The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 162

obvious force of a feeling.
Now let us suppose this sense of the Almighty design to be one step
depressed--to be brought into something like harmony or consistency with
the sense of human art--to form an intermedium between the two:--let
us imagine, for example, a landscape whose combined vastness and
definitiveness--whose united beauty, magnificence, and strangeness,
shall convey the idea of care, or culture, or superintendence, on the
part of beings superior, yet akin to humanity--then the sentiment of
interest is preserved, while the art intervolved is made to assume the
air of an intermediate or secondary nature--a nature which is not God,
nor an emanation from God, but which still is nature in the sense of the
handiwork of the angels that hover between man and God."

It was in devoting his enormous wealth to the embodiment of a vision
such as this--in the free exercise in the open air ensured by the
personal superintendence of his plans--in the unceasing object which
these plans afforded--in the high spirituality of the object--in
the contempt of ambition which it enabled him truly to feel--in the
perennial springs with which it gratified, without possibility of
satiating, that one master passion of his soul, the thirst for beauty,
above all, it was in the sympathy of a woman, not unwomanly, whose
loveliness and love enveloped his existence in the purple atmosphere of
Paradise, that Ellison thought to find, and found, exemption from
the ordinary cares of humanity, with a far greater amount of positive
happiness than ever glowed in the rapt day-dreams of De Stael.

I despair of conveying to the reader any distinct conception of the
marvels which my friend did actually accomplish. I wish to describe, but
am disheartened by the difficulty of description, and hesitate between
detail and generality. Perhaps the better course will be to unite the
two in their extremes.

Mr. Ellison's first step regarded, of course, the choice of a locality,
and scarcely had he commenced thinking on this point, when the luxuriant
nature of the Pacific Islands arrested his attention. In fact, he
had made up his mind for a voyage to the South Seas, when a night's
reflection induced him to abandon the idea. "Were I misanthropic," he
said, "such a locale would suit me. The thoroughness of its insulation
and seclusion, and the difficulty of ingress and egress, would in such
case be the charm of charms; but as yet I am not Timon. I wish the
composure but not the depression of solitude. There must remain with me
a certain control over the extent and duration of my repose. There will
be

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