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( 5-8 2019 .)

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 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 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 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 burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat 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 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 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 Nights 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 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 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.
          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 unmerciful Disaster
     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 all my fancy 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 bosoms core;
     This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
     On the cushions velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated oer,
But whose velvet-violet lining with the lamp-light gloating oer,
          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 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.

     Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend! I shrieked, upstarting
Get thee back into the tempest and the Nights 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 demons that is dreaming,
     And the lamp-light oer 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!