50+ Edgar Allan Poe Quotes on Life, Death, and Madness

Edgar Allan Poe was one of the most influential writers of the 19th century, specifically as a poet and short story narrator. Whether it was a poem or a short story, there was a dark beauty in Poe’s imagination and writing. He is famously known for his mystery The Tell-Tale Heart and his poems The Raven and Annabel Lee. Enjoy these Edgar Allan Poe quotes from his writing that has made history in literature.

Edgar Allan Poe: Biography

Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer known for writing exquisite horror, including psychological mysteries The Tell-Tale Heart and The Premature Burial, and detective fiction The Murders in the Rue Morgue. His poem The Raven was slightly controversial and also wildly popular, sparking his fame. Annabel Lee was the last complete poem that Edgar Allan Poe wrote towards the end of his life.

Before Edgar Allan Poe became a writer, he briefly attended the University of Virginia before forcibly dropping out due to a gambling problem. He also joined the U.S. Military Academy at West Point but was expelled after being absent from drills and classes. Alcohol was his vice, and he was often perceived as a drunk. He had various love affairs and marriages throughout his life. His death is still a mystery to this day–no one truly knows if it was from drinking, heart failure, or something else. 

Most poets and writers still love and praise the inspirational Edgar Allan Poe to this day. His craft for storytelling was remarkable. His legacy will live on forever, as an intense writer with a dark soul and a mind of madness.

edgar allan poe quotes
Edgar Allan Poe, circa 1849, restored by Yann Forget and Adam Cuerden

Edgar Allan Poe Quotes About Life, Death, Dreams, and Memories

“If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“I have no faith in human perfectibility. I think that human exertion will have no appreciable effect upon humanity. Man is now only more active – not more happy – nor more wise, than he was 6000 years ago.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“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.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“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?” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Man’s real life is happy, chiefly because he is ever expecting that it soon will be so.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Sleep, those little slices of death — how I loathe them.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“To die laughing must be the most glorious of all glorious deaths!” -Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe Quotes About Love and Beauty

“We loved with a love that was more than love.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“There is no exquisite beauty… without some strangeness in the proportion.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“From childhood’s hour, I have not been. As others were, I have not seen. As others saw, I could not awaken. My heart to joy at the same tone. And all I loved, I loved alone.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Years of love have been forgot, In the hatred of a minute.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Deep in earth, my love is lying / And I must weep alone.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“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 the soul – not of intellect, or of heart.” -Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe Quotes About Madness and Sadness 

“I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“I have great faith in fools – self-confidence, my friends will call it.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“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.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Invisible things are the only realities.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“And so being young and dipped in folly, I fell in love with melancholy.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“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.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“The scariest monsters are the ones that lurk within our souls…” -Edgar Allan Poe

“I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Science has not yet taught us if madness is or is not the sublimity of the intelligence.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“I remained too much inside my head and ended up losing my mind.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Who has not, a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or silly action for no other reason than because he knows he should not? Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to violate that which is Law, merely because we understand it to be such?” -Edgar Allan Poe

bird perching on groundEdgar Allan Poe Quotes on Writing 

“I need scarcely observe that a poem deserves its title only inasmuch as it excites, by elevating the soul. The value of the poem is in the ratio of this elevating excitement.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“With me, poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“To elevate the soul, poetry is necessary.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Every poem should remind the reader that they are going to die.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“A short story must have a single mood, and every sentence must build towards it.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Art is to look at, not to criticize.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Beauty is the sole legitimate province of the poem.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“In reading some books, we occupy ourselves chiefly with the thoughts of the author; in perusing others, exclusively with our own.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.” -Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe Quotes from His Famous Writings

“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.” / “In a kingdom by the sea, / That a maiden there lived whom you may know / By the name of Annabel Lee; / And this maiden she lived with no other thought / Than to love and be loved by me.” –Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe

“I was a child, and she was a child, / In this kingdom by the sea; / But we loved with a love that was more than love – I and my Annabel Lee; / With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven / coveted her and me.” –Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe

“Is all that we see or seem / But a dream within a dream?” –A Dream Within A Dream, Edgar Allan Poe

“And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revelers in the blood-bedewed halls of their revel and died each in the despairing posture of his fall. 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, Edgar Allan Poe

“For passionate love is still divine / I lov’d her as an angel might / With ray of the all living light / Which blazes upon Edis’ shrine.” –Tamerlane, Edgar Allan Poe

“To observe attentively is to remember distinctly.” –The Complete Short Stories, Edgar Allan Poe

“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, / Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before…” –The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe

ink bottle on desk

Other Edgar Allan Poe Quotes

“Either the memory of past bliss is the anguish of today or the agonies which have their origins in ecstasies which might have been. ” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Indeed, there is an eloquence in true enthusiasm that is not to be doubted.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger, portion of truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“Believe nothing you hear and only one half that you see.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“The true genius shudders at incompleteness — imperfection — and usually prefers silence to saying the something which is not everything that should be said.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“I intend to put up with nothing that I can put down.” -Edgar Allan Poe

“That man is not truly brave who is afraid either to seem or to be, when it suits him, a coward.” -Edgar Allan Poe

Read More Edgar Allan Poe Quotes

The Raven

The Tell-Tale Heart

The Black Cat

The Masque of the Red Death

The Premature Burial 

Annabel Lee

The Murders in the Rue Morgue

More Quotes:

About the author
January Nelson is a writer, editor, and dreamer. She writes about astrology, games, love, relationships, and entertainment. January graduated with an English and Literature degree from Columbia University. Read more articles from January on Thought Catalog.

Learn more about Thought Catalog and our writers on our about page.

Related