forty miles within the
bowels of the earth, and that contained a greater number of far more
spacious and more magnificent palaces than are to be found in all
Damascus and Bagdad. From the roofs of these palaces there hung myriads
of gems, liked diamonds, but larger than men; and in among the streets
of towers and pyramids and temples, there flowed immense rivers as black
as ebony, and swarming with fish that had no eyes.'" (*3)
"Hum!" said the king. "'We then swam into a region of the sea where
we found a lofty mountain, down whose sides there streamed torrents of
melted metal, some of which were twelve miles wide and sixty miles long
(*4); while from an abyss on the summit, issued so vast a quantity of
ashes that the sun was entirely blotted out from the heavens, and it
became darker than the darkest midnight; so that when we were even at
the distance of a hundred and fifty miles from the mountain, it was
impossible to see the whitest object, however close we held it to our
"Hum!" said the king.
"'After quitting this coast, the beast continued his voyage until we met
with a land in which the nature of things seemed reversed--for we here
saw a great lake, at the bottom of which, more than a hundred feet
beneath the surface of the water, there flourished in full leaf a forest
of tall and luxuriant trees.'" (*6)
"Hoo!" said the king.
"Some hundred miles farther on brought us to a climate where the
atmosphere was so dense as to sustain iron or steel, just as our own
does feather.'" (*7)
"Fiddle de dee," said the king.
"Proceeding still in the same direction, we presently arrived at the
most magnificent region in the whole world. Through it there meandered
a glorious river for several thousands of miles. This river was of
unspeakable depth, and of a transparency richer than that of amber.
It was from three to six miles in width; and its banks which arose on
either side to twelve hundred feet in perpendicular height, were crowned
with ever-blossoming trees and perpetual sweet-scented flowers, that
made the whole territory one gorgeous garden; but the name of this
luxuriant land was the Kingdom of Horror, and to enter it was inevitable
"Humph!" said the king.
"'We left this kingdom in great haste, and, after some days, came to
another, where we were astonished to perceive myriads of monstrous
animals with horns resembling scythes upon their heads. These hideous
beasts dig for themselves vast caverns in the soil, of a funnel shape,
into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?" This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"-- Merely this and nothing more.Page 2
" Then the bird said "Nevermore.Page 3
" This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er, But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er _She_ shall press, ah, nevermore! Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.Page 4
" "Be that our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting-- "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul has spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.