Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven” [Text-13], The Poets and Poetry of America (8th edition), May 29, 1847, pp. 432-433


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[page 432, column 1, continued:]

THE RAVEN.

——

ONCE upon a midnight dreary,

While I ponder’d, 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 mutter’d,

“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 wish’d the morrow;

Vainly I had tried 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 curtain

Thrill’d me — fill’d me with fantastic

Terrors never felt before;

So that now, to still the beating

Of my heart, I stood repeating

“ ‘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 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 open’d 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,  [column 2:]

And the darkness gave no token,

And the only word there spoken

Was the whisper’d word, “Lenore!”

This I whisper’d, and an echo

Murmur’d back the word, “Lenore!”

Merely this, and nothing more.

 

Then into the chamber turning,

All my soul within me burning,

Soon I heard again 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 stepp’d a stately raven

Of the saintly days of yore;

Not the least obeisance made he;

Not an instant stopp’d or stay’d he;

But, with mien of lord or lady,

Perch’d above my chamber door —

Perch’d upon a bust of Pallas

Just above my chamber door —

Perch’d, 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 marvell’d 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 bless’d 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 only

That one word, as if his soul in

That one word he did outpour.

Nothing farther then he utter’d —

Not a feather then he flutter’d —

Till I scarcely more than mutter’d

“Other friends have flown before —

On the morrow he will leave me,

As my hopes have flown before.”

Then the bird said “Nevermore.”  [page 433:]

 

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

Follow’d fast and follow’d faster,

Till his songs one burden bore —

Till the dirges of his Hope the

Melancholy burden bore

Of ‘Nevermore,’ — of ‘Nevermore.’ “

 

But the raven still beguiling

All my sad soul into smiling,

Straight I wheel’d a cushion’d 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.”

 

This I sat engaged in guessing,

But no syllable expressing

To the fowl whose fiery eyes now

Burn’d into my bosom’s core;

This and more I sat divining,

With my head at ease reclining

On the cushion’s velvet lining

That the lamplight gloated o’er;

But whose velvet violet lining

With the lamplight gloating o’er,

She shall press, ah, never more!

 

Then, methought, the air grew denser,

Perfum’d 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 hath sent thee

Respite — respite and nepenthe

From thy 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 toss’d 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  [column:]

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 shriek’d, 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 that is dreaming,

And the lamplight 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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Notes:

This version of the poem has a unique format for the lines, perhaps necessitated by the narrow columns of the book. Also unique to this version is the almost consistent contraction of past tense verbs from, for example, “fluttered” to “flutter’d.”


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[S:1 - PPA-8, 1847 (1848)] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - The Raven [Text-13]