Derniers Contes

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 92

la scytale,
on en fait faire une sur cette mesure, et l'on y applique le parchemin.

Il y a peu de personnes disposees a croire que ce n'est pas chose si
facile que d'inventer une methode d'ecriture secrete qui puisse defier
l'examen. On peut cependant affirmer carrement que l'ingeniosite
humaine est incapable d'inventer un chiffre qu'elle ne puisse resoudre.
Toutefois ces chiffres sont plus ou moins facilement resolus, et sur
ce point il existe entre diverses intelligences des differences
remarquables. Souvent, dans le cas de deux individus reconnus comme
egaux pour tout ce qui touche aux efforts ordinaires de l'intelligence,
il se rencontrera que l'un ne pourra demeler le chiffre le plus simple,
tandis que l'autre ne trouvera presque aucune difficulte a venir a bout
du plus complique. On peut observer que des recherches de ce genre
exigent generalement une intense application des facultes analytiques;
c'est pour cela qu'il serait tres utile d'introduire les exercices de
solutions cryptographiques dans les Academies, comme moyens de former et
de developper les plus importantes facultes de l'esprit.

Supposons deux individus, entierement novices en cryptographie, desireux
d'entretenir par lettres une correspondance inintelligible a tout autre
qu'a eux-memes, il est tres probable qu'ils songeront du premier coup
a un alphabet particulier, dont ils auront chacun la clef. La premiere
combinaison qui se presentera a eux sera celle-ci, par exemple: prendre
_a_ pour _z_, _b_ pour _y_, _c_ pour _x_, _d_ pour _n_, etc. etc.;
c'est-a-dire, renverser l'ordre des lettres de l'alphabet. A une seconde
reflexion, cet arrangement paraissant trop naturel, ils en adopteront
un plus complique. Ils pourront, par exemple, ecrire les 13 premieres
lettres de l'alphabet sous les 13 dernieres, de cette facon:

nopqrstuvwxyz
abcdefghijklm;

et, ainsi places, _a_ serait pris pour _n_ et _n_ pour _a_, _o_ pour
_b_ et _b_ pour _o_, etc., etc. Mais cette combinaison ayant un air de
regularite trop facile a penetrer, ils pourraient se construire une clef
tout a fait au hasard, par exemple:

prendre a pour p
b x
c u
d o, etc.

Tant qu'une solution de leur chiffre ne viendra pas les convaincre de
leur erreur, nos correspondants supposes s'en tiendront a ce dernier
arrangement, comme offrant toute securite. Sinon, ils imagineront
peut-etre un systeme de signes arbitraires remplacant les caracteres
usuels. Par exemple:

( pourrait signifier a
.

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Text Comparison with The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition

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_ _Lenore_ ] [Illustration] The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition By Edgar Allan Poe Quarto Photogravure Edition Illustrated from Paintings by Galen J.
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” The Philosophy of Composition.
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Keeping originality always in view—for he is false to himself who ventures to dispense with so obvious and so easily attainable a source of interest—I say to myself, in the first place, “Of the innumerable effects, or impressions, of which the heart, the intellect, or (more generally) the soul is susceptible, what one shall I, on the present occasion, select?” Having chosen a novel, first, and secondly a vivid effect, I consider whether it can be best wrought by incident or tone—whether by ordinary incidents and peculiar tone, or the converse, or by peculiarity both of incident and tone—afterward looking about me (or rather within) for such combinations of event, or tone, as shall best aid me in the construction of the effect.
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I select “The Raven,” as most generally known.
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Holding in view these considerations, as well as that degree of excitement which I deemed not above the popular, while not below the critical, taste, I reached at once what I conceived the proper length for my intended poem—a length of about one hundred lines.
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The length, the province, and the tone, being thus determined, I betook myself to ordinary induction, with the view of obtaining some artistic piquancy which might serve me as a keynote in the construction of the poem—some pivot upon which the whole structure might turn.
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The sound of the refrain being thus determined, it became necessary to select a word embodying this sound, and at the same time in the fullest possible keeping with that melancholy which I had predetermined as the tone of the poem.
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word, “Nevermore,” at the conclusion of each stanza, in a poem of melancholy tone, and in length about one hundred lines.
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In general, to be found, it must be elaborately sought, and although a positive merit of the highest class, demands in its attainment less of invention than negation.
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For this the most natural suggestion might seem to be a forest, or the fields—but it has always appeared to me that a close circumscription of space is absolutely necessary to the effect of insulated incident: it has the force of a frame to a picture.
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For example, an air of the fantastic—approaching as nearly to the ludicrous as was admissible—is given to the Raven’s entrance.
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” With the indulgence, to the extreme, of this self-torture, the narration, in what I have termed its first or obvious phase, has a natural termination, and so far there has been no overstepping of the limits of the real.
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” [Illustration] Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
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_] [Illustration] Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore.
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’” [Illustration] But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore— What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking “Nevermore.
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