The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 149

Nothing became the universe.
Total annihilation could be no more. From these latter attacks I awoke,
however, with a gradation slow in proportion to the suddenness of the
seizure. Just as the day dawns to the friendless and houseless beggar
who roams the streets throughout the long desolate winter night--just
so tardily--just so wearily--just so cheerily came back the light of the
Soul to me.

Apart from the tendency to trance, however, my general health appeared
to be good; nor could I perceive that it was at all affected by the one
prevalent malady--unless, indeed, an idiosyncrasy in my ordinary sleep
may be looked upon as superinduced. Upon awaking from slumber, I could
never gain, at once, thorough possession of my senses, and always
remained, for many minutes, in much bewilderment and perplexity;--the
mental faculties in general, but the memory in especial, being in a
condition of absolute abeyance.

In all that I endured there was no physical suffering but of moral
distress an infinitude. My fancy grew charnel, I talked "of worms, of
tombs, and epitaphs." I was lost in reveries of death, and the idea
of premature burial held continual possession of my brain. The ghastly
Danger to which I was subjected haunted me day and night. In the former,
the torture of meditation was excessive--in the latter, supreme. When
the grim Darkness overspread the Earth, then, with every horror of
thought, I shook--shook as the quivering plumes upon the hearse. When
Nature could endure wakefulness no longer, it was with a struggle that
I consented to sleep--for I shuddered to reflect that, upon awaking, I
might find myself the tenant of a grave. And when, finally, I sank into
slumber, it was only to rush at once into a world of phantasms, above
which, with vast, sable, overshadowing wing, hovered, predominant, the
one sepulchral Idea.

From the innumerable images of gloom which thus oppressed me in dreams,
I select for record but a solitary vision. Methought I was immersed in
a cataleptic trance of more than usual duration and profundity. Suddenly
there came an icy hand upon my forehead, and an impatient, gibbering
voice whispered the word "Arise!" within my ear.

I sat erect. The darkness was total. I could not see the figure of him
who had aroused me. I could call to mind neither the period at which I
had fallen into the trance, nor the locality in which I then lay. While
I remained motionless, and busied in endeavors to collect my thought,
the cold hand grasped me fiercely by the wrist, shaking it petulantly,
while the gibbering voice said again:

"Arise! did I

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Text Comparison with The Fall of the House of Usher

Page 0
I looked upon the scene before me--upon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domain--upon the bleak walls--upon the vacant eye-like windows--upon a few rank sedges--and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees--with an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveller upon opium--the bitter lapse into everyday life--the hideous dropping off of the veil.
Page 1
It was this deficiency, I considered, while running over in thought the perfect keeping of the character of the premises with the accredited character of the people, and while speculating upon the possible influence which the one, in the long lapse of centuries, might have exercised upon the other--it was this deficiency, perhaps, of collateral issue, and the consequent undeviating transmission, from sire to son, of the patrimony with the name, which had, at length, so identified the two as to merge the original title of the estate in the quaint and equivocal appellation of the "House of Usher"--an appellation which seemed to include, in the minds of the peasantry who used it, both the family and the family mansion.
Page 2
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.
Page 3
A cadaverousness of complexion; an eye large, liquid, and luminous beyond comparison; lips somewhat thin and very pallid, but of a surpassingly.
Page 4
He entered, at some length, into what he conceived to be the nature of his malady.
Page 5
He admitted, however, although with hesitation, that much of the peculiar gloom which thus afflicted him could be traced to a more natural and far more palpable origin--to the severe and long-continued illness--indeed to the evidently approaching dissolution--of a tenderly beloved sister--his sole companion for long years--his last and only relative on earth.
Page 6
His long improvised dirges will ring for ever in my ears.
Page 7
If ever mortal painted an idea, that mortal was Roderick Usher.
Page 8
II.
Page 9
V.
Page 10
This opinion, in its general form, was that of the sentience of all vegetable things.
Page 11
One favourite volume was a small octavo edition of the Directorium Inquisitorum, by the Dominican Eymeric de Gironne; and there were passages in Pomponius Mela, about the old African Satyrs and OEgipans, over which Usher would sit dreaming for hours.
Page 12
The body having been encoffined, we two alone bore it to its rest.
Page 13
At times, again, I was obliged to resolve all into the mere inexplicable vagaries of madness, for I beheld him gazing upon vacancy for long hours, in an attitude of the profoundest attention, as if listening to some imaginary sound.
Page 14
"And you have not seen it?" he said abruptly, after having stared about him for some moments in silence--"you have not then seen it?--but, stay! you shall.
Page 15
" At the termination of this sentence I started, and for a moment, paused; for it appeared to me (although I at once concluded that my excited fancy had deceived me)--it appeared to me that, from some very remote portion of the mansion, there came, indistinctly, to my ears, what might have been, in its exact similarity of character, the echo (but a stifled and dull one certainly) of the very cracking and ripping sound which Sir Launcelot had so particularly described.
Page 16
I was by no means certain that he had noticed the sounds in question; although, assuredly, a strange alteration had, during the last few minutes, taken place in his demeanour.
Page 17
" No sooner had these syllables passed my lips, than--as if a shield of brass had indeed, at the moment, fallen heavily upon a floor of silver--I became aware of a distinct, hollow, metallic, and clangorous, yet apparently muffled reverberation.
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