The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 171

which is not now visibly before me. Where were the
souls of the haughty family of the bride, when, through thirst of gold,
they permitted to pass the threshold of an apartment so bedecked, a
maiden and a daughter so beloved? I have said that I minutely remember
the details of the chamber--yet I am sadly forgetful on topics of deep
moment--and here there was no system, no keeping, in the fantastic
display, to take hold upon the memory. The room lay in a high turret of
the castellated abbey, was pentagonal in shape, and of capacious
size. Occupying the whole southern face of the pentagon was the sole
window--an immense sheet of unbroken glass from Venice--a single pane,
and tinted of a leaden hue, so that the rays of either the sun or moon,
passing through it, fell with a ghastly lustre on the objects within.
Over the upper portion of this huge window, extended the trellice-work
of an aged vine, which clambered up the massy walls of the turret. The
ceiling, of gloomy-looking oak, was excessively lofty, vaulted, and
elaborately fretted with the wildest and most grotesque specimens of a
semi-Gothic, semi-Druidical device. From out the most central recess of
this melancholy vaulting, depended, by a single chain of gold with long
links, a huge censer of the same metal, Saracenic in pattern, and with
many perforations so contrived that there writhed in and out of them,
as if endued with a serpent vitality, a continual succession of
parti-colored fires.

Some few ottomans and golden candelabra, of Eastern figure, were in
various stations about--and there was the couch, too--bridal couch--of
an Indian model, and low, and sculptured of solid ebony, with a
pall-like canopy above. In each of the angles of the chamber stood on
end a gigantic sarcophagus of black granite, from the tombs of the kings
over against Luxor, with their aged lids full of immemorial sculpture.
But in the draping of the apartment lay, alas! the chief phantasy of
all. The lofty walls, gigantic in height--even unproportionably
so--were hung from summit to foot, in vast folds, with a heavy and
massive-looking tapestry--tapestry of a material which was found alike
as a carpet on the floor, as a covering for the ottomans and the
ebony bed, as a canopy for the bed, and as the gorgeous volutes of the
curtains which partially shaded the window. The material was the richest
cloth of gold. It was spotted all over, at irregular intervals, with
arabesque figures, about a foot in diameter, and wrought upon the cloth
in patterns of the most jetty black. But these

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Text Comparison with The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition

Page 0
The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition [Illustration] [Illustration: _Copyright 1906 by The Harwell-Evans Co.
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” The Philosophy of Composition.
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I have often thought how interesting a magazine paper might be written by any author who would—that is to say who could—detail, step by step, the processes by which any one of his compositions attained its ultimate point of completion.
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In general, suggestions, having arisen pell-mell, are pursued and forgotten in a similar manner.
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That pleasure which is at once the most intense, the most elevating, and the most pure, is, I believe, found in the contemplation of the beautiful.
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As commonly used, the refrain, or burden, not only is limited to lyric verse, but depends for its impression upon the force of monotone—both in sound and thought.
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Since its application was to be repeatedly varied, it was clear that the refrain itself must be brief, for there would have been an insurmountable difficulty in frequent variations of application in any sentence of length.
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” I had now to combine the two ideas, of a lover lamenting his deceased mistress and a Raven continuously repeating the word “Nevermore.
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Less pedantically—the feet employed throughout (trochees) consist of a long syllable followed by a short: the first line of the stanza consists of eight of these feet—the.
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For this the most natural suggestion might seem to be a forest, or the fields—but it has always appeared to me that a close circumscription of space is absolutely necessary to the effect of insulated incident: it has the force of a frame to a picture.
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” This revolution of thought, or fancy, on the lover’s part, is intended to induce a similar one on the part of the reader—to bring the mind into a proper frame for the dénouement—which is now brought about as rapidly and as directly as possible.
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But in subjects so handled, however skilfully, or with however vivid an array of incident, there is always a certain hardness or nakedness which repels the artistical eye.
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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.
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[Illustration] Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
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” [Illustration: _Copyright 1906 by The Harwell-Evans Co.
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