It may seem strange to include Lewis Carroll in the same section as Edgar Allan Poe, but I did not wish to devote an entire section to Carroll’s poetry, and the best fit for his work seemed to be with Poe. Both writers were extremely quirky.

Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) is best known as a prose writer: a brilliant narrator of tales of horror and morbid fantasy (such as The Pit And The Pendulum and The Telltale Heart). His tales are magnificently suspenseful, imaginative and disturbed, undeniably the product of an injured genius. Admirers who call him a literary master are not mistaken. Poe’s poetry displays the same intensity, the same agitated and brilliant morbidity as his stories. One sometimes imagines him dressed in black, wracked by a perpetual fever, pale and shaking as he writes melancholy thoughts in his own blood, while hordes of crows gather on the branches of a twisted tree just outside his window. There is no doubt that his immense creative power belonged to a tormented soul. Though it would be excruciating to be him, it has been a blessing to receive the gifts from his dark pen. But his work is not to be read in a state of fragility.

Lewis Carroll (1832-1898), most famous as the author of Alice In Wonderland, gives us work that is more clever than terrifying. While Poe is impassioned and immersed in powerful if bizarre states, Carroll is insightful but detached; that is, protected by a certain layer of hardness that is capable of deriving amusement from absurd things, and from his own fear: the stiff upper lip of the British that can turn tragedy into a fairytale, and defuse the world’s most dismal shortcomings with satire and charm. Nonetheless, Carroll’s poem "Jabberwocky", read to me when I was a child as a bedtime story, utterly terrified me; it kept me awake for hours, and after I finally did fall asleep, it pursued me with horrible nightmares. Maybe that is why I have included it here with the work of Poe!


The Raven (EAP)

Annabel Lee (EAP)

Eldorado (EAP)

The City In The Sea (EAP)

Lenore (EAP)

Alone (EAP)

Sonnet – To Science (EAP)

To One In Paradise (EAP)

The Coliseum (EAP)

Jabberwocky (LC)

The Walrus And The Carpenter (LC)



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 sour 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!

Back to Top


It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of ANNABEL LEE;

And this maiden she lived with no other thought

Than to love and be loved by me.


I was a child and she was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea;

But we loved with a love that was more than love-

I and my Annabel Lee;

With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven

Coveted her and me.


And this was the reason that, long ago,

In this kingdom by the sea,

A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling

My beautiful Annabel Lee;

So that her highborn kinsman came

And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in a sepulchre

In this kingdom by the sea.


The angels, not half so happy in heaven,

Went envying her and me-

Yes!- that was the reason (as all men know,

In this kingdom by the sea)

That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.


But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we-

Of many far wiser than we-

And neither the angels in heaven above,

Nor the demons down under the sea,

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.


For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling- my darling- my life and my bride,

In the sepulchre there by the sea,

In her tomb by the sounding sea.


Back to Top





Gaily bedight,

A gallant knight,

In sunshine and in shadow,

Had journeyed long,

Singing a song,

In search of Eldorado.


But he grew old-

This knight so bold-

And o'er his heart a shadow

Fell as he found

No spot of ground

That looked like Eldorado.


And, as his strength

Failed him at length,

He met a pilgrim shadow-

"Shadow," said he,

"Where can it be-

This land of Eldorado?"


"Over the Mountains

Of the Moon,

Down the Valley of the Shadow,

Ride, boldly ride,"

The shade replied-

"If you seek for Eldorado!"


Back to Top





Lo! Death has reared himself a throne

In a strange city lying alone

Far down within the dim West,

Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best

Have gone to their eternal rest.

There shrines and palaces and towers

(Time-eaten towers that tremble not!)

Resemble nothing that is ours.

Around, by lifting winds forgot,

Resignedly beneath the sky

The melancholy waters lie.


No rays from the holy heaven come down

On the long night-time of that town;

But light from out the lurid sea

Streams up the turrets silently-

Gleams up the pinnacles far and free-

Up domes- up spires- up kingly halls-

Up fanes- up Babylon-like walls-

Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers

Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers-

Up many and many a marvellous shrine

Whose wreathed friezes intertwine

The viol, the violet, and the vine.

Resignedly beneath the sky

The melancholy waters lie.

So blend the turrets and shadows there

That all seem pendulous in air,

While from a proud tower in the town

Death looks gigantically down.


There open fanes and gaping graves

Yawn level with the luminous waves;

But not the riches there that lie

In each idol's diamond eye-

Not the gaily-jewelled dead

Tempt the waters from their bed;

For no ripples curl, alas!

Along that wilderness of glass-

No swellings tell that winds may be

Upon some far-off happier sea-

No heavings hint that winds have been

On seas less hideously serene.


But lo, a stir is in the air!

The wave- there is a movement there!

As if the towers had thrust aside,

In slightly sinking, the dull tide-

As if their tops had feebly given

A void within the filmy Heaven.

The waves have now a redder glow-

The hours are breathing faint and low-

And when, amid no earthly moans,

Down, down that town shall settle hence,

Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,

Shall do it reverence.


Back to Top





Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!

Let the bell toll!- a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river;

And, Guy de Vere, hast thou no tear?- weep now or nevermore!

See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!

Come! let the burial rite be read- the funeral song be sung!-

An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young-

A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.


"Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,

And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her- that she died!

How shall the ritual, then, be read?- the requiem how be sung

By you- by yours, the evil eye,- by yours, the slanderous tongue

That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young?"


Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song

Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong.

The sweet Lenore hath "gone before," with Hope, that flew beside,

Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy


For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies,

The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes

The life still there, upon her hair- the death upon her eyes.


"Avaunt! avaunt! from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven-

From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven-

From grief and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of


Let no bell toll, then,- lest her soul, amid its hallowed mirth,

Should catch the note as it doth float up from the damned Earth!

And I!- to-night my heart is light!- no dirge will I upraise,

But waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old days!"


Back to Top





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.


Back to Top





Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!

Who alterest all things with thy peering eyes.

Why preyest thou thus upon the poet's heart,

Vulture, whose wings are dull realities?

How should he love thee? or how deem thee wise,

Who wouldst not leave him in his wandering

To seek for treasure in the jewelled skies,

Albeit he soared with an undaunted wing?

Hast thou not dragged Diana from her car?

And driven the Hamadryad from the wood

To seek a shelter in some happier star?

Hast thou not torn the Naiad from her flood,

The Elfin from the green grass, and from me

The summer dream beneath the tamarind tree?


Back to Top





Thou wast all that to me, love,

For which my soul did pine-

A green isle in the sea, love,

A fountain and a shrine,

All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,

And all the flowers were mine.


Ah, dream too bright to last!

Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise

But to be overcast!

A voice from out the Future cries,

"On! on!"- but o'er the Past

(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies

Mute, motionless, aghast!


For, alas! alas! me

The light of Life is o'er!

"No more- no more- no more-"

(Such language holds the solemn sea

To the sands upon the shore)

Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree

Or the stricken eagle soar!

And all my days are trances,

And all my nightly dreams

Are where thy grey eye glances,

And where thy footstep gleams-

In what ethereal dances,

By what eternal streams.


Back to Top





Type of the antique Rome! Rich reliquary

Of lofty contemplation left to Time

By buried centuries of pomp and power!

At length- at length- after so many days

Of weary pilgrimage and burning thirst,

(Thirst for the springs of lore that in thee lie,)

I kneel, an altered and an humble man,

Amid thy shadows, and so drink within

My very soul thy grandeur, gloom, and glory!


Vastness! and Age! and Memories of Eld!

Silence! and Desolation! and dim Night!

I feel ye now- I feel ye in your strength-

O spells more sure than e'er Judaean king

Taught in the gardens of Gethsemane!

O charms more potent than the rapt Chaldee

Ever drew down from out the quiet stars!


Here, where a hero fell, a column falls!

Here, where the mimic eagle glared in gold,

A midnight vigil holds the swarthy bat!

Here, where the dames of Rome their gilded hair

Waved to the wind, now wave the reed and thistle!

Here, where on golden throne the monarch lolled,

Glides, spectre-like, unto his marble home,

Lit by the wan light of the horned moon,

The swift and silent lizard of the stones!


But stay! these walls- these ivy-clad arcades-

These moldering plinths- these sad and blackened shafts-

These vague entablatures- this crumbling frieze-

These shattered cornices- this wreck- this ruin-

These stones- alas! these grey stones- are they all-

All of the famed, and the colossal left

By the corrosive Hours to Fate and me?


"Not all"- the Echoes answer me- "not all!

Prophetic sounds and loud, arise forever

From us, and from all Ruin, unto the wise,

As melody from Memnon to the Sun.

We rule the hearts of mightiest men- we rule

With a despotic sway all giant minds.

We are not impotent- we pallid stones.

Not all our power is gone- not all our fame-

Not all the magic of our high renown-

Not all the wonder that encircles us-

Not all the mysteries that in us lie-

Not all the memories that hang upon

And cling around about us as a garment,

Clothing us in a robe of more than glory."

Back to Top



'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wade;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
    The frumious Bandersnatch!"

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
    Long time the manxome foe he sought --
So rested he by the Tumtum tree.
    And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
    The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came wiffling through the tulgey wood,
    And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.

"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
    Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
    He chortled in his joy.

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

Back to Top



"The sun was shining on the sea,
    Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
    The billows smooth and bright --
And this was odd, because it was
    The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
     Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
    After the day was done --
"It's very rude of him," she said,
    "To come and spoil the fun."

The sea was wet as wet could be,
    The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
    No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying overhead --
    There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
    Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
    Such quantities of sand:
`If this were only cleared away,'
    They said, `it would be grand!'

`If seven maids with seven mops
    Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose,' the Walrus said,
    `That they could get it clear?'
`I doubt it,' said the Carpenter,
    And shed a bitter tear.

`O Oysters, come and walk with us!'
    The Walrus did beseech.
`A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
    Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
    To give a hand to each.'

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
    But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
    And shook his heavy head --
Meaning to say he did not choose
    To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
    All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
    Their shoes were clean and neat --
And this was odd, because, you know,
    They hadn't any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
    And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
    And more, and more, and more --
All hopping through the frothy waves,
    And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
    Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
    Conveniently low:
And all the little Oysters stood
    And waited in a row.

`The time has come,' the Walrus said,
    `To talk of many things:
Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing-wax --
    Of cabbages -- and kings --
And why the sea is boiling hot --
    And whether pigs have wings.'

`But wait a bit,' the Oysters cried,
    `Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
    And all of us are fat!'
`No hurry!' said the Carpenter.
    They thanked him much for that.

`A loaf of bread,' the Walrus said,
    `Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
    Are very good indeed --
Now if you're ready, Oysters dear,
    We can begin to feed.'

`But not on us!' the Oysters cried,
    Turning a little blue.
`After such kindness, that would be
    A dismal thing to do!'
`The night is fine,' the Walrus said.
    `Do you admire the view?

`It was so kind of you to come!
    And you are very nice!'
The Carpenter said nothing but
    `Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf --
    I've had to ask you twice!'

`It seems a shame,' the Walrus said,
    `To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
    And made them trot so quick!'
The Carpenter said nothing but
    `The butter's spread too thick!'

`I weep for you,' the Walrus said:
    `I deeply sympathize.'
With sobs and tears he sorted out
     Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
     Before his streaming eyes.

`O Oysters,' said the Carpenter,
     `You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?'
     But answer came there none --
And this was scarcely odd, because
     They'd eaten every one.

Back to Top


Poetry In The Public Domain Contents

Poetry And Lyrics Contents

Creative Safehouse Contents


Site Contents