Derniers Contes

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 7

precedente; et le jour ayant paru
avant qu'elle fut terminee (malgre tous les efforts de la reine pour la
finir a temps) il fallut encore remettre la ceremonie a vingt-quatre
heures. La nuit suivante, meme accident et meme resultat, puis l'autre
nuit, et l'autre encore;--si bien que le bon monarque, se voyant dans
l'impossibilite de remplir son serment pendant une periode d'au moins
mille et une nuits, ou bien finit par l'oublier tout a fait, ou se
fit relever regulierement de son voeu, ou (ce qui est plus probable)
l'enfreignit brusquement, en cassant la tete a son confesseur. Quoi
qu'il en soit, Scheherazade, qui, descendant d'Eve en droite ligne,
avait herite peut-etre des sept paniers de bavardage que cette derniere,
comme personne ne l'ignore, ramassa sous les arbres du jardin d'Eden,
Scheherazade, dis-je, finit par triompher, et l'impot sur la beaute fut

Or cette conclusion (celle de l'histoire traditionnelle) est, sans
doute, fort convenable et fort plaisante: mais, helas! comme la
plupart des choses plaisantes, plus plaisante que vraie; et c'est a
l'Isitsoornot que je dois de pouvoir corriger cette erreur. "Le mieux",
dit un Proverbe francais, "est l'ennemi du bien"; et en rappelant que
Scheherazade avait herite des sept paniers de bavardage, j'aurais du
ajouter qu'elle sut si bien les faire valoir, qu'ils monterent bientot a

"Ma chere soeur," dit-elle a la mille et deuxieme nuit, (je cite ici
litteralement le texte de l'Isitsoornot) "ma chere soeur, maintenant
qu'il n'est plus question de ce petit inconvenient de la strangulation,
et que cet odieux impot est si heureusement aboli, j'ai a me reprocher
d'avoir commis une grave indiscretion, en vous frustrant vous et le roi
(je suis fachee de le dire, mais le voila qui ronfle--ce que ne devrait
pas se permettre un gentilhomme) de la fin de l'histoire de Sinbad
le marin. Ce personnage eut encore beaucoup d'autres aventures
interessantes; mais la verite est que je tombais de sommeil la nuit ou
je vous les racontais, et qu'ainsi je dus interrompre brusquement ma
narration--grave faute qu'Allah, j'espere, voudra bien me pardonner.
Cependant il est encore temps de reparer ma coupable negligence, et
aussitot que j'aurai pince une ou deux fois le roi de maniere a le
reveiller assez pour l'empecher de faire cet horrible bruit, je vous
regalerai vous et lui (s'il le veut bien) de la suite de cette tres
remarquable histoire."

Ici la soeur de Scheherazade, ainsi que le remarque l'Isitsoornot, ne
temoigna pas une bien vive satisfaction; mais quand le roi, suffisamment
pince, eut fini de ronfler, et eut pousse un "Hum!" puis un "Hoo!"--mots
arabes sans doute, qui donnerent a entendre a la reine

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Text Comparison with The Fall of the House of Usher

Page 0
It was possible, I reflected, that a mere different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression; and, acting upon this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn that lay in unruffled lustre by the dwelling, and gazed down--but with a shudder even more thrilling than before--upon the remodelled and inverted images of the grey sedge, and the ghastly tree-stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.
Page 1
Its proprietor, Roderick Usher, had been one of my boon companions in boyhood; but many years had elapsed since our last meeting.
Page 2
Noticing these things, I rode over a short causeway to the house.
Page 3
of which I have already spoken.
Page 4
His action was alternately vivacious and sullen.
Page 5
I shudder at the thought of any, even the most trivial, incident, which may operate upon this intolerable agitation of soul.
Page 6
Among other things, I hold painfully in mind a certain singular perversion and amplification of the wild air of the last waltz of Von Weber.
Page 7
Certain accessory points of the design served well to convey the idea that this excavation lay at an exceeding depth below the surface of the earth.
Page 8
Wanderers in that happy valley .
Page 9
Through two luminous windows saw Spirits moving musically To a lute's well tuned law, Round about a throne, where sitting (Porphyrogene!) In state his glory well befitting, The ruler of the realm was seen.
Page 10
And travellers now within that valley, Through the red-litten windows, see Vast forms that move fantastically To a discordant melody; While, like a rapid ghastly river, Through the pale door, A hideous throng rush out forever, And laugh--but smile no more.
Page 11
We pored together over such works as the Ververt et Chartreuse of Gresset; the Belphegor of Machiavelli; the Heaven and Hell of Swedenborg; the Subterranean Voyage of Nicholas Klimm by Holberg; the Chiromancy of Robert Flud, of Jean D'Indagine, and of De la Chambre; the Journey into the Blue Distance of Tieck; and the City of the Sun by Campanella.
Page 12
I will not deny that when I called to mind the sinister countenance of the person whom I met upon the staircase, on the day of my arrival at the house, I had no desire to oppose what I regarded as at best but a harmless, and by no means an unnatural, precaution.
Page 13
But my efforts were fruitless.
Page 14
His air appalled me--but anything was preferable to the solitude which I had so long endured, and I even welcomed his presence as a relief.
Page 15
It was, however, the only book immediately at hand; and I indulged a vague hope that the excitement which now agitated the hypochondriac, might find relief (for the history of mental disorder is full of similar anomalies) even in the extremeness of the folly which I should read.
Page 16
From a position fronting my own, he had gradually brought round his chair, so as to sit with his face to the door of the chamber; and thus I could but partially perceive his features, although I saw that his lips trembled as if he were murmuring inaudibly.
Page 17
I heard them--many, many days ago--yet I dared not--I dared not speak! And now--to-night--Ethelred--ha! ha!--the breaking of the hermit's door, and the death-cry of the dragon, and the clangour of the shield!--say, rather, the rending of her coffin, and the grating of the iron hinges of her prison, and her struggles within the coppered archway of the vault! Oh whither shall I fly? Will she not be here anon? Is she not hurrying to upbraid me for my haste? Have I not heard her footsteps on the stair? Do I not distinguish that heavy and horrible beating of her heart? 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, their ponderous and ebony.
Page 18
While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened--there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind--the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight--my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder--there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters--and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the "House of Usher".