Happy Halloween: The Raven

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If you haven’t read Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” in a while, take a few minutes to dive into that glorious madness. And if you don’t have time to read, then listen to Christopher Walken’s fantastic narration available on SOUNDCLOUD.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

 

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 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 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

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 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 opened

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 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.

Then into the chamber turning,

All my soul within me burning,

Soon I heard again 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 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 sublunary 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 Raven, sitting lonely

On that placid bust, spoke only

That one word, as 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 me,

As my hopes have flown before.”

Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Wondering 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,

So when hope he would adjure,

Stern despair returned,

Instead of the sweet hope he dared adjure,

That sad answer, “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, 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

Burned 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, nevermore!

Then methought the air grew denser,

Perfumed from an unseen censer

Swung by angels whose faint footfalls

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!

Let me 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 name Lenore–

Clasp a rare and radiant maiden

Whom the angels name Lenore.”

Quoth the Raven, “ Nevermore.”

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 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!

Text from Project Gutenberg

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/45484/45484-h/45484-h.htm

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