WELL! I have determined — lightly it may be — that, 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 hand 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 bad 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 — reveling 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 may 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, or land to mark the bewildered seaman’s way — why e’en try death?
“And come it slow or come it fast,
’tis 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 when night brings us to our couch all 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 flower 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 inures.
— William Henry Leonard Poe