The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 130

some musical cadence which has
never before arrested his attention.

Amid frequent and thoughtful endeavors to remember; amid earnest
struggles to regather some token of the state of seeming nothingness
into which my soul had lapsed, there have been moments when I have
dreamed of success; there have been brief, very brief periods when I
have conjured up remembrances which the lucid reason of a later epoch
assures me could have had reference only to that condition of seeming
unconsciousness. These shadows of memory tell, indistinctly, of tall
figures that lifted and bore me in silence down--down--still
down--till a hideous dizziness oppressed me at the mere idea of the
interminableness of the descent. They tell also of a vague horror at
my heart, on account of that heart's unnatural stillness. Then comes a
sense of sudden motionlessness throughout all things; as if those who
bore me (a ghastly train!) had outrun, in their descent, the limits of
the limitless, and paused from the wearisomeness of their toil. After
this I call to mind flatness and dampness; and then all is madness--the
madness of a memory which busies itself among forbidden things.

Very suddenly there came back to my soul motion and sound--the
tumultuous motion of the heart, and, in my ears, the sound of its
beating. Then a pause in which all is blank. Then again sound, and
motion, and touch--a tingling sensation pervading my frame. Then the
mere consciousness of existence, without thought--a condition which
lasted long. Then, very suddenly, thought, and shuddering terror, and
earnest endeavor to comprehend my true state. Then a strong desire
to lapse into insensibility. Then a rushing revival of soul and a
successful effort to move. And now a full memory of the trial, of the
judges, of the sable draperies, of the sentence, of the sickness, of
the swoon. Then entire forgetfulness of all that followed; of all that
a later day and much earnestness of endeavor have enabled me vaguely to
recall.

So far, I had not opened my eyes. I felt that I lay upon my back,
unbound. I reached out my hand, and it fell heavily upon something damp
and hard. There I suffered it to remain for many minutes, while I strove
to imagine where and what I could be. I longed, yet dared not to employ
my vision. I dreaded the first glance at objects around me. It was not
that I feared to look upon things horrible, but that I grew aghast lest
there should be nothing to see. At length, with a wild desperation
at heart, I quickly unclosed my eyes. My worst

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