The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 31

in the
remote offing lay to under a double-reefed trysail, and constantly
plunged her whole hull out of sight, still there was here nothing like a
regular swell, but only a short, quick, angry cross dashing of water in
every direction--as well in the teeth of the wind as otherwise. Of foam
there was little except in the immediate vicinity of the rocks.

"The island in the distance," resumed the old man, "is called by
the Norwegians Vurrgh. The one midway is Moskoe. That a mile to the
northward is Ambaaren. Yonder are Islesen, Hotholm, Keildhelm, Suarven,
and Buckholm. Farther off--between Moskoe and Vurrgh--are Otterholm,
Flimen, Sandflesen, and Stockholm. These are the true names of the
places--but why it has been thought necessary to name them at all, is
more than either you or I can understand. Do you hear anything? Do you
see any change in the water?"

We had now been about ten minutes upon the top of Helseggen, to which
we had ascended from the interior of Lofoden, so that we had caught no
glimpse of the sea until it had burst upon us from the summit. As the
old man spoke, I became aware of a loud and gradually increasing sound,
like the moaning of a vast herd of buffaloes upon an American prairie;
and at the same moment I perceived that what seamen term the _chopping_
character of the ocean beneath us, was rapidly changing into a current
which set to the eastward. Even while I gazed, this current acquired
a monstrous velocity. Each moment added to its speed--to its headlong
impetuosity. In five minutes the whole sea, as far as Vurrgh, was lashed
into ungovernable fury; but it was between Moskoe and the coast that the
main uproar held its sway. Here the vast bed of the waters, seamed
and scarred into a thousand conflicting channels, burst suddenly into
phrensied convulsion--heaving, boiling, hissing--gyrating in gigantic
and innumerable vortices, and all whirling and plunging on to the
eastward with a rapidity which water never elsewhere assumes except in
precipitous descents.

In a few minutes more, there came over the scene another radical
alteration. The general surface grew somewhat more smooth, and the
whirlpools, one by one, disappeared, while prodigious streaks of foam
became apparent where none had been seen before. These streaks,
at length, spreading out to a great distance, and entering into
combination, took unto themselves the gyratory motion of the
subsided vortices, and seemed to form the germ of another more vast.
Suddenly--very suddenly--this assumed a distinct and definite existence,
in a circle of more than a mile in diameter. The edge

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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
” If any justification were necessary, it is to be found both in the unique literary interest of the essay, and in the fact that it is (or purports to be) a frank exposition of the modus operandi by which “The Raven” was written.
Page 2
I have often thought how interesting a magazine paper might be written by any author who would—that is to say who could—detail, step by step, the processes by which any one of his compositions attained its ultimate point of completion.
Page 3
I select “The Raven,” as most generally known.
Page 4
Within this limit, the extent of a poem may be made to bear mathematical relation to its merit—in other words, to the excitement or elevation—again, in other words, to the degree of the true poetical effect which it is capable of inducing; for it is clear that the brevity must be in direct ratio to the intensity of the intended effect:—this, with one proviso—that a certain degree of duration is absolutely requisite for the production of any effect at all.
Page 5
Melancholy is thus the most legitimate of all the poetical tones.
Page 6
In such a search it would have been absolutely impossible to overlook the word “Nevermore.
Page 7
Perceiving the opportunity thus afforded me—or, more strictly, thus forced upon me in the progress of the construction—I first established in mind the climax, or concluding query—that query to which “Nevermore” should be in the last place an answer—that in reply to which this word “Nevermore” should involve.
Page 8
Admitting that there is little possibility of variety in mere rhythm, it is still clear that the possible varieties of meter and stanza are absolutely infinite—and yet, for centuries, no man, in verse, has ever done, or ever seemed to think of doing, an original thing.
Page 9
The next point to be considered was the mode of bringing together the lover and the Raven—and the first branch of this consideration was the locale.
Page 10
” Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door.
Page 11
The under-current of meaning is rendered first apparent in the lines: “Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!” Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.
Page 12
The reader begins now to regard the Raven as emblematical—but it is not until the very last line of the very last stanza, that the intention of making him emblematical of Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance is permitted distinctly to be seen: And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor Shall be lifted—nevermore! [Illustration: _Fordham Cottage_] The Raven [Illustration] [Illustration] Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore— While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
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_] [Illustration] Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door— Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as “Nevermore.
Page 14
“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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Finished this Tenth Day of July, in the year Nineteen Hundred and Seven.