The 70 Most Poetic and Profound Edgar Allan Poe Quotes

Edgar Allan Poe (1809 – 1849) was an American author and literary critic. His poems and short stories explored the depths of the human heart, both the good and the bad. He was a very sensitive soul, who felt all emotions deeply and struggled with addiction. His famous macabre and mysteries poems and stories, like “The Raven” and “The Pit and the Pendulum,” formed young people’s introduction to fear for many generations.

Even as a young person, Poe understood his own “seperateness” and found few who understood his fascination with the beauty within the tragic. His life was troubled and his literature often was too. He has become famous as the master of the macabre.

Edgar Allan Poe Quotes

Here are 70 of his most poetical and profound quotes. You may well recognize many of them!

  1. “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
  2. “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 periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”
  3. “Literature is the most noble of professions. In fact, it is about the only one fit for a man. For my own part, there is no seducing me from the path.”
  4. “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”
  5. The true genius shudders at incompleteness — imperfection — and usually prefers silence to saying the something which is not everything that should be said.”
  6. “Years of love have been forgot, In the hatred of a minute.”
  7. “All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.”
  8. “With me poetry has been not a purpose, but a passion; and the passions should be held in reverence: they must not — they cannot at will be excited, with an eye to the paltry compensations, or the more paltry commendations, of mankind.”
  9. “Melancholy is … the most legitimate of all the poetical tones.”
  10. “If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.”
  11. “Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.”
  12. “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?”
  13. “There is no exquisite beauty…without some strangeness in the proportion.”
  14. “It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream.”
  15. “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”
  16. “Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
  17. “And so being young and dipt in folly, I fell in love with melancholy.”
  18. “Invisible things are the only realities.”
  19. “Science has not yet taught us if madness is or is not the sublimity of the intelligence.”
  20. “Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”
  21. “Never to suffer would never to have been blessed.”
  22. “Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence– whether much that is glorious– whether all that is profound– does not spring from disease of thought– from moods of mind exalted at the expense of the general intellect.”
  23. “To elevate the soul, poetry is necessary.”
  24. “I remained too much inside my head and ended up losing my mind.”
  25. “Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term “Art,” I should call it “the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul.” The mere imitation, however accurate, of what is in Nature, entitles no man to the sacred name of “Artist”.”
  26. “There are certain themes of which the interest is all-absorbing, but which are too entirely horrible for the purposes of legitimate fiction.”
  27. “The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.”
  28. “Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.”
  29. “A million candles have burned themselves out. Still I read on.”“The most natural, and, consequently, the truest and most intense of the human affections are those which arise in the heart as if by electric sympathy.”
  30. “Stupidity is a talent for misconception.”
  31. “The fury of a demon instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame.”
  32. “Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger, portion of truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant.”
  33. “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”
  34. “The realities of the world affected me as visions, and as visions only, while the wild ideas of the land of dreams became, in turn,—not the material of my every-day existence–but in very deed that existence utterly and solely in itself.”
  35. “The customs of the world are so many conventional follies.”
  36. “I was never really insane except upon occasions where my heart was touched.”
  37. “In beauty of face no maiden ever equaled her. It was the radiance of an opium-dream – an airy and spirit-lifting vision more wildly divine than the fantasies which hovered about the slumbering souls of the daughters of Delos.”
  38. “But as, in ethics, evil is a consequence of good, so, in fact, out of joy is sorrow born. Either the memory of past bliss is the anguish of today, or the agonies which are have their origin in the ecstasies which might have been.”
  39. “In our endeavors to recall to memory something long forgotten, we often find ourselves upon the very verge of remembrance, without being able, in the end, to remember.”
  40. “There is an eloquence in true enthusiasm.”
  41. “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”“Thank Heaven! the crisis—The danger is past, And the lingering illness, Is over at last—And the fever called “Living,” Is conquered at last.”
  42. “Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.”
  43. “There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion.”
  44. “And all my days are trances / And all my nightly dreams / Are where thy grey eye glances / And where thy footstep / gleams—In what ethereal dances / By what eternal streams.”
  45. “We loved with a love that was more than love…With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven coveted her and me.”
  46. “That which you mistake for madness is but an overacuteness of the senses.”
  47. “Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore…”
  48. “A man’s grammar, like Caesar’s wife, should not only be pure, but above suspicion of impurity.”
  49. “When, indeed, men speak of Beauty, they mean, precisely, not a quality, as is supposed, but an effect – they refer, in short, just to that intense and pure elevation of soul – not of intellect, or of heart.”
  50. “I intend to put up with nothing that I can put down.”
  51. “When a madman appears thoroughly sane, indeed, it is high time to put him in a straight jacket.”
  52. “In other words, I believed, and still do believe, that truth, is frequently of its own essence, superficial, and that, in many cases, the depth lies more in the abysses where we seek her, than in the actual situations wherein she may be found.”
  53. “I am a writer. Therefore, I am not sane.”
  54. “To vilify a great man is the readiest way in which a little man can himself attain greatness.”
  55. “To be thoroughly conversant with Man’s heart, is to take our final lesson in the iron-clasped volume of Despair.”
  56. “No thinking being lives who, at some luminous point of his life of thought, has not felt himself lost amid the surges of futile efforts at understanding, or believing, that anything exists greater than his own soul.”
  57. “For my own part, I have never had a thought which I could not set down in words, with even more distinctness than that with which I conceived it.”
  58. “There are few persons, even among the calmest thinkers, who have not occasionally been startled into a vague yet thrilling half credence in the supernatural, by coincidences of so seemingly marvellous a character that, as mere coincidences, the intellect has been unable to receive them.”
  59. “You will observe that the stories told are all about money-seekers, not about money-finders.”
  60. “That man is not truly brave who is afraid either to seem or to be, when it suits him, a coward.”
  61. “From childhood’s hour I have not beenAs others were; I have not seenAs others saw.”
  62. “To him, who still would gaze upon the glory of the summer sun, there comes, when that sun will from him part, a sullen hopelessness of heart.”
  63. “Ah, not in knowledge is happiness, but in the acquisition of knowledge! In forever knowing, we are forever blessed; but to know all, were the curse of a fiend.”
  64. “I have not only labored solely for the benefit of others (receiving for myself a miserable pittance), but have been forced to model my thoughts at the will of men whose imbecility was evident to all but themselves.”
  65. “For passion must, with youth, expire.”
  66. “Actually, I do have doubts, all the time. Any thinking person does. There are so many sides to every question.”
  67. “But it is a trait in the perversity of human nature to reject the obvious and the ready, for the far-distant and equivocal.”
  68. “It is evident that we are hurrying onward to some exciting knowledge—some never-to-be-imparted secret, whose attainment is destruction.”
  69. “As for Republicanism, no analogy could be found for it upon the face of the earth—unless we except the case of the “prairie dogs,” an exception which seems to demonstrate, if anything, that democracy is a very admirable form of government—for dogs.”
  70. “There are two bodies — the rudimental and the complete; corresponding with the two conditions of the worm and the butterfly. What we call “death,” is but the painful metamorphosis. Our present incarnation is progressive, preparatory, temporary. Our future is perfected, ultimate, immortal. The ultimate life is the full design.”
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Edgar Allen Poe, although known as the master of mystery and suspense, was incredibly insightful and profound. His works are still renowned for their insight into the human soul. These quotes demonstrate his understanding and his wisdom. Use these poetic and profound Edgar Allan Poe quotes to remind you that the most misunderstood are often the most insightful. See his wisdom and his deep love for expressing the beauty within the difficult to bear.

Image Credit: Unknown author; Restored by Yann Forget and Adam Cuerden / Public domain


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