Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Poetical Works eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 289 pages of information about Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Poetical Works.

Over some flasks of the red Chian wine, within the walls of a noble hall, in a dim city called Ptolemais, we sat, at night, a company of seven.  And to our chamber there was no entrance save by a lofty door of brass:  and the door was fashioned by the artisan Corinnos, and, being of rare workmanship, was fastened from within.  Black draperies, likewise in the gloomy room, shut out from our view the moon, the lurid stars, and the peopleless streets—­but the boding and the memory of Evil, they would not be so excluded.  There were things around us and about of which I can render no distinct account—­things material and spiritual—­ heaviness in the atmosphere—­a sense of suffocation—­anxiety—­and, above all, that terrible state of existence which the nervous experience when the senses are keenly living and awake, and meanwhile the powers of thought lie dormant.  A dead weight hung upon us.  It hung upon our limbs—­upon the household furniture—­upon the goblets from which we drank; and all things were depressed, and borne down thereby—­all things save only the flames of the seven iron lamps which illumined our revel.  Uprearing themselves in tall slender lines of light, they thus remained burning all pallid and motionless; and in the mirror which their lustre formed upon the round table of ebony at which we sat each of us there assembled beheld the pallor of his own countenance, and the unquiet glare in the downcast eyes of his companions.  Yet we laughed and were merry in our proper way—­which was hysterical; and sang the songs of Anacreon—­which are madness; and drank deeply—­although the purple wine reminded us of blood.  For there was yet another tenant of our chamber in the person of young Zoilus.  Dead and at full length he lay, enshrouded;—­the genius and the demon of the scene.  Alas! he bore no portion in our mirth, save that his countenance, distorted with the plague, and his eyes in which Death had but half extinguished the fire of the pestilence, seemed to take such an interest in our merriment as the dead may haply take in the merriment of those who are to die.  But although I, Oinos, felt that the eyes of the departed were upon me, still I forced myself not to perceive the bitterness of their expression, and gazing down steadily into the depths of the ebony mirror, sang with a loud and sonorous voice the songs of the son of Teos.  But gradually my songs they ceased, and their echoes, rolling afar off among the sable draperies of the chamber, became weak, and undistinguishable, and so faded away.  And lo! from among those sable draperies, where the sounds of the song departed, there came forth a dark and undefiled shadow—­a shadow such as the moon, when low in heaven, might fashion from the figure of a man:  but it was the shadow neither of man nor of God, nor of any familiar thing.  And quivering awhile among the draperies of the room it at length rested in full view upon the surface of the door of brass.  But the shadow was vague, and formless, and indefinite, and was the

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Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Poetical Works from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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