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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 visiter", 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 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
Thrilled me - filled me with fantastic terrors never
felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood
"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
"Sir", said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness
I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came
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 whispered
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
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than
"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 a minute 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
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
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human
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 the placid bust, spoke
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did
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."
Then the bird said "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly
"Doubtless", said I, "what it utters is its only stock
and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful
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 my sad fancy into
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."

Thus I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my
bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light
gloated o'er,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light
gloating o'er,
_She_ shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from
an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls 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
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
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 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
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber
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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