Spirits of the Dead

Edgar Allen Poe

Spirit of the Dead

Thy soul shall find itself alone
'Mid dark thoughts of the grey tomb-stone;
Not one, of all the crowd, to pry
Into thine hour of secrecy.

Be silent in that 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, though 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 for ever.

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


The speaker is standing in a cemetery and he/she sees a soul appear. It is a newly diseased soul. The spirits of the dead who have already been there join the soul. They will show the soul what to do and act as guides for it and lead it into the next dimension. The soul reviews it's past life. Fog appears and the soul and spirits cross dimensions.



The poem is a narrative in which events occur such as entering the cemetery and the soul being lead to the next dimension for the after-life. The mood of the poem is very mysterious and somewhat spooky but also awestruck. The speaker is speaking directly to the audience, explaining what'll happen if you find yourself in the situation he/she is describing.

The speaker seems to be curious and also amazed at the sight they were able to see. If someone were to read the poem out loud, he/she should speak it like how you would tell a ghost story; make it spooky. Words such as "Tomb-stone", "Shadowy", "Red orbs", and "Spirit" give off this kind of tone.


The form of the poem is stanza's. Each stanza has a different number of lines. The poet most likely chose this form to go along with the effect he was trying to give off.

The story of the poem goes along chronologically throughout each stanza.

There are six complete sentences in the poem in total, with a lot of punctuation allowing them to be longer. He often put comas and semicolons for the effect of how a reader would say the poem aloud. The verbs are in the correct "noun, verb" order.

Musical Devices

The rhyme scheme of this poem was

A, A, B, C

D, E, F, G, H, H

I, I, J, K, L, L, M, N

O, O, P, P

Q, Q, R, R, S, S

throughout the poem with hints of near rhyme in between the ones that didn't perfectly rhyme.

The poem flows like music due to it's consistent rhythm.

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