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It seems to me that imagination and reasoning have reached magnificent heights with some writers, especially poets. Among them, I strongly believe, the highest ever was Edgar Allan Poe. With Baudelaire I state that "le poete est souverainement intelligent, qu'il est l'intelligence par excellence, -et que l'imagination est la plus scientifique des facultes, parce que seule elle comprend l'analogie universelle...". One of those poets was Edgar Allan Poe. I reproduce here "The Works of Edgar Allan Poe" as a gesture against what Baudelaire called "la ferocite de l'hypocrisie bourgeoise", and what I personally call mediocrity, imbecility, and comprehensive intellectual dishonesty, all of which is presented as "realistic thinking". And, as we know, contemporary development studies are full of  "realistic thinking". So, let us learn something from Edgar Allan Poe!.  (Róbinson Rojas)
The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe V. 1
Volume 1 of the Raven Edition  #6 in our series by Edgar Allan Poe

VOLUME II  Contents
The Purloined Letter
The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherezade
A Descent into the Maelström
Von Kempelen and his Discovery
Mesmeric Revelation
The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar
The Black Cat
The Fall of the House of Usher
Silence -- a Fable
The Masque of the Red Death
The Cask of Amontillado
The Imp of the Perverse
The Island of the Fay
The Assignation
The Pit and the Pendulum
The Premature Burial
The Domain of Arnheim
Landor's Cottage
William Wilson
The Tell-Tale Heart
Eleonora                                       BACK TO MAIN INDEX
Sub conservatione formae specificae salva anima.
                          _  Raymond Lully_ .
I AM come of a race noted for vigor of fancy and ardor of passion.
Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether
madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence -- whether much that
is glorious- whether all that is profound -- does not spring from
disease of thought -- from moods of mind exalted at the expense of
the general intellect. They who dream by day are cognizant of many
things which escape those who dream only by night. In their gray
visions they obtain glimpses of eternity, and thrill, in awakening,
to find that they have been upon the verge of the great secret. In
snatches, they learn something of the wisdom which is of good, and
more of the mere knowledge which is of evil. They penetrate, however,
rudderless or compassless into the vast ocean of the "light
ineffable," and again, like the adventures of the Nubian geographer,
"agressi sunt mare tenebrarum, quid in eo esset exploraturi."
We will say, then, that I am mad. I grant, at least, that there are
two distinct conditions of my mental existence -- the condition of a
lucid reason, not to be disputed, and belonging to the memory of
events forming the first epoch of my life -- and a condition of
shadow and doubt, appertaining to the present, and to the
recollection of what constitutes the second great era of my being.
Therefore, what I shall tell of the earlier period, believe; and to
what I may relate of the later time, give only such credit as may
seem due, or doubt it altogether, or, if doubt it ye cannot, then
play unto its riddle the Oedipus.
She whom I loved in youth, and of whom I now pen calmly and
distinctly these remembrances, was the sole daughter of the only
sister of my mother long departed. Eleonora was the name of my
cousin. We had always dwelled together, beneath a tropical sun, in
the Valley of the Many-Colored Grass. No unguided footstep ever came
upon that vale; for it lay away up among a range of giant hills that
hung beetling around about it, shutting out the sunlight from its
sweetest recesses. No path was trodden in its vicinity; and, to reach
our happy home, there was need of putting back, with force, the
foliage of many thousands of forest trees, and of crushing to death
the glories of many millions of fragrant flowers. Thus it was that we
lived all alone, knowing nothing of the world without the valley --
I, and my cousin, and her mother.
From the dim regions beyond the mountains at the upper end of our
encircled domain, there crept out a narrow and deep river, brighter
than all save the eyes of Eleonora; and, winding stealthily about in
mazy courses, it passed away, at length, through a shadowy gorge,
among hills still dimmer than those whence it had issued. We called
it the "River of Silence"; for there seemed to be a hushing influence
in its flow. No murmur arose from its bed, and so gently it wandered
along, that the pearly pebbles upon which we loved to gaze, far down
within its bosom, stirred not at all, but lay in a motionless
content, each in its own old station, shining on gloriously forever.
The margin of the river, and of the many dazzling rivulets that
glided through devious ways into its channel, as well as the spaces
that extended from the margins away down into the depths of the
streams until they reached the bed of pebbles at the bottom, -- these
spots, not less than the whole surface of the valley, from the river
to the mountains that girdled it in, were carpeted all by a soft
green grass, thick, short, perfectly even, and vanilla-perfumed, but
so besprinkled throughout with the yellow buttercup, the white daisy,
the purple violet, and the ruby-red asphodel, that its exceeding
beauty spoke to our hearts in loud tones, of the love and of the
glory of God.
And, here and there, in groves about this grass, like wildernesses of
dreams, sprang up fantastic trees, whose tall slender stems stood not
upright, but slanted gracefully toward the light that peered at
noon-day into the centre of the valley. Their mark was speckled with
the vivid alternate splendor of ebony and silver, and was smoother
than all save the cheeks of Eleonora; so that, but for the brilliant
green of the huge leaves that spread from their summits in long,
tremulous lines, dallying with the Zephyrs, one might have fancied
them giant serpents of Syria doing homage to their sovereign the Sun.
Hand in hand about this valley, for fifteen years, roamed I with
Eleonora before Love entered within our hearts. It was one evening at
the close of the third lustrum of her life, and of the fourth of my
own, that we sat, locked in each other's embrace, beneath the
serpent-like trees, and looked down within the water of the River of
Silence at our images therein. We spoke no words during the rest of
that sweet day, and our words even upon the morrow were tremulous and
few. We had drawn the God Eros from that wave, and now we felt that
he had enkindled within us the fiery souls of our forefathers. The
passions which had for centuries distinguished our race, came
thronging with the fancies for which they had been equally noted, and
together breathed a delirious bliss over the Valley of the
Many-Colored Grass. A change fell upon all things. Strange, brilliant
flowers, star-shaped, burn out upon the trees where no flowers had
been known before. The tints of the green carpet deepened; and when,
one by one, the white daisies shrank away, there sprang up in place
of them, ten by ten of the ruby-red asphodel. And life arose in our
paths; for the tall flamingo, hitherto unseen, with all gay glowing
birds, flaunted his scarlet plumage before us. The golden and silver
fish haunted the river, out of the bosom of which issued, little by
little, a murmur that swelled, at length, into a lulling melody more
divine than that of the harp of Aeolus-sweeter than all save the
voice of Eleonora. And now, too, a voluminous cloud, which we had
long watched in the regions of Hesper, floated out thence, all
gorgeous in crimson and gold, and settling in peace above us, sank,
day by day, lower and lower, until its edges rested upon the tops of
the mountains, turning all their dimness into magnificence, and
shutting us up, as if forever, within a magic prison-house of
grandeur and of glory.
The loveliness of Eleonora was that of the Seraphim; but she was a
maiden artless and innocent as the brief life she had led among the
flowers. No guile disguised the fervor of love which animated her
heart, and she examined with me its inmost recesses as we walked
together in the Valley of the Many-Colored Grass, and discoursed of
the mighty changes which had lately taken place therein.
At length, having spoken one day, in tears, of the last sad change
which must befall Humanity, she thenceforward dwelt only upon this
one sorrowful theme, interweaving it into all our converse, as, in
the songs of the bard of Schiraz, the same images are found
occurring, again and again, in every impressive variation of phrase.
She had seen that the finger of Death was upon her bosom -- that,
like the ephemeron, she had been made perfect in loveliness only to
die; but the terrors of the grave to her lay solely in a
consideration which she revealed to me, one evening at twilight, by
the banks of the River of Silence. She grieved to think that, having
entombed her in the Valley of the Many-Colored Grass, I would quit
forever its happy recesses, transferring the love which now was so
passionately her own to some maiden of the outer and everyday world.
And, then and there, I threw myself hurriedly at the feet of
Eleonora, and offered up a vow, to herself and to Heaven, that I
would never bind myself in marriage to any daughter of Earth -- that
I would in no manner prove recreant to her dear memory, or to the
memory of the devout affection with which she had blessed me. And I
called the Mighty Ruler of the Universe to witness the pious
solemnity of my vow. And the curse which I invoked of Him and of her,
a saint in Helusion should I prove traitorous to that promise,
involved a penalty the exceeding great horror of which will not
permit me to make record of it here. And the bright eyes of Eleonora
grew brighter at my words; and she sighed as if a deadly burthen had
been taken from her breast; and she trembled and very bitterly wept;
but she made acceptance of the vow, (for what was she but a child?)
and it made easy to her the bed of her death. And she said to me, not
many days afterward, tranquilly dying, that, because of what I had
done for the comfort of her spirit she would watch over me in that
spirit when departed, and, if so it were permitted her return to me
visibly in the watches of the night; but, if this thing were, indeed,
beyond the power of the souls in Paradise, that she would, at least,
give me frequent indications of her presence, sighing upon me in the
evening winds, or filling the air which I breathed with perfume from
the censers of the angels. And, with these words upon her lips, she
yielded up her innocent life, putting an end to the first epoch of my
Thus far I have faithfully said. But as I pass the barrier in Times
path, formed by the death of my beloved, and proceed with the second
era of my existence, I feel that a shadow gathers over my brain, and
I mistrust the perfect sanity of the record. But let me on. -- Years
dragged themselves along heavily, and still I dwelled within the
Valley of the Many-Colored Grass; but a second change had come upon
all things. The star-shaped flowers shrank into the stems of the
trees, and appeared no more. The tints of the green carpet faded;
and, one by one, the ruby-red asphodels withered away; and there
sprang up, in place of them, ten by ten, dark, eye-like violets, that
writhed uneasily and were ever encumbered with dew. And Life departed
from our paths; for the tall flamingo flaunted no longer his scarlet
plumage before us, but flew sadly from the vale into the hills, with
all the gay glowing birds that had arrived in his company. And the
golden and silver fish swam down through the gorge at the lower end
of our domain and bedecked the sweet river never again. And the
lulling melody that had been softer than the wind-harp of Aeolus, and
more divine than all save the voice of Eleonora, it died little by
little away, in murmurs growing lower and lower, until the stream
returned, at length, utterly, into the solemnity of its original
silence. And then, lastly, the voluminous cloud uprose, and,
abandoning the tops of the mountains to the dimness of old, fell back
into the regions of Hesper, and took away all its manifold golden and
gorgeous glories from the Valley of the Many-Colored Grass.
Yet the promises of Eleonora were not forgotten; for I heard the
sounds of the swinging of the censers of the angels; and streams of a
holy perfume floated ever and ever about the valley; and at lone
hours, when my heart beat heavily, the winds that bathed my brow came
unto me laden with soft sighs; and indistinct murmurs filled often
the night air, and once -- oh, but once only! I was awakened from a
slumber, like the slumber of death, by the pressing of spiritual lips
upon my own.
But the void within my heart refused, even thus, to be filled. I
longed for the love which had before filled it to overflowing. At
length the valley pained me through its memories of Eleonora, and I
left it for ever for the vanities and the turbulent triumphs of the
I found myself within a strange city, where all things might have
served to blot from recollection the sweet dreams I had dreamed so
long in the Valley of the Many-Colored Grass. The pomps and
pageantries of a stately court, and the mad clangor of arms, and the
radiant loveliness of women, bewildered and intoxicated my brain. But
as yet my soul had proved true to its vows, and the indications of
the presence of Eleonora were still given me in the silent hours of
the night. Suddenly these manifestations they ceased, and the world
grew dark before mine eyes, and I stood aghast at the burning
thoughts which possessed, at the terrible temptations which beset me;
for there came from some far, far distant and unknown land, into the
gay court of the king I served, a maiden to whose beauty my whole
recreant heart yielded at once -- at whose footstool I bowed down
without a struggle, in the most ardent, in the most abject worship of
love. What, indeed, was my passion for the young girl of the valley
in comparison with the fervor, and the delirium, and the
spirit-lifting ecstasy of adoration with which I poured out my whole
soul in tears at the feet of the ethereal Ermengarde? -- Oh, bright
was the seraph Ermengarde! and in that knowledge I had room for none
other. -- Oh, divine was the angel Ermengarde! and as I looked down
into the depths of her memorial eyes, I thought only of them -- and
of her.
I wedded; -- nor dreaded the curse I had invoked; and its bitterness
was not visited upon me. And once -- but once again in the silence of
the night; there came through my lattice the soft sighs which had
forsaken me; and they modelled themselves into familiar and sweet
voice, saying:
"Sleep in peace! -- for the Spirit of Love reigneth and ruleth, and,
in taking to thy passionate heart her who is Ermengarde, thou art
absolved, for reasons which shall be made known to thee in Heaven, of
thy vows unto Eleonora."
~~~ End of Text ~~~

End of The Project Gutenberg Etext of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe V. 2