The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 197

of so fascinating a woman, had upon my
excitable mind.

Having thus scrutinized me for perhaps a quarter of an hour, the fair
object of my passion addressed the gentleman who attended her, and
while she spoke, I saw distinctly, by the glances of both, that the
conversation had reference to myself.

Upon its conclusion, Madame Lalande again turned toward the stage, and,
for a few minutes, seemed absorbed in the performance. At the expiration
of this period, however, I was thrown into an extremity of agitation by
seeing her unfold, for the second time, the eye-glass which hung at her
side, fully confront me as before, and, disregarding the renewed buzz
of the audience, survey me, from head to foot, with the same miraculous
composure which had previously so delighted and confounded my soul.

This extraordinary behavior, by throwing me into a perfect fever of
excitement--into an absolute delirium of love--served rather to embolden
than to disconcert me. In the mad intensity of my devotion, I forgot
everything but the presence and the majestic loveliness of the vision
which confronted my gaze. Watching my opportunity, when I thought the
audience were fully engaged with the opera, I at length caught the eyes
of Madame Lalande, and, upon the instant, made a slight but unmistakable

She blushed very deeply--then averted her eyes--then slowly and
cautiously looked around, apparently to see if my rash action had been
noticed--then leaned over toward the gentleman who sat by her side.

I now felt a burning sense of the impropriety I had committed, and
expected nothing less than instant exposure; while a vision of pistols
upon the morrow floated rapidly and uncomfortably through my brain.
I was greatly and immediately relieved, however, when I saw the lady
merely hand the gentleman a play-bill, without speaking, but the reader
may form some feeble conception of my astonishment--of my profound
amazement--my delirious bewilderment of heart and soul--when, instantly
afterward, having again glanced furtively around, she allowed her bright
eyes to set fully and steadily upon my own, and then, with a faint
smile, disclosing a bright line of her pearly teeth, made two distinct,
pointed, and unequivocal affirmative inclinations of the head.

It is useless, of course, to dwell upon my joy--upon my transport--upon
my illimitable ecstasy of heart. If ever man was mad with excess of
happiness, it was myself at that moment. I loved. This was my first
love--so I felt it to be. It was love supreme--indescribable. It was
“love at first sight;” and at first sight, too, it had been appreciated
and returned.

Yes, returned. How and why should I doubt it

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Text Comparison with The Raven Illustrated

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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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Deep into that darkness peering, Long I stood there, wondering, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals Ever dared to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, And the darkness gave no token, And the only word there spoken Was the whispered word, "Lenore?" This I whispered, and an echo Murmured back the word, "Lenore!" Merely this and nothing more.
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" .
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" Wondering at the stillness broken By reply so aptly spoken, "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters Is its only stock and store, Caught from some unhappy.
Page 5
" This I sat engaged in guessing, But no syllable expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now Burned into my bosom's core; This and more I sat divining, With my head at ease reclining On the cushion's velvet lining That the lamplight gloated o'er, But.
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whose velvet violet lining, With the lamplight gloating o'er, _She_ shall press, ah, nevermore! [Illustration: 0026] [Illustration: 0027] Then methought the air grew denser, Perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by angels whose faint footfalls Tinkled on the tufted floor.
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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].