During the whole of a dull, dark, and soundless day in the autumn of the year, when the clouds hung oppressively low in the heavens, I had been passing alone, on horseback, through a singularly dreary tract of country; and at length found myself, as the shades of the evening drew on, within view of the melancholy House of Usher. I know not how it was--but, with the first glimpse of the building, a sense of insufferable gloom pervaded my spirit.
It was this deficiency, I considered, while running over in thought the perfect keeping of the character of the premises with the accredited character of the people, and while speculating upon the possible influence which the one, in the long lapse of centuries, might have exercised upon the other--it was this deficiency, perhaps, of collateral issue, and the consequent undeviating transmission, from sire to son, of the patrimony with the name, which had, at length, so identified the two as to merge the original title of the estate in the quaint and equivocal appellation of the "House of Usher"--an appellation which seemed to include, in the minds of the peasantry who used it, both the family and the family mansion.
I shall ever bear about me a memory of the many solemn hours I thus spent alone with the master of the House of Usher. Yet I should fail in any attempt to convey an idea of the exact character of the studies, or of the occupations, in which he involved me, or led me the way.
While I gazed, this fissure rapidly widened--there came a fierce breath of the whirlwind--the entire orb of the satellite burst at once upon my sight--my brain reeled as I saw the mighty walls rushing asunder--there was a long tumultuous shouting sound like the voice of a thousand waters--and the deep and dank tarn at my feet closed sullenly and silently over the fragments of the "House of Usher".
And this was the tribute paid by the American public to the master who had given to it such tales of conjuring charm, of witchery and mystery as "The Fall of the House of Usher
" and "Ligea; such fascinating hoaxes as "The Unparalleled Adventure of Hans Pfaall," "MSS.
Edgar Allan Poe wrote many of his most famous works in Philadelphia, including "The Raven," "The Fall of the House of Usher
," and "The Tell-Tale Heart." Celebrated poet Walt Whitman spent the final decades of his life across the Delaware River in Camden, New Jersey.
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER
Dates: Wednesday 20 June - Sunday 24 June Times: Wed - Sat, 8pm; Sat and Sun matinee, 2.45pm; Venue: Lyric Theatre, Belfast The Belfast Ensemble - with their electric fusion of live music, video and actors - present their response to Edgar Allan Poe's masterpiece of terror, isolation and lunacy.