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Spirits of the Dead by Edgar Allan Poe

Spirits of the Dead


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 thy 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 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 forever.

Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish— 
Now are visions ne'er to vanish 
From thy spirit shall they pass 
No more—like dew-drops 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!


— Poe's Poems, Henneberry Edition, c.1901


Spirit of the Dead appears to be a re-write of his original poem Visit of the Dead, first published in Tamerlane and other Poems (1827), his first book.

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