By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 81

forme d'un globe. Il y en a une qui semblait ovale; mais le
télescope de lord Rosse l'a transformée pour nous en un cercle...
Or, il se présente une très-remarquable circonstance relativement à
ces masses circulaires de nébuleuses qui semblent, par comparaison,
douées de mouvement. Nous découvrons qu'elles ne sont pas absolument
circulaires, mais que, bien au contraire, tout autour d'elles et de
tous côtés, il y a des colonnes d'étoiles, _qui semblent s'étendre au
loin comme si elles se précipitaient vers une grande masse centrale en
vertu de quelque énorme puissance_[1].»

Si j'avais à décrire, à ma guise, la condition actuelle nécessaire
des nébuleuses, dans l'hypothèse, suggérée par moi, que toute matière
s'achemine vers l'Unité originelle, je copierais simplement, et presque
mot à mot, le langage qu'a employé le Docteur Nichol sans soupçonner le
moins du monde cette prodigieuse vérité, qui est la clef de tous les
phénomènes relatifs aux nébuleuses.

Et qu'il me soit permis ici de fortifier ma position par le témoignage
de quelqu'un qui est plus grand que Madler,--de quelqu'un pour
qui toutes les données de Madler étaient depuis longtemps choses
familières, soigneusement et entièrement examinées. Relativement aux
calculs minutieux d'Argelander, lesquels forment la base de l'idée de
Madler, Humboldt, dont la faculté généralisatrice n'a peut-être jamais
été égalée, fait l'observation suivante:

«Quand nous considérons le mouvement propre, réel et non perspectif
des étoiles, _nous voyons plusieurs groupes marchant dans des
directions opposées;_ et les données que nous avons acquises jusqu'à
présent ne nous forcent pas à imaginer que les systèmes composant
la Voie Lactée, ou les groupes composant généralement l'Univers,
tournent autour de quelque centre inconnu, lumineux ou non lumineux.
Ce n'est que le désir propre à l'Homme de posséder une Cause Première
fondamentale, qui persuade à son intelligence et à son imagination
d'adopter une telle hypothèse.»

Le phénomène dont il est ici question, c'est-à-dire de _plusieurs
groupes se dirigeant dans des sens opposés,_ est tout à fait
inexplicable dans l'hypothèse de Madler, mais surgit comme conséquence
nécessaire de l'idée qui forme la base de ce Discours. En même temps
que la direction purement générale de chaque atome, de chaque lune,
planète, étoile ou groupe, serait, dans mon hypothèse, absolument
rectiligne; en même temps que la route générale suivie par tous
les corps serait une ligne droite conduisant au centre de tout, il
est clair que cette direction rectiligne serait composée de ce que
nous pouvons appeler, sans exagération, une infinité de courbes
particulières, résultat des différences continuelles de position
relative parmi ces masses innombrables, à mesure que chacune progresse
dans son pèlerinage vers l'Unité finale.

Je citais tout à l'heure le passage suivant de sir John Herschell,
appliqué aux

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Text Comparison with The Fall of the House of Usher

Page 0
I looked upon the scene before me--upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain--upon the bleak walls--upon the vacant eye-like windows--upon a few rank sedges--and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees--with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium--the bitter lapse into everyday life--the hideous dropping off of the veil.
Page 1
His reserve had been always excessive and habitual.
Page 2
Much that I encountered on the way contributed, I know not how, to heighten the vague sentiments.
Page 3
He accosted me with trepidation and passed on.
Page 4
The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow all unheeded, and as, in its wild gossamer texture, it floated rather than fell about the face, I could not, even with effort, connect its Arabesque expression with any idea of simple humanity.
Page 5
He was enchained by certain superstitious impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted, and whence, for many years, he had never ventured forth--in regard to an influence whose supposititious force was conveyed in terms too shadowy here to be re-stated--an influence which some peculiarities in the mere form and substance of his family mansion, had, by dint of long sufferance, he said, obtained over his spirit--an effect which the physique of the grey walls and turrets, and of the dim tarn into which they all looked down, had, at length, brought about upon the morale of his existence.
Page 6
had buried his face in his hands, and I could only perceive that a far more than ordinary wanness had overspread the emaciated fingers through which trickled many passionate tears.
Page 7
No outlet was observed in any portion of its vast extent, and no torch, or other artificial source of light was discernible; yet a flood of intense rays rolled throughout, and bathed the whole in a ghastly and inappropriate splendour.
Page 8
In the greenest of our valleys, By good angels tenanted, Once a fair and stately palace-- Radiant palace--reared its head.
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
But, in his disordered fancy, the idea had assumed a more daring character, and trespassed, under certain conditions, upon the kingdom of inorganization.
Page 11
The conditions of the sentience had been here, he imagined, fulfilled in the method of collocation of these stones--in the order of their arrangement, as well as in that of the many fungi which overspread them, and of the decayed trees which stood around--above all, in the long undisturbed endurance of this arrangement, and in its reduplication in the still waters of the tarn.
Page 12
Having deposited our mournful burden upon tressels within this region of horror, we partially turned aside the yet unscrewed lid of the coffin, and looked upon the face of the tenant.
Page 13
I struggled to reason off the nervousness which had dominion over me.
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
Here, it will be remembered, the words of the narrative run thus: "And Ethelred, who was by nature of a doughty heart, and who was now mighty withal, on account of the powerfulness of the wine which he had drunken, waited no longer to hold parley with the hermit, who, in sooth, was of an obstinate and maliceful turn, but, feeling the rain upon his shoulders, and fearing the rising of the tempest, uplifted his mace outright, and, with blows, made quickly room in the plankings of the door for his gauntleted hand; and now pulling therewith sturdily, he so cracked, and ripped, and tore all asunder, that the noise of the dry and hollow-sounding wood alarmed and reverberated throughout the forest.
Page 16
His head had dropped upon his breast--yet I knew that he was not asleep, from the wide and rigid opening of the eye as I caught a glance of it in profile.
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
Suddenly there shot along the path a wild light, and I turned to see whence a gleam so unusual could have issued; for the vast house and its shadows were alone behind me.