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

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 164

from our seats in
horror, and stand trembling, and shuddering, and aghast: for the tones
in the voice of the shadow were not the tones of any one being, but of a
multitude of beings, and varying in their cadences from syllable to
syllable, fell duskily upon our ears in the well remembered and familiar
accents of many thousand departed friends.





* * * * *





SILENCE.--A FABLE.


The mountain pinnacles slumber; valleys, crags, and caves _are silent_.

"LISTEN to _me_," said the Demon, as he placed his hand upon my head.
"The region of which I speak is a dreary region in Libya, by the borders
of the river Zaeire. And there is no quiet there, nor silence.

"The waters of the river have a saffron and sickly hue; and they flow
not onward to the sea, but palpitate forever and forever beneath the red
eye of the sun with a tumultuous and convulsive motion. For many miles
on either side of the river's oozy bed is a pale desert of gigantic
water-lilies. They sigh one unto the other in that solitude, and stretch
towards the heaven their long and ghastly necks, and nod to and fro
their everlasting heads. And there is an indistinct murmur which cometh
out from among them like the rushing of subterrene water. And they sigh
one unto the other.

"But there is a boundary to their realm--the boundary of the dark,
horrible, lofty forest. There, like the waves about the Hebrides, the
low underwood is agitated continually. But there is no wind throughout
the heaven. And the tall primeval trees rock eternally hither and
thither with a crashing and mighty sound. And from their high summits,
one by one, drop everlasting dews. And at the roots, strange poisonous
flowers lie writhing in perturbed slumber. And overhead, with a rustling
and loud noise, the gray clouds rush westwardly forever until they roll,
a cataract, over the fiery wall of the horizon. But there is no wind
throughout the heaven. And by the shores of the river Zaeire there is
neither quiet nor silence.

"It was night, and the rain fell; and, falling, it was rain, but, having
fallen, it was blood. And I stood in the morass among the tall lilies,
and the rain fell upon my head--and the lilies sighed one unto the other
in the solemnity of their desolation.

"And, all at once, the moon arose through

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