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Death of Edgar A Poe-by Edgar Allan Poe-Novels and Ebooks

Novel Name: Death of Edgar A Poe

Written by: Edgar Allan Poe

Category: Essay

Page 1:

BY N. P. WILLIS

THE ancient fable of two antagonistic spirits imprisoned in one body,
equally powerful and having the complete mastery by turns-of one man,
that is to say, inhabited by both a devil and an angel seems to have
been realized, if all we hear is true, in the character of the
extraordinary man whose name we have written above. Our own
impression of the nature of Edgar A. Poe, differs in some important
degree, however, from that which has been generally conveyed in the
notices of his death. Let us, before telling what we personally know
of him, copy a graphic and highly finished portraiture, from the pen
of Dr. Rufus W. Griswold, which appeared in a recent number of the
“Tribune:”{*1}

“Edgar Allen Poe is dead. He died in Baltimore on Sunday, October
7th. This announcement will startle many, but few will be grieved by
it. The poet was known, personally or by reputation, in all this
country; he had readers in England and in several of the states of
Continental Europe; but he had few or no friends; and the regrets for
his death will be suggested principally by the consideration that in
him literary art has lost one of its most brilliant but erratic stars.

“His conversation was at times almost supramortal in its eloquence.
His voice was modulated with astonishing skill, and his large and
variably expressive eyes looked repose or shot fiery tumult into
theirs who listened, while his own face glowed, or was changeless in
pallor, as his imagination quickened his blood or drew it back frozen
to his heart. His imagery was from the worlds which no mortals can
see but with the vision of genius. Suddenly starting from a
proposition, exactly and sharply defined, in terms of utmost
simplicity and clearness, he rejected the forms of customary logic,
and by a crystalline process of accretion, built up his ocular
demonstrations in forms of gloomiest and ghastliest grandeur, or in
those of the most airy and delicious beauty, so minutely and
distinctly, yet so rapidly, that the attention which was yielded to
him was chained till it stood among his wonderful creations, till he
himself dissolved the spell, and brought his hearers back to common
and base existence, by vulgar fancies or exhibitions of the ignoblest
passion.

“He was at all times a dreamer-dwelling in ideal realms-in heaven or
hell-peopled with the creatures and the accidents of his brain. He
walked-the streets, in madness or melancholy, with lips moving in
indistinct curses, or with eyes upturned in passionate prayer (never
for himself, for he felt, or professed to feel, that he was already
damned, but) for their happiness who at the moment were objects of
his idolatry; or with his glances introverted to a heart gnawed with
anguish, and with a face shrouded in gloom, he would brave the
wildest storms, and all night, with drenched garments and arms
beating the winds and rains, would speak as if the spirits that at
such times only could be evoked by him from the Aidenn, close by
whose portals his disturbed soul sought to forget the ills to which
his constitution subjected him—close by the Aidenn where were those
he loved-the Aidenn which he might never see, but in fitful glimpses,
as its gates opened to receive the less fiery and more happy natures
whose destiny to sin did not involve the doom of death.

“He seemed, except when some fitful pursuit subjugated his will and
engrossed his faculties, always to bear the memory of some
controlling sorrow. The remarkable poem of ‘The Raven’ was probably
much more nearly than has been supposed, even by those who were very
intimate with him, a reflection and an echo of his own history. _He_
was that bird’s

” ‘ 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-never more.’

Filed in: Edgar Allan Poe, Essays

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