The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 137


What he stated was, in substance, this. He had lately made a voyage
to the Indian Archipelago. A party, of which he formed one, landed
at Borneo, and passed into the interior on an excursion of pleasure.
Himself and a companion had captured the Ourang-Outang. This companion
dying, the animal fell into his own exclusive possession. After great
trouble, occasioned by the intractable ferocity of his captive during
the home voyage, he at length succeeded in lodging it safely at his own
residence in Paris, where, not to attract toward himself the unpleasant
curiosity of his neighbors, he kept it carefully secluded, until such
time as it should recover from a wound in the foot, received from a
splinter on board ship. His ultimate design was to sell it.

Returning home from some sailors' frolic the night, or rather in the
morning of the murder, he found the beast occupying his own bed-room,
into which it had broken from a closet adjoining, where it had been, as
was thought, securely confined. Razor in hand, and fully lathered, it
was sitting before a looking-glass, attempting the operation of shaving,
in which it had no doubt previously watched its master through the
key-hole of the closet. Terrified at the sight of so dangerous a weapon
in the possession of an animal so ferocious, and so well able to use
it, the man, for some moments, was at a loss what to do. He had been
accustomed, however, to quiet the creature, even in its fiercest moods,
by the use of a whip, and to this he now resorted. Upon sight of it, the
Ourang-Outang sprang at once through the door of the chamber, down
the stairs, and thence, through a window, unfortunately open, into the

The Frenchman followed in despair; the ape, razor still in hand,
occasionally stopping to look back and gesticulate at its pursuer, until
the latter had nearly come up with it. It then again made off. In this
manner the chase continued for a long time. The streets were profoundly
quiet, as it was nearly three o'clock in the morning. In passing down
an alley in the rear of the Rue Morgue, the fugitive's attention was
arrested by a light gleaming from the open window of Madame L'Espanaye's
chamber, in the fourth story of her house. Rushing to the building, it
perceived the lightning rod, clambered up with inconceivable agility,
grasped the shutter, which was thrown fully back against the wall, and,
by its means, swung itself directly upon the headboard of the bed. The
whole feat did not occupy a minute. The

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Text Comparison with The Raven

Page 0
_ LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS WITH NAMES OF ENGRAVERS Title-page, designed by Elihu Vedder.
Page 1
'" _W.
Page 2
" _R.
Page 3
_ "'Tell me truly, I implore-- Is there--_is_ there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me, I implore!'" _W.
Page 5
Where there was nothing, it remains,--a new creation, part of the treasure of mankind.
Page 6
_The Raven_ in sheer poetical constituents falls below such pieces as "The Haunted Palace," "The City in the Sea," "The Sleeper," and "Israfel.
Page 7
In no other of its author's poems is the motive more palpably defined.
Page 8
Two of these were built up,--such was his way,--from earlier studies, but the last-named came out as if freshly composed, and almost as we have it now.
Page 9
When a refrain of image haunted him, the lyric that resulted was the inspiration, as he himself said, of a passion, not of a purpose.
Page 10
The lines from her love-poem, "With a murmurous stir uncertain, in the air, the purple curtain Swelleth in and swelleth out around her motionless pale brows," found an echo in these: "And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before.
Page 11
The progressive music, the scenic detail and contrasted light and shade,--above all, the spiritual passion of the nocturn, make it the work of an informing genius.
Page 13
Doubtless the poet was struck with the aptness of Miss Barrett's musical trochaics, in "eights," and especially by the arrangement adopted near the close of "Lady Geraldine": "'Eyes,' he said, 'now throbbing through me! Are ye eyes that did undo me? Shining eyes, like antique jewels set in Parian statue-stone! Underneath that calm white forehead, are ye ever burning torrid O'er the desolate sand-desert of my heart and life undone?'" His artistic introduction of a third rhyme in both the second and fourth lines, and the addition of a fifth line and a final refrain, made the stanza of _The Raven_.
Page 15
But his was a full share of that dramatic temper which exults in the presage of its own doom.
Page 16
Had he lived to illustrate Shakespeare, we should have seen a remarkable treatment of Caliban, the Witches, the storm in "Lear"; but doubtless should have questioned his ideals of Imogen or Miranda.
Page 17
" Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, "Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you"--here I opened wide the door;-- .
Page 18
Darkness there, and nothing more.
Page 19
" But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Page 20
" "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!-- Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-- On this home by Horror haunted--tell me truly, I implore-- Is there--_is_ there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me, I implore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.
Page 21
" [Illustration] "'T is some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door-- Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door.
Page 22
"Tell me truly, I implore-- Is there--_is_ there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me, I implore!" [Illustration] "Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore.