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Stories of Edgar Allan Poe Quotes

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Stories of Edgar Allan Poe Quotes

Quote 1: "Pluto -- this was the cat's name -- was my favorite pet and playmate. I alone fed him, and he attended me wherever I went about the house. It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him from following me through the streets. Our friendship lasted, in this manner, for several years." Poe, pg. 12

Quote 2: "Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is the Law [sic], merely because we understand it to be such?" Poe, pg. 13

Quote 3: "It was now the representation of an object that I shudder to name --and for this, above all, I loathed and dreaded, and would have rid myself of the monster had I dared [sic]--it was now, I say, the image of a hideous--of a ghastly thing--of the GALLOWS!--oh, mournful and terrible engine of Horror and Crime--of Agony and of Death!" Poe, pg. 17

Quote 4: "The corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with gore, stood erect before the eyes of the spectators. Upon its head, with red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman. I had walled the monster up within the tomb." Poe, pg. 20

Quote 5: "The discoloration of the ages had been great. Minute fungi overspread the whole exterior, hanging in a fine tangled webwork from the eaves...No portion of the masonry had fallen; and there appeared to be a wild inconsistency between its still perfect adaptation of parts, and the crumbling condition of the individual stones." Poe, pg. 24

Quote 6: "In this there was much that reminded me of the specious totality of old woodwork which has rotted for long years in some neglected vault, with no disturbance from the breath of the external air. Beyond this indication of extensive decay, however, the fabric gave little token of instability." Poe, pg. 24

Quote 7: "And travelers now within that valley,/Through the red-litten [sic] windows see/Vast forms that move fantastically/To a discordant melody;/While, like a rapid ghastly river,/Through the pale door;/A hideous throng rush out forever,/And laugh -- but smile no more." Poe, pg. 31

Quote 8: "There was blood upon her white robes, and the evidence of some bitter struggle upon every portion of her emaciated frame. For a moment she remained trembling and reeling to and fro upon the threshold -- then, with a low moaning cry, fell heavily inward upon the person of her brother, and in her violent and now final death-agonies, bore him to the floor a corpse, and a victim to the terrors he had anticipated." Poe, pg. 40

Quote 9: "Blood was its Avatar and its seal -- the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution...And the whole seizure, progress, and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour." Poe, pg. 40

Quote 10: "Be sure they were grotesque...There were arabesque figures with unsuited limbs and appointments. There were delirious fancies such as the madman fashions. There was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre [sic], something of the terrible...To and fro in the seven chambers there stalked, in fact, a multitude of dreams." Poe, pg. 44

Quote 11: "And these -- the dreams -- writhed in and about, taking hue from the rooms, and causing the wild music of the orchestra to seem as the echo of their steps. And, anon, there strikes the ebony clock which stands in the hall of velvet...The dreams are stiff-frozen as they stand. But the echoes of the chime die away...And now again the music swells, and the dreams live, and writhe to and fro more merrily than ever." Poe, pg. 44

Quote 12: "The figure was tall and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments from the grave. The mask...was made so nearly to resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse...But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the Red Death. His vesture was dabbled in blood -- and his broad brow, with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror." Poe, pg. 45

Quote 13: "[Prince Prospero] gasped in unutterable horror at finding the grave cerements and corpse-like mask, which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any tangible form." Poe, pg. 47

Quote 14: "For some months previous to my becoming acquainted with him, his physicians had declared him in a confirmed phthisis [tuberculosis of the lungs]. It was his custom, indeed, to speak calmly of his approaching dissolution, as of a matter neither to be avoided nor regretted." Poe, pg. 49

Quote 15: "The left lung had been for eighteen months in a semi-osseous or cartilaginous state, and was, of course, entirely useless for all purposes of vitality. The right, in its upper portion, was...ossified, while the lower region was merely a mass of purelent tubercles, running one into another. Several extensive perforations [holes] existed; and, at one point, permanent adhesion to the ribs had taken place." Poe, pg. 50

Quote 16: "The glassy roll of the eye was changed for that expression of uneasy inward [sic] examination which is never seen except in cases of sleep-walking, and which it is quite impossible to mistake. With a few lateral passes I made the eyelids quiver, as in incipient sleep, and with a few more I closed them altogether." Poe, pg. 52

Quote 17: "The eyes rolled themselves slowly open, the pupils slowly disappearing upwardly; the skin [resembled] not so much parchment on white paper...The upper lip, at the same time, writhed itself away from the teeth, which it had previously covered completely; while the lower jaw fell with an audible jerk, leaving the mouth widely extended, and disclosing in full view the swollen and blackened tongue." Poe, pg. 54

Quote 18: "As I rapidly made the mesmeric passes, amid ejaculations of "dead! dead!" absolutely bursting from the tongue and not from the lips of the sufferer, his whole frame at once -- within the space of a single minute, or eevn less, shrunk -- crumbled--absolutely rotted away beneath my hands. Upon the bed, before that whole company, there lay a nearly liquid mass of lothsome [sic] -- of detestable putridity." Poe, pg. 57

Quote 19: "The boundaries which divide Life from Death, are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and the other begins? We know that there are diseases in which occur total cessations of all the apparent functions of vitality, and yet in which these cessations are merely...temporary pauses in the incomprehensible mechanism." Poe, pg. 59

Quote 20: "When we reflect how very rarely, from the nature of the case, we have it in our power to detect them, we must admit that [these incidents] may frequently occur without our cognizance. Scarcely, in truth, is a graveyard ever encroached upon, for any purpose, to any great extent, that skeletons are not found in postures which suggest the most fearful of suspicions." Poe, pg. 64

Quote 21: "I was mortal, but am fiend. I was merciless, but am pitiful. Thou dost feel that I shudder.-- [sic] My teeth chatter as I speak, yet it is not with the chilliness of the night -- of the night without end. But this hideousness is insufferable. How canst thou tranquilly sleep? I cannot rest for the cry of these great agonies. These sights are more than I can bear. Get thee up! Come with me into the outer Night, and let me unfold to thee the graves. Is not this a spectacle of woe?--Behold!" Poe, pg. 67

Quote 22: "I endeavored to shriek; and my lips and my parched tongue moved convulsively together in the attempt -- but no voice issued from the cavernous lungs, which, oppressed as if by the weight of some incumbent mountain, gasped and palpitated, with the heart, at every elaborate and struggling inspiration." Poe, pg. 70

Quote 23: "There are moments when, even to the sober eye of Reason, the world of our sad Humanity may assume the semblance of Hell -- but the imagination of man is no Carathis, to explore with impunity its every cavern. Alas! the grim legion of sepulchral terrors cannot be regarded as altogether fanciful -- but, like the Demons in whose company Afrasiab made his voyage down the Oxus, they must sleep, or they will devour us -- they must be suffered to slumber, or we perish." Poe, pg. 72

Quote 24: "My notice was soon afterwards attracted by the dusky-red appearance of the moon, and the peculiar character of the sea. The latter was undergoing a rapid change, and the water seemed more than usually transparent...The air now became intolerably hot, and was loaded with spiral exhalations similar to those arising from heated iron. As night came on, every breath of wind died away, and a more entire calm it is impossible to conceive." Poe, pg. 74

Quote 25: "Her huge hull was of a deep dinghy black, unrelieved by any of the customary carvings of a ship. A single row of brass cannon protruded from her open ports, and dashed from their polished surfaces the fires of innumerable battle-lanterns, which swung too and fro about her rigging. But what mainly inspired us with horror and astonishment, was that she bore up under a press of sail in the very teeth of that supernatural sea, and of that ungovernable hurricane." Poe, pg. 78

Quote 26: "A man passed by...His knees tottered beneath a load of years, and his entire frame quivered under the burthen. He muttered to himself, in a low broken tone, some words of a language which I could not understand, and groped among a pile of singular-looking instruments, and decayed charts of navigation. His manner was a wild mixture of the peevishness of second childhood, and the solemn dignity of God." Poe, pg. 79

Quote 27: "Although well armed, she is not, I think, a ship of war. Her rigging, build, and general equipment, all negative a supposition of this kind. What she is not, I can easily perceive -- what she is I fear it is impossible to say...[B]ut in scrutinizing her strange model and singular cast of spars, her huge size and overgrown suits of canvass, her severely simple bow and antiquated stern, there will occasionally flash across my mind...an unaccountable memory of old foreign chronicles and ages long ago." Poe, pg. 80

Quote 28: "But little time will be left me to ponder upon my destiny -- the circles rapidly grow small -- we are plunging madly within the grasp of the whirlpool -- and amid a roaring, and bellowing, and thundering of ocean and of tempest, the ship is quivering, oh God! and -- going down." Poe, pg. 83-4

Quote 29: "He was singularly tall and thin. He stooped much. His limbs were exceedingly long and emaciated. His forehead was broad and low. His complexion was absolutely bloodless. His mouth was large and flexible, and his teeth were more wildly uneven...His eyes were abnormally large and round like those of a cat...their ordinary condition was so totally vapid, filmy and dull, as to convey the idea of the eyes of a long-interred corpse." Poe, pg. 85-86

Quote 30: "In the quivering of a leaf -- in the hue of a blade of grass -- in the shape of a trefoil -- in the humming of a bee -- in the gleaming of a dewdrop -- in the breathing of the wind -- in the faint odors that came from the forest -- there came a whole new universe of suggestion -- a gay and motley train of rhapsodical and immethodical thought." Poe, pg. 88

Quote 31: "Beyond the limits of the city arose, in frequent majestic groups, the palm and the cocoa, with other gigantic and weird trees of vast age and here and there might be seen a field of rice, the thatched hut of a peasant, a tank, a stray temple, a gypsy camp, or a solitary graceful maiden taking her way, with a pitcher upon her head to the banks of the majestic river." Poe, pg. 91

Quote 32: "My host was of a less excitable temperment, and, although greatly depressed in spirits, exerted himself to sustain my own. His richly philosophical intellect was not at any time affected by unrealities. To the substances of terror he was sufficently alive, but of its shadows he had no apprehension." Poe, pg. 96

Quote 33: "[The creature had] two pairs of wings -- each wing nearly one hundred yards in length...and all thickly covered with metal scales; each scale apparently some twelve feet in diameter...but the chief peculiarity of this horrible thing was the representation of a Death's Head, which covered nearly the whole surface of its breast, and which was as accurately traced in glaring white, upon the dark ground of the body, as if it had been there carefully designed by an artist." Poe, pg. 98

Quote 34: "[The Sphinx] is by no means so large or so distant as you imagined it; for the fact is that, as it wriggles its way up this thread, which some spider has wrought along the window-sash, I find it to be about the sixteenth of an inch in its extreme length, and also about the sixteenth of an inch distant from the pupil of my eye." Poe, pg. 100

Quote 35: "What song the Syrens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid himself among the women, although puzzling questions, are not beyond all conjecture." Poe, pg. 101

Quote 36: "Our player confines himself not at all; nor, because the game is the object, does he reject deductions from things external to the game. He examines the countenance of his partner, comparing it carefully with that of each of his opponents...A casual or inadvertent word; the accidental dropping or turning of a card, with the accompanying anxiety or carelessness in regard to its concealment; the counting of the tricks, with the order of their arrangement; embarrassment, hesitation, eagerness, or trepidation -- all afford, to his apparently intuitive perception, indications of the true state of affairs." Poe, pg. 103

Quote 37: "Let it not be supposed, from what I have just said, that I am detailing any mystery, or penning any romance. What I have described in the Frenchman was merely the result of an excited, or perhaps of a diseased, intelligence. But of the character of his remarks at the periods in question an example will best convey the idea." Poe, pg. 106

Quote 38: "The throat was greatly chafed. There were several deep scratched just below the chin, together with a series of livid spots which were evidently the impression of fingers. The face was fearfully discolored, and the eyeballs protruded. The tongue had been partially bitten through. A large bruise was discovered upon the pit of the stomach, produced, apparently, by the pressure of a knee." Poe, pg. 115

Quote 39: "In his wisdom is no stamen. it is all head and no body, like the pictures of the Goddess Laverna -- or, at best, all head and shoulders, like a codfish. But he is a good creature after all. I like him especially for one master stroke of cant, by which he has attained his reputation for ingenuity. I mean the way he has 'de nier ce qui est, et d'expliquer ce qui n'est pas.'" Poe, pg. 137

Quote 40: "I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily -- how calmly I can tell you the whole story." Poe, pg. 138

Quote 41: "You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing. But you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded -- with what caution -- with what foresight -- with what dissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him." Poe, pg. 138

Quote 42: "Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself...but he had found all in vain. All in vain; because Death, in approaching him, had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel...the presence of my head within the room." Poe, pg. 140

Quote 43: "They heard!--they suspected!--they knew--they were making a mockery of my horror!--this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Any thing was more tolerable than this derison! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die!--and now--again!--hark! louder! louder!--" Poe, pg. 143

Quote 44: "Todder day he gib me slip 'fore de sun up and was gone de whole ob de blessed day. I had a big stick ready cut for to gib him deuced good beating when he did come -- but Ise sich a fool dat I hadn't de heart after all -- he looked so berry poorly...I'm berry sartain dat Massa Will bin bit somewhere 'bout de head by dat goole-bug." Poe, pg. 149

Quote 45: "It was a species of tableland, near the summit of an almost inaccessible hill, densely wooded from base to pinnacle, and interspersed with huge crags that appeared to lie loosely upon the soil, and in many cases were prevented from precipitating themselves into the valleys below, merely by the support of the trees against which they reclined. Deep ravines, in various directions, gave an air of still sterner solemnity of the scene." Poe, pg. 155

Quote 46: "I dug eagerly, and now and then caught myself actually looking, with something that very much resembled expectation, for the fancied treasure, the vision of which had demented my unfortunate companion...when we had been at work perhaps an hour and a half, we were again interrupted by the violent howlings of the dog." Poe, pg. 162

Quote 47: "There were diamonds...a hundred and ten in all, and not one of them small; eighteen rubies of remarkable brilliancy;--three hundred and ten emeralds, all very beautiful; and twenty-one sapphires, with an opal...there was a vast quantity of solid-gold ornaments: nearly two hundred massive finger- and earrings; rich chains--thirty of these, if I remember; eighty-three very large and heavy crucifixes...a prodigious golden punch bowl" Poe, pg. 164-5

Quote 48: "A good glass in the bishop's hostel in the devil's seat -- forty-one degrees and thirteen minutes -- northeast and by north -- main branch seventh limb east side -- shoot from the left eye of the death's-head--a bee-line from the tree through the shot fifty feet out." Poe, pg. 177

Quote 49: "Perhaps a couple of blows with a mattock were sufficient, while his coadjutors were busy in the pit; perhaps it required a dozen -- who shall tell?" Poe, pg. 181

Quote 50: "[The men enter a] small and exceedingly neat parlor, containing...many books, drawings, pots of flowers, and musical instruments. A cheerful fire blazed upon the hearth. At a piano, singing an aria from Bellini, sat a young and very beautiful woman, who, at my entrance, paused in her song, and received me with graceful courtesy. Her voice was low, and her whole manner subdued." Poe, pg. 183

Quote 51: "We put much faith in amusements of a simple kind, such as music, dancing, gymnastic exercises generally, cards...We affected to treat each individual as if for some ordinary physical disorder, and the work 'lunacy' was never employed. A great point was to set each lunatic to guard the actions of all the others. To repose confidence in the understanding or discretion of a madman is to gain him body and soul." Poe, pg. 185

Quote 52: "[B]ut my surprise was great to see her wearing a hoop and farthingale, with high-heeled shoes, and a dirty cap of Brussels lace, so much too large for her that it gave her face a ridiculously diminutive expression. When I had first seen her, she was attired, most becomingly, in deep mourning." Poe, pg. 187

Quote 53: "His cunning...is proverbial and great. If he has a project in view, he conceals his design with a marvelous wisdom; and the dexterity with which he counterfeits sanity presents, to the metaphysician [psychiatrist], one of the most singular problems in the study of mind. When a madman appears thoroughly sane, indeed, it is high time to put him in a straitjacket." Poe, pg. 196-7

Quote 54: "[N[othing could be more richly flowing, or possess a brighter gloss [than his head of hair]. It was of a jetty black; which was also the color...of his unimaginable whiskers...it is not too much to say that they were the handsomest pair of whiskers under the sun...Here were the most entirely even, and the most brilliantly white of all conceivable teeth. From between them, upon every proper occasion, issued a voice of surpassing clearness, melody, and strength...[His eyes] were of a deep hazel exceedingly large and lustrous." Poe, pg. 202

Quote 55: "There is nothing at all like it...we are a wonderful people, and live in a wonderful age. Parachutes and railroads -- man-traps and spring guns! Our steamboats are upon every sea...And who shall calculate the immense influence upon social life -- upon arts -- upon commerce -- upon literature -- which will be the immediate result of electromagnetics! The most wonderful...Mr. -- Thompson, I believe...mechanical contrivances are daily springing up like mushrooms." Poe, pg. 204

Quote 56: "'[Damn] the vagabonds! they not only knocked in the roof of my mouth, but took the trouble to cut off at least seven eighths of my tongue. There isn't Bonfanti's equal, however, in America, for really good articles of this description. I can recommend you to him with confidence,' [here the General bowed] 'and assure you that I have the greatest pleasure in so doing.'" Poe, pg. 211

Quote 57: "Astounding News by Express, via Norfolk!--The Atlantic Crossed in Three Days! Signal Triumph of Mr. Monck Mason's Flying Machine--Arrival at Sullivan's Island, near Charleston, S.C., of Mr. Mason, Mr. Robert Holland, Mr. Henson, Mr. Harrison Ainsworth, and four others, in the Steering Balloon, "Victoria," after a Passage of Seventy-Five Hours from Land to Land! Full Particulars of the Voyage!" Poe, pg. 212

Quote 58: "The balloon is composed of silk, varnished with the liquid gun caoutchouc. It is of vast dimensions, containing more than 40,000 cubic feet of gas; but as coal gas was employed in place of the more expensive and inconvenient hydrogen, the supporting power of the machine, when fully inflated, and immediately after inflation, is not more than about 2500 pounds. The coal gas is not only much less costly, but is easily procured and managed." Poe, pg. 216

Quote 59: "The waters give up no voice to the heavens. The immense flaming ocean writhes and is tortured uncomplainingly. The mountainous surges suggest the idea of innumerable dumb gigantic fiends struggling in impotent agony. In a night such as is this to me, a man lives--lives a whole century of ordinary life -- nor would I forego this rapturous delight for that of a whole century of ordinary existence." Poe, pg. 222

Quote 60: "This is unquestionably the most stupendous, the most interesting, and the most important undertaking ever accomplished or even attempted by man. What magnificent events may ensue, it would be useless now to think of determining." Poe, pg. 225

Quote 61: "The ways of God in Nature, as in Providence, are not as our ways; nor are the models that we frame in any way commensurate to the vastness, profundity, and unsearchableness of His works, which have a depth in them greater than the well of Democritus." Poe, pg. 226

Quote 62: "Just opposite the promontory upon whose apex we were placed, and at a distance of some five or six miles out at sea, there was visible a small, bleak-looking island; or, more properly, its position was discernible through the wilderness of surge in which it was enveloped. About two miles nearer the land, arose another of smaller size, hideously craggy and barren, and encompassed at various intervals by a cluster of dark rocks." Poe, pg. 227

Quote 63: "Never shall I forgot the sensation of awe, horror, and admiration with which I gazed about me. The boat appeared to be hanging, as if by magic, midway down upon the interior surface of a funnel vast in circumference...whose perfectly smooth sides might have been mistaken for ebony...as the rays of the full moon, from that circular rift amid the clouds which I have already described, steamed in a flood of golden glory along the black walls, and far away down into the inmost recesses of the abyss." Poe, pg. 239

Quote 64: "[The Prefect] grasped [the letter] in a perfect agony of joy, opened it with a trembling hand, cast a rapid glance at its contents, and then, scrambling and struggling to the door, rushed at length unceremoniously from the room and from the house, without having uttered a syllable since Dupin had requested him to fill up the check." Poe, pg. 253

Quote 65: "Mathematical axioms are not axioms of general truth. What is true of relation -- of form and quantity -- is often greatly false in regard to morals, for example...But the mathematician argues from his finite truths, through habit, as if they were of an absolutely general applicability -- as the world indeed imagines them to be." Poe, pg. 257

Quote 66: "For eighteen months the Minister has had [the royal personage] in his power. She now has him in hers -- since, being unaware that the letter is not in his possession, he will proceed with his exactions as if it was. Thus will he inevitably commit himself, at once, to his political destruction...I have...no pity...for him who descends. He is that monstrum horrendum, an unprincipled man of genius." Poe, pg. 262

Quote 67: "Impia tortorum longas his turba furores/Sanguinis innocui, non satiata, aluit./Sospite nunc patria, fracto nunc funeris antro,/Mors ubi dira fuit vita salusque patent, [meaning]...'Here the impious clamor of the torturers, insatiate, fed its rage for innocent blood. Now happy is the land, destroyed the pit of horror; and where grim death stalked, life and health are revealed.'" Poe, pg. 264

Quote 68: "I now observed -- with what horror it is needless to say -- that its nether extremity was formed of a crescent of glittering steel, about a foot in length from horn to horn; the horns upward, and under the edge evidently as keen as that of a razor. Like a razor also, it seemed massy and heavy, tapering from the edge into a solid and broad structure above. It was appended to a weighty rod of brass, and the whole hissed [sic] as it was swung through the air." Poe, pg. 273

Quote 69: "The measured movement of the pendulum disturbed them not at all. Avoiding its strokes, they busied themselves with the anointed bandage. They pressed -- they swarmed upon me in ever-accumulating heaps. They writhed upon my throat; their cold lips sought my own; I was half stifled by their thronging pressure; disgust, for which the world has no name, swelled in my bosom, and chilled, with a heavy clamminess, my heart. Yet one minute, and I felt that the struggle would be over." Poe, pg. 277

Quote 70: "It was that of General Lasalle. The French army had entered Toledo. The Inquisition was in the hands of its enemies." Poe, pg. 279

Quote 71: "I took from their sconces two flambeaux [torches], and giving one to Fortunato, bowed him through several suites of rooms to the archway that led into the vaults. I passed down a long and winding staircase, requesting him to be cautious as he follows. We came at length to the foot of the descent, and stood together on the damp ground of the catacombs of the Montresors." Poe, pg. 282

Quote 72: "At the most remote end of the crypt there appeared another less spacious. Its walls had been lined with human remains, piled to the vault overhead, in the fashion of the great catacombs of Paris. Three sides of this interior crypt were still ornamented in this manner. From the fourth the bones had been thrown down, and lay promiscuously upon the earth, forming at one point a mound of some size." Poe, pg. 284

Quote 73: "The now ghastly pallor of the skin, and the now miraculous lustre [sic] of the eye, above all things startled and even awed me. The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow all unheeded, and as, in its wild gossamer texture, it floated rather than fell about the face, I could not...connect its Arabesque expression with any idea of simple humanity." Poe, pg. 25-6

Quote 74: "He who has never swooned is not he who finds strange palaces and wildly familiar places in coals that glow; is not he who beholds floating in midair the sad visions that the many may not view; is not he who ponders over the perfume of some novel flower; is not he whose brain grows bewildered with the meaning of some musical cadence which has never before arrested his attention." Poe, pg. 266

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