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master. His art was to take a single motive, and develop that and its belongings in a manner that can be described only by the word exquisite. The Gold Bug, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Fall of the House of Usher, and William Wilson, are good exemplifications of what may be called the Poe art, — an art in which he had no predecessor, and (though with many imitators) no successor. These high inventions of genius and art he wrote in hours stolen from poverty and despair.
It is matter of regret that we can not here exhibit Poe in his brightest work by presenting one of these tales; but there is not space to give one in its completeness, and no extract would be satisfactory.
As a poet Poe's fame rests on three or four pieces. The Raven, Annabel Lee, and The Haunted Palace are perhaps the most characteristic of his poetic productions. The Raven is, of course, his masterpiece. It belongs to the small class of poems that are never attributed to any but their authors, and which contain the divine essence of their creators.
Poe's grave in Baltimore was unmarked until, in 1875, the teachers of that city erected a stone to his memory. In May, 1885, a memorial tablet of him was placed in what should be called “Poets' Corner,” in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. So Time, which avenges every thing, places our poet where he belongs. He suffered for his frailties: we are the heirs of his genius. His image is to us that of one on a vessel far out at sea, - alone on the deck, - in a dark tempestuous night, illumined at intervals by a flash of lightning.
1.- THE RAVEN.
[In reproducing The Raven we would call the teacher's attention to the fact that the poem is followed by Poe's subtle piece of analysis entitled The Philosophy of Composition, in which he sets forth in a most interesting manner the processes by which The Raven was evolved. It is recommended that the poem be read first, then the analysis, and then the poem again.]
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
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
And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
'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,
eard you ”
Here I opened wide
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wonder
ing, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal 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
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
'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,
sure no craven;
I to die
e no te vered
Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
bore, Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore,
Of — Never — Nevermore!”
But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust,
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
She shall press — ah! nevermore.
Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen
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
- tell me, I
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,