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AUTHOR'S PREFACE TO THE POEMS.
These trifles are collected and republished chiefly with a view to their redemption from the many improvements to which they have been subjected while going at random “ the rounds of the press.” I am naturally anxious that what I have written should circulate as I wrote it, if it circulate at all. In defence of my own taste, nevertheless, it is incumbent upon me to say that I think nothing in this volume of much value to the public, or very creditable to myself. Events not to be controlled have prevented me from making, at any time, any serious effort in what, under happier circumstances, would have been the field of choice. With me poetry has been not a purpose, but a passion; and the passions should be held in reverence; they must not they cannot at will be excited, with an eye to the paltry compensations, or the more paltry commendations, of mankind.
E. A. P.
ONCE upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, 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
LenoreFor 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; VOL. III.
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
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 wonder
ing, fearing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream
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 again I heard a tapping, somewhat louder than before. “Surely,” said I,“ surely that is something at my window
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery exploreLet 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
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber
doorPerched 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, 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, "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
doorBird 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 out
pour. Nothing further 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."
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