The Complete Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe Including Essays on Poetry

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 157

in
the august and certain Present.


'Charmion'.

Grapple not now with such thoughts. To-morrow we will speak of this.
Your mind wavers, and its agitation will find relief in the exercise
of simple memories. Look not around, nor forward--but back. I am
burning with anxiety to hear the details of that stupendous event
which threw you among us. Tell me of it. Let us converse of familiar
things, in the old familiar language of the world which has so
fearfully perished.


'Eiros'.

Most fearfully, fearfully!--this is indeed no dream.


'Charmion'.

Dreams are no more. Was I much mourned, my Eiros?

'Eiros'.

Mourned, Charmion?--oh, deeply. To that last hour of all there hung a
cloud of intense gloom and devout sorrow over your household.


'Charmion'.

And that last hour--speak of it. Remember that, beyond the naked fact
of the catastrophe itself, I know nothing. When, coming out from among
mankind, I passed into Night through the Grave--at that period, if I
remember aright, the calamity which overwhelmed you was utterly
unanticipated. But, indeed, I knew little of the speculative
philosophy of the day.


'Eiros'.

The individual calamity was, as you say, entirely unanticipated; but
analogous misfortunes had been long a subject of discussion with
astronomers. I need scarce tell you, my friend, that, even when you
left us, men had agreed to understand those passages in the most holy
writings which speak of the final destruction of all things by fire as
having reference to the orb of the earth alone, But in regard to the
immediate agency of the ruin, speculation had been at fault from that
epoch in astronomical knowledge in which the comets were divested of
the terrors of flame. The very moderate density of these bodies had
been well established. They had been observed to pass among the
satellites of Jupiter without bringing about any sensible alteration
either in the masses or in the orbits of these secondary planets. We
had long regarded the wanderers as vapory creations of inconceivable
tenuity, and as altogether incapable of doing injury to our
substantial globe, even in the event of contact. But contact was not
in any degree dreaded; for the elements of all the comets were
accurately known. That among

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