The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 65

the sleep-waker. The eyes rolled themselves slowly open, the pupils
disappearing upwardly; the skin generally assumed a cadaverous hue,
resembling not so much parchment as white paper; and the circular hectic
spots which, hitherto, had been strongly defined in the centre of each
cheek, went out at once. I use this expression, because the
suddenness of their departure put me in mind of nothing so much as the
extinguishment of a candle by a puff of the breath. The upper lip,
at the same time, writhed itself away from the teeth, which it had
previously covered completely; while the lower jaw fell with an audible
jerk, leaving the mouth widely extended, and disclosing in full view the
swollen and blackened tongue. I presume that no member of the party
then present had been unaccustomed to death-bed horrors; but so hideous
beyond conception was the appearance of M. Valdemar at this moment, that
there was a general shrinking back from the region of the bed.

I now feel that I have reached a point of this narrative at which every
reader will be startled into positive disbelief. It is my business,
however, simply to proceed.

There was no longer the faintest sign of vitality in M. Valdemar; and
concluding him to be dead, we were consigning him to the charge of the
nurses, when a strong vibratory motion was observable in the tongue.
This continued for perhaps a minute. At the expiration of this period,
there issued from the distended and motionless jaws a voice--such as it
would be madness in me to attempt describing. There are, indeed, two or
three epithets which might be considered as applicable to it in part; I
might say, for example, that the sound was harsh, and broken and hollow;
but the hideous whole is indescribable, for the simple reason that no
similar sounds have ever jarred upon the ear of humanity. There were two
particulars, nevertheless, which I thought then, and still think, might
fairly be stated as characteristic of the intonation--as well adapted to
convey some idea of its unearthly peculiarity. In the first place, the
voice seemed to reach our ears--at least mine--from a vast distance,
or from some deep cavern within the earth. In the second place, it
impressed me (I fear, indeed, that it will be impossible to make myself
comprehended) as gelatinous or glutinous matters impress the sense of

I have spoken both of "sound" and of "voice." I mean to say that
the sound was one of distinct--of even wonderfully, thrillingly
distinct--syllabification. M. Valdemar spoke--obviously in reply to the
question I had propounded to him

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Text Comparison with Le Corbeau = The Raven

Page 0
_ Ah, distinctly I remember, it was in the bleak December, And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Page 1
_Mon âme devint subitement plus forte et, n'hésitant davantage «Monsieur, dis-je, ou Madame, j'implore véritablement votre pardon; mais le fait est que je somnolais et vous vîntes si doucement frapper, et si faiblement vous vîntes heurter, heurter à la porte de ma chambre, que j'étais à peine sûr de vous avoir entendu.
Page 2
_ Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping, somewhat louder than before, "Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-- Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore;-- 'Tis the wind and nothing more.
Page 3
" _Alors cet oiseau d'ébène induisant ma triste imagination au sourire, par le grave et sévère décorum de la contenance qu'il eut: «Quoique ta crête soit chue et rase, non! dis-je, tu n'es pas pour sûr un poltron, spectral, lugubre et ancien Corbeau, errant loin du rivage de Nuit--dis-moi quel est ton nom seigneurial au rivage plutonien de Nuit.
Page 4
d'à-propos; car on ne peut s'empêcher de convenir que nul homme vivant n'eût encore l'heur de voir un oiseau au-dessus de la porte de sa chambre--un oiseau ou toute autre bête sur le buste sculpté, au-dessus de la porte de sa chambre, avec un nom tel que: «Jamais plus.
Page 5
_ Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer, Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
Page 6
» Le Corbeau dit: «Jamais plus!»_ "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 saintly maiden whom the angels name Lenore-- Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.
Page 7
chagrin chargée si, dans le distant Eden, elle doit embrasser une jeune fille sanctifiée que les anges nomment Lénore--embrasser une rare et rayonnante jeune fille que les anges nomment Lénore.