The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 84

the earth. No outlet was observed in any
portion of its vast extent, and no torch, or other artificial source of
light was discernible; yet a flood of intense rays rolled throughout,
and bathed the whole in a ghastly and inappropriate splendor.

I have just spoken of that morbid condition of the auditory nerve which
rendered all music intolerable to the sufferer, with the exception of
certain effects of stringed instruments. It was, perhaps, the narrow
limits to which he thus confined himself upon the guitar, which gave
birth, in great measure, to the fantastic character of his performances.
But the fervid _facility_ of his _impromptus_ could not be so accounted
for. They must have been, and were, in the notes, as well as in the
words of his wild fantasias (for he not unfrequently accompanied himself
with rhymed verbal improvisations), the result of that intense mental
collectedness and concentration to which I have previously alluded
as observable only in particular moments of the highest artificial
excitement. The words of one of these rhapsodies I have easily
remembered. I was, perhaps, the more forcibly impressed with it, as
he gave it, because, in the under or mystic current of its meaning, I
fancied that I perceived, and for the first time, a full consciousness
on the part of Usher, of the tottering of his lofty reason upon her
throne. The verses, which were entitled "The Haunted Palace," ran very
nearly, if not accurately, thus:

I.
In the greenest of our valleys,
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace--
Radiant palace--reared its head.
In the monarch Thought's dominion--
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair.
II.
Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow;
(This--all this--was in the olden
Time

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Text Comparison with First Project Gutenberg Collection of Edgar Allan Poe

Page 0
Eagerly I wished the morrow;--vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow--sorrow for the lost Lenore-- For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-- Nameless here for evermore.
Page 1
"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 2
" But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if its soul in that one word he did outpour 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.
Page 3
" "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!-- Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, Desolate,.
Page 4
yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted-- On this home by Horror haunted--tell me truly, I implore-- Is there--_is_ there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me, I implore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.
Page 5
But first let me tell of the rooms in which it was held.
Page 6
Now in no one of the seven apartments was there any lamp or candelabrum, amid the profusion of golden ornaments that lay scattered to and fro or depended from the roof.
Page 7
There were much glare and glitter and piquancy and phantasm--much of what has been since seen in "Hernani".
Page 8
And thus too, it happened, perhaps, that before the last echoes of the last chime had utterly sunk into silence, there were many individuals in the crowd who had found leisure to become aware of the presence of a masked figure which had arrested the attention of no single individual before.
Page 9
When the eyes of the Prince Prospero fell upon this spectral image (which, with a slow and solemn movement, as if more fully to sustain its role, stalked to and fro among the waltzers) he was seen to be convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder either of terror or distaste; but, in the next, his brow reddened with rage.
Page 10
It was then, however, that the Prince Prospero, maddening with rage and the shame of his own momentary cowardice, rushed hurriedly through the six chambers, while none followed him on account of a deadly terror that had seized upon all.
Page 11
" "My friend, no.
Page 12
Putting on a mask of black silk, and drawing a _roquelaire_ closely about my person, I suffered him to hurry me to my palazzo.
Page 13
"You jest," he exclaimed, recoiling a few paces.
Page 14
No? Then I must positively leave you.
Page 15
It was succeeded by a sad voice, which I had difficulty in recognizing as that of the noble Fortunato.
Page 16
For the half of a century no mortal has disturbed them.