In 1839 the poem The Haunted Place by Edgar Allan Poe was first published. The poem tells us the story of a king, who lived a long time ago and is confronted with nothing more than his threatening fate.
The poem tells us the story of the fall of the House of Usher. Poe used the career of Hezekiah Usher (1615 – 1676) as the basis for this story. The story was published as The fall of the House Usher in 1839 (Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine). Later the story was edited for the Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840). The poem The Haunted Place was part of The fall of the House Usher.
The poem contains 48 lines and at the end of this poem, the House Usher and its owner became phantoms. It resembles a work written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Beleaguered City). Some claimed that the work of Poe was nothing more than plagiarism.
The poem written by Longfellow is as follows:
The beleaguered city
I have read, in some old, marvellous tale,
Some legend strange and vague,
That a midnight host of spectres pale
Beleaguered the walls of Prague.
Beside the Moldau’s rushing stream,
With the wan moon overhead,
There stood, as in an awful dream,
The army of the dead.
White as a sea-fog, landward bound,
The spectral camp was seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
The river flowed between.
No other voice nor sound was there,
No drum, nor sentry’s pace;
The mist-like banners clasped the air
As clouds with clouds embrace.
But when the old cathedral bell
Proclaimed the morning prayer,
The white pavilions rose and fell
On the alarméd air.
Down the broad valley fast and far
The troubled army fled;
Up rose the glorious morning star,
The ghastly host was dead.
I have read, in the marvellous heart of man,
That strange and mystic scroll,
That an army of phantoms vast and wan
Beleaguer the human soul.
Encamped beside Life’s rushing stream,
In Fancy’s misty light,
Gigantic shapes and shadows gleam
Portentous through the night.
Upon its midnight battle-ground
The spectral camp is seen,
And, with a sorrowful, deep sound,
Flows the River of Life between.
No other voice nor sound is there,
In the army of the grave;
No other challenge breaks the air,
But the rushing of Life’s wave.
And when the solemn and deep church-bell
Entreats the soul to pray,
The midnight phantoms feel the spell,
The shadows sweep away.
Down the broad Vale of Tears afar
The spectral camp is fled;
Faith shineth as a morning star,
Our ghastly fears are dead
— Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Eventually, this poem formed the inspiration for others, including the French composer Florent Schmitt. He wrote an Étude (an instrumental musical compistion) that was based on this poem (1904). In 1963, this poem was used as the basis for the movie The Haunted Place, directed by Roger Corman. But, only the title was the basis, as the script was based on the novel written by H.P. Lovecraft (The case of Charles Dexter Ward).
The Haunted Place
In the greenest of our valleys
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace-
Radiant palace- reared its head.
In the monarch Thought’s dominion-
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair!
Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow,
(This- all this- was in the olden
Time long ago,)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A winged odor went away.
Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
To a lute’s well-tuned law,
Round about a throne where, sitting
In state his glory well-befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.
And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing,
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.
But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch’s high estate.
(Ah, let us mourn!- for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him desolate!)
And round about his home the glory
That blushed and bloomed,
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.
And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
To a discordant melody,
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
And laugh- but smile no more.