The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 205

utterly unconscious of my presence. Like
the one I had at first seen in the hold, they all bore about them the
marks of a hoary old age. Their knees trembled with infirmity; their
shoulders were bent double with decrepitude; their shrivelled skins
rattled in the wind; their voices were low, tremulous and broken; their
eyes glistened with the rheum of years; and their gray hairs streamed
terribly in the tempest. Around them, on every part of the deck, lay
scattered mathematical instruments of the most quaint and obsolete
construction.

* * * * *

I mentioned some time ago the bending of a studding-sail. From that
period the ship, being thrown dead off the wind, has continued her
terrific course due south, with every rag of canvas packed upon her,
from her trucks to her lower studding-sail booms, and rolling every
moment her top-gallant yard-arms into the most appalling hell of water
which it can enter into the mind of a man to imagine. I have just left
the deck, where I find it impossible to maintain a footing, although the
crew seem to experience little inconvenience. It appears to me a miracle
of miracles that our enormous bulk is not swallowed up at once and
forever. We are surely doomed to hover continually upon the brink of
Eternity, without taking a final plunge into the abyss. From billows a
thousand times more stupendous than any I have ever seen, we glide away
with the facility of the arrowy sea-gull; and the colossal waters rear
their heads above us like demons of the deep, but like demons confined
to simple threats and forbidden to destroy. I am led to attribute these
frequent escapes to the only natural cause which can account for such
effect.--I must suppose the ship to be within the influence of some
strong current, or impetuous under-tow.

* * * * *

I have seen the captain face to face, and in his own cabin--but, as I
expected, he paid me no attention. Although in his appearance there is,
to a casual observer, nothing which might bespeak him more or less than
man--still a feeling of irrepressible reverence and awe mingled with the
sensation of wonder with which I regarded him. In stature he is nearly
my own height; that is, about five feet eight inches. He is of a
well-knit and compact frame of body, neither robust nor remarkably
otherwise. But it is the singularity of the expression which reigns upon
the face--it is the intense, the wonderful, the thrilling evidence of
old age, so utter, so extreme, which excites within my spirit

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Text Comparison with The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 5

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"LET us hurry to the walls," said Abel-Phittim to Buzi-Ben-Levi and Simeon the Pharisee, on the tenth day of the month Thammuz, in the year of the world three thousand nine hundred and forty-one--let us hasten to the ramparts adjoining the gate of Benjamin, which is in the city of David, and overlooking the camp of the uncircumcised; for it is the last hour of the fourth watch, being sunrise; and the idolaters, in fulfilment of the promise of Pompey, should be awaiting us with the lambs for the sacrifices.
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And thus thy memory is to me Like some enchanted far-off isle In some tumultuos sea-- Some ocean throbbing far and free With storms--but where meanwhile Serenest skies continually Just o're that one bright island smile.
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1827.
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Than in the book--ED.