The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 214

over the doorway by means of
that very mineral whose presence they purported to deny. Not that the
gift of decyphering written characters--a gift among the commonalty
of that day considered little less cabalistical than the art of
inditing--could, in strict justice, have been laid to the charge of
either disciple of the sea; but there was, to say the truth, a certain
twist in the formation of the letters--an indescribable lee-lurch about
the whole--which foreboded, in the opinion of both seamen, a long run
of dirty weather; and determined them at once, in the allegorical words
of Legs himself, to “pump ship, clew up all sail, and scud before the
wind.”

Having accordingly disposed of what remained of the ale, and looped up
the points of their short doublets, they finally made a bolt for the
street. Although Tarpaulin rolled twice into the fire-place, mistaking
it for the door, yet their escape was at length happily effected--and
half after twelve o’clock found our heroes ripe for mischief, and
running for life down a dark alley in the direction of St. Andrew’s
Stair, hotly pursued by the landlady of the “Jolly Tar.”

At the epoch of this eventful tale, and periodically, for many years
before and after, all England, but more especially the metropolis,
resounded with the fearful cry of “Plague!” The city was in a great
measure depopulated--and in those horrible regions, in the vicinity of
the Thames, where amid the dark, narrow, and filthy lanes and alleys,
the Demon of Disease was supposed to have had his nativity, Awe, Terror,
and Superstition were alone to be found stalking abroad.

By authority of the king such districts were placed under ban, and all
persons forbidden, under pain of death, to intrude upon their dismal
solitude. Yet neither the mandate of the monarch, nor the huge barriers
erected at the entrances of the streets, nor the prospect of that
loathsome death which, with almost absolute certainty, overwhelmed
the wretch whom no peril could deter from the adventure, prevented the
unfurnished and untenanted dwellings from being stripped, by the hand
of nightly rapine, of every article, such as iron, brass, or lead-work,
which could in any manner be turned to a profitable account.

Above all, it was usually found, upon the annual winter opening of the
barriers, that locks, bolts, and secret cellars, had proved but
slender protection to those rich stores of wines and liquors which, in
consideration of the risk and trouble of removal, many of the numerous
dealers having shops in the neighbourhood had consented to trust, during
the period of exile, to so insufficient a security.

But

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Text Comparison with The Raven Illustrated

Page 0
[Illustration: 0013] THE RAVEN |ONCE upon a midnight dreary, While I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious Volume of forgotten lore-- While I nodded, nearly napping, Suddenly there came a tapping, As of some one gently rapping, Rapping at my chamber door.
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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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[Illustration: 0022] Then this ebony bird beguiling My sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum Of the countenance it wore, " Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, Thou," I said, " art sure no craven, Ghastly, grim and ancient Raven Wandering from the Nightly shore-- Tell me what thy lordly name is On the Night's Plutonian shore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.
Page 4
" 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.
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master Whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster, So when hope he would adjure, Stern despair returned, Instead of the sweet hope he dared adjure, That sad answer, "Nevermore.
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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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" [Illustration: 0033] Leave no black plume as a token Of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken!-- Quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and Take thy form from off my door!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.
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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].