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6. "I made the bird alight on the bust of Pallas, also for the effect of contrast between the marble and the plumage - it being understood that the bust was absolutely suggested by the bird - the bust of Pallas being chosen, first, as most in keeping with the scholarship of the lover, and, secondly, for the sonorousness of the word Pallas itself."

7. When Poe had resolved upon the refrain, he had to decide upon the character of the word to be so used. That it must be sonorous, and susceptible of protracted emphasis, admitted no doubt; "and" thus continues the veracious narrative - "these considerations inevitably led me to the long o as the most sonorous vowel, in connection with r as the most producible consonant. "The sound of the refrain being thus determined, it became necessary to select a word embodying this sound, and at the same time in the fullest possible keeping with that melancholy which I had predetermined as the tone of the poem. In such a search it would have been absolutely impossible to overlook the word 'Nevermore.' In fact, it was the very first which presented itself."

The next desideratum was a pretext for the continuous use of the one word "nevermore." Its monotonous use by a human being would not, he thought, be readily reconciled with the exercise of reason. "Here, then, immediately arose the idea of a non-reasoning creature capable of speech; and, very naturally, a parrot, in the first instance, suggested itself, but was superseded forthwith by a Raven, as equally capable of speech, and infinitely more in keeping with the intended tone."

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8. "I had now to combine the two ideas, of a lover lamenting his deceased mistress, and a Raven continuously repeating the word 'Nevermore.' And here it was that I saw at once the opportunity afforded for the effect on which I had been depending that is to say, the effect of the variation of application. I saw that I could make the first query propounded by the lover the first query, to which the Raven should reply 'Nevermore' a commonplace one the second less so, the third still less, and so on until at length the lover, startled from his original nonchalance by the melancholy character of the word itself by its frequent repetition and by a consideration of the ominous reputation of the fowl that uttered it - is at length excited to superstition, and wildly propounds queries of a far different character, queries whose solution he has passionately at heart propounds them half in superstition and half in that species of despair which delights in self-torture — propounds them not altogether because he believes in the prophetic or demoniac character of the bird (which, reason assures him, is merely repeating a lesson learned by rote), but because he experiences a frenzied pleasure in so modelling his questions as to receive from the expected 'Nevermore' the most delicious because the most intolerable of sorrow. Perceiving the opportunity thus afforded me strictly, thus forced upon me in the progress of the construction tablished in mind the climax, or concluding query

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or, more

I first es

that query to which

'Nevermore' should be in the last place an answer

- that query in reply to which this word 'Nevermore' should involve the utmost conceivable amount of sorrow and despair.

at the end, where

"Here then the poem may be said to have its beginning all works of art should begin, for it was here, at this point of my pre-considerations, that I first put pen to paper in the composition of the stanza :

"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,' etc.

"I composed this stanza at this point, first, that, by establishing the climax, I might the better vary and graduate, as regards seriousness and importance, the preceding queries of the lover; and secondly, that I might definitely settle the rhythm, the metre, and the length and general arrangement of the stanza as well as graduate the stanzas which were to precede, so that none of them might surpass this in rhythmical effect."

9. "It will be observed that the words 'from out my heart' involve the first metaphorical expression in the poem. They, with the answer 'Nevermore,' dispose the mind to seek a moral in all that has been previously narrated. The reader begins now to regard the Raven as emblematical but it is not until the very last line of the very last stanza that the intention of making him emblematical of Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance is permitted distinctly to be seen."

10. It is almost ungrateful, at this point, to indicate any slight defects in the poem, such as the wretched rhymes in the sixth stanza, and the impossibility that the Raven's shadow should fall on the floor, as described in the last stanza.

After reading the analysis Poe has given us of "The Raven," it is not surprising to learn that he regarded it as "the greatest poem that ever was written."


For a characterization of Poe's genius as a writer of tales, see the preceding sketch.

"The Masque of the Red Death" is one of his shorter tales. It illustrates both his constructive genius and his method in prose fiction. Like all his better work, it is wrought out with great care.

In writing his stories, he always began, as he tells us, with the consideration of an effect to be produced; and he then contrived both incident and tone to that one end. Speaking of the literary artist, he says: "If his very initial sentence tend not to the outbringing of this effect, then he has failed in his first step. In the whole composition there should be no word written of which the tendency, direct or indirect, is not to the one pre-established design.

And by such means, with such care and skill, a picture is at length painted which leaves in the mind of him who contemplates it with a kindred art, a sense of the fullest satisfaction." Without a clear understanding of Poe's principles and methods, as thus set forth, we shall not be able fully to appreciate the admirable art and genius of his work.

1. This is the French form of the word, now commonly Anglicized into mask.

2. This disease seems to be one of Poe's inventions.

3. Now spelled avatar incarnation.


In Sanscrit the word means a descent,

and is specially applied to the descent upon earth of a Hindu deity in a manifest shape.

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5. Castellated abbeys seem to be a reminiscence of Poe's sojourn in England. Such reminiscences frequently occur in his writings.

6. Explain ingress and egress etymologically.

7. Discriminate between contagion and infection. What is the etymology of contagion?

8. Explain improvisatori. From what language?

9. Exact force of vista.

10. Etymology and force of bizarre. It will be remembered that Poe was a good French scholar a fact which he took no pains to conceal. He sometimes quoted German and Hebrew languages that he did not understand.

II. Etymology and meaning of candelabrum.

12. What is a brazier?

13. What is ebony, and why so called?

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15. "Hernani" is one of Victor Hugo's most popular dramas in the romantic style. It contains several fantastic scenes.

16. In 1840 Poe published in Philadelphia a collection of his prose fiction with the title, "Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque." It is regarded as a happily descriptive title. Can you paraphrase it, and bring out his idea?

17. Explain the phrase out-Heroded Herod. The reference is to Herod the Great, who obtained the title "King of Judea," 40 B.C. His long reign was stained with cruelties and atrocities of a character almost without parallel in history. "The lightest shade of suspicion sufficed as the ground for his wholesale butcheries. Of these, the one with which we are best acquainted is the slaughter of the infants at Bethlehem."

18. Mummers = maskers.




BECAUSE the soul is progressive, it never quite repeats itself, but in every act attempts the production of a new and fairer whole. This appears in works both of the useful and fine arts, if we employ the popular distinction of works according to their aim either at use or beauty. Thus in our fine arts, not imitation, but creation,3 is the aim. In landscapes the painter should give the suggestion of a fairer creation than we know. The details, the prose of nature, he should omit, and give us only the spirit and splendor. He should know that the landscape has beauty for his eye because it expresses a thought which is to him good: and this because the same power which sees through his eyes is seen in that spectacle; and he will come to value the expression of nature and not nature itself, and so exalt in his copy the features that please him. He will give the gloom of gloom and the sunshine of sunshine. In a portrait he must inscribe the character and not the features, and must esteem the man who sits to him as himself only an imperfect picture or likeness of the aspiring original within.


What is that abridgment and selection we observe in all spiritual activity but itself the creative impulse? for it is the inlet of that higher illumination which teaches to convey a larger sense by simpler symbols. What is a man but nature's finer success in self-explication? 5 What is a man but a finer and compacter landscape than the horizon figures; nature's eclecticism? and what is his speech, his love of painting, love of nature, but a still finer success? all the weary miles and tons of space and bulk left out, and the spirit or moral of it contracted into a musical word, or the most cunning stroke of the pencil"?

But the artist must employ the symbols in use in his day and nation to convey his enlarged sense to his fellow-men. Thus the new in art is always formed out of the old. The Genius of the Hour always sets his ineffaceable seal on the work and gives it an inexpressible charm

for the imagination. As far as the spiritual character of the period overpowers the artist and finds expression in his work, so far it will always retain a certain grandeur, and will represent to future beholders the Unknown, the Inevitable, the Divine. No man can quite exclude this element of Necessity from his labor. No man can quite emancipate himself from his age and country, or produce a model in which the education, the religion, the politics, usages, and arts of his times shall have no share. Though he were never so original, never so wilful and fantastic, he cannot wipe out of his work every trace of the thoughts amidst which it grew. The very avoidance betrays the usage he avoids. Above his will and out of his sight he is necessitated by the air he breathes and the idea on which he and his contemporaries live and toil, to share the manner of his times, without knowing what that manner is. Now that which is inevitable in the work has a higher charm than individual talent can ever give, inasmuch as the artist's pen or chisel seems to have been held and guided by a gigantic hand to inscribe a line in the history of the human race. This circumstance gives a value to the Egyptian hieroglyphics, to the Indian, Chinese and Mexican idols, however gross and shapeless. They denote the height of the human soul in that hour, and were not fantastic, but sprung from a necessity as deep as the world. Shall I now add that the whole extant product of the plastic arts has herein its highest value, as history: as a stroke drawn in the portrait of that fate, perfect and beautiful, according to whose ordinations all beings advance to their beatitude?

Thus, historically viewed, it has been the office of art to educate the perception of beauty. We are immersed in beauty,10 but our eyes have no clear vision. It needs, by the exhibition of single traits, to assist and lead the dormant taste. We carve and paint, or we behold what is carved and painted, as students of the mystery of Form. The virtue of art lies in detachment, in sequestering one object from the embarrassing variety. Until one thing comes out from the connection of things, there can be enjoyment, contemplation, but no thought. Our happiness and unhappiness are unproductive. The infant lies in a pleasing trance, but his individual character and his practical power depend on his daily progress in the separation of things, and dealing with one at a time. Love and all the passions concentrate all existence around a single form. It is the habit of certain minds to give an all-excluding fulness to the object, the thought, the word they

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