Nouvelles histoires extraordinaires

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 62

interversion qui s'opéra dans le caractère de
mes pensées les plus ordinaires. Les réalités du monde m'affectaient
comme des visions, et seulement comme des visions, pendant que les idées
folles du pays des songes devenaient en revanche, non la pâture de mon
existence de tous les jours, mais positivement mon unique et entière
existence elle-même.

* * * * *

Bérénice et moi, nous étions cousins, et nous grandîmes ensemble dans le
manoir paternel. Mais nous grandîmes différemment,--moi, maladif et
enseveli dans ma mélancolie,--elle, agile, gracieuse et débordante
d'énergie; à elle, le vagabondage sur la colline,--à moi, les études du
cloître; moi, vivant dans mon propre coeur, et me dévouant, corps et
âme, à la plus intense et à la plus pénible méditation,--elle, errant
insoucieuse à travers la vie, sans penser aux ombres de son chemin, ou à
la fuite silencieuse des heures au noir plumage. Bérénice!--J'invoque
son nom,--Bérénice!--et des ruines grises de ma mémoire se dressent à ce
son mille souvenirs tumultueux! Ah! son image est là vivante devant moi,
comme dans les premiers jours de son allégresse et de sa joie! Oh,
magnifique et pourtant fantastique beauté! Oh! sylphe parmi les bocages
d'Arnheim! Oh! naïade parmi ses fontaines! Et puis,--et puis tout est
mystère et terreur, une histoire qui ne veut pas être racontée. Un
mal,--un mal fatal s'abattit sur sa constitution comme le simoun; et
même pendant que je la contemplais, l'esprit de métamorphose passait sur
elle et l'enlevait, pénétrant son esprit, ses habitudes, son caractère,
et, de la manière la plus subtile et la plus terrible, perturbant même
son identité! Hélas! le destructeur venait et s'en allait;--mais la
victime,--la vraie Bérénice,--qu'est-elle devenue? Je ne connaissais pas
celle-ci, ou du moins je ne la reconnaissais plus comme Bérénice.

Parmi la nombreuse série de maladies amenées par cette fatale et
principale attaque, qui opéra une si horrible révolution dans l'être
physique et moral de ma cousine, il faut mentionner, comme la plus
affligeante et la plus opiniâtre, une espèce d'épilepsie qui souvent se
terminait en catalepsie,--catalepsie ressemblant parfaitement à la mort,
et dont elle se réveillait, dans quelques cas, d'une manière tout à fait
brusque et soudaine. En même temps, mon propre mal,--car on m'a dit que
je ne pouvais pas l'appeler d'un autre nom,--mon propre mal grandissait
rapidement, et, ses symptômes s'aggravant par un usage immodéré de
l'opium, il prit finalement le caractère d'une monomanie d'une forme
nouvelle et extraordinaire. D'heure en heure, de

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Text Comparison with The Fall of the House of Usher

Page 0
During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher.
Page 1
I had learned, too, the very remarkable fact, that the stem of the Usher race, all time-honoured as it was, had put forth, at no period, any enduring branch; in other words, that the entire family lay in the direct line of descent, and had always, with very trifling and very temporary variation, so lain.
Page 2
I had so worked upon my imagination as really to believe that about the whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinity--an atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the grey wall, and the silent tarn--a pestilent and mystic vapour, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden-hued.
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We sat down; and for some moments, while he spoke not, I gazed upon him with a feeling half of pity, half of awe.
Page 4
The now ghastly pallor of the skin, and the now miraculous lustre of the eye, above all things startled and even awed me.
Page 5
"I shall perish," said he, "I must perish in this deplorable folly.
Page 6
An excited and highly distempered ideality threw a sulphureous lustre over all.
Page 7
One of the phantasmagoric conceptions of my friend, partaking not so rigidly of the spirit of abstraction, may be shadowed forth, although feebly, in words.
Page 8
Page 9
And all with pearl and ruby glowing Was the fair palace door, Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing And sparkling evermore, A troop of Echoes whose sweet duty Was but to sing, In voices of surpassing beauty, The wit and wisdom of their king.
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
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
At the request of Usher, I personally aided him in the arrangements for the temporary entombment.
Page 13
He roamed from chamber to chamber with hurried, unequal, and objectless step.
Page 14
"And you have not seen it?" he said abruptly, after having stared about him for some moments in silence--"you have not then seen it?--but, stay! you shall.
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
" No sooner had these syllables passed my lips, than--as if a shield of brass had indeed, at the moment, fallen heavily upon a floor of silver--I became aware of a distinct, hollow, metallic, and clangorous, yet apparently muffled reverberation.
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