The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 12

pulse of the machine,"


for such it practically is to him, with wheels and cogs and piston-rods,
all working to produce a certain end.

This analyzing tendency of his mind balances the poetical, and by giving
him the patience to be minute, enables him to throw a wonderful reality
into his most unreal fancies. A monomania he paints with great power. He
loves to dissect one of these cancers of the mind, and to trace all the
subtle ramifications of its roots. In raising images of horror, also,
he has strange success, conveying to us sometimes by a dusky hint
some terrible _doubt _which is the secret of all horror. He leaves to
imagination the task of finishing the picture, a task to which only she
is competent.

"For much imaginary work was there;
Conceit deceitful, so compact, so kind,
That for Achilles' image stood his spear
Grasped in an armed hand; himself behind
Was left unseen, save to the eye of mind."

Besides the merit of conception, Mr. Poe's writings have also that of
form.

His style is highly finished, graceful and truly classical. It would be
hard to find a living author who had displayed such varied powers. As an
example of his style we would refer to one of his tales, "The House
of Usher," in the first volume of his "Tales of the Grotesque and
Arabesque." It has a singular charm for us, and we think that no one
could read it without being strongly moved by its serene and sombre
beauty. Had its author written nothing else, it would alone have been
enough to stamp him as a man of genius, and the master of a classic
style. In this tale occurs, perhaps, the most beautiful of his poems.

The great masters of imagination have seldom resorted to the vague and
the unreal as sources of effect. They have not used dread and horror
alone, but only in combination with other qualities, as means of
subjugating the fancies of their readers. The loftiest muse has ever a
household and fireside charm about her. Mr. Poe's secret lies mainly in
the skill with which he has employed the strange fascination of mystery
and terror. In this his success is so great and striking as to deserve
the name of art, not artifice. We cannot call his materials the noblest
or purest, but we must concede to him the highest merit of construction.

As a critic, Mr. Poe was

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

Page 27
Our talk had been serious and sober, But our thoughts they were palsied and sere-- Our memories were treacherous and sere-- For we knew not the month was October, And we marked not the night of the year-- (Ah, night of all nights in the year!) We noted not the dim lake of Auber-- (Though once we had journeyed down here)-- Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber, Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
Page 33
Bubbles--ephemeral and _so_ transparent-- But _this is_, now--you may depend upon it-- Stable, opaque, immortal--all by dint Of the dear names that lie concealed within't.
Page 37
Take this kiss upon the brow! And, in parting from you now, Thus much let me avow-- You are not wrong, who deem That my days have been a dream: Yet if hope has flown away In a night, or in a day, In a vision or in none, Is it therefore the less _gone_? _All_ that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream.
Page 39
There shrines and palaces and towers (Time-eaten towers and tremble not!) Resemble nothing that is ours.
Page 49
Type of the antique Rome! Rich reliquary Of lofty contemplation left to Time By buried centuries of pomp and power! At length--at length--after so many days Of weary pilgrimage and burning thirst, (Thirst for the springs of lore that in thee lie,) I kneel, an altered and an humble man, Amid thy shadows, and so drink within My very soul thy grandeur, gloom, and glory! Vastness! and Age! and Memories of Eld! Silence! and Desolation! and dim Night! I feel ye now--I feel ye in your strength-- O spells more sure than e'er Judaean king Taught in the gardens of Gethsemane! O charms more potent than the rapt Chaldee Ever drew down from out the quiet stars! Here, where a hero fell, a column falls! Here, where the mimic eagle glared in gold, A midnight vigil holds the swarthy bat! Here, where the dames of Rome their gilded hair Waved to the wind, now wave the reed and thistle! Here, where on golden throne the monarch lolled, Glides, spectre-like, unto his marble home, Lit by the wan light of the horned moon, The swift and silent lizard of the stones! But stay! these walls--these ivy-clad arcades-- These mouldering plinths--these sad and blackened shafts-- These vague entablatures--this crumbling frieze-- These shattered cornices--this wreck--this ruin-- These stones--alas! these gray stones--are they all-- All of the famed, and the colossal left By the corrosive Hours to Fate and me? "Not all"--the Echoes answer me--"not all! Prophetic sounds and loud, arise forever From us, and from all Ruin, unto the wise, As melody from Memnon to the Sun.
Page 51
And travellers, now, within that valley, Through the red-litten windows see Vast forms, that move fantastically To a discordant melody, While, like a ghastly rapid river, Through the pale door A hideous throng rush out forever And laugh--but smile no more.
Page 55
* * * * * 25.
Page 57
I will drop them.
Page 76
Not on God's altar, in any time or clime, Burned there a holier fire than burneth now Within my spirit for _thee_.
Page 98
It is the beginning of the epic poem 'Temora.
Page 108
The rhythmical number Which lull'd him to rest?" Spirits in wing, and angels to the view, A thousand seraphs burst th' Empyrean thro', Young dreams still hovering on their drowsy flight-- Seraphs in all but "Knowledge," the keen light That fell, refracted, thro' thy bounds afar, O death! from eye of God upon that star; Sweet was that error--sweeter still that death-- Sweet was that error--ev'n with _us_ the breath Of Science dims the mirror of our joy-- To them 'twere the Simoom, and would destroy-- For what (to them) availeth it to know That Truth is Falsehood--or that Bliss is Woe? Sweet was their death--with them to die was rife With the last ecstasy of satiate life-- Beyond that death no immortality-- But sleep that pondereth and is not "to be"-- And there--oh! may my weary spirit dwell-- Apart from Heaven's Eternity--and yet how far from Hell! [26] What guilty spirit, in what shrubbery dim Heard not the stirring summons of that hymn? But two: they fell: for heaven no grace imparts To those who hear not for their beating hearts.
Page 137
'Fac-simile' copies of this piece had been in possession of the present editor some time previous to its publication in 'Scribner's Magazine' for September 1875; but as proofs of the authorship claimed for it were not forthcoming, he refrained from publishing it as requested.
Page 157
That among.
Page 159
Mankind grew paler as it came.
Page 162
It hung upon our limbs--upon the household furniture--upon the goblets from which we drank; and all things were depressed, and borne down thereby--all things save only the flames of the seven iron lamps which illumined our revel.
Page 164
"The region of which I speak is a dreary region in Libya, by the borders of the river Zaeire.
Page 175
Then read from the treasured volume The poem of thy choice, And lend to the rhyme of the poet The beauty of thy voice.
Page 179
The fact is, that the fancy of this poet so far predominates over all his other faculties, and over the fancy of all other men, as to have induced, very naturally, the idea that he is fanciful _only.
Page 180
Farewell, farewell, fair Ines, That vessel never bore So fair a lady on its deck, Nor danced so light before,-- Alas for pleasure on the sea, And sorrow on the shore! The smile that blest one lover's heart Has broken many more! "The Haunted House," by the same author, is one of the truest poems ever written,--one of the truest, one of the most unexceptionable, one of the most thoroughly artistic, both in its theme and in its execution.
Page 190
The question now arose as to the _character_ of the word.