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The Raven - a poem by Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven
Edgar Allan Poe

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary, 
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, 
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, 
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. 
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door
Only this, and nothing more." 

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December, 
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. 
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow 
From my books surcease of sorrow sorrow for the lost Lenore
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels named Lenore
Nameless here for evermore. 

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain 
Thrilled me filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; 
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating 
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door 
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; 
This it is, and nothing more," 

Presently my heart grew stronger; hesitating then no longer, 
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore; 
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, 
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, 
That I scarce was sure I heard you" -- here I opened wide the door; 
Darkness there, and nothing more. 

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing, 
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream to dream before; 
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token, 
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore!" 
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word "Lenore!" 
Merely this and nothing more. 

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, 
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. 
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice; 
Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore 
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;
'Tis the wind and nothing more!" 

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, 
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore. 
Not the least obeisance made he; not an instant stopped or stayed he; 
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door 
Perched, and sat, and nothing more. 

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, 
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, 
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven. 
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore 
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!" 
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore." 

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, 
Though its answer little meaning little relevancy bore; 
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being 
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door 
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door, 
With such name as "Nevermore." 

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only 
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour. 
Nothing further then he uttered not a feather then he fluttered 
Till I scarcely more than muttered "Other friends have flown before 
On the morrow will he leave me, as my hopes have flown before." 
Then the bird said, "Nevermore." 

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, 
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store, 
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster 
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore 
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore 
Of 'Never-nevermore.'" 

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling, 
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door; 
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking 
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore 
What this grim, ungainly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore 
Meant in croaking "Nevermore." 

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing 
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core; 
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining 
On the cushion's velvet violet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er, 
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er, 
She shall press, ah, nevermore! 

Then, methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer 
Swung by angels whose faint foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. 
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee - by these angels he has sent thee 
Respite - respite and nepenthe from the memories of Lenore! 
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore!" 
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore." 

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!  prophet still, if bird or devil! 
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore, 
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted 
On this home by Horror haunted  tell me truly, I implore 
Is there  is there balm in Gilead?  tell me  tell me, I implore!" 
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore." 

"Prophet!' said I, "thing of evil!  prophet still, if bird or devil! 
By that Heaven that bends above us  by that God we both adore 
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, 
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels named Lenore 
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?" 
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore." 

"Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked upstarting 
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! 
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! 
Leave my loneliness unbroken! quit the bust above my door! 
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!" 
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore." 

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting 
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; 
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming, 
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor; 
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor 
Shall be lifted  nevermore.

The Raven
Edgar Allan Poe
 


The Raven - a poem by E
dgar Allan Poe
 

Edgar Allan Poe

(1809 - 1849) American Poet, Author

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