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!

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edgar Allan Poe's poem Spirits Of The Dead


  1. anthony says:

    does anybody know the theme for this poem?

  2. hannah says:

    i think that the spirit of the dead is about a dead loved one

  3. Luke Smith says:

    Although this poem does talk about loneliness and death this the idea that it is about clinging to your memories is wrong. And without that third stanza it may seem like this but thats just it, the third stanza is there and it changes everything. The opening line talks about how an open night frowns meaning that even though it may seem like it should be a clear and understood occasion there is gloom and doom surrounding it. It goes on to state that the stars do not shine down even though they are there meaning the hope which the stars light is iconic for in this poem is non-existent. The poem then states that these stars will seem to your weary soul of fever or the fear that is constant throughout this poem. The last line directly states that this will not go away, there will never be hope and always will there be fear in death. Because of this the thoughts stated in the fourth stanza are not about loneliness but relate to fear and the visions being the dead and the vacant stars. It is talking about how when you die these things will not only always be present but will be foremost in your mind. This then further changes the fifth stanza from meaning that death is mysterious and we cling on to our memories of a time when we werent lonely to being about how we want to know the meaning of death. It talks about fog and shadow hanging on the hill (constant fear) and how it hangs upon the trees. This is just further reinforcing the idea that death is not understood. The shadow and fog representing the lack of understanding we have at the time and this is what we fear most . By mystery he means that not only do we not understand death but we want to it will always bug us it is permanent. it basically boils down to that when you die you will want to know what “it all means” what is the purpose of the human experience but in Poes everlasting pessimism, you cant know and it will forever be under your skin whispering in your ear to look at it only knowing you cant and wont

  4. gina says:

    I completely agree with Erzabet, this poem is saying that even if you are alone, you aren’t. it’s a very confusing read. stanze 1 is about how you are all alone no one can bother you or ”pry” into your bisness. stanza 2 is saying that loneliness is temporary, for when you die you will not be alone anymore, even if you lived a lonely life. stanza 3 is very confusing and i will not even try to decipher the meaning. stanza 4 is saying that your memoriuos that you clung to will fall away like ”dew-drop from the grass”. Then you will die and death is very mysterious.

  5. noah malik says:

    this poem is very meloncholy. as you are alone your thoughts change to death and other saturnine ideas. soon you are surrounded by the ghosts of those you knew while they were live. you have to stay still as these spectral visitors swirl around your knees. moving to the third stanza, you see the clear night is offering you no hope that the rays of stars usually instill in your soul. your thoughts are there to stay (as said in the 4th stanza). death is a mystery that is yet to be solved.

  6. Amanda says:

    This is a really confusing poem, and it’s really hard to find background info on.

  7. nova says:

    This poem is about darkness
    how it will never leave u what ever you do.
    its like a disease
    it may seem that everyone & everything is against u.
    a powerfull poem I feel
    he no doubt wrote it to mirror his own feeling of lonelness

  8. ashley mebane says:

    this is a really good poem and i can read it for my english class

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