The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 7

mentioned, soon after
relieved him of all doubt in this regard, and he committed himself at
once to authorship for a support. Previously to this, however, he had
published (in 1827) a small volume of poems, which soon ran through
three editions, and excited high expectations of its author's future
distinction in the minds of many competent judges.

That no certain augury can be drawn from a poet's earliest lispings
there are instances enough to prove. Shakespeare's first poems, though
brimful of vigor and youth and picturesqueness, give but a very faint
promise of the directness, condensation and overflowing moral of his
maturer works. Perhaps, however, Shakespeare is hardly a case in
point, his "Venus and Adonis" having been published, we believe, in his
twenty-sixth year. Milton's Latin verses show tenderness, a fine eye for
nature, and a delicate appreciation of classic models, but give no hint
of the author of a new style in poetry. Pope's youthful pieces have
all the sing-song, wholly unrelieved by the glittering malignity
and eloquent irreligion of his later productions. Collins' callow
namby-pamby died and gave no sign of the vigorous and original genius
which he afterward displayed. We have never thought that the world lost
more in the "marvellous boy," Chatterton, than a very ingenious imitator
of obscure and antiquated dulness. Where he becomes original (as it is
called), the interest of ingenuity ceases and he becomes stupid. Kirke
White's promises were indorsed by the respectable name of Mr. Southey,
but surely with no authority from Apollo. They have the merit of a
traditional piety, which to our mind, if uttered at all, had been less
objectionable in the retired closet of a diary, and in the sober raiment
of prose. They do not clutch hold of the memory with the drowning
pertinacity of Watts; neither have they the interest of his occasional
simple, lucky beauty. Burns having fortunately been rescued by his
humble station from the contaminating society of the "Best models,"
wrote well and naturally from the first. Had he been unfortunate enough
to have had an educated taste, we should have had a series of poems from
which, as from his letters, we could sift here and there a kernel from
the mass of chaff. Coleridge's youthful efforts give no promise whatever
of that poetical genius which produced at once the wildest, tenderest,
most original and most purely imaginative poems of modern times. Byron's
"Hours of Idleness" would never find a reader except from an intrepid
and indefatigable curiosity. In Wordsworth's first preludings there
is but a dim foreboding of the creator of an era. From Southey's early
poems,

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Text Comparison with The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

Page 24
From the roofs of these palaces there hung myriads of gems, liked diamonds, but larger than men; and in among the streets of towers and pyramids and temples, there flowed immense rivers as black as ebony, and swarming with fish that had no eyes.
Page 54
_V.
Page 81
His action was alternately vivacious and sullen.
Page 86
Our books--the books which, for years, had formed no small portion of the mental existence of the invalid--were, as might be supposed, in strict keeping with this character of phantasm.
Page 94
And I stood in the morass among the tall and the rain fell upon my head--and the lilies sighed one unto the other in the solemnity of their desolation.
Page 95
"And the man sat upon the rock, and leaned his head upon his hand, and looked out upon the desolation.
Page 126
With her left she pointed downward to a curiously fashioned vase.
Page 133
Groping about the masonry just below the margin, I succeeded in dislodging a small fragment, and let it fall into the abyss.
Page 136
Wearied at length with observing its dull movement, I turned my eyes upon the other objects in the cell.
Page 142
I felt that I tottered upon the brink--I averted my eyes-- There was a discordant hum of human voices! There was a loud blast as of many trumpets! There was a harsh grating as of a thousand thunders! The fiery walls rushed back! An outstretched arm caught my own as I fell, fainting, into the abyss.
Page 151
And now the first.
Page 154
Alas! the grim legion of sepulchral terrors cannot be regarded as altogether fanciful--but, like the Demons in whose company Afrasiab made his voyage down the Oxus, they must sleep, or they will devour us--they must be suffered to slumber, or we perish.
Page 160
There are the stately avenues and retirements of Versailles; Italian terraces; and a various mixed old English style, which bears some relation to the domestic Gothic or English Elizabethan architecture.
Page 164
At every instant the vessel seemed imprisoned within an enchanted circle, having insuperable and impenetrable walls of foliage, a roof of ultramarine satin, and no floor--the keel balancing itself with admirable nicety on that of a phantom bark which, by some accident having been turned upside down, floated in constant company with the substantial one, for the purpose of sustaining it.
Page 167
This gate is inserted in the lofty wall; which here appears to cross the river at right angles.
Page 168
What to make of all this, of course I knew not.
Page 197
Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this, And then, when my head was well in the room, I undid the lantern cautiously--oh, so cautiously--cautiously (for the hinges creaked)--I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye.
Page 198
His room was as black as pitch with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were close fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew that he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept pushing it on steadily, steadily.
Page 208
But I could not force it open; and in my tremor, it slipped from my hands, and fell heavily, and burst into pieces; and from it, with a rattling sound, there rolled out some instruments of dental surgery,.
Page 212
And I called the Mighty Ruler of the Universe to witness the pious solemnity of my vow.