Review - The raven and other poems by Edgar Allan Poe

Be nothing which thou art not.

Overview 4/5 stars

I don't read much of any poetry. Apart from poems I've read for school (way back when), this is my first book of poetry I've ever read. I will be reading more poetry from now on as I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Poe is well known for the Raven, which everyone has heard at some point. Even the Simpsons recited it during a tree house of horror episode. His other works are also brilliant. There are, of course, a few misses but for the most part everything is great.

The raven

This is now my favourite poem ever. I'm currently looking on amazon to see if I can get the poem in a frame to put on a wall in my house, it's that good. If you don't check out any of the other poems, you must read the raven.

I’ve read this every night before bed since starting this collection. Very few writers can command language like Poe. Here are some of my favourite lines.

But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.

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

Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!

I could copy the whole thing as every word is placed brilliantly.

Other favourites

Amongst my favourites were Tamerlane, Alone, Elizabeth, Lenore, The City in the Sea, The Sleeper, The Valley of Unrest and Dreamland.

Most of the poems are gothic in nature and are rather haunting, though beautiful. Here are just some of my favourite bits. First up is a beaut from Dreamland:

By the lakes that thus outspread Their lone waters, lone and dead,—Their sad waters, sad and chilly With the snows of the lolling lily,—By the mountains—near the river Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,—By the gray woods,—by the swamp Where the toad and the newt encamp,—By the dismal tarns and pools Where dwell the Ghouls,—By each spot the most unholy—In each nook most melancholy,—There the traveller meets aghast Sheeted Memories of the past—Shrouded forms that start and sigh As they pass the wanderer by—White-robed forms of friends long given, In agony, to the Earth—and Heaven.

Would to God I could awaken For I dream I know not how, And my soul is sorely shaken Lest an evil step be taken,—Lest the dead who is forsaken May not be happy now.

My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep, As it is lasting, so be deep; Soft may the worms about her creep!

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.

“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?”

Read nothing, written less –in short’s a fool

And all I loved—I loved alone

And boyhood is a summer sun Whose waning is the dreariest one—For all we live to know is known, And all we seek to keep hath flown

Darkness there and nothing more…




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