The Masque of the Red Death

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 3

And then, for a moment, all is
still, and all is silent save the voice of the clock. The dreams are
stiff-frozen as they stand. But the echoes of the chime die away--they
have endured but an instant--and a light, half-subdued laughter floats
after them as they depart. And now again the music swells, and the
dreams live, and writhe to and fro more merrily than ever, taking hue
from the many tinted windows through which stream the rays from the
tripods. But to the chamber which lies most westwardly of the seven,
there are now none of the maskers who venture; for the night is waning
away; and there flows a ruddier light through the blood-coloured panes;
and the blackness of the sable drapery appals; and to him whose foot
falls upon the sable carpet, there comes from the near clock of ebony a
muffled peal more solemnly emphatic than any which reaches _their_ ears
who indulged in the more remote gaieties of the other apartments.

But these other apartments were densely crowded, and in them beat
feverishly the heart of life. And the revel went whirlingly on, until
at length there commenced the sounding of midnight upon the clock. And
then the music ceased, as I have told; and the evolutions of the
waltzers were quieted; and there was an uneasy cessation of all things
as before. But now there were twelve strokes to be sounded by the bell
of the clock; and thus it happened, perhaps, that more of thought
crept, with more of time, into the meditations of the thoughtful among
those who revelled. And thus too, it happened, perhaps, that before the
last echoes of the last chime had utterly sunk into silence, there were
many individuals in the crowd who had found leisure to become aware of
the presence of a masked figure which had arrested the attention of no
single individual before. And the rumour of this new presence having
spread itself whisperingly around, there arose at length from the whole
company a buzz, or murmur, expressive of disapprobation and
surprise--then, finally, of terror, of horror, and of disgust.

In an assembly of phantasms such as I have painted, it may well be
supposed that no ordinary appearance could have excited such sensation.
In truth the masquerade licence of the night was nearly unlimited; but
the figure in question had out-Heroded Herod, and gone beyond the
bounds of even the prince's indefinite decorum. There are chords in the
hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touched without emotion.
Even with

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Text Comparison with The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition

Page 0
Perrett The Decorations by Will Jenkins [Illustration] Paul Elder and Company San Francisco and New York Contents Foreword .
Page 1
It is felt that no other introduction could be more happily conceived or executed.
Page 2
Dickens’ idea—but the author of “Caleb Williams” was too good an artist not to perceive the advantage derivable from at least a somewhat similar process.
Page 3
peep behind the scenes, at the elaborate and vacillating crudities of thought—at the true purposes seized only at the last moment—at the innumerable glimpses of idea that arrived not at the maturity of full view—at the fully matured fancies discarded in despair as unmanageable—at the cautious selections and rejections—at the painful erasures and interpolations—in a word, at the wheels and pinions—the tackle for scene-shifting—the stepladders and demon-traps—the cock’s feathers, the red paint and the black patches, which, in ninety-nine cases out of the hundred, constitute the properties of the literary histrio.
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Within this limit, the extent of a poem may be made to bear mathematical relation to its merit—in other words, to the excitement or elevation—again, in other words, to the degree of the true poetical effect which it is capable of inducing; for it is clear that the brevity must be in direct ratio to the intensity of the intended effect:—this, with one proviso—that a certain degree of duration is absolutely requisite for the production of any effect at all.
Page 5
Regarding, then, Beauty as my province, my next question referred to the tone of its highest manifestation—and all experience has shown that this tone is one of sadness.
Page 6
This led me at once to a single word as the best refrain.
Page 7
And here it was that I saw at once the opportunity afforded for the effect on which I had been depending—that is to say, the effect of the variation of application.
Page 8
And here I may as well say a few words of the versification.
Page 9
The room is represented as richly furnished—this, in mere pursuance of the ideas I have already explained on the subject of beauty as the sole true poetical thesis.
Page 10
He speaks of him as a “grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore,” and feels the “fiery eyes” burning into his “bosom’s core.
Page 11
The under-current of meaning is rendered first apparent in the lines: “Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.
Page 12
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more.
Page 13
” [Illustration: _Copyright 1906 by The Harwell-Evans Co.
Page 14
” [Illustration: _Copyright 1906 by The Harwell-Evans Co.
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_] [Illustration] “Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting— “Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.