knowledge of my own. His manner at these moments
was frigid and abstract; his eyes were vacant in expression; while his
voice, usually a rich tenor, rose into a treble which would have sounded
petulantly but for the deliberateness and entire distinctness of the
enunciation. Observing him in these moods, I often dwelt meditatively
upon the old philosophy of the Bi-Part Soul, and amused myself with the
fancy of a double Dupin--the creative and the resolvent.
Let it not be supposed, from what I have just said, that I am detailing
any mystery, or penning any romance. What I have described in the
Frenchman, was merely the result of an excited, or perhaps of a diseased
intelligence. But of the character of his remarks at the periods in
question an example will best convey the idea.
We were strolling one night down a long dirty street in the vicinity of
the Palais Royal. Being both, apparently, occupied with thought, neither
of us had spoken a syllable for fifteen minutes at least. All at once
Dupin broke forth with these words:
"He is a very little fellow, that's true, and would do better for the
_Théâtre des Variétés_."
"There can be no doubt of that," I replied unwittingly, and not at first
observing (so much had I been absorbed in reflection) the extraordinary
manner in which the speaker had chimed in with my meditations. In
an instant afterward I recollected myself, and my astonishment was
"Dupin," said I, gravely, "this is beyond my comprehension. I do not
hesitate to say that I am amazed, and can scarcely credit my senses. How
was it possible you should know I was thinking of -----?" Here I paused,
to ascertain beyond a doubt whether he really knew of whom I thought.
--"of Chantilly," said he, "why do you pause? You were remarking to
yourself that his diminutive figure unfitted him for tragedy."
This was precisely what had formed the subject of my reflections.
Chantilly was a _quondam_ cobbler of the Rue St. Denis, who, becoming
stage-mad, had attempted the _rôle_ of Xerxes, in Crébillon's tragedy so
called, and been notoriously Pasquinaded for his pains.
"Tell me, for Heaven's sake," I exclaimed, "the method--if method there
is--by which you have been enabled to fathom my soul in this matter." In
fact I was even more startled than I would have been willing to express.
"It was the fruiterer," replied my friend, "who brought you to the
conclusion that the mender of soles was not of sufficient height for
Xerxes _et id genus omne_."
"The fruiterer!--you astonish me--I know no fruiterer whomsoever."
"The man who
Still I liked the boy," added the tutor, "but, poor fellow, his parents spoiled him.Page 5
Although mixing with members of the best families of the province, and naturally endowed with hereditary and native pride,--fostered by the indulgence of wealth and the consciousness of intellectual superiority,--Edgar Poe was made to feel that his parentage was obscure, and that he himself was dependent upon the charity and caprice of an alien by blood.Page 18
Ultimately he acquired possession of this periodical, but, having no funds to carry it on, after a few months of heartbreaking labor he had to relinquish it.Page 19
At one time he was engaged to be married to Mrs.Page 33
'Tis well.Page 74
Now be this fancy, by heaven, or be.Page 83
feet of the Earl.Page 96
He seems to think that the end of poetry is, or should be, instruction; yet it is a truism that the end of our existence is happiness; if so, the end of every separate part of our existence, everything connected with our existence, should be still happiness.Page 118
day The red sun-light lazily lay, _Now_ each visitor shall confess The sad valley's restlessness.Page 121
In visions of the dark night I have dreamed of joy departed-- But a waking dream of life and light Hath left me broken-hearted.Page 131
The poem styled "Romance" constituted the Preface of the 1829 volume, but with the addition of the following lines: Succeeding years, too wild for song, Then rolled like tropic storms along, Where, though the garish lights that fly Dying along the troubled sky, Lay bare, through vistas thunder-riven, The blackness of the general Heaven, That very blackness yet doth fling Light on the lightning's silver wing.Page 139
To me at least the presence, not of human life only, but of life, in any other form than that of the green things which grow upon the soil and are voiceless, is a stain upon the landscape, is at war with the genius of the scene.Page 149
For, in truth, it was at this crisis that taste alone--that faculty which, holding a middle position between the pure intellect and the moral sense, could never safely have been disregarded--it was now that taste alone could have led us gently back to Beauty, to Nature, and to Life.Page 163
But the shadow was vague, and formless, and indefinite, and was the shadow neither of man nor God--neither God of Greece, nor God of Chaldaea, nor any Egyptian God.Page 178
of American Letters, in conducting the thing called 'The North American Review'.Page 181
Perishing gloomily, Spurred by contumely, Cold inhumanity, Burning insanity, Into her rest,-- Cross her hands humbly, As if praying dumbly, Over her breast! Owning her weakness, Her evil behavior, And leaving, with meekness, Her sins to her Saviour! The vigor of this poem is no less remarkable than its pathos.Page 184
We shall reach, however, more immediately a distinct conception of what true Poetry is, by mere reference to a few of the simple elements which induce in the Poet himself the true poetical effect.Page 200