The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 71

the fire--a fact which I
attributed to its having been recently spread. About this wall a
dense crowd were collected, and many persons seemed to be examining a
particular portion of it with very minute and eager attention. The
words "strange!" "singular!" and other similar expressions, excited my
curiosity. I approached and saw, as if graven in _bas relief_ upon the
white surface, the figure of a gigantic _cat_. The impression was given
with an accuracy truly marvellous. There was a rope about the animal's

When I first beheld this apparition--for I could scarcely regard it as
less--my wonder and my terror were extreme. But at length reflection
came to my aid. The cat, I remembered, had been hung in a garden
adjacent to the house. Upon the alarm of fire, this garden had been
immediately filled by the crowd--by some one of whom the animal must
have been cut from the tree and thrown, through an open window, into my
chamber. This had probably been done with the view of arousing me
from sleep. The falling of other walls had compressed the victim of my
cruelty into the substance of the freshly-spread plaster; the lime of
which, with the flames, and the _ammonia_ from the carcass, had then
accomplished the portraiture as I saw it.

Although I thus readily accounted to my reason, if not altogether to my
conscience, for the startling fact just detailed, it did not the less
fail to make a deep impression upon my fancy. For months I could not rid
myself of the phantasm of the cat; and, during this period, there came
back into my spirit a half-sentiment that seemed, but was not, remorse.
I went so far as to regret the loss of the animal, and to look about me,
among the vile haunts which I now habitually frequented, for another pet
of the same species, and of somewhat similar appearance, with which to
supply its place.

One night as I sat, half stupified, in a den of more than infamy, my
attention was suddenly drawn to some black object, reposing upon
the head of one of the immense hogsheads of Gin, or of Rum, which
constituted the chief furniture of the apartment. I had been looking
steadily at the top of this hogshead for some minutes, and what now
caused me surprise was the fact that I had not sooner perceived the
object thereupon. I approached it, and touched it with my hand. It was
a black cat--a very large one--fully as large as Pluto, and closely
resembling him in every respect but one. Pluto had not

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Text Comparison with The Raven Illustrated

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provided by the Internet Archive THE RAVEN By Edgar Allan Poe Illustrated New York E.
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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: 0017] Then into the chamber turning, All my soul within me burning, Soon I heard again a tapping Something louder than before.
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Not the least obeisance made he; Not an instant stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, [Illustration: 8021] Perched above my chamber door-- Perched upon a bust of Pallas Just above my chamber door-- Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
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Nothing farther then he uttered; Not a feather then he fluttered-- Till I scarcely more than muttered, " Other friends have flown before-- On the morrow he will leave me, As my hopes have flown before.
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master Whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster, So when hope he would adjure, Stern despair returned, Instead of the sweet hope he dared adjure, That sad answer, "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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" "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-- [Illustration: 0032] Clasp a rare and radiant maiden Whom the angels name Lenore.
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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].