The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 29

eyeballs flashing fiercely through the gloom. I spoke to him, when he
replied with a low growl, and then remained quiet. Presently I relapsed
into my stupor, from which I was again awakened in a similar manner.
This was repeated three or four times, until finally his behaviour
inspired me with so great a degree of fear, that I became fully aroused.
He was now lying close by the door of the box, snarling fearfully,
although in a kind of undertone, and grinding his teeth as if strongly
convulsed. I had no doubt whatever that the want of water or the
confined atmosphere of the hold had driven him mad, and I was at a loss
what course to pursue. I could not endure the thought of killing him,
yet it seemed absolutely necessary for my own safety. I could distinctly
perceive his eyes fastened upon me with an expression of the most deadly
animosity, and I expected every instant that he would attack me. At last
I could endure my terrible situation no longer, and determined to make
my way from the box at all hazards, and dispatch him, if his opposition
should render it necessary for me to do so. To get out, I had to
pass directly over his body, and he already seemed to anticipate my
design--missing himself upon his fore-legs (as I perceived by the
altered position of his eyes), and displayed the whole of his white
fangs, which were easily discernible. I took the remains of the
ham-skin, and the bottle containing the liqueur, and secured them about
my person, together with a large carving-knife which Augustus had left
me--then, folding my cloak around me as closely as possible, I made a
movement toward the mouth of the box. No sooner did I do this, than the
dog sprang with a loud growl toward my throat. The whole weight of his
body struck me on the right shoulder, and I fell violently to the left,
while the enraged animal passed entirely over me. I had fallen upon my
knees, with my head buried among the blankets, and these protected
me from a second furious assault, during which I felt the sharp teeth
pressing vigorously upon the woollen which enveloped my neck--yet,
luckily, without being able to penetrate all the folds. I was now
beneath the dog, and a few moments would place me completely in his
power. Despair gave me strength, and I rose boldly up, shaking him from
me by main force, and dragging with me the blankets from the mattress.
These I now threw over him,

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Text Comparison with The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition

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_ _Lenore_ ] [Illustration] The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition By Edgar Allan Poe Quarto Photogravure Edition Illustrated from Paintings by Galen J.
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” If any justification were necessary, it is to be found both in the unique literary interest of the essay, and in the fact that it is (or purports to be) a frank exposition of the modus operandi by which “The Raven” was written.
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I prefer commencing with the consideration of an effect.
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What we term a long poem is, in fact, merely a succession of brief ones—that is.
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to say, of brief poetical effects.
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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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The question now arose as to the character of the word.
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“And when,” I said, “is this most melancholy of topics most poetical?” From what I have already explained at some length, the answer, here also, is obvious—“When it most closely allies itself to Beauty: the death, then, of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world—and equally is it beyond doubt that the lips best suited for such topic are those of a bereaved lover.
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Here, then, the poem may be said to have its beginning—at the end, where all works of art should begin—for it was here, at this point of my pre-considerations, that I first put pen to paper in the composition of the stanza: “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— Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.
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The idea of making the lover suppose, in the first instance, that the flapping of the wings of the bird against the shutter is a “tapping” at the door, originated in a wish to increase, by prolonging, the reader’s curiosity, and in a desire to admit the incidental effect arising from the lover’s throwing open the door, finding all dark, and thence adopting the half-fancy that it was the spirit of his mistress that knocked.
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He comes in “with many a flirt and flutter.
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” It will be observed that the words, “from out my heart,” involve the first metaphorical expression in the poem.
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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] But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
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_] [Illustration] Startled 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 master whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore— Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore Of ‘Never—nevermore.
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