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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 open'd 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 darkness

gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whisper'd

word, “ Lenore!” This I whisper'd, and an echo murmur'd back the word, “ Lenore ! ”

Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within

me burning, Soon I heard again 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

exploreLet my

heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;

'Tis the wind, and nothing more!”

Open here I Aung a shutter, when, with many

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

stopp'd or stay'd he ; But, with mien of lord or lady, perch'd above my

chamber doorPerch'd upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door

Perch'd, 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,

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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,

6 Nevermore."

Much I marvell’d 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 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 utter'd—not a feather then

he flutter'dTill I scarcely more than mutter'd“ Other friends

have flown before On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."

Then the bird said “ Nevermore.”

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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 unmer

ciful Disaster Followd fast, and follow'd faster, till his songs one

burden boreTill the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore

Of · Never-nevermore.

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into

smiling, Straight I wheeld 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

expressing To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burnt 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 angels whose faint 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."

66

“Prophet!" said I, " thing of evil !--prophet

still, if bird or devil! Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest toss'd

thee here ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land

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

I imploreIs 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 shriek'd, upstarting“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's

Plutonian shore ! Leave no black plume as a token of the 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 lamplight 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!

E. A. Poe.

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