The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 207

are hurrying onwards
to some exciting knowledge--some never-to-be-imparted secret, whose
attainment is destruction. Perhaps this current leads us to the southern
pole itself. It must be confessed that a supposition apparently so wild
has every probability in its favor.

* * * * *

The crew pace the deck with unquiet and tremulous step; but there is
upon their countenances an expression more of the eagerness of hope than
of the apathy of despair.

In the meantime the wind is still in our poop, and, as we carry a crowd
of canvas, the ship is at times lifted bodily from out the sea--Oh,
horror upon horror! the ice opens suddenly to the right, and to the
left, and we are whirling dizzily, in immense concentric circles, round
and round the borders of a gigantic amphitheatre, the summit of whose
walls is lost in the darkness and the distance. But little time will be
left me to ponder upon my destiny--the circles rapidly grow small--we
are plunging madly within the grasp of the whirlpool--and amid a
roaring, and bellowing, and thundering of ocean and of tempest, the ship
is quivering, oh God! and--going down.

NOTE.--The "MS. Found in a Bottle," was originally published in 1831,
and it was not until many years afterwards that I became acquainted with
the maps of Mercator, in which the ocean is represented as rushing, by
four mouths, into the (northern) Polar Gulf, to be absorbed into the
bowels of the earth; the Pole itself being represented by a black rock,
towering to a prodigious height.




THE OVAL PORTRAIT

THE chateau into which my valet had ventured to make forcible entrance,
rather than permit me, in my desperately wounded condition, to pass a
night in the open air, was one of those piles of commingled gloom and
grandeur which have so long frowned among the Appennines, not less in
fact than in the fancy of Mrs. Radcliffe. To all appearance it had been
temporarily and very lately abandoned. We established ourselves in one
of the smallest and least sumptuously furnished apartments. It lay in a
remote turret of the building. Its decorations were rich, yet tattered
and antique. Its walls were hung with tapestry and bedecked with
manifold and multiform armorial trophies, together with an unusually
great number of very spirited modern paintings in frames of rich golden
arabesque. In these paintings, which depended from the walls not only
in their main surfaces, but in very many nooks which the bizarre
architecture of the chateau rendered necessary--in these paintings my
incipient delirium, perhaps, had caused me to take deep interest; so
that I bade Pedro to close

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Text Comparison with The Fall of the House of Usher

Page 0
The Fall of the House of Usher Son coeur est un luth suspendu; Sitot qu'on le touche il resonne.
Page 1
Its proprietor, Roderick Usher, had been one of my boon companions in boyhood; but many years had elapsed since our last meeting.
Page 2
Shaking off from my spirit what must have been a dream, I scanned more narrowly the real aspect of the building.
Page 3
His countenance, I thought, wore a mingled expression of low cunning and perplexity.
Page 4
The now ghastly pallor of the skin, and the now miraculous lustre of the eye, above all things startled and even awed me.
Page 5
only garments of certain texture; the odours of all flowers were oppressive; his eyes were tortured by even a faint light; and there were but peculiar sounds, and these from stringed instruments, which did not inspire him with horror.
Page 6
A settled apathy, a gradual wasting away of the person, and frequent although transient affections of a partially cataleptical character, were the unusual diagnosis.
Page 7
I was, perhaps, the more forcibly impressed with it, as he gave it, because, in the under or mystic current of its meaning, I fancied that I perceived, and for the first time, a full consciousness on the part of Usher, of the tottering of his lofty reason upon her throne.
Page 8
In the greenest of our valleys, By good angels tenanted, Once a fair and stately palace-- Radiant palace--reared its head.
Page 9
V.
Page 10
I lack words to express the full extent, or the earnest abandon of his persuasion.
Page 11
One favourite volume was a small octavo edition of the Directorium Inquisitorum, by the Dominican Eymeric de Gironne; and there were passages in Pomponius Mela, about the old African Satyrs and OEgipans, over which Usher would sit dreaming for hours.
Page 12
The door, of massive iron, had been, also, similarly protected.
Page 13
Sleep came not near my couch--while the hours waned and waned away.
Page 14
"You must not--you shall not behold this!" said I, shudderingly, to Usher, as I led him, with a gentle violence, from the window to a seat.
Page 15
Here, it will be remembered, the words of the narrative run thus: "And Ethelred, who was by nature of a doughty heart, and who was now mighty withal, on account of the powerfulness of the wine which he had drunken, waited no longer to hold parley with the hermit, who, in sooth, was of an obstinate and maliceful turn, but, feeling the rain upon his shoulders, and fearing the rising of the tempest, uplifted his mace outright, and, with blows, made quickly room in the plankings of the door for his gauntleted hand; and now pulling therewith sturdily, he so cracked, and ripped, and tore all asunder, that the noise of the dry and hollow-sounding wood alarmed and reverberated throughout the forest.
Page 16
stead thereof, a dragon of a scaly and prodigious demeanour, and of a fiery tongue, which sate in guard before a palace of gold, with a floor of silver; and upon the wall there hung a shield of shining brass with this legend enwritten-- Who entereth herein, a conquerer hath bin; Who slayeth the dragon, the shield he shall win; and Ethelred uplifted his mace, and struck upon the head of the dragon, which fell before him, and gave up his pesty breath, with a shriek so horrid and harsh, and withal so piercing, that Ethelred had fain to close his ears with his hands against the dreadful noise of it, the like whereof was never before heard.
Page 17
But, as I placed my hand upon his shoulder, there came a strong shudder over his whole person; a sickly smile quivered about his lips; and I saw that he spoke in a low, hurried, and gibbering murmur, as if unconscious of my presence.
Page 18
From that chamber, and from that mansion, I fled aghast.