The Masque of the Red Death

By Edgar Allan Poe

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the utterly lost, to whom life and death are equally jests,
there are matters of which no jest can be made. The whole company,
indeed, seemed now deeply to feel that in the costume and bearing of
the stranger neither wit nor propriety existed. The figure was tall
and gaunt, and shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of the
grave. The mask which concealed the visage was made so nearly to
resemble the countenance of a stiffened corpse that the closest
scrutiny must have had difficulty in detecting the cheat. And yet all
this might have been endured, if not approved, by the mad revellers
around. But the mummer had gone so far as to assume the type of the
Red Death. His vesture was dabbled in _blood_--and his broad brow, with
all the features of the face, was besprinkled with the scarlet horror.

When the eyes of the Prince Prospero fell upon this spectral image
(which, with a slow and solemn movement, as if more fully to sustain
its role, stalked to and fro among the waltzers) he was seen to be
convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder either of terror
or distaste; but, in the next, his brow reddened with rage.

"Who dares,"--he demanded hoarsely of the courtiers who stood near
him--"who dares insult us with this blasphemous mockery? Seize him and
unmask him--that we may know whom we have to hang, at sunrise, from the

It was in the eastern or blue chamber in which stood the Prince
Prospero as he uttered these words. They rang throughout the seven
rooms loudly and clearly, for the prince was a bold and robust man, and
the music had become hushed at the waving of his hand.

It was in the blue room where stood the prince, with a group of pale
courtiers by his side. At first, as he spoke, there was a slight
rushing movement of this group in the direction of the intruder, who at
the moment was also near at hand, and now, with deliberate and stately
step, made closer approach to the speaker. But from a certain nameless
awe with which the mad assumptions of the mummer had inspired the whole
party, there were found none who put forth hand to seize him; so that,
unimpeded, he passed within a yard of the prince's person; and, while
the vast assembly, as if with one impulse, shrank from the centres of
the rooms to the walls, he made his way uninterruptedly, but with the

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Text Comparison with The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition

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_ _Lenore_ ] [Illustration] The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition By Edgar Allan Poe Quarto Photogravure Edition Illustrated from Paintings by Galen J.
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” If any justification were necessary, it is to be found both in the unique literary interest of the essay, and in the fact that it is (or purports to be) a frank exposition of the modus operandi by which “The Raven” was written.
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” I cannot think this the precise mode of procedure on the part of Godwin—and indeed what he himself acknowledges, is not altogether in accordance with Mr.
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But since, ceteris paribus, no poet can afford to dispense with anything that may advance his design, it but remains to be seen whether there is, in extent, any advantage to counterbalance the loss of unity which attends it.
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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.
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Page 8
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” Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to bear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door— Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as “Nevermore.
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seek a moral in all that has been previously narrated.
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[Illustration] Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, “Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore— Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.
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” .
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Published by Paul Elder and Company and done into a book for them at the Tomoye Press, New York City.