American Old Time Song Lyrics: 06 The Raven

Theater, Music-Hall, Nostalgic, Irish & Historic Old Songs, Volume 6

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By Edgar A. 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 mutter'd, "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 songht 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 forevermore.

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;
That 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, " Leuore !"
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning.
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 momentum 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 cravct
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 marveled this ungainly fowl to hear disconrse 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 a name as "Nevermore '."

But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if Ids 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
Follow'd fast and follow'd faster, till Ids songs one burden bore.
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore,

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 yore-
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore I "

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burn'd 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 lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er
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 the
Respite-respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh, quaff this kind nepenthe, and forget this lost Leuore !"
Quoth the raven, " Nevermore I"

"Prophet!" said I, " thing of ev'l !-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 !" T shrieked, upstarting-
Get thee back into the tempest and the night's P utonian shore.
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie by 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 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-Nevermore
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