The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 109

motive
not motivirt. Through its promptings we act without comprehensible
object; or, if this shall be understood as a contradiction in terms, we
may so far modify the proposition as to say, that through its promptings
we act, for the reason that we should not. In theory, no reason can be
more unreasonable, but, in fact, there is none more strong. With certain
minds, under certain conditions, it becomes absolutely irresistible. I
am not more certain that I breathe, than that the assurance of the wrong
or error of any action is often the one unconquerable force which impels
us, and alone impels us to its prosecution. Nor will this overwhelming
tendency to do wrong for the wrong's sake, admit of analysis, or
resolution into ulterior elements. It is a radical, a primitive
impulse-elementary. It will be said, I am aware, that when we persist in
acts because we feel we should not persist in them, our conduct is but a
modification of that which ordinarily springs from the combativeness
of phrenology. But a glance will show the fallacy of this idea. The
phrenological combativeness has for its essence, the necessity of
self-defence. It is our safeguard against injury. Its principle regards
our well-being; and thus the desire to be well is excited simultaneously
with its development. It follows, that the desire to be well must
be excited simultaneously with any principle which shall be merely a
modification of combativeness, but in the case of that something which I
term perverseness, the desire to be well is not only not aroused, but a
strongly antagonistical sentiment exists.

An appeal to one's own heart is, after all, the best reply to the
sophistry just noticed. No one who trustingly consults and thoroughly
questions his own soul, will be disposed to deny the entire radicalness
of the propensity in question. It is not more incomprehensible than
distinctive. There lives no man who at some period has not been
tormented, for example, by an earnest desire to tantalize a listener by
circumlocution. The speaker is aware that he displeases; he has every
intention to please, he is usually curt, precise, and clear, the most
laconic and luminous language is struggling for utterance upon his
tongue, it is only with difficulty that he restrains himself from giving
it flow; he dreads and deprecates the anger of him whom he addresses;
yet, the thought strikes him, that by certain involutions and
parentheses this anger may be engendered. That single thought is enough.
The impulse increases to a wish, the wish to a desire, the desire to
an uncontrollable longing, and the longing (to

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Text Comparison with Le Corbeau = The Raven

Page 0
_Ah! distinctement je me souviens que.
Page 1
_Mon âme devint subitement plus forte et, n'hésitant davantage «Monsieur, dis-je, ou Madame, j'implore véritablement votre pardon; mais le fait est que je somnolais et vous vîntes si doucement frapper, et si faiblement vous vîntes heurter, heurter à la porte de ma chambre, que j'étais à peine sûr de vous avoir entendu.
Page 2
Voyons donc ce qu'il y a et explorons ce mystère--que mon coeur se calme un moment et explore ce mystère; c'est le vent et rien de 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.
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de «Jamais--jamais plus.
Page 6
» Le Corbeau dit: «Jamais plus!»_ "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us--by that God we both adore-- Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a saintly maiden whom the angels name Lenore-- Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.
Page 7
chagrin chargée si, dans le distant Eden, elle doit embrasser une jeune fille sanctifiée que les anges nomment Lénore--embrasser une rare et rayonnante jeune fille que les anges nomment Lénore.