published during her lifetime, Dickinson sent hundreds of poems to friends and family via letters. After her death, her pioneering style and mastery of themes like life, death, love, nature and spirituality cemented her place as one of the most important figures in American letters.

Ring Out, Wild Bells by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Ring Out, Wild Bells

by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light:
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more;
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

###

Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) was the leading English poet of the Victorian era. He was appointed Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom in 1850 and held that position until his death in 1892.

Tennyson was born in Somersby, England. His early poetry was published alongside his brothers’, but Alfred soon surpassed the others in both talent and fame. His breakthrough came with Poems, Chiefly Lyrical published in 1830. Later celebrated works included “The Lady of Shalott,” “Ulysses,” and his masterpiece epic “In Memoriam A.H.H.” dedicated to his friend Arthur Henry Hallam.

Deeply affected by his friend Hallam’s early death, much of Tennyson’s verse reflects on mortality, loss and faith. Known for his rich and sensuous language, he exhibited superb craftsmanship and intricate rhyme schemes. Politically engaged, his work also reacted to pressing social issues as the industrial revolution transformed English society.

Immensely popular in his day, Alfred Lord Tennyson earned critical acclaim for his mastery of memorable phrasing and mythical allusion which profoundly shaped Victorian poetry. He is regarded as a consummate lyric wordsmith who left an enduring legacy and greatly influenced future generations of poets and thinkers

Thanksgiving Day by Lydia Maria Child

This poem is popularly known as Over the river and Through the Wood. Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) was a prominent American

Thanksgiving Day

by Lydia Maria Child

 

Over the river and through the wood,
To grandfather’s house we go;
The horse knows the way
To carry the sleigh
Through the white and drifted snow.

Over the river and through the wood–
Oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes
And bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the wood,
To have first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring,
“Ting-a-ling-ding!”
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day!

Over the river and through the wood,
And straight through the barn-yard gate.
We seem to go
Extremely slow–
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the wood–
Now grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun!
Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin-pie!

 

###

This poem is popularly known as Over the river and Through the Wood.

Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) was a prominent American abolitionist, women’s rights activist, Native American rights advocate, novelist, and journalist. Born in Medford, Massachusetts, Child spent most of her life championing humanitarian causes through her writings and activism.

Child found success in her 20s with her historical novel “Hobomok” (1824) and as editor of the children’s magazine The Juvenile Miscellany. In 1833, she published “An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans,” a groundbreaking treatise against slavery and early call for total abolition. The controversial pamphlet destroyed her mainstream career, but Child courageously devoted herself fully to the antislavery movement henceforth.

Over the following decades, Child wrote prolifically for abolitionist newspapers like the National Anti-Slavery Standard. She advocated for immediate emancipation,ivil liberties for African Americans, and women’s rights alongside luminaries like William Lloyd Garrison and Susan B. Anthony. Her antebellum antislavery short stories and nonfiction works like “The Quadroons” (1842) and “The Freedmen’s Book” (1865) helped galvanize public sentiment against slavery.

A woman far ahead of her time, Lydia Maria Child stands as one of the most influential and principled activists of the 19th century devoted to ending racial and gender injustice in America. Though lesser known today, her impassioned writings and organizing efforts were instrumental in bringing about the abolition of slavery and advancing human equality.

Friendship by Henry David Thoreau

Friendship

by Henry David Thoreau

‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen, and Lovers.’
Let such pure hate still underprop
Our love, that we may be
Each other’s conscience,
And have our sympathy
Mainly from thence.

We’ll one another treat like gods,
And all the faith we have
In virtue and in truth, bestow
On either, and suspicion leave
To gods below.

Two solitary stars—
Unmeasured systems far
Between us roll;
But by our conscious light we are
Determined to one pole.

What need confound the sphere?—
Love can afford to wait;
For it no hour’s too late
That witnesseth one duty’s end,
Or to another doth beginning lend.

It will subserve no use,
More than the tints of flowers;
Only the independent guest
Frequents its bowers,
Inherits its bequest.

No speech, though kind, has it;
But kinder silence doles
Unto its mates;
By night consoles,
By day congratulates.

What saith the tongue to tongue?
What heareth ear of ear?
By the decrees of fate
From year to year,
Does it communicate.

Pathless the gulf of feeling yawns;
No trivial bridge of words,
Or arch of boldest span,
Can leap the moat that girds
The sincere man.

No show of bolts and bars
Can keep the foeman out,
Or ’scape his secret mine,
Who entered with the doubt
That drew the line.

No warder at the gate
Can let the friendly in;
But, like the sun, o’er all
He will the castle win,
And shine along the wall.

There’s nothing in the world I know
That can escape from love,
For every depth it goes below,
And every height above.

It waits, as waits the sky
Until the clouds go by,
Yet shines serenely on
With an eternal day,
Alike when they are gone,
And when they stay.

Implacable is Love,—
Foes may be bought or teased
From their hostile intent,
But he goes unappeased

###

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was an American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, historian, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Civil Disobedience, an argument for disobedience to an unjust state.

Thoreau was born in Concord, Massachusetts and graduated from Harvard University. He lived for two years, two months, and two days in a self-built cabin on Walden Pond, near Concord, and wrote his most famous work Walden during his time there. Thoreau was inspired by transcendentalism and emphasized the importance of nature and living simply. His writings on civil disobedience and protest against government policy would later influence many influential figures, including Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.

Although not initially popular, Thoreau’s works became influential and he is now regarded as one of the foremost American writers, both for the modern clarity of his prose style and the prescience of his views on nature and politics. Thoreau’s friend Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote of him “The scale on which his studies proceeded was so large as to require longevity, and a sort of eagle vision to survey the field … He was a protestant à l’outrance, and few lives contain so many renunciations.”

November by Helen Hunt Jackson

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885) was an American poet and activist who championed Native American rights

November

by Helen Hunt Jackson

This is the treacherous month when autumn days
With summer’s voice come bearing summer’s gifts.
Beguiled, the pale down-trodden aster lifts
Her head and blooms again. The soft, warm haze
Makes moist once more the sere and dusty ways,
And, creeping through where dead leaves lie in drifts,
The violet returns. Snow noiseless sifts
Ere night, an icy shroud, which morning’s rays
Will idly shine upon and slowly melt,
Too late to bid the violet live again.
The treachery, at last, too late, is plain;
Bare are the places where the sweet flowers dwelt.
What joy sufficient hath November felt?
What profit from the violet’s day of pain?

###

Helen Hunt Jackson (1830-1885) was an American poet and activist who championed Native American rights. Born Helen Fiske in Massachusetts, she published poetry under the name “H.H.” starting in the 1860s. Her nature-inspired verses gained popularity, especially the collection “Verses” (1870).

After researching injustices against Native Americans, Jackson became dedicated to their cause. Her 1881 nonfiction exposé “A Century of Dishonor” condemned America’s treatment of indigenous people. Her novel “Ramona” (1884), a tragic romance about a Native American woman, was a bestseller that humanized Native Americans and their struggles.

Through writing and lobbying Congress, Jackson brought greater attention to Native American issues in the 19th century fight for indigenous rights. Though she passed away at age 54, Jackson left a strong legacy as both a creative talent and an activist for Native American justice and citizenship.

Election Day, November, 1884

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was one of the most influential and innovative poets of the 19th century. He was born in Long Island, New York

Election Day, November, 1884

Walt Whitman

 

If I should need to name, O Western World, your powerfulest scene and show,
’Twould not be you, Niagara—nor you, ye limitless prairies—nor
your huge rifts of canyons, Colorado,
Nor you, Yosemite—nor Yellowstone, with all its spasmic
geyser-loops ascending to the skies, appearing and disappearing,
Nor Oregon’s white cones—nor Huron’s belt of mighty lakes—nor
Mississippi’s stream:
—This seething hemisphere’s humanity, as now, I’d name—the still
small voice vibrating—America’s choosing day,
(The heart of it not in the chosen—the act itself the main, the
quadriennial choosing,)
The stretch of North and South arous’d—sea-board and inland—
Texas to Maine—the Prairie States—Vermont, Virginia, California,
The final ballot-shower from East to West—the paradox and conflict,
The countless snow-flakes falling—(a swordless conflict,
Yet more than all Rome’s wars of old, or modern Napoleon’s:) the
peaceful choice of all,
Or good or ill humanity—welcoming the darker odds, the dross:
—Foams and ferments the wine? it serves to purify—while the heart
pants, life glows:
These stormy gusts and winds waft precious ships,
Swell’d Washington’s, Jefferson’s, Lincoln’s sails.

###

Walt Whitman (1819-1892) was one of the most influential and innovative poets of the 19th century. He was born in Long Island, New York and had a limited formal education. As a young man he worked as a printer’s apprentice and schoolteacher before turning to journalism and creative writing.

In 1855, Whitman self-published his collection of poems Leaves of Grass, which he would revise and expand throughout his life. The poems were written in free verse without traditional rhyme or meter, which was highly experimental at the time. Leaves of Grass contained Whitman’s most famous poem, “Song of Myself,” which celebrates the self, the union of body and soul, and the universal humanity that connects all people.

Whitman led a nomadic lifestyle, working odd jobs across America while continuously revising and expanding Leaves of Grass. His poetry celebrated democracy, individualism, and the beauty of nature and the human body. He became known as America’s “poet of democracy.” Though controversial in his lifetime for his innovative style and treatment of taboo subjects like sexuality, Whitman is now considered one of America’s most influential poets. Major works include Leaves of Grass, “Song of Myself,” “I Sing the Body Electric,” and poems about the Civil War and Lincoln such as “O Captain! My Captain!” Whitman died in Camden, New Jersey at age 72. His poetry has left a lasting impact on world literature.

NOVEMBER (A SONNET) by William Cullen Bryant

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) was an American romantic poet, journalist, and influential editor. Born in Massachusetts,

NOVEMBER (A SONNET)

 by William Cullen Bryant

Yet one smile more, departing, distant sun!
One mellow smile through the soft vapoury air,
Ere, o’er the frozen earth, the loud winds run,
Or snows are sifted o’er the meadows bare.
One smile on the brown hills and naked trees,
And the dark rocks whose summer wreaths are cast,
And the blue gentian flower, that, in the breeze,
Nods lonely, of her beauteous race the last.
Yet a few sunny days, in which the bee
Shall murmur by the hedge that skirts the way,
The cricket chirp upon the russet lea,
And man delight to linger in thy ray.
Yet one rich smile, and we will try to bear
The piercing winter frost, and winds, and darkened air.

 

###

William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) was an American romantic poet, journalist, and influential editor. Born in Massachusetts, Bryant wrote some of the most significant poetry in early 19th century America, helping drive the emergence of a truly American literary voice.

Bryant’s most famous poem, “Thanatopsis”, was published when he was just 17 years old. This meditative work on death established him as America’s leading poet. Other notable poems include “To a Waterfowl”, “The Ages”, and “The Prairies”. His poetry often explored nature as a metaphor for spirituality.

In 1825, Bryant became editor of the New York Evening Post, a position he held for almost 50 years. He shaped the paper into an influential platform for anti-slavery and social reform. His commitment to free speech, ethics, and human rights made him an important public figure.

Bryant helped promote and define American literary independence from Europe. He brought Romantic sensibilities to distinctly American topics, settings and images. Along with his contemporary poets like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bryant gave the young nation a unique and thoughtful poetic voice. Though underappreciated today, his poetry captured the American imagination during the 19th century.

Pirates by Alfred Noyes

Alfred Noyes was an English poet, short story writer and playwright who was born in 1880 in Staffordshire, England. Noyes was educated at Exeter College, Oxford, where he excelled in classics and was elected president of the Oxford Union.

Pirates
by Alfred Noyes

Come to me, you with the laughing face, in the light as I lie
Dreaming of days that are dead and of joys gone by;
Come to me, comrade, come through the slow-dropping rain,
Come from your grave in the darkness and let us be pirates again.

Let us be boys together to-night, and pretend as of old
We are pirates at rest in a cave among huge heaps of gold,
Red Spanish doubloons and great pieces of eight, and muskets and swords,
And a smoky red camp-fire to glint, you know how, on our ill-gotten hoards.

The old cave in the fir-wood that slopes down the hills to the sea
Still is haunted, perhaps, by young pirates as wicked as we:
Though the fir with the magpie’s big mud-plastered nest used to hide it so well,
And the boys in the gang had to swear that they never would tell.

Ah, that tree; I have sat in its boughs and looked seaward for hours.
I remember the creak of its branches, the scent of the flowers
That climbed round the mouth of the cave. It is odd I recall
Those little things best, that I scarcely took heed of at all.

I remember how brightly the brass on the butt of my spy-glass gleamed
As I climbed through the purple heather and thyme to our eyrie and dreamed;
I remember the smooth glossy sun-burn that darkened our faces and hands
As we gazed at the merchantmen sailing away to those wonderful lands.

I remember the long, slow sigh of the sea as we raced in the sun,
To dry ourselves after our swimming; and how we would run
With a cry and a crash through the foam as it creamed on the shore,
Then back to bask in the warm dry gold of the sand once more.

Come to me, you with the laughing face, in the gloom as I lie
Dreaming of days that are dead and of joys gone by;
Let us be boys together to-night and pretend as of old
We are pirates at rest in a cave among great heaps of gold.

Come; you shall be chief. We’ll not quarrel, the time flies so fast.
There are ships to be grappled, there’s blood to be shed, ere our playtime be past.
No; perhaps we will quarrel, just once, or it scarcely will seem
So like the old days that have flown from us both like a dream.

Still; you shall be chief in the end; and then we’ll go home
To the hearth and the tea and the books that we loved: ah, but come,
Come to me, come through the night and the slow-dropping rain;
Come, old friend, come thro’ the darkness and let us be playmates again.

###

Alfred Noyes was an English poet, short story writer and playwright who was born in 1880 in Staffordshire, England. Noyes was educated at Exeter College, Oxford, where he excelled in classics and was elected president of the Oxford Union. After graduating, he devoted himself to writing and published his first collection of poems, The Loom of Years, in 1902. Noyes went on to publish several other volumes of verse including Forty Singing Seamen (1907), The Flower of Old Japan (1908), and Tales of the Mermaid Tavern (1913). He is best known for his lyrical poem “The Highwayman” which was published in 1906 in Blackwood’s Magazine. The vivid ballad tells the story of an 18th century highwayman who is in love with an innkeeper’s daughter. Noyes also wrote historical fiction and non-fiction prose on subjects such as witchcraft and World War I. His dramas in blank verse include Sherwood, Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, The Torch-Bearers and Lancelot. Though his popularity as a poet waned in later years, during his lifetime Noyes was regarded as a leading poet of his generation for his mastery of traditional verse forms and lyricism. He continued writing into his 80s and died in 1958 at the age of 77.

The Vampire by James Clerk Maxwell 1845

The Vampire by James Clerk Maxwell 1845

Translated into modern English by R Edwards

There is a knight riding through the woods,
A brave and noble knight is he.
And surely he is on an urgent quest,
He rides so hastily.

He passed the oak and the birch trees,
And many other trees passed he,
But pleasant to him was the slender willow,
For beneath it he did see

The fairest lady that he ever saw,
She was so bright and fair.
And there she sat beneath the willow,
Combing her golden hair.

The knight said “Oh beautiful lady,
What chance has brought you here?
Just say the word and you shall go
Back to your family dear.”

The fair lady spoke up:
“I have no friends or kin,
But in a little boat I live,
Amidst the waves’ loud din.”

The brave knight answered:
“I will follow you through all,
For if you live in a little boat,
The world seems to it small.”

They went through the woods, to the end they came:
And there they saw the sea foam white.

And then they saw the tiny boat,

That danced atop the waves so bright.
First got in the fair lady,
Then the brave knight.

They rowed in the tiny boat
With all their might;
But the brave knight turned about,
And looked upon the lady bright;

He looked upon her rosy cheek,
And into her eyes so bright,
But her cheek grew deathly pale,
As if she was dead that night.

The false, false knight grew pale with fright,

His hair stood up on end,
For days gone by came to his mind,
And his former love he did recognize.

The lady spoke “You false knight
Have done me great ill,
You did forsake me long ago,
But I am constant still;

For though I lie in these cold woods,
At rest I cannot be
Until I suck the lifeblood

Of the man who caused me to die.”

He saw her lips were wet with blood,
And her merciless eyes did shine,
Loud he cried “Get away from my side,

You unclean vampire corpse!”

But no, he was in her magic boat,
On the wide and winding sea;
And the vampire sucked his lifeblood,
She sucked until he died.

So beware, whoever you are,
That walks in this lonely wood:
Beware of that deceitful ghost,
The ghoul that drinks the blood.

###

James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) was a Scottish mathematician and physicist who made major contributions to electromagnetism and thermodynamics. He is best known for formulating the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation, bringing together electricity, magnetism, and light as different manifestations of the same phenomenon.

The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

The poem’s unnamed narrator is alone at night feeling sad and weak as he pores over old books. As he is about to fall asleep, he hears a tapping at his chamber door. He opens the door to darkness and whispers the name “Lenore,

The Raven

by Edgar Allan Poe

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.
“’Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“’Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;
This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door—
Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping something louder than before.
“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.”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least 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.

Then the ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if its soul in that one word he did outpour
Nothing farther then he uttered; not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered: “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of ‘Never—nevermore.’”

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“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.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate, yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“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.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadows on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!

Summary

The poem’s unnamed narrator is alone at night feeling sad and weak as he pores over old books. As he is about to fall asleep, he hears a tapping at his chamber door. He opens the door to darkness and whispers the name “Lenore,” whom the reader presumes to be his departed lover. The tapping continues, now at his window, but it turns out to only be a raven who flies into the room and perches above the narrator’s door.

When the raven refuses to leave and continuously croaks the word “Nevermore,” the narrator begins asking it questions, growing distraught at its ominous responses. He asks if he’ll be reunited with Lenore in Heaven but the raven simply responds “Nevermore,” devastating the narrator.

The narrator grows angry and tells the raven to leave, but it refuses. His soul is tormented by the bird’s persistent presence and grim pronouncement that he’ll never see Lenore again. In the end, the raven remains perched above his chamber door, casting a shadow on the floor, a sad symbol that the narrator’s grief will also remain.

Key themes include grief over the death of a loved one, loneliness, despair, melancholy, the supernatural, and the burden of painful memories. The raven and its haunting refrain of “Nevermore” symbolize the narrator’s profound sorrow and sense of loss.

Bio

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American writer, poet, critic and editor best known for his tales of mystery and horror. He is considered a central figure in the American Romantic movement and was one of the first American practitioners of the short story.

Poe was born in Boston to actress Elizabeth Arnold Hopkins Poe and actor David Poe Jr. His father abandoned the family when Poe was a toddler and his mother died of tuberculosis when he was two, leaving him orphaned. He was taken in by the wealthy tobacco merchant John Allan and his wife Frances in Richmond, Virginia.

Though never formally adopted, Poe took Allan as his middle name. He had a strained relationship with John Allan who did not support his literary ambitions. As a young man Poe attended the University of Virginia but was forced to drop out due to lack of funds.

His publishing career began in 1827 with the poetry collection Tamerlane and Other Poems. In 1835 he became editor of the Southern Literary Messenger in Richmond. He later lived in Philadelphia working as editor for magazines like Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine and Graham’s Magazine.

It was during this time that Poe established himself as a critical reviewer and published many of his most famous stories, including “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.”

Known for his Gothic, macabre themes and melancholic tone, Poe pioneered the modern detective story and helped define early science fiction. He married his cousin Virginia Clemm in 1836 who died of tuberculosis in 1847. Poe himself died under mysterious circumstances at the age of 40 in 1849.

Though not widely recognized during his lifetime, Poe’s stories and criticism have had a profound and lasting influence on American and international literature. He is now considered one of the most significant writers of the 19th century.

Alone–Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe was born in 1809 and died in 1849. He was an American writer and poet. He was one of the cornerstone writers of the Romantic Movement.

 

Alone

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.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then- in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life- was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

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Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American writer known for his dark and macabre tales and poems. He is considered a master of Gothic and Romantic literature and is famous for works such as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” “The Raven,” and “The Fall of the House of Usher.” Poe’s writing often explored themes of death, madness, and the supernatural, reflecting his own troubled life marked by personal tragedies and struggles. His distinctive style and contribution to the horror genre have left a lasting impact on American literature and continue to captivate readers to this day.

 

We’ll Go No More A-Roving–Lord Byron

George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron was born in 1788 and died in 1824. He was an English poet who helped lead the Romanticism movement.

We’ll go no more a-roving

So, we’ll go no more a-roving
So late into the night,
Though the heart be still as loving,
And the moon be still as bright.

For the sword outwears its sheath,
And the soul wears out the breast,
And the heart must pause to breathe,
And love itself have rest.

Though the night was made for loving,
And the day returns too soon,
Yet we’ll go no more a-roving
By the light of the moon.

Walt Whitman–One Hour to Madness and Joy

The American poet Walt Whitman was is consider the first modern poet. 20th century writers build the modern movement on Whitman’s works.

One hour to madness and joy! O furious! O confine me not!
(What is this that frees me so in storms?
What do my shouts amid lightnings and raging winds mean?)
O to drink the mystic deliria deeper than any other man!
O savage and tender achings! (I bequeath them to you my children,
I tell them to you, for reasons, O bridegroom and bride.)

O to be yielded to you whoever you are, and you to be yielded to me
in defiance of the world!
O to return to Paradise! O bashful and feminine!
O to draw you to me, to plant on you for the first time the lips of
a determin’d man.

O the puzzle, the thrice-tied knot, the deep and dark pool, all
untied and illumin’d!
O to speed where there is space enough and air enough at last!
To be absolv’d from previous ties and conventions, I from mine and
you from yours!
To find a new unthought-of nonchalance with the best of Nature!
To have the gag remov’d from one’s mouth!
To have the feeling to-day or any day I am sufficient as I am.

O something unprov’d! something in a trance!
To escape utterly from others’ anchors and holds!
To drive free! to love free! to dash reckless and dangerous!
To court destruction with taunts, with invitations!
To ascend, to leap to the heavens of the love indicated to me!
To rise thither with my inebriate soul!
To be lost if it must be so!
To feed the remainder of life with one hour of fulness and freedom!
With one brief hour of madness and joy.

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Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819-March 26, 1892) is the father of modern poetry.

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