The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 14

can see but with the vision
of genius. Suddenly starting from a proposition, exactly and sharply
defined, in terms of utmost simplicity and clearness, he rejected the
forms of customary logic, and by a crystalline process of accretion,
built up his ocular demonstrations in forms of gloomiest and ghastliest
grandeur, or in those of the most airy and delicious beauty, so minutely
and distinctly, yet so rapidly, that the attention which was yielded
to him was chained till it stood among his wonderful creations, till he
himself dissolved the spell, and brought his hearers back to common
and base existence, by vulgar fancies or exhibitions of the ignoblest
passion.

"He was at all times a dreamer dwelling in ideal realms, in heaven or
hell, peopled with the creatures and the accidents of his brain. He
walked the streets, in madness or melancholy, with lips moving in
indistinct curses, or with eyes upturned in passionate prayer (never for
himself, for he felt, or professed to feel, that he was already damned,
but) for their happiness who at the moment were objects of his idolatry;
or with his glances introverted to a heart gnawed with anguish, and with
a face shrouded in gloom, he would brave the wildest storms, and all
night, with drenched garments and arms beating the winds and rains,
would speak as if the spirits that at such times only could be evoked by
him from the Aidenn, close by whose portals his disturbed soul sought to
forget the ills to which his constitution subjected him--close by the
Aidenn where were those he loved--the Aidenn which he might never see,
but in fitful glimpses, as its gates opened to receive the less fiery
and more happy natures whose destiny to sin did not involve the doom of
death.

"He seemed, except when some fitful pursuit subjugated his will and
engrossed his faculties, always to bear the memory of some controlling
sorrow. The remarkable poem of 'The Raven' was probably much more nearly
than has been supposed, even by those who were very intimate with him, a
reflection and an echo of his own history. _He_ was that bird's

"'Unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore--
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never-never more.'


"Every genuine author in a greater or less degree leaves in his works,
whatever their design, traces of his personal character: elements of his
immortal

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Or, perhaps, I cannot now bring these points to mind, because, in truth, the character of my beloved, her rare learning, her singular yet placid cast of beauty, and the thrilling and enthralling eloquence of her low musical language, made their way into my heart by paces so steadily and stealthily progressive that they have been unnoticed and unknown.
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