The Raven

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 visiter", 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

name Lenore -

Nameless _here_ for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple


Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never

felt before;

So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood


"Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber

door -

Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber

door; -

This it is and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no


"Sir", said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness

I implore;

But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came


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 before;

But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness 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


Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than


"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 a minute 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


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


For we cannot help agreeing that no living human


Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his

chamber door -

Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his

chamber door,

With such name as "Nevermore."

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke


That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did


Nothing farther then he uttered - not a feather then

he fluttered -

Till I scarcely more than muttered "Other friends have

flown before -

On the morrow _he_ will leave me, as my Hopes have

flown before."

Then the bird said "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly


"Doubtless", said I, "what it utters is its only stock

and store

Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful


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 my sad fancy into


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, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous

bird of yore

Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

Thus I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable


To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my

bosom's core;

This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease


On the cushion's velvet 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 seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the

tufted floor.

"Wretch", I cried, "thy God hath lent thee - by these

angels he hath sent thee

Respite - respite and nepenthe from thy memories

of Lenore;

Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost


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


It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels

name Lenore -

Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels

name 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


On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber


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!


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