The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 8

too deep or too shallow, for
the matter in hand; and many a schoolboy is a better reasoner than he. I
knew one about eight years of age, whose success at guessing in the game
of 'even and odd' attracted universal admiration. This game is simple,
and is played with marbles. One player holds in his hand a number of
these toys, and demands of another whether that number is even or odd.
If the guess is right, the guesser wins one; if wrong, he loses one. The
boy to whom I allude won all the marbles of the school. Of course he
had some principle of guessing; and this lay in mere observation and
admeasurement of the astuteness of his opponents. For example, an arrant
simpleton is his opponent, and, holding up his closed hand, asks, 'are
they even or odd?' Our schoolboy replies, 'odd,' and loses; but upon the
second trial he wins, for he then says to himself, 'the simpleton
had them even upon the first trial, and his amount of cunning is just
sufficient to make him have them odd upon the second; I will therefore
guess odd;'--he guesses odd, and wins. Now, with a simpleton a degree
above the first, he would have reasoned thus: 'This fellow finds that in
the first instance I guessed odd, and, in the second, he will propose to
himself, upon the first impulse, a simple variation from even to odd,
as did the first simpleton; but then a second thought will suggest that
this is too simple a variation, and finally he will decide upon putting
it even as before. I will therefore guess even;'--he guesses even, and
wins. Now this mode of reasoning in the schoolboy, whom his fellows
termed 'lucky,'--what, in its last analysis, is it?"

"It is merely," I said, "an identification of the reasoner's intellect
with that of his opponent."

"It is," said Dupin; "and, upon inquiring of the boy by what means he
effected the thorough identification in which his success consisted, I
received answer as follows: 'When I wish to find out how wise, or how
stupid, or how good, or how wicked is any one, or what are his thoughts
at the moment, I fashion the expression of my face, as accurately as
possible, in accordance with the expression of his, and then wait to see
what thoughts or sentiments arise in my mind or heart, as if to match or
correspond with the expression.' This response of the schoolboy lies at
the bottom of all the spurious profundity which has been attributed to
Rochefoucault, to La

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Text Comparison with Eureka: A Prose Poem

Page 3
From axioms he proceeded, logically, to results.
Page 6
Mill very properly, 'is _in no case_ to be received as a criterion of axiomatic truth.
Page 13
the one case is the identical nothing which they demonstrate in the other.
Page 17
Undoubtedly, therefore, we _should_ be warranted in assuming all that has been mentioned, but for the reflection, first, that supererogation is not presumable of any Divine Act; and, secondly, that the object supposed in view, appears as feasible when some of the conditions in question are dispensed with, in the beginning, as when all are understood immediately to exist.
Page 18
leave _it_, the tendency, free to seek its satisfaction.
Page 21
Let us now adopt a more philosophical phraseology:--_Every atom, of every body, attracts every other atom, both of its own and of every other body, with a force which varies inversely as the squares of the distances between the attracting and attracted atom.
Page 33
Gravity, then, _must be the strongest of forces_--an idea reached _a priori_ and abundantly confirmed by induction.
Page 34
Neither can a deficiency nor an excess of cause bring to pass any effect.
Page 50
A demonstration such as this--a dynamical and mathematical demonstration, as far as demonstration can be--unquestionable and unquestioned--unless, indeed, by that unprofitable and disreputable tribe, the professional questioners--the mere madmen who deny the Newtonian law of Gravity on which the results of the French mathematicians are based--a demonstration, I say, such as this, would to most intellects be conclusive--and I confess that it is so to mine--of the validity of the nebular hypothesis upon which the demonstration depends.
Page 58
When we look upward or downward--that is to say, when we cast our eyes in the direction of the letter's _thickness_--we look through fewer stars than when we cast them in the direction of its _length_, or _along_ either of the three component lines.
Page 59
looking _from_ the Galaxy, we see in the general sky, are, in fact, but a portion of that Galaxy itself, and as closely intermingled with it as any of the telescopic points in what seems the densest portion of its mass--so are the scattered "nebulae" which, on casting our eyes _from_ the Universal _belt_, we perceive at all points of the firmament--so, I say, are these scattered "nebulae" to be understood as only perspectively scattered, and as part and parcel of the one supreme and Universal _sphere_.
Page 60
My question, however, remains unanswered:--Have we any right to infer--let us say, rather, to imagine--an interminable succession of the "clusters of clusters," or of "Universes" more or less similar? I reply that the "right," in a case such as this, depends absolutely upon the hardihood of that imagination which ventures to claim the right.
Page 69
Keeping now in mind whatever feeble conception we may have attained of the interval between our Sun and 61 Cygni, let us remember that this interval, however unutterably vast, we are permitted to consider as but the _average_ interval among the countless host of stars composing that cluster, or "nebula," to which our system, as well as that of 61 Cygni, belongs.
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that the stars should be gathered into visibility from invisible nebulosity--proceed from nebulosity to consolidation--and so grow grey in giving birth and death to unspeakably numerous and complex variations of vitalic development:--it was required that the stars should do all this--should have time thoroughly to accomplish all these Divine purposes--_during the period_ in which all things were effecting their return into Unity with a velocity accumulating in the inverse proportion of the squares of the distances at which lay the inevitable End.
Page 80
The idea of a retarding ether and, through it, of a final agglomeration of all things, seemed at one time, however, to be confirmed by the observation of a positive decrease in the orbit of the solid moon.
Page 83
That every work of Divine conception must coeexist and coeexpire with its particular design, seems to me especially obvious; and I make no doubt that, on perceiving the final globe of globes to be _objectless_, the majority of my readers will be satisfied with my "_therefore_ it cannot continue to exist.
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_ Irving.
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