Edgar Allan Poe

(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849 / Boston)

The Raven - Poem by Edgar Allan Poe

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 mortals 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 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 blest 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 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, '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 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 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, '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 in 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 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!


Comments about The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe

  • John Zwerenz (10/11/2016 11:17:00 AM)

    Genius, Poetry And Madness
    Perhaps my favorite companion in the ethereal world of poetry, Edgar Allan Poe in his masterpiece The Raven illustrates in verse what it is to go mad. And Poe knew madness, true madness as well as genius. The poem is an excellent example of how madness begins and progresses to the point of a profound and deadly psychosis. The bird in the poem merely repeats the word nevermore much as a parrot speaks nonsense. Albeit the word is nonsense, it is repeated. The madness of the poem's narrator begins when he starts to attach meaning to the bird's meaningless repetition. He begins asking the raven questions concerning his lost, assumed dead lover. His mind constructs a web of imaginative narratives that become more and more complex and neurotic until he is convinced this insipid bird possesses knowledge of these very personal, baleful, dark but important matters. The climax of the narrator's insanity ends with him lying prostrate on the floor in a state of despair which shall nevermore be broken by time or eternity. Such is the course of much of the psychotic progression of a manic depressive psychotic episode, whether the sufferer is depressed or in a mixed state. Mr. Poe and I have walked down the same path. And many more times than he nor myself would like to think of.
    John Lars Zwerenz
    (Report) Reply

    9 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • (9/11/2016 10:21:00 PM)


    Holy diversionary tactics Batman.' 'The perils of prophecy, my friend.' (Report) Reply

  • (9/11/2016 11:10:00 AM)


    I Love this works. Truely a favorite! (Report) Reply

  • Judith Blatherwick (9/11/2016 4:26:00 AM)


    This is just the perfect poem. Wonderful (Report) Reply

  • Mizzy ........ (9/11/2016 3:35:00 AM)


    Brilliant wordsmanship creating dark ghostly imagery...... (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (9/11/2016 2:10:00 AM)


    Raven in the night knocking the door and coming through the window into the room and replying for all questions with the word - Nevermore is indeed an omen! What an elaborate narration of fear in the night loneliness by Edgar Allan Poe is wonderful poem! (Report) Reply

  • Edward Kofi Louis (9/11/2016 12:28:00 AM)


    From the Nightly shore! ! Thanks for sharing this poem with us. (Report) Reply

  • Earnest Gatuma (8/22/2016 2:45:00 AM)


    The clarity of thoughts parlanced exquisitely: under the theme #SOLITUDE.....I love it! (Report) Reply

  • Earnest Gatuma (8/22/2016 2:41:00 AM)


    The clarity of thoughts parlanced exquisitely: under the theme # SOLITUDE....I love it! (Report) Reply

  • Muzaffer Akin (8/10/2016 4:59:00 PM)


    perfect poem....my favourite. (Report) Reply

  • Fathima Usman (7/21/2016 8:33:00 AM)


    My favourite! The internal rhyme is so cool! Inspiring...and eerie (Report) Reply

  • Nikki Pressley (5/16/2016 10:02:00 AM)


    my favorite poem i love this poem it awesome (Report) Reply

  • (4/27/2016 5:35:00 PM)


    So dark and sleek like the Raven above my chamber door. Love lost (Report) Reply

  • (3/12/2016 6:50:00 AM)


    This poem has brought me so much inspiration. Love it! (Report) Reply

  • (3/6/2016 9:01:00 PM)


    ........one of the best poems ever written ★ (Report) Reply

  • Moira Cameron (2/26/2016 11:43:00 PM)


    A great one for recitation. Beautifully musical and dramatic. (Report) Reply

  • (1/11/2016 3:28:00 PM)


    The poem has a dark essence to it. Great poem, but i must say Quoth the Raven, Nevermore. (Report) Reply

  • (12/7/2015 3:19:00 PM)


    a great poem... a great poem (Report) Reply

  • (12/2/2015 10:03:00 PM)


    This was always my favorite poem. I had it memorized in high school, I read it so often! (Report) Reply

  • (10/2/2015 12:50:00 AM)


    It's a fairly decent poem, that strikes some real emotions. It's a shame that it goes a bit to sing-songy. It could have been something really stronger if he tried to go along the real path. This man helped create the real detective stories and is an inspiration for Sherlock Holmes in a way. He never truly found his own voice, but seems to want to be poetic, but yet the descriptions in this story show, he can write real writings.

    His love for impressing the females seems to be the only reason I can see why he writes with such flourishes that need not be. To understand the soul he bares seems to be enough to hear the wails. The speech he uses could be stronger, and yet the timelessness of the stories is lost when he starts to mention sayings that pre-date him.

    He invokes scent, and sight, and imagination, sounds and feelings of touch. It's a fully thought out poem, but it would have been better to have chosen something more tangible and relatable. He sets himself apart by bring such visceral feelings and tangible senses and then loses it with the focus on seemingly pointless details not even a red herring would touch.

    Quaff was a dated saying even then, and was just him trying to seem posh. When he should have not. To think that Edgar Allan Poe can never be better is like saying that every art is the best that art can be.

    His repeating of the velvet lining and spelling over as 'o're' is needless both of the spelling and the juxtaposition, except is seems again, to give a sort of mystery, and the story starts to lack the sense of touch, and he the poet can feel it, it seems important, but to the reader, it's just confusing. It's his butt that touches the velvet, what good is that to tell us.

    If you think I'm being harsh, then you don't know the first thing of Poe, as a critic he was brutal tot he point that harsh would be a compliment.
    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: raven, sorrow, evil, sad, lost, purple, lonely, silence, remember, dream, heaven, home, hope, wind, angel, fear, friend, memory, smile



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Poem Edited: Thursday, January 19, 2012


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