The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 54

would explain yourself, Mr. Vankirk.

_V._ I am willing to do so, but it requires more effort than I feel able
to make. You do not question me properly.

_P._ What then shall I ask?

_V._ You must begin at the beginning.

_P._ The beginning! but where is the beginning?

_V._ You know that the beginning is GOD. [_This was said in a low,
fluctuating tone, and with every sign of the most profound veneration_.]

_P._ What then is God?

_V._ [_Hesitating for many minutes._] I cannot tell.

_P._ Is not God spirit?

_V._ While I was awake I knew what you meant by "spirit," but now it
seems only a word--such for instance as truth, beauty--a quality, I

_P._ Is not God immaterial?

_V._ There is no immateriality--it is a mere word. That which is not
matter, is not at all--unless qualities are things.

_P._ Is God, then, material?

_V._ No. [_This reply startled me very much._]

_P._ What then is he?

_V._ [_After a long pause, and mutteringly._] I see--but it is a thing
difficult to tell. [_Another long pause._] He is not spirit, for
he exists. Nor is he matter, as _you understand it_. But there are
_gradations_ of matter of which man knows nothing; the grosser impelling
the finer, the finer pervading the grosser. The atmosphere, for example,
impels the electric principle, while the electric principle permeates
the atmosphere. These gradations of matter increase in rarity
or fineness, until we arrive at a matter _unparticled_--without
particles--indivisible--_one_ and here the law of impulsion and
permeation is modified. The ultimate, or unparticled matter, not only
permeates all things but impels all things--and thus _is_ all things
within itself. This matter is God. What men attempt to embody in the
word "thought," is this matter in motion.

_P._ The metaphysicians maintain that all action is reducible to motion
and thinking, and that the latter is the origin of the former.

_V._ Yes; and I now see the confusion of idea. Motion is the action
of _mind_--not of _thinking_. The unparticled matter, or God, in
quiescence, is (as nearly as we can conceive it) what men call mind. And
the power of self-movement (equivalent in effect to human volition) is,
in the unparticled matter, the result of its unity and omniprevalence;
_how_ I know not, and now clearly see that I shall never know. But the
unparticled matter, set in motion by a law, or quality, existing within
itself, is thinking.

_P._ Can you give me no more precise idea of what you term the
unparticled matter?

_V._ The matters of which man is cognizant, escape the senses in
gradation. We have, for example, a

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Text Comparison with The Bells, and Other Poems

Page 5
But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we-- Of many far wiser than we-- And neither the angels in heaven above, Nor the demons down under the sea, Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
Page 6
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, "'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-- Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;-- This it is, and nothing more.
Page 7
" 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 blest with seeing bird above his chamber door-- Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as "Nevermore.
Page 8
" "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil--prophet still, if bird or devil! By that Heaven that bends above us--by that God we both adore-- Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore-- Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.
Page 10
_TO HELEN_ [Helen was Mrs.
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 14
length of tress, And this all solemn silentness! The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep, Which is enduring, so be deep! Heaven have her in its sacred keep! This chamber changed for one more holy, This bed for one more melancholy, I pray to God that she may lie For ever with unopened eye, While the pale sheeted ghosts go by! My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep As it is lasting, so be deep! Soft may the worms about her creep! Far in the forest, dim and old, For her may some tall vault unfold-- Some vault that oft has flung its black And wingèd panels fluttering back, Triumphant, o'er the crested palls, Of her grand family funerals-- Some sepulchre, remote, alone, Against whose portal she hath thrown, In childhood, many an idle stone-- Some tomb from out whose sounding door She ne'er shall force an echo more, Thrilling to think, poor child of sin! It was the dead who groaned within.
Page 15
" Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her, And tempted her out of her gloom-- And conquered her scruples and gloom; And we passed to the end of the vista, .
Page 16
And when an hour with calmer wings Its down upon my spirit flings-- That little time with lyre and rhyme To while away--forbidden things! My heart would feel to be a crime Unless it trembled with the strings.
Page 20
And fell on gardens of the unforgiven In Trebizond--and on a sunny flower So like its own above that, to this hour, It still remaineth, torturing the bee With madness, and unwonted reverie: In Heaven, and all its environs, the leaf And blossom of the fairy plant in grief Disconsolate linger--grief that hangs her head, Repenting follies that full long have fled, Heaving her white breast to the balmy air, Like guilty beauty, chasten'd and more fair: Nyctanthes too, as sacred as the light She fears to perfume, perfuming the night: And Clytia, pondering between many a sun, While pettish tears adown her petals run: And that aspiring flower that sprang on Earth, And died, ere scarce exalted into birth, Bursting its odorous heart in spirit to wing Its way to Heaven, from garden of a king: And Valisnerian lotus, thither flown From struggling with the waters of the Rhone: And thy most lovely purple perfume, Zante! Isola d'oro!--Fior di Levante! And the Nelumbo bud that floats for ever With Indian Cupid down the holy river-- Fair flowers, and fairy! to whose care is given To bear the Goddess' song, in odours, up to Heaven "Spirit! thou dwellest where, In the deep sky, The terrible and fair, In beauty vie! Beyond the line of blue-- The boundary of the star Which turneth at the view Of thy barrier and thy bar-- Of the barrier overgone By the comets who were cast From their pride and from their throne To be drudges till the last-- To be carriers of fire (The red fire of their heart) With speed that may not tire And with pain that shall not part-- Who livest--_that_ we know-- In Eternity--we feel-- But the shadow of whose brow What spirit shall reveal? Tho' the beings whom thy Nesace, Thy messenger hath known Have dream'd for thy Infinity A model of.
Page 24
Thou hast bound many eyes In a dreamy sleep-- But the strains still arise Which _thy_ vigilance keep-- The sound of the rain, Which leaps down to the flower-- And dances again In the rhythm of the shower-- The murmur that springs From the growing of grass Are the music of things-- But are modell'd, alas!-- Away, then, my dearest, Oh! hie thee away To the springs that lie clearest Beneath the moon-ray-- To lone lake that smiles, In its dream of deep rest, At the many star-isles That enjewel its breast-- Where wild flowers, creeping, Have mingled their shade, On its margin is sleeping Full many a maid-- Some have left the cool glade, and Have slept with the bee-- Arouse them, my maiden, On moorland and lea-- Go! breathe on their slumber, All softly in ear, Thy musical number They slumbered to hear-- For what can awaken An angel so soon, Whose sleep hath been taken Beneath the cold moon, As the spell which no slumber Of witchery may test, The rhythmical number Which lull'd him to rest?" Spirits in wing, and angels to the view, A thousand seraphs burst th' Empyrean thro' Young dreams still hovering on their drowsy flight-- Seraphs in all but "Knowledge," the keen.
Page 27
Page 28
_CATHOLIC HYMN_ At morn--at noon--at twilight dim-- Maria! thou hast heard my hymn! In joy and woe--in good and ill-- Mother of God, be with me still! When the hours flew brightly by, And not a cloud obscured the sky, My soul, lest it should truant be, Thy grace did guide to thine and thee; Now, when storms of Fate o'ercast Darkly my Present and my Past, Let my.
Page 29
] 1 In youth have I known one with whom the Earth In secret communing held--as he with it, In daylight, and in beauty from his birth: Whose.
Page 30
Now are thoughts thou shalt not banish, Now are visions ne'er to vanish; From thy spirit shall they pass No more, like dew-drop from the grass.
Page 31
_ In Heaven a spirit doth dwell "Whose heart-strings are a lute;" None sing so wildly well As the angel Israfel, And the giddy Stars (so legends tell) Ceasing their hymns, attend the spell Of his voice, all mute.
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We rule the hearts of mightiest men--we rule With a despotic sway all giant minds.
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Forgetting, or never Regretting its roses-- Its old agitations Of myrtles and roses; For now, while so quietly Lying, it fancies A holier odour About it, of pansies-- A rosemary odour, Commingled with pansies-- With rue and the beautiful Puritan pansies.
Page 37
I was ambitious--have you known The passion, father? You have not: A cottager, I mark'd a throne Of half the world as all my own, And murmur'd at such lowly lot-- But, just like any other dream, Upon the vapour of the dew My own had past, did not the beam Of beauty which did.
Page 39
And boyhood is a summer sun Whose waning is the dreariest one-- For all we live to know is known, And all we seek to keep hath flown-- Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall With the noon-day beauty--which is all.