The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 185

praenomen. The words were venom in my
ears; and when, upon the day of my arrival, a second William Wilson came
also to the academy, I felt angry with him for bearing the name, and
doubly disgusted with the name because a stranger bore it, who would
be the cause of its twofold repetition, who would be constantly in my
presence, and whose concerns, in the ordinary routine of the school
business, must inevitably, on account of the detestable coincidence, be
often confounded with my own.

The feeling of vexation thus engendered grew stronger with every
circumstance tending to show resemblance, moral or physical, between my
rival and myself. I had not then discovered the remarkable fact that we
were of the same age; but I saw that we were of the same height, and
I perceived that we were even singularly alike in general contour of
person and outline of feature. I was galled, too, by the rumor touching
a relationship, which had grown current in the upper forms. In a word,
nothing could more seriously disturb me, (although I scrupulously
concealed such disturbance,) than any allusion to a similarity of mind,
person, or condition existing between us. But, in truth, I had no reason
to believe that (with the exception of the matter of relationship, and
in the case of Wilson himself,) this similarity had ever been made a
subject of comment, or even observed at all by our schoolfellows. That
he observed it in all its bearings, and as fixedly as I, was apparent;
but that he could discover in such circumstances so fruitful a field of
annoyance, can only be attributed, as I said before, to his more than
ordinary penetration.

His cue, which was to perfect an imitation of myself, lay both in words
and in actions; and most admirably did he play his part. My dress it
was an easy matter to copy; my gait and general manner were, without
difficulty, appropriated; in spite of his constitutional defect, even my
voice did not escape him. My louder tones were, of course, unattempted,
but then the key, it was identical; and his singular whisper, it grew
the very echo of my own.

How greatly this most exquisite portraiture harassed me, (for it could
not justly be termed a caricature,) I will not now venture to describe.
I had but one consolation--in the fact that the imitation, apparently,
was noticed by myself alone, and that I had to endure only the knowing
and strangely sarcastic smiles of my namesake himself. Satisfied with
having produced in my bosom the intended effect, he seemed to

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Text Comparison with The Raven

Page 0
_ LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS WITH NAMES OF ENGRAVERS Title-page, designed by Elihu Vedder.
Page 2
_ "Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy.
Page 3
Page 4
There is the charm of Evanescence, that which lends to supreme beauty and grace an aureole of Pathos.
Page 5
To one land only he has power to lead you, and for one night only can you share his dream.
Page 6
It was given to Edgar Allan Poe to produce two lyrics, "The Bells" and _The Raven_, each of which, although perhaps of less beauty than those of Tennyson and Rossetti, is a unique.
Page 7
He also had done much of his very best work,--such tales as "Ligeia" and "The Fall.
Page 9
These have been repeated by later editors, who also have made errors of their own.
Page 10
Fearing Gill has shown me some unpublished stanzas by Poe, written in his eighteenth year, and entitled, "The Demon of the Fire.
Page 11
" Poe's raven is a distinct conception; the incarnation of a mourner's agony and hopelessness; a sable embodied Memory, the abiding chronicler of doom, a type of the Irreparable.
Page 12
_The Raven_ also may be taken as a representative poem of its author, for its exemplification of all his notions of what a poem should be.
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His invention, so rich in the prose tales, seemed to desert him when he wrote verse; and his judgment told him that long romantic poems depend more upon incident than inspiration,--and that, to utter the poetry of romance, lyrics would suffice.
Page 15
There is a delight in playing one's high part: we are all gladiators, crying _Ave Imperator!_ To quote Burke's matter of fact: "In grief the pleasure is still uppermost, and the affliction we suffer has no resemblance to absolute pain, which is always odious, and which we endeavor to shake off as soon as possible.
Page 16
He was a born master of the grotesque, and by a special insight could portray the spectres of a haunted brain.
Page 17
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating "'T is some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;-- This it is, and nothing more.
Page 18
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore,-- Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!" .
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Nothing further then he uttered--not a feather then he fluttered-- Till I scarcely more than muttered, "Other friends have flown before-- On the morrow _he_ will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.
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"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee--by these angels he hath sent thee Respite--respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore! Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.
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" [Illustration] "'Surely,' said I, 'surely that is something at my window lattice; .
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