Walter Richard Cassels

(1826-1907 / England)

The Raven


There sat a raven 'mid the pines so dark,
The pines so silent and so dark at morn
A ragged bird with feathers rough and torn,
Whetting his grimy beak upon the bark,
And croaking hoarsely to the woods forlorn.

Blood red the sky and misty in the east--
Low vapours creeping bleakly o'er the hills--
The rain will soon come plashing on the rills--
No sound in all the place of bird or beast,
Save that hoarse croak that all the woodland fills.

A slimy pool all rank with rotting weeds,
Close by the pines there at the highway side;
No ripple on its green and stagnant tide,
Where only cold and still the horse-leech breeds--
Ugh! might not here some bloody murder hide!

Pshaw! ... Cold the air slow stealing through the trees,
Scarce rustling the moist leaves beneath its tread--
A fearful breast thus holds its breath for dread!
There is no healthful music in this breeze,
It sounds ... ha! ha! ... like sighs above the dead!

What frights yon raven 'mid the pines so dark,
The pines so silent and so dark around,
With ne'er accomplish'd circlings to the ground
Ruffling his wings so ragged and so stark?
Some half-dead victim haply hath he found.

Ho! raven, now with thee I'll share the spoil!
This way, methinks, the dying game hath trod--
Ay! broken twigs, and blood upon the sod--
These thorns are sharp! well! soon will end the toil--
This bough aside, and then the prize ... My God!...

Submitted: Monday, October 11, 2010

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