The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 53

end had plainly forgotten his
beginning, like the government of Trinculo. In short, I was not long in
perceiving that if man is to be intellectually convinced of his own
immortality, he will never be so convinced by the mere abstractions
which have been so long the fashion of the moralists of England, of
France, and of Germany. Abstractions may amuse and exercise, but take no
hold on the mind. Here upon earth, at least, philosophy, I am persuaded,
will always in vain call upon us to look upon qualities as things. The
will may assent--the soul--the intellect, never.

"I repeat, then, that I only half felt, and never intellectually
believed. But latterly there has been a certain deepening of the
feeling, until it has come so nearly to resemble the acquiescence of
reason, that I find it difficult to distinguish between the two. I am
enabled, too, plainly to trace this effect to the mesmeric influence.
I cannot better explain my meaning than by the hypothesis that the
mesmeric exaltation enables me to perceive a train of ratiocination
which, in my abnormal existence, convinces, but which, in full
accordance with the mesmeric phenomena, does not extend, except through
its _effect_, into my normal condition. In sleep-waking, the reasoning
and its conclusion--the cause and its effect--are present together. In
my natural state, the cause vanishing, the effect only, and perhaps only
partially, remains.

"These considerations have led me to think that some good
results might ensue from a series of well-directed questions
propounded to me while mesmerized. You have often observed the profound
self-cognizance evinced by the sleep-waker--the extensive knowledge he
displays upon all points relating to the mesmeric condition itself; and
from this self-cognizance may be deduced hints for the proper conduct of
a catechism."

I consented of course to make this experiment. A few passes
threw Mr. Vankirk into the mesmeric sleep. His breathing became
immediately more easy, and he seemed to suffer no physical uneasiness.
The following conversation then ensued:--V. in the dialogue representing
the patient, and P. myself.

_ P._ Are you asleep?

_ V._ Yes--no I would rather sleep more soundly.

_P._ [_After a few more passes._] Do you sleep now?

_V._ Yes.

_P._ How do you think your present illness will result?

_V._ [_After a long hesitation and speaking as if with effort_.] I must

_P._ Does the idea of death afflict you?

_V._ [_Very quickly_.] No--no!

_P._ Are you pleased with the prospect?

_V._ If I were awake I should like to die, but now it is no matter. The
mesmeric condition is so near death as to content me.

_P._ I wish you

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Text Comparison with The Bells, and Other Poems

Page 0
----_ _To the River----_ _A Dream_ _Al Aaraaf_ _To F----s S.
Page 1
Hear the loud alarum bells-- Brazen bells! What a tale of terror, now, their turbulency tells! In the startled ear of night How they scream out their affright! Too much horrified to speak They can only shriek, shriek, Out of tune, In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire, In a mad expostulation with the deaf and frantic fire, Leaping higher, higher, higher, With a desperate desire, And a resolute endeavour.
Page 2
Hear the tolling of the bells-- Iron bells! What a world of solemn thought their monody compels! In the silence of the night, How we shiver with affright At the melancholy menace of their tone! For every sound that floats From the rust within their throats .
Page 3
Is a groan.
Page 5
_SONNET--SILENCE_ There are some qualities--some incorporate things, That have a double life, which thus is made A type of that twin entity which springs From matter and light, evinced in solid and shade.
Page 7
" Then the bird said, "Nevermore.
Page 11
What wild heart-histories seemed to lie enwritten Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres! [Illustration: To Helen] How dark a woe, yet how sublime a hope! How silently serene a sea of pride! How daring an ambition; yet how deep-- How fathomless a capacity for love! But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight, Into a western couch of thunder-cloud; And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees Didst glide away.
Page 12
And all with pearl and ruby glowing Was the fair palace door, Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing, And sparkling evermore, A troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty Was but to sing, In voices of surpassing beauty, The wit and wisdom of their king.
Page 16
But were stopped by the door of a tomb-- By the door of a legended tomb; And I said--"What is written, sweet sister, On the door of this legended tomb?" She replied--"Ulalume--Ulalume-- 'Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!" Then my heart it grew ashen and sober As the leaves that were crisped and sere-- As the leaves that were withering and sere; And I cried--"It was surely October On _this_ very night of last year That I journeyed--I journeyed down here-- That I brought a dread burden down here-- On this night of all nights in the year, Ah, what demon has tempted me here? Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber-- This misty mid region of Weir-- Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber, This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.
Page 17
And, as his strength Failed him at length, He met a pilgrim shadow-- "Shadow," said he, "Where can it be-- This land of Eldorado?" [Illustration: Eldorado] "Over the Mountains Of the Moon, Down the Valley of the Shadow, Ride, boldly ride," The shade replied-- "If you seek for Eldorado!" _TO M----_ O! I care not that my earthly lot Hath little of Earth in it, That years of love have been forgot In the fever of a minute: I heed not that the desolate Are happier, sweet, than I, But that you meddle with my fate Who am a passer by.
Page 19
All hurriedly she knelt upon a bed Of flowers: of lilies such as rear'd the head On the fair Capo Deucato, and sprang So eagerly around about to hang Upon the flying footsteps of----deep pride-- Of her who lov'd a mortal--and so died.
Page 20
erst it sham'd All other loveliness:--its honied dew (The fabled nectar that the heathen knew) Deliriously sweet, was dropp'd from Heaven.
Page 21
" Ours is a world of words: Quiet we call "Silence"--which is the merest word of all.
Page 22
From the wild energy of wanton haste Her cheeks were flushing, and her lips apart; And zone that clung around her gentle waist Had burst beneath the heaving of her heart.
Page 24
On the harmony there? Ligeia! wherever Thy image may be, No magic shall sever Thy music from thee.
Page 25
"Ianthe, dearest, see--how dim that ray! How lovely 'tis to look so far away! She seem'd not thus upon that autumn eve I left her gorgeous halls--nor mourn'd to leave.
Page 26
And the wreath is on my brow; Satin and jewels grand Are all at my command, And I am happy now.
Page 33
Not all the power is gone--not all our fame-- Not all the magic of our high renown-- Not all the wonder that encircles us-- Not all the mysteries that in us lie-- Not all the memories that hang upon And cling around about us as a garment, Clothing us in a robe of more than glory.
Page 35
let it never Be foolishly said That my room it is gloomy And narrow my bed; For man never slept In a different bed-- And, _to sleep_, you must slumber In just such a bed.
Page 37
Young Love's first lesson is--the heart: For 'mid that sunshine, and those smiles, When, from our little cares apart, And laughing at her girlish wiles, I'd throw me on her throbbing breast, And pour my spirit out in tears-- There was no need to speak the rest-- No need to quiet any fears Of her--who ask'd no reason why, But turned on me her quiet eye! Yet _more_ than worthy of the love My spirit struggled with, and strove, When, on the mountain peak, alone, Ambition lent it a new tone-- I had no being--but in thee: The world, and all it did contain In the earth--the air--the sea-- Its joy--its little lot of pain That was new pleasure--the ideal, Dim vanities of dreams by night-- And dimmer nothings which were real-- (Shadows--and a more shadowy light!) Parted upon their misty wings, And, so, confusedly, became Thine image, and--a name--a name! Two separate--yet most intimate things.