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And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before; 15 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, 20 “Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
Darkness there and nothing more.
25 Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fear
ing, Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal 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”: 30
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; 35 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; 40 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,— 45 “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 marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, 50 Though its answer little meaning-little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
With such name as “Nevermore.”
55 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,
before; On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.” 60
Then the bird said, "Nevermore.”
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore: 65 Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
door; Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking 70 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
core; 75 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,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen
80 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 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.”
85 “Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! prophet still, if bird or devil!
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Is there-is there balm in Gilead ?-tell me—tell me, I implore !" 90
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: 95 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, up
starting: "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! 100 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 ; 105 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!
HELPS TO STUDY
Notes and Questions What is the theme of this poem Of what is the raven a symbol! What gives it its musical quality? Why does the poet call the bust Mention parts that you think are of Pallas "pallid??? especially beautiful.
What is the significance of the last Find examples of alliteration.
stanza? What does the refrain add to this From this poem, in what would poem?
you say Poe's poetry excels? What is the meaning of “Night's Which stanza do you like best? Plutonian shore''g
Words and Phrases for Discussion
“pallid bust” "nepenthe'
“radiant maiden' dying ember"
'dirges of his Hope" "fantastic terrors' “bird of yore” "saintly days''
"balm in Gilead')
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW
IN “The Courtship of Miles Standish" Longfellow has made us acquainted with his ancestors, John Alden and Priscilla Mullens, passengers of the Mayflower. Of such ancestry Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, February 27, 1807. His birthplace was at that time a beautiful and busy town, a forest city with miles of sea beach and a port where merchant vessels from the West Indies exchanged sugar and rum for the products of the forest and the fisheries of Maine.
We are told that he was a boy "true, high-minded and noble" ; "active, eager, often impatient"; "handsome in appearance” and the "sunlight of the home.” His conduct at school was “very correct and amiable”—he read much and was always studious and thoughtful. The first book which fascinated his imagination was Irving's “Sketch-Book.” Indeed there is a resemblance between the gentle Irving and the gentle Longfellow which is expressed in the prose of one and the poetry of the other.
Longfellow's education was obtained in Portland and at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, where he had for classmates several youths who afterward became famous, Nathaniel Hawthorne, J. S. C. Abbott, and Franklin Pierce. Upon Longfellow's graduation, the trustees of the college, having decided to establish a chair of modern languages, proposed that this young graduate, of scholarly and literary tastes, should fit himself for this position. Three years, therefore, he spent in delightful study and travel in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany. Here was laid the foundation for his scholarship, and, as in Irving on his first European trip, there was kindled that passion for romantic lore which followed him through life and which gave color and direction to much of his work. He mastered the language of each country visited in a remarkably short time, and many of the choicer poems found in these languages he has given to us in the English.
After five years at Bowdoin, Longfellow was invited in 1834 to the chair of modern languages in Harvard College. Again he was given an opportunity to prepare himself by a year of study abroad. In 1836 he began his active work at Harvard and took up his residence in the historic Craigie House, overlooking the Charles River —a house in which Washington had been quartered for some months when he came to Cambridge in 1775 to take command of the Continental forces. Longfellow was thenceforth one of the most prominent members of that group of men including Sumner, Hawthorne, Agassiz, Lowell, and Holmes, who gave distinction to the Boston and Cambridge of earlier days.
For twenty years Longfellow filled the professorship of modern