160 Edgar Allan Poe Quotes on Madness & Imagination

1. “We loved with a love that was more than love.”
2. “I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity.”
3. “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
4. “I have great faith in fools—self-confidence, my friends will call it.”
5. “There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness in the proportion.”
6. “Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.”
7. “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.”
8. “Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
9. “Never to suffer would never to have been blessed.”
10. “Sleep, those little slices of death—how I loathe them.”
11. “I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched.”
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12. “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.”
13. “Years of love have been forgotten, in the hatred of a minute.”
14. “Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”
15. “I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.”
16. “All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, , imagination, and poetry.”
17. “If you wish to forget anything on the spot, make a note that this thing is to be remembered.”
18. “And so being young and dipped in folly, I fell in love with melancholy.”
19. “Invisible things are the only realities.”
20. “With me, poetry has not been , but a passion.”
21. “Deep in earth my love is lying, and I must weep alone.”
22. “Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.”
23. “And all I loved, I loved alone.”
24. “Yet we met; and fate bound us together at the altar, and I never spoke of passion nor thought of love. She, however, shunned society, and attaching herself to me alone rendered me happy.
25. “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.”
26. “Sensations are the great things, after all. Should you ever be drowned or hung, be sure and make a note of your sensations; they will be worth to you ten guineas a sheet.”
27. “For her whom in life thou dids’t abhor, in death thou shalt adore.”
28. “I have no words—alas!—to tell the loveliness of loving well!”
29. “No pictorial or sculptural combinations of points of human loveliness do more than approach the living and breathing human beauty as it gladdens our daily path.”
30. “A feeling, for which I have no name, has taken possession of my soul.”
31. “For passion must, with youth, expire.”
32. “For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams.”
33. “I saw no heaven—but in her eyes.”
34. “Beauty is the sole legitimate province of the poem.”
35. “His heart is a suspended lute; as soon as you touch it, it resonates.”
36. “At midnight, in the month of June, I stand beneath the mystic moon.”
37. “That pleasure which is at once the most pure, the most elevating and the most intense, is derived, I maintain, from the contemplation of the beautiful.”
38. “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.”
39. “There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had a frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of a mere man.”
40. “Imperceptibly the love of these discords grew upon me as my love of grew stronger.”
41. “There was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and not a little of that which might have excited disgust.”
42. “Let my heart be still for a moment and this mystery explore.”
43. “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.”
44. “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.”
45. “The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.”
46. “There are chords in the hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion.”
47. “In the Heavens above, the angels, whispering to one another, can find, among their burning terms of love, none so devotional as that of ‘Mother.”
48. “An immortal instinct, deep within the spirit of man, is thus plainly a sense of the beautiful.”
49. “Even in the grave, all is not lost.”
50. “True—nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am, but why will I say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute.”
51. “And I fell violently on my face.”
52. “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.”
53. “Leave my loneliness unbroken.”
54. death held illimitable dominion over all.”
55. “Mysteries force a man to think, and so injure his health.”
56. “Lord help my poor soul.”
57. “The rain came down upon my head, unsheltered, and the wind rendered me mad, and deaf, and blind.”
58. “In criticism, I will be bold, and as sternly, absolutely just with friend and foe. From this purpose, nothing shall turn me.”
59. “When a madman appears thoroughly sane, indeed, it is high time to put him in a straight jacket.”
60. “Blood was its avatar and its seal.”
61. “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 judgement, to violate that which is law, merely because we understand it to be such?”
62. “And my soul from out that that lies floating on the floor, shall be lifted—nevermore!”
63. “The agony of my soul found vent in one loud, long, and final scream of despair.”
64. “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.”
65. “Here I opened wide the door—darkness there, and nothing more.”
66. “I call to mind flatness and dampness; and then all is madness—the madness of a memory which busies itself among forbidden things.”
67. “The eye, like a shattered mirror, multiplies the images of sorrow.”
68. “I heard all things in the heavens and on the earth. I heard many things in hell.”
69. “The truth is, I am heartily sick of this life and of the nineteenth century in general. I am convinced that everything is going wrong.”
70. “To be thoroughly conversant with man’s heart is to take our final lesson in the iron-clasped volume of despair.”
71. “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 everyday existence, but in very deed that existence utterly and solely in itself.”
72. “There is no in nature so demonically impatient, as that of him who, shuddering upon the edge of a precipice, thus meditates a plunge.”
73. “And if I died, at least I died for thee! For thee!”
74. “I smiled,—for what had I to fear?”
75. “I blush, I burn, I shudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity.”
76. “It was night, and the rain fell; and falling, it was rain, but, having fallen, it was blood.”
77. “Today I wear these chains, and am here. Tomorrow I shall be fetterless—but where?”
78. “To conceive the horror of my sensations is, I presume, utterly impossible; yet a curiosity to penetrate the mysteries of these awful regions predominates even over my despair, and will reconcile me to the most hideous aspect of death.”
79. “That single thought is enough. The impulse increases to a wish, the wish to a desire, the desire to an uncontrollable longing, and the longing, to the and mortification of the speaker, and in defiance of all consequences, is indulged.”
80. “We gave him a hearty welcome, for there was nearly half as much of the entertaining as of the contemptible about the man.”
81. “It would be mockery to call such dreariness heaven at all.”
82. “You will observe that the stories told are all about money-seekers, not about money-finders.”
83. “And then there stole into my fancy, like a rich musical note, the thought of what sweet rest there must be in the grave.”
84. “A wrong is unredressed when retribution overtakes its redresser. It is equally unredressed when the avenger fails to make himself felt as such to him who has done the wrong.”
85. “And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.”
86. “Let me glimpse inside your velvet bones.”
87. “I am above the weakness of seeking to establish a sequence of cause and effect, between the disaster and the atrocity.”
88. “All suffering originates from craving, from attachment, from desire.”
89. “I am a writer. Therefore, I am not sane.”
90. “That fitful strain of melancholy which will ever be found inseparable from the perfection of the beautiful.”
91. “The scariest monsters are the ones that lurk within our souls.”
92. “You call it hope—that fire of fire! It is but agony of desire.”
93. “Even with the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made.”
94. “I felt that I breathed an atmosphere of sorrow.”
95. “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there—wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”
96. “I remained too much inside my head and ended up losing my mind.”
97. “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?”
98. “Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen know nothing, but you should have seen me. You should have seen how wisely I proceeded.”
99. “I began to reflect how magnificent a thing it was to die in such a manner, and how foolish it was in me to think of so paltry a consideration as my own individual life, in view of so wonderful a manifestation of God’s power.”
100. “Such weakness can scarcely be conceived, and to those who have never been similarly situated will, no doubt, appear unnatural.”
101. “Eager vehemence of desire for life.”
102. “Misery is manifold.”
103. “But tomorrow I die, and today I would unburden my soul.”
104. “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.”
105. “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.”
106. “The true genius shudders at incompleteness—imperfection—and usually prefers to saying the something which is not everything that should be said.”
107. “There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told.”
108. “I dread the events of the future, not in themselves but in their results.”
109. “Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.”
110. “It is a happiness to wonder; it is a happiness to dream.”
111. “To elevate the soul, poetry is necessary.”
112. “I intend to put up with nothing that I can put down.”
113. “Yet mad I am not and very surely do I not dream.”
114. “Convinced myself I seek not to convince.”
115. “To die laughing must be the most glorious of all glorious deaths!”
116. “Every poem should remind the reader that they are going to die.”
117. “Stupidity is a talent for misconception.”
118. “A short story must have a single mood and every sentence must build towards it.”
119. “Art is to look at, not to criticize.”
120. “Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger portion of truth, arises from the seemingly irrelevant.”
121. “The ninety and nine are with dreams, content, but the hope of the world made new, is the hundredth man who is grimly bent on making those dreams come true.”
122. “A man’s grammar, like Caesar’s wife, should not only be pure, but above suspicion of impurity.”
123. “The idea of God, infinity, or spirit stands for the possible attempt at an impossible conception.”
124. “We gave the future to the winds, and slumbered tranquilly in the present, weaving the dull world around us into dreams.”
125. “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 have their origin in the ecstasies which might have been.”
126. “I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him.”
127. “There is an eloquence in true enthusiasm.”
128. “Where the good, and the bad, and the worst, and the best have gone to their eternal rest.”
129. “A million candles have burned themselves out. Still, I read on.”
130. “In one case out of a hundred a point is excessively discussed because it is obscure; in the ninety-nine remaining it is obscure because it is excessively discussed.”
131. “Books, indeed, were his sole luxuries.”
132. “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore.”
133. “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.”
134. “I found him well-educated, with unusual powers of mind, but infected with misanthropy, and subject to perverse moods of alternate enthusiasm and melancholy.”
135. “To vilify a great man is the readiest way in which a little man can himself attain greatness.”
136. “If a poem hasn’t ripped apart your soul, you haven’t experienced poetry.”
137. “As a poet and as a mathematician, he would reason well; as a mere mathematician, he could not have reasoned at all.”
138. “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.”
139. “It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night.”
140. “Marking a book is literally an experience of your differences or agreements with the author. It is the highest respect you can pay him.”
141. “A strong argument for the religion of Christ is this—that offenses against charity are about the only ones which men on their death-beds can be made; not to understand, but to feel as crime.”
142. “Music, when combined with a pleasurable idea, is poetry; music, without the idea, is simply music; the idea, without the music, is prose, from its very definitiveness.”
143. “That man is not truly brave who is afraid either to seem or to be, when it suits him, a coward.”
144. “The pioneers and missionaries of religion have been the real cause of more trouble and war than all other classes of mankind.”
145. “Be nothing which thou art not.”
146. “It will be found, in fact, that the ingenious are always fanciful, and the truly imaginative never otherwise than analytic.”
147. “Bear in mind that, in general, it is the object of our newspapers rather, to create a sensation—to make a point—than to further the cause of truth.”
148. “If we cannot comprehend God in his visible works, how then in his inconceivable thoughts that call the works into being?”
149. “But Psyche uplifting her finger said, ‘Sadly this star I mistrust.’”
150. “Actually, I do have doubts—all the time. Any thinking person does. There are so many sides to every question.”
151. “To observe attentively is to remember distinctly.”
152. “But it is a trait in the perversity of human nature to reject the obvious and the ready for the far-distant and equivocal.”
153. “Where was your all-loving god when he was really needed?”
154. “For all we live to know is known.”
155. “We might say that from the impious love of liberty has been born a new tyranny—the tyranny of fools—which, in its insensible ferocity, resembles the idol of Juggernaut.”
156. “A judge at common law may be an ordinary man; a good judge of a carpet must be a genius.”
157. “Trust to the fickle star within.”
158. “I never knew anyone so keenly alive to a joke as the king was.”