The Raven

13 Edgar Allan Poe Quotes for When You Think You Have It Bad

Arguably one of the most tragic, as well as one of the most influential, American authors was Edgar Allan Poe. The man’s life was fraught with misery and turmoil at almost every turn—a father who abandoned the family, a mother who died of consumption, a brother who died of alcoholism, and a beloved (albeit significantly younger) wife who also died of tuberculosis when Poe was 38-years-old. Undoubtedly, all of this tragedy contributed to a body of work that’s some of the best prose and poetry to come out of the United States. In a style holding true to Poe’s dark streak, here are thirteen of some of our favorite Poe quotes!




1. “I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have perilled life and reputation and reason. It has been in the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories — memories of wrong and injustice and imputed dishonor — from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”

– A letter from Poe to Sarah Helen Whitman, a romantic interest



2. “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.”

 The Raven



3. “Is all that we see or seem / But a dream within a dream?”

– A Dream Within a Dream



4. “And so being young and dipt in folly

I fell in love with melancholy.”




5. “TRUE! – nervous – very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses – not destroyed – not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily – how calmly I can tell you the whole story.” 

 The Tell-Tale Heart 



6. “And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.”

– The Masque of the Red Death



7. “They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. In their grey visions they obtain glimpses of eternity, and thrill, in awaking, to find that they have been upon the verge of the great secret. In snatches, they learn something of the wisdom which I of good, and more of the mere knowledge which is of evil.”

– The Fall of the House of Usher



8. “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” 

– A letter from Poe discussing the death of his wife, Virginia



9. “Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.” 

– The Narrative of Arthur Gordyn Pym



10. “The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?” 

– The Premature Burial 



11. “But we loved with a love that was more than love—

I and my Annabel Lee—”

– Annabel Lee 



12. “I continued, as was my wont, to smile in his face, and he did not perceive that my smile now was at the thought of his immolation.” 

– The Cask of Amontillado 



13. “Yet mad I am not…and very surely do I not dream.”

– The Black Cat





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