The Masque of the Red Death

By Edgar Allan Poe

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solemn and measured step which had distinguished him from the
first, through the blue chamber to the purple--through the purple to
the green--through the green to the orange--through this again to the
white--and even thence to the violet, ere a decided movement had been
made to arrest him. It was then, however, that the Prince Prospero,
maddening with rage and the shame of his own momentary cowardice,
rushed hurriedly through the six chambers, while none followed him on
account of a deadly terror that had seized upon all. He bore aloft a
drawn dagger, and had approached, in rapid impetuosity, to within three
or four feet of the retreating figure, when the latter, having attained
the extremity of the velvet apartment, turned suddenly and confronted
his pursuer. There was a sharp cry--and the dagger dropped gleaming
upon the sable carpet, upon which, instantly afterwards, fell prostrate
in death the Prince Prospero. Then, summoning the wild courage of
despair, a throng of the revellers at once threw themselves into the
black apartment, and, seizing the mummer, whose tall figure stood erect
and motionless within the shadow of the ebony clock, gasped in
unutterable horror at finding the grave cerements and corpse-like mask,
which they handled with so violent a rudeness, untenanted by any
tangible form.

And now was acknowledged the presence of the Red Death. He had come
like a thief in the night. And one by one dropped the revellers in the
blood-bedewed halls of their revel, and died each in the despairing
posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clock went out with
that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired.
And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over
all.

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Text Comparison with The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition

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Perrett The Decorations by Will Jenkins [Illustration] Paul Elder and Company San Francisco and New York Contents Foreword .
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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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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
If any literary work is too long to be read at one sitting, we must be content to dispense with the immensely important effect derivable from unity of impression—for, if two sittings be required, the affairs of the world interfere, and everything like totality is at once destroyed.
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That pleasure which is at once the most intense, the most elevating, and the most pure, is, I believe, found in the contemplation of the beautiful.
Page 5
The universality of its employment sufficed to assure me of its intrinsic value, and spared me the necessity of submitting it to analysis.
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Since its application was to be repeatedly varied, it was clear that the refrain itself must be brief, for there would have been an insurmountable difficulty in frequent variations of application in any sentence of length.
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” I had now to combine the two ideas, of a lover lamenting his deceased mistress and a Raven continuously repeating the word “Nevermore.
Page 8
Admitting that there is little possibility of variety in mere rhythm, it is still clear that the possible varieties of meter and stanza are absolutely infinite—and yet, for centuries, no man, in verse, has ever done, or ever seemed to think of doing, an original thing.
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It has an indisputable moral power in keeping concentrated the attention, and, of course, must not be confounded with mere unity of place.
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” This revolution of thought, or fancy, on the lover’s part, is intended to induce a similar one on the part of the reader—to bring the mind into a proper frame for the dénouement—which is now brought about as rapidly and as directly as possible.
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storm, to seek admission at a window from which a light still gleams,—the chamber-window of a student, occupied half in poring over a volume, half in dreaming of a beloved mistress deceased.
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_] [Illustration] And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door— Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;— This it is and nothing more.
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_] [Illustration] Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore.
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“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore; Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.
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Of this first Quarto Photogravure Edition one thousand copies have been issued, printed on Arches handmade paper.