The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 18

an undertone, of
course) to her sister. When the day broke, it so happened that this
history was not altogether finished, and that Scheherazade, in the
nature of things could not finish it just then, since it was high time
for her to get up and be bowstrung--a thing very little more pleasant
than hanging, only a trifle more genteel.

The king's curiosity, however, prevailing, I am sorry to say, even over
his sound religious principles, induced him for this once to postpone
the fulfilment of his vow until next morning, for the purpose and with
the hope of hearing that night how it fared in the end with the black
cat (a black cat, I think it was) and the rat.

The night having arrived, however, the lady Scheherazade not only put
the finishing stroke to the black cat and the rat (the rat was blue)
but before she well knew what she was about, found herself deep in the
intricacies of a narration, having reference (if I am not altogether
mistaken) to a pink horse (with green wings) that went, in a violent
manner, by clockwork, and was wound up with an indigo key. With this
history the king was even more profoundly interested than with the
other--and, as the day broke before its conclusion (notwithstanding
all the queen's endeavors to get through with it in time for the
bowstringing), there was again no resource but to postpone that ceremony
as before, for twenty-four hours. The next night there happened a
similar accident with a similar result; and then the next--and then
again the next; so that, in the end, the good monarch, having been
unavoidably deprived of all opportunity to keep his vow during a
period of no less than one thousand and one nights, either forgets it
altogether by the expiration of this time, or gets himself absolved of
it in the regular way, or (what is more probable) breaks it outright, as
well as the head of his father confessor. At all events, Scheherazade,
who, being lineally descended from Eve, fell heir, perhaps, to the whole
seven baskets of talk, which the latter lady, we all know, picked up
from under the trees in the garden of Eden--Scheherazade, I say, finally
triumphed, and the tariff upon beauty was repealed.

Now, this conclusion (which is that of the story as we have it upon
record) is, no doubt, excessively proper and pleasant--but alas! like
a great many pleasant things, is more pleasant than true, and I am
indebted altogether to the "Isitsoornot" for the means of correcting the
error. "Le mieux," says a

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Text Comparison with Eureka: A Prose Poem

Page 7
Here it is:--'Contradictions cannot _both_ be true--that is, cannot coeexist in nature.
Page 9
"I have often thought, my friend, that it must have puzzled these dogmaticians of a thousand years ago, to determine, even, by which of their two boasted roads it is that the cryptographist attains the solution of the more complicate cyphers--or by which of them Champollion guided mankind to those important and innumerable truths which, for so many centuries, have lain entombed amid the phonetical hieroglyphics of Egypt.
Page 11
Clearly, there is no mere _difficulty_ in the case.
Page 18
_Multiplicity_ is the object; but there is nothing to prevent proximate atoms, from lapsing _at once_, through the now satisfiable tendency--_before_ the fulfilment of any ends proposed in multiplicity--into absolute oneness among themselves:--there is nothing to impede the aggregation of various _unique_ masses, at various points of space:--in other words, nothing to interfere with the accumulation of various masses, each absolutely One.
Page 26
The great mind of Newton, while boldly grasping the Law itself, shrank from the principle of the Law.
Page 27
Now a connection between these two ideas--unity and diffusion--cannot be established unless through the entertainment of a third idea--that of _irradiation_.
Page 32
For, in fact, the tendency to the general centre is not to a centre as such, but because of its being a point in tending towards which each atom tends most directly to its real and essential centre, _Unity_--the absolute and final Union of all.
Page 36
But "hypothesis" cannot be wielded _here_ to any good purpose, even by those who succeed in lifting it--little men or great.
Page 44
We must not fall into the error of supposing the decrease of interval observed among the planets as we approach the Sun, to be in any respect indicative of an increase of frequency in the periods at which they were discarded.
Page 47
In other words:--by the time the electric influence (Repulsion) has prepared the surface for rejection, we are to understand that the gravitating influence (Attraction) is precisely ready to.
Page 50
These two have thus together shown--_not_, to be sure, that Matter at any period actually existed as described, in a state of nebular diffusion, but that, admitting it so to have existed throughout the space and much beyond the space now occupied by our solar system, _and to have commenced a movement towards a centre_--it must gradually have assumed the various forms and motions which are now seen, in that system, to obtain.
Page 59
_ The only mode, therefore, in which, under such a state of affairs, we could comprehend the _voids_ which our telescopes find in innumerable directions, would be by supposing the distance of the invisible background so immense that no ray from it has yet been able to reach us at all.
Page 60
But _because_ upon the confines of this Universe of Stars we are compelled to pause, through want of farther evidence from the senses, is it right to conclude that, in fact, there _is_ no material point beyond that which we have thus been permitted to attain? Have we, or have we not, an analogical right to the inference that this perceptible Universe--that this cluster of clusters--is but one of _a series_ of clusters of clusters, the rest of which are invisible through distance--through the diffusion of their light being so excessive, ere it reaches us, as not to produce upon our retinas a light-impression--or from there being no such emanation as light at all, in these unspeakably distant worlds--or, lastly, from the mere interval being so vast, that the electric tidings of their presence in Space, have not yet--through the lapsing myriads of years--been enabled to traverse that interval? Have we any right to inferences--have we any ground whatever for visions such as these? If we have a right to them in _any_ degree, we have a right to their infinite extension.
Page 61
Of specification there has been little; and whatever ideas of _quantity_ have been conveyed--that is to say, of number, magnitude, and distance--have been conveyed incidentally and by way of preparation for more definitive conceptions.
Page 64
A cannon-ball, flying at the greatest velocity with which such a ball has ever been known to fly, could not traverse the latter interval in less than 20 years; while for the former it would require 590.
Page 76
Were I to describe, in my own words, what must necessarily be the existing condition of each nebula on the hypothesis that all matter is, as I suggest, now returning to its original Unity, I should simply be going over, nearly verbatim, the language here employed by Dr.
Page 78
Never was necessity less obvious than that of entertaining this unphilosophical idea.
Page 85
But now comes the period at which a conventional World-Reason awakens us from the truth of our dream.
Page 92
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Page 102
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