The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 129

of charity, and seemed white and slender angels who would save
me; but then, all at once, there came a most deadly nausea over my
spirit, and I felt every fibre in my frame thrill as if I had touched
the wire of a galvanic battery, while the angel forms became meaningless
spectres, with heads of flame, and I saw that from them there would be
no help. And then there stole into my fancy, like a rich musical note,
the thought of what sweet rest there must be in the grave. The thought
came gently and stealthily, and it seemed long before it attained full
appreciation; but just as my spirit came at length properly to feel and
entertain it, the figures of the judges vanished, as if magically, from
before me; the tall candles sank into nothingness; their flames went out
utterly; the blackness of darkness supervened; all sensations appeared
swallowed up in a mad rushing descent as of the soul into Hades. Then
silence, and stillness, night were the universe.

I had swooned; but still will not say that all of consciousness was
lost. What of it there remained I will not attempt to define, or even
to describe; yet all was not lost. In the deepest slumber--no! In
delirium--no! In a swoon--no! In death--no! even in the grave all is
not lost. Else there is no immortality for man. Arousing from the most
profound of slumbers, we break the gossamer web of some dream. Yet in a
second afterward, (so frail may that web have been) we remember not
that we have dreamed. In the return to life from the swoon there are two
stages; first, that of the sense of mental or spiritual; secondly, that
of the sense of physical, existence. It seems probable that if, upon
reaching the second stage, we could recall the impressions of the
first, we should find these impressions eloquent in memories of the gulf
beyond. And that gulf is--what? How at least shall we distinguish its
shadows from those of the tomb? But if the impressions of what I have
termed the first stage, are not, at will, recalled, yet, after long
interval, do they not come unbidden, while we marvel whence they come?
He who has never swooned, is not he who finds strange palaces and wildly
familiar faces in coals that glow; is not he who beholds floating
in mid-air the sad visions that the many may not view; is not he who
ponders over the perfume of some novel flower--is not he whose brain
grows bewildered with the meaning of

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Text Comparison with The Raven Illustrated

Page 0
Taylor Drawn and engraved under the supervision of George T.
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curtain Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic Terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating Of my heart, I stood repeating, "'Tis some visitor entreating Entrance at my chamber door-- Some late visitor entreating Entrance at my chamber door; This it is and nothing more.
Page 2
"Surely," said I, "surely that is Something at my window lattice; [Illustration: 0019] 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.
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Not the least obeisance made he; Not an instant stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, [Illustration: 8021] Perched above my chamber door-- Perched upon a bust of Pallas Just above my chamber door-- Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
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Much I marvelled this ungainly Fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning-- Little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing That no sublunary being Ever yet was blessed with seeing Bird above his chamber door-- Bird or beast upon the sculptured Bust above his chamber door, With such name as "Nevermore.
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master Whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster, So when hope he would adjure, Stern despair returned, Instead of the sweet hope he dared adjure, That sad answer, "Nevermore.
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" [Illustration: 0029] [Illustration: 0031] [Illustration: 9031] "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!-- Prophet still, if bird or devil!-- Whether Tempter sent, or whether Tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate, yet all undaunted, On this desert land enchanted-- On this home by Horror haunted-- Tell me truly, I implore-- Is there,--is there balm in Gilead?-- Tell me--tell me, I implore!" .
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Quoth the Raven, " Nevermore.
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And the lamplight o'er him streaming Throws his shadow on the floor, And my soul from out that shadow That lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted--nevermore! [Illustration: 0035].