« PreviousContinue »
ONCE upon a midnight dreary, while I ponder'd, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten loreWhile 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 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 visitor entreating entrance at my chamber doorSome late visitor 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 mortals ever dared to dream before ;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken, was the whisper'd word, “ Lenore !"
Thus I whisper'd, and an echo murmur'd 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, something 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 Aung 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 a minute 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 shoreTell me what thy lordly name is, on the night's Plutonian shore !”
Quoth the Raven, “Never more."
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 Never more."
But the Raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour;
Nothing further 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, “Never more.”
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 that melancholy burden bore,
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 “Never more.”
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 lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining, with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, never more!
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 the nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore ! Quaff, oh, quaff , this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Lenore !"
Quoth the Raven, “Never more !"
“ 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, "Never more."
"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 name Lenore?”
Quoth the Raven, "Never more."
“ 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, “Never more.”
And the Raven, never fitting, 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-never more!