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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 182 pages of information about Edgar Allan Poe's Complete Poetical Works.

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PROSE POEMS.

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THE ISLAND OF THE FAY.

    “Nullus enim locus sine genio est.”

    Servius.

La musique,” says Marmontel, in those “Contes Moraux"[1] which in all our translations we have insisted upon calling “Moral Tales,” as if in mockery of their spirit—­“la musique est le seul des talens qui jouisse de lui-meme:  tous les autres veulent des temoins.”  He here confounds the pleasure derivable from sweet sounds with the capacity for creating them.  No more than any other talent, is that for music susceptible of complete enjoyment where there is no second party to appreciate its exercise; and it is only in common with other talents that it produces effects which may be fully enjoyed in solitude.  The idea which the raconteur has either failed to entertain clearly, or has sacrificed in its expression to his national love of point, is doubtless the very tenable one that the higher order of music is the most thoroughly estimated when we are exclusively alone.  The proposition in this form will be admitted at once by those who love the lyre for its own sake and for its spiritual uses.  But there is one pleasure still within the reach of fallen mortality, and perhaps only one, which owes even more than does music to the accessory sentiment of seclusion.  I mean the happiness experienced in the contemplation of natural scenery.  In truth, the man who would behold aright the glory of God upon earth must in solitude behold that glory.  To me at least the presence, not of human life only, but of life, in any other form than that of the green things which grow upon the soil and are voiceless, is a stain upon the landscape, is at war with the genius of the scene.  I love, indeed, to regard the dark valleys, and the gray rocks, and the waters that silently smile, and the forests that sigh in uneasy slumbers, and the proud watchful mountains that look down upon all,—­I love to regard these as themselves but the colossal members of one vast animate and sentient whole—­a whole whose form (that of the sphere) is the most perfect and most inclusive of all; whose path is among associate planets; whose meek handmaiden is the moon; whose mediate sovereign is the sun; whose life is eternity; whose thought is that of a god; whose enjoyment is knowledge; whose destinies are lost in immensity; whose cognizance of ourselves is akin with our own cognizance of the animalculae which infest the brain, a being which we in consequence regard as purely inanimate and material, much in the same manner as these animalculae must thus regard us.

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