The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 158

that 'drowned bodies'
require from six to ten days for sufficient decomposition to take place
to bring them to the surface. Both science and experience show that the
period of their rising is, and necessarily must be, indeterminate. If,
moreover, a body has risen to the surface through firing of cannon,
it will not 'sink again if let alone,' until decomposition has so far
progressed as to permit the escape of the generated gas. But I wish to
call your attention to the distinction which is made between 'drowned
bodies,' and 'bodies thrown into the water immediately after death by
violence.' Although the writer admits the distinction, he yet includes
them all in the same category. I have shown how it is that the body of
a drowning man becomes specifically heavier than its bulk of water,
and that he would not sink at all, except for the struggles by which
he elevates his arms above the surface, and his gasps for breath while
beneath the surface--gasps which supply by water the place of the
original air in the lungs. But these struggles and these gasps would
not occur in the body 'thrown into the water immediately after death by
violence.' Thus, in the latter instance, the body, as a general rule,
would not sink at all--a fact of which L'Etoile is evidently ignorant.
When decomposition had proceeded to a very great extent--when the flesh
had in a great measure left the bones--then, indeed, but not till then,
should we lose sight of the corpse.

"And now what are we to make of the argument, that the body found could
not be that of Marie Rogêt, because, three days only having elapsed,
this body was found floating? If drowned, being a woman, she might never
have sunk; or having sunk, might have reappeared in twenty-four hours,
or less. But no one supposes her to have been drowned; and, dying before
being thrown into the river, she might have been found floating at any
period afterwards whatever.

"'But,' says L'Etoile, 'if the body had been kept in its mangled state
on shore until Tuesday night, some trace would be found on shore of the
murderers.' Here it is at first difficult to perceive the intention
of the reasoner. He means to anticipate what he imagines would be an
objection to his theory--viz: that the body was kept on shore two days,
suffering rapid decomposition--more rapid than if immersed in water. He
supposes that, had this been the case, it might have appeared at the
surface on the Wednesday, and thinks that only under such circumstances
it could so

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Text Comparison with Le Corbeau = The Raven

Page 0
_ Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Page 1
" _Et de la soie l'incertain et triste bruissement en chaque rideau purpural me traversait--m'emplissait de fantastiques terreurs pas senties encore: si bien que, pour calmer le battement de mon coeur, je demeurais maintenant à répéter «C'est quelque visiteur qui sollicite l'entrée, à la porte de ma chambre--quelque visiteur qui sollicite l'entrée, à la porte de ma chambre; c'est cela et rien de plus.
Page 2
plus.
Page 3
_ Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore-- Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.
Page 4
Je ne proférai donc rien de plus: il n'agita donc pas de plume--jusqu'à ce que je fis à peine davantage que marmotter «D'autres amis déjà ont pris leur vol--demain il me laissera comme mes Espérances déjà ont pris leur vol.
Page 5
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee--by these angels he hath sent thee Respite--respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore! Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this.
Page 6
" _«Prophète, dis-je, être de malheur! prophète, oui, oiseau ou démon! Par les Cieux sur nous épars--et le Dieu que nous adorons tous deux--dis à cette âme de.
Page 7
» Le Corbeau dit: «Jamais plus!»_ "Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting-- "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.