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

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 158

_them_ we should look for the agency of
the threatened fiery destruction had been for many years considered an
inadmissible idea. But wonders and wild fancies had been of late days
strangely rife among mankind; and, although it was only with a few of
the ignorant that actual apprehension prevailed, upon the announcement
by astronomers of a _new_ comet, yet this announcement was generally
received with I know not what of agitation and mistrust.

The elements of the strange orb were immediately calculated, and it
was at once conceded by all observers that its path, at perihelion
would bring it into very close proximity with the earth. There were
two or three astronomers of secondary note who resolutely maintained
that a contact was inevitable. I cannot very well express to you the
effect of this intelligence upon the people. For a few short days they
would not believe an assertion which their intellect, so long employed
among worldly considerations, could not in any manner grasp. But the
truth of a vitally important fact soon makes its way into the
understanding of even the most stolid. Finally, all men saw that
astronomical knowledge lies not, and they awaited the comet. Its
approach was not at first seemingly rapid, nor was its appearance of
very unusual character. It was of a dull red, and had little
perceptible train. For seven or eight days we saw no material increase
in its apparent diameter, and but a partial alteration in its color.
Meantime, the ordinary affairs of men were discarded, and all interest
absorbed in a growing discussion instituted by the philosophic in
respect to the cometary nature. Even the grossly ignorant aroused
their sluggish capacities to such considerations. The learned _now_
gave their intellect--their soul--to no such points as the allaying of
fear, or to the sustenance of loved theory. They sought--they panted
for right views. They groaned for perfected knowledge. _Truth_ arose
in the purity of her strength and exceeding majesty, and the wise
bowed down and adored.

That material injury to our globe or to its inhabitants would result
from the apprehended contact was an opinion which hourly lost ground
among the wise; and the wise were now

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Text Comparison with The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 4

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But it is not.
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In this analysis of the operations of the Automaton, we have purposely avoided any allusion to the manner in which the partitions are shifted, and it.