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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 lamp-light
gloated o'er, But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed
from an unseen censer Swung by Seraphim whose 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! Quaff, oh, quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this
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
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
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! *
* There is a curious little paper on the genesis of this poem, by Poe, in one of his essays, "The Philosophy of Composition." Works, vol. ii. p. 259.—Ed.