Derniers Contes

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 105

Pollock
a la livre;--et cependant quelle autre conclusion tirer de leurs
continuelles rodomontades sur "l'effort soutenu du genie"? Si par "un
effort soutenu" un petit monsieur a accouche d'un epique, nous sommes
tout disposes a lui tenir franchement compte de l'effort--si toutefois
cela en vaut la peine; mais qu'il nous soit permis de ne pas juger de
l'oeuvre sur l'effort. Il faut esperer que le sens commun, a l'avenir,
aimera mieux juger une oeuvre d'art par l'impression et l'effet
produits, que par le temps qu'elle met a produire cet effet ou la somme
d'"effort soutenu" qu'il a fallu pour realiser cette impression. La
verite est que la perseverance est une chose, et le genie une autre,
et toutes les _Quarterlies_ de la Chretiente ne parviendront pas a les
confondre. En attendant, on ne peut se refuser a reconnaitre l'evidence
de ma proposition et celle des considerations qui l'appuient. En tous
cas, si elles passent generalement pour des erreurs condamnables, il n'y
a pas la de quoi compromettre gravement leur verite.

D'autre part, il est clair qu'un poeme peut pecher par exces de
brievete. Une brievete excessive degenere en epigramme. Un poeme trop
court peut produire ca et la un vif et brillant effet; mais non un effet
profond et durable. Il faut a un sceau un temps de pression suffisant
pour s'imprimer sur la cire. Beranger a ecrit quantite de choses
piquantes et emouvantes, mais en general ce sont choses trop legeres
pour s'imprimer profondement dans l'attention publique, et ainsi, les
creations de son imagination, comme autant de plumes aeriennes, n'ont
apparu que pour etre emportees par le vent.

Un remarquable exemple de ce que peut produire une brievete exageree
pour compromettre un poeme et l'empecher de devenir populaire, c'est
l'exquise petite _Serenade_ que voici:

Je m'eveille de rever de toi
Dans le premier doux sommeil de la nuit,
Lorsque les vents respirent tout bas,
Et que rayonnent les brillantes etoiles.
Je m'eveille de rever de toi,
Et un esprit dans mes pieds
M'a conduit--qui sait comment?
Vers la fenetre de ta chambre, douce amie!

Les brises vagabondes se pament
Sur ce sombre, ce silencieux courant;
Les odeurs du champac s'evanouissent
Comme de douces pensees dans un reve;
La complainte du rossignol
Meurt sur son coeur,
Comme je dois mourir sur le tien,

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Text Comparison with The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket Comprising the details of a mutiny and atrocious butchery on board the American brig Grampus, on her way to the South Seas, in the month of June, 1827.

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COMPRISING THE DETAILS OF A MUTINY AND ATROCIOUS BUTCHERY ON BOARD THE AMERICAN BRIG GRAMPUS, ON HER WAY TO THE SOUTH SEAS, IN THE MONTH OF JUNE, 1827.
Page 16
I shall not have a chance of coming down again for some time--perhaps for three or four days more.
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unevenness on its surface, which a delicate sense of feeling might enable me to detect.
Page 31
At length I again heard the word _Arthur!_ repeated in a low tone, and one full of hesitation.
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His anxiety on my account he represented, however, as the most distressing result of his condition; and, indeed, I had never reason to doubt the sincerity of his friendship.
Page 46
In most kinds of freight the stowage is accomplished by means of a screw.
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No opposition was made by Peters or the cook; at least none in the hearing of Augustus.
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I objected to this, because I could not believe that the mate (who was a cunning fellow in all matters which did not affect his superstitious prejudices) would suffer himself to be so easily entrapped.
Page 56
Some vessels will lie to under no sail whatever, but such are not to be trusted at sea.
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The little assistance which Augustus could render us was not really of any importance.
Page 67
The brig was a mere log, rolling about at the mercy of every wave; the gale was upon the increase, if anything, blowing indeed a complete hurricane, and there appeared to us no earthly prospect of deliverance.
Page 94
long as possible, we cut it into fine pieces, and filled with them our three remaining olive-jars and the wine-bottle (all of which had been kept), pouring in afterward the vinegar from the olives.
Page 99
[Footnote 2: The case of the brig Polly, of Boston, is one so much in point, and her fate, in many respects, so remarkably similar to our own, that I cannot forbear alluding to it here.
Page 106
The albatross is somewhat less simple in her arrangements, erecting a hillock about a foot high and two in diameter.
Page 107
Patterson, took the boats, and (although it was somewhat early in the season) went in search of seal, leaving the captain and a young relation of his on a point of barren land to the westward, they having some business, whose nature I could not ascertain, to transact in the interior of the island.
Page 129
The tree which formed its support was cut off at a distance of twelve feet or thereabout from the root, and there were several branches left just below the cut, these serving to extend the covering, and in this way prevent its flapping about the trunk.
Page 132
They have no shell, no legs, nor any prominent part, except an _absorbing_ and an _excretory_, opposite organs; but, by their elastic wings, like caterpillars or worms, they creep in shallow waters, in which, when low, they can be seen by a kind of swallow, the sharp bill of which, inserted in the soft animal, draws a gummy and filamentous substance, which, by drying, can be wrought into the solid walls of their nest.
Page 134
We now all set to work in good earnest, and soon, to the great astonishment of the savages, had felled a sufficient number of trees for our purpose, getting them quickly in order for the framework of the houses, which in two or three days were so far under way that we could safely trust the rest of the work to the three men whom we intended to leave behind.
Page 147
After an hour's scramble, at the risk of breaking our necks, we discovered that we had merely descended into a vast pit of black granite, with fine dust at the bottom, and whence the only egress was by the rugged path in which we had come down.
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I would have picked it up, but there came over me a sudden listlessness, and I forbore.