- It was many and many a year ago,
- In a kingdom by the sea,
- That a maiden lived whom you may know
- By the name of Annabel Lee;
- And this maiden she lived with no other thought
- Than to love and be loved by me.
- I was a child and she was a child,
- In this kingdom by the sea,
- But we loved with a love that was more than love
- I and my Annabel Lee
- With a love that the wingèd seraphs of Heaven
- Coveted her and me.
- But our love it was stronger by far than the love
- Of those who were older than we
- Of many far wiser than we
- And neither the angels in Heaven above
- Nor the demons down under the sea
- Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
- Of the beautiful Annabel Lee
- In her sepulcher there by the sea
- In her tomb by the sounding sea.
For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not and very surely do I not dream. But tomorrow I die, and today I would unburthen my soul.
There is something in the unselfish and self-sacrificing love of a brute, which goes directly to the heart of him who has had frequent occasion to test the paltry friendship and gossamer fidelity of mere Man.
I grew, day by day, more moody, more irritable, more regardless of the feelings of others. I suffered myself to use intemperate language to my wife. At length, I even offered her personal violence.
One night, returning home, much intoxicated, from one of my haunts about town, I fancied that the cat avoided my presence. I seized him; when, in his fright at my violence, he inflicted a slight wound upon my hand with his teeth. The fury of a demon instantly possesed me. I knew myself no longer. My original soul seemed, at once, to take its flight from my body; and a more than fiendish malevolence, gin-nurtured, thrilled every fiber of my frame. I took from my waistcoat-pocket a penknife, opened it, grasped the poor beast by the throat, and deliberately cut one of its eyes from the socket!
I am not more sure that my soul lives, than I am that perverseness is one of the primitive impulses of the human heart one of the indivisible primary faculties, or sentiments, which give direction to the character of man. Who has not, a hundred times, found himself commiting a vile or a stupid action, for no other reason than because he knows he should not? Have we not a perpetual inclination, in the teeth of our best judgement, to violate that which is Law, merely because we understand it to be such?
Beneath the pressure of torments such as these, the feeble remnant of the good within me succumbed. Evil thoughts became my sole intimates the darkest and most evil of thoughts. The moodiness of my usual temper increased to hatred of all things and of all mankind; while, from the sudden, frequent, and ungovernable outbursts of a fury to which I now blindly abandoned myself, my uncomplaining wife, alas! was the most usual and the most patient of sufferers.
It is impossible to describe, or to imagine, the deep, the blissful sense of relief which the absence of the detested creature occasioned in my bosom. It did not make its appearance during the night and thus for one night at least, since its introduction into the house, I soundly and tranquilly slept; aye, slept even with the burden of murder upon my soul!
For one instant the party upon the stairs remained motionless, through extremity of terror and of awe. In the next, a dozen stout arms were toiling at the wall. It fell bodily. The corpse, already greatly decayed and clotted with gore, stood erect before the eyes of the spectators. Upon its head, with red extended mouth and solitary eye of fire, sat the hideous beast whose craft had seduced me into murder, and whose informing voice had consigned me to the hangman. I had walled the monster up within the tomb!
- Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
- In a strange city lying alone
- Far down within the dim West,
- Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
- Have gone to their eternal rest.
- So blend the turrets and shadows there
- That all seem pendulous in air,
- While from a proud tower in the town
- Death looks gigantically down.
- And when, amid no earthly moans,
- Down, down that town shall settle hence,
- Hell, rising from a thousand thrones,
- Shall do it reverence.
The Fall of the House of Usher:
During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was; but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit. I say insufferable; for the feeling was unrelieved by any of that half-pleasurable, because poetic, sentiment, with which the mind usually receives even the sternest natural images of the desolate or terrible. I looked upon the scene before meupon the mere house, and the simple landscape features of the domainupon the bleak wallsupon the vacant eye-like windowsupon a few rank sedgesand upon a few white trunks of decayed treeswith an utter depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the after-dream of the reveler upon opiumthe bitter lapse into every-day lifethe hideous dropping off of the veil.
I had so worked upon my imagination as really to believe that about the whole mansion and domain there hung an atmosphere peculiar to themselves and their immediate vicinityan atmosphere which had no affinity with the air of heaven, but which had reeked up from the decayed trees, and the gray wall, and the silent tarna pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and leaden-hued.
I shall ever bear about me a memory of the many solemn hours I thus spent alone with the master of the House of Usher. Yet I should fail in any attempt to convey an idea of the exact character of the studies, or of the occupations in which he involved me, or led me the way. An excited and highly distempered ideality threw a sulphurous luster over all. His long, improvised dirges will ring forever in my ears.
I have, indeed, no abhorrence of danger, except in its absolute effect -- in terror.
- Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
- Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
- While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
- As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
- Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
- And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
- Sorrow for the lost Lenore
- For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore
- Nameless here for evermore.
- And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
- Thrilled me filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before.
- Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing,
- Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
- "Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore -
- Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
- Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
- "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.
- "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! prophet still, if bird or devil!"
- "Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
- Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
- Leave my loneliness unbroken! quit the bust above my door!
- Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
- Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
- And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
- On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door.
- And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
- Shall be lifted nevermore!
TRUE! nervous very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad?
Object there was none. Passion there was none. I loved the old man. He had never wronged me. He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire. I think it was his eye! yes, it was this! One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture a pale blue eye, with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me, my blood ran cold; and so by degrees very gradually I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever.
If you still think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.
"Villains!" I shrieked, "dissemble no more! I admit the deed! tear up the planks! here, here! it is the beating of his hideous heart!"
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