The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 142

of foothold
on the firm floor of the prison. I struggled no more, but the agony of
my soul found vent in one loud, long, and final scream of despair. I
felt that I tottered upon the brink--I averted my eyes--

There was a discordant hum of human voices! There was a loud blast as of
many trumpets! There was a harsh grating as of a thousand thunders! The
fiery walls rushed back! An outstretched arm caught my own as I fell,
fainting, into the abyss. It was that of General Lasalle. The French
army had entered Toledo. The Inquisition was in the hands of its


THERE are certain themes of which the interest is all-absorbing, but
which are too entirely horrible for the purposes of legitimate fiction.
These the mere romanticist must eschew, if he do not wish to offend or
to disgust. They are with propriety handled only when the severity and
majesty of Truth sanctify and sustain them. We thrill, for example, with
the most intense of "pleasurable pain" over the accounts of the Passage
of the Beresina, of the Earthquake at Lisbon, of the Plague at London,
of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, or of the stifling of the hundred
and twenty-three prisoners in the Black Hole at Calcutta. But in these
accounts it is the fact----it is the reality----it is the history which
excites. As inventions, we should regard them with simple abhorrence.

I have mentioned some few of the more prominent and august calamities
on record; but in these it is the extent, not less than the character
of the calamity, which so vividly impresses the fancy. I need not remind
the reader that, from the long and weird catalogue of human miseries,
I might have selected many individual instances more replete with
essential suffering than any of these vast generalities of disaster.
The true wretchedness, indeed--the ultimate woe----is particular, not
diffuse. That the ghastly extremes of agony are endured by man the unit,
and never by man the mass----for this let us thank a merciful God!

To be buried while alive is, beyond question, the most terrific of these
extremes which has ever fallen to the lot of mere mortality. That it has
frequently, very frequently, so fallen will scarcely be denied by those
who think. The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best
shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other
begins? We know that there are diseases in which occur total cessations
of all the apparent functions of vitality, and yet in which these
cessations are merely

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Text Comparison with The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

Page 11
He could not have failed to anticipate--and events have proved that he did not fail to anticipate--the waylayings to which he was subjected.
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You know my political prepossessions.
Page 22
"This account determined me to take to my heels, and, without once even looking behind me, I ran at full speed up into the hills, while the porter ran equally fast, although nearly in an opposite direction, so that, by these means, he finally made his escape with my bundles, of which I have no doubt he took excellent care--although this is a point I cannot determine, as I do not remember that I ever beheld him again.
Page 43
arose partly from memory, and partly from present observation.
Page 44
I attracted my brother's attention by signs, pointed to the floating barrels that came near us, and did everything in my power to make him understand what I was about to do.
Page 49
Passing out of the closet with their prisoner, the officers went through a sort of ante-chamber, in which nothing material was found, to the chemist's sleeping-room.
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Page 79
Perhaps the eye of a scrutinizing observer might have discovered a barely perceptible fissure, which, extending from the roof of the building in front, made its way down the wall in a zigzag direction, until it became lost in the sullen waters of the tarn.
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"These appearances, which bewilder you, are merely electrical phenomena not uncommon--or it may be that they have their ghastly origin in the rank miasma of the tarn.
Page 129
Yet in a second afterward, (so frail may that web have been) we remember not that we have dreamed.
Page 141
The room had been square.
Page 144
Among her numerous suitors was Julien Bossuet, a poor litterateur, or journalist of Paris.
Page 159
Page 160
" In the course of discussion, my friend quoted some passages from a writer on landscape-gardening who has been supposed to have well treated his theme: "There are properly but two styles of landscape-gardening, the natural and the artificial.
Page 163
Let me seek, then, a spot not far from a populous city--whose vicinity, also, will best enable me to execute my plans.
Page 169
There were few straight, and no long uninterrupted lines.
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This was.
Page 184
It is difficult, indeed, to define, or even to describe, my real feelings towards him.
Page 202
* * *.
Page 212
But let me on.