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    The Spooky and the Dreamy

    An Anthology of Poems


    Edgar Allan PoeThe Raven and A Dream Within a Dream

    Emily DickinsonBecause I Could Not Stop for Death and A Fly Buzzed When I


    William BlakePoison Tree and A Dream

    Lewis CarrollEpilogue to Through the Looking-Glass and Dreamland

    Christina Georgiana RossettiDream land and The Boats Sail On the Rivers

    My Trouble with a Theme

    Edgar Allan Poe has always stood out to me as an interesting writer. I knew I

    wanted to derive my theme from his works but this turned out to be much more difficult

    than I anticipated. I started by searching for poetry that had death as its subject or that

    was labeled macabre or gothic, as Poes work was. It seems silly that I should have been

    surprised by it, but all the poems that were called up were so morbid, in a strikingly

    different way than Poes. Reading The Raven or Annabel Lee was, though certainly

    sad, a colorful, suspenseful, and imaginative experience. Other poems on mortality, like

    John Donnes Funeral, for example, seemed heavy and bleak and showed little of the

    fanciful or weird style of Poes poems. Much of what I was seeing was not what I was

    looking for. Early on, however, I was drawn to Emily Dickinsons poems. Some of

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    them dealt with death and, like Poes, they were unusual and fanciful they were written

    from the perspective of being dead. As I understood more what I was looking for, I

    narrowed my theme to being imaginative and, to lighten the morbidity, widened it to

    include the scary - thisbecame the spooky. Still in need of another modification, I

    looked at EdgarPoes works again and found that he was interested in the idea of dreams.

    I figured that spookythe kind of scary that characterizes nightmaresis naturally

    related to dreamy, and adjective that suggests all of the imagination of nightmares

    without the fear, and decided that the two would make for an interesting and balanced

    duo for a theme.

    Dedicated to Bella the Cat

    Whose tireless effort

    And steadfast support

    Made this work possible

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    Edgar Allan Poe

    Edgar Allan Poe (1809- 1949) was an American author, poet, and literary critic

    born in Boston, Massachusetts and considered to be part of the American Romantic

    Movement. He is most recognized for his dark and mysterious tales and is credited with

    contributing to the emergence of the science fiction genre. Though quite well known in

    his time, his attempt at earning a living solely as a writer made for a financially difficult

    life. He frequently dealt with death, especially the death of a lover - "the death of a

    beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world". In 1845, he

    published his most famous work The Raven, which was an instant success and made

    him a household name. Two years later, Poes wife died of tuberculosis and was

    followed to the grave by Edgar just a year later. Edgars death is a bit of a mystery itself.

    He was found on the streets of Baltimore delirious "in great distress, and... in need of

    immediate assistance", according to the man who found him, Joseph W. Walker. He was

    taken to the hospital where he died the next morning of, what newspaper reported to be,

    congestion of the brain. The actual cause of death has been speculated to be anything

    from rabies to epilepsy to syphilis.

    The Raven

    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 someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -

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    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 named 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 darkness 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,

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    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 marveled 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 above 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 further 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 sad soul 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 recliningOn 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 cense

    Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.`Wretch,' I cried, `thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent

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    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 named Lenore -

    Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named 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 liftednevermore!

    Edgar Allan Poe


    Nights Plutonian shorePluto refers to the god of hell, so hells


    GileadFrom the Bible, a hill of testimony or mound of witnessNepentheA drug as described in Homers Odyssey meant to drive

    away grief

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    This is a very musical poem, filled with assonance, alliteration, rhyming, and

    word repetition. Beginning in the very first stanza, we see all four: alliteration ties the

    together the words weak and weary, quaint and curious, and nodding, nearly

    napping, suddenly. Since it is probably the most suspenseful moment of the poem, Poe

    emphasizes the knocking at the door by repeating the onomatopoeic app sound in three

    different, rhyming words: While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a

    tapping, /As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door./

    `'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tappingat my chamber door. Poe also sets up a

    musical structure that he continues for the rest of his poem. He ends each of the two

    lines before the last line with the same word or phrase - chamber door, in this case

    which he has rhyme with the last lines ending of nevermore (or nothing-more,

    evermore, etc). Poe felt strongly that some words, by virtue of their sound, could have

    an emotive effect on younevermore was one of these words. By using this musical

    set up, he not only repeats the word but also echoes its haunting sound throughout the

    poem to create a uniquely dark atmosphere.

    One element of this poem that is characteristically Poe is, despite the dark and

    depressing tone, the bizarrely humorous depiction of the raven. It steps into the room

    with the bearing of some lord or lady and contently perches on the bust of Pallas saying

    nothing. The first sound it makes is in answer to the narrators question of what its name

    isnevermore, it caws. This situation is, at first, weirdly amusing, but the narrator

    becomes increasingly paranoid by the stark, cold responses. In stanza two, the narrator

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    was dwelling on the loss of his Lenorevainly I had sought to borrow

    From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore; the raven cawing

    nevermore now seems to confirm the loss and extinguish any hope, leaving the narrator

    trapped under its shadow.

    One aspect of this poem that makes it specifically spooky as opposed to morbid or

    generally scary is the possibility of the events occurring in a dream. At the beginning of

    the poem, before the initial knock at the door, it is midnight and the narrator is nodding,

    nearly napping. This set up allows for a nightmarish story that is not absolutely bleak.

    A Dream Within a Dream

    Take this kiss upon the brow!

    And, in parting from you now,

    Thus much let me avow-

    You are not wrong, who deemThat my days have been a dream;

    Yet if hope has flown away

    In a night, or in a day,In a vision, or in none,

    Is it therefore the less gone?All that we see or seem

    Is but a dream within a dream.

    I stand amid the roarOf a surf-tormented shore,

    And I hold within my hand

    Grains of the golden sand-

    How few! yet how they creepThrough my fingers to the deep,

    While I weep- while I weep!

    O God! can I not graspThem with a tighter clasp?

    O God! can I not save

    One from the pitiless wave?

    Is all that we see or seemBut a dream within a dream

    Edgar Allan Poe

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    In this poem, Poe takes a fairly common considerationthe impermanence of life

    and puts an almost science-fiction spin on it, suggesting that everything we experience

    is just a dream within a dream. This extreme idea very effectively conveys the essence of

    impermanence. Events that occur in a dream lose their basis when one wakes up, but

    what if one wakes up to another dream? Then almost everything loses its basis;

    everything is less than transient, it is groundless. But Edgar Allan Poe is not being

    nihilistic. The poem begins with the exclamation Take this kiss upon the brow!

    though the two are parting and recognizing how nothing lasts, there is an eagerness to

    embrace ones experience moment to moment. The fact that nothing lasts is all the more

    reason to seize the day.

    Poe uses strong imagery in the second stanza. First, there is a contrast between

    the vastness of the ocean and the smallness of the grains of sand that are being swallowed

    up by it. The ocean, at least the Pacific, I have heard been described as being so infinite

    as to haveno memory. In this sense, it is a fitting image for Poe to use as the speaker

    loses his precious grains of sand to the waves. They are gone for good, totally lost.

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    Emily Dickinson

    Emily Dickinson (1830-1866) was born to a successful family in Amherst,

    Massachusetts. She studied at Amherst Academy for seven years and spent some time at

    the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to live in herfamilys house. She

    was regarded as being very bright and eccentric. From a young age, she became troubled

    by the deepening menace of death. Several of those close to her, including a second

    cousin Sophia Holland, died early in their lives and Emily grew melancholic from the

    traumas. These experiences made her sensitive to mortality, which would become

    frequent focus in her poetry. Later in life, she became more and more withdrawn,

    keeping friendships primarily in letter correspondence, while becoming more prolific in

    her writing. Researchers are undecided in the reason for her withdrawal and seclusion.

    She was diagnosed with nervous prostration by a doctor in her lifetime, although some

    today believe that she suffered from illnesses ranging from agoraphobia to epilepsy.

    Because I Could Not Stop for Death

    Because I could not stop for Death--

    He kindly stopped for me--The Carriage held but just Ourselves--

    And Immortality.

    We slowly drove--He knew no haste

    And I had put awayMy labor and my leisure too,

    For His Civility--

    We passed the School, where Children strove

    At Recess--in the Ring--We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain--

    We passed the Setting Sun--

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    In the third stanza, Emily uses images that get progressively larger. In the

    carriage, the speaker and Death first pass children at recess, then pass a field of wheat,

    and finally pass the setting sun. This technique is very cinematic and gives a peaceful

    feel to the ride. They are also not general or unfamiliar sights. Emily Dickinson does not

    write, We passed a School or We passed a field of Gazing Grain. The speaker uses

    the article the to refer to the images that she sees. The ride is as familiar and

    comfortable as any that she might have taken while she was alive.

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    I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died

    I heard a fly buzz when I died;

    The stillness round my form

    Was like the stillness in the air

    Between the heaves of storm.

    The eyes beside had wrung them dry,And breaths were gathering sure

    For that last onset, when the king

    Be witnessed in his power.

    I willed my keepsakes, signed away

    What portion of me ICould make assignable,--and then

    There interposed a fly,

    With blue, uncertain, stumbling buzz,Between the light and me;

    And then the windows failed, and then

    I could not see to see.

    Emily Dickinson

    A distinguishing feature of this poem from the previous poem is that, though the

    speaker is also speaking from grave, she only recounts what happens right up to the

    moment of her death whereas Because I could not stop for Death begins immediately

    after. In I heard a fly buzz when I died, therefore, Emily Dickinson means to show, or

    speculate at least, what the first half of that transition is like.

    The poems share a calm, nonchalant tone. In this case though, the offhandedness

    is taken to an extreme for a remarkable effectI heard a fly buzz when I died

    juxtaposes the completely undramatic, the drone of small insect, with lifes last moment.

    By doing so, Dickinson illustrates the possibility that, despite the great finality and

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    significance of death, there will be no trumpeting angels to mark your departure or a

    philosophical cloud that hovers over you to give the last moment great meaning.

    The poem is pretty bleak. The speaker is noticeably alone though there are in fact

    others around her. The metonymy in stanza two that refers to the people by their eyes

    and their breaths makes them seem less like friends of family of the speaker and less like

    actual people. The only living thing that the speaker does directly speak about is the

    buzzing flywhich is more inorganic than organic and offers little comfort.

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    William Blake

    William Blake (17571827) was a poet of the Romantic period who, though

    largely unrecognized during his lifetime, is now considered a very important figure of his

    time. He was a bit of a radical and considered by many of his contemporaries to be mad.

    For good reason, too - from an early age Blake openly spoke about experiencing visions.

    During one of the most tragic moments of his life, when his beloved brother Robert died

    from tuberculosis at age 24, Blake claimed he saw his spirit ascend through the ceiling,

    joyously. He was a religious man but was very against the Church of England and most

    religious institutions, preferring to explore and develop his own philosophical and

    spiritual views that were evident throughout his art. Not widely known for his poetry,

    William Blake was professionally an engraver and painter and earned much of his living

    by working on commissions for illustrating scenes of the works Dante, Shakespeare,

    Milton, and the Bible. Since then, he has become a huge figure in Romantic literature.

    A Poison Tree

    I was angry with my friend:

    I told my wrath, my wrath did end.I was angry with my foe:

    I told it not, my wrath did grow.

    And I watered it in fears,

    Night and morning with my tears;

    And I sunned it with smiles,And with soft deceitful wiles.

    And it grew both day and night,

    Till it bore an apple bright.

    And my foe beheld it shine.And he knew that it was mine,

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    And into my garden stole

    When the night had veiled the pole;

    In the morning glad I see

    My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

    William Blake


    PoleProbably Polaris, the North Star

    GladOriginal sense was bright, shining

    In this poem, William Blake very imaginatively illustrates the danger of

    insincerity. When he expresses anger toward a friend, his feelings are vented and the

    matter is resolved. When he holds back his anger, it grows into a much more evil thing.

    Stanzas two and three illustrate this quite marvelouslysince he cannot express his wrath,

    he gives false impressions of fear, sadness, and joy. The product of this deceitful

    behavior is the metaphorical growth of an apple bright. This is a very suitable image

    for Blakes poem. Just as the speaker puts on a pleasant smile while holding bitter

    feelings inside, the apple appears shining and inviting while really being poisonous.

    Inevitably, the enemy sneaks into the garden, eats the apple, and pays a pretty steep price.

    While fitting by its own right, the entire idea of the tempting, insidious apple is also

    characteristic of Blakes fascination with religious imagery.

    The tone of the poem is very simple and straightforward. With short lines and

    short words (all except one are no longer than two syllables) and no real sudden turns, the

    poem moves with what feels like a very natural progression. Almost half of the lines

    begin with And each event follows immediately follows the previous, leading to an

    inevitable conclusion.

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    William Blake means to show the consequences of pent-up anger. Whereas

    expressing anger leads to resolve, hiding it with insincerity leads to something a lot more

    destructive. The word glad in the second line to last line presents a problem to this

    idea, however. Though it could be interpreted to mean that the speaker is satisfied with

    the death of his enemy, glad also has another meaning. In its original sense, it meant

    brightand shining, so the line could be read as in the morning bright, I see.

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    A Dream

    Once a dream did weave a shade

    O'er my angel-guarded bed,

    That an emmet lost its way

    Where on grass methought I lay.

    Troubled, wildered, and forlorn,

    Dark, benighted, travel-worn,

    Over many a tangle spray,

    All heart-broke, I heard her say:

    'Oh my children! do they cry,

    Do they hear their father sigh?

    Now they look abroad to see,

    Now return and weep for me.'

    Pitying, I dropped a tear:

    But I saw a glow-worm near,

    Who replied, 'What wailing wight

    Calls the watchman of the night?

    'I am set to light the ground,

    While the beetle goes his round:Follow now the beetle's hum;

    Little wanderer, hie thee home!'

    William Blake


    Emmet - An ant

    BenightedCan mean both a pitiful moral ignorance or being overtaken by darknessTangle Spray An especially raveled or jumbled something (probably a vine or a bush)

    Glow wormSimilar to a firefly without wings

    In this poem, William Blake animates and personifies insects to tell a very hopeful

    story. In the second stanza, he describes at length the lost ant (the emmet) and her very

    troubled state. Just as Edgar Allan Poe echoed the ohr of nevermore in The Raven,

    William Blake echoes the sound of forlorn by filling the second stanza with words that

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    have r in them. This gives the section a musical feel that reflects the feelings of the sad


    In the poem, Blake uses very powerful and religious-inspired imagery. The mother

    ant is saved by a glow-worm and the darkness that she found herself in is illuminated by

    his glow. Literally, we see a guiding light saving someone lost in the dark - not so

    different from the religious image the shepherd Jesus as the light of the world. As seen

    in the previous poem, religious and spiritual overtones are ubiquitous in Blake poetry.

    What makes this poem and story so special is that William Blake uses bugs to tell

    it. Though initially bizarre, this unconventional choice has a strong effect. By

    illustrating the very lofty idea of light overcoming dark in the lives of the lowest and

    most minuscule of beingsof mere ants and worms -, Blake makes hope a universal


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    Lewis Carroll

    Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898), better known by the pen name Lewis

    Carroll, was an English writer, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and

    photographer. His most famous writings areAlices Adventures in Wonderland, its

    sequel, Through The Looking-Glass, and the poemJabberwocky, all examples of the

    genre of literary nonsense. Besides writing, he was very interested in mathematics,

    writing several books while working at Oxford, and photography that nearly became a

    professional pursuit. By his death, the stories of Alice (taking the two volumes together)

    had become one of the most popular childrens books in the world.

    Epilogue to Through the Looking Glass

    A boat beneath a sunny sky,

    Lingering onward dreamily

    In an evening of July --Children three that nestle near,

    Eager eye and willing ear,

    Pleased a simple tale to hear --Long has paled that sunny sky:

    Echoes fade and memories die:

    Autumn frosts have slain July.Still she haunts me, phantomwise,

    Alice moving under skies

    Never seen by waking eyes.Children yet, the tale to hear,

    Eager eye and willing ear,

    Lovingly shall nestle near.In a Wonderland they lie,

    Dreaming as the days go by,Dreaming as the summers die:

    Ever drifting down the stream --

    Lingering in the golden dream --

    Life, what is it but a dream?


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    PhantomwiseLike a phantom

    This poem appears at the end of the sequel toAlice in Wonderland, Through the Looking-

    Glass and is actually an acrostic of Alice Pleasance Liddell

    The opening of this poem is beautifully visual and I think comparable to the

    opening lines of the Beatles Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds that describes lazily but

    vividly a similar scenepicture yourself in a boat on a river/With tangerine trees and

    marmalade skies. Lewis Carroll is also setting here a carefree, blissful tone with

    summer skies as a backdrop, but there is a shift in line 7 that abruptly puts the opening

    scene into the past and makes it a presently longed-for memoryLong has paled that

    sunny sky:/Autumn frosts have slain July. At this point, the poem gives its only direct

    indication of the speakerStill she haunts me, phantomwise/Alice moving under

    skies/never seen by waking eyes. If Alice is taken figuratively to represent the whole of

    the adventure stories, then Lewis, who I assume is the speaker, is longing for Wonderland.

    Carroll describes a fading and dying of memory that contrasts sharply with the

    vigor of the children he mentions who are eager eye and willing ear. Unlike the

    speaker, they are in a perpetual state of dreaming. They are the ones completely

    absorbed into story. Returning to the opening image, Carroll describes them as truly

    drifting dreamily in the boat, caught in the golden dream.

    In line 11, Alice moving under skies, Lewis Carroll might be using some of

    the word play he was famous for. Taken literally, it is fitting to see Alice hovering

    through the air, as a phantom might. Phonetically, though, the line sounds a lot like

    Alice moving in disguise or Alice moving under guise, which are also very fitting

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    images since she is camouflaged from the speaker, since she is never seen by waking



    When midnight mists are creeping,And all the land is sleeping,

    Around me tread the mighty dead,

    And slowly pass away.

    Lo, warriors, saints, and sages,

    From out the vanished ages,With solemn pace and reverend face

    Appear and pass away.

    The blaze of noonday splendour,

    The twilight soft and tender,

    May charm the eye: yet they shall die,

    Shall die and pass away.

    But here, in Dreamland's centre,No spoiler's hand may enter,

    These visions fair, this radiance rare,

    Shall never pass away.

    I see the shadows falling,

    The forms of old recalling;Around me tread the mighty dead,

    And slowly pass away.

    Lewis Carroll

    What is immediately striking about this poem, at least relative to all the

    previous poems of this book, is the meter. The rhythm, with the third lines quickened

    pace and patterned internal rhyme, is strict throughout feels like that of a limerick. This

    musical structure gives emphasis and anticipation for the refrain And slowly pass away

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    (and its variations), which is the main consideration of the poemthat which does and

    does not pass away.

    In the poem, Carroll belittles the ordinary in comparison to the undying wonders

    of Dreamland. He draws three categoriesthe nights mighty dead, the ancient, noble

    sages, and the majesty of sunthat he claims will all pass away. Unique from these is

    where the speaker, presumably the author Carroll, is right nowDreamland, a place

    that is untouched by any spoiling hand and thus cannot pass away.

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    Christina Rossetti

    Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) was one of the most important poets writing in


    century England. She wrote poems of love, fantasy, nature, and verses for children,

    her most famous work being the long poem Goblin Market. She was very well

    recognized in her timeGoblin Market and Other Poems received widespread critical

    praise and Rossetti was seen as the main poet of her time. She suffered long and frequent

    bouts of poor health, including a period when she was stricken with Graves disease that

    she barely survived.

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    Dream Land

    Where sunless rivers weep

    Their waves into the deep,

    She sleeps a charmed sleep:

    Awake her not.Led by a single star,

    She came from very farTo seek where shadows are

    Her pleasant lot.

    She left the rosy morn,

    She left the fields of corn,

    For twilight cold and lorn

    And water springs.Through sleep, as through a veil,

    She sees the sky look pale,And hears the nightingale

    That sadly sings.

    Rest, rest, a perfect rest

    Shed over brow and breast;

    Her face is toward the west,

    The purple land.She cannot see the grain

    Ripening on hill and plain;

    She cannot feel the rainUpon her hand.

    Rest, rest, for evermore

    Upon a mossy shore;

    Rest, rest at the heart's coreTill time shall cease:

    Sleep that no pain shall wake;

    Night that no morn shall breakTill joy shall overtake

    Her perfect peace.

    Christina Georgina Rossetti


    Nightingale - a small European thrush with drab brownish plumage, noted for the richmelodious song

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    The purpose of this poem seems to be to convey as vividly as possible the peace

    that death brings. The tone is very quiet; no person speaks throughout and what we do

    hear is the softbackground sound of the rivers moving water and the singing of the

    nightingale. Beginning in the first stanza, Rossetti primarily expresses relief, as the

    sleeping person has traveled very far to get to this quiet place. This relief is especially

    seen in effect of the repeating Rest, rest it expresses the urgency to finally sleep and

    has the softness and musicality (where Rest, rest appears, the line has an alliteration of

    the r sound) of a lullaby.

    To reflect the dimming of life, the Rossetti uses an apt transition of color in

    stanzas two and three. She begins by showing a rosy red sunrise being left behind.

    The sky then goes pale before the traveler looks west and sees the purple land. Finally,

    the traveler cannot see the grain around her or the hills or the plains as either night covers

    the sky or her vision fails.

    Boats Sail On The Rivers

    Boats sail on the rivers,

    And ships sail on the seas;

    But clouds that sail across the sky

    Are prettier far than these.

    There are bridges on the rivers,

    As pretty as you please;

    But the bow that bridges heaven,And overtops the trees,

    And builds a road from earth to sky,

    Is prettier far than these.

    Christina Georgina Rossetti

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    In this poem, Rossetti shows that the natural and supernatural are far more

    marvelous than anything that a human could construct. She does with a playful tone that

    almost has the feel of a nursery rhyme as she states the obviousthat boats sail on the

    river. The simplicity and smallness of this image transitions across the poem as we see

    the sea, the sky, and finally heaven. The actual size of the second section is larger than

    the previousthe bow that bridges heaven is given two additional descriptive lines, And

    overtops the trees,/ And builds a road from the earth to the sky, to add to its greatness.

    The larger, more expansive realmsthe sky and heavencan only be spanned by the

    natural and supernatural and the two do so in ways prettier far than anything a human

    could do.

    It is ironic for Rossetti to use the word prettier when describing the huge

    differences between the structures that she is comparing. By doing so, she returns to the

    simple, playful tone of the first line after outlining great, marvelous images of the earth

    and the sky and the bridge between.

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    "Edgar Allan Poe Biography."A E Networks. 2013: 1-3. Print.


    "Lewis Carroll Biography."A E Networks. 2013: 1-2. Print.


    "Emily Dickinson Biography."A E Networks. 2013: 1-3. Print.


    "Christina Rossetti Biography."A E Networks. 2013: 1-3. Print.


    "William Blake Biography."A E Networks. 2013: 1-4. Print.


    All poems taken from


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