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

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 97

see no reason, then, why our metaphysical poets should plume
themselves so much on the utility of their works, unless indeed they
refer to instruction with eternity in view; in which case, sincere
respect for their piety would not allow me to express my contempt for
their judgment; contempt which it would be difficult to conceal, since
their writings are professedly to be understood by the few, and it is
the many who stand in need of salvation. In such case I should no doubt
be tempted to think of the devil in 'Melmoth,' who labors indefatigably,
through three octavo volumes, to accomplish the destruction of one or
two souls, while any common devil would have demolished one or two

"Against the subtleties which would make poetry a study--not a
passion--it becomes the metaphysician to reason--but the poet to
protest. Yet Wordsworth and Coleridge are men in years; the one imbued
in contemplation from his childhood; the other a giant in intellect and
learning. The diffidence, then, with which I venture to dispute their
authority would be overwhelming did I not feel, from the bottom of my
heart, that learning has little to do with the imagination--intellect
with the passions--or age with poetry.

"'Trifles, like straws, upon the surface flow;
He who would search for pearls must dive below,'

"are lines which have done much mischief. As regards the greater truths,
men oftener err by seeking them at the bottom than at the top; Truth
lies in the huge abysses where wisdom is sought--not in the palpable
palaces where she is found. The ancients were not always right in hiding
the goddess in a well; witness the light which Bacon has thrown upon
philosophy; witness the principles of our divine faith--that moral
mechanism by which the simplicity of a child may overbalance the wisdom
of a man.

"We see an instance of Coleridge's liability to err, in his 'Biographia
Literaria'--professedly his literary life and opinions, but, in fact, a
treatise 'de omni scibili et quibusdam aliis'. He goes wrong by reason
of his very profundity, and of his error we have a natural type in the
contemplation of a star. He who regards it directly and intensely sees,
it is true, the star, but it is the star without a ray--while he who
surveys it less inquisitively is conscious of all for which the star is
useful to us below--its brilliancy and its beauty.

"As to Wordsworth, I have no faith in him. That he had in youth the
feelings of a poet I believe--for there are glimpses of extreme delicacy
in his writings--(and

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Text Comparison with The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

Page 10
Poe has displayed with singular distinctness in his prose works, the last predominating in his earlier tales, and the first in his later ones.
Page 26
In other words, I believed, and still do believe, that truth, is frequently of its own essence, superficial, and that, in many cases, the depth lies more in the abysses where we seek her, than in the actual situations wherein she may be found.
Page 28
The gas to be formed from these latter materials is a gas never yet generated by any other person than myself--or at least never applied to any similar purpose.
Page 37
"Having adopted this view of the subject, I had little further hesitation.
Page 43
I first untied one of them, a beautiful gray-mottled pigeon, and placed him upon the rim of the wicker-work.
Page 46
It then indicated an altitude on my part of 132,000 feet, or five-and-twenty miles, and I consequently surveyed at that time an extent of the earth's area amounting to no less than the three hundred-and-twentieth part of its entire superficies.
Page 62
That certain wags in Rotterdam have certain especial antipathies to certain burgomasters and astronomers.
Page 95
# ) " 16.
Page 101
When I came home at night my valet proposed to give me a flogging.
Page 104
"But what have we here? Heavens! the town is swarming with wild beasts! How terrible a spectacle!--how dangerous a peculiarity!" Terrible, if you please; but not in the least degree dangerous.
Page 112
We existed within ourselves alone.
Page 114
You stepped upon one of the loose fragments, slipped, slightly strained your ankle, appeared vexed or sulky, muttered a few words, turned to look at the pile, and then proceeded in silence.
Page 138
The sight of blood inflamed its anger into phrenzy.
Page 149
In the present posture of affairs, M.
Page 150
Page 156
Almost any one, falling into a river, will be enabled to float, if he suffer the specific gravity of the water fairly to be adduced in comparison with his own--that is to say, if he suffer his whole person to be immersed, with as little exception as possible.
Page 162
Nothing is more vague than impressions of individual identity.
Page 174
If there be two.
Page 177
"Consider now the circumstance that in the outer garment of the corpse when found, 'a slip, about a foot wide had been torn upward from the bottom hem to the waist wound three times round the waist, and secured by a sort of hitch in the back.
Page 201
The swell surpassed anything I had imagined possible, and that we were not instantly buried is a miracle.