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Стваралаштво Е. А. Поа

diretore

Veoma poznat
Poruka
12.972
VisionOfDisorder:
Romantizam je vrh poezije, genije. Moderna je dobra, ali ni prinesi. Svashta.
Ovo zasluzuje gavrana u cjelini

The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; - vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow - sorrow for the lost Lenore -
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; -
This it is, and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"- here I opened wide the door; -
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!" -
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore -
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; -
'Tis the wind and nothing more."

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door -
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door -
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore -
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning- little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door -
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered- not a feather then he fluttered -
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown before -
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never - nevermore'."

But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore -
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite - respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore:
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! - prophet still, if bird or devil! -
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -
On this home by horror haunted- tell me truly, I implore -
Is there - is there balm in Gilead? - tell me - tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil - prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us - by that God we both adore -
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked, upstarting -
"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 his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted - nevermore!
 

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Banovan
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7.025
O UMETNICKOM POSTUPKU A.E.PO-a

Po smatra da već od prve rečenice , svi elementi priče moraju da teže jednom unapred zamišljenom efektu; nijedna rečnica ne sme odudarati od tog cilja. S obzirom da pripovetka nije ni predugačka ni prekratka, ona i jeste prikladna za tako nešto . Ona se može pročitati u kontinuitetu i tako ostaviti željeni utisak na čitaoca kome postepeno, dok je čita, raste napetost i uzbuđenje. Radnja je ''zgusnuta'' , a krajnji efekat je poput eksplozije, ''tempirane bombe'' . Po je tragao za idealnim zapletom , koji je po njegovom shvatanju morao biti analogan svemiru, kao idealnom ''zapletu'' Boga, ali se kao takav mogao odigravati samo u kratkim, ne i u dužim formama gde razgranutost radnje i epizodičnost to onemogućavaju . Tako ''Avanture Artura Gordona Pima'' poseduju obilje neobičnih motiva , ali dužina samog dela onemogućava čitaoca da sve to ''drži na oku'' i pročita '' u jednom dahu''. Naročito su za tu tehniku pogodne detektivske priče. Prvo se osmisli rešenje, a onda se na osnovu njega rekonstruiše zaplet, koji je ''savršen''.Ovo nazivamo reverzibilnom tehnikom, radnja se osmišljava tako što se ''ide unazad''.

nastavice se... :)
 

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Banovan
Poruka
7.025
Kažu da je Po zahvaljujući korpusu i tehnici gotskih romana učio da piše kratke priče. Bavio se često i parodiranjem ondašnjih storija koje su dosezale granice burlesknog, ukazujući na njihove nedostatke, ali se bavio i preuveličavanjem raznih , tadašnjih novinskih tekstova. Pou je takav materijal (naročito, gotski) omogućavao da do krajnjih granica iskoristi efekat u svojim pričama. Mnogi su mu zamerali njegovu ''vezanost'' za nemačke gotske pripovetke. Poovo delo ponekad pati od određenih ponavljanja, koja su uslovljena književnim tradicijama i konvencijama toga doba. Ponavljaju se neki motivi kao što su uklete kuće, porodično prokletstvo, melanholični junak sklon razornim psihičkim oboljenjima, neizlečiva bolest mlade žene , korišćenje gotske scenografije. Stvar je opredeljenja da li će se ovo shvatiti kao tehničko- tematska ''slabost'' ili kao svojevrsno nasleđe od pisaca gotske škole. Neki od urednika časopisa kojima je slao svoje priče smatrali su da nikad neće steći popularnost u Americi .Ali on odgovara :

'' ... moja strava nije nemačka , već ona iz duše...'' :twisted:
 

Чабар

Početnik
Poruka
14
Разумем што сви помињете "УБИСТВА У УЛИЦИ МОРГ" (пазите - множина! убијене су две жене,
мајка и ћерка), ипак са том причом почиње криминалистички жанр.

Свиђа ли се неком и друга прича о детективу Дипену, "УКРАДЕНО ПИСМО" ?

Иначе, колики је утицај имао По, види се по томе што у првој причи о Шерлоку Холмсу,
на примедбу др. Вотсона да његов начин рада личи на Дипенов,
Холмс скоро две стране објашњава колико је његов метод размишљања "бољи".
 

HeBePoBaTaH_

Poznat
Poruka
7.012

Tačan naslov je "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", ali ja nisam nailazio na prevode naslova u množini ( nije bitan broj ubistava )
Po je napiso 4 detektivske priče. Pored "Ubistva u ulici Morg", "Ukradenog pisma":
"Ti si čovek", "Zlatni jelenak" i "Misterija Meri Rože". Izdanje "Ukradenog pisma" koje imam, prevela je Vera Stojić.

Nil sapientiae odiosisus acumine nimio*

Mudrosti ništa nije mrskije od preteranog oštroumlja :wink:
 

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Banovan
Poruka
7.025
Amerika se tih dana mnogo zanimala za pomodne nauke. Pošto je bio novinar imao je na raspolaganju novinske članke i druge razne izvore iz kojih je preuzimao veliki broj čudnih događanja, incidenata, služio se analima iz psihijatrijske i kriminalističke prakse, kao i tadašnjim novijim naučnim i medicinskim istraživanjima. Znači, pred sobom je imao pravu riznicu neobičnosti, a u neke je i sam verovao: frenologija, astrologija, mesmerizam, spiritualizam, prizivanje duhova. Pesnici su se okretali orijentalizmu i zemljama Istoka, prenoseći sve to u svoja dela. Ni sam Po nije bio izuzetak. Interesantno je napomenuti da u njegovim pripovetkama, nema folklora, tradicije i predanja njegovog podneblja (npr. mitološki sistem Indijanaca). A opet , s druge strane , navodi razna druga božanstava iz hrišćanske, muslimanske, staro-grčke, jevrejske religije, kao i brojnih idola , mitoloških bića, demona, anđela. Takođe, izostaju tradicionalni fantastični likovi poput veštica, duhova , vampira, zombija. Đavo se javlja samo u pričama koje imaju karakter groteske, ali nikad kao zlokobna reinkarnacija zla. Ali ni to nam ne pomaže, jer ono na šta nailazimo u njegovim pričama , daleko je kompleksnije, njegova višedimenzijonalnost se opire bilo kakvom uopštavanju i klasifikaciji. Sonja Bašić u svom eseju o Pou kaže:

'' Čini mi se da je Poe jedan od neuhvatljivih genija. On je subliman i vulgaran, bitan a u isto vreme trivijalan, konkretan, ali isto tako apstraktan, racionalan, a opet tako krajnje abnormalan. Jednom rečju - čudovište.''

ps. Ah, CUDOVISTE! 8)
 

diretore

Veoma poznat
Poruka
12.972
Za sve one koji nisu procitali "Pad kuce Usher-ovih"


THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF
USHER
Son coeur est un luth suspendu ; Sitôt qu'on le touche il rsonne..
_ De Béranger_ .
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 me - upon the mere house, and the simple
landscape features of the domain - upon the bleak walls - upon the vacant eye-like windows -
upon a few rank sedges - and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees - with an utter
depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the
after-dream of the reveller upon opium - the bitter lapse into everyday life - the hideous
dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart - an
unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into
aught of the sublime. What was it - I paused to think - what was it that so unnerved me in the
contemplation of the House of Usher ? It was a mystery all insoluble ; nor could I grapple
with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered. I was forced to fall back upon
the unsatisfactory conclusion, that while, beyond doubt, there _are_ combinations of very
simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us, still the analysis of this
power lies among considerations beyond our depth. It was possible, I reflected, that a mere
different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be
sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression ; and,
acting upon this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn that
lay in unruffled lustre by the dwelling, and gazed down - but with a shudder even more
thrilling than before - upon the remodelled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the
ghastly tree-stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.
Nevertheless, in this mansion of gloom I now proposed to myself a sojourn of some
weeks. Its proprietor, Roderick Usher, had been one of my boon companions in boyhood ; but
many years had elapsed since our last meeting. A letter, however, had lately reached me in a
distant part of the country - a letter from him - which, in its wildly importunate nature, had

admitted of no other than a personal reply. The MS. gave evidence of nervous agitation. The
writer spoke of acute bodily illness - of a mental disorder which oppressed him - and of an
earnest desire to see me, as his best, and indeed his only personal friend, with a view of
attempting, by the cheerfulness of my society, some alleviation of his malady. It was the
manner in which all this, and much more, was said - it was the apparent _heart_ that went
with his request - which allowed me no room for hesitation; and I accordingly obeyed
forthwith what I still considered a very singular summons.
Although, as boys, we had been even intimate associates, yet I really knew little of my
friend. His reserve had been always excessive and habitual. I was aware, however, that his
very ancient family had been noted, time out of mind, for a peculiar sensibility of
temperament, displaying itself, through long ages, in many works of exalted art, and
manifested, of late, in repeated deeds of munificent yet unobtrusive charity, as well as in a
passionate devotion to the intricacies, perhaps even more than to the orthodox and easily
recognisable beauties, of musical science. I had learned, too, the very remarkable fact, that the
stem of the Usher race, all time-honored as it was, had put forth, at no period, any enduring
branch ; in other words, that the entire family lay in the direct line of descent, and had always,
with very trifling and very temporary variation, so lain. It was this deficiency, I considered,
while running over in thought the perfect keeping of the character of the premises with the
accredited character of the people, and while speculating upon the possible influence which
the one, in the long lapse of centuries, might have exercised upon the other - it was this
deficiency, perhaps, of collateral issue, and the consequent undeviating transmission, from
sire to son, of the patrimony with the name, which had, at length, so identified the two as to
merge the original title of the estate in the quaint and equivocal appellation of the "House of
Usher" - an appellation which seemed to include, in the minds of the peasantry who used it,
both the family and the family mansion.
I have said that the sole effect of my somewhat childish experiment - that of looking
down within the tarn - had been to deepen the first singular impression. There can be no doubt
that the consciousness of the rapid increase of my superstition - for why should I not so term
it ? - served mainly to accelerate the increase itself. Such, I have long known, is the
paradoxical law of all sentiments having terror as a basis. And it might have been for this
reason only, that, when I again uplifted my eyes to the house itself, from its image in the pool,
there grew in my mind a strange fancy - a fancy so ridiculous, indeed, that I but mention it to
show the vivid force of the sensations which oppressed me. 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 vicinity - an 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 tarn - a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and
leaden-hued.
Shaking off from my spirit what _must_ have been a dream, I scanned more narrowly the
real aspect of the building. Its principal feature seemed to be that of an excessive antiquity.
The discoloration of ages had been great. Minute fungi overspread the whole exterior,
hanging in a fine tangled web-work from the eaves. Yet all this was apart from any
extraordinary dilapidation. No portion of the masonry had fallen ; and there appeared to be a
wild inconsistency between its still perfect adaptation of parts, and the crumbling condition of
the individual stones. In this there was much that reminded me of the specious totality of old
wood-work which has rotted for long years in some neglected vault, with no disturbance from
the breath of the external air. Beyond this indication of extensive decay, however, the fabric

gave little token of instability. Perhaps the eye of a scrutinizing observer might have
discovered a barely perceptible fissure, which, extending from the roof of the building in
front, made its way down the wall in a zigzag direction, until it became lost in the sullen
waters of the tarn.
Noticing these things, I rode over a short causeway to the house. A servant in waiting
took my horse, and I entered the Gothic archway of the hall. A valet, of stealthy step, thence
conducted me, in silence, through many dark and intricate passages in my progress to the
_studio_ of his master. Much that I encountered on the way contributed, I know not how, to
heighten the vague sentiments of which I have already spoken. While the objects around me -
while the carvings of the ceilings, the sombre tapestries of the walls, the ebon blackness of the
floors, and the phantasmagoric armorial trophies which rattled as I strode, were but matters to
which, or to such as which, I had been accustomed from my infancy - while I hesitated not to
acknowledge how familiar was all this - I still wondered to find how unfamiliar were the
fancies which ordinary images were stirring up. On one of the staircases, I met the physician
of the family. His countenance, I thought, wore a mingled expression of low cunning and
perplexity. He accosted me with trepidation and passed on. The valet now threw open a door
and ushered me into the presence of his master.
The room in which I found myself was very large and lofty. The windows were long,
narrow, and pointed, and at so vast a distance from the black oaken floor as to be altogether
inaccessible from within. Feeble gleams of encrimsoned light made their way through the
trellissed panes, and served to render sufficiently distinct the more prominent objects around ;
the eye, however, struggled in vain to reach the remoter angles of the chamber, or the recesses
of the vaulted and fretted ceiling. Dark draperies hung upon the walls. The general furniture
was profuse, comfortless, antique, and tattered. Many books and musical instruments lay
scattered about, but failed to give any vitality to the scene. I felt that I breathed an atmosphere
of sorrow. An air of stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded all.
Upon my entrance, Usher arose from a sofa on which he had been lying at full length,
and greeted me with a vivacious warmth which had much in it, I at first thought, of an
overdone cordiality - of the constrained effort of the _ennuyé_ ; man of the world. A glance,
however, at his countenance, convinced me of his perfect sincerity. We sat down ; and for
some moments, while he spoke not, I gazed upon him with a feeling half of pity, half of awe.
Surely, man had never before so terribly altered, in so brief a period, as had Roderick Usher !
It was with difficulty that I could bring myself to admit the identity of the wan being before
me with the companion of my early boyhood. Yet the character of his face had been at all
times remarkable. A cadaverousness of complexion ; an eye large, liquid, and luminous
beyond comparison ; lips somewhat thin and very pallid, but of a surpassingly beautiful curve
; a nose of a delicate Hebrew model, but with a breadth of nostril unusual in similar
formations ; a finely moulded chin, speaking, in its want of prominence, of a want of moral
energy; hair of a more than web-like softness and tenuity ; these features, with an inordinate
expansion above the regions of the temple, made up altogether a countenance not easily to be
forgotten. And now in the mere exaggeration of the prevailing character of these features, and
of the expression they were wont to convey, lay so much of change that I doubted to whom I
spoke. The now ghastly pallor of the skin, and the now miraculous lustre of the eye, above all
things startled and even awed me. The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow all
unheeded, and as, in its wild gossamer texture, it floated rather than fell about the face, I could
not, even with effort, connect its Arabesque expression with any idea of simple humanity.

In the manner of my friend I was at once struck with an incoherence - an inconsistency ;
and I soon found this to arise from a series of feeble and futile struggles to overcome an
habitual trepidancy - an excessive nervous agitation. For something of this nature I had indeed
been prepared, no less by his letter, than by reminiscences of certain boyish traits, and by
conclusions deduced from his peculiar physical conformation and temperament. His action
was alternately vivacious and sullen. His voice varied rapidly from a tremulous indecision
(when the animal spirits seemed utterly in abeyance) to that species of energetic concision -
that abrupt, weighty, unhurried, and hollow-sounding enunciation - that leaden, self-balanced
and perfectly modulated guttural utterance, which may be observed in the lost drunkard, or
the irreclaimable eater of opium, during the periods of his most intense excitement.
It was thus that he spoke of the object of my visit, of his earnest desire to see me, and of
the solace he expected me to afford him. He entered, at some length, into what he conceived
to be the nature of his malady. It was, he said, a constitutional and a family evil, and one for
which he despaired to find a remedy - a mere nervous affection, he immediately added, which
would undoubtedly soon pass off. It displayed itself in a host of unnatural sensations. Some of
these, as he detailed them, interested and bewildered me ; although, perhaps, the terms, and
the general manner of the narration had their weight. He suffered much from a morbid
acuteness of the senses ; the most insipid food was alone endurable; he could wear only
garments of certain texture ; the odors of all flowers were oppressive ; his eyes were tortured
by even a faint light ; and there were but peculiar sounds, and these from stringed instruments,
which did not inspire him with horror.
To an anomalous species of terror I found him a bounden slave. "I shall perish," said he,
"I must perish in this deplorable folly. Thus, thus, and not otherwise, shall I be lost. I dread
the events of the future, not in themselves, but in their results. I shudder at the thought of any,
even the most trivial, incident, which may operate upon this intolerable agitation of soul. I
have, indeed, no abhorrence of danger, except in its absolute effect - in terror. In this
unnerved - in this pitiable condition - I feel that the period will sooner or later arrive when I
must abandon life and reason together, in some struggle with the grim phantasm, FEAR."
I learned, moreover, at intervals, and through broken and equivocal hints, another
singular feature of his mental condition. He was enchained by certain superstitious
impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted, and whence, for many years, he had
never ventured forth - in regard to an influence whose supposititious force was conveyed in
terms too shadowy here to be re-stated - an influence which some peculiarities in the mere
form and substance of his family mansion, had, by dint of long sufferance, he said, obtained
over his spirit - an effect which the _physique_ of the gray walls and turrets, and of the dim
tarn into which they all looked down, had, at length, brought about upon the _morale_ of his
existence.
He admitted, however, although with hesitation, that much of the peculiar gloom which
thus afflicted him could be traced to a more natural and far more palpable origin - to the
severe and long-continued illness - indeed to the evidently approaching dissolution - of a
tenderly beloved sister - his sole companion for long years - his last and only relative on earth.
"Her decease," he said, with a bitterness which I can never forget, "would leave him (him the
hopeless and the frail) the last of the ancient race of the Ushers." While he spoke, the lady
Madeline (for so was she called) passed slowly through a remote portion of the apartment,
and, without having noticed my presence, disappeared. I regarded her with an utter
astonishment not unmingled with dread - and yet I found it impossible to account for such

feelings. A sensation of stupor oppressed me, as my eyes followed her retreating steps. When
a door, at length, closed upon her, my glance sought instinctively and eagerly the countenance
of the brother - but he had buried his face in his hands, and I could only perceive that a far
more than ordinary wanness had overspread the emaciated fingers through which trickled
many passionate tears.
The disease of the lady Madeline had long baffled the skill of her physicians. A settled
apathy, a gradual wasting away of the person, and frequent although transient affections of a
partially cataleptical character, were the unusual diagnosis. Hitherto she had steadily borne up
against the pressure of her malady, and had not betaken herself finally to bed ; but, on the
closing in of the evening of my arrival at the house, she succumbed (as her brother told me at
night with inexpressible agitation) to the prostrating power of the destroyer ; and I learned that
the glimpse I had obtained of her person would thus probably be the last I should obtain - that
the lady, at least while living, would be seen by me no more.
For several days ensuing, her name was unmentioned by either Usher or myself: and
during this period I was busied in earnest endeavors to alleviate the melancholy of my friend.
We painted and read together ; or I listened, as if in a dream, to the wild improvisations of his
speaking guitar. And thus, as a closer and still closer intimacy admitted me more unreservedly
into the recesses of his spirit, the more bitterly did I perceive the futility of all attempt at
cheering a mind from which darkness, as if an inherent positive quality, poured forth upon all
objects of the moral and physical universe, in one unceasing radiation of gloom.
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 sulphureous lustre over all. His long
improvised dirges will ring forever in my ears. Among other things, I hold painfully in mind a
certain singular perversion and amplification of the wild air of the last waltz of Von Weber.
From the paintings over which his elaborate fancy brooded, and which grew, touch by touch,
into vaguenesses at which I shuddered the more thrillingly, because I shuddered knowing not
why ; - from these paintings (vivid as their images now are before me) I would in vain
endeavor to educe more than a small portion which should lie within the compass of merely
written words. By the utter simplicity, by the nakedness of his designs, he arrested and
overawed attention. If ever mortal painted an idea, that mortal was Roderick Usher. For me at
least - in the circumstances then surrounding me - there arose out of the pure abstractions
which the hypochondriac contrived to throw upon his canvass, an intensity of intolerable awe,
no shadow of which felt I ever yet in the contemplation of the certainly glowing yet too
concrete reveries of Fuseli.
One of the phantasmagoric conceptions of my friend, partaking not so rigidly of the spirit
of abstraction, may be shadowed forth, although feebly, in words. A small picture presented
the interior of an immensely long and rectangular vault or tunnel, with low walls, smooth,
white, and without interruption or device. Certain accessory points of the design served well
to convey the idea that this excavation lay at an exceeding depth below the surface of the
earth. No outlet was observed in any portion of its vast extent, and no torch, or other artificial
source of light was discernible ; yet a flood of intense rays rolled throughout, and bathed the
whole in a ghastly and inappropriate splendor.

I have just spoken of that morbid condition of the auditory nerve which rendered all
music intolerable to the sufferer, with the exception of certain effects of stringed instruments.
It was, perhaps, the narrow limits to which he thus confined himself upon the guitar, which
gave birth, in great measure, to the fantastic character of his performances. But the fervid
_facility_ of his _impromptus_ could not be so accounted for. They must have been, and
were, in the notes, as well as in the words of his wild fantasias (for he not unfrequently
accompanied himself with rhymed verbal improvisations), the result of that intense mental
collectedness and concentration to which I have previously alluded as observable only in
particular moments of the highest artificial excitement. The words of one of these rhapsodies I
have easily remembered. I was, perhaps, the more forcibly impressed with it, as he gave it,
because, in the under or mystic current of its meaning, I fancied that I perceived, and for the
first time, a full consciousness on the part of Usher, of the tottering of his lofty reason upon
her throne. The verses, which were entitled "The Haunted Palace," ran very nearly, if not
accurately, thus:
I. In the greenest of our valleys, By good angels tenanted, Once a fair and stately palace -
Radiant palace - reared its head. In the monarch Thought's dominion - It stood there ! Never
seraph spread a pinion Over fabric half so fair. II. Banners yellow, glorious, golden, On its
roof did float and flow; (This - all this - was in the olden Time long ago) And every gentle air
that dallied, In that sweet day, Along the ramparts plumed and pallid, A winged odor went
away. III. Wanderers in that happy valley Through two luminous windows saw Spirits
moving musically To a lute's well-tunéd law, Round about a throne, where sitting
(Porphyrogene !) In state his glory well befitting, The ruler of the realm was seen. IV. And all
with pearl and ruby glowing Was the fair palace door, Through which came flowing, flowing,
flowing, And sparkling evermore, A troop of Echoes whose sweet duty Was but to sing, In
voices of surpassing beauty, The wit and wisdom of their king. V. But evil things, in robes of
sorrow, Assailed the monarch's high estate ; (Ah, let us mourn, for never morrow Shall dawn
upon him, desolate !) And, round about his home, the glory That blushed and bloomed Is but
a dim-remembered story Of the old time entombed. VI. And travellers now within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows, see Vast forms that move fantastically To a discordant
melody ; While, like a rapid ghastly river, Through the pale door, A hideous throng rush out
forever, And laugh - but smile no more.
I well remember that suggestions arising from this ballad, led us into a train of thought
wherein there became manifest an opinion of Usher's which I mention not so much on
account of its novelty, (for other men * have thought thus,) as on account of the pertinacity
with which he maintained it. This opinion, in its general form, was that of the sentience of all
vegetable things. But, in his disordered fancy, the idea had assumed a more daring character,
and trespassed, under certain conditions, upon the kingdom of inorganization. I lack words to
express the full extent, or the earnest _abandon_ of his persuasion. The belief, however, was
connected (as I have previously hinted) with the gray stones of the home of his forefathers.
The conditions of the sentience had been here, he imagined, fulfilled in the method of
collocation of these stones - in the order of their arrangement, as well as in that of the many
_fungi_ which overspread them, and of the decayed trees which stood around - above all, in
the long undisturbed endurance of this arrangement, and in its reduplication in the still waters
of the tarn. Its evidence - the evidence of the sentience - was to be seen, he said, (and I here
started as he spoke,) in the gradual yet certain condensation of an atmosphere of their own
about the waters and the walls. The result was discoverable, he added, in that silent, yet
importunate and terrible influence which for centuries had moulded the destinies of his

family, and which made _him_ what I now saw him - what he was. Such opinions need no
comment, and I will make none.
* Watson, Dr. Percival, Spallanzani, and especially the Bishop of Landaff. - See
"Chemical Essays," vol v.
Our books - the books which, for years, had formed no small portion of the mental
existence of the invalid - were, as might be supposed, in strict keeping with this character of
phantasm. We pored together over such works as the Ververt et Chartreuse of Gresset ; the
Belphegor of Machiavelli ; the Heaven and Hell of Swedenborg ; the Subterranean Voyage of
Nicholas Klimm by Holberg ; the Chiromancy of Robert Flud, of Jean D'Indaginé, and of De
la Chambre ; the Journey into the Blue Distance of Tieck ; and the City of the Sun of
Campanella. One favorite volume was a small octavo edition of the _Directorium
Inquisitorium_, by the Dominican Eymeric de Gironne; and there were passages in
Pomponius Mela, about the old African Satyrs and OEgipans, over which Usher would sit
dreaming for hours. His chief delight, however, was found in the perusal of an exceedingly
rare and curious book in quarto Gothic - the manual of a forgotten church - the _Vigiliae
Mortuorum secundum Chorum Ecclesiae Maguntinae_.
I could not help thinking of the wild ritual of this work, and of its probable influence
upon the hypochondriac, when, one evening, having informed me abruptly that the lady
Madeline was no more, he stated his intention of preserving her corpse for a fortnight,
(previously to its final interment,) in one of the numerous vaults within the main walls of the
building. The worldly reason, however, assigned for this singular proceeding, was one which I
did not feel at liberty to dispute. The brother had been led to his resolution (so he told me) by
consideration of the unusual character of the malady of the deceased, of certain obtrusive and
eager inquiries on the part of her medical men, and of the remote and exposed situation of the
burial-ground of the family. I will not deny that when I called to mind the sinister
countenance of the person whom I met upon the staircase, on the day of my arrival at the
house, I had no desire to oppose what I regarded as at best but a harmless, and by no means an
unnatural, precaution.
At the request of Usher, I personally aided him in the arrangements for the temporary
entombment. The body having been encoffined, we two alone bore it to its rest. The vault in
which we placed it (and which had been so long unopened that our torches, half smothered in
its oppressive atmosphere, gave us little opportunity for investigation) was small, damp, and
entirely without means of admission for light ; lying, at great depth, immediately beneath that
portion of the building in which was my own sleeping apartment. It had been used,
apparently, in remote feudal times, for the worst purposes of a donjon-keep, and, in later days,
as a place of deposit for powder, or some other highly combustible substance, as a portion of
its floor, and the whole interior of a long archway through which we reached it, were carefully
sheathed with copper. The door, of massive iron, had been, also, similarly protected. Its
immense weight caused an unusually sharp grating sound, as it moved upon its hinges.
Having deposited our mournful burden upon tressels within this region of horror, we
partially turned aside the yet unscrewed lid of the coffin, and looked upon the face of the
tenant. A striking similitude between the brother and sister now first arrested my attention ;
and Usher, divining, perhaps, my thoughts, murmured out some few words from which I
learned that the deceased and himself had been twins, and that sympathies of a scarcely
intelligible nature had always existed between them. Our glances, however, rested not long

upon the dead - for we could not regard her unawed. The disease which had thus entombed
the lady in the maturity of youth, had left, as usual in all maladies of a strictly cataleptical
character, the mockery of a faint blush upon the bosom and the face, and that suspiciously
lingering smile upon the lip which is so terrible in death. We replaced and screwed down the
lid, and, having secured the door of iron, made our way, with toil, into the scarcely less
gloomy apartments of the upper portion of the house.
And now, some days of bitter grief having elapsed, an observable change came over the
features of the mental disorder of my friend. His ordinary manner had vanished. His ordinary
occupations were neglected or forgotten. He roamed from chamber to chamber with hurried,
unequal, and objectless step. The pallor of his countenance had assumed, if possible, a more
ghastly hue - but the luminousness of his eye had utterly gone out. The once occasional
huskiness of his tone was heard no more; and a tremulous quaver, as if of extreme terror,
habitually characterized his utterance. There were times, indeed, when I thought his
unceasingly agitated mind was laboring with some oppressive secret, to divulge which he
struggled for the necessary courage. At times, again, I was obliged to resolve all into the mere
inexplicable vagaries of madness, for I beheld him gazing upon vacancy for long hours, in an
attitude of the profoundest attention, as if listening to some imaginary sound. It was no
wonder that his condition terrified - that it infected me. I felt creeping upon me, by slow yet
certain degrees, the wild influences of his own fantastic yet impressive superstitions.
It was, especially, upon retiring to bed late in the night of the seventh or eighth day after
the placing of the lady Madeline within the donjon, that I experienced the full power of such
feelings. Sleep came not near my couch - while the hours waned and waned away. I struggled
to reason off the nervousness which had dominion over me. I endeavored to believe that
much, if not all of what I felt, was due to the bewildering influence of the gloomy furniture of
the room - of the dark and tattered draperies, which, tortured into motion by the breath of a
rising tempest, swayed fitfully to and fro upon the walls, and rustled uneasily about the
decorations of the bed. But my efforts were fruitless. An irrepressible tremor gradually
pervaded my frame ; and, at length, there sat upon my very heart an incubus of utterly
causeless alarm. Shaking this off with a gasp and a struggle, I uplifted myself upon the
pillows, and, peering earnestly within the intense darkness of the chamber, harkened - I know
not why, except that an instinctive spirit prompted me - to certain low and indefinite sounds
which came, through the pauses of the storm, at long intervals, I knew not whence.
Overpowered by an intense sentiment of horror, unaccountable yet unendurable, I threw on
my clothes with haste (for I felt that I should sleep no more during the night), and endeavored
to arouse myself from the pitiable condition into which I had fallen, by pacing rapidly to and
fro through the apartment.
I had taken but few turns in this manner, when a light step on an adjoining staircase
arrested my attention. I presently recognised it as that of Usher. In an instant afterward he
rapped, with a gentle touch, at my door, and entered, bearing a lamp. His countenance was, as
usual, cadaverously wan - but, moreover, there was a species of mad hilarity in his eyes - an
evidently restrained _hysteria_ in his whole demeanor. His air appalled me - but anything was
preferable to the solitude which I had so long endured, and I even welcomed his presence as a
relief.
"And you have not seen it ?" he said abruptly, after having stared about him for some
moments in silence - "you have not then seen it ? - but, stay ! you shall." Thus speaking, and

having carefully shaded his lamp, he hurried to one of the casements, and threw it freely open
to the storm.
The impetuous fury of the entering gust nearly lifted us from our feet. It was, indeed, a
tempestuous yet sternly beautiful night, and one wildly singular in its terror and its beauty. A
whirlwind had apparently collected its force in our vicinity ; for there were frequent and
violent alterations in the direction of the wind ; and the exceeding density of the clouds
(which hung so low as to press upon the turrets of the house) did not prevent our perceiving
the life-like velocity with which they flew careering from all points against each other,
without passing away into the distance. I say that even their exceeding density did not prevent
our perceiving this - yet we had no glimpse of the moon or stars - nor was there any flashing
forth of the lightning. But the under surfaces of the huge masses of agitated vapor, as well as
all terrestrial objects immediately around us, were glowing in the unnatural light of a faintly
luminous and distinctly visible gaseous exhalation which hung about and enshrouded the
mansion.
"You must not - you shall not behold this !" said I, shudderingly, to Usher, as I led him,
with a gentle violence, from the window to a seat. "These appearances, which bewilder you,
are merely electrical phenomena not uncommon - or it may be that they have their ghastly
origin in the rank miasma of the tarn. Let us close this casement ; - the air is chilling and
dangerous to your frame. Here is one of your favorite romances. I will read, and you shall
listen ; - and so we will pass away this terrible night together."
The antique volume which I had taken up was the "Mad Trist" of Sir Launcelot Canning
; but I had called it a favorite of Usher's more in sad jest than in earnest ; for, in truth, there is
little in its uncouth and unimaginative prolixity which could have had interest for the lofty and
spiritual ideality of my friend. It was, however, the only book immediately at hand ; and I
indulged a vague hope that the excitement which now agitated the hypochondriac, might find
relief (for the history of mental disorder is full of similar anomalies) even in the extremeness
of the folly which I should read. Could I have judged, indeed, by the wild overstrained air of
vivacity with which he harkened, or apparently harkened, to the words of the tale, I might
well have congratulated myself upon the success of my design.
I had arrived at that well-known portion of the story where Ethelred, the hero of the
Trist, having sought in vain for peaceable admission into the dwelling of the hermit, proceeds
to make good an entrance by force. Here, it will be remembered, the words of the narrative
run thus:
"And Ethelred, who was by nature of a doughty heart, and who was now mighty withal,
on account of the powerfulness of the wine which he had drunken, waited no longer to hold
parley with the hermit, who, in sooth, was of an obstinate and maliceful turn, but, feeling the
rain upon his shoulders, and fearing the rising of the tempest, uplifted his mace outright, and,
with blows, made quickly room in the plankings of the door for his gauntleted hand ; and now
pulling therewith sturdily, he so cracked, and ripped, and tore all asunder, that the noise of the
dry and hollow-sounding wood alarummed and reverberated throughout the forest."
At the termination of this sentence I started, and for a moment, paused ; for it appeared to
me (although I at once concluded that my excited fancy had deceived me) - it appeared to me
that, from some very remote portion of the mansion, there came, indistinctly, to my ears, what
might have been, in its exact similarity of character, the echo (but a stifled and dull one

certainly) of the very cracking and ripping sound which Sir Launcelot had so particularly
described. It was, beyond doubt, the coincidence alone which had arrested my attention ; for,
amid the rattling of the sashes of the casements, and the ordinary commingled noises of the
still increasing storm, the sound, in itself, had nothing, surely, which should have interested or
disturbed me. I continued the story:
"But the good champion Ethelred, now entering within the door, was sore enraged and
amazed to perceive no signal of the maliceful hermit ; but, in the stead thereof, a dragon of a
scaly and prodigious demeanor, and of a fiery tongue, which sate in guard before a palace of
gold, with a floor of silver ; and upon the wall there hung a shield of shining brass with this
legend enwritten -
Who entereth herein, a conqueror hath bin ; Who slayeth the dragon, the shield he shall
win;
And Ethelred uplifted his mace, and struck upon the head of the dragon, which fell
before him, and gave up his pesty breath, with a shriek so horrid and harsh, and withal so
piercing, that Ethelred had fain to close his ears with his hands against the dreadful noise of it,
the like whereof was never before heard."
Here again I paused abruptly, and now with a feeling of wild amazement - for there
could be no doubt whatever that, in this instance, I did actually hear (although from what
direction it proceeded I found it impossible to say) a low and apparently distant, but harsh,
protracted, and most unusual screaming or grating sound - the exact counterpart of what my
fancy had already conjured up for the dragon's unnatural shriek as described by the romancer.
Oppressed, as I certainly was, upon the occurrence of this second and most extraordinary
coincidence, by a thousand conflicting sensations, in which wonder and extreme terror were
predominant, I still retained sufficient presence of mind to avoid exciting, by any observation,
the sensitive nervousness of my companion. I was by no means certain that he had noticed the
sounds in question ; although, assuredly, a strange alteration had, during the last few minutes,
taken place in his demeanor. From a position fronting my own, he had gradually brought
round his chair, so as to sit with his face to the door of the chamber ; and thus I could but
partially perceive his features, although I saw that his lips trembled as if he were murmuring
inaudibly. His head had dropped upon his breast - yet I knew that he was not asleep, from the
wide and rigid opening of the eye as I caught a glance of it in profile. The motion of his body,
too, was at variance with this idea - for he rocked from side to side with a gentle yet constant
and uniform sway. Having rapidly taken notice of all this, I resumed the narrative of Sir
Launcelot, which thus proceeded:
"And now, the champion, having escaped from the terrible fury of the dragon, bethinking
himself of the brazen shield, and of the breaking up of the enchantment which was upon it,
removed the carcass from out of the way before him, and approached valorously over the
silver pavement of the castle to where the shield was upon the wall ; which in sooth tarried
not for his full coming, but fell down at his feet upon the silver floor, with a mighty great and
terrible ringing sound."
No sooner had these syllables passed my lips, than - as if a shield of brass had indeed, at
the moment, fallen heavily upon a floor of silver - I became aware of a distinct, hollow,
metallic, and clangorous, yet apparently muffled reverberation. Completely unnerved, I

leaped to my feet ; but the measured rocking movement of Usher was undisturbed. I rushed to
the chair in which he sat. His eyes were bent fixedly before him, and throughout his whole
countenance there reigned a stony rigidity. But, as I placed my hand upon his shoulder, there
came a strong shudder over his whole person ; a sickly smile quivered about his lips ; and I
saw that he spoke in a low, hurried, and gibbering murmur, as if unconscious of my presence.
Bending closely over him, I at length drank in the hideous import of his words.
"Not hear it ? - yes, I hear it, and _have_ heard it. Long - long - long - many minutes,
many hours, many days, have I heard it - yet I dared not - oh, pity me, miserable wretch that I
am ! - I dared not - I _dared_ not speak ! _We have put her living in the tomb !_ Said I not
that my senses were acute ? I _now_ tell you that I heard her first feeble movements in the
hollow coffin. I heard them - many, many days ago - yet I dared not - _I dared not speak !_
And now - to-night - Ethelred - ha ! ha ! - the breaking of the hermit's door, and the death-cry
of the dragon, and the clangor of the shield ! - say, rather, the rending of her coffin, and the
grating of the iron hinges of her prison, and her struggles within the coppered archway of the
vault ! Oh whither shall I fly ? Will she not be here anon ? Is she not hurrying to upbraid me
for my haste ? Have I not heard her footstep on the stair ? Do I not distinguish that heavy and
horrible beating of her heart ? Madman !" - here he sprang furiously to his feet, and shrieked
out his syllables, as if in the effort he were giving up his soul - "_Madman ! I tell you that she
now stands without the door !_"
As if in the superhuman energy of his utterance there had been found the potency of a
spell - the huge antique pannels to which the speaker pointed, threw slowly back, upon the
instant, their ponderous and ebony jaws. It was the work of the rushing gust - but then without
those doors there _did_ stand the lofty and enshrouded figure of the lady Madeline of Usher.
There was blood upon her white robes, and the evidence of some bitter struggle upon every
portion of her emaciated frame. For a moment she remained trembling and reeling to and fro
upon the threshold - then, with a low moaning cry, fell heavily inward upon the person of her
brother, and in her violent and now final death-agonies, bore him to the floor a corpse, and a
victim to the terrors he had anticipated.
From that chamber, and from that mansion, I fled aghast. The storm was still abroad in
all its wrath as I found myself crossing the old causeway. Suddenly there shot along the path a
wild light, and I turned to see whence a gleam so unusual could have issued ; for the vast
house and its shadows were alone behind me. The radiance was that of the full, setting, and
blood-red moon, which now shone vividly through that once barely-discernible fissure, of
which I have before spoken as extending from the roof of the building, in a zigzag direction,
to the base. While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened - there came a fierce breath of the
whirlwind - the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight - my brain reeled as I
saw the mighty walls rushing asunder - there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the
voice of a thousand waters - and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently
over the fragments of the "_
 

divlja u srcu

Poznat
Banovan
Poruka
7.025
Većem broju kritičara najbolja je ''Pad kuće Ašerovih '' i podleže najrazličitijim tumačenjima. Čitaocu se pruža čitav niz simbola koje on mora pažljivo iščitati i dešifrovati. Racionalistička tumačenja polaze od toga da na Ašera i samog naratora utiču kužna isparenja ribnjaka koja izazivaju halucinacije. Rušenje kuće se objašnjava pukotinom , a ponovno oživljavanje sestre kataleptičkim napadima od kojih je bolovala. Simbolička pretpostavljaju da se sve odvija u Roderikovoj glavi, da je cela kuća svojevrsan svet koji je on umislio. Ili da je Roderik intelekt , um , Madlen duša, a sama kuća telo jednog celovitog bića. Tako da bi njihova zajednička smrt , kao i raspad same kuće bila samo simbolična slika kompleksnog bića koje doživljava kolaps ukoliko se poremeti harmonija njegovih elemenata. Druga tumačenja u ovoj priči vide motive ''vampirizma'', tj. da su brat i sestra vampiri , a motiv incesta između brata i sestre nam ''razotkriva'' psihoanalitička struja. Po nas je opet nasamario, on više sugeriše nego što iznosi pravo stanje stvari. Njegove priče se opiru doslovnoj interpretaciji:

'' Slojevi teksta i slojevi luka jednaki su u tome što je u njima sadržano značenje celine kojoj pripadaju. Interpretacija nije putovanje u središte gde se skriva destilirano ili zgusnuto jezgro smisla. Kad oljuštimo i poslednju ovojnicu, kad prodremo kroz poslednji sloj, otkrit ćemo da u samom središtu nema ničeg.''

:wink:
 

goxy

Zaslužan član
Poruka
106.836
diretore:
Za sve one koji nisu procitali "Pad kuce Usher-ovih"


THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF
USHER
Son coeur est un luth suspendu ; Sitôt qu'on le touche il rsonne..
_ De Béranger_ .
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 me - upon the mere house, and the simple
landscape features of the domain - upon the bleak walls - upon the vacant eye-like windows -
upon a few rank sedges - and upon a few white trunks of decayed trees - with an utter
depression of soul which I can compare to no earthly sensation more properly than to the
after-dream of the reveller upon opium - the bitter lapse into everyday life - the hideous
dropping off of the veil. There was an iciness, a sinking, a sickening of the heart - an
unredeemed dreariness of thought which no goading of the imagination could torture into
aught of the sublime. What was it - I paused to think - what was it that so unnerved me in the
contemplation of the House of Usher ? It was a mystery all insoluble ; nor could I grapple
with the shadowy fancies that crowded upon me as I pondered. I was forced to fall back upon
the unsatisfactory conclusion, that while, beyond doubt, there _are_ combinations of very
simple natural objects which have the power of thus affecting us, still the analysis of this
power lies among considerations beyond our depth. It was possible, I reflected, that a mere
different arrangement of the particulars of the scene, of the details of the picture, would be
sufficient to modify, or perhaps to annihilate its capacity for sorrowful impression ; and,
acting upon this idea, I reined my horse to the precipitous brink of a black and lurid tarn that
lay in unruffled lustre by the dwelling, and gazed down - but with a shudder even more
thrilling than before - upon the remodelled and inverted images of the gray sedge, and the
ghastly tree-stems, and the vacant and eye-like windows.
Nevertheless, in this mansion of gloom I now proposed to myself a sojourn of some
weeks. Its proprietor, Roderick Usher, had been one of my boon companions in boyhood ; but
many years had elapsed since our last meeting. A letter, however, had lately reached me in a
distant part of the country - a letter from him - which, in its wildly importunate nature, had

admitted of no other than a personal reply. The MS. gave evidence of nervous agitation. The
writer spoke of acute bodily illness - of a mental disorder which oppressed him - and of an
earnest desire to see me, as his best, and indeed his only personal friend, with a view of
attempting, by the cheerfulness of my society, some alleviation of his malady. It was the
manner in which all this, and much more, was said - it was the apparent _heart_ that went
with his request - which allowed me no room for hesitation; and I accordingly obeyed
forthwith what I still considered a very singular summons.
Although, as boys, we had been even intimate associates, yet I really knew little of my
friend. His reserve had been always excessive and habitual. I was aware, however, that his
very ancient family had been noted, time out of mind, for a peculiar sensibility of
temperament, displaying itself, through long ages, in many works of exalted art, and
manifested, of late, in repeated deeds of munificent yet unobtrusive charity, as well as in a
passionate devotion to the intricacies, perhaps even more than to the orthodox and easily
recognisable beauties, of musical science. I had learned, too, the very remarkable fact, that the
stem of the Usher race, all time-honored as it was, had put forth, at no period, any enduring
branch ; in other words, that the entire family lay in the direct line of descent, and had always,
with very trifling and very temporary variation, so lain. It was this deficiency, I considered,
while running over in thought the perfect keeping of the character of the premises with the
accredited character of the people, and while speculating upon the possible influence which
the one, in the long lapse of centuries, might have exercised upon the other - it was this
deficiency, perhaps, of collateral issue, and the consequent undeviating transmission, from
sire to son, of the patrimony with the name, which had, at length, so identified the two as to
merge the original title of the estate in the quaint and equivocal appellation of the "House of
Usher" - an appellation which seemed to include, in the minds of the peasantry who used it,
both the family and the family mansion.
I have said that the sole effect of my somewhat childish experiment - that of looking
down within the tarn - had been to deepen the first singular impression. There can be no doubt
that the consciousness of the rapid increase of my superstition - for why should I not so term
it ? - served mainly to accelerate the increase itself. Such, I have long known, is the
paradoxical law of all sentiments having terror as a basis. And it might have been for this
reason only, that, when I again uplifted my eyes to the house itself, from its image in the pool,
there grew in my mind a strange fancy - a fancy so ridiculous, indeed, that I but mention it to
show the vivid force of the sensations which oppressed me. 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 vicinity - an 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 tarn - a pestilent and mystic vapor, dull, sluggish, faintly discernible, and
leaden-hued.
Shaking off from my spirit what _must_ have been a dream, I scanned more narrowly the
real aspect of the building. Its principal feature seemed to be that of an excessive antiquity.
The discoloration of ages had been great. Minute fungi overspread the whole exterior,
hanging in a fine tangled web-work from the eaves. Yet all this was apart from any
extraordinary dilapidation. No portion of the masonry had fallen ; and there appeared to be a
wild inconsistency between its still perfect adaptation of parts, and the crumbling condition of
the individual stones. In this there was much that reminded me of the specious totality of old
wood-work which has rotted for long years in some neglected vault, with no disturbance from
the breath of the external air. Beyond this indication of extensive decay, however, the fabric

gave little token of instability. Perhaps the eye of a scrutinizing observer might have
discovered a barely perceptible fissure, which, extending from the roof of the building in
front, made its way down the wall in a zigzag direction, until it became lost in the sullen
waters of the tarn.
Noticing these things, I rode over a short causeway to the house. A servant in waiting
took my horse, and I entered the Gothic archway of the hall. A valet, of stealthy step, thence
conducted me, in silence, through many dark and intricate passages in my progress to the
_studio_ of his master. Much that I encountered on the way contributed, I know not how, to
heighten the vague sentiments of which I have already spoken. While the objects around me -
while the carvings of the ceilings, the sombre tapestries of the walls, the ebon blackness of the
floors, and the phantasmagoric armorial trophies which rattled as I strode, were but matters to
which, or to such as which, I had been accustomed from my infancy - while I hesitated not to
acknowledge how familiar was all this - I still wondered to find how unfamiliar were the
fancies which ordinary images were stirring up. On one of the staircases, I met the physician
of the family. His countenance, I thought, wore a mingled expression of low cunning and
perplexity. He accosted me with trepidation and passed on. The valet now threw open a door
and ushered me into the presence of his master.
The room in which I found myself was very large and lofty. The windows were long,
narrow, and pointed, and at so vast a distance from the black oaken floor as to be altogether
inaccessible from within. Feeble gleams of encrimsoned light made their way through the
trellissed panes, and served to render sufficiently distinct the more prominent objects around ;
the eye, however, struggled in vain to reach the remoter angles of the chamber, or the recesses
of the vaulted and fretted ceiling. Dark draperies hung upon the walls. The general furniture
was profuse, comfortless, antique, and tattered. Many books and musical instruments lay
scattered about, but failed to give any vitality to the scene. I felt that I breathed an atmosphere
of sorrow. An air of stern, deep, and irredeemable gloom hung over and pervaded all.
Upon my entrance, Usher arose from a sofa on which he had been lying at full length,
and greeted me with a vivacious warmth which had much in it, I at first thought, of an
overdone cordiality - of the constrained effort of the _ennuyé_ ; man of the world. A glance,
however, at his countenance, convinced me of his perfect sincerity. We sat down ; and for
some moments, while he spoke not, I gazed upon him with a feeling half of pity, half of awe.
Surely, man had never before so terribly altered, in so brief a period, as had Roderick Usher !
It was with difficulty that I could bring myself to admit the identity of the wan being before
me with the companion of my early boyhood. Yet the character of his face had been at all
times remarkable. A cadaverousness of complexion ; an eye large, liquid, and luminous
beyond comparison ; lips somewhat thin and very pallid, but of a surpassingly beautiful curve
; a nose of a delicate Hebrew model, but with a breadth of nostril unusual in similar
formations ; a finely moulded chin, speaking, in its want of prominence, of a want of moral
energy; hair of a more than web-like softness and tenuity ; these features, with an inordinate
expansion above the regions of the temple, made up altogether a countenance not easily to be
forgotten. And now in the mere exaggeration of the prevailing character of these features, and
of the expression they were wont to convey, lay so much of change that I doubted to whom I
spoke. The now ghastly pallor of the skin, and the now miraculous lustre of the eye, above all
things startled and even awed me. The silken hair, too, had been suffered to grow all
unheeded, and as, in its wild gossamer texture, it floated rather than fell about the face, I could
not, even with effort, connect its Arabesque expression with any idea of simple humanity.

In the manner of my friend I was at once struck with an incoherence - an inconsistency ;
and I soon found this to arise from a series of feeble and futile struggles to overcome an
habitual trepidancy - an excessive nervous agitation. For something of this nature I had indeed
been prepared, no less by his letter, than by reminiscences of certain boyish traits, and by
conclusions deduced from his peculiar physical conformation and temperament. His action
was alternately vivacious and sullen. His voice varied rapidly from a tremulous indecision
(when the animal spirits seemed utterly in abeyance) to that species of energetic concision -
that abrupt, weighty, unhurried, and hollow-sounding enunciation - that leaden, self-balanced
and perfectly modulated guttural utterance, which may be observed in the lost drunkard, or
the irreclaimable eater of opium, during the periods of his most intense excitement.
It was thus that he spoke of the object of my visit, of his earnest desire to see me, and of
the solace he expected me to afford him. He entered, at some length, into what he conceived
to be the nature of his malady. It was, he said, a constitutional and a family evil, and one for
which he despaired to find a remedy - a mere nervous affection, he immediately added, which
would undoubtedly soon pass off. It displayed itself in a host of unnatural sensations. Some of
these, as he detailed them, interested and bewildered me ; although, perhaps, the terms, and
the general manner of the narration had their weight. He suffered much from a morbid
acuteness of the senses ; the most insipid food was alone endurable; he could wear only
garments of certain texture ; the odors of all flowers were oppressive ; his eyes were tortured
by even a faint light ; and there were but peculiar sounds, and these from stringed instruments,
which did not inspire him with horror.
To an anomalous species of terror I found him a bounden slave. "I shall perish," said he,
"I must perish in this deplorable folly. Thus, thus, and not otherwise, shall I be lost. I dread
the events of the future, not in themselves, but in their results. I shudder at the thought of any,
even the most trivial, incident, which may operate upon this intolerable agitation of soul. I
have, indeed, no abhorrence of danger, except in its absolute effect - in terror. In this
unnerved - in this pitiable condition - I feel that the period will sooner or later arrive when I
must abandon life and reason together, in some struggle with the grim phantasm, FEAR."
I learned, moreover, at intervals, and through broken and equivocal hints, another
singular feature of his mental condition. He was enchained by certain superstitious
impressions in regard to the dwelling which he tenanted, and whence, for many years, he had
never ventured forth - in regard to an influence whose supposititious force was conveyed in
terms too shadowy here to be re-stated - an influence which some peculiarities in the mere
form and substance of his family mansion, had, by dint of long sufferance, he said, obtained
over his spirit - an effect which the _physique_ of the gray walls and turrets, and of the dim
tarn into which they all looked down, had, at length, brought about upon the _morale_ of his
existence.
He admitted, however, although with hesitation, that much of the peculiar gloom which
thus afflicted him could be traced to a more natural and far more palpable origin - to the
severe and long-continued illness - indeed to the evidently approaching dissolution - of a
tenderly beloved sister - his sole companion for long years - his last and only relative on earth.
"Her decease," he said, with a bitterness which I can never forget, "would leave him (him the
hopeless and the frail) the last of the ancient race of the Ushers." While he spoke, the lady
Madeline (for so was she called) passed slowly through a remote portion of the apartment,
and, without having noticed my presence, disappeared. I regarded her with an utter
astonishment not unmingled with dread - and yet I found it impossible to account for such

feelings. A sensation of stupor oppressed me, as my eyes followed her retreating steps. When
a door, at length, closed upon her, my glance sought instinctively and eagerly the countenance
of the brother - but he had buried his face in his hands, and I could only perceive that a far
more than ordinary wanness had overspread the emaciated fingers through which trickled
many passionate tears.
The disease of the lady Madeline had long baffled the skill of her physicians. A settled
apathy, a gradual wasting away of the person, and frequent although transient affections of a
partially cataleptical character, were the unusual diagnosis. Hitherto she had steadily borne up
against the pressure of her malady, and had not betaken herself finally to bed ; but, on the
closing in of the evening of my arrival at the house, she succumbed (as her brother told me at
night with inexpressible agitation) to the prostrating power of the destroyer ; and I learned that
the glimpse I had obtained of her person would thus probably be the last I should obtain - that
the lady, at least while living, would be seen by me no more.
For several days ensuing, her name was unmentioned by either Usher or myself: and
during this period I was busied in earnest endeavors to alleviate the melancholy of my friend.
We painted and read together ; or I listened, as if in a dream, to the wild improvisations of his
speaking guitar. And thus, as a closer and still closer intimacy admitted me more unreservedly
into the recesses of his spirit, the more bitterly did I perceive the futility of all attempt at
cheering a mind from which darkness, as if an inherent positive quality, poured forth upon all
objects of the moral and physical universe, in one unceasing radiation of gloom.
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 sulphureous lustre over all. His long
improvised dirges will ring forever in my ears. Among other things, I hold painfully in mind a
certain singular perversion and amplification of the wild air of the last waltz of Von Weber.
From the paintings over which his elaborate fancy brooded, and which grew, touch by touch,
into vaguenesses at which I shuddered the more thrillingly, because I shuddered knowing not
why ; - from these paintings (vivid as their images now are before me) I would in vain
endeavor to educe more than a small portion which should lie within the compass of merely
written words. By the utter simplicity, by the nakedness of his designs, he arrested and
overawed attention. If ever mortal painted an idea, that mortal was Roderick Usher. For me at
least - in the circumstances then surrounding me - there arose out of the pure abstractions
which the hypochondriac contrived to throw upon his canvass, an intensity of intolerable awe,
no shadow of which felt I ever yet in the contemplation of the certainly glowing yet too
concrete reveries of Fuseli.
One of the phantasmagoric conceptions of my friend, partaking not so rigidly of the spirit
of abstraction, may be shadowed forth, although feebly, in words. A small picture presented
the interior of an immensely long and rectangular vault or tunnel, with low walls, smooth,
white, and without interruption or device. Certain accessory points of the design served well
to convey the idea that this excavation lay at an exceeding depth below the surface of the
earth. No outlet was observed in any portion of its vast extent, and no torch, or other artificial
source of light was discernible ; yet a flood of intense rays rolled throughout, and bathed the
whole in a ghastly and inappropriate splendor.

I have just spoken of that morbid condition of the auditory nerve which rendered all
music intolerable to the sufferer, with the exception of certain effects of stringed instruments.
It was, perhaps, the narrow limits to which he thus confined himself upon the guitar, which
gave birth, in great measure, to the fantastic character of his performances. But the fervid
_facility_ of his _impromptus_ could not be so accounted for. They must have been, and
were, in the notes, as well as in the words of his wild fantasias (for he not unfrequently
accompanied himself with rhymed verbal improvisations), the result of that intense mental
collectedness and concentration to which I have previously alluded as observable only in
particular moments of the highest artificial excitement. The words of one of these rhapsodies I
have easily remembered. I was, perhaps, the more forcibly impressed with it, as he gave it,
because, in the under or mystic current of its meaning, I fancied that I perceived, and for the
first time, a full consciousness on the part of Usher, of the tottering of his lofty reason upon
her throne. The verses, which were entitled "The Haunted Palace," ran very nearly, if not
accurately, thus:
I. In the greenest of our valleys, By good angels tenanted, Once a fair and stately palace -
Radiant palace - reared its head. In the monarch Thought's dominion - It stood there ! Never
seraph spread a pinion Over fabric half so fair. II. Banners yellow, glorious, golden, On its
roof did float and flow; (This - all this - was in the olden Time long ago) And every gentle air
that dallied, In that sweet day, Along the ramparts plumed and pallid, A winged odor went
away. III. Wanderers in that happy valley Through two luminous windows saw Spirits
moving musically To a lute's well-tunéd law, Round about a throne, where sitting
(Porphyrogene !) In state his glory well befitting, The ruler of the realm was seen. IV. And all
with pearl and ruby glowing Was the fair palace door, Through which came flowing, flowing,
flowing, And sparkling evermore, A troop of Echoes whose sweet duty Was but to sing, In
voices of surpassing beauty, The wit and wisdom of their king. V. But evil things, in robes of
sorrow, Assailed the monarch's high estate ; (Ah, let us mourn, for never morrow Shall dawn
upon him, desolate !) And, round about his home, the glory That blushed and bloomed Is but
a dim-remembered story Of the old time entombed. VI. And travellers now within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows, see Vast forms that move fantastically To a discordant
melody ; While, like a rapid ghastly river, Through the pale door, A hideous throng rush out
forever, And laugh - but smile no more.
I well remember that suggestions arising from this ballad, led us into a train of thought
wherein there became manifest an opinion of Usher's which I mention not so much on
account of its novelty, (for other men * have thought thus,) as on account of the pertinacity
with which he maintained it. This opinion, in its general form, was that of the sentience of all
vegetable things. But, in his disordered fancy, the idea had assumed a more daring character,
and trespassed, under certain conditions, upon the kingdom of inorganization. I lack words to
express the full extent, or the earnest _abandon_ of his persuasion. The belief, however, was
connected (as I have previously hinted) with the gray stones of the home of his forefathers.
The conditions of the sentience had been here, he imagined, fulfilled in the method of
collocation of these stones - in the order of their arrangement, as well as in that of the many
_fungi_ which overspread them, and of the decayed trees which stood around - above all, in
the long undisturbed endurance of this arrangement, and in its reduplication in the still waters
of the tarn. Its evidence - the evidence of the sentience - was to be seen, he said, (and I here
started as he spoke,) in the gradual yet certain condensation of an atmosphere of their own
about the waters and the walls. The result was discoverable, he added, in that silent, yet
importunate and terrible influence which for centuries had moulded the destinies of his

family, and which made _him_ what I now saw him - what he was. Such opinions need no
comment, and I will make none.
* Watson, Dr. Percival, Spallanzani, and especially the Bishop of Landaff. - See
"Chemical Essays," vol v.
Our books - the books which, for years, had formed no small portion of the mental
existence of the invalid - were, as might be supposed, in strict keeping with this character of
phantasm. We pored together over such works as the Ververt et Chartreuse of Gresset ; the
Belphegor of Machiavelli ; the Heaven and Hell of Swedenborg ; the Subterranean Voyage of
Nicholas Klimm by Holberg ; the Chiromancy of Robert Flud, of Jean D'Indaginé, and of De
la Chambre ; the Journey into the Blue Distance of Tieck ; and the City of the Sun of
Campanella. One favorite volume was a small octavo edition of the _Directorium
Inquisitorium_, by the Dominican Eymeric de Gironne; and there were passages in
Pomponius Mela, about the old African Satyrs and OEgipans, over which Usher would sit
dreaming for hours. His chief delight, however, was found in the perusal of an exceedingly
rare and curious book in quarto Gothic - the manual of a forgotten church - the _Vigiliae
Mortuorum secundum Chorum Ecclesiae Maguntinae_.
I could not help thinking of the wild ritual of this work, and of its probable influence
upon the hypochondriac, when, one evening, having informed me abruptly that the lady
Madeline was no more, he stated his intention of preserving her corpse for a fortnight,
(previously to its final interment,) in one of the numerous vaults within the main walls of the
building. The worldly reason, however, assigned for this singular proceeding, was one which I
did not feel at liberty to dispute. The brother had been led to his resolution (so he told me) by
consideration of the unusual character of the malady of the deceased, of certain obtrusive and
eager inquiries on the part of her medical men, and of the remote and exposed situation of the
burial-ground of the family. I will not deny that when I called to mind the sinister
countenance of the person whom I met upon the staircase, on the day of my arrival at the
house, I had no desire to oppose what I regarded as at best but a harmless, and by no means an
unnatural, precaution.
At the request of Usher, I personally aided him in the arrangements for the temporary
entombment. The body having been encoffined, we two alone bore it to its rest. The vault in
which we placed it (and which had been so long unopened that our torches, half smothered in
its oppressive atmosphere, gave us little opportunity for investigation) was small, damp, and
entirely without means of admission for light ; lying, at great depth, immediately beneath that
portion of the building in which was my own sleeping apartment. It had been used,
apparently, in remote feudal times, for the worst purposes of a donjon-keep, and, in later days,
as a place of deposit for powder, or some other highly combustible substance, as a portion of
its floor, and the whole interior of a long archway through which we reached it, were carefully
sheathed with copper. The door, of massive iron, had been, also, similarly protected. Its
immense weight caused an unusually sharp grating sound, as it moved upon its hinges.
Having deposited our mournful burden upon tressels within this region of horror, we
partially turned aside the yet unscrewed lid of the coffin, and looked upon the face of the
tenant. A striking similitude between the brother and sister now first arrested my attention ;
and Usher, divining, perhaps, my thoughts, murmured out some few words from which I
learned that the deceased and himself had been twins, and that sympathies of a scarcely
intelligible nature had always existed between them. Our glances, however, rested not long

upon the dead - for we could not regard her unawed. The disease which had thus entombed
the lady in the maturity of youth, had left, as usual in all maladies of a strictly cataleptical
character, the mockery of a faint blush upon the bosom and the face, and that suspiciously
lingering smile upon the lip which is so terrible in death. We replaced and screwed down the
lid, and, having secured the door of iron, made our way, with toil, into the scarcely less
gloomy apartments of the upper portion of the house.
And now, some days of bitter grief having elapsed, an observable change came over the
features of the mental disorder of my friend. His ordinary manner had vanished. His ordinary
occupations were neglected or forgotten. He roamed from chamber to chamber with hurried,
unequal, and objectless step. The pallor of his countenance had assumed, if possible, a more
ghastly hue - but the luminousness of his eye had utterly gone out. The once occasional
huskiness of his tone was heard no more; and a tremulous quaver, as if of extreme terror,
habitually characterized his utterance. There were times, indeed, when I thought his
unceasingly agitated mind was laboring with some oppressive secret, to divulge which he
struggled for the necessary courage. At times, again, I was obliged to resolve all into the mere
inexplicable vagaries of madness, for I beheld him gazing upon vacancy for long hours, in an
attitude of the profoundest attention, as if listening to some imaginary sound. It was no
wonder that his condition terrified - that it infected me. I felt creeping upon me, by slow yet
certain degrees, the wild influences of his own fantastic yet impressive superstitions.
It was, especially, upon retiring to bed late in the night of the seventh or eighth day after
the placing of the lady Madeline within the donjon, that I experienced the full power of such
feelings. Sleep came not near my couch - while the hours waned and waned away. I struggled
to reason off the nervousness which had dominion over me. I endeavored to believe that
much, if not all of what I felt, was due to the bewildering influence of the gloomy furniture of
the room - of the dark and tattered draperies, which, tortured into motion by the breath of a
rising tempest, swayed fitfully to and fro upon the walls, and rustled uneasily about the
decorations of the bed. But my efforts were fruitless. An irrepressible tremor gradually
pervaded my frame ; and, at length, there sat upon my very heart an incubus of utterly
causeless alarm. Shaking this off with a gasp and a struggle, I uplifted myself upon the
pillows, and, peering earnestly within the intense darkness of the chamber, harkened - I know
not why, except that an instinctive spirit prompted me - to certain low and indefinite sounds
which came, through the pauses of the storm, at long intervals, I knew not whence.
Overpowered by an intense sentiment of horror, unaccountable yet unendurable, I threw on
my clothes with haste (for I felt that I should sleep no more during the night), and endeavored
to arouse myself from the pitiable condition into which I had fallen, by pacing rapidly to and
fro through the apartment.
I had taken but few turns in this manner, when a light step on an adjoining staircase
arrested my attention. I presently recognised it as that of Usher. In an instant afterward he
rapped, with a gentle touch, at my door, and entered, bearing a lamp. His countenance was, as
usual, cadaverously wan - but, moreover, there was a species of mad hilarity in his eyes - an
evidently restrained _hysteria_ in his whole demeanor. His air appalled me - but anything was
preferable to the solitude which I had so long endured, and I even welcomed his presence as a
relief.
"And you have not seen it ?" he said abruptly, after having stared about him for some
moments in silence - "you have not then seen it ? - but, stay ! you shall." Thus speaking, and

having carefully shaded his lamp, he hurried to one of the casements, and threw it freely open
to the storm.
The impetuous fury of the entering gust nearly lifted us from our feet. It was, indeed, a
tempestuous yet sternly beautiful night, and one wildly singular in its terror and its beauty. A
whirlwind had apparently collected its force in our vicinity ; for there were frequent and
violent alterations in the direction of the wind ; and the exceeding density of the clouds
(which hung so low as to press upon the turrets of the house) did not prevent our perceiving
the life-like velocity with which they flew careering from all points against each other,
without passing away into the distance. I say that even their exceeding density did not prevent
our perceiving this - yet we had no glimpse of the moon or stars - nor was there any flashing
forth of the lightning. But the under surfaces of the huge masses of agitated vapor, as well as
all terrestrial objects immediately around us, were glowing in the unnatural light of a faintly
luminous and distinctly visible gaseous exhalation which hung about and enshrouded the
mansion.
"You must not - you shall not behold this !" said I, shudderingly, to Usher, as I led him,
with a gentle violence, from the window to a seat. "These appearances, which bewilder you,
are merely electrical phenomena not uncommon - or it may be that they have their ghastly
origin in the rank miasma of the tarn. Let us close this casement ; - the air is chilling and
dangerous to your frame. Here is one of your favorite romances. I will read, and you shall
listen ; - and so we will pass away this terrible night together."
The antique volume which I had taken up was the "Mad Trist" of Sir Launcelot Canning
; but I had called it a favorite of Usher's more in sad jest than in earnest ; for, in truth, there is
little in its uncouth and unimaginative prolixity which could have had interest for the lofty and
spiritual ideality of my friend. It was, however, the only book immediately at hand ; and I
indulged a vague hope that the excitement which now agitated the hypochondriac, might find
relief (for the history of mental disorder is full of similar anomalies) even in the extremeness
of the folly which I should read. Could I have judged, indeed, by the wild overstrained air of
vivacity with which he harkened, or apparently harkened, to the words of the tale, I might
well have congratulated myself upon the success of my design.
I had arrived at that well-known portion of the story where Ethelred, the hero of the
Trist, having sought in vain for peaceable admission into the dwelling of the hermit, proceeds
to make good an entrance by force. Here, it will be remembered, the words of the narrative
run thus:
"And Ethelred, who was by nature of a doughty heart, and who was now mighty withal,
on account of the powerfulness of the wine which he had drunken, waited no longer to hold
parley with the hermit, who, in sooth, was of an obstinate and maliceful turn, but, feeling the
rain upon his shoulders, and fearing the rising of the tempest, uplifted his mace outright, and,
with blows, made quickly room in the plankings of the door for his gauntleted hand ; and now
pulling therewith sturdily, he so cracked, and ripped, and tore all asunder, that the noise of the
dry and hollow-sounding wood alarummed and reverberated throughout the forest."
At the termination of this sentence I started, and for a moment, paused ; for it appeared to
me (although I at once concluded that my excited fancy had deceived me) - it appeared to me
that, from some very remote portion of the mansion, there came, indistinctly, to my ears, what
might have been, in its exact similarity of character, the echo (but a stifled and dull one

certainly) of the very cracking and ripping sound which Sir Launcelot had so particularly
described. It was, beyond doubt, the coincidence alone which had arrested my attention ; for,
amid the rattling of the sashes of the casements, and the ordinary commingled noises of the
still increasing storm, the sound, in itself, had nothing, surely, which should have interested or
disturbed me. I continued the story:
"But the good champion Ethelred, now entering within the door, was sore enraged and
amazed to perceive no signal of the maliceful hermit ; but, in the stead thereof, a dragon of a
scaly and prodigious demeanor, and of a fiery tongue, which sate in guard before a palace of
gold, with a floor of silver ; and upon the wall there hung a shield of shining brass with this
legend enwritten -
Who entereth herein, a conqueror hath bin ; Who slayeth the dragon, the shield he shall
win;
And Ethelred uplifted his mace, and struck upon the head of the dragon, which fell
before him, and gave up his pesty breath, with a shriek so horrid and harsh, and withal so
piercing, that Ethelred had fain to close his ears with his hands against the dreadful noise of it,
the like whereof was never before heard."
Here again I paused abruptly, and now with a feeling of wild amazement - for there
could be no doubt whatever that, in this instance, I did actually hear (although from what
direction it proceeded I found it impossible to say) a low and apparently distant, but harsh,
protracted, and most unusual screaming or grating sound - the exact counterpart of what my
fancy had already conjured up for the dragon's unnatural shriek as described by the romancer.
Oppressed, as I certainly was, upon the occurrence of this second and most extraordinary
coincidence, by a thousand conflicting sensations, in which wonder and extreme terror were
predominant, I still retained sufficient presence of mind to avoid exciting, by any observation,
the sensitive nervousness of my companion. I was by no means certain that he had noticed the
sounds in question ; although, assuredly, a strange alteration had, during the last few minutes,
taken place in his demeanor. From a position fronting my own, he had gradually brought
round his chair, so as to sit with his face to the door of the chamber ; and thus I could but
partially perceive his features, although I saw that his lips trembled as if he were murmuring
inaudibly. His head had dropped upon his breast - yet I knew that he was not asleep, from the
wide and rigid opening of the eye as I caught a glance of it in profile. The motion of his body,
too, was at variance with this idea - for he rocked from side to side with a gentle yet constant
and uniform sway. Having rapidly taken notice of all this, I resumed the narrative of Sir
Launcelot, which thus proceeded:
"And now, the champion, having escaped from the terrible fury of the dragon, bethinking
himself of the brazen shield, and of the breaking up of the enchantment which was upon it,
removed the carcass from out of the way before him, and approached valorously over the
silver pavement of the castle to where the shield was upon the wall ; which in sooth tarried
not for his full coming, but fell down at his feet upon the silver floor, with a mighty great and
terrible ringing sound."
No sooner had these syllables passed my lips, than - as if a shield of brass had indeed, at
the moment, fallen heavily upon a floor of silver - I became aware of a distinct, hollow,
metallic, and clangorous, yet apparently muffled reverberation. Completely unnerved, I

leaped to my feet ; but the measured rocking movement of Usher was undisturbed. I rushed to
the chair in which he sat. His eyes were bent fixedly before him, and throughout his whole
countenance there reigned a stony rigidity. But, as I placed my hand upon his shoulder, there
came a strong shudder over his whole person ; a sickly smile quivered about his lips ; and I
saw that he spoke in a low, hurried, and gibbering murmur, as if unconscious of my presence.
Bending closely over him, I at length drank in the hideous import of his words.
"Not hear it ? - yes, I hear it, and _have_ heard it. Long - long - long - many minutes,
many hours, many days, have I heard it - yet I dared not - oh, pity me, miserable wretch that I
am ! - I dared not - I _dared_ not speak ! _We have put her living in the tomb !_ Said I not
that my senses were acute ? I _now_ tell you that I heard her first feeble movements in the
hollow coffin. I heard them - many, many days ago - yet I dared not - _I dared not speak !_
And now - to-night - Ethelred - ha ! ha ! - the breaking of the hermit's door, and the death-cry
of the dragon, and the clangor of the shield ! - say, rather, the rending of her coffin, and the
grating of the iron hinges of her prison, and her struggles within the coppered archway of the
vault ! Oh whither shall I fly ? Will she not be here anon ? Is she not hurrying to upbraid me
for my haste ? Have I not heard her footstep on the stair ? Do I not distinguish that heavy and
horrible beating of her heart ? Madman !" - here he sprang furiously to his feet, and shrieked
out his syllables, as if in the effort he were giving up his soul - "_Madman ! I tell you that she
now stands without the door !_"
As if in the superhuman energy of his utterance there had been found the potency of a
spell - the huge antique pannels to which the speaker pointed, threw slowly back, upon the
instant, their ponderous and ebony jaws. It was the work of the rushing gust - but then without
those doors there _did_ stand the lofty and enshrouded figure of the lady Madeline of Usher.
There was blood upon her white robes, and the evidence of some bitter struggle upon every
portion of her emaciated frame. For a moment she remained trembling and reeling to and fro
upon the threshold - then, with a low moaning cry, fell heavily inward upon the person of her
brother, and in her violent and now final death-agonies, bore him to the floor a corpse, and a
victim to the terrors he had anticipated.
From that chamber, and from that mansion, I fled aghast. The storm was still abroad in
all its wrath as I found myself crossing the old causeway. Suddenly there shot along the path a
wild light, and I turned to see whence a gleam so unusual could have issued ; for the vast
house and its shadows were alone behind me. The radiance was that of the full, setting, and
blood-red moon, which now shone vividly through that once barely-discernible fissure, of
which I have before spoken as extending from the roof of the building, in a zigzag direction,
to the base. While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened - there came a fierce breath of the
whirlwind - the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight - my brain reeled as I
saw the mighty walls rushing asunder - there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the
voice of a thousand waters - and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently
over the fragments of the "_[ :shock: :?:
 

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Veoma poznat
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12.972
evo jos jedna od prica


THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM


Impia tortorum longos hic turba furores Sanguinis innocui, non satiata, aluit. Sospite
nunc patria, fracto nunc funeris antro, Mors ubi dira fuit vita salusque patent.
[_Quatrain composed for the gates of a market to he erected upon the site of the Jacobin
Club House at Paris_.]
I WAS sick -- sick unto death with that long agony; and when they at length unbound
me, and I was permitted to sit, I felt that my senses were leaving me. The sentence -- the
dread sentence of death -- was the last of distinct accentuation which reached my ears. After
that, the sound of the inquisitorial voices seemed merged in one dreamy indeterminate hum. It
conveyed to my soul the idea of revolution -- perhaps from its association in fancy with the
burr of a mill wheel. This only for a brief period; for presently I heard no more. Yet, for a
while, I saw; but with how terrible an exaggeration! I saw the lips of the black-robed judges.
They appeared to me white -- whiter than the sheet upon which I trace these words -- and thin
even to grotesqueness; thin with the intensity of their expression of firmness -- of immoveable
resolution -- of stern contempt of human torture. I saw that the decrees of what to me was
Fate, were still issuing from those lips. I saw them writhe with a deadly locution. I saw them
fashion the syllables of my name; and I shuddered because no sound succeeded. I saw, too,
for a few moments of delirious horror, the soft and nearly imperceptible waving of the sable
draperies which enwrapped the walls of the apartment. And then my vision fell upon the
seven tall candles upon the table. At first they wore the aspect of charity, and seemed white
and slender angels who would save me; but then, all at once, there came a most deadly nausea
over my spirit, and I felt every fibre in my frame thrill as if I had touched the wire of a
galvanic battery, while the angel forms became meaningless spectres, with heads of flame,
and I saw that from them there would be no help. And then there stole into my fancy, like a
rich musical note, the thought of what sweet rest there must be in the grave. The thought came
gently and stealthily, and it seemed long before it attained full appreciation; but just as my
spirit came at length properly to feel and entertain it, the figures of the judges vanished, as if
magically, from before me; the tall candles sank into nothingness; their flames went out
utterly; the blackness of darkness supervened; all sensations appeared swallowed up in a mad
rushing descent as of the soul into Hades. Then silence, and stillness, night were the universe.
I had swooned; but still will not say that all of consciousness was lost. What of it there
remained I will not attempt to define, or even to describe; yet all was not lost. In the deepest
slumber -- no! In delirium -- no! In a swoon -- no! In death -- no! even in the grave all is not
lost. Else there is no immortality for man. Arousing from the most profound of slumbers, we
break the gossamer web of some dream. Yet in a second afterward, (so frail may that web
have been) we remember not that we have dreamed. In the return to life from the swoon there
are two stages; first, that of the sense of mental or spiritual; secondly, that of the sense of
physical, existence. It seems probable that if, upon reaching the second stage, we could recall

the impressions of the first, we should find these impressions eloquent in memories of the gulf
beyond. And that gulf is -- what? How at least shall we distinguish its shadows from those of
the tomb? But if the impressions of what I have termed the first stage, are not, at will,
recalled, yet, after long interval, do they not come unbidden, while we marvel whence they
come? He who has never swooned, is not he who finds strange palaces and wildly familiar
faces in coals that glow; is not he who beholds floating in mid-air the sad visions that the
many may not view; is not he who ponders over the perfume of some novel flower -- is not he
whose brain grows bewildered with the meaning of some musical cadence which has never
before arrested his attention.
Amid frequent and thoughtful endeavors to remember; amid earnest struggles to regather
some token of the state of seeming nothingness into which my soul had lapsed, there have
been moments when I have dreamed of success; there have been brief, very brief periods
when I have conjured up remembrances which the lucid reason of a later epoch assures me
could have had reference only to that condition of seeming unconsciousness. These shadows
of memory tell, indistinctly, of tall figures that lifted and bore me in silence down -- down --
still down -- till a hideous dizziness oppressed me at the mere idea of the interminableness of
the descent. They tell also of a vague horror at my heart, on account of that heart's unnatural
stillness. Then comes a sense of sudden motionlessness throughout all things; as if those who
bore me (a ghastly train!) had outrun, in their descent, the limits of the limitless, and paused
from the wearisomeness of their toil. After this I call to mind flatness and dampness; and then
all is madness -- the madness of a memory which busies itself among forbidden things.
Very suddenly there came back to my soul motion and sound -- the tumultuous motion of
the heart, and, in my ears, the sound of its beating. Then a pause in which all is blank. Then
again sound, and motion, and touch -- a tingling sensation pervading my frame. Then the
mere consciousness of existence, without thought -- a condition which lasted long. Then, very
suddenly, thought, and shuddering terror, and earnest endeavor to comprehend my true state.
Then a strong desire to lapse into insensibility. Then a rushing revival of soul and a successful
effort to move. And now a full memory of the trial, of the judges, of the sable draperies, of the
sentence, of the sickness, of the swoon. Then entire forgetfulness of all that followed; of all
that a later day and much earnestness of endeavor have enabled me vaguely to recall.
So far, I had not opened my eyes. I felt that I lay upon my back, unbound. I reached out
my hand, and it fell heavily upon something damp and hard. There I suffered it to remain for
many minutes, while I strove to imagine where and what I could be. I longed, yet dared not to
employ my vision. I dreaded the first glance at objects around me. It was not that I feared to
look upon things horrible, but that I grew aghast lest there should be nothing to see. At length,
with a wild desperation at heart, I quickly unclosed my eyes. My worst thoughts, then, were
confirmed. The blackness of eternal night encompassed me. I struggled for breath. The
intensity of the darkness seemed to oppress and stifle me. The atmosphere was intolerably
close. I still lay quietly, and made effort to exercise my reason. I brought to mind the
inquisitorial proceedings, and attempted from that point to deduce my real condition. The
sentence had passed; and it appeared to me that a very long interval of time had since elapsed.
Yet not for a moment did I suppose myself actually dead. Such a supposition, notwithstanding
what we read in fiction, is altogether inconsistent with real existence; -- but where and in what
state was I? The condemned to death, I knew, perished usually at the autos-da-fe, and one of
these had been held on the very night of the day of my trial. Had I been remanded to my
dungeon, to await the next sacrifice, which would not take place for many months? This I at
once saw could not be. Victims had been in immediate demand. Moreover, my dungeon, as

well as all the condemned cells at Toledo, had stone floors, and light was not altogether
excluded.
A fearful idea now suddenly drove the blood in torrents upon my heart, and for a brief
period, I once more relapsed into insensibility. Upon recovering, I at once started to my feet,
trembling convulsively in every fibre. I thrust my arms wildly above and around me in all
directions. I felt nothing; yet dreaded to move a step, lest I should be impeded by the walls of
a tomb. Perspiration burst from every pore, and stood in cold big beads upon my forehead.
The agony of suspense grew at length intolerable, and I cautiously moved forward, with my
arms extended, and my eyes straining from their sockets, in the hope of catching some faint
ray of light. I proceeded for many paces; but still all was blackness and vacancy. I breathed
more freely. It seemed evident that mine was not, at least, the most hideous of fates.
And now, as I still continued to step cautiously onward, there came thronging upon my
recollection a thousand vague rumors of the horrors of Toledo. Of the dungeons there had
been strange things narrated -- fables I had always deemed them -- but yet strange, and too
ghastly to repeat, save in a whisper. Was I left to perish of starvation in this subterranean
world of darkness; or what fate, perhaps even more fearful, awaited me? That the result would
be death, and a death of more than customary bitterness, I knew too well the character of my
judges to doubt. The mode and the hour were all that occupied or distracted me.
My outstretched hands at length encountered some solid obstruction. It was a wall,
seemingly of stone masonry -- very smooth, slimy, and cold. I followed it up; stepping with
all the careful distrust with which certain antique narratives had inspired me. This process,
however, afforded me no means of ascertaining the dimensions of my dungeon; as I might
make its circuit, and return to the point whence I set out, without being aware of the fact; so
perfectly uniform seemed the wall. I therefore sought the knife which had been in my pocket,
when led into the inquisitorial chamber; but it was gone; my clothes had been exchanged for a
wrapper of coarse serge. I had thought of forcing the blade in some minute crevice of the
masonry, so as to identify my point of departure. The difficulty, nevertheless, was but trivial;
although, in the disorder of my fancy, it seemed at first insuperable. I tore a part of the hem
from the robe and placed the fragment at full length, and at right angles to the wall. In groping
my way around the prison, I could not fail to encounter this rag upon completing the circuit.
So, at least I thought: but I had not counted upon the extent of the dungeon, or upon my own
weakness. The ground was moist and slippery. I staggered onward for some time, when I
stumbled and fell. My excessive fatigue induced me to remain prostrate; and sleep soon
overtook me as I lay.
Upon awaking, and stretching forth an arm, I found beside me a loaf and a pitcher with
water. I was too much exhausted to reflect upon this circumstance, but ate and drank with
avidity. Shortly afterward, I resumed my tour around the prison, and with much toil came at
last upon the fragment of the serge. Up to the period when I fell I had counted fifty-two paces,
and upon resuming my walk, I had counted forty-eight more; -- when I arrived at the rag.
There were in all, then, a hundred paces; and, admitting two paces to the yard, I presumed the
dungeon to be fifty yards in circuit. I had met, however, with many angles in the wall, and
thus I could form no guess at the shape of the vault; for vault I could not help supposing it to
be.
I had little object -- certainly no hope these researches; but a vague curiosity prompted
me to continue them. Quitting the wall, I resolved to cross the area of the enclosure. At first I

proceeded with extreme caution, for the floor, although seemingly of solid material, was
treacherous with slime. At length, however, I took courage, and did not hesitate to step firmly;
endeavoring to cross in as direct a line as possible. I had advanced some ten or twelve paces
in this manner, when the remnant of the torn hem of my robe became entangled between my
legs. I stepped on it, and fell violently on my face.
In the confusion attending my fall, I did not immediately apprehend a somewhat startling
circumstance, which yet, in a few seconds afterward, and while I still lay prostrate, arrested
my attention. It was this -- my chin rested upon the floor of the prison, but my lips and the
upper portion of my head, although seemingly at a less elevation than the chin, touched
nothing. At the same time my forehead seemed bathed in a clammy vapor, and the peculiar
smell of decayed fungus arose to my nostrils. I put forward my arm, and shuddered to find
that I had fallen at the very brink of a circular pit, whose extent, of course, I had no means of
ascertaining at the moment. Groping about the masonry just below the margin, I succeeded in
dislodging a small fragment, and let it fall into the abyss. For many seconds I hearkened to its
reverberations as it dashed against the sides of the chasm in its descent; at length there was a
sullen plunge into water, succeeded by loud echoes. At the same moment there came a sound
resembling the quick opening, and as rapid closing of a door overhead, while a faint gleam of
light flashed suddenly through the gloom, and as suddenly faded away.
I saw clearly the doom which had been prepared for me, and congratulated myself upon
the timely accident by which I had escaped. Another step before my fall, and the world had
seen me no more. And the death just avoided, was of that very character which I had regarded
as fabulous and frivolous in the tales respecting the Inquisition. To the victims of its tyranny,
there was the choice of death with its direst physical agonies, or death with its most hideous
moral horrors. I had been reserved for the latter. By long suffering my nerves had been
unstrung, until I trembled at the sound of my own voice, and had become in every respect a
fitting subject for the species of torture which awaited me.
Shaking in every limb, I groped my way back to the wall; resolving there to perish rather
than risk the terrors of the wells, of which my imagination now pictured many in various
positions about the dungeon. In other conditions of mind I might have had courage to end my
misery at once by a plunge into one of these abysses; but now I was the veriest of cowards.
Neither could I forget what I had read of these pits -- that the sudden extinction of life formed
no part of their most horrible plan.
Agitation of spirit kept me awake for many long hours; but at length I again slumbered.
Upon arousing, I found by my side, as before, a loaf and a pitcher of water. A burning thirst
consumed me, and I emptied the vessel at a draught. It must have been drugged; for scarcely
had I drunk, before I became irresistibly drowsy. A deep sleep fell upon me -- a sleep like that
of death. How long it lasted of course, I know not; but when, once again, I unclosed my eyes,
the objects around me were visible. By a wild sulphurous lustre, the origin of which I could
not at first determine, I was enabled to see the extent and aspect of the prison.
In its size I had been greatly mistaken. The whole circuit of its walls did not exceed
twenty-five yards. For some minutes this fact occasioned me a world of vain trouble; vain
indeed! for what could be of less importance, under the terrible circumstances which
environed me, then the mere dimensions of my dungeon? But my soul took a wild interest in
trifles, and I busied myself in endeavors to account for the error I had committed in my
measurement. The truth at length flashed upon me. In my first attempt at exploration I had

counted fifty-two paces, up to the period when I fell; I must then have been within a pace or
two of the fragment of serge; in fact, I had nearly performed the circuit of the vault. I then
slept, and upon awaking, I must have returned upon my steps -- thus supposing the circuit
nearly double what it actually was. My confusion of mind prevented me from observing that I
began my tour with the wall to the left, and ended it with the wall to the right.
I had been deceived, too, in respect to the shape of the enclosure. In feeling my way I
had found many angles, and thus deduced an idea of great irregularity; so potent is the effect
of total darkness upon one arousing from lethargy or sleep! The angles were simply those of a
few slight depressions, or niches, at odd intervals. The general shape of the prison was square.
What I had taken for masonry seemed now to be iron, or some other metal, in huge plates,
whose sutures or joints occasioned the depression. The entire surface of this metallic
enclosure was rudely daubed in all the hideous and repulsive devices to which the charnel
superstition of the monks has given rise. The figures of fiends in aspects of menace, with
skeleton forms, and other more really fearful images, overspread and disfigured the walls. I
observed that the outlines of these monstrosities were sufficiently distinct, but that the colors
seemed faded and blurred, as if from the effects of a damp atmosphere. I now noticed the
floor, too, which was of stone. In the centre yawned the circular pit from whose jaws I had
escaped; but it was the only one in the dungeon.
All this I saw indistinctly and by much effort: for my personal condition had been greatly
changed during slumber. I now lay upon my back, and at full length, on a species of low
framework of wood. To this I was securely bound by a long strap resembling a surcingle. It
passed in many convolutions about my limbs and body, leaving at liberty only my head, and
my left arm to such extent that I could, by dint of much exertion, supply myself with food
from an earthen dish which lay by my side on the floor. I saw, to my horror, that the pitcher
had been removed. I say to my horror; for I was consumed with intolerable thirst. This thirst it
appeared to be the design of my persecutors to stimulate: for the food in the dish was meat
pungently seasoned.
Looking upward, I surveyed the ceiling of my prison. It was some thirty or forty feet
overhead, and constructed much as the side walls. In one of its panels a very singular figure
riveted my whole attention. It was the painted figure of Time as he is commonly represented,
save that, in lieu of a scythe, he held what, at a casual glance, I supposed to be the pictured
image of a huge pendulum such as we see on antique clocks. There was something, however,
in the appearance of this machine which caused me to regard it more attentively. While I
gazed directly upward at it (for its position was immediately over my own) I fancied that I
saw it in motion. In an instant afterward the fancy was confirmed. Its sweep was brief, and of
course slow. I watched it for some minutes, somewhat in fear, but more in wonder. Wearied at
length with observing its dull movement, I turned my eyes upon the other objects in the cell.
A slight noise attracted my notice, and, looking to the floor, I saw several enormous rats
traversing it. They had issued from the well, which lay just within view to my right. Even
then, while I gazed, they came up in troops, hurriedly, with ravenous eyes, allured by the
scent of the meat. From this it required much effort and attention to scare them away.
It might have been half an hour, perhaps even an hour, (for in cast my I could take but
imperfect note of time) before I again cast my eyes upward. What I then saw confounded and
amazed me. The sweep of the pendulum had increased in extent by nearly a yard. As a natural
consequence, its velocity was also much greater. But what mainly disturbed me was the idea

that had perceptibly descended. I now observed -- with what horror it is needless to say -- that
its nether extremity was formed of a crescent of glittering steel, about a foot in length from
horn to horn; the horns upward, and the under edge evidently as keen as that of a razor. Like a
razor also, it seemed massy and heavy, tapering from the edge into a solid and broad structure
above. It was appended to a weighty rod of brass, and the whole hissed as it swung through
the air.
I could no longer doubt the doom prepared for me by monkish ingenuity in torture. My
cognizance of the pit had become known to the inquisitorial agents -- the pit whose horrors
had been destined for so bold a recusant as myself -- the pit, typical of hell, and regarded by
rumor as the Ultima Thule of all their punishments. The plunge into this pit I had avoided by
the merest of accidents, I knew that surprise, or entrapment into torment, formed an important
portion of all the grotesquerie of these dungeon deaths. Having failed to fall, it was no part of
the demon plan to hurl me into the abyss; and thus (there being no alternative) a different and
a milder destruction awaited me. Milder! I half smiled in my agony as I thought of such
application of such a term.
What boots it to tell of the long, long hours of horror more than mortal, during which I
counted the rushing vibrations of the steel! Inch by inch -- line by line -- with a descent only
appreciable at intervals that seemed ages -- down and still down it came! Days passed -- it
might have been that many days passed -- ere it swept so closely over me as to fan me with its
acrid breath. The odor of the sharp steel forced itself into my nostrils. I prayed -- I wearied
heaven with my prayer for its more speedy descent. I grew frantically mad, and struggled to
force myself upward against the sweep of the fearful scimitar. And then I fell suddenly calm,
and lay smiling at the glittering death, as a child at some rare bauble.
There was another interval of utter insensibility; it was brief; for, upon again lapsing into
life there had been no perceptible descent in the pendulum. But it might have been long; for I
knew there were demons who took note of my swoon, and who could have arrested the
vibration at pleasure. Upon my recovery, too, I felt very -- oh, inexpressibly sick and weak, as
if through long inanition. Even amid the agonies of that period, the human nature craved food.
With painful effort I outstretched my left arm as far as my bonds permitted, and took
possession of the small remnant which had been spared me by the rats. As I put a portion of it
within my lips, there rushed to my mind a half formed thought of joy -- of hope. Yet what
business had I with hope? It was, as I say, a half formed thought -- man has many such which
are never completed. I felt that it was of joy -- of hope; but felt also that it had perished in its
formation. In vain I struggled to perfect -- to regain it. Long suffering had nearly annihilated
all my ordinary powers of mind. I was an imbecile -- an idiot.
The vibration of the pendulum was at right angles to my length. I saw that the crescent
was designed to cross the region of the heart. It would fray the serge of my robe -- it would
return and repeat its operations -- again -- and again. Notwithstanding terrifically wide sweep
(some thirty feet or more) and the its hissing vigor of its descent, sufficient to sunder these
very walls of iron, still the fraying of my robe would be all that, for several minutes, it would
accomplish. And at this thought I paused. I dared not go farther than this reflection. I dwelt
upon it with a pertinacity of attention -- as if, in so dwelling, I could arrest here the descent of
the steel. I forced myself to ponder upon the sound of the crescent as it should pass across the
garment -- upon the peculiar thrilling sensation which the friction of cloth produces on the
nerves. I pondered upon all this frivolity until my teeth were on edge.

Down -- steadily down it crept. I took a frenzied pleasure in contrasting its downward
with its lateral velocity. To the right -- to the left -- far and wide -- with the shriek of a
damned spirit; to my heart with the stealthy pace of the tiger! I alternately laughed and
howled as the one or the other idea grew predominant.
Down -- certainly, relentlessly down! It vibrated within three inches of my bosom! I
struggled violently, furiously, to free my left arm. This was free only from the elbow to the
hand. I could reach the latter, from the platter beside me, to my mouth, with great effort, but
no farther. Could I have broken the fastenings above the elbow, I would have seized and
attempted to arrest the pendulum. I might as well have attempted to arrest an avalanche!
Down -- still unceasingly -- still inevitably down! I gasped and struggled at each
vibration. I shrunk convulsively at its every sweep. My eyes followed its outward or upward
whirls with the eagerness of the most unmeaning despair; they closed themselves
spasmodically at the descent, although death would have been a relief, oh! how unspeakable!
Still I quivered in every nerve to think how slight a sinking of the machinery would
precipitate that keen, glistening axe upon my bosom. It was hope that prompted the nerve to
quiver -- the frame to shrink. It was hope -- the hope that triumphs on the rack -- that whispers
to the death-condemned even in the dungeons of the Inquisition.
I saw that some ten or twelve vibrations would bring the steel in actual contact with my
robe, and with this observation there suddenly came over my spirit all the keen, collected
calmness of despair. For the first time during many hours -- or perhaps days -- I thought. It
now occurred to me that the bandage, or surcingle, which enveloped me, was unique. I was
tied by no separate cord. The first stroke of the razorlike crescent athwart any portion of the
band, would so detach it that it might be unwound from my person by means of my left hand.
But how fearful, in that case, the proximity of the steel! The result of the slightest struggle
how deadly! Was it likely, moreover, that the minions of the torturer had not foreseen and
provided for this possibility! Was it probable that the bandage crossed my bosom in the track
of the pendulum? Dreading to find my faint, and, as it seemed, in last hope frustrated, I so far
elevated my head as to obtain a distinct view of my breast. The surcingle enveloped my limbs
and body close in all directions -- save in the path of the destroying crescent.
Scarcely had I dropped my head back into its original position, when there flashed upon
my mind what I cannot better describe than as the unformed half of that idea of deliverance to
which I have previously alluded, and of which a moiety only floated indeterminately through
my brain when I raised food to my burning lips. The whole thought was now present -- feeble,
scarcely sane, scarcely definite, -- but still entire. I proceeded at once, with the nervous energy
of despair, to attempt its execution.
For many hours the immediate vicinity of the low framework upon which I lay, had been
literally swarming with rats. They were wild, bold, ravenous; their red eyes glaring upon me
as if they waited but for motionlessness on my part to make me their prey. "To what food," I
thought, "have they been accustomed in the well?"
They had devoured, in spite of all my efforts to prevent them, all but a small remnant of
the contents of the dish. I had fallen into an habitual see-saw, or wave of the hand about the
platter: and, at length, the unconscious uniformity of the movement deprived it of effect. In
their voracity the vermin frequently fastened their sharp fangs in my fingers. With the

particles of the oily and spicy viand which now remained, I thoroughly rubbed the bandage
wherever I could reach it; then, raising my hand from the floor, I lay breathlessly still.
At first the ravenous animals were startled and terrified at the change -- at the cessation
of movement. They shrank alarmedly back; many sought the well. But this was only for a
moment. I had not counted in vain upon their voracity. Observing that I remained without
motion, one or two of the boldest leaped upon the frame-work, and smelt at the surcingle.
This seemed the signal for a general rush. Forth from the well they hurried in fresh troops.
They clung to the wood -- they overran it, and leaped in hundreds upon my person. The
measured movement of the pendulum disturbed them not at all. Avoiding its strokes they
busied themselves with the anointed bandage. They pressed -- they swarmed upon me in ever
accumulating heaps. They writhed upon my throat; their cold lips sought my own; I was half
stifled by their thronging pressure; disgust, for which the world has no name, swelled my
bosom, and chilled, with a heavy clamminess, my heart. Yet one minute, and I felt that the
struggle would be over. Plainly I perceived the loosening of the bandage. I knew that in more
than one place it must be already severed. With a more than human resolution I lay still.
Nor had I erred in my calculations -- nor had I endured in vain. I at length felt that I was
free. The surcingle hung in ribands from my body. But the stroke of the pendulum already
pressed upon my bosom. It had divided the serge of the robe. It had cut through the linen
beneath. Twice again it swung, and a sharp sense of pain shot through every nerve. But the
moment of escape had arrived. At a wave of my hand my deliverers hurried tumultuously
away. With a steady movement -- cautious, sidelong, shrinking, and slow -- I slid from the
embrace of the bandage and beyond the reach of the scimitar. For the moment, at least, I was
free.
Free! -- and in the grasp of the Inquisition! I had scarcely stepped from my wooden bed
of horror upon the stone floor of the prison, when the motion of the hellish machine ceased
and I beheld it drawn up, by some invisible force, through the ceiling. This was a lesson
which I took desperately to heart. My every motion was undoubtedly watched. Free! -- I had
but escaped death in one form of agony, to be delivered unto worse than death in some other.
With that thought I rolled my eves nervously around on the barriers of iron that hemmed me
in. Something unusual -- some change which, at first, I could not appreciate distinctly -- it was
obvious, had taken place in the apartment. For many minutes of a dreamy and trembling
abstraction, I busied myself in vain, unconnected conjecture. During this period, I became
aware, for the first time, of the origin of the sulphurous light which illumined the cell. It
proceeded from a fissure, about half an inch in width, extending entirely around the prison at
the base of the walls, which thus appeared, and were, completely separated from the floor. I
endeavored, but of course in vain, to look through the aperture.
As I arose from the attempt, the mystery of the alteration in the chamber broke at once
upon my understanding. I have observed that, although the outlines of the figures upon the
walls were sufficiently distinct, yet the colors seemed blurred and indefinite. These colors had
now assumed, and were momentarily assuming, a startling and most intense brilliancy, that
gave to the spectral and fiendish portraitures an aspect that might have thrilled even firmer
nerves than my own. Demon eyes, of a wild and ghastly vivacity, glared upon me in a
thousand directions, where none had been visible before, and gleamed with the lurid lustre of
a fire that I could not force my imagination to regard as unreal.

Unreal! -- Even while I breathed there came to my nostrils the breath of the vapour of
heated iron! A suffocating odour pervaded the prison! A deeper glow settled each moment in
the eyes that glared at my agonies! A richer tint of crimson diffused itself over the pictured
horrors of blood. I panted! I gasped for breath! There could be no doubt of the design of my
tormentors -- oh! most unrelenting! oh! most demoniac of men! I shrank from the glowing
metal to the centre of the cell. Amid the thought of the fiery destruction that impended, the
idea of the coolness of the well came over my soul like balm. I rushed to its deadly brink. I
threw my straining vision below. The glare from the enkindled roof illumined its inmost
recesses. Yet, for a wild moment, did my spirit refuse to comprehend the meaning of what I
saw. At length it forced -- it wrestled its way into my soul -- it burned itself in upon my
shuddering reason. -- Oh! for a voice to speak! -- oh! horror! -- oh! any horror but this! With a
shriek, I rushed from the margin, and buried my face in my hands -- weeping bitterly.
The heat rapidly increased, and once again I looked up, shuddering as with a fit of the
ague. There had been a second change in the cell -- and now the change was obviously in the
form. As before, it was in vain that I, at first, endeavoured to appreciate or understand what
was taking place. But not long was I left in doubt. The Inquisitorial vengeance had been
hurried by my two-fold escape, and there was to be no more dallying with the King of
Terrors. The room had been square. I saw that two of its iron angles were now acute -- two,
consequently, obtuse. The fearful difference quickly increased with a low rumbling or
moaning sound. In an instant the apartment had shifted its form into that of a lozenge. But the
alteration stopped not here-I neither hoped nor desired it to stop. I could have clasped the red
walls to my bosom as a garment of eternal peace. "Death," I said, "any death but that of the
pit!" Fool! might I have not known that into the pit it was the object of the burning iron to
urge me? Could I resist its glow? or, if even that, could I withstand its pressure And now,
flatter and flatter grew the lozenge, with a rapidity that left me no time for contemplation. Its
centre, and of course, its greatest width, came just over the yawning gulf. I shrank back -- but
the closing walls pressed me resistlessly onward. At length for my seared and writhing body
there was no longer an inch of foothold on the firm floor of the prison. I struggled no more,
but the agony of my soul found vent in one loud, long, and final scream of despair. I felt that I
tottered upon the brink -- I averted my eyes --
There was a discordant hum of human voices! There was a loud blast as of many
trumpets! There was a harsh grating as of a thousand thunders! The fiery walls rushed back!
An outstretched arm caught my own as I fell, fainting, into the abyss. It was that of General
Lasalle. The French army had entered Toledo. The Inquisition was in the hands of its
enemies.
 

quentin

Iskusan
Poruka
5.644
Dobar je Po. I ja sam svojevremeno čitao Pad kuće Ašerovih i Ukradeno pismo itd. Anabel Li je bila prva pjesma na engleskom koju sam naučio napamet. Sjećam se kad sam to recitovao u srednjoj školi...
Ipak, nadam se da je većina oduševljenih diskutanata na ovoj temi mlađa od 20 godina. Stariji bi trebali shvatiti da je Po pomalo plitki simbolista previše opterećen smrću. Suptilniji makabr u mojim godinama mnogo efektnije djeluje. Naravno, ne umanjujem Poov značaj i uticaj.
 

Truman

Elita
Poruka
15.592
Mene na ovoj temi iritira sto kopiraju kilometarske price na engleskom, ne znam sta ce nam to. Inace, ne znam bas koliko je plitak. Recimo ako se secate one price Viliam Vilson ( valjda se tako zove ) tu Po pokazuje izuzetnu originalnost u prodiranju u psihu ljudi. recimo, kazu da je cuveni film Borilacki klub pravljen na istu foru samo 2 i po veka kasnije. Sto se tice njegovih pesama za njih bi se mozda i moglo reci da su plitke.
 

quentin

Iskusan
Poruka
5.644
Truman:
Mene na ovoj temi iritira sto kopiraju kilometarske price na engleskom, ne znam sta ce nam to. Inace, ne znam bas koliko je plitak. Recimo ako se secate one price Viliam Vilson ( valjda se tako zove ) tu Po pokazuje izuzetnu originalnost u prodiranju u psihu ljudi. recimo, kazu da je cuveni film Borilacki klub pravljen na istu foru samo 2 i po veka kasnije. Sto se tice njegovih pesama za njih bi se mozda i moglo reci da su plitke.
Na poeziju sam uglavnom i mislio.
 

Mitternachtsträumer

Veoma poznat
Poruka
12.042
Kada citam njegova dela, ukljucujuci i poeziju, osecam kao da mi neko prepricava svoje dogadjaje. Jasno mi je da se veliki deo recenog izgubi u prevodu, ali on ima takav dar da nesto predstavi da sam se ja iznova i iznova jezio citajuci ga. Gavran je pravljen da bude savrsena pesma koja ce se svideti masama, ali to nimalo ne umanjuje njenu snagu. Anabel Li je pesma koja me pogadja. Nenormalno je tuzna, takav je bio i njegov zivot, proklet i tuzan.
 

Vangelis

Zainteresovan član
Poruka
337
Alone
(Edgar Allan Poe)

From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were; I have not seen
As others saw; I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I loved, I loved alone.
Then - in my childhood, in the dawn
Of a most stormy life - was drawn
From every depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that round me rolled
In its autumn tint of gold,
From the lightning in the sky
As it passed me flying by,
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.

Mislim da ponekad samo jedna poema moze da oslika autora u celini. Ovo je autoportret, i meni je dovoljan da osetim celog Poe-a....
 

Vangelis

Zainteresovan član
Poruka
337
alexandra011:
PO ( Edgar Alan)
Američki pesnik, pripovedač i kritičar

Umro: 7.oktobra 1849. ( 39-oj god.)
Uzrok: delirium tremens
Mesto: Baltimor, u Merilendu (SAD)
Sahranjen: prezbiterijansko groblje u Baltimoru

Stigavši 29. septembra 1849. god. u Baltimor, Po se našao u jeku predizborne kampanje: u pitanju su bili izbori za Kongres. Gradom su kružile razne skupine koje su plaćale stranke i koje su ljudima najpre nudile piće, a onda ih odvlačile na glasačka mesta. Tako se i pesnik, koji je inače bio uništen alkoholom i kome je jedna jedina čašica bila dovoljna da se opije, našao usred ove gomile i ubrzo bio mrtav pijan. Trećeg oktobra, Poa su pronašli u ¨Cooth and Sergent's Tavern¨, zavaljenog na jednoj od stolica, svog ispovraćanog i sa slamnatim šeširom na glavi. Nakon što su ga prevezli u u Vašington, u Koledž Hospital, nekoliko dana proveo je u bunilu, dozivajući izvesnog ¨Rejnoldsa¨ čiji se identitet još ni danas nije otkrio. U zoru, 7. oktobra, Po se napokon primirio i, nakon što se okrenuo prema zidu i prošaputao: ¨Neka Gospod pritekne u pomoć mojoj napaćenoj duši¨, izdahnuo.
Ali, Po se ni mrtav nije mogao smiriti: zemljište na kom je sahranjen je bilo je toliko klizavo da je grobar bio primoran da tri puta sanduk zasipa zemljom. Kod trećeg puta je prokomentarisao: ¨Čudno, ali izgleda da se gospodin Po ne može smiriti ni na jednom mestu.¨
1849. October, 7. Edgar Allan Poe was murdered by a blow to the head. Poe was not a drunk or drug addict as history would lead you to believe and did not die from a drug overdose. (John F. Courtney, M.D. Addiction and Edgar Allan (sic) Poe, Resident and Staff Physician, January, 1971 p. 107-115). Poe was exposing the Mason's through many of his short stories. It was inevitable that Poe would not only run afoul of the festering secret society's but end a victim of their 'arguments'. He was not a passive recipient, and he did his best to immortalize a searing indictment in Masonry in at least four of his short stories.
 

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