The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 43

arose partly from memory, and partly from
present observation. I called to mind the great variety of buoyant
matter that strewed the coast of Lofoden, having been absorbed and
then thrown forth by the Moskoe-stroem. By far the greater number of the
articles were shattered in the most extraordinary way--so chafed
and roughened as to have the appearance of being stuck full of
splinters--but then I distinctly recollected that there were _some_ of
them which were not disfigured at all. Now I could not account for this
difference except by supposing that the roughened fragments were the
only ones which had been _completely absorbed_--that the others had
entered the whirl at so late a period of the tide, or, for some reason,
had descended so slowly after entering, that they did not reach the
bottom before the turn of the flood came, or of the ebb, as the case
might be. I conceived it possible, in either instance, that they might
thus be whirled up again to the level of the ocean, without undergoing
the fate of those which had been drawn in more early, or absorbed more
rapidly. I made, also, three important observations. The first was,
that, as a general rule, the larger the bodies were, the more rapid
their descent--the second, that, between two masses of equal extent, the
one spherical, and the other _of any other shape_, the superiority
in speed of descent was with the sphere--the third, that, between two
masses of equal size, the one cylindrical, and the other of any other
shape, the cylinder was absorbed the more slowly. Since my escape, I
have had several conversations on this subject with an old school-master
of the district; and it was from him that I learned the use of the words
'cylinder' and 'sphere.' He explained to me--although I have forgotten
the explanation--how what I observed was, in fact, the natural
consequence of the forms of the floating fragments--and showed me how it
happened that a cylinder, swimming in a vortex, offered more resistance
to its suction, and was drawn in with greater difficulty than an equally
bulky body, of any form whatever. (*1)

"There was one startling circumstance which went a great way in
enforcing these observations, and rendering me anxious to turn them to
account, and this was that, at every revolution, we passed something
like a barrel, or else the yard or the mast of a vessel, while many of
these things, which had been on our level when I first opened my eyes
upon the wonders of the whirlpool, were now high up above us, and

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Text Comparison with The Raven Illustrated

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curtain Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic Terrors never felt before; So that now, to still the beating Of my heart, I stood repeating, "'Tis some visitor entreating Entrance at my chamber door-- Some late visitor entreating Entrance at my chamber door; This it is and nothing more.
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" [Illustration: 0020] Open here I flung the shutter, .
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" .
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" Wondering at the stillness broken By reply so aptly spoken, "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters Is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy.
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" But the Raven still beguiling All my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in Front of bird and bust and door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking What this ominous bird of yore-- What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, Gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking " Nevermore.
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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! Let me quaff this kind Nepenthe, And forget this lost Lenore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.
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" 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, .
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And the lamplight 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: 0035].