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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Edition Volume 2
page 1 of 5 | The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Volume 2
Dicebant mihi sodales, si sepulchrum amicae visitarem, curas meas aliquantulum forelevatas.
- _Ebn Zaiat_.
MISERY is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multiform. Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow, its hues are as various as the hues of that arch - as distinct too, yet as intimately blended. Overreaching the wide horizon as the rainbow! How is it that from beauty I have derived a type of unloveliness? - from the covenant of peace, a simile of sorrow? But as, in ethics, evil is a consequence of good, so, in fact, out of joy is sorrow born. Either the memory of past bliss is the anguish of to-day, or the agonies which _are_, have their origin in the ecstasies which _might have been_.
My baptismal name is Egaeus; that of my family I will not mention. Yet there are no towers in the land more time-honored than my gloomy, gray, hereditary halls. Our line has been called a race of visionaries; and in many striking particulars - in the character of the family mansion - in the frescos of the chief saloon - in the tapestries of the dormitories - in the chiselling of some buttresses in the armory - but more especially in the gallery of antique paintings - in the fashion of the library chamber - and, lastly, in the very peculiar nature of the library's contents - there is more than sufficient evidence to warrant the belief.
The recollections of my earliest years are connected with that chamber, and with its volumes - of which latter I will say no more. Here died my mother. Herein was I born. But it is mere idleness to say that I had not lived before - that the soul has no previous existence. You deny it? - let us not argue the matter. Convinced myself, I seek not to convince. There is, however, a remembrance of aerial forms - of spiritual and meaning eyes - of sounds, musical yet sad - a remembrance which will not be excluded; a memory like a shadow - vague, variable, indefinite, unsteady; and like a shadow, too, in the impossibility of my getting rid of it while the sunlight of my reason shall exist.
In that chamber was I born. Thus awaking from the long night of what seemed, but was not, nonentity, at once into the very regions of fairy land - into a palace of imagination - into the wild dominions of monastic thought and erudition - it is not singular that I gazed around me with a startled and ardent eye - that I loitered away my boyhood in books, and dissipated my youth in reverie; but it _is_ singular that as years rolled away, and the noon of manhood found me still in the mansion of my fathers - it _is_ wonderful what stagnation there fell upon the springs of my life - wonderful how total an inversion took place in the character of my commonest thought. The realities of the world affected me as visions, and as visions only, while the wild ideas of the land of dreams became, in turn, not the material of my every-day existence, but in very deed that existence utterly and solely in itself.
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