"And the will therein lieth, which dieth not. Who knoweth the

mysteries of the will, with its vigor? For God is but a great

will prevading all things by nature of its intentness. Man doth

not yield himself to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save

only through the weakness of his feeble will."--JOSEPH


I c
nnot, for my soul, remember how, when, or even precisely where, I

first became acquainted with the lady Ligeia. Long years have since

elapsed, and my memory is feeble through much suffering. Or, perhaps, I

cannot now bring these points to mind, because, in truth, the

character of my beloved, her rare learning, her singular yet placid

caste of beauty, and the thrilling and enthralling eloquence of her low

musical language, made their way into my heart by paces so steadily and

stealthily progressive, that they have been unnoticed and unknown. Yet I

believe that I met her first and most frequently in some large, old,

decaying city near the Rhine. Of her family I have surely heard her

speak. That it is of a remotely ancient date cannot be doubted. Ligeia!

Ligeia! Buried in studies of a nature more than all else adapted to

deaden impressions of the outward world, it is by that sweet word

alone--by Ligeia--that I bring before mine eyes in fancy the image of

her who is no more. And now, while I write, a recollection flashes upon

me that I have never known the paternal name of her who was my friend

and my betrothed, and who became the partner of my studies, and finally

the wife of my bosom. Was it a playful charge on the part of my Ligeia?

Or was it a test of my strength of affection, that I should institute no

inquiries upon this point? Or was it rather a caprice of my own--a

wildly romantic offering on the shrine of the most passionate devotion?

I but indistinctly recall the fact itself--what wonder that I have

utterly forgotten the circumstances which originated or attended it?

And, indeed, if ever that spirit which is entitled Romance--if ever she,

the wan and the misty-winged Ashtophet of idolatrous Egypt--presided, as

they tell, over marriages ill-omened, then most surely she presided over


There is one dear topic, however, on which my memory fails me not. It is

the person of Ligeia. In stature she was tall, somewhat slender, and,

in her latter days, even emaciated. I would in vain attempt to portray

the majesty, the quiet ease of her demeanor, or the incomprehensible

lightness and elasticity of her footfall. She came and departed as a

shadow. I was never made aware of her entrance into my closed study,

save by the dear music of her low sweet voice, as she placed her marble

hand upon my shoulder. In beauty of face no maiden ever equalled her. It

was the radiance of an opium-dream--an airy and spirit-lifting vision

more wildly divine than the fantasies which hovered about the slumbering

souls of the daughters of Delos. Yet her features were not of that

regular mould which we have been falsely taught to worship in the

classical labors of the heathen. "There is no exquisite beauty," says

Bacon, Lord Verulam, speaking truly of all the forms and genera

of beauty, "without some strangeness in the proportion." Yet,

although I saw that the features of Ligeia were not of a classic

regularity--although I perceived that her loveliness was indeed

exquisite and felt that there was much of strangeness pervading it--yet

I have tried in vain to detect the irregularity and to trace home my own

perception of "the strange." I examined the contour of the lofty and

pale forehead; it was faultless--how cold indeed that word when applied

to a majesty so divine--the skin rivalling the purest ivory; the

commanding extent and repose, the gentle prominence of the regions above

the temples; and then the raven-black, the glossy, the luxuriant and

naturally-curling tresses, setting forth the full force of the Homeric

epithet, "hyacinthine"! I looked at the delicate outlines of the nose,

and nowhere but in the graceful medallions of the Hebrews had I beheld a

similar perfection. There were the same luxurious smoothness of surface,

the same scarcely perceptible tendency to the aquiline, the same

harmoniously curved nostrils speaking the free spirit. I regarded the

sweet mouth. Here was indeed the triumph of all things heavenly--the

magnificent turn of the short upper lip, the soft, voluptuous slumber of

the under, the dimples which sported, and the color which spoke, the

teeth glancing back, with a brilliancy almost startling, every ray of

the holy light which fell upon them in her serene and placid, yet most

exultingly radiant of all smiles. I scrutinized the formation of the

chin, and here, too, I found the gentleness of breadth, the softness

and the majesty, the fulness and the spirituality of the Greek--the

contour which the god Apollo revealed but in a dream, to Cleomenes, the

son of the Athenian. And then I peered into the large eyes of Ligeia.

For eyes we have no models in the remotely antique. It might have been,

too, that in these eyes of my beloved lay the secret to which Lord

Verulam alludes. They were, I must believe, far larger than the ordinary

eyes of our own race. They were even fuller than the fullest of the

gazelle eyes of the tribe of the valley of Nourjahad. Yet it was only at

intervals--in moments of intense excitement--that this peculiarity

became more than slightly noticeable in Ligeia. And at such moments was

her beauty--in my heated fancy thus it appeared perhaps--the beauty of

beings either above or apart from the earth--the beauty of the fabulous

Houri of the Turk. The hue of the orbs was the most brilliant of black,

and far over them hung jetty lashes of great length. The brows, slightly

irregular in outline, had the same tint. The "strangeness," however,

which I found in the eyes, was of a nature distinct from the formation,

or the color, or the brilliancy of the features, and must, after all, be

referred to the expression. Ah, word of no meaning, behind whose vast

latitude of mere sound we intrench our ignorance of so much of the

spiritual! The expression of the eyes of Ligeia! How for long hours have

I pondered upon it! How have I, through the whole of a midsummer night,

struggled to fathom it! What was it--that something more profound than

the well of Democritus--which lay far within the pupils of my beloved?

What was it? I was possessed with a passion to discover. Those eyes,

those large, those shining, those divine orbs--they became to me twin

stars of Leda, and I to them devoutest of astrologers.

There is no point, among the many incomprehensible anomalies of the

science of mind, more thrillingly exciting than the fact--never, I

believe, noticed in the schools--that in our endeavors to recall to

memory something long forgotten, we often find ourselves upon the very

verge of remembrance, without being able, in the end, to remember. And

thus how frequently, in my intense scrutiny of Ligeia's eyes, have I

felt approaching the full knowledge of their expression--felt it

approaching, yet not quite be mine--and so at length entirely depart!

And (strange, oh strangest mystery of all!) I found in the commonest

objects of the universe, a circle of analogies to that expression. I

mean to say that, subsequently to the period when Ligeia's beauty passed

into my spirit, there dwelling as in a shrine, I derived from many

existences in the material world a sentiment such as I felt always

around, within me, by her large and luminous orbs. Yet not the more

could I define that sentiment, or analyze, or even steadily view it. I

recognized it, let me repeat, sometimes in the survey of a

rapidly-growing vine, in the contemplation of a moth, a butterfly, a

chrysalis, a stream of running water. I have felt it in the ocean, in

the falling of a meteor. I have felt it in the glances of unusually aged

people. And there are one or two stars in heaven, (one especially, a

star of the sixth magnitude, double and changeable, to be found near the

large star in Lyra) in a telescopic scrutiny of which I have been made

aware of the feeling. I have been filled with it by certain sounds from

stringed instruments, and not unfrequently by passages from books. Among

innumerable other instances, I well remember something in a volume of

Joseph Glanvill, which (perhaps merely from its quaintness--who shall

say?) never failed to inspire me with the sentiment: "And the will

therein lieth, which dieth not. Who knoweth the mysteries of the will,

with its vigor? For God is but a great will pervading all things by

nature of its intentness. Man doth not yield him to the angels, nor unto

death utterly, save only through the weakness of his feeble will."

Length of years and subsequent reflection have enabled me to trace,

indeed, some remote connection between this passage in the English

moralist and a portion of the character of Ligeia. An intensity in

thought, action, or speech was possibly, in her, a result or at least an

index of that gigantic volition which, during our long intercourse,

failed to give other and more immediate evidence of its existence. Of

all the women whom I have ever known, she--the outwardly calm, the

ever-placid Ligeia--was the most violently a prey to the tumultuous

vultures of stern passion. And of such passion I could form no estimate,

save by the miraculous expansion of those eyes which at once so

delighted and appalled me, by the almost magical melody, modulation,

distinctness, and placidity of her very low voice, and by the fierce

energy (rendered doubly effective by contrast with her manner of

utterance) of the wild words which she habitually uttered.

I have spoken of the learning of Ligeia; it was immense, such as I have

never known in woman. In the classical tongues was she deeply

proficient, and as far as my own acquaintance extended in regard to the

modern dialects of Europe, I have never known her at fault. Indeed upon

any theme of the most admired, because simply the most abstruse of the

boasted erudition of the academy, have I ever found Ligeia at fault? How

singularly, how thrillingly, this one point in the nature of my wife has

forced itself, at this late period only, upon my attention! I said her

knowledge was such as I have never known in woman--but where breathes

the man who has traversed, and successfully, all the wide areas of

moral, physical, and mathematical science? I saw not then what I now

clearly perceive, that the acquisitions of Ligeia were gigantic, were

astounding; yet I was sufficiently aware of her infinite supremacy to

resign myself, with a child-like confidence, to her guidance through the

chaotic world of metaphysical investigation at which I was most busily

occupied during the earlier years of our marriage. With how vast a

triumph, with how vivid a delight, with how much of all that is ethereal

in hope, did I feel, as she bent over me in studies but little

sought--but less known--that delicious vista by slow degrees expanding

before me, down whose long, gorgeous, and all untrodden path I might at

length pass onward to the goal of a wisdom too divinely precious not to

be forbidden!

How poignant, then, must have been the grief with which, after some

years, I beheld my well-grounded expectations take wings to themselves

and fly away! Without Ligeia I was but as a child groping benighted. Her

presence, her readings alone, rendered vividly luminous the many

mysteries of the transcendentalism in which we were immersed. Wanting

the radiant luster of her eyes, letters, lambent and golden, grew

duller than Saturnian lead. And now those eyes shone less and less

frequently upon the pages over which I pored. Ligeia grew ill. The wild

eyes blazed with a too, too glorious effulgence; the pale fingers became

of the transparent waxen hue of the grave; and the blue veins upon the

lofty forehead swelled and sank impetuously with the tides of the most

gentle emotion. I saw that she must die--and I struggled desperately in

spirit with the grim Azrael. And the struggles of the passionate wife

were, to my astonishment, even more energetic than my own. There had

been much in her stern nature to impress me with the belief that, to

her, death would have come without its terrors; but not so. Words are

impotent to convey any just idea of the fierceness of resistance with

which she wrestled with the Shadow. I groaned in anguish at the pitiable

spectacle. I would have soothed, I would have reasoned, but, in the

intensity of her wild desire for life--for life--but for life--solace

and reason were alike the uttermost of folly. Yet not until the last

instance, amid the most convulsive writhings of her fierce spirit, was

shaken the external placidity of her demeanor. Her voice grew more

gentle--grew more low--yet I would not wish to dwell upon the wild

meaning of the quietly uttered words. My brain reeled as I hearkened,

entranced, to a melody more than mortal, to assumptions and aspirations

which mortality had never before known.

That she loved me I should not have doubted, and I might have been

easily aware that, in a bosom such as hers, love would have reigned no

ordinary passion. But in death only was I fully impressed with the

strength of her affection. For long hours, detaining my hand, would she

pour out before me the overflowing of a heart whose more than passionate

devotion amounted to idolatry. How had I deserved to be so blessed by

such confessions? How had I deserved to be so cursed with the removal of

my beloved in the hour of her making them? But upon this subject I

cannot bear to dilate. Let me say only, that in Ligeia's more than

womanly abandonment to a love, alas! all unmerited, all unworthily

bestowed, I at length recognized the principle of her longing, with so

wildly earnest a desire, for the life which was now fleeing so rapidly

away. It is this wild longing--it is this eager vehemence of desire for

life--but for life--that I have no power to portray, no utterance

capable of expressing.

At high noon of the night in which she departed, beckoning me

peremptorily to her side, she bade me repeat certain verses composed by

herself not many days before. I obeyed her. They were these:

Lo! 'tis a gala night

Within the lonesome latter years!

An angel throng, bewinged, bedight

In veils, and drowned in tears,

Sit in a theater, to see

A play of hopes and fears,

While the orchestra breathes fitfully

The music of the spheres.

Mimes, in the form of God on high,

Mutter and mumble low,

And hither and thither fly;

Mere puppets they, who come and go

At bidding of vast formless things

That shift the scenery to and fro,

Flapping from out their condor wings

Invisible Woe!

That motley drama!--oh, be sure

It shall not be forgot!

With its Phantom chased for evermore,

By a crowd that seize it not,

Through a circle that ever returneth in

To the self-same spot;

And much of Madness, and more of Sin

And Horror, the soul of the plot!

But see, amid the mimic rout

A crawling shape intrude!

A blood-red thing that writhes from out

The scenic solitude!

It writhes!--it writhes!--with mortal

The mimes become its food,

And the seraphs sob at vermin fangs

In human gore imbued.

Out--out are the lights--out all!

And over each quivering form,

The curtain, a funeral pall,

Comes down with the rush of a storm--

And the angels, all pallid and wan,

Uprising, unveiling, affirm

That the play is the tragedy, "Man,"

And its hero, the Conqueror Worm.

"O God!" half-shrieked Ligeia, leaping to her feet and extending her

arms aloft with a spasmodic movement, as I made an end of these lines,

"O God! O Divine Father! Shall these things be undeviatingly so? Shall

this conqueror be not once conquered? Are we not part and parcel in

Thee? Who--who knoweth the mysteries of the will with its vigor? Man

doth not yield him to the angels, nor unto death utterly, save only

through the weakness of his feeble will."

And now, as if exhausted with emotion, she suffered her white arms to

fall, and returned solemnly to her bed of death. And as she breathed her

last sighs, there came mingled with them a low murmur from her lips. I

bent to them my ear, and distinguished again, the concluding words of

the passage in Glanvill: "Man doth not yield him to the angels, nor

unto death utterly, save only through the weakness of his feeble will."

She died, and I, crushed into the very dust with sorrow, could no longer

endure the lonely desolation of my dwelling in the dim and decaying city

by the Rhine. I had no lack of what the world calls wealth. Ligeia had

brought me far more, very far more than ordinarily falls to the lot of

mortals. After a few months, therefore, of weary and aimless wandering,

I purchased and put in some repair an abbey which I shall not name in

one of the wildest and least frequented portions of fair England. The

gloomy and dreary grandeur of the building, the almost savage aspect of

the domain, the many melancholy and time-honored memories connected with

both, had much in unison with the feelings of utter abandonment which

had driven me into that remote and unsocial region of the country. Yet,

although the external abbey with its verdant decay hanging about it

suffered but little alteration, I gave way with a child-like perversity,

and perchance with a faint hope of alleviating my sorrows, to a display

of more than regal magnificence within. For such follies, even in

childhood, I had imbibed a taste, and now they came back to me as if in

the dotage of grief. Alas, I feel how much even of incipient madness

might have been discovered in the gorgeous and fantastic draperies, in

the solemn carvings of Egypt, in the wild cornices and furniture, in the

Bedlam patterns of the carpets of tufted gold! I had become a bounden

slave in the trammels of opium, and my labors and my orders had taken a

coloring from my dreams. But these absurdities I must not pause to

detail. Let me speak only of that one chamber, ever accursed, whither in

a moment of mental alienation, I led from the altar as my bride--as the

successor of the unforgotten Ligeia--the fair-haired and blue-eyed Lady

Rowena Trevanion, of Tremaine.

There is no individual portion of the architecture and decoration of

that bridal chamber which is not now visibly before me. Where were the

souls of the haughty family of the bride, when, through thirst of gold,

they permitted to pass the threshold of an apartment so bedecked, a

maiden and a daughter so beloved? I have said that I minutely remember

the details of the chamber, yet I am sadly forgetful on topics of deep

moment; and here there was no system, no keeping, in the fantastic

display, to take hold upon the memory. The room lay in a high turret of

the castellated abbey, was pentagonal in shape, and of capacious size.

Occupying the whole southern face of the pentagon was the sole

window--an immense sheet of unbroken glass from Venice--a single pane,

and tinted of a leaden hue, so that the rays of either the sun or moon

passing through it fell with a ghastly luster on the objects within.

Over the upper portion of this huge window extended the trellis-work of

an aged vine which clambered up the massy walls of the turret. The

ceiling, of gloomy-looking oak, was excessively lofty, vaulted, and

elaborately fretted with the wildest and most grotesque specimens of a

semi-Gothic, semi-Druidical device. From out the most central recess of

this melancholy vaulting depended, by a single chain of gold with long

links, a huge censer of the same metal, Saracenic in pattern, and with

many perforations so contrived that there writhed in and out of them, as

if endued with a serpent vitality, a continual succession of

parti-colored fires.

Some few ottomans and golden candelabra of Eastern figure were in

various stations about; and there was the couch, too--the bridal

couch--of an Indian model, and low, and sculptured of solid ebony, with

a pall-like canopy above. In each of the angles of the chamber stood on

end a gigantic sarcophagus of black granite, from the tombs of the kings

over against Luxor, with their aged lids full of immemorial sculpture.

But in the draping of the apartment lay, alas! the chief fantasy of all.

The lofty walls, gigantic in height--even unproportionably so--were hung

from summit to foot in vast folds with a heavy and massive-looking

tapestry--tapestry of a material which was found alike as a carpet on

the floor, as a covering for the ottomans and the ebony bed, as a canopy

for the bed, and as the gorgeous volutes of the curtains which partially

shaded the window. The material was the richest cloth of gold. It was

spotted all over, at irregular intervals, with arabesque figures, about

a foot in diameter, and wrought upon the cloth in patterns of the most

jetty black. But these figures partook of the true character of the

arabesque only when regarded from a single point of view. By a

contrivance now common, and indeed traceable to a very remote period of

antiquity, they were made changeable in aspect. To one entering the room

they bore the appearance of simple monstrosities, but upon a farther

advance this appearance gradually departed; and, step by step as the

visitor moved his station in the chamber he saw himself surrounded by an

endless succession of the ghastly forms which belong to the superstition

of the Norman, or arise in the guilty slumbers of the monk. The

phantasmagoric effect was vastly heightened by the artificial

introduction of a strong continual current of wind behind the

draperies--giving a hideous and uneasy animation to the whole.

In halls such as these--in a bridal chamber such as this--I passed, with

the Lady of Tremaine, the unhallowed hours of the first month of our

marriage--passed them with but little disquietude. That my wife dreaded

the fierce moodiness of my temper, that she shunned me, and loved me but

little, I could not help perceiving; but it gave me rather pleasure than

otherwise. I loathed her with a hatred belonging more to demon than to

man. My memory flew back--oh, with what intensity of regret!--to Ligeia,

the beloved, the august, the beautiful, the entombed. I revelled in

recollections of her purity, of her wisdom, of her lofty, her ethereal

nature, of her passionate, her idolatrous love. Now, then, did my

spirit fully and freely burn with more than all the fires of her own. In

the excitement of my opium dreams (for I was habitually fettered in the

shackles of the drug) I would call aloud upon her name, during the

silence of the night, or among the sheltered recesses of the glens by

day, as if, through the wild eagerness, the solemn passion, the

consuming ardor of my longing for the departed, I could restore her to

the pathway she had abandoned--ah, could it be for ever?--upon the


About the commencement of the second month of the marriage the Lady

Rowena was attacked with sudden illness, from which her recovery was

slow. The fever which consumed her rendered her nights uneasy; and in

her perturbed state of half-slumber she spoke of sounds and of motions

in and about the chamber of the turret which I concluded had no

origin save in the distemper of her fancy, or perhaps in the

phantasmagoric influences of the chamber itself. She became at length

convalescent--finally, well. Yet but a brief period elapsed ere a second

more violent disorder again threw her upon a bed of suffering, and from

this attack her frame, at all times feeble, never altogether recovered.

Her illnesses were, after this epoch, of alarming character and of more

alarming recurrence, defying alike the knowledge and the great exertions

of her physicians. With the increase of the chronic disease, which had

thus, apparently, taken too sure hold upon her constitution to be

eradicated by human means, I could not fail to observe a similar

increase in the nervous irritation of her temperament, and in her

excitability by trivial causes of fear. She spoke again, and now more

frequently and pertinaciously, of the sounds--of the slight sounds--and

of the unusual motions among the tapestries, to which she had formerly


One night near the closing in of September she pressed this distressing

subject with more than usual emphasis upon my attention. She had just

awakened from an unquiet slumber, and I had been watching, with feelings

half of anxiety, half of vague terror, the workings of her emaciated

countenance. I sat by the side of her ebony bed, upon one of the

ottomans of India. She partly arose, and spoke, in an earnest low

whisper, of sounds which she then heard, but which I could not hear, of

motions which she then saw, but which I could not perceive. The wind was

rushing hurriedly behind the tapestries, and I wished to show her (what,

let me confess it, I could not all believe) that those almost

inarticulate breathings, and those very gentle variations of the figures

upon the wall, were but the natural effects of that customary rushing of

the wind. But a deadly pallor overspreading her face had proved to me

that my exertions to reassure her would be fruitless. She appeared to be

fainting, and no attendants were within call. I remembered where was

deposited a decanter of light wine which had been ordered by her

physicians, and hastened across the chamber to procure it. But as I

stepped beneath the light of the censer, two circumstances of a

startling nature attracted my attention. I had felt that some palpable

although invisible object had passed lightly by my person; and I saw

that there lay upon the golden carpet, in the very middle of the rich

luster thrown from the censer, a shadow--a faint, indefinite shadow of

angelic aspect, such as might be fancied for the shadow of a shade. But

I was wild with the excitement of an immoderate dose of opium, and

heeded these things but little, nor spoke of them to Rowena. Having

found the wine, I recrossed the chamber and poured out a gobletful which

I held to the lips of the fainting lady. She had now partially

recovered, however, and took the vessel herself, while I sank upon an

ottoman near me, with my eyes fastened upon her person. It was then that

I became distinctly aware of a gentle footfall upon the carpet and near

the couch; and in a second after as Rowena was in the act of raising the

wine to her lips I saw, or may have dreamed that I saw, fall within the

goblet, as if from some invisible spring in the atmosphere of the room,

three or four large drops of a brilliant and ruby-colored fluid. If this

I saw--not so Rowena. She swallowed the wine unhesitatingly, and I

forbore to speak to her of a circumstance which must, after all, I

considered, have been but the suggestion of a vivid imagination,

rendered morbidly active by the terror of the lady, by the opium, and by

the hour.

Yet I cannot conceal it from my own perception that, immediately

subsequent to the fall of the ruby-drops, a rapid change for the worse

took place in the disorder of my wife, so that, on the third subsequent

night the hands of her menials prepared her for the tomb, and on the

fourth I sat alone with her shrouded body in that fantastic chamber

which had received her as my bride. Wild visions, opium-engendered,

fluttered, shadow-like, before me. I gazed with unquiet eye upon the

sarcophagi in the angles of the room, upon the varying figures of the

drapery, and upon the writhing of the parti-colored fires in the censer

overhead. My eyes then fell, as I called to mind the circumstances of a

former night, to the spot beneath the glare of the censer where I had

seen the faint traces of the shadow. It was there, however, no longer;

and breathing with greater freedom, I turned my glances to the pallid

and rigid figure upon the bed. Then rushed upon me a thousand memories

of Ligeia--and then came back upon my heart with the turbulent violence

of a flood the whole of that unutterable woe with which I had regarded

her thus enshrouded. The night waned; and still, with a bosom full of

bitter thoughts of the one only and supremely beloved, I remained gazing

upon the body of Rowena.

It might have been midnight, or perhaps earlier, or later--for I had

taken no note of time--when a sob, low, gentle, but very distinct,

startled me from my revery. I felt that it came from the bed of

ebony--the bed of death. I listened in an agony of superstitious

terror--but there was no repetition of the sound. I strained my vision

to detect any motion in the corpse--but there was not the slightest

perceptible. Yet I could not have been deceived. I had heard the

noise, however faint, and my soul was awakened within me. I resolutely

and perseveringly kept my attention riveted upon the body. Many minutes

elapsed before any circumstance occurred tending to throw light upon the

mystery. At length it became evident that a slight, a very feeble and

barely noticeable tinge of color had flushed up within the cheeks, and

along the sunken small veins of the eyelids. Through a species of

unutterable horror and awe, for which the language of mortality has no

sufficiently energetic expression, I felt my heart cease to beat, my

limbs grow rigid where I sat. Yet a sense of duty finally operated to

restore my self-possession. I could no longer doubt that we had been

precipitate in our preparations--that Rowena still lived. It was

necessary that some immediate exertion be made, yet the turret was

altogether apart from the portion of the abbey tenanted by the

servants--there were none within call, and I had no means of summoning

them to my aid without leaving the room for many minutes--and this I

could not venture to do. I therefore struggled alone in my endeavors to

call back the spirit still hovering. In a short period it was certain,

however, that a relapse had taken place, the color disappeared from both

eyelid and cheek, leaving a wanness even more than that of marble; the

lips became doubly shrivelled and pinched up in the ghastly expression

of death; a repulsive clamminess and coldness overspread rapidly the

surface of the body; and all the usual rigorous stiffness immediately

supervened. I fell back with a shudder upon the couch from which I had

been so startlingly aroused, and again gave myself up to passionate

waking visions of Ligeia.

An hour thus elapsed, when--could it be possible?--I was a second time

aware of some vague sound issuing from the region of the bed. I

listened--in extremity of horror. The sound came again--it was a sigh.

Rushing to the corpse, I saw--distinctly saw--a tremor upon the lips. In

a minute afterward they relaxed, disclosing a bright line of the pearly

teeth. Amazement now struggled in my bosom with the profound awe which

had hitherto reigned there alone. I felt that my vision grew dim, that

my reason wandered, and it was only by a violent effort that I at length

succeeded in nerving myself to the task which duty thus once more had

pointed out. There was now a partial glow upon the forehead and upon

the cheek and throat, a perceptible warmth pervaded the whole frame,

there was even a slight pulsation at the heart. The lady lived; and

with redoubled ardor I betook myself to the task of restoration. I

chafed and bathed the temples and the hands and used every exertion

which experience and no little medical reading could suggest. But in

vain. Suddenly, the color fled, the pulsation ceased, the lips resumed

the expression of the dead, and, in an instant afterward, the whole body

took upon itself the icy chilliness, the livid hue, the intense

rigidity, the sunken outline, and all the loathsome peculiarities of

that which has been, for many days, a tenant of the tomb.

And again I sunk into visions of Ligeia--and again, (what marvel that I

shudder while I write?) again there reached my ears a low sob from the

region of the ebony bed. But why should I minutely detail the

unspeakable horrors of that night? Why should I pause to relate how,

time after time, until near the period of the gray dawn, this hideous

drama of revivification was repeated; how each terrific relapse was only

into a sterner and apparently more irredeemable death; how each agony

wore the aspect of a struggle with some invisible foe; and how each

struggle was succeeded by I know not what of wild change in the personal

appearance of the corpse? Let me hurry to a conclusion.

The greater part of the fearful night had worn away, and she who had

been dead, once again stirred--and now more vigorously than hitherto,

although arousing from a dissolution more appalling in its utter

hopelessness than any. I had long ceased to struggle or to move, and

remained sitting rigidly upon the ottoman, a helpless prey to a whirl of

violent emotions, of which extreme awe was perhaps the least terrible,

the least consuming. The corpse, I repeat, stirred, and now more

vigorously than before. The hues of life flushed up with unwonted energy

into the countenance, the limbs relaxed, and, save that the eyelids were

yet pressed heavily together and that the bandages and draperies of the

grave still imparted their charnel character to the figure, I might have

dreamed that Rowena had indeed shaken off utterly the fetters of Death.

But if this idea was not even then altogether adopted, I could at least

doubt no longer, when arising from the bed, tottering, with feeble

steps, with closed eyes, and with the manner of one bewildered in a

dream, the thing that was enshrouded advanced boldly and palpably into

the middle of the apartment.

I trembled not--I stirred not--for a crowd of unutterable fancies

connected with the air, the stature, the demeanor of the figure, rushing

hurriedly through my brain, had paralyzed--had chilled me into stone. I

stirred not--but gazed upon the apparition. There was a mad disorder in

my thoughts--a tumult unappeasable. Could it, indeed, be the living

Rowena who confronted me? Could it indeed be Rowena at all--the

fair-haired, the blue-eyed Lady Rowena Trevanion of Tremaine? Why, why

should I doubt it? The bandage lay heavily about the mouth--but then

might it not be the mouth of the breathing Lady of Tremaine? And the

cheeks--there were the roses as in her noon of life--yes, these might

indeed be the fair cheeks of the living Lady of Tremaine. And the chin,

with its dimples, as in health, might it not be hers?--but had she

then grown taller since her malady? What inexpressible madness seized

me with that thought! One bound, and I had reached her feet. Shrinking

from my touch she let fall from her head, unloosened, the ghastly

cerements which had confined it, and there streamed forth into the

rushing atmosphere of the chamber huge masses of long and dishevelled

hair; it was blacker than the raven wings of midnight! And now slowly

opened the eyes of the figure which stood before me. "Here then, at

least," I shrieked aloud, "can I never--can I never be mistaken--these

are the full and the black, and the wild eyes of my lost love--of the

Lady--of the LADY LIGEIA."