A Fragment-By William Henry Leonard Poe
Well! I have determined–lightly it may be–but when there is nothing to live for–nothing that the heart craves anxiously and devotedly, life is but a kind of prison house from which we would be freed.
I feel even at this moment a something of impatience to know what death is–and although I am now writing the very last words this band will ever trace–yet even the outward show–the trifles of the world beguile me–
The ink is not good–I have stirred it–’tis better now, and I have mended my pen–’tis disagreeable, even if it is our very last letter, to write with a band pen–a blot!–I must erase it–this when an hour will finish my existence!–an existence of wretchedness–one of weary, bitter disappointment.
I feel as if hungry, and suddenly a sumptuous feast before me–surfeiting myself–revelling in my thoughts–indulging in what I have been afraid to think of–I have but a short hour to live, and the ticking of the clock before me, seems a laughing spectator of my death–I wish it had life–it would not then be so gay–nay, it might be a partner of my melancholy.
Pshaw! this pen–surely my hand must have trembled when I made it–I have held it up to the light–Heavens’ my hand does tremble–No! tis only the flickering of the lamp.
It will–at least it may be asked, why I have done this–they ay say I was insane–the body which is earthed cannot feel their taunts, and the soul cares not.
I have a strange wish even at this time–it is that some maiden would plant flowers on my grave–which my mortality would add life to.
When there is no hope–no cheering prospect to brighten, no land to mark the bewildered scaman’s way–why not try death?
“And come it slow or come it fast,
It is but death that comes at last.”
There are many who would rather linger in a life of wretchedness, disappointment–and other causes which blight many a youthful heart, and make ruin and desolation in the warmest feelings–yes! even the lip must smile and the eye be gay–although whne night brings us to our couch we unconsciously wish it was for the last time.
Such is man–such is mankind!–I have still one half hour to live–one half hour!–yet I look around me as if it was the journey of a day, and not an eternal adieu!–Why should I live? Delighting in one object, and she
“The fairest flow’r that glittered on a stem
To wither at my grasp.”
No more–the pistol–I have loaded it–the balls are new–quite bright–they will soon be in my heart–Incomprehensible death–what art thou?
I have put the pistol to my bosom–it snapped–I had forgotten to prime it–I must do it–
In the act of doing so it went off, and I awoke and found myself rolling on the floor, having fallen from my bed in the agitation of a most strange and singular dream.
W. H. P.
(*Transcribed while watching Plain Jane. Thought you all might like to know. This was posted, as requested, for a dear friend of mine. I quite liked this piece.)