The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 3

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 66

entirely through it, being clinched on the
inside, were drawn every one of them completely out of the solid wood.

We had scarcely time to draw breath after the violence of this shock,
when one of the most tremendous waves I had then ever known broke right
on board of us, sweeping the companion-way clear off, bursting in the
hatchways, and filling every inch of the vessel with water.


LUCKILY, just before night, all four of us had lashed ourselves firmly
to the fragments of the windlass, lying in this manner as flat upon the
deck as possible. This precaution alone saved us from destruction. As
it was, we were all more or less stunned by the immense weight of water
which tumbled upon us, and which did not roll from above us until we
were nearly exhausted. As soon as I could recover breath, I called aloud
to my companions. Augustus alone replied, saying: “It is all over with
us, and may God have mercy upon our souls!” By-and-by both the others
were enabled to speak, when they exhorted us to take courage, as there
was still hope; it being impossible, from the nature of the cargo, that
the brig could go down, and there being every chance that the gale would
blow over by the morning. These words inspired me with new life; for,
strange as it may seem, although it was obvious that a vessel with a
cargo of empty oil-casks would not sink, I had been hitherto so confused
in mind as to have overlooked this consideration altogether; and the
danger which I had for some time regarded as the most imminent was
that of foundering. As hope revived within me, I made use of every
opportunity to strengthen the lashings which held me to the remains
of the windlass, and in this occupation I soon discovered that my
companions were also busy. The night was as dark as it could possibly
be, and the horrible shrieking din and confusion which surrounded us it
is useless to attempt describing. Our deck lay level with the sea, or
rather we were encircled with a towering ridge of foam, a portion of
which swept over us every instant. It is not too much to say that our
heads were not fairly out of the water more than one second in three.
Although we lay close together, no one of us could see the other,
or, indeed, any portion of the brig itself, upon which we were so
tempestuously hurled about. At intervals we called one to the other,
thus endeavouring to

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Text Comparison with The Raven and The Philosophy of Composition

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Perrett The Decorations by Will Jenkins [Illustration] Paul Elder and Company San Francisco and New York Contents Foreword .
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The Philosophy of Composition The Raven ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Foreword The initial intention of the publishers to present “The Raven” without preface, notes, or other extraneous matter that might detract from an undivided appreciation of the poem, has been somewhat modified by the introduction of Poe’s prose essay, “The Philosophy of Composition.
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Keeping originality always in view—for he is false to himself who ventures to dispense with so obvious and so easily attainable a source of interest—I say to myself, in the first place, “Of the innumerable effects, or impressions, of which the heart, the intellect, or (more generally) the soul is susceptible, what one shall I, on the present occasion, select?” Having chosen a novel, first, and secondly a vivid effect, I consider whether it can be best wrought by incident or tone—whether by ordinary incidents and peculiar tone, or the converse, or by peculiarity both of incident and tone—afterward looking about me (or rather within) for such combinations of event, or tone, as shall best aid me in the construction of the effect.
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But since, ceteris paribus, no poet can afford to dispense with anything that may advance his design, it but remains to be seen whether there is, in extent, any advantage to counterbalance the loss of unity which attends it.
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It is, in fact, a hundred and eight.
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which is experienced in consequence of contemplating “the beautiful.
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This led me at once to a single word as the best refrain.
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I saw that I could make the first query propounded by the lover—the first query to which the Raven should reply “Nevermore”—that I could make this first query a commonplace one—the second less so—the third still less, and so on, until at length the lover—startled from his original nonchalance by the melancholy character of the word itself, by its frequent repetition, and by a consideration of the ominous reputation of the fowl that uttered it—is at length excited to superstition, and wildly propounds queries of a far different character—queries whose solution he has passionately at heart—propounds them half in superstition and half in that species of despair which delights in self-torture—propounds them not altogether because he believes in the prophetic or demoniac character of the bird (which, reason assures him, is merely repeating a lesson learned by rote) but because he experiences a phrenzied pleasure in so modeling his questions as to receive from the expected “Nevermore,” the most delicious because the most intolerable of sorrow.
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The extent to which this has been neglected, in versification, is one of the most unaccountable things in the world.
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The next point to be considered was the mode of bringing together the lover and the Raven—and the first branch of this consideration was the locale.
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For example, an air of the fantastic—approaching as nearly to the ludicrous as was admissible—is given to the Raven’s entrance.
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Holding these opinions, I added the two concluding stanzas of the poem—their suggestiveness being thus made to pervade all the narrative which has preceded them.
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“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door— Only this and nothing more.
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Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door— Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door— Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
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” .
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Silently corrected typographical errors.