The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 131

thoughts, then, were
confirmed. The blackness of eternal night encompassed me. I struggled
for breath. The intensity of the darkness seemed to oppress and stifle
me. The atmosphere was intolerably close. I still lay quietly, and
made effort to exercise my reason. I brought to mind the inquisitorial
proceedings, and attempted from that point to deduce my real condition.
The sentence had passed; and it appeared to me that a very long interval
of time had since elapsed. Yet not for a moment did I suppose myself
actually dead. Such a supposition, notwithstanding what we read in
fiction, is altogether inconsistent with real existence;--but where and
in what state was I? The condemned to death, I knew, perished usually at
the autos-da-fe, and one of these had been held on the very night of the
day of my trial. Had I been remanded to my dungeon, to await the next
sacrifice, which would not take place for many months? This I at once
saw could not be. Victims had been in immediate demand. Moreover, my
dungeon, as well as all the condemned cells at Toledo, had stone floors,
and light was not altogether excluded.

A fearful idea now suddenly drove the blood in torrents upon my heart,
and for a brief period, I once more relapsed into insensibility. Upon
recovering, I at once started to my feet, trembling convulsively
in every fibre. I thrust my arms wildly above and around me in all
directions. I felt nothing; yet dreaded to move a step, lest I should be
impeded by the walls of a tomb. Perspiration burst from every pore, and
stood in cold big beads upon my forehead. The agony of suspense grew
at length intolerable, and I cautiously moved forward, with my arms
extended, and my eyes straining from their sockets, in the hope of
catching some faint ray of light. I proceeded for many paces; but still
all was blackness and vacancy. I breathed more freely. It seemed evident
that mine was not, at least, the most hideous of fates.

And now, as I still continued to step cautiously onward, there came
thronging upon my recollection a thousand vague rumors of the horrors of
Toledo. Of the dungeons there had been strange things narrated--fables I
had always deemed them--but yet strange, and too ghastly to repeat, save
in a whisper. Was I left to perish of starvation in this subterranean
world of darkness; or what fate, perhaps even more fearful, awaited
me? That the result would be death, and a death of more than customary
bitterness, I knew too well the character of my

Last Page Next Page

Text Comparison with First Project Gutenberg Collection of Edgar Allan Poe

Page 0
Hart, hart@pobox.
Page 1
Not the least.
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
its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore-- Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of 'Never--nevermore.
Page 4
" And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadows on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted--nevermore! The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe October, 1997 [Etext #1064]* The Masque of the Red Death The "Red Death".
Page 5
This was an extensive and magnificent structure, the creation of the prince's own eccentric yet august taste.
Page 6
But in the corridors that followed the suite, there stood, opposite to each window, a heavy tripod, bearing a brazier of fire, that projected its rays through the tinted glass and so glaringly illumined the room.
Page 7
the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to harken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused revery or meditation.
Page 8
But now there were twelve strokes to be sounded by the bell of the clock; and thus it happened, perhaps, that more of thought crept, with more of time, into the meditations of the thoughtful among those who revelled.
Page 9
equally jests, there are matters of which no jest can be made.
Page 10
And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.
Page 11
Few Italians have the true virtuoso spirit.
Page 12
"Nitre?" he asked, at length.
Page 13
He laughed and threw the bottle upwards with a gesticulation I did not understand.
Page 14
It seemed to have been constructed for no especial use within itself, but formed merely the interval between two of the colossal supports of the roof of the catacombs, and was backed by one of their circumscribing walls of solid granite.
Page 15
I again paused, and holding the flambeaux over the mason-work, threw a few feeble rays upon the figure within.
Page 16
I hastened to make an end of my labour.