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“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shoreTell 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 doorBird 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 flutteredTill I scarcely more than muttered, “other friends have flown beforeOn 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 boreTill 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 yoreWhat 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 enchantedOn this home by horror haunted-tell me truly, I imploreIs 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 adoreTell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the