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The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
The haunted palace
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The haunted palace

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  • 1. Edgar Allan Poe(1809-1849) In voices of surpassing beauty, From the red cliff of the mountain, The wit and wisdom of their king. From the sun that round me rolledThe Haunted Palace(1839) In its autumn tint of gold, But evil things, in robes of sorrow, From the lightning in the skyIn the greenest of our valleys Assailed the monarchs high estate. (Ah, let us mourn!-for never morrow As it passed me flying by,By good angels tenanted, Shall dawn upon him desolate!) From the thunder and the storm,Once a fair and stately palace- And round about his home the glory And the cloud that took the formRadiant palace-reared its head. That blushed and bloomed, (When the rest of Heaven was blue)In the monarch Thoughts dominion- Is but a dim-remembered story Of a demon in my view.It stood there! Of the old time entombed.Never seraph spread a pinion The RavenOver fabric half so fair! And travellers, now, within that valley, Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, Through the red-litten windows see weak and weary,Banners yellow, glorious, golden, Vast forms, that move fantastically Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgottenOn its roof did float and flow, To a discordant melody, lore,(This-all this-was in the olden While, like a ghastly rapid river, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there Through the pale door came a tapping,Time long ago,) A hideous throng rush out forever As of some one gently rapping, rapping at myAnd every gentle air that dallied, And laugh-but smile no more. chamber door.In that sweet day, "Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at myAlong the ramparts plumed and pallid, chamber door -A winged odor went away. Alone Only this, and nothing more."Wanderers in that happy valley, From childhoods hour I have not been Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleakThrough two luminous windows, saw As others were; I have not seen December,Spirits moving musically, As others saw; I could not bring And each separate dying ember wrought its ghostTo a lutes well-tuned law, upon the floor. My passions from a common spring.Round about a throne where, sitting Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to From the same source I have not taken(Porphyrogene!) borrowIn state his glory well-befitting, My sorrow; I could not awaken From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for theThe ruler of the realm was seen. My heart to joy at the same tone; lost Lenore - And all I loved, I loved alone. For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels Then- in my childhood, in the dawn name Lenore -And all with pearl and ruby glowing Nameless here for evermore.Was the fair palace door, Of a most stormy life- was drawnThrough which came flowing, flowing, flowing, From every depth of good and ill And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purpleAnd sparkling evermore, The mystery which binds me still: curtainA troop of Echoes, whose sweet duty From the torrent, or the fountain, Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors neverWas but to sing,
  • 2. felt before; explore -So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust,repeating, explore; - spoke only"Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my Tis the wind and nothing more." That one word, as if his soul in that one word he didchamber door - outpour.Some late visitor entreating entrance at my Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather thenchamber door; - flirt and flutter, he fluttered -This it is, and nothing more." In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends of yore; have flown before -Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes havelonger, stopped or stayed he; flown before.""Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my Then the bird said, "Nevermore."implore; chamber door -But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptlyrapping, chamber door - spoken,And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my Perched, and sat, and nothing more. "Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stockchamber door, and store,That I scarce was sure I heard you"- here I opened Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into Caught from some unhappy master whomwide the door; - smiling, unmerciful DisasterDarkness there, and nothing more. By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one it wore. burden bore -Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burdenwondering, fearing, said, "art sure no craven, boreDoubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Of Never - nevermore."to dream before; Nightly shore -But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Nights But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy intono token, Plutonian shore!" smiling,And the only word there spoken was the whispered Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird,word, "Lenore?" and bust and door;This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself toword, "Lenore!" - discourse so plainly, linkingMerely this, and nothing more. Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of bore; yore -Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me For we cannot help agreeing that no living human What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt andburning, being ominous bird of yoreSoon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his Meant in croaking "Nevermore."before. chamber door -"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllablewindow lattice: chamber door, expressingLet me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery With such name as "Nevermore." To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my
  • 3. bosoms core; name Lenore - It was down by the dank tarn of Auber,This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.Zreclining name Lenore."On the cushions velvet lining that the lamplight Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." Here once, through and alley Titanic,gloated oer,But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight "Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I Of cypress, I roamed with my Soul -gloating oer, shrieked, upstarting - Of cypress, with Psyche, my Soul.She shall press, ah, nevermore! "Get thee back into the tempest and the Nights These were days when my heart was volcanic Plutonian shore! As the scoriac rivers that roll -Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul As the lavas that restlessly rollfrom an unseen censer hath spoken! Their sulphurous currents down YaanekSwung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the Leave my loneliness unbroken!- quit the bust above In the ultimate climes of the pole -tufted floor. my door!"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee - by these Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form That groan as they roll down Mount Yaanekangels he hath sent thee from off my door!" In the realms of the boreal pole.Respite - respite and nepenthe, from thy memories Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."of Lenore: Our talk had been serious and sober,Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is But our thoughts they were palsied and sere -lost Lenore!" sitting Our memories were treacherous and sere, -Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber For we knew not the month was October, door;"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird And his eyes have all the seeming of a demons that And we marked not the night of the yearor devil! - is dreaming, (Ah, night of all nights in the year!) -Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed And the lamplight oer him streaming throws his We noted not the dim lake of Auberthee here ashore, shadow on the floor; (Though once we had journeyed down here) -Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating Remembered not the dank tarn of Auber,enchanted - on the floor Nor the ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir.On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I Shall be lifted - nevermore!implore -Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I And now, as the night was senescentimplore!" Ulalume And star-dials pointed to morn -Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." As the star-dials hinted of morn - The skies they were ashen and sober; At the end of our path a liquescent"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil - prophet still, if bird The leaves they were crisped and sere - And nebulous lustre was born,or devil! The leaves they were withering and sere; Out of which a miraculous crescentBy that Heaven that bends above us - by that God It was night in the lonesome Octoberwe both adore - Arose with a duplicate horn - Of my most immemorial year: Astartes bediamonded crescentTell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distantAidenn, It was hard by the dim lake of Auber, Distinct with its duplicate horn.It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels In the misty mid region of Weir -
  • 4. And I said: "She is warmer than Dian; Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow! HowShe rolls through an ether of sighs - Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her, is it that from beauty I have derived a type ofShe revels in a region of sighs: And tempted her out of her gloom - unloveliness? - from the covenant of peace, a simile of sorrow? But as, in ethics, evil is a consequence ofShe has seen that the tears are not dry on And conquered her scruples and gloom; good, so, in fact, out of joy is sorrow born. Either theThese cheeks, where the worm never dies, And we passed to the end of the vista, memory of past bliss is the anguish of to-day, or theAnd has come past the stars of the Lion But were stopped by the door of a tomb - agonies which are, have their origin in the ecstasiesTo point us the path to the skies - By the door of a legended tomb; which might have been .To the Lethean peace of the skies - And I said: "What is written, sweet sister,Come up, in despite of the Lion, On the door of this legended tomb?" My baptismal name is Egaeus; that of my family ITo shine on us with her bright eyes - She replied: "Ulalume -Ulalume - will not mention. Yet there are no towers in the landCome up through the lair of the Lion, Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!" more time-honored than my gloomy, gray,With love in her luminous eyes." hereditary halls. Our line has been called a race of visionaries; and in many striking particulars - in the Then my heart it grew ashen and sober character of the family mansion - in the frescos ofBut Psyche, uplifting her finger, As the leaves that were crisped and sere - the chief saloon - in the tapestries of the dormitoriesSaid: "Sadly this star I mistrust - As the leaves that were withering and sere; - in the chiselling of some buttresses in the armory -Her pallor I strangely mistrust: And I cried: "It was surely October but more especially in the gallery of antiqueAh, hasten! -ah, let us not linger! On this very night of last year paintings - in the fashion of the library chamber -Ah, fly! -let us fly! -for we must." That I journeyed -I journeyed down here! - and, lastly, in the very peculiar nature of the librarys contents - there is more than sufficient evidence toIn terror she spoke, letting sink her That I brought a dread burden down here - warrant the belief.Wings until they trailed in the dust - On this night of all nights in the year,In agony sobbed, letting sink her Ah, what demon hath tempted me here? The recollections of my earliest years are connectedPlumes till they trailed in the dust - Well I know, now, this dim lake of Auber - with that chamber, and with its volumes - of whichTill they sorrowfully trailed in the dust. This misty mid region of Weir - latter I will say no more. Here died my mother. Well I know, now, this dank tarn of Auber, Herein was I born. But it is mere idleness to say thatI replied: "This is nothing but dreaming: This ghoul-haunted woodland of Weir." I had not lived before - that the soul has no previousLet us on by this tremulous light! existence. You deny it? - let us not argue the matter.Let us bathe in this crystalline light! Berenice Convinced myself, I seek not to convince. There is, however, a remembrance of aerial forms - ofIts Sybilic splendour is beaming Dicebant mihi sodales, si sepulchrum amicae spiritual and meaning eyes - of sounds, musical yetWith Hope and in Beauty tonight! - sad - a remembrance which will not be excluded; a visitarem, curas meas aliquantulum forelevatas.-See! -it flickers up the sky through the night! memory like a shadow - vague, variable, indefinite, Ebn Zaiat .Ah, we safely may trust to its gleaming, unsteady; and like a shadow, too, in theAnd be sure it will lead us aright - impossibility of my getting rid of it while the sunlight MISERY is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is of my reason shall exist.We safely may trust to a gleaming, multiform. Overreaching the wide horizon as theThat cannot but guide us aright, rainbow, its hues are as various as the hues of thatSince it flickers up to Heaven through the night." arch - as distinct too, yet as intimately blended.
  • 5. In that chamber was I born. Thus awaking from the should not be told. Disease - a fatal disease, fell like To muse for long unwearied hours, with mylong night of what seemed, but was not, nonentity, the simoon upon her frame; and, even while I gazed attention riveted to some frivolous device on theat once into the very regions of fairy land - into a upon her, the spirit of change swept over her, margin, or in the typography of a book; to becomepalace of imagination - into the wild dominions of pervading her mind, her habits, and her character, absorbed, for the better part of a summers day, in amonastic thought and erudition - it is not singular and, in a manner the most subtle and terrible, quaint shadow falling aslant upon the tapestry orthat I gazed around me with a startled and ardent disturbing even the identity of her person! Alas! the upon the floor; to lose myself, for an entire night, ineye - that I loitered away my boyhood in books, and destroyer came and went! - and the victim -where is watching the steady flame of a lamp, or the embersdissipated my youth in reverie; but it is singular that she? I knew her not - or knew her no longer as of a fire; to dream away whole days over theas years rolled away, and the noon of manhood Berenice. perfume of a flower; to repeat, monotonously, somefound me still in the mansion of my fathers - it is common word, until the sound, by dint of frequentwonderful what stagnation there fell upon the Among the numerous train of maladies repetition, ceased to convey any idea whatever tosprings of my life - wonderful how total an inversion superinduced by that fatal and primary one which the mind; to lose all sense of motion or physicaltook place in the character of my commonest effected a revolution of so horrible a kind in the existence, by means of absolute bodily quiescencethought. The realities of the world affected me as moral and physical being of my cousin, may be long and obstinately persevered in: such were a fewvisions, and as visions only, while the wild ideas of mentioned as the most distressing and obstinate in of the most common and least pernicious vagariesthe land of dreams became, in turn, not the material its nature, a species of epilepsy not unfrequently induced by a condition of the mental faculties, not,of my every-day existence, but in very deed that terminating in trance itself - trance very nearly indeed, altogether unparalleled, but certainlyexistence utterly and solely in itself. resembling positive dissolution, and from which her bidding defiance to anything like analysis or manner of recovery was in most instances, explanation.* * * * * * * startlingly abrupt. In the mean time my own disease - for I have been told that I should call it by no other Yet let me not be misapprehended. The undue,Berenice and I were cousins, and we grew up appellation - my own disease, then, grew rapidly earnest, and morbid attention thus excited bytogether in my paternal halls. Yet differently we upon me, and assumed finally a monomaniac objects in their own nature frivolous, must not begrew - I, ill of health, and buried in gloom - she, character of a novel and extraordinary form - hourly confounded in character with that ruminatingagile, graceful, and overflowing with energy; hers, and momently gaining vigor - and at length propensity common to all mankind, and morethe ramble on the hill-side - mine the studies of the obtaining over me the most incomprehensible especially indulged in by persons of ardentcloister; I, living within my own heart, and addicted, ascendancy. This monomania, if I must so term it, imagination. It was not even, as might be at firstbody and soul, to the most intense and painful consisted in a morbid irritability of those properties supposed, an extreme condition, or exaggeration ofmeditation - she, roaming carelessly through life, of the mind in metaphysical science termed the such propensity, but primarily and essentiallywith no thought of the shadows in her path, or the attentive. It is more than probable that I am not distinct and different. In the one instance, thesilent flight of the raven-winged hours. Berenice! -I understood; but I fear, indeed, that it is in no dreamer, or enthusiast, being interested by ancall upon her name - Berenice! - and from the gray manner possible to convey to the mind of the object usually not frivolous, imperceptibly losesruins of memory a thousand tumultuous merely general reader, an adequate idea of that sight of this object in a wilderness of deductions andrecollections are startled at the sound! Ah, vividly is nervous intensity of interest with which, in my case, suggestions issuing therefrom, until, at theher image before me now, as in the early days of her the powers of meditation (not to speak technically) conclusion of a day dream often replete withlight-heartedness and joy! Oh, gorgeous yet busied and buried themselves, in the contemplation luxury , he finds the incitamentum, or first cause offantastic beauty! Oh, sylph amid the shrubberies of of even the most ordinary objects of the universe. his musings, entirely vanished and forgotten. In myArnheim! Oh, Naiad among its fountains! And then - case, the primary object was invariably frivolous ,then all is mystery and terror, and a tale which although assuming, through the medium of my
  • 6. distempered vision, a refracted and unreal abnormal meditation whose nature I have been at of the year - one of those unseasonably warm, calm,importance. Few deductions, if any, were made; and some trouble in explaining, yet such was not in any and misty days which are the nurse of the beautifulthose few pertinaciously returning in upon the degree the case. In the lucid intervals of my Halcyon , - I sat, (and sat, as I thought, alone,) in theoriginal object as a centre. The meditations were infirmity, her calamity, indeed, gave me pain, and, inner apartment of the library. But, uplifting mynever pleasurable; and, at the termination of the taking deeply to heart that total wreck of her fair eyes, I saw that Berenice stood before me.reverie, the first cause, so far from being out of and gentle life, I did not fall to ponder, frequentlysight, had attained that supernaturally exaggerated and bitterly, upon the wonder-working means by Was it my own excited imagination - or the mistyinterest which was the prevailing feature of the which so strange a revolution had been so suddenly influence of the atmosphere - or the uncertaindisease. In a word, the powers of mind more brought to pass. But these reflections partook not of twilight of the chamber - or the gray draperies whichparticularly exercised were, with me, as I have said the idiosyncrasy of my disease, and were such as fell around her figure - that caused in it so vacillatingbefore, the attentive, and are, with the day- would have occurred, under similar circumstances, and indistinct an outline? I could not tell. She spokedreamer, the speculative. to the ordinary mass of mankind. True to its own no word; and I - not for worlds could I have uttered character, my disorder revelled in the less important a syllable. An icy chill ran through my frame; a senseMy books, at this epoch, if they did not actually but more startling changes wrought in the physical of insufferable anxiety oppressed me; a consumingserve to irritate the disorder, partook, it will be frame of Berenice - in the singular and most curiosity pervaded my soul; and sinking back uponperceived, largely, in their imaginative and appalling distortion of her personal identity. the chair, I remained for some time breathless andinconsequential nature, of the characteristic motionless, with my eyes riveted upon her person.qualities of the disorder itself. I well remember, During the brightest days of her unparalleled Alas! its emaciation was excessive, and not oneamong others, the treatise of the noble Italian, beauty, most surely I had never loved her. In the vestige of the former being lurked in any single lineCoelius Secundus Curio, " De Amplitudine Beati strange anomaly of my existence, feelings with me, of the contour. My burning glances at length fellRegni Dei; " St. Austins great work, the "City of had never been of the heart, and my passions upon the face.God;" and Tertullians "De Carne Christi ," in which always were of the mind. Through the gray of thethe paradoxical sentence " Mortuus est Dei filius; early morning - among the trellised shadows of the The forehead was high, and very pale, and singularlycredible est quia ineptum est: et sepultus resurrexit; forest at noonday - and in the silence of my library placid; and the once jetty hair fell partially over it,certum est quia impossibile est, " occupied my at night - she had flitted by my eyes, and I had seen and overshadowed the hollow temples withundivided time, for many weeks of laborious and her - not as the living and breathing Berenice, but as innumerable ringlets, now of a vivid yellow, andfruitless investigation. the Berenice of a dream; not as a being of the earth, jarring discordantly, in their fantastic character, with earthy, but as the abstraction of such a being; not as the reigning melancholy of the countenance. TheThus it will appear that, shaken from its balance only a thing to admire, but to analyze; not as an object of eyes were lifeless, and lustreless, and seeminglyby trivial things, my reason bore resemblance to love, but as the theme of the most abstruse pupilless, and I shrank involuntarily from their glassythat ocean-crag spoken of by Ptolemy Hephestion, although desultory speculation. And now - now I stare to he contemplation of the thin and shrunkenwhich steadily resisting the attacks of human shuddered in her presence, and grew pale at her lips. They parted; and in a smile of peculiar meaning,violence, and the fiercer fury of the waters and the approach; yet, bitterly lamenting her fallen and the teeth of the changed Berenice disclosedwinds, trembled only to the touch of the flower desolate condition, I called to mind that she had themselves slowly to my view. Would to God that Icalled Asphodel. And although, to a careless thinker, loved me long, and, in an evil moment, I spoke to had never beheld them, or that, having done so, Iit might appear a matter beyond doubt, that the her of marriage. had died!alteration produced by her unhappy malady, in themoral condition of Berenice, would afford me many And at length the period of our nuptials was * * * * * * *objects for the exercise of that intense and approaching, when, upon an afternoon in the winter
  • 7. The shutting of a door disturbed me, and, looking And the evening closed in upon me thus - and then ringing in my ears. I had done a deed - what was it? Iup, I found that my cousin had departed from the the darkness came, and tarried, and went - and the asked myself the question aloud, and the whisperingchamber. But from the disordered chamber of my day again dawned - and the mists of a second night echoes of the chamber answered me, - " what wasbrain, had not, alas! departed, and would not be were now gathering around - and still I sat it? "driven away, the white and ghastly spectrum of the motionless in that solitary room - and still I satteeth. Not a speck on their surface - not a shade on buried in meditation - and still the phantasma of the On the table beside me burned a lamp, and near ittheir enamel - not an indenture in their edges - but teeth maintained its terrible ascendancy, as, with lay a little box. It was of no remarkable character,what that period of her smile had sufficed to brand the most vivid hideous distinctness, it floated about and I had seen it frequently before, for it was thein upon my memory. I saw them now even more amid the changing lights and shadows of the property of the family physician; but how came itunequivocally than I beheld them then. The teeth! - chamber. At length there broke in upon my dreams there, upon my table, and why did I shudder inthe teeth! - they were here, and there, and a cry as of horror and dismay; and thereunto, after a regarding it? These things were in no manner to beeverywhere, and visibly and palpably before me; pause, succeeded the sound of troubled voices, accounted for, and my eyes at length dropped to thelong, narrow, and excessively white, with the pale intermingled with many low moanings of sorrow or open pages of a book, and to a sentencelips writhing about them, as in the very moment of of pain. I arose from my seat, and throwing open underscored therein. The words were the singulartheir first terrible development. Then came the full one of the doors of the library, saw standing out in but simple ones of the poet Ebn Zaiat: - " Dicebantfury of my monomania, and I struggled in vain the ante-chamber a servant maiden, all in tears, mihi sodales si sepulchrum amicae visitarem, curasagainst its strange and irresistible influence. In the who told me that Berenice was - no more! She had meas aliquantulum fore levatas ." Why then, as Imultiplied objects of the external world I had no been seized with epilepsy in the early morning, and perused them, did the hairs of my head erectthoughts but for the teeth. For these I longed with a now, at the closing in of the night, the grave was themselves on end, and the blood of my bodyphrenzied desire. All other matters and all different ready for its tenant, and all the preparations for the become congealed within my veins?interests became absorbed in their single burial were completed.contemplation. They - they alone were present to There came a light tap at the library door - and, palethe mental eye, and they, in their sole individuality, * * * * * * * as the tenant of a tomb, a menial entered uponbecame the essence of my mental life. I held them tiptoe. His looks were wild with terror, and he spokein every light. I turned them in every attitude. I I found myself sitting in the library, and again sitting to me in a voice tremulous, husky, and very low.surveyed their characteristics. I dwelt upon their there alone. It seemed that I had newly awakened What said he? - some broken sentences I heard. Hepeculiarities. I pondered upon their conformation. I from a confused and exciting dream. I knew that it told of a wild cry disturbing the silence of the night -mused upon the alteration in their nature. I was now midnight, and I was well aware, that since of the gathering together of the household - of ashuddered as I assigned to them in imagination a the setting of the sun, Berenice had been interred. search in the direction of the sound; and then hissensitive and sentient power, and even when But of that dreary period which intervened I had no tones grew thrillingly distinct as he whispered me ofunassisted by the lips, a capability of moral positive, at least no definite comprehension. Yet its a violated grave - of a disfigured body enshrouded,expression. Of Mademoiselle Salle it has been well memory was replete with horror - horror more yet still breathing - still palpitating - still alive !said, " Que tous ses pas etaient des sentiments ," horrible from being vague, and terror more terribleand of Berenice I more seriously believed que toutes from ambiguity. It was a fearful page in the record He pointed to garments; - they were muddy andses dents etaient des idees . Des idees! - ah here my existence, written all over with dim, and clotted with gore. I spoke not, and he took mewas the idiotic thought that destroyed me! Des hideous, and unintelligible recollections. I strived to gently by the hand: it was indented with the impressidees! - ah therefore it was that I coveted them so decypher them, but in vain; while ever and anon, of human nails. He directed my attention to somemadly! I felt that their possession could alone ever like the spirit of a departed sound, the shrill and object against the wall. I looked at it for somerestore me to peace, in giving me back to reason. piercing shriek of a female voice seemed to be minutes: it was a spade. With a shriek I bounded to
  • 8. the table, and grasped the box that lay upon it. But I And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for I had my head in, and was about to open the lantern,could not force it open; and in my tremor, it slipped my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, when my thumb slipped upon the tin fastening, andfrom my hands, and fell heavily, and burst into that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. the old man sprang up in bed, crying out - "Whospieces; and from it, with a rattling sound, there Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I there?"rolled out some instruments of dental surgery, thrust it in! I moved it slowly - very, very slowly, sointermingled with thirty-two small, white and ivory- that I might not disturb the old mans sleep. It took I kept quite still and said nothing. For a whole hour Ilooking substances that were scattered to and fro me an hour to place my whole head within the did not move a muscle, and in the meantime I did not opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his hear him lie down. He was still sitting up in the bedabout the floor. bed. Ha! would a madman have been so wise as this, listening; - just as I have done, night after night, And then, when my head was well in the room, I hearkening to the death watches in the wall.The Tell-Tale Heart undid the lantern cautiously-oh, so cautiously - cautiously (for the hinges creaked) - I undid it just so much that a single thin ray fell upon the vulture eye. Presently I heard a slight groan, and I knew it wasTRUE! - nervous - very, very dreadfully nervous I And this I did for seven long nights - every night just the groan of mortal terror. It was not a groan of painhad been and am; but why will you say that I am at midnight - but I found the eye always closed; and or of grief - oh, no! - it was the low stifled sound thatmad? The disease had sharpened my senses - not so it was impossible to do the work; for it was not the arises from the bottom of the soul when overchargeddestroyed - not dulled them. Above all was the sense old man who vexed me, but his Evil Eye. And every with awe. I knew the sound well. Many a night, justof hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and morning, when the day broke, I went boldly into the at midnight, when all the world slept, it has welledin the earth. I heard many things in hell. How, then, chamber, and spoke courageously to him, calling him up from my own bosom, deepening, with its dreadfulam I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily - by name in a hearty tone, and inquiring how he has echo, the terrors that distracted me. I say I knew ithow calmly I can tell you the whole story. passed the night. So you see he would have been a well. I knew what the old man felt, and pitied him, very profound old man, indeed, to suspect that every although I chuckled at heart. I knew that he had beenIt is impossible to say how first the idea entered my lying awake ever since the first slight noise, when he night, just at twelve, I looked in upon him while hebrain; but once conceived, it haunted me day and slept. had turned in the bed. His fears had been ever sincenight. Object there was none. Passion there was growing upon him. He had been trying to fancy themnone. I loved the old man. He had never wronged causeless, but could not. He had been saying tome. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had Upon the eighth night I was more than usually himself - "It is nothing but the wind in the chimney -no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! He cautious in opening the door. A watchs minute hand it is only a mouse crossing the floor," or "It is merelyhad the eye of a vulture - a pale blue eye, with a film moves more quickly than did mine. Never before that a cricket which has made a single chirp." Yes, he hadover it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; night had I felt the extent of my own powers - of my been trying to comfort himself with theseand so by degrees - very gradually - I made up my sagacity. I could scarcely contain my feelings of suppositions: but he had found all in vain. All inmind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid triumph. To think that there I was, opening the door, vain; because Death, in approaching him had stalkedmyself of the eye forever. little by little, and he not even to dream of my secret with his black shadow before him, and enveloped the deeds or thoughts. I fairly chuckled at the idea; and victim. And it was the mournful influence of the perhaps he heard me; for he moved on the bed unperceived shadow that caused him to feel -Now this is the point. You fancy me mad. Madmen suddenly, as if startled. Now you may think that Iknow nothing. But you should have seen me. You although he neither saw nor heard - to feel the drew back - but no. His room was as black as pitch presence of my head within the room.should have seen how wisely I proceeded - with what with the thick darkness, (for the shutters were closecaution - with what foresight - with what fastened, through fear of robbers,) and so I knew thatdissimulation I went to work! I was never kinder to he could not see the opening of the door, and I kept When I had waited a long time, very patiently,the old man than during the whole week before I without hearing him lie down, I resolved to open a pushing it on steadily, steadily.killed him. And every night, about midnight, I turned little - a very, very little crevice in the lantern. So Ithe latch of his door and opened it - oh so gently! opened it - you cannot imagine how stealthily,
  • 9. stealthily - until, at length a simple dim ray, like the muffled sound. This, however, did not vex me; it to his chamber. I showed them his treasures, secure,thread of the spider, shot from out the crevice and would not be heard through the wall. At length it undisturbed. In the enthusiasm of my confidence, Ifell full upon the vulture eye. ceased. The old man was dead. I removed the bed brought chairs into the room, and desired them here and examined the corpse. Yes, he was stone, stone to rest from their fatigues, while I myself, in the wildIt was open - wide, wide open - and I grew furious as dead. I placed my hand upon the heart and held it audacity of my perfect triumph, placed my own seatI gazed upon it. I saw it with perfect distinctness - all there many minutes. There was no pulsation. He was upon the very spot beneath which reposed the corpsea dull blue, with a hideous veil over it that chilled the stone dead. His eve would trouble me no more. of the victim.very marrow in my bones; but I could see nothingelse of the old mans face or person: for I had If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer The officers were satisfied. My manner haddirected the ray as if by instinct, precisely upon the when I describe the wise precautions I took for the convinced them. I was singularly at ease. They sat,damned spot. concealment of the body. The night waned, and I and while I answered cheerily, they chatted of worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I familiar things. But, ere long, I felt myself gettingAnd have I not told you that what you mistake for dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and Imadness is but over-acuteness of the sense? - now, I arms and the legs. fancied a ringing in my ears: but still they sat andsay, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound, still chatted. The ringing became more distinct: - Itsuch as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. I I then took up three planks from the flooring of the continued and became more distinct: I talked moreknew that sound well, too. It was the beating of the chamber, and deposited all between the scantlings. I freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued andold mans heart. It increased my fury, as the beating then replaced the boards so cleverly, so cunningly, gained definiteness - until, at length, I found that theof a drum stimulates the soldier into courage. that no human eye - not even his - could have noise was not within my ears. detected any thing wrong. There was nothing to washBut even yet I refrained and kept still. I scarcely out - no stain of any kind - no blood-spot whatever. I No doubt I now grew very pale; - but I talked morebreathed. I held the lantern motionless. I tried how had been too wary for that. A tub had caught all - ha! fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the soundsteadily I could maintain the ray upon the eye. ha! increased - and what could I do? It was a low, dull,Meantime the hellish tattoo of the heart increased. It quick sound - much such a sound as a watch makesgrew quicker and quicker, and louder and louder When I had made an end of these labors, it was four when enveloped in cotton. I gasped for breath - andevery instant. The old mans terror must have been oclock - still dark as midnight. As the bell sounded yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly -extreme! It grew louder, I say, louder every moment! the hour, there came a knocking at the street door. I more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I- do you mark me well I have told you that I am went down to open it with a light heart, - for what arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and withnervous: so I am. And now at the dead hour of the had I now to fear? There entered three men, who violent gesticulations; but the noise steadilynight, amid the dreadful silence of that old house, so introduced themselves, with perfect suavity, as increased. Why would they not be gone? I paced thestrange a noise as this excited me to uncontrollable officers of the police. A shriek had been heard by a floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited toterror. Yet, for some minutes longer I refrained and neighbour during the night; suspicion of foul play fury by the observations of the men - but the noisestood still. But the beating grew louder, louder! I had been aroused; information had been lodged at the steadily increased. Oh God! what could I do? Ithought the heart must burst. And now a new anxiety police office, and they (the officers) had been foamed - I raved - I swore! I swung the chair uponseized me - the sound would be heard by a deputed to search the premises. which I had been sitting, and grated it upon theneighbour! The old mans hour had come! With a boards, but the noise arose over all and continuallyloud yell, I threw open the lantern and leaped into the increased. It grew louder - louder - louder! And still I smiled, - for what had I to fear? I bade the the men chatted pleasantly, and smiled. Was itroom. He shrieked once - once only. In an instant I gentlemen welcome. The shriek, I said, was my owndragged him to the floor, and pulled the heavy bed possible they heard not? Almighty God! - no, no! in a dream. The old man, I mentioned, was absent in They heard! - they suspected! - they knew! - theyover him. I then smiled gaily, to find the deed so far the country. I took my visitors all over the house. Idone. But, for many minutes, the heart beat on with a were making a mockery of my horror!-this I thought, bade them search - search well. I led them, at length,
  • 10. and this I think. But anything was better than this So blend the turrets and shadows there fitfullyagony! Anything was more tolerable than this That all seem pendulous in air, The music of the spheres.derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no While from a proud tower in the townlonger! I felt that I must scream or die! and now - Death looks gigantically down. Mimes, in the form of God on high,again! - hark! louder! louder! louder! louder! Mutter and mumble low, There open fanes and gaping graves And hither and thither fly--"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit Yawn level with the luminous waves; Mere puppets they, who come and gothe deed! - tear up the planks! here, here! - It is the But not the riches there that lie At bidding of vast formless thingsbeating of his hideous heart!" In each idols diamond eye-- That shift the scenery to and fro, Not the gaily-jewelled dead Flapping from out their Condor wingsThe City and the Sea Tempt the waters from their bed; Invisible Wo! For no ripples curl, alas! Along that wilderness of glass-- That motley drama--oh, be sureLo! Death has reared himself a throne No swellings tell that winds may be In a strange city lying alone It shall not be forgot! Upon some far-off happier sea-- With its Phantom chased for evermore, Far down within the dim West, No heavings hint that winds have been Where the good and the bad and the worst and the By a crowd that seize it not, On seas less hideously serene. Through a circle that ever returneth inbest Have gone to their eternal rest. To the self-same spot, There shrines and palaces and towers But lo, a stir is in the air! And much of Madness, and more of Sin, (Time-eaten towers and tremble not!) The wave--there is a movement there! And Horror the soul of the plot. Resemble nothing that is ours. As if the towers had thrust aside, Around, by lifting winds forgot, In slightly sinking, the dull tide-- But see, amid the mimic rout Resignedly beneath the sky As if their tops had feebly given A crawling shape intrude! The melancholy waters lie. A void within the filmy Heaven. A blood-red thing that writhes from out The waves have now a redder glow-- The scenic solitude! The hours are breathing faint and low-- It writhes!--it writhes!--with mortal pangs No rays from the holy Heaven come down And when, amid no earthly moans, On the long night-time of that town; The mimes become its food, Down, down that town shall settle hence, And the angels sob at vermin fangs But light from out the lurid sea Hell, rising from a thousand thrones, Streams up the turrets silently-- In human gore imbued. Shall do it reverence. Gleams up the pinnacles far and free-- Up domes--up spires--up kingly halls-- Out--out are the lights--out all! Up fanes--up Babylon-like walls-- The Conqueror Worm And, over each quivering form, Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers Lo! tis a gala night The curtain, a funeral pall, Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers-- Within the lonesome latter Comes down with the rush of a storm, Up many and many a marvellous shrine years! And the angels, all pallid and wan, Whose wreathed friezes intertwine An angel throng, bewinged, Uprising, unveiling, affirm The viol, the violet, and the vine. bedight That the play is the tragedy, "Man," In veils, and drowned in tears, And its hero the Conqueror Worm. Resignedly beneath the sky Sit in a theatre, to see The melancholy waters lie. A play of hopes and fears, While the orchestra breathes
  • 11. Annabel Lee Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; cherished an affection for a faithful and sagacious And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes dog, I need hardly be at the trouble of explaining theIt was many and many a year ago, Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; nature or the intensity of the gratification thusIn a kingdom by the sea, And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side derivable. There is something in the unselfish andThat a maiden there lived whom you may know Of my darling -my darling -my life and my bride, self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly toBy the name of Annabel Lee; In the sepulchre there by the sea - the heart of him who has had frequent occasion toAnd this maiden she lived with no other thought In her tomb by the sounding sea test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity ofThan to love and be loved by me. mere Man . The Black CatI was a child and she was a child, I married early, and was happy to find in my wife aIn this kingdom by the sea: FOR the most wild, yet most homely narrative which disposition not uncongenial with my own. ObservingBut we loved with a love that was more than love - I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. my partiality for domestic pets, she lost noI and my Annabel Lee; Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where opportunity of procuring those of the most agreeableWith a love that the winged seraphs of heaven my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad kind. We had birds, gold-fish, a fine dog, rabbits, aCoveted her and me. am I not - and very surely do I not dream. But to- small monkey, and a cat . morrow I die, and to-day I would unburthen my soul.And this was the reason that, long ago, My immediate purpose is to place before the world, This latter was a remarkably large and beautifulIn this kingdom by the sea, plainly, succinctly, and without comment, a series of animal, entirely black, and sagacious to anA wind blew out of a cloud, chilling mere household events. In their consequences, these astonishing degree. In speaking of his intelligence,My beautiful Annabel Lee; events have terrified - have tortured - have destroyed my wife, who at heart was not a little tinctured withSo that her high-born kinsmen came me. Yet I will not attempt to expound them. To me, superstition, made frequent allusion to the ancientAnd bore her away from me, they have presented little but Horror - to many they popular notion, which regarded all black cats asTo shut her up in a sepulchre will seem less terrible than barroques. Hereafter, witches in disguise. Not that she was ever seriousIn this kingdom by the sea. perhaps, some intellect may be found which will upon this point - and I mention the matter at all for reduce my phantasm to the common-place - some no better reason than that it happens, just now, to beThe angels, not half so happy in heaven, intellect more calm, more logical, and far less remembered.Went envying her and me - excitable than my own, which will perceive, in theYes! that was the reason (as all men know, circumstances I detail with awe, nothing more thanIn this kingdom by the sea) Pluto - this was the cats name - was my favorite pet an ordinary succession of very natural causes and and playmate. I alone fed him, and he attended meThat the wind came out of the cloud one night, effects.Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee. wherever I went about the house. It was even with difficulty that I could prevent him from following meBut our love it was stronger by far than the love From my infancy I was noted for the docility and through the streets.Of those who were older than we - humanity of my disposition. My tenderness of heartOf many far wiser than we - was even so conspicuous as to make me the jest of Our friendship lasted, in this manner, for severalAnd neither the angels in heaven above, my companions. I was especially fond of animals, years, during which my general temperament andNor the demons down under the sea, and was indulged by my parents with a great variety character - through the instrumentality of the FiendCan ever dissever my soul from the soul of pets. With these I spent most of my time, and Intemperance - had (I blush to confess it)Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; never was so happy as when feeding and caressing experienced a radical alteration for the worse. I grew, them. This peculiarity of character grew with my day by day, more moody, more irritable, moreFor the moon never beams without bringing me growth, and in my manhood, I derived from it one of regardless of the feelings of others. I suffered myselfdreams my principal sources of pleasure. To those who have to use intemperate language to my wife. At length, I
  • 12. even offered her personal violence. My pets, of had so much of my old heart left, as to be at first complete. My entire worldly wealth was swallowedcourse, were made to feel the change in my grieved by this evident dislike on the part of a up, and I resigned myself thenceforward to despair.disposition. I not only neglected, but ill-used them. creature which had once so loved me. But thisFor Pluto, however, I still retained sufficient regard feeling soon gave place to irritation. And then came, I am above the weakness of seeking to establish ato restrain me from maltreating him, as I made no as if to my final and irrevocable overthrow, the spirit sequence of cause and effect, between the disasterscruple of maltreating the rabbits, the monkey, or of PERVERSENESS. Of this spirit philosophy takes and the atrocity. But I am detailing a chain of facts -even the dog, when by accident, or through affection, no account. Yet I am not more sure that my soul and wish not to leave even a possible link imperfect.they came in my way. But my disease grew upon me lives, than I am that perverseness is one of the On the day succeeding the fire, I visited the ruins.- for what disease is like Alcohol! - and at length primitive impulses of the human heart - one of the The walls, with one exception, had fallen in. Thiseven Pluto, who was now becoming old, and indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments, which exception was found in a compartment wall, not veryconsequently somewhat peevish - even Pluto began give direction to the character of Man. Who has not, thick, which stood about the middle of the house, andto experience the effects of my ill temper. a hundred times, found himself committing a vile or against which had rested the head of my bed. The a silly action, for no other reason than because he plastering had here, in great measure, resisted theOne night, returning home, much intoxicated, from knows he should not? Have we not a perpetual action of the fire - a fact which I attributed to itsone of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat inclination, in the teeth of our best judgment, to having been recently spread. About this wall a denseavoided my presence. I seized him; when, in his violate that which is Law , merely because we crowd were collected, and many persons seemed tofright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound understand it to be such? This spirit of perverseness, be examining a particular portion of it with veryupon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon I say, came to my final overthrow. It was this minute and eager attention. The words "strange!"instantly possessed me. I knew myself no longer. My unfathomable longing of the soul to vex itself - to "singular!" and other similar expressions, excited myoriginal soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from offer violence to its own nature - to do wrong for the curiosity. I approached and saw, as if graven in basmy body and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin- wrongs sake only - that urged me to continue and relief upon the white surface, the figure of a giganticnurtured, thrilled every fibre of my frame. I took finally to consummate the injury I had inflicted upon cat. The impression was given with an accuracy trulyfrom my waistcoat-pocket a pen-knife, opened it, the unoffending brute. One morning, in cool blood, I marvellous. There was a rope about the animalsgrasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately slipped a noose about its neck and hung it to the limb neck.cut one of its eyes from the socket! I blush, I burn, I of a tree; - hung it with the tears streaming from myshudder, while I pen the damnable atrocity. eyes, and with the bitterest remorse at my heart; - hung it because I knew that it had loved me, and When I first beheld this apparition - for I could because I felt it had given me no reason of offence; - scarcely regard it as less - my wonder and my terrorWhen reason returned with the morning - when I had hung it because I knew that in so doing I was were extreme. But at length reflection came to myslept off the fumes of the nights debauch - I committing a sin - a deadly sin that would so aid. The cat, I remembered, had been hung in aexperienced a sentiment half of horror, half of jeopardize my immortal soul as to place it - if such a garden adjacent to the house. Upon the alarm of fire,remorse, for the crime of which I had been guilty; thing wore possible - even beyond the reach of the this garden had been immediately filled by the crowdbut it was, at best, a feeble and equivocal feeling, and infinite mercy of the Most Merciful and Most - by some one of whom the animal must have beenthe soul remained untouched. I again plunged into Terrible God. cut from the tree and thrown, through an openexcess, and soon drowned in wine all memory of the window, into my chamber. This had probably beendeed. done with the view of arousing me from sleep. The On the night of the day on which this cruel deed was falling of other walls had compressed the victim of done, I was aroused from sleep by the cry of fire. my cruelty into the substance of the freshly-spreadIn the meantime the cat slowly recovered. The socket The curtains of my bed were in flames. The wholeof the lost eye presented, it is true, a frightful plaster; the lime of which, with the flames, and the house was blazing. It was with great difficulty that ammonia from the carcass, had then accomplishedappearance, but he no longer appeared to suffer any my wife, a servant, and myself, made our escapepain. He went about the house as usual, but, as might the portraiture as I saw it. from the conflagration. The destruction wasbe expected, fled in extreme terror at my approach. I
  • 13. Although I thus readily accounted to my reason, if For my own part, I soon found a dislike to it arising it. I am almost ashamed to own - yes, even in thisnot altogether to my conscience, for the startling fact within me. This was just the reverse of what I had felons cell, I am almost ashamed to own - that thejust detailed, it did not the less fail to make a deep anticipated; but - I know not how or why it was - its terror and horror with which the animal inspired me,impression upon my fancy. For months I could not evident fondness for myself rather disgusted and had been heightened by one of the merest chimaerasrid myself of the phantasm of the cat; and, during annoyed. By slow degrees, these feelings of disgust it would be possible to conceive. My wife had calledthis period, there came back into my spirit a half- and annoyance rose into the bitterness of hatred. I my attention, more than once, to the character of thesentiment that seemed, but was not, remorse. I went avoided the creature; a certain sense of shame, and mark of white hair, of which I have spoken, andso far as to regret the loss of the animal, and to look the remembrance of my former deed of cruelty, which constituted the sole visible difference betweenabout me, among the vile haunts which I now preventing me from physically abusing it. I did not, the strange beast and the one I had destroyed. Thehabitually frequented, for another pet of the same for some weeks, strike, or otherwise violently ill use reader will remember that this mark, although large,species, and of somewhat similar appearance, with it; but gradually - very gradually - I came to look had been originally very indefinite; but, by slowwhich to supply its place. upon it with unutterable loathing, and to flee silently degrees - degrees nearly imperceptible, and which from its odious presence, as from the breath of a for a long time my Reason struggled to reject asOne night as I sat, half stupified, in a den of more pestilence. fanciful - it had, at length, assumed a rigorousthan infamy, my attention was suddenly drawn to distinctness of outline. It was now the representationsome black object, reposing upon the head of one of What added, no doubt, to my hatred of the beast, was of an object that I shudder to name - and for this,the immense hogsheads of Gin, or of Rum, which the discovery, on the morning after I brought it above all, I loathed, and dreaded, and would have ridconstituted the chief furniture of the apartment. I had home, that, like Pluto, it also had been deprived of myself of the monster had I dared - it was now, I say,been looking steadily at the top of this hogshead for one of its eyes. This circumstance, however, only the image of a hideous - of a ghastly thing - of thesome minutes, and what now caused me surprise was endeared it to my wife, who, as I have already said, GALLOWS ! - oh, mournful and terrible engine ofthe fact that I had not sooner perceived the object possessed, in a high degree, that humanity of feeling Horror and of Crime - of Agony and of Death !thereupon. I approached it, and touched it with my which had once been my distinguishing trait, and thehand. It was a black cat - a very large one - fully as source of many of my simplest and purest pleasures. And now was I indeed wretched beyond thelarge as Pluto, and closely resembling him in every wretchedness of mere Humanity. And a brute beast -respect but one. Pluto had not a white hair upon any With my aversion to this cat, however, its partiality whose fellow I had contemptuously destroyed - aportion of his body; but this cat had a large, although for myself seemed to increase. It followed my brute beast to work out for me - for me a man,indefinite splotch of white, covering nearly the whole footsteps with a pertinacity which it would be fashioned in the image of the High God - so much ofregion of the breast. Upon my touching him, he difficult to make the reader comprehend. Whenever I insufferable wo! Alas! neither by day nor by nightimmediately arose, purred loudly, rubbed against my sat, it would crouch beneath my chair, or spring upon knew I the blessing of Rest any more! During thehand, and appeared delighted with my notice. This, my knees, covering me with its loathsome caresses. former the creature left me no moment alone; and, inthen, was the very creature of which I was in search. If I arose to walk it would get between my feet and the latter, I started, hourly, from dreams ofI at once offered to purchase it of the landlord; but thus nearly throw me down, or, fastening its long and unutterable fear, to find the hot breath of the thingthis person made no claim to it - knew nothing of it - sharp claws in my dress, clamber, in this manner, to upon my face, and its vast weight - an incarnatehad never seen it before. my breast. At such times, although I longed to Night-Mare that I had no power to shake off - destroy it with a blow, I was yet withheld from so incumbent eternally upon my heart !I continued my caresses, and, when I prepared to go doing, partly by a memory of my former crime, buthome, the animal evinced a disposition to accompany chiefly - let me confess it at once - by absolute dread Beneath the pressure of torments such as these, theme. I permitted it to do so; occasionally stooping and of the beast. feeble remnant of the good within me succumbed.patting it as I proceeded. When it reached the house Evil thoughts became my sole intimates - the darkestit domesticated itself at once, and became This dread was not exactly a dread of physical evil - and most evil of thoughts. The moodiness of myimmediately a great favorite with my wife. and yet I should be at a loss how otherwise to define usual temper increased to hatred of all things and of
  • 14. all mankind; while, from the sudden, frequent, and lately been plastered throughout with a rough plaster, The second and the third day passed, and still myungovernable outbursts of a fury to which I now which the dampness of the atmosphere had prevented tormentor came not. Once again I breathed as ablindly abandoned myself, my uncomplaining wife, from hardening. Moreover, in one of the walls was a freeman. The monster, in terror, had fled thealas! was the most usual and the most patient of projection, caused by a false chimney, or fireplace, premises forever! I should behold it no more! Mysufferers. that had been filled up, and made to resemble the red happiness was supreme! The guilt of my dark deed of the cellar. I made no doubt that I could readily disturbed me but little. Some few inquiries had beenOne day she accompanied me, upon some household displace the bricks at this point, insert the corpse, and made, but these had been readily answered. Even aerrand, into the cellar of the old building which our wall the whole up as before, so that no eye could search had been instituted - but of course nothingpoverty compelled us to inhabit. The cat followed me detect any thing suspicious. And in this calculation I was to be discovered. I looked upon my futuredown the steep stairs, and, nearly throwing me was not deceived. By means of a crow-bar I easily felicity as secured.headlong, exasperated me to madness. Uplifting an dislodged the bricks, and, having carefully depositedaxe, and forgetting, in my wrath, the childish dread the body against the inner wall, I propped it in that Upon the fourth day of the assassination, a party ofwhich had hitherto stayed my hand, I aimed a blow position, while, with little trouble, I re-laid the whole the police came, very unexpectedly, into the house,at the animal which, of course, would have proved structure as it originally stood. Having procured and proceeded again to make rigorous investigationinstantly fatal had it descended as I wished. But this mortar, sand, and hair, with every possible of the premises. Secure, however, in theblow was arrested by the hand of my wife. Goaded, precaution, I prepared a plaster which could not be inscrutability of my place of concealment, I felt noby the interference, into a rage more than distinguished from the old, and with this I very embarrassment whatever. The officers bade medemoniacal, I withdrew my arm from her grasp and carefully went over the new brickwork. When I had accompany them in their search. They left no nook orburied the axe in her brain. She fell dead upon the finished, I felt satisfied that all was right. The wall corner unexplored. At length, for the third or fourthspot, without a groan. did not present the slightest appearance of having time, they descended into the cellar. I quivered not in been disturbed. The rubbish on the floor was picked a muscle. My heart beat calmly as that of one who up with the minutest care. I looked around slumbers in innocence. I walked the cellar from endThis hideous murder accomplished, I set myself triumphantly, and said to myself - "Here at least,forthwith, and with entire deliberation, to the task of to end. I folded my arms upon my bosom, and then, my labor has not been in vain." roamed easily to and fro. The police were thoroughlyconcealing the body. I knew that I could not removeit from the house, either by day or by night, without satisfied and prepared to depart. The glee at my heartthe risk of being observed by the neighbors. Many My next step was to look for the beast which had was too strong to be restrained. I burned to say if butprojects entered my mind. At one period I thought of been the cause of so much wretchedness; for I had, at one word, by way of triumph, and to render doublycutting the corpse into minute fragments, and length, firmly resolved to put it to death. Had I been sure their assurance of my guiltlessness.destroying them by fire. At another, I resolved to dig able to meet with it, at the moment, there could havea grave for it in the floor of the cellar. Again, I been no doubt of its fate; but it appeared that the "Gentlemen," I said at last, as the party ascended thedeliberated about casting it in the well in the yard - crafty animal had been alarmed at the violence of my steps, "I delight to have allayed your suspicions. Iabout packing it in a box, as if merchandize, with the previous anger, and forebore to present itself in my wish you all health, and a little more courtesy. By theusual arrangements, and so getting a porter to take it present mood. It is impossible to describe, or to bye, gentlemen, this - this is a very well constructedfrom the house. Finally I hit upon what I considered imagine, the deep, the blissful sense of relief which house." [In the rabid desire to say something easily, Ia far better expedient than either of these. I the absence of the detested creature occasioned in my scarcely knew what I uttered at all.] - "I may say andetermined to wall it up in the cellar - as the monks bosom. It did not make its appearance during the excellently well constructed house. These walls areof the middle ages are recorded to have walled up night - and thus for one night at least, since its you going, gentlemen? - these walls are solidly puttheir victims. introduction into the house, I soundly and tranquilly together;" and here, through the mere phrenzy of slept; aye, slept even with the burden of murder upon bravado, I rapped heavily, with a cane which I held my soul! in my hand, upon that very portion of the brick-workFor a purpose such as this the cellar was welladapted. Its walls were loosely constructed, and had
  • 15. behind which stood the corpse of the wife of my But no matter!--I feel And ah! let it neverbosom. I am better at length. Be foolishly said That my room it is gloomyBut may God shield and deliver me from the fangs of And I rest so composedly, And narrow my bed--the Arch-Fiend ! No sooner had the reverberation of Now in my bed, For man never sleptmy blows sunk into silence, than I was answered by That any beholder In a different bed;a voice from within the tomb! - by a cry, at first Might fancy me dead-- And, to _sleep_, you must slumbermuffled and broken, like the sobbing of a child, and Might start at beholding me In just such a bed.then quickly swelling into one long, loud, and Thinking me dead.continuous scream, utterly anomalous and inhuman - My tantalized spirita howl - a wailing shriek, half of horror and half of The moaning and groaning, Here blandly reposes,triumph, such as might have arisen only out of hell, The sighing and sobbing, Forgetting, or neverconjointly from the throats of the dammed in their Are quieted now, Regretting its roses--agony and of the demons that exult in the damnation. With that horrible throbbing Its old agitations At heart:--ah, that horrible, Of myrtles and roses:Of my own thoughts it is folly to speak. Swooning, I Horrible throbbing!staggered to the opposite wall. For one instant the For now, while so quietlyparty upon the stairs remained motionless, through The sickness--the nausea-- Lying, it fanciesextremity of terror and of awe. In the next, a dozen The pitiless pain-- A holier odorstout arms were toiling at the wall. It fell bodily. The Have ceased, with the fever About it, of pansies--corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with That maddened my brain-- A rosemary odor,gore, stood erect before the eyes of the spectators. With the fever called "Living" Commingled with pansies--Upon its head, with red extended mouth and solitary That burned in my brain. With rue and the beautifuleye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had Puritan pansies.seduced me into murder, and whose informing voicehad consigned me to the hangman. I had walled the And oh! of all tortures _That_ torture the worst And so it lies happily,monster up within the tomb! Bathing in many Has abated--the terrible Torture of thirst, A dream of the truthFor Annie For the naphthaline river And the beauty of Annie-- Of Passion accurst:-- Drowned in a bathThank Heaven! the crisis-- Of the tresses of Annie. The danger is past, I have drank of a water And the lingering illness That quenches all thirst:-- Is over at last-- She tenderly kissed me, And the fever called "Living" Of a water that flows, She fondly caressed, Is conquered at last. With a lullaby sound, And then I fell gently From a spring but a very few To sleep on her breast-- Feet under ground-- Deeply to sleep Sadly, I know, From the heaven of her breast. I am shorn of my strength, From a cavern not very far And no muscle I move Down under ground. As I lie at full length--
  • 16. When the light was extinguished, seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the bizarre. The apartments were so irregularly She covered me warm, the incidents of half an hour. disposed that the vision embraced but little more than And she prayed to the angels one at a time. There was a sharp turn at every twenty To keep me from harm-- But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and or thirty yards, and at each turn a novel effect. To the To the queen of the angels sagacious. When his dominions were half right and left, in the middle of each wall, a tall and To shield me from harm. depopulated, he summoned to his presence a narrow Gothic window looked out upon a closed thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among corridor which pursued the windings of the suite. And I lie so composedly, the knights and dames of his court, and with these These windows were of stained glass whose color Now in my bed retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated varied in accordance with the prevailing hue of the (Knowing her love) abbeys. This was an extensive and magnificent decorations of the chamber into which it opened. That you fancy me dead-- structure, the creation of the princes own eccentric That at the eastern extremity was hung, for example, And I rest so contentedly, yet august taste. A strong and lofty wall girdled it in. in blue -- and vividly blue were its windows. The Now in my bed, This wall had gates of iron. The courtiers, having second chamber was purple in its ornaments and (With her love at my breast) entered, brought furnaces and massy hammers and tapestries, and here the panes were purple. The third That you fancy me dead-- welded the bolts. They resolved to leave means was green throughout, and so were the casements. That you shudder to look at me. neither of ingress or egress to the sudden impulses of The fourth was furnished and lighted with orange -- Thinking me dead. despair or of frenzy from within. The abbey was the fifth with white -- the sixth with violet. The amply provisioned. With such precautions the seventh apartment was closely shrouded in black courtiers might bid defiance to contagion. The velvet tapestries that hung all over the ceiling and But my heart it is brighter down the walls, falling in heavy folds upon a carpet Than all of the many external world could take care of itself. In the meantime it was folly to grieve, or to think. The of the same material and hue. But in this chamber Stars in the sky, only, the color of the windows failed to correspond For it sparkles with Annie-- prince had provided all the appliances of pleasure. There were buffoons, there were improvisatori, there with the decorations. The panes here were scarlet -- a It glows with the light deep blood color. Now in no one of the seven Of the love of my Annie-- were ballet-dancers, there were musicians, there was Beauty, there was wine. All these and security were apartments was there any lamp or candelabrum, amid With the thought of the light the profusion of golden ornaments that lay scattered Of the eyes of my Annie. within. Without was the "Red Death." to and fro or depended from the roof. There was no light of any kind emanating from lamp or candle1849. It was toward the close of the fifth or sixth month of within the suite of chambers. But in the corridors that his seclusion, and while the pestilence raged most followed the suite, there stood, opposite to each furiously abroad, that the Prince Prospero entertained window, a heavy tripod, bearing a brazier of fire thatThe Masque of the Red Death his thousand friends at a masked ball of the most protected its rays through the tinted glass and so unusual magnificence. glaringly illumined the room. And thus wereTHE "Red Death" had long devastated the country. produced a multitude of gaudy and fantasticNo pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. It was a voluptuous scene, that masquerade. But first appearances. But in the western or black chamber theBlood was its Avatar and its seal -- the redness and let me tell of the rooms in which it was held. There effect of the fire-light that streamed upon the darkthe horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and were seven -- an imperial suite. In many palaces, hangings through the blood-tinted panes, was ghastlysudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the however, such suites form a long and straight vista, in the extreme, and produced so wild a look upon thepores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the while the folding doors slide back nearly to the walls countenances of those who entered, that there werebody and especially upon the face of the victim, were on either hand, so that the view of the whole extent is few of the company bold enough to set foot within itsthe pest ban which shut him out from the aid and scarcely impeded. Here the case was very different; precincts at all.from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole as might have been expected from the dukes love of
  • 17. It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against He had directed, in great part, the moveable commenced the sounding of midnight upon thethe western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its embellishments of the seven chambers, upon clock. And then the music ceased, as I have told; andpendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, occasion of this great fete; and it was his own the evolutions of the waltzers were quieted; and theremonotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made guiding taste which had given character to the was an uneasy cessation of all things as before. Butthe circuit of the face, and the hour was to be masqueraders. Be sure they were grotesque. There now there were twelve strokes to be sounded by thestricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the were much glare and glitter and piquancy and bell of the clock; and thus it happened, perhaps, thatclock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and phantasm -- much of what has been since seen in more of thought crept, with more of time, into theexceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and "Hernani." There were arabesque figures with meditations of the thoughtful among those whoemphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians unsuited limbs and appointments. There were revelled. And thus, too, it happened, perhaps, thatof the orchestra were constrained to pause, delirious fancies such as the madman fashions. There before the last echoes of the last chime had utterlymomentarily, in their performance, to hearken to the was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, sunk into silence, there were many individuals in thesound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their much of the bizarre, something of the terrible, and crowd who had found leisure to become aware of theevolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the not a little of that which might have excited disgust. presence of a masked figure which had arrested thewhole gay company; and, while the chimes of the To and fro in the seven chambers there stalked, in attention of no single individual before. And theclock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew fact, a multitude of dreams. And these -- the dreams rumor of this new presence having spread itselfpale, and the more aged and sedate passed their -- writhed in and about, taking hue from the rooms, whisperingly around, there arose at length from thehands over their brows as if in confused reverie or and causing the wild music of the orchestra to seem whole company a buzz, or murmur, expressive ofmeditation. But when the echoes had fully ceased, a as the echo of their steps. And, anon, there strikes the disapprobation and surprise -- then, finally, of terror,light laughter at once pervaded the assembly; the ebony clock which stands in the hall of the velvet. of horror, and of disgust.musicians looked at each other and smiled as if at And then, for a moment, all is still, and all is silenttheir own nervousness and folly, and made save the voice of the clock. The dreams are stiff- In an assembly of phantasms such as I have painted,whispering vows, each to the other, that the next frozen as they stand. But the echoes of the chime die it may well be supposed that no ordinary appearancechiming of the clock should produce in them no away -- they have endured but an instant -- and a could have excited such sensation. In truth thesimilar emotion; and then, after the lapse of sixty light, half-subdued laughter floats after them as they masquerade license of the night was nearlyminutes, (which embrace three thousand and six depart. And now again the music swells, and the unlimited; but the figure in question had out-Herodedhundred seconds of the Time that flies,) there came dreams live, and writhe to and fro more merrily than Herod, and gone beyond the bounds of even theyet another chiming of the clock, and then were the ever, taking hue from the many-tinted windows princes indefinite decorum. There are chords in thesame disconcert and tremulousness and meditation as through which stream the rays from the tripods. But hearts of the most reckless which cannot be touchedbefore. to the chamber which lies most westwardly of the without emotion. Even with the utterly lost, to whom seven, there are now none of the maskers who life and death are equally jests, there are matters ofBut, in spite of these things, it was a gay and venture; for the night is waning away; and there which no jest can be made. The whole company,magnificent revel. The tastes of the duke were flows a ruddier light through the blood-colored indeed, seemed now deeply to feel that in thepeculiar. He had a fine eye for colors and effects. He panes; and the blackness of the sable drapery appals; costume and bearing of the stranger neither wit nordisregarded the decora of mere fashion. His plans and to him whose foot falls upon the sable carpet, propriety existed. The figure was tall and gaunt, andwere bold and fiery, and his conceptions glowed with there comes from the near clock of ebony a muffled shrouded from head to foot in the habiliments of thebarbaric lustre. There are some who would have peal more solemnly emphatic than any which reaches grave. The mask which concealed the visage wasthought him mad. His followers felt that he was not. their ears who indulge in the more remote gaieties of made so nearly to resemble the countenance of aIt was necessary to hear and see and touch him to be the other apartments. stiffened corpse that the closest scrutiny must havesure that he was not. had difficulty in detecting the cheat. And yet all this But these other apartments were densely crowded, might have been endured, if not approved, by the and in them beat feverishly the heart of life. And the mad revellers around. But the mummer had gone so revel went whirlingly on, until at length there far as to assume the type of the Red Death. His
  • 18. vesture was dabbled in blood -- and his broad brow, the green to the orange -- through this again to the To his own native shore.with all the features of the face, was besprinkled with white -- and even thence to the violet, ere a decidedthe scarlet horror. movement had been made to arrest him. It was then, On desperate seas long wont to roam, Thy hyacinth however, that the Prince Prospero, maddening with rage and the shame of his own momentary hair, thy classic face,When the eyes of Prince Prospero fell upon this cowardice, rushed hurriedly through the six Thy Naiad airs have brought me home To the gloryspectral image (which with a slow and solemnmovement, as if more fully to sustain its role, stalked chambers, while none followed him on account of a that was Greece,to and fro among the waltzers) he was seen to be deadly terror that had seized upon all. He bore aloft a And the grandeur that was Rome.convulsed, in the first moment with a strong shudder drawn dagger, and had approached, in rapideither of terror or distaste; but, in the next, his brow impetuosity, to within three or four feet of the retreating figure, when the latter, having attained the Lo, in yon brilliant window-niche How statue-like Ireddened with rage. extremity of the velvet apartment, turned suddenly see thee stand, and confronted his pursuer. There was a sharp cry -- The agate lamp within thy hand, Ah! Psyche, from"Who dares?" he demanded hoarsely of the courtiers and the dagger dropped gleaming upon the sablewho stood near him -- "who dares insult us with this the regions which carpet, upon which, instantly afterwards, fellblasphemous mockery? Seize him and unmask him -- prostrate in death the Prince Prospero. Then, Are Holy Land!that we may know whom we have to hang at sunrise, summoning the wild courage of despair, a throng offrom the battlements!" the revellers at once threw themselves into the black apartment, and, seizing the mummer, whose tallIt was in the eastern or blue chamber in which stood figure stood erect and motionless within the shadowthe Prince Prospero as he uttered these words. They of the ebony clock, gasped in unutterable horror atrang throughout the seven rooms loudly and clearly finding the grave-cerements and corpse-like mask-- for the prince was a bold and robust man, and the which they handled with so violent a rudeness,music had become hushed at the waving of his hand. untenanted by any tangible form.It was in the blue room where stood the prince, with And now was acknowledged the presence of the Reda group of pale courtiers by his side. At first, as he Death. He had come like a thief in the night. And onespoke, there was a slight rushing movement of this by one dropped the revellers in the blood-bedewedgroup in the direction of the intruder, who at the halls of their revel, and died each in the despairingmoment was also near at hand, and now, with posture of his fall. And the life of the ebony clockdeliberate and stately step, made closer approach to went out with that of the last of the gay. And thethe speaker. But from a certain nameless awe with flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness andwhich the mad assumptions of the mummer had Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominioninspired the whole party, there were found none who over all.put forth hand to seize him; so that, unimpeded, hepassed within a yard of the princes person; and, To Helenwhile the vast assembly, as if with one impulse,shrank from the centres of the rooms to the walls, he Helen, thy beauty is to me Like those Nicean barksmade his way uninterruptedly, but with the same of yoresolemn and measured step which had distinguished That gently, oer a perfumed sea, The weary, way-him from the first, through the blue chamber to thepurple -- through the purple to the green -- through worn wanderer bore

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