Page images

Soon again I heard a tapping something 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


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



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 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

66 Nevermore." But the Raven sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke


That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did


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: "Never more." 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 burthen bore

Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burthen bore, Of Never-never more.

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul 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


What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore

Meant in croaking "Never more.” This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable express


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 with the lamp-light gloating o'er

But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er She shall press, ah, never more!

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: "Never more!"

Prophet!" said 1, "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!"

[ocr errors]

Quoth the Raven: "Never more."

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 ?"

[ocr errors]

Quoth the Raven : Never more."

"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: "Never more."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting,

On the pallid bust of Pallas, just above my chamberdoor;

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-never more.



Our olden times are past and gone;

Our olden fancies banished:

And many a friendly look and tone
And kindly form are vanished.
But, drink once more, for days gone by;
Awake one ancient strain!
And fill the golden goblet high

To those who still remain !

And pledge again the friends of old,
Tho' sods are pressed above them;
And think, before those hearts were cold,
How well we used to love them!
More dear to them the thought shall be
Than memory nursed with pain!
As thus we blend them, in our glee,
With those who still remain.



Into the street the Piper stept,
Smiling first a little smile,
As if he knew what magic slept
In his quiet pipe the while;

Then, like a musical adept,

To blow the pipe his lips he wrinkled,
And green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled,
Like a candle flame where salt is sprinkled;
And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered,
You heard as if an army muttered;

And the muttering grew to a grumbling;
And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling;
And out of the houses the rats came tumbling.
Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
Brown rats, black rats, gray rats, tawny rats,
Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,
Mothers, fathers, uncles, cousins,
Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,
Families by tens and dozens,
Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives—
Followed the piper for their lives.
From street to street he piped, advancing,
And step for step they followed, dancing,
Until they came to the river Weser,
Wherein all plunged and perished.
-Save one who, stout as Julius Cæsar,
Swam across and lived to carry

(As he, the manuscript he cherished) To Rat-land home his commentary:

Which was " At the first shrill notes of the pipe,
I heard a sound as of scraping tripe,
And putting apples, wondrous ripe,
Into a cider-press's gripe:

And a moving away of pickle-tub-boards,
And a leaving ajar of conserve-cupboards,
And a drawing the corks of train-oil-flasks,
And a breaking the hoops of butter-casks;
And it seemed as if a voice

(Sweeter far than by harp or by psaltery Is breathed) called out, Oh rats, rejoice!

The world is grown to one vast dry-saltery!
So munch on, crunch on, take your luncheon!'
And just as a bulky sugar puncheon,
All ready staved, like a great sun shone
Glorious scarce an inch before me

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »