The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 116

The trees were lithe,
mirthful, erect--bright, slender, and graceful,--of eastern figure and
foliage, with bark smooth, glossy, and parti-colored. There seemed a
deep sense of life and joy about all; and although no airs blew from out
the heavens, yet every thing had motion through the gentle sweepings to
and fro of innumerable butterflies, that might have been mistaken for
tulips with wings. (*4)

The other or eastern end of the isle was whelmed in the blackest shade.
A sombre, yet beautiful and peaceful gloom here pervaded all things. The
trees were dark in color, and mournful in form and attitude, wreathing
themselves into sad, solemn, and spectral shapes that conveyed ideas of
mortal sorrow and untimely death. The grass wore the deep tint of the
cypress, and the heads of its blades hung droopingly, and hither and
thither among it were many small unsightly hillocks, low and narrow,
and not very long, that had the aspect of graves, but were not; although
over and all about them the rue and the rosemary clambered. The shade
of the trees fell heavily upon the water, and seemed to bury itself
therein, impregnating the depths of the element with darkness. I fancied
that each shadow, as the sun descended lower and lower, separated itself
sullenly from the trunk that gave it birth, and thus became absorbed by
the stream; while other shadows issued momently from the trees, taking
the place of their predecessors thus entombed.

This idea, having once seized upon my fancy, greatly excited it, and I
lost myself forthwith in revery. "If ever island were enchanted," said
I to myself, "this is it. This is the haunt of the few gentle Fays who
remain from the wreck of the race. Are these green tombs theirs?--or do
they yield up their sweet lives as mankind yield up their own? In dying,
do they not rather waste away mournfully, rendering unto God, little by
little, their existence, as these trees render up shadow after shadow,
exhausting their substance unto dissolution? What the wasting tree is to
the water that imbibes its shade, growing thus blacker by what it preys
upon, may not the life of the Fay be to the death which engulfs it?"

As I thus mused, with half-shut eyes, while the sun sank rapidly to
rest, and eddying currents careered round and round the island, bearing
upon their bosom large, dazzling, white flakes of the bark of the
sycamore-flakes which, in their multiform positions upon the water, a
quick imagination might have converted into any thing it pleased, while
I thus mused, it appeared to me that

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Page 1
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is and this mystery explore-- Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;-- 'Tis the wind and nothing more.
Page 2
Then the 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 3
'" But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-- What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking "Nevermore.
Page 4
" "Be that our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting-- "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.
Page 5
These were seven--an imperial suite.
Page 6
There was a sharp turn at every twenty or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect.
Page 7
He had directed, in great part, the movable embellishments of the seven chambers, upon occasion of this great _fete_; and it was his own guiding taste which had given character to the masqueraders.
Page 8
In an assembly of phantasms such as I have painted, it may well be supposed that no ordinary appearance could have excited such sensation.
Page 9
But from a certain nameless awe with which the mad assumptions of the mummer had inspired the whole party, there were found none who put forth hand to seize him; so that, unimpeded, he passed within a yard of the prince's person; and, while the vast assembly, as if with one impulse, shrank from the centres of the rooms to the walls, he made his way uninterruptedly, but with the same solemn and measured step which had distinguished him.
Page 10
And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay.
Page 11
" "Amontillado!" "As you are engaged, I am on my way to Luchesi.
Page 12
A draught of this Medoc will defend us from the damps.
Page 13
We had passed through walls of piled bones, with casks and puncheons intermingling, into the inmost recesses of catacombs.
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" As I said these words I busied myself among the pile of bones of which I have before spoken.
Page 15
Unsheathing my rapier, I began to grope with it about the recess; but the thought of an instant reassured me.
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For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them.