Edgar Allan Poe – The Tell Tale Heart Lyrics

It was the beating of the old man’s heart. — nervous — very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. Harken! You should have seen how wisely I proceeded — with what caution — with what foresight — with what dissimulation I went to work! — now, I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, — such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed suddenly, as if startled. There entered three men, who introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as officers of the police. It was a low, dull, quick sound –much such a sound as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I think it was his eye! And still the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Now you may think that I drew back — but no. I then took up three planks from the flooring of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I moved it slowly — very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man’s sleep. I then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, that no human eye –not even his –could have detected any thing wrong. I scarcely breathed. would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously — cautiously (for the hinges creaked) — I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs. I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men –but the noise steadily increased. They heard! I gasped for breath –and yet the officers heard it not. –hark! I admit the deed! He shrieked once — once only. –no, no! I loved the old man. I say I knew it well. First of all I dismembered the corpse. And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. His eye would trouble me no more. The shriek, I said, was my own in a dream. –tear up the planks! To think that there I was, opening the door, little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret deeds or thoughts. It grew louder, I say, louder every moment: — do you mark me well I have told you that I am nervous: so I am. I felt that I must scream or die! I had been too wary for that. It was open — wide, wide open — and I grew furious as I gazed upon it. For a whole hour I did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not hear him lie down. And this I did for seven long nights — every night just at midnight — but I found the eye always closed; and so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. It grew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder every instant. — it was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. louder! I removed the bed and examined the corpse. –they suspected! and observe how healthily — how calmly I can tell you the whole story. It grew louder –louder –louder! I was singularly at ease. –It is the beating of his hideous heart!” Madmen know nothing. TRUE! He had never wronged me. Upon the eighth night I was more than usually cautious in opening the door. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. A watch’s minute hand moves more quickly than did mine.         Longfellow. But you should have seen me. With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the room. He had the eye of a vulture — a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of mortal terror. louder! I was never kinder to the old man than during the whole week before I killed him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. The ringing became more distinct: –It continued and became more distinct: I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definiteness –until, at length, I found that the noise was not within my ears. So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept. I could scarcely contain my feelings of triumph. what could I do? My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat and still chatted. His fears had been ever since growing upon him. How, then, am I mad? I went down to open it with a light heart, –for what had I now to fear? And every morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has passed the night. Now this is the point. and now –again! The old man, I mentioned, was absent in the country. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased. I bade them search –search well. I led them, at length, to his chamber. I smiled, –for what had I to fear? I heard many things in hell. here, here! When I had waited a long time, very patiently, without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a little — a very, very little crevice in the lantern. His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily. I showed them his treasures, secure, undisturbed. I saw it with perfect distinctness — all a dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothing else of the old man’s face or person: for I had directed the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the damned spot. It was not a groan of pain or of grief — oh, no! My manner had convinced them. I knew the sound well. ha! But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled sound. Oh God! Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and stood still. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees — very gradually — I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye forever. “Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I tried how steadily I could maintain the ray upon the eve. I held the lantern motionless. The old man was dead. The old man’s terror must have been extreme! Why would they not be gone? I foamed –I raved –I swore! Yet the sound increased –and what could I do? I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! Passion there was none. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. There was no pulsation. At length it ceased. I knew that sound well, too. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed. Many a night, just at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welled up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadful echo, the terrors that distracted me. A shriek had been heard by a neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul play had been aroused; information had been lodged at the police office, and they (the officers) had been deputed to search the premises. But anything was better than this agony! When I had made an end of these labors, it was four o’clock –still dark as midnight. But, ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone.                            BY EDGAR A. He had never given me insult. He had been trying to fancy them causeless, but could not. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. I took my visitors all over the house. — yes, it was this! In the enthusiasm of my confidence, I brought chairs into the room, and desired them here to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wild audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seat upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpse of the victim. And now at the dead hour of the night, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so strange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable terror. A tub had caught all –ha! The disease had sharpened my senses — not destroyed — not dulled them. They sat, and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of familiar things.                  Art is long and Time is fleeting,
                         And our hearts, through stout and brave,
                 Still, like muffled drums, are beating
                         Funeral marches to the grave. The officers were satisfied. I knew that he had been lying awake ever since the first slight noise, when he had turned in the bed. For his gold I had no desire. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, although I chuckled at heart. There was nothing to wash out –no stain of any kind –no blood-spot whatever. The old man’s hour had come! So I opened it — you cannot imagine how stealthily, stealthily — until, at length a simple dim ray, like the thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and fell full upon the vulture eye. But even yet I refrained and kept still. Ha! You fancy me mad. But the beating grew louder, louder! He was still sitting up in the bed listening; –just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall. Object there was none. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! It increased my fury, as the beating of a drum stimulates the soldier into courage. I thought the heart must burst. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I bade the gentlemen welcome. He had been saying to himself — “It is nothing but the wind in the chimney — it is only a mouse crossing the floor,” or “It is merely a cricket which has made a single chirp.” Yes, he had been trying to comfort himself with these suppositions: but he had found all in vain. –they knew! And now — have I not told you that what you mistake for madness is but over-acuteness of the sense? louder! As the bell sounded the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. POE. louder! Was it possible they heard not? And every night, about midnight, I turned the latch of his door and opened it — oh so gently! No doubt I now grew very pale; –but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Above all was the sense of hearing acute.                  THE TELL-TALE HEART. I talked more quickly –more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. And now a new anxiety seized me — the sound would be heard by a neighbour! He was stone dead. Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. –they were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, and this I think. Never before that night had I felt the extent of my own powers — of my sagacity. And it was the mournful influence of the unperceived shadow that caused him to feel — although he neither saw nor heard — to feel the presence of my head within the room. I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, and the old man sprang up in bed, crying out — “Who’s there?”
I kept quite still and said nothing. Anything was more tolerable than this derision! Almighty God! It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my brain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and night. All in vain: because Death, in approaching him had stalked with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the victim. I swung the chair upon which I had been sitting, and grated it upon the boards, but the noise arose over all and continually increased.