The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 34

the question.
Looking at my watch, I found it six o'clock. I was still rapidly
ascending, and my barometer gave a present altitude of three and
three-quarter miles. Immediately beneath me in the ocean, lay a small
black object, slightly oblong in shape, seemingly about the size, and
in every way bearing a great resemblance to one of those childish
toys called a domino. Bringing my telescope to bear upon it, I plainly
discerned it to be a British ninety four-gun ship, close-hauled, and
pitching heavily in the sea with her head to the W.S.W. Besides this
ship, I saw nothing but the ocean and the sky, and the sun, which had
long arisen.

"It is now high time that I should explain to your Excellencies the
object of my perilous voyage. Your Excellencies will bear in mind that
distressed circumstances in Rotterdam had at length driven me to the
resolution of committing suicide. It was not, however, that to life
itself I had any, positive disgust, but that I was harassed beyond
endurance by the adventitious miseries attending my situation. In this
state of mind, wishing to live, yet wearied with life, the treatise at
the stall of the bookseller opened a resource to my imagination. I then
finally made up my mind. I determined to depart, yet live--to leave the
world, yet continue to exist--in short, to drop enigmas, I resolved, let
what would ensue, to force a passage, if I could, to the moon. Now, lest
I should be supposed more of a madman than I actually am, I will detail,
as well as I am able, the considerations which led me to believe that
an achievement of this nature, although without doubt difficult, and
incontestably full of danger, was not absolutely, to a bold spirit,
beyond the confines of the possible.

"The moon's actual distance from the earth was the first thing to be
attended to. Now, the mean or average interval between the centres of
the two planets is 59.9643 of the earth's equatorial radii, or only
about 237,000 miles. I say the mean or average interval. But it must
be borne in mind that the form of the moon's orbit being an ellipse of
eccentricity amounting to no less than 0.05484 of the major semi-axis of
the ellipse itself, and the earth's centre being situated in its focus,
if I could, in any manner, contrive to meet the moon, as it were, in its
perigee, the above mentioned distance would be materially diminished.
But, to say nothing at present of this possibility, it was very certain
that, at all events, from

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with The Fall of the House of Usher

Page 0
I know not how it was--but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit.
Page 1
The MS gave evidence of nervous agitation.
Page 2
A valet, of stealthy step, thence conducted me, in silence, through many dark and intricate passages in my progress to the studio of his master.
Page 3
Surely, man had never before so terribly altered, in so brief a period, as had Roderick Usher! It was with difficulty that I could bring myself to admit the identity of the wan being before me with the companion of my early boyhood.
Page 4
For something of this nature I had indeed been prepared, no less by his letter, than by reminiscences of certain boyish traits, and by conclusions deduced from his peculiar physical conformation and temperament.
Page 5
In this unnerved--in this pitiable condition--I feel that the period will sooner or later arrive when I must abandon life and reason together, in some struggle with the grim phantasm, FEAR.
Page 6
The disease of the lady Madeline had long baffled the skill of her physicians.
Page 7
For me at least--in the circumstances then surrounding me--there arose out of the pure abstractions which the hypochondriac contrived to throw upon his canvas, an intensity of intolerable awe, no shadow of which felt I ever yet in the contemplation of the certainly glowing yet too concrete reveries of Fuseli.
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
VI.
Page 11
I could not help thinking of the wild ritual of this work, and of its probable influence upon the hypochondriac, when, one evening, having informed me abruptly that the lady Madeline was no more, he stated his intention of preserving her corpse for a fortnight, (previously to its final interment), in one of the numerous vaults within the main walls of the building.
Page 12
Its immense weight caused an unusually sharp grating sound, as it moved upon its hinges.
Page 13
An irrepressible tremor gradually pervaded my frame; and, at length, there sat upon my very heart an incubus of utterly causeless alarm.
Page 14
I had taken but few turns in this manner, when a light step on an adjoining staircase arrested my attention.
Page 15
It was, however, the only book immediately at hand; and I indulged a vague hope that the excitement which now agitated the hypochondriac, might find relief (for the history of mental disorder is full of similar anomalies) even in the extremeness of the folly which I should read.
Page 16
His head had dropped upon his breast--yet I knew that he was not asleep, from the wide and rigid opening of the eye as I caught a glance of it in profile.
Page 17
"Not hear it?--yes, I hear it, and have heard it.
Page 18
jaws.