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THE RAVEN.

                               ~~~~~~~~~~~~

Once upon a midnight drearywhile I ponderedweak and weary
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore —
While I noddednearly nappingsuddenly there came a tapping
As of some one gently rappingrapping at my chamber door.
“ ’Tis some visiter” I muttered“tapping at my chamber door —
                                                   Only this and nothing more.”

Ahdistinctly 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
Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before ;
So that nowto still the beating of my heartI 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 Madamtruly your forgiveness I implore ;
But the fact is I was nappingand so gently you came rapping
And so faintly you came tappingtapping 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 peeringlong I stood there wonderingfearing
Doubtingdreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbrokenand the darkness gave no token
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word“Lenore !”
This I whisperedand an echo murmured back the word“Lenore !” —
                                                           Merely thisand nothing more.

Back into the chamber turningall 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 seethenwhat thereat isand 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 shutterwhenwith 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;
Butwith mien of lord or ladyperched above my chamber door —
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door —
                                                   Perchedand satand 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 shaventhou” 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 upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door
                                                 With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Ravensitting lonely on the placid bustspoke only
That one wordas if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
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 meas 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 birdand bust and door;
Thenupon the velvet sinkingI betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancythinking what this ominous bird of yore —
What this grimungainlyghastlygaunt and ominous bird of yore
                                                  Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessingbut no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat diviningwith my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamplght gloated o’er
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o’er
                                                   She shall pressahnevermore !

Thenmethoughtthe air grew denserperfumed 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 hathsent thee
Respite — respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaffoh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore !”
                                                       Quoth the Raven“Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I“thing of evil! — prophet stillif bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sentor whether tempest tossed thee here ashore
Desolate yet all undauntedon this desert land enchanted —
On this home by Horror haunted — tell me trulyI implore —
Is there — is there balm in Gilead ? — tell me — tell meI implore!”
                                                           Quoth the Raven“Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I“thing of evil — prophet stillif bird or devil !
By that Heaven that bends above us — by that God we both adore —
Tell this soul with sorrow laden ifwithin the distant Aidenn
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 partingbird or fiend!” I shriekedupstarting—
“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 heartand take thy form from off my door !”
                                                          Quoth the Raven“Nevermore.”

And the Ravennever flittingstill is sittingstill 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 !




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