its downward with its lateral velocity. To the right--to the left--far
and wide--with the shriek of a damned spirit; to my heart with the
stealthy pace of the tiger! I alternately laughed and howled as the one
or the other idea grew predominant.
Down--certainly, relentlessly down! It vibrated within three inches of
my bosom! I struggled violently, furiously, to free my left arm. This
was free only from the elbow to the hand. I could reach the latter, from
the platter beside me, to my mouth, with great effort, but no farther.
Could I have broken the fastenings above the elbow, I would have seized
and attempted to arrest the pendulum. I might as well have attempted to
arrest an avalanche!
Down--still unceasingly--still inevitably down! I gasped and struggled
at each vibration. I shrunk convulsively at its every sweep. My eyes
followed its outward or upward whirls with the eagerness of the most
unmeaning despair; they closed themselves spasmodically at the descent,
although death would have been a relief, oh! how unspeakable! Still I
quivered in every nerve to think how slight a sinking of the machinery
would precipitate that keen, glistening axe upon my bosom. It was hope
that prompted the nerve to quiver--the frame to shrink. It was hope--the
hope that triumphs on the rack--that whispers to the death-condemned
even in the dungeons of the Inquisition.
I saw that some ten or twelve vibrations would bring the steel in actual
contact with my robe, and with this observation there suddenly came over
my spirit all the keen, collected calmness of despair. For the first
time during many hours--or perhaps days--I thought. It now occurred to
me that the bandage, or surcingle, which enveloped me, was unique. I
was tied by no separate cord. The first stroke of the razorlike crescent
athwart any portion of the band, would so detach it that it might be
unwound from my person by means of my left hand. But how fearful, in
that case, the proximity of the steel! The result of the slightest
struggle how deadly! Was it likely, moreover, that the minions of the
torturer had not foreseen and provided for this possibility! Was it
probable that the bandage crossed my bosom in the track of the pendulum?
Dreading to find my faint, and, as it seemed, my last hope frustrated,
I so far elevated my head as to obtain a distinct view of my breast. The
surcingle enveloped my limbs and body close in all directions--save in
the path of the destroying crescent.
Scarcely had I dropped my head back into its original position, when
_ Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.Page 1
»--Ici j'ouvris, grande, la porte: les ténèbres et rien de.Page 2
» Le Corbeau dit: «Jamais plus.Page 4
»_ Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is 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 the melancholy burden bore Of 'Never--nevermore.Page 5
»_ 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 6
«Misérable, m'écriai-je, ton Dieu t'a prêté--il t'a envoyé, par ces anges, le répit--le répit et le népenthès dans ta mémoire de Lénore! Bois! oh! bois ce bon népenthès et oublie cette Lénore perdue!» Le Corbeau dit: «Jamais plus!»_ "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!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.Page 7
» Le Corbeau dit: «Jamais plus!»_ "Be that word 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 hath 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.