From the Crypt

The Sleeper

  Edgar Allan Poe  (1809-1849)

At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And, softly dripping, drop by drop,
Upon the quiet mountain top,
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley.
The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin molders into rest;
Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take,
And would not, for the world, awake.
All Beauty sleeps!- and lo! where lies
Irene, with her Destinies!

O, lady bright! can it be right-
This window open to the night?
The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
Laughingly through the lattice drop-
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
Flit through thy chamber in and out,
And wave the curtain canopy
So fitfully- so fearfully-
Above the closed and fringed lid
‘Neath which thy slumb’ring soul lies hid,
That, o’er the floor and down the wall,
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear?
Why and what art thou dreaming here?
Sure thou art come O’er far-off seas,
A wonder to these garden trees!
Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress,
Strange, above all, thy length of tress,
And this all solemn silentness!

The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
Which is enduring, so be deep!
Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
This chamber changed for one more holy,
This bed for one more melancholy,
I pray to God that she may lie
For ever with unopened eye,
While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!

My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep
As it is lasting, so be deep!
Soft may the worms about her creep!
Far in the forest, dim and old,
For her may some tall vault unfold-
Some vault that oft has flung its black
And winged panels fluttering back,
Triumphant, o’er the crested palls,
Of her grand family funerals-

Some sepulchre, remote, alone,
Against whose portal she hath thrown,
In childhood, many an idle stone-
Some tomb from out whose sounding door
She ne’er shall force an echo more,
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!
It was the dead who groaned within.

BEYOND the GRAVE HERE

IMAGE CREDITS: photo.net
paris-in-photos.com

 

    Multitudes of spirits appeared beneath the umbrage, and luminous mantles were folded about rapidly moving form. Some wore crowns upon their heads; others tiaras; and others decorations of which I knew not the name, but which appeared to be wrought of clusters of jewels, wreaths of golden coin, and cloth of gold and silver tissue. Others, wore towering helmets; and others circlets filled with glistening and waving plumes. A pale phosphorescence was emitted by every object, and all appeared a splendid masquerade. The apparel worn by these busy myriads corresponded with the ornaments of the head; hence every variety of sumptuous apparel was displayed upon their forms. Kings and queens appeared arrayed in the gorgeous robes of coronation. Groups of nobility of both sexes, also decorated with all the varieties of adornment displayed in the pageantry of kingly courts. Dense multitudes were visible in costume, proper to the highly cultivated nations; and as they passed by, I discovered similar groups composed of less civilized tribes, attired in barbaric ornaments of every form. While some appeared clothed in the habiliments of the present day, others were in ancient attire; but every class of spirits manifested, in the midst of variety of mode, a uniformity of external pride, pomp, and rapidly moving and dazzling luster.

from Scenes From Beyond the Grave
first published in 1865 by Marietta Davis.

The Phantom Sphere of Evil

Sounds of mingled import—bursts of laughter—utterances of revelry, of gay sport and witty ridicule, and polished sarcasm, and obscene allusions and terrible curses broke upon my ear. These again were intermixed with impure solicitations and backbitings, and hollow compliments, and feigned congratulations, and all in one sparkling brilliancy, agitated the pained, bewildered sense.
As I advanced, I walked as upon scorpions, and trod as amid living embers. The trees that seemed to wave about me were fiery exhalations, and their blossoms the sparklings and the burnings of unremitting flames. Each object I approached by contact created agony. 

The phosphorescent glare that surrounded the various objects burned the eye that looked upon them. The fruitage burned the hand that plucked and the lips that received it. The gathered flowers had emitted a burning exhalation, whose fetid and noisome odor, inhaled in the nostrils, caused excruciating pain. The fiery atoms of the atmosphere burned as they were wafted by me. The air and the blast that moved it, alike were burdened with the very elements of disappointment and wretchedness.

Upon turning to see if I could discover a single drop’ of water to allay the fierce and intolerable thirst; fountains appeared, and rivulets flowed amid the herbage, and lay in calm and placid pools. Soon, however, I discovered that these corresponded with the former illusions, and the drops of spray from the sparkling fountains fell like drops of molten lead upon the shrinking form. The flowing rivulets were like the molten river of metallic fire that streams from a furnace seven times heated; and the deep still pools were as the white and waveless silver in some glowing crucible, when every atom is burning with a fierce, intolerable glow.

A Lost Spirit Speaks

When in solemn contemplation of these fearful scenes, a spirit approached me whom I had known on earth. This being appeared externally far more brilliant than when in the body. The form, the countenance, the eyes, the hands, appeared endued with a metallic lustre that varied with every motion and every thought. Accosting me the spirit said:

Marietta, we are again met. You see me a disembodied spirit, in that abode where those who inwardly deny the Savior find their habitation when their mortal day has ended. Strange emotions agitate your bosom. Thus I felt, looked, wondered, and moved in sad and bewildered anxiety in the hour when my being here discovered the theatre of its present existence. But I experienced that which you have never yet realized in the interior principles of mind. Strange and incontrollable are the emotions causing me to relate that inward sorrow which this brilliant exterior would, if it were possible, conceal.

Autumnal splendor from:

Scenes From Beyond the Grave

published in 1865 by Marietta Davis

 

The Unhallowed Lost

As the autumnal shades deepen and memories of the haunted past surge and rise from the depths of despair, I offer pearls of eternal wisdom to set in your corroding crowns of earthly joy.

(favorite passages: Scenes From Beyond the Grave published in 1865 by Marietta Davis)

 The Abode of the Lost

Suddenly a sable veil of nether night appeared to ascend, pervading, and encompassing my being. My inner doubt seemed wrought into a cloud that shut out the upper glory, and the spirit of denial plunged me into the vortex of a deeper gloom. I fell as one precipitated from some dizzy height. The embodiment of darkness opened to receive me. The moving shadow of a more desolate abyss arose like clouds in dense masses of tempestuous gloom; and as I descended, the ever-accumulating weight of darkness pressed more fearfully upon me. At length a nether plain that seemed boundless was imaged upon my sight, which, at a little distance, appeared to be covered with the sparkling semblance of vegetation. Luminous appearances, like waving trees, with resplendent foliage, and flowers and fruits of crystal and of gold, were visible in every direction.

Spirits of the Lost

Multitudes of spirits appeared beneath the umbrage, and luminous mantles were folded about rapidly moving forms. Some wore crowns upon their heads; others tiaras; and others decorations of which I knew not the name, but which appeared to be wrought of clusters of jewels, wreaths of golden coin, and cloth of gold and silver tissue. Others, wore towering helmets; and others circlets filled with glistening and waving plumes. A pale phosphorescence was emitted by every object, and all appeared a splendid masquerade. The apparel worn by these busy myriads corresponded with the ornaments of the head; hence every variety of sumptuous apparel was displayed upon their forms. Kings and queens appeared arrayed in the gorgeous robes of coronation. Groups of nobility of both sexes, also decorated with all the varieties of adornment displayed in the pageantry of kingly courts. Dense multitudes were visible in costume, proper to the highly cultivated nations; and as they passed by, I discovered similar groups composed of less civilized tribes, attired in barbaric ornaments of every form. While some appeared clothed in the habiliments of the present day, others were in ancient attire; but every class of spirits manifested, in the midst of variety of mode, a uniformity of external pride, pomp, and rapidly moving and dazzling luster.