Nouvelles histoires extraordinaires

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 30

pages le souvenir de mes dernières années d'ineffable misère et
d'irrémissible crime. Cette période récente de ma vie a soudainement
comporté une hauteur de turpitude dont je veux simplement déterminer
l'origine. C'est là pour le moment mon seul but. Les hommes, en général,
deviennent vils par degrés. Mais moi, toute vertu s'est détachée de moi,
en une minute, d'un seul coup, comme un manteau. D'une perversité
relativement ordinaire, j'ai passé, par une enjambée de géant, à des
énormités plus qu'héliogabaliques. Permettez-moi de raconter tout au
long quel hasard, quel unique accident a amené cette malédiction. La
Mort approche, et l'ombre qui la devance a jeté une influence
adoucissante sur mon coeur. Je soupire, en passant à travers la sombre
vallée, après la sympathie--j'allais dire la pitié--de mes semblables.
Je voudrais leur persuader que j'ai été en quelque sorte l'esclave de
circonstances qui défiaient tout contrôle humain. Je désirerais qu'ils
découvrissent pour moi, dans les détails que je vais leur donner,
quelque petite oasis de _fatalité_ dans un Saharah d'erreur. Je voudrais
qu'ils accordassent,--ce qu'ils ne peuvent pas se refuser à
accorder,--que, bien que ce monde ait connu de grandes tentations,
jamais l'homme n'a été jusqu'ici tenté de cette façon,--et certainement
n'a jamais succombé de cette façon. Est-ce donc pour cela qu'il n'a
jamais connu les mêmes souffrances? En vérité, n'ai-je pas vécu dans un
rêve? Est-ce que je ne meurs pas victime de l'horreur et du mystère des
plus étranges de toutes les visions sublunaires?

Je suis le descendant d'une race qui s'est distinguée en tout temps par
un tempérament imaginatif et facilement excitable; et ma première
enfance prouva que j'avais pleinement hérité du caractère de famille.
Quand j'avançai en âge, ce caractère se dessina plus fortement; il
devint, pour mille raisons, une cause d'inquiétude sérieuse pour mes
amis, et de préjudice positif pour moi-même. Je devins volontaire,
adonné aux plus sauvages caprices; je fus la proie des plus indomptables
passions. Mes parents, qui étaient d'un esprit faible, et que
tourmentaient des défauts constitutionnels de même nature, ne pouvaient
pas faire grand-chose pour arrêter les tendances mauvaises qui me
distinguaient. Il y eut de leur côté quelques tentatives, faibles, mal
dirigées, qui échouèrent complètement, et qui tournèrent pour moi en
triomphe complet. À partir de ce moment, ma voix fut une loi domestique;
et, à un âge où peu d'enfants ont quitté leurs lisières, je fus
abandonné à mon libre arbitre, et devins le maître de toutes mes
actions,--excepté de nom.

Mes premières impressions de la vie d'écolier sont liées à une vaste et
extravagante maison du style d'Élisabeth, dans un sombre village
d'Angleterre, décoré de nombreux arbres gigantesques et noueux,

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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.

Page 6
to a ringbolt in the deck of the cuddy.
Page 8
This induced the hardy seamen to persevere in their search for more than half an hour, although repeated signals to return were made them by Captain Block, and although every moment on the water in so frail a boat was fraught to them with the most imminent and deadly peril.
Page 18
Their roots were concealed in wide-spreading morasses, whose dreary water lay intensely black, still, and altogether terrible, beneath.
Page 32
Latterly, I have had reason, both from my own experience and the assurance of others, to be acquainted with the strong soporific effects of the stench arising from old fish-oil when closely confined; and when I think of the condition of the hold in which I was imprisoned, and the long period during which the brig had been used as a whaling vessel, I am more inclined to wonder that I awoke at all, after once falling asleep, than that I should have slept uninterruptedly for the period specified above.
Page 33
Over him stood the first mate, eying him with an expression of fiendish derision, and deliberately searching his pockets, from which he presently drew forth a large wallet and a chronometer.
Page 57
The stomach was swollen immensely, like that of a man who has been drowned and lain under water for many weeks.
Page 68
I then spoke to Peters and to Parker, neither of whom returned any answer.
Page 75
We rushed aft, when, suddenly, a wide yaw threw her off full five or six points from the course she had been running, and, as she passed under our stern at the distance of about twenty feet, we had a full view of her decks.
Page 83
I therefore.
Page 92
Towards evening saw several sharks, and were somewhat alarmed by the audacious manner in which an enormously large one approached us.
Page 98
_ This day we were blessed by a brisk and continual rain, lasting from about noon until after dark.
Page 108
Plenty of excellent water may here be readily procured; also cod, and other fish, may be taken with hook and line.
Page 110
In 1790, Captain Manuel de Oyarvido, in the ship Princess, belonging to the Royal Philippine Company, sailed, as he asserts, directly among them.
Page 112
Before entering upon this portion of my narrative, it may be as well, for the information of those readers who have paid little attention to the progress of discovery in these regions, to give some brief account of the very few attempts at reaching the southern pole which have hitherto been made.
Page 121
For a long time past we had had no night at all, the daylight being continual.
Page 129
Too-wit seated himself on the leaves, and made signs that we should follow his example.
Page 145
They were upon the point of recommencing, when suddenly a mass of smoke puffed up from the decks, resembling a black and heavy thunder-cloud--then, as if from its bowels, arose a tall stream of vivid fire to the height, apparently, of a quarter of a mile--then there came a sudden circular expansion of the flame--then the whole atmosphere was magically crowded, in a single instant, with a wild chaos of wood, and metal, and human limbs--and, lastly, came the concussion in its fullest fury, which hurled us impetuously from our feet, while the hills echoed and re-echoed the tumult, and a dense shower of the minutest fragments of the ruins tumbled headlong in every direction around us.
Page 148
[Footnote 5: This day was rendered remarkable by our observing in the south several huge wreaths of the grayish vapour I have before spoken of.
Page 149
The bottom of the gulf was covered to the depth of three or four inches with a powder almost impalpable, beneath which we found a continuation of the black granite.
Page 158
Having killed the largest of our tortoises, and obtained from him not only food, but a copious supply of water, we continued on our course, without any incident of moment, for perhaps seven or eight days, during which period we must have proceeded a vast distance to the southward, as the wind blew constantly with us, and a very strong current set continually in the direction we were pursuing.