A Dark Compliment.

Page 1

as illustrated by

harry clarke

A Dark


edgar allen poe's Tales of Mystery and Imagination

as illustrated by

harry clarke

A Dark


Harry Clarke was born in Dublin in 1889. He worked from an early age in his father’s design studio, and later studied at night at the Dublin Metropolitan School of Art. In 1914, Clarke won a scholarship that enabled him to study medieval glass in England and Paris; he visited Chartres Cathedral and aspired to it's greatness.

There were a number of elements which set Clarke apart as a stained glass artist: his use of rich colors was unique, he mixed bright greens and rich reds with blues, purples and pinks to create sparkling contrasts. His absolute attention to detail; he was known to fire a single piece of glass over and over again until he got the color and quality just right. His skill as a draftsman also set his stained glass apart, his beautifully-modelled, elongated figures in elaborately decorated settings were unusually detailed and expressive in such a precise and technical craft.

In 1916, Clarke’s illustration of Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales was hailed as a masterpiece. Clarke was already working on Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allen Poe. Four originals that display the beauty and eloquence, as well as the grotesque and disturbing qualities of these illustrations can be seen at the Crawford. The pen and ink drawing Ligeia shows his lyrical use of line and pattern to produce a dark and menacing atmosphere within the grouping of the figures. In a similar fashion to his stained glass work they are scrawny and elongated, elaborately draped and languidly posed. Tales of Mystery and Imagination made his reputation as an illustrator and he went on to illustrate five more major books including Goethe’s Faust and Selected Poems of Algernon Charles Swinburne.

Perhaps it was the awareness of his own impending death that attracted him to such gothic imagery, and drove him to work at such a rate. He died in 1931 of Tuberculosis, at the age of 42.

'The Adoration of the Sacred Heart' 1919 St. Peter's Phibsborough dublin ireland.

Incomprehensible men! Wrapped up in meditations of a kind which i cannot divine, they pass me by unnoticed.

Manuscript Found in a Bottle

We are surely doomed to hover continually upon the brink of Eternity, without taking a final plunge into the abyss. By what miracle I escaped destruction, it is impossible to say. Stunned by the shock of the water, I found myself, upon recovery, jammed in between the stern-post and rudder. With great difficulty I gained my feet, and looking dizzily around, was, at first, struck with the idea of our being among breakers; so terrific, beyond the wildest imagination, was the whirlpool of mountainous and foaming ocean within which we were engulfed.

All on deck, with the exception of ourselves, had been swept overboard; --the captain and mates must have perished We soon discovered that we were as they slept, for the cabins were deluged with water. the sole survivors of the accident.

Thenceforward we were enshrouded in patchy darkness, so that we could not have seen an object at twenty paces from the ship.

Manuscript Found in a Bottle

At a terrific height directly above us, and upon the very verge of the precipitous descent, hovered a gigantic ship of, perhaps, four thousand tons.

We were at the bottom of one of these abysses, when a quick scream from my companion broke fearfully upon the night.

--Oh, horror upon horror! the ice opens suddenly to the right, and

to the left, and we are whirling dizzily, in immense concentric circles,

round and round the borders of a gigantic amphitheatre, the summit

of whose walls is lost in the darkness and the distance. But little time

will be left me to ponder upon my destiny --the circles rapidly grow

small --we are plunging madly within the grasp of the whirlpool

--and amid a roaring, and bellowing, and thundering of ocean and of

tempest, the ship is quivering, oh God! and --going down. Manuscript Found in a Bottle

The colossal waters rear their heads above us like demons of the deep.

Manuscript Found in a Bottle

The gigantic stature, the prodigious strength and "The riddle, so far, was now unriddled."

activity, the wild ferocity, and the imitative propensities of these mammalia are sufficiently well known to all. I understood the full horrors of the murder at once.

The screams and struggles of the old lady (during which the hair was torn from her head) had the effect of changing the probably pacific purposes of the Ourang-Outang into those of wrath. With one determined sweep of its muscular arm it nearly severed her head from her body. The sight of blood inflamed its anger into phrenzy. Gnashing its teeth, and flashing fire from its eves, it flew upon the body of the girl, and imbedded its fearful

"This," I said, "is the mark of no human hand." talons in her throat, retaining its grasp until she expired.

In conclusion, it seized first the corpse of the daughter, and thrust it up the chimney, as it was found; then that of the old lady, which it immediately hurled through the window headlong. The Murders in the Rue Morgue

The Murders in the Rue Morgue Gnashing its teeth, and flashing fire from its eyes, it flew upon the body of the girl.

There are some passages of his description, nevertheless, which may be quoted for their details, although their effect is

The ordinary accounts of this vortex had exceedingly feeble in conveying an impression of the spectacle.

by no means prepared me for what I saw.

--for, after all said and done, it was a horrible danger, and that is the truth.

“Our first slide into the abyss itself, from the belt of foam above, had carried us to a great distance down the slope; but our farther descent was by no means proportionate. Round and round we swept --not with any uniform movement --but in dizzying swings and jerks, that sent us sometimes only a few hundred feet --sometimes nearly the complete circuit of the whirl. Our progress downward, at each revolution, was slow, but very perceptible.

“Do you hear any thing? Do you see any change in the water?” A Descent into the Maelstrom

A Descent into the Maelstrom The boat appeared to be hanging, as if by magic ... upon the interior surface of a funnel.

He shrieked once - once only.

The Tell-Tale Heart

So you see he would have been a very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every night, just at

Presently, I heard a slight groan, and I knew it was the groan of

twelve, I looked in upon him while he slept.

mortal terror. It was not a groan of pain or of grief -- oh, no! It was the low stifled sound that arises from the bottom of the soul when overcharged with awe. I knew the sound well. 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. I say I knew it well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him although I chuckled at heart.

With a loud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the You fancy me mad.

room. He shrieked once -- once only. In an instant I dragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed over him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far done. But for many minutes the heart beat on with a muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it would not be heard through the wall. At length it ceased. The old man was dead. I removed the bed and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it there many minutes. There was no pulsation.

I knew that sound well too. It was

He was stone dead. His eye would trouble me no more.

the beating of the old man’s heart. The Tell-Tale Heart

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the c o n c e a l m e n t o f t h e b o d y. T h e n i g h t w a n e d , a n d I

I took up three planks from the flooring

w o r k e d h a s t i l y, b u t i n s i l e n c e .

of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I then replaced the boards so cleverly so cunningly, that no human eye -- not even his -- could have detected anything wrong. There was nothing to wash out -- no stain of any kind -- no blood-spot whatever. I had been too wary for that.

It was A LOW, DULL, QUICK SOUND -- MUCH SUCH A SOUND AS A WATCH MAKES WHEN ENVELOPED IN COTTON. I gasped for breath, and yet the officers heard it not.

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! -- tear up the planks! -- here, here! -- it is the beating of his hideous heart!”

The Tell-Tale Heart

But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a muffled sound.

The Tell-Tale Heart

In death we have both learned the propensity of man to define the indefinable.

The Colloquy of Monos and Una



Born again? Yes, fairest and best beloved Una, “born again." These were the words upon whose mystical meaning I had so long pondered, rejecting the explanations of the priesthood, until Death itself resolved for me the secret. Death! How strangely, sweet Una, you echo my words! You are confused and oppressed by the majestic novelty of the Life Eternal. Yes, it was of Death I spoke. And here how singularly sounds that word which of old was wont to bring terror to all hearts, throwing a mildew upon all pleasures! At what point? You have said. Monos, I comprehend you. In Death we have both learned the propensity of man to define the indefinable. I will not say, then, commence with the moment of life’s cessation but commence with that sad, sad instant when, the fever having abandoned you, you sank into a breathless and motionless torpor, and I pressed down your pallid eyelids with the passionate fingers of love. Say, rather, a point in the vague infinity. Unquestionably, it was in the Earth’s dotage that I died. Wearied at heart with anxieties which had their origin in the general turmoil and decay, I succumbed to the fierce fever. After some few days of pain, and many of dreamy delirium replete with ecstasy, the manifestations of which you mistook for pain, while I longed but was impotent to undeceive you after some days there came upon me, as you have said, a breathless and motionless torpor; and this was termed Death by those who stood around me. The Colloquy of Monos and Una

This hideous murder accomplished, I set myself forthwith, and with entire deliberation, to the task of concealing the body. I knew that I could not remove it from the house, either by day or by night, without the risk of being observed by the neighbors. I determined to wall it up in the cellar -- as the monks of the middle ages are recorded to have walled up their victims.

No sooner had the reverberation of my blows sunk into silence, than I was answered by a voice from within the tomb! -- by a cry, at first muffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and then quickly swelling into one long, loud, and continuous scream, utterly anomalous and inhuman -- a howl -- a wailing shriek, half of horror and half of triumph, such as might have arisen only out of hell, conjointly from the throats of the dammed in their agony and of the demons that exult in the damnation. For one instant the party upon the stairs remained motionless, through extremity

of terror and of awe. In the next, a dozen stout arms were toiling at the wall.

It fell bodily. The corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with gore, stood

erect before the eyes of the spectators. Upon its head, with red extended mouth

and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into

murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman.

I had walled the monster up within the tomb! The Black Cat

The Black Cat I had walled the monster up within the tomb.

Deep, deep, and for ever, into some ordinary nameless grave.

The Premature Burial

The movement of the jaws, in this effort to cry aloud, showed me that they were bound up, as is usual with the dead. I felt, too, that I lay upon some hard substance, and by something similar my sides were, also, closely compressed. So far, I had not ventured to stir any of my limbs-but now I violently threw up my arms, which had been lying at length, with the wrists crossed. They struck a solid wooden substance, which extended above my person at an elevation of not more than six inches from my face. I could no longer doubt that I reposed within a coffin at last.

To be buried while alive is, beyond question, the most terrific of these extremes which has ever fallan to the lot of mere mortality.

As this awful conviction forced itself, thus, into the innermost chambers of my soul, I once again struggled to cry aloud. And in this second endeavor I succeeded. A long, wild, and continuous shriek, or yell of agony, resounded through the realms of the subterranean night.

The Premature Burial

It was a fearful page in the record of my existence.


Then came the full fury of my monomania, and I struggled in vain against its strange and irresistible influence. In the multiplied objects of I arose from my seat, and throwing open one of the doors of the library, the external world I had no thoughts but for the teeth. saw standing out in the ante-chamber a servant maiden, all in tears, who told me that Berenice was - no more! She had been seized with epilepsy in the early morning, and now, at the closing in of the night, the grave was ready for its tenant, and all the preparations for the burial were completed.

During the brightest days of her unparalleled He pointed to garments; - they were muddy and clotted with gore. I

beauty, most surely I had never loved her. spoke not, and he took me gently by the hand: it was indented with the impress of human nails. He directed my attention to some object against the wall. I looked at it for some minutes: it was a spade. With a shriek I bounded to the table, and grasped the box that lay upon it. But I could not force it open; and in my tremor, it slipped from my hands, and fell heavily, and burst into pieces; and from it, with a rattling sound, there rolled out some instruments of dental surgery, intermingled with thirty-two small, white and ivory-looking substances that were scattered to and fro about the floor. Berenice

The earth grew dark, and its figures passed by me, like flitting shadows, and among them all I beheld - only Morella.


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. It is a happiness to wonder; it is a happiness to dream.

"I am dying, yet shall I live." “Morella!” I cried, “Morella! how knowest thou this?” but she turned away her face upon the pillow and a slight tremor coming over her limbs,

Yet, as she had foretold, her child, to

she thus died, and I heard her voice no more.

which in dying she had given birth, which breathed not until the mother breathed no more, her child, a daughter, lived.

Years-years may pass away, but the memory of that epoch never. Nor was I indeed ignorant of the flowers and the vine-but the hemlock and the cypress overshadowed me night and day. And I kept no reckoning of time or place, and the stars of my fate faded from heaven, and therefore the earth grew dark, and its figures passed by me like flitting shadows, and among them all I

beheld only-Morella . The winds of the firmament breathed but one sound within my ears, and the ripples upon the sea murmured evermore-Morella. Morella

Say, rather, the rending of her coffin.

The Fall of the House of Usher

I know not how it was --but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I could not help thinking of the wild ritual of this work, and of its probable influence upon the hypochondriac, when, one evening, having informed me abruptly that the lady Madeline was no more, he stated his intention of preserving her corpse for a fortnight, (previously to its final interment,) in one of the numerous vaults within the main walls of the building.

I will not deny that when I called to mind the sinister countenance of the person whom I met upon the stair case, on the day of my arrival at the house, I had no desire to oppose what I regarded as at best but a The disease which had thus entombed the lady in the maturity of

harmless, and by no means an unnatural, precaution.

youth, had left, as usual in all maladies of a strictly cataleptical character, the mockery of a faint blush upon the bosom and the face, and that suspiciously lingering smile upon the lip which is so terrible in death. We replaced and screwed down the lid, and, having secured the door of iron, made our way, with toll, into the scarcely less gloomy apartments of the upper portion of the house.

The Fall of the House of Usher

I s s he no t hu r r y i n g t o upb r a id me fo r m y h a s t e ? H av e I no t he a r d he r fo o t s t e p o n t he s t a i r ? D o I no t d i s t i n g u i s h t h at he av y a nd ho r r i ble b e at i n g o f he r he a r t ?

"MADMAN!" here he sprang furiously to his feet, and shrieked out his syllables, as if in the effort he were giving up his soul --"MADMAN! I TELL YOU THAT SHE NOW STANDS WITHOUT THE DOOR!"

As if in the superhuman energy of his utterance there had been found the potency of a spell --the huge antique panels to which the speaker pointed, threw slowly back, upon the instant, ponderous and ebony jaws. It was the work of the rushing gust --but then without those doors there DID stand the lofty and enshrouded figure of the lady Madeline of Usher. There was blood upon her white robes, and the evidence of some bitter struggle upon every portion of her emaciated frame. For a moment she remained trembling and reeling to and fro upon the threshold, then, with a low moaning cry, fell heavily inward upon the person of her brother, and in her violent and now final death-agonies, bore him to the floor a corpse, and a victim to the terrors he had anticipated. The Fall of the House of Usher

But then without those doors there did stand the lofty and enshrouded figure of the Lady Madeline of Usher.

The Fall of the House of Usher

But there was no voice throughout the vast, illimitable desert.


"LISTEN to me," said the Demon as he placed his hand upon my head.

And I was going back into the morass, when the moon shone with a fuller red, and I turned and looked again upon the rock, and upon the characters;--and the characters were DESOLATION. "Then I grew angry and cursed, with the curse of silence, the river, and the lilies, and the wind, and the forest, and the heaven, and the thunder, and the sighs of the water-lilies. And they became accursed, and were still. And the moon ceased to totter up its pathway to heaven --and the thunder died away --and the lightning did not flash --and the clouds hung motionless --and the waters sunk to their level and remained --and the trees ceased to rock --and the water-lilies sighed no more --and the murmur was heard no longer from among them, nor any shadow of sound throughout the vast illimitable desert.

And I looked upon the characters of the rock, and they were changed; --and the characters were SILENCE. Silence

It was the most noisome quarter of London.

The Man of the Crowd

There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told. Men die nightly in their beds, wringing the hands of ghostly confessors, and looking them piteously in the eyes-die with despair of heart and convulsion of throat, on account of the hideousness of mysteries which will not suffer themselves to be revealed. Now and then, alas, the conscience of man takes up a burden so heavy in horror that it can be thrown down only into

With my brow to the glass, I was thus occupied in scrutinizing the grave. And thus the essence of all crime is undivulged.

the mob, when suddenly there came into view a countenance (that of a decrepid old man, some sixty-five or seventy years of age)-a countenance which at once arrested and absorbed my whole attention, on account of the absolute idiosyncrasy of its expression.

I felt singularly aroused, startled, fascinated. "How wild a history," said to myself, "is written within that bosom!" Then came a craving desire to keep the man in view-to know more of him. Hurriedly putting on all overcoat, and seizing my hat and cane, I made my way into the street, and pushed through the crowd in the direction which I had seen him take; for he had already disappeared. With some little difficulty I at length came within sight of him, approached, and followed him closely, yet cautiously, so as not to attract his attention. I caught a glimpse both of a diamond and of a dagger. These observations heightened my curiosity, and I resolved to follow the stranger whithersoever he should go. The Man of the Crowd

I saw them fashion the syllables of my name.

The Pit and the Pendulum

I saw the lips of the black-robed judges. They appeared to me white -- whiter than the sheet upon which I trace these words -- and thin even to grotesqueness; thin with the intensity of their expression of firmness, of immovable resolution, of stern contempt of human torture.

The sentence, the dread sentence of death, was the last of distinct accentuation which reached my ears.

"Death," I said "any death but that of the pit!"

Shaking in every limb, I groped my way back to the wall -- resolving there to perish rather than risk the terrors of the wells, of which my imagination now pictured many in various positions about the dungeon. In other conditions of mind I might have had courage to end my misery at once by a plunge into one of these abysses; but now I was the veriest of cowards. Neither could I forget what I had read of these pits -- that the SUDDEN extinction of life formed no part of their most horrible plan.

Then silence, and stillness, and night were the universe. The Pit and the Pendulum

The Pit and the Pendulum

They swarmed upon me in ever-accumulating heaps.

I now lay upon my back, and at full length, on a species of low framework of wood. To this I was securely The sweep of the pendulum had increased in extent

bound by a long strap resembling a surcingle.

by nearly a yard. But what mainly disturbed me was

the idea that it had perceptibly DESCENDED. I now observed, with what horror it is needless to say, that its nether extremity was formed of a crescent of glittering steel, about a foot in length from horn to horn; the horns upward, and the under edge evidently as keen as that of a razor. It was appended to a weighty rod of brass, and the whole HISSED as it swung through the air.

They clung to the wood, they overran it, and leaped in hundreds upon my person. The measured movement of the pendulum disturbed them not at all. Avoiding it's strokes, they busied themselves with the annointed bandage. They pressed, they swarmed upon me in ever accumulating heaps. They writhed upon my throat; their cold lips sought my own; I was half stifled by their thronging pressure; disgust, for which the world has no name, swelled my bosom, and chilled with heavy clamminess my heart. With a more than human resolution I lay STILL. The Pit and the Pendulum

An attachment which seemed to attain new strength.


We caught him flying, all smoking and foaming with rage, from the burning stables The action, however, was but momentary, his gaze returned

of the Castle Berlifitzing.

mechanically to the wall. To his extreme horror and astonishment, the head of the gigantic steed had, in the meantime, altered its position. The neck of the animal, before arched, as if in compassion, over the prostrate body of its lord, was now extended, at full length, in the direction of the Baron. The eyes, before invisible, now wore an energetic and human expression, while they gleamed with a fiery and unusual red; and the distended lips of the apparently enraged horse left in full view his gigantic and disgusting teeth.

A white flame still enveloped the building like a shroud, and, streaming far away into the quiet atmosphere, shot forth a glare of preternatural light; while a cloud of smoke settled heavily over the battlements in the distinct colossal figure of-a horse. Metzengerstein

"For the Love of God! Montresor!" "Yes," I said. "For the love of God!"

The Cask of Amontillado

From one of these depended a short chain. from the other a padlock. Throwing the links about his waist, it was but the work of a few seconds to secure it. He was too much astounded to resist. Withdrawing the key I stepped back from the recess. A succession of loud and shrill screams, bursting suddenly from the throat of the chained form, seemed to thrust me violently back. For a brief moment I hesitated -- I trembled. Unsheathing my rapier, I began to grope with it about the recess; but the thought of an instant reassured me. I placed my hand upon the solid fabric of the catacombs , and felt satisfied. I reapproached the wall. I replied to the yells of him who clamoured. I reechoed -- I aided -- I surpassed them in volume and in strength. I did this, and the clamourer grew still.

"The Amontillado!" ejaculated my friend, not yet recovered from his astonishment. "True," I replied; "the Amontillado." It was now midnight, and my task was drawing to a close. I had completed the eighth, the ninth, and the tenth tier. I had finished a portion of the last and the eleventh; there remained but a single stone to be fitted and plastered in. I struggled with its weight; I placed it partially in its destined position. But now there came from out the niche a low laugh that erected the hairs upon my head. The Cask of Amontillado

I would call aloud upon her name.


I CANNOT, for my soul, remember how, when, or even precisely where, I first became acquainted with the lady Ligeia. Long years have since elapsed, and my memory is feeble through much suffering. Or, perhaps, I cannot now bring these points to mind, because, in truth, the character of my beloved, her rare learning, her singular yet placid cast of beauty, and the thrilling and enthralling eloquence of her low musical language, made their way into my heart by paces so steadily and stealthily progressive that they have been unnoticed and unknown.

Apollo revealed but in a dream, to Cleomenes, the son of the Athenian. And then I peered into the large eves of Ligeia.

And now, as if exhausted with emotion, she suffered her white arms to fall, and returned solemnly to her bed of death.

In beauty of face no maiden ever equalled her. Ligeia

An hour thus elapsed when (could it be possible?) I was a second time aware of some vague sound issuing from the region of the bed. I listened --in extremity of horror. The sound came again --it was a sigh. Rushing to the corpse, I saw --distinctly saw --a tremor upon the lips.

The corpse, I repeat, stirred, and now more vigorously than before.

One bound, and I had reached her feet! Shrinking from my touch, she let fall from her head, unloosened, the ghastly cerements which had confined it, and there streamed forth, into the rushing atmosphere of the chamber, huge masses of long and dishevelled hair; it was blacker than the raven wings of the midnight! And now slowly opened the eyes of the figure which stood before me.

"Here then, at least," I shrieked aloud, "can I never --can I never be mistaken --these are the full, and the black, and the wild eyes --of my lost love --of the lady --of the LADY LIGEIA."


And now slowly opened the eyes of the figure which stood before me.


All Images and Text excerpts Biographical Note Stained Glass Image Fonts Printed

E A Poe Tales of Mystery and Imagination, Illustrated by Harry Clarke, first published by Calla Editions in 2008 Crawford Art Gallery, Bio of Harry Clarke, Teachers Notes www.stpetersphibsboro.ie Caslon Antique, Imperator, Fontin SmallCaps Mohawk via satin, blue white, 70 text, Epson Premium Presentation Matte cover stock Color Plates: Epson inks Text and transparencies: Laser Print

Harry Clarke is considered one of the best Irish stained glass artists and illustrators of all time. A stained glass maker by trade and an illustrator for profit, Harry Clarke’s dark eye and unique line drawings are the perfect Dark Compliment to Edgar Allen Poe’s work. This volume presents the excerpts of Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination that directly compliment Clarke’s illustrations. As if while Clarke read Poe’s stories, these are the specific parts of the story that inspired his dark imagery. This book was designed to enable the veiwer to pull Clarke’s illustrations from the book and place them in the cover to showcase different Dark Complements.

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