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160
SONGS FOR BOYHOOD.
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
Followed fast and followed faster, till his songs one burden bore�
Till the dirges of his hope that melancholy bur�den bore,
Of ' Never�nevermore.'"
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."
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 Ou 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 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 dis�tant 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 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
Ou the pallid bust of Pallas just above my cham�ber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreamiug,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
Aud my soul from out that shadow that lies float�ing on the floor
Shall be lifted�Nevermore!
AN ANCIENT TOAST.
" I drink to one," he said, " Whose image never may depart, Deep graven on a grateful heart,
Till memory is dead!







E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III