[ocr errors]

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 mortal ever dared

to dream before; But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave

no token, And the only word there spoken was the whis

pered word “ Lenore !” This I whispered, and an echo murmured 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, somewhat louder

than before. “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at iny


Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery

explore, Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery

'Tis the wind, and nothing more!"

Open here I flung 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 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

Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into

smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the counte

nance 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 marveiled this ungainly fowl to hear dis

course so plainly, Though its answer little meaning-little relevancy

bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human

being Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his

chamber-doorBird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his

With such name as Nevermore."

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust,

spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he

did outpour. Nothing further then he uttered; not a feather then

he fluttered Till I scarcely more than muttered, “Other friends

have flown beforeOn 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 store, Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerci

ful Disaster

Followed fast and followed faster till his song one

burden boreTill the dirges of his Hope that melancholy bur

den bore-
Of Never '_Nevermore.'

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 yoreWhat this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and

ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable ex

pressing 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 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 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 en

chanted On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly,

I implore-
Is there--is there balm in Gilead ?-tell me, tel!

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 adoreTell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the dis

tant Aidenn,

« ForrigeFortsett »