Epigraphs/quotes in Ashes on the Waves

Ashes on the Waves was inspired not only by the poem, "Annabel Lee," but by dozens of works by Edgar Allan Poe quoted throughout the book.

Mary read thousands of pages of Poe's works including short stories, poems, letters, essays, and critical analyses, in addition to several biographies of Edgar Allan Poe before constructing the story for Ashes on the Waves.

Not only are the mood, tempo and style of each chapter determined by the epigraph at the beginning, when lined up and read in order, the quotes used are a rough outline for the story.


Edgar Allan Poe quotes used in Ashes on the Waves by Chapter:

The death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably,

the most poetical topic in the world—and equally is it

beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such topic are

those of a bereaved lover.


~ from “The Philosophy of Composition,” 1846



Chapter 1

There is no passion in nature so demoniacally impatient, as that of him,

who shuddering upon the edge of a precipice, thus meditates a Plunge.

To indulge, for a moment, in any attempt at thought, is to be inevitably lost;

for reflection but urges us to forbear, and therefore it is, I say, that we cannot.

If there be no friendly arm to check us, or if we fail in a sudden effort to

prostrate ourselves backward from the abyss, we plunge, and are destroyed.


~ from “The Imp of the Perverse,” 1845



Chapter 2

From childhood’s hour I have not been

As others were—I have not seen

As others saw—I could not bring

My passions from a common spring—

From the same source I have not taken

My sorrow—I could not awaken

My heart to joy at the same tone—

And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—


~ from “Alone,” 1830



Chapter 3

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things

which escape those who dream only by night.


~ from “Eleonora,” 1841



Chapter 4

Just as the day dawns to the friendless and houseless beggar who roams

the streets throughout the long desolate winter night—just so tardily—

just so wearily—just so cheerily came back the light of the Soul to me.


~ from “The Premature Burial,” 1844



Chapter 5

There are surely other worlds than this—other thoughts than the thoughts of the multitude—other speculations than the speculations of the sophist.


~ from “The Assignation,” 1834



Chapter 6

I know not how it was—but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of

insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit.


~ from “The Fall of the House of Usher,” 1839



Chapter 7

Instinct, so far from being an inferior reason, is perhaps the most exacted intellect of all.


~ from “Instinct vs. Reason–A Black Cat” 1840



Chapter 8

Invisible things are the only realities.


~ from “Loss of Breath,” 1832



Chapter 9

Yet what business had I with hope?


~ from “The Pit and the Pendulum,” 1842



Chapter 10

It is not impossible that man, the individual, under certain unusual

and highly fortuitous conditions may be happy.


~ from “The Landscape Garden” (The Domain of Arnheim), 1842



Chapter 11

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 . . . thrilled every fibre of my frame.


~ from “The Black Cat,“ 1843



Chapter 12

A feeling, for which I have no name, has taken possession of my soul.


~ from “Ms. Found in a Bottle,” 1833



Chapter 13

There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told.


~ from “The Man of the Crowd,” 1840



Chapter 14

Thou wouldst be loved?—then let thy heart

from its present pathway part not!

Being everything which thou art,

Be nothing which thou art not.


~ from “To F—S S. O—D,” 1835



Chapter 15

Oh, the bells, bells, bells!

What a tale their terror tells

of despair!


~ from “The Bells,” 1848



Chapter 16

I stand amid the roar

Of a surf-tormented shore,

And I hold within my hand

Grains of the golden sand—

How few! yet how they creep

Through my fingers to the deep,

While I weep—while I weep!

O God! can I not grasp

Them with a tighter clasp?

O God! can I not save

One from the pitiless wave?

Is all that we see or seem

But a dream within a dream?


~ from “A Dream Within a Dream,” 1827



Chapter 17

I have no time to dote or dream:

You call it hope—that fire of fire!

It is but agony of desire.


~ from “Tamerlane,” 1827



Chapter 18

Though I turn, I fly not—

I cannot depart;

I would try, but try not

To release my heart

And my hopes are dying

While, on dreams relying,

I am spelled by art.


~ from “To Miss Louise Olivia Hunter,” 1847



Chapter 19

The appearance of the ocean, in the space between the more

distant island and the shore, had something very unusual about it.


~ from “A Descent into the Maelstrom,” 1841



Chapter 20

Near neighbors are seldom friends.


~ from “Metzengerstein,” 1832



Chapter 21

Hear the loud alarum bells—

Brazen bells

What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells!

In the startled ear of night

How they scream out their affright!

Too much horrified to speak,

They can only shriek, shriek,

Out of tune

In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire—

In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire,

Leaping higher, higher, higher.


~ from “The Bells,” 1848



Chapter 22

No footstep stirred: the hated world all slept,

Save only thee and me. (Oh, Heaven!—oh, God!

How my heart beats in coupling those two words!)

Save only thee and me.


~ from “To Helen,” 1848



Chapter 23

Our first impulse is to shrink from the danger. Unaccountably we remain.


~ from “The Imp of the Perverse,” 1845



Chapter 24

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain

Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before.


~ from “The Raven,” 1845



Chapter 25

The wild—the terrible conspire.


~ from “Tamerlane,” 1827



Chapter 26

The nose of a mob is its imagination. By this, at any time, it can be quietly led.


~ from “Marginalia,” 1849



Chapter 27

Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast,

perhaps the larger portion of the truth arises from the apparently irrelevant.


~ from “Doings of Gotham [Letter VI],” 1844



Chapter 28

We loved with a love that was more than love.


~ from “Annabel Lee,” 1849



Chapter 29

There was something in the tone of this note that gave me great uneasiness.


~ from “The Gold-Bug,” 1843



Chapter 30

Misery is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multiform. Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow,

its hues are as various as the hues of that arch—as distinct too, yet as intimately blended.


~ from “Berenice,” 1835



Chapter 31

he angels are not more pure than the heart of a young man who loves with fervor.


~ from “Byron and Miss Chaworth,” 1844



Chapter 32

O craving heart, for the lost flowers

And sunshine of my summer hours!

The undying voice of that dead time,

With its interminable chime,

Rings in the spirit of a spell,

Upon thy emptiness—a knell.


I have not always been as now.


~ from “Tamerlane,” 1827



hapter 33

We gave the Future to the winds, and slumbered tranquilly in the Present,

weaving the dull world around us into dreams.


~ from “The Mystery of Marie Rogêt,” 1842



Chapter 34

If you will have faith in me, I can and will satisfy your wildest desires.


~ from a letter to Helen Whitman, 1848



Chapter 35

“Villains!” I shrieked. “Dissemble no more!”


~ from “The Tell-Tale Heart,” 1843



Chapter 36

The wind came out of the cloud by night

Chilling . . . my Annabel Lee.


~ from “Annabel Lee,” 1849



Chapter 37

We tremble with the violence of the conflict within us,—of the definite with the

indefinite—of the substance with the shadow.


~ from “The Imp of the Perverse,” 1845



Chapter 38

Her high-born kinsmen came

And bore her away from me.


~ from “Annabel Lee,” 1849



Chapter 39

Hearken! and observe how healthily—how calmly I can tell you the whole story.


~ from “The Tell-Tale Heart,” 1843



Chapter 40

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling—my darling—my life and my bride,

In the sepulchre there by the sea,

In her tomb by the sounding sea.


~ from “Annabel Lee,” 1849



Chapter 41

Fearful indeed the suspicion–but more fearful the doom! It may be asserted,

without hesitation, that no event is so terribly well adapted to inspire the

supremeness of bodily and of mental distress, as is burial before death.


~ from “The Premature Burial,” 1844



Chapter 42

The agony of my soul found vent in one loud, long and final scream of despair.


~ from “The Pit and the Pendulum,” 1842



Chapter 43

The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague.


~ from “The Premature Burial,” 1844



Chapter 44

And neither the angels in heaven above,

Nor the demons down under the sea,

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.


~ from “Annabel Lee,” 1849