Tag Archives: Edgar Allan Poe

“Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December.”

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.

— from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven

 

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Illustration by James Carling, circa 1882

“The Bells,” by Edgar Allan Poe

I .

Hear the sledges with the bells-
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens, seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

II.

Hear the mellow wedding bells,
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And an in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the Future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells,bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

III.

Hear the loud alarum bells-
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!
In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!
Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune,
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire,
In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,
Leaping higher, higher, higher,
With a desperate desire,
And a resolute endeavor,
Now- now to sit or never,
By the side of the pale-faced moon.
Oh, the bells, bells, bells!
What a tale their terror tells
Of Despair!
How they clang, and clash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour
On the bosom of the palpitating air!
Yet the ear it fully knows,
By the twanging,
And the clanging,
How the danger ebbs and flows:
Yet the ear distinctly tells,
In the jangling,
And the wrangling,
How the danger sinks and swells,
By the sinking or the swelling in the anger of the bells-
Of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells,bells,
Bells, bells, bells-
In the clamor and the clangor of the bells!

IV.

Hear the tolling of the bells-
Iron Bells!
What a world of solemn thought their monody compels!
In the silence of the night,
How we shiver with affright
At the melancholy menace of their tone!
For every sound that floats
From the rust within their throats
Is a groan.
And the people- ah, the people-
They that dwell up in the steeple,
All Alone
And who, tolling, tolling, tolling,
In that muffled monotone,
Feel a glory in so rolling
On the human heart a stone-
They are neither man nor woman-
They are neither brute nor human-
They are Ghouls:
And their king it is who tolls;
And he rolls, rolls, rolls,
Rolls
A paean from the bells!
And his merry bosom swells
With the paean of the bells!
And he dances, and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the paean of the bells-
Of the bells:
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells-
To the sobbing of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rhyme,
To the rolling of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells:
To the tolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells-
Bells, bells, bells-
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.

 

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Photo credit: Rennett Stowe from USA [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D

A short review of the “Cabin Fever” remake (2016)

I don’t understand why the 2016 remake of Eli Roth’s “Cabin Fever” (2002) is so hated by critics and audiences.  It has a 0% rating over at Rotten Tomatoes, and reviews of the movie are withering.  I personally thought it was a very well made horror film; I’d rate it at least an 8 out of 10.

Sure, I understand the criticisms.  This is definitely an unneeded remake.  And the new cast here feels bland compared to the doomed vacationers in Roth’s campier, weirder outing 14 years prior.  (Although this isn’t a shot-for-shot remake, it still proceeds mostly from his original script.)

But the new “Cabin Fever” is well filmed, and it’s damned horrifying.  Director Travis Z significantly ups the gore, violence and frightening imagery — it’s not for the squeamish.  It passes the litmus test for decent horror movies, because it scared me.

Maybe I’m just partial to Roth’s basic story concept — a terrifying new illness that jumps from person to person in an isolated location from which it’s difficult to escape, turning them against one another.  It’s precisely the same plot driver as the one for John Carpenter’s “The Thing” (1982), which is among the greatest sci-fi/horror films of all time.  And I suppose Roth’s story could be taken as modern retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death,” with some of the director’s sadism and unique black humor injected into it via his screwball, eccentric characters.  Remake or not, this is still a creative change of pace from a genre consistently overcrowded with slashers and shrieking ghosts.

 

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“And all I loved — I loved alone.”

Alone,” by Edgar Allan Poe

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 roll’d
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—

 

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More old-time radio — 47 hours of science fiction classics

What a find!  A poet I admire passed this along to me, and it was too good not to share — 47 hours of science fiction radio classics that Open Culture recently added to its Spotify page.  You’ve got to be a Spotify member to hear these, but signing up is free and easy.  (Spotify also makes it easy to reset your password if you’ve forgotten it, as I did.)

Right at the top of the list is Orson Welles’ famous/infamous 1938 broadcast of his radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds.”  (Yes, this the show that made people believe that martians were actually invading.  How’s that for “fake news?”)

Welles’ broadcast was actually the first classic radio I’d ever heard, when I was a kid in the 1980’s.  I’d gotten it on a pair of cassette tapes for either Christmas or my birthday, along with an adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.”  If those strike you as weird presents, I was a weird kid.

I loved those tapes — the Poe recording was so good it genuinely scared me.  (The narrator really nailed it.)  If I happen across that online, I’ll be sure to post it here.

 

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“Poe on the High Bridge,” Bernard Jacob Rosenmeyer, 1930

Today is Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday.

Rosenmeyer’s lithograph below depicts him on one of his characteristic solitary walks; this one is on the High Bridge between Manhattan and the Bronx.  For a little interesting background on it, see this entry at the Ephemeral New York website.

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“The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe (read by Eric Robert Nolan)

Happy Halloween once again!  Below you’ll find my audio recording of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”

I apologize that this and my other readings are a bit “breathy;” I doubt Poe envisioned an asthmatic narrator.  It’s because I’m recording these poems on my cell phone, and I’ve got to stand very close to it to be heard.  I believe I’ll be able to eliminate this problem when I get some better recording equipment.

Enjoy!

 

“This Living Hand, Now Warm and Capable,” by John Keats (read by Eric Robert Nolan)

I was looking around the web for a Halloween poem to record (it’s a bit tricky, as they have to be in the public domain), and I found this very short poem by John Keats.  Its imagery makes it somewhat Halloweenish, I suppose.  I hope that you enjoy it.

If you do like this one, then stop by tomorrow for my reading of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven.”

 

THAT’S SO RAVEN.

Here is the poem that we celebrate every year as October 31st approaches, even though it actually takes place in December — “Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December.”

Enjoy “The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe.  And, if you get the chance, do peruse Gustave Dore’s amazing 1883 steel-engraving illustrations — they’re all over the Internet, and they are in the public domain.  They’re superbly haunting, and they’re beautiful.  Dore died a year later, never seeing the publication of his work with Poe’s poem by Harper & Brothers’ 1884 edition.

In fact, you can even read “The Raven” with all 25 of Dore’s illustrations, by downloading it for free in e-book format right here:

http://www.amazon.com/Raven-Illustrated-Five-Classics-Book-ebook/dp/B00FAVTEMY/?tag=braipick-20

Thanks to brainpickings.org for that wicked cool tip.

*****

 

“The Raven,” by Edgar Allan Poe

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 visitor,” 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 visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor 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 mortal 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 soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat 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 this 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 the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his 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 fancy 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 word 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 hath 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 shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
            Shall be lifted—nevermore!

 

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