The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 166

motionless in the middle of the lake.
While he considers what course to pursue, however, he becomes aware of a
gentle movement in the fairy bark. It slowly swings itself around until
its prow points toward the sun. It advances with a gentle but gradually
accelerated velocity, while the slight ripples it creates seem to break
about the ivory side in divinest melody-seem to offer the only possible
explanation of the soothing yet melancholy music for whose unseen origin
the bewildered voyager looks around him in vain.

The canoe steadily proceeds, and the rocky gate of the vista is
approached, so that its depths can be more distinctly seen. To the
right arise a chain of lofty hills rudely and luxuriantly wooded. It is
observed, however, that the trait of exquisite cleanness where the bank
dips into the water, still prevails. There is not one token of the usual
river debris. To the left the character of the scene is softer and more
obviously artificial. Here the bank slopes upward from the stream in
a very gentle ascent, forming a broad sward of grass of a texture
resembling nothing so much as velvet, and of a brilliancy of green which
would bear comparison with the tint of the purest emerald. This plateau
varies in width from ten to three hundred yards; reaching from the
river-bank to a wall, fifty feet high, which extends, in an infinity of
curves, but following the general direction of the river, until lost in
the distance to the westward. This wall is of one continuous rock, and
has been formed by cutting perpendicularly the once rugged precipice of
the stream's southern bank, but no trace of the labor has been suffered
to remain. The chiselled stone has the hue of ages, and is profusely
overhung and overspread with the ivy, the coral honeysuckle, the
eglantine, and the clematis. The uniformity of the top and bottom lines
of the wall is fully relieved by occasional trees of gigantic height,
growing singly or in small groups, both along the plateau and in the
domain behind the wall, but in close proximity to it; so that frequent
limbs (of the black walnut especially) reach over and dip their pendent
extremities into the water. Farther back within the domain, the vision
is impeded by an impenetrable screen of foliage.

These things are observed during the canoe's gradual approach to what I
have called the gate of the vista. On drawing nearer to this, however,
its chasm-like appearance vanishes; a new outlet from the bay is
discovered to the left--in which direction the wall is also

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Text Comparison with The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition

Page 0
Perrett The Decorations by Will Jenkins [Illustration] Paul Elder and Company San Francisco and New York Contents Foreword .
Page 1
Coming from Poe’s own hand, it directly avoids the charge of presumption; and written in Poe’s most felicitous style, it entirely escapes the defect—not uncommon in analytical treatises—of pedantry.
Page 2
Nothing is more clear than that every plot, worth the name, must be elaborated to its dénouement before anything be attempted with the pen.
Page 3
We commence, then, with this intention.
Page 4
A few words, however, in elucidation of my real meaning, which some of my friends have evinced a disposition to misrepresent.
Page 5
Page 6
The next desideratum was a pretext for the continuous use of the one word “Nevermore.
Page 7
I saw that I could make the first query propounded by the lover—the first query to which the Raven should reply “Nevermore”—that I could make this first query a commonplace one—the second less so—the third still less, and so on, until at length the lover—startled from his original nonchalance by the melancholy character of the word itself, by its frequent repetition, and by a consideration of the ominous reputation of the fowl that uttered it—is at length excited to superstition, and wildly propounds queries of a far different character—queries whose solution he has passionately at heart—propounds them half in superstition and half in that species of despair which delights in self-torture—propounds them not altogether because he believes in the prophetic or demoniac character of the bird (which, reason assures him, is merely repeating a lesson learned by rote) but because he experiences a phrenzied pleasure in so modeling his questions as to receive from the expected “Nevermore,” the most delicious because the most intolerable of sorrow.
Page 8
Less pedantically—the feet employed throughout (trochees) consist of a long syllable followed by a short: the first line of the stanza consists of eight of these feet—the.
Page 9
For this the most natural suggestion might seem to be a forest, or the fields—but it has always appeared to me that a close circumscription of space is absolutely necessary to the effect of insulated incident: it has the force of a frame to a picture.
Page 10
He comes in “with many a flirt and flutter.
Page 11
The casement being thrown open at the fluttering of the bird’s wings, the bird itself perches on the most convenient seat out of the immediate reach of the student, who, amused by the incident and the oddity of the visitor’s demeanour, demands of it, in jest and without looking for a reply, its name.
Page 12
” [Illustration] Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, “Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;— Darkness.
Page 13
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore— Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;— ’Tis the wind and nothing more.
Page 14
” .
Page 15
, “!” instead of “?” or “.