The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 2

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 94

I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder--there
was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand
waters--and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and
silently over the fragments of the "_House of Usher_."




SILENCE--A FABLE

ALCMAN. The mountain pinnacles slumber; valleys, crags and
caves are silent.

"LISTEN to me," said the Demon as he placed his hand upon my head. "The
region of which I speak is a dreary region in Libya, by the borders of
the river Zaire. And there is no quiet there, nor silence.

"The waters of the river have a saffron and sickly hue; and they flow
not onwards to the sea, but palpitate forever and forever beneath the
red eye of the sun with a tumultuous and convulsive motion. For many
miles on either side of the river's oozy bed is a pale desert of
gigantic water-lilies. They sigh one unto the other in that solitude,
and stretch towards the heaven their long and ghastly necks, and nod to
and fro their everlasting heads. And there is an indistinct murmur which
cometh out from among them like the rushing of subterrene water. And
they sigh one unto the other.

"But there is a boundary to their realm--the boundary of the dark,
horrible, lofty forest. There, like the waves about the Hebrides, the
low underwood is agitated continually. But there is no wind throughout
the heaven. And the tall primeval trees rock eternally hither and
thither with a crashing and mighty sound. And from their high summits,
one by one, drop everlasting dews. And at the roots strange poisonous
flowers lie writhing in perturbed slumber. And overhead, with a rustling
and loud noise, the gray clouds rush westwardly forever, until they
roll, a cataract, over the fiery wall of the horizon. But there is no
wind throughout the heaven. And by the shores of the river Zaire there
is neither quiet nor silence.

"It was night, and the rain fell; and falling, it was rain, but, having
fallen, it was blood. And I stood in the morass among the tall and the
rain fell upon my head--and the lilies sighed one unto the other in the
solemnity of their desolation.

"And, all at once, the moon arose through the thin ghastly mist, and was
crimson in color. And mine eyes fell upon a huge gray rock which stood
by the shore of the river, and was lighted by the light of the moon. And
the rock was gray, and ghastly, and tall,--and the rock was gray.

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