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

"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

"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

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” With this he went up.
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July 8th.
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A gentle breeze still blew from the N.
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We now became alarmed, for we could hardly imagine it possible that she did not observe us, and were apprehensive that she meant to leave us to perish as we were--an act of fiendish barbarity, which, however incredible it may appear, has been repeatedly perpetuated at sea, under circumstances very nearly similar, and by beings who were regarded as belonging to the human species.
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A level piece of ground is selected, of suitable extent, usually comprising three or four acres, and situated as near the sea as possible, being still beyond its reach.
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Patterson, took the boats, and (although it was somewhat early in the season) went in search of seal, leaving the captain and a young relation of his on a point of barren land to the westward, they having some business, whose nature I could not ascertain, to transact in the interior of the island.
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He had cleared and cultivated about sixty acres of land, and turned his attention to raising the coffee-plant and sugar-cane, with which he had been furnished by the American Minister at Rio Janeiro.
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The winds, prevailing, as they do, from the southward and westward, had carried the floes, aided by currents, into that icy region bounded on the north by Georgia, east by Sandwich Land and the South Orkneys, and west by the South Shetland islands.
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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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I could no longer doubt that we had been precipitate in our preparations--that Rowena still lived.
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upon one of which sparkled a diamond ring, which I at once saw was of extraordinary value.