THE RAVEN — Edgar Allan Poe with “Tips”

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THE RAVEN — Edgar Allan Poe with “Tips”

I memorized this poem in school and still to this day remember it.

Basically, During a cold, dark evening in December, a man is attempting to find some solace from the remembrance of his lost love, Lenore, by reading volumes of “forgotten lore.” As he is nearly overcome by slumber, a knock comes at his door. Having first believed the knock to be only a result of his dreaming, he finally opens the door apologetically but is greeted only by darkness. A thrill of half-wonder, half-fear overcomes the speaker, and as he peers into the deep darkness, he can only say the word “Lenore.” Upon closing the door, another knock is immediately heard from the chamber’s window. The narrator throws open the shutter and window and in steps a large, beautiful raven, which immediately posts itself on the bust of Pallas Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom, above the entrance of the room. Amused by the animal, the speaker asks it its name, to which the bird replies

“Nevermore.” Believing “Nevermore” to be the raven’s name, the narrator’s curiosity is piqued, but the speaker believes the name to have little relevancy to his question, for he had never before heard of any man or beast called by that name. Although the bird is peaceful, the narrator mutters to himself that it, like all other blessings of his life, will soon leave him. Again the bird replies “Nevermore.” Intrigued, the speaker pulls a chair up directly before the bird to more readily direct his attention on the wondrous beast, and to figure out the meaning of the bird’s single monotonous reply. While in contemplation in the chair, the speaker’s mind turns to Lenore, and how her frame will never again bless the chair in which he now reposes. Suddenly overcome with grief, the persona believes that the raven is a godsend, intended to deliver him from his anguish, but again comes the bird’s laconic reply. The speaker then viciously rebukes the bird, calling it now to be a “thing of evil,” and asks it whether there is “balm in Gilead,” a biblical reference to respite in a land riddled with suffering. Again, the word “nevermore” is the only answer. Shouting maniacally now, demanding that the bird take its leave, the narrator attempts to dispatch the bird back to the “Plutonian shore” of Hell from whence it came. The bird, “the emblem of Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance,” replies again “nevermore,” and sits there on the bust of Pallas to this day, ever a torment to the speaker’s soul, and a reminder of his lost love.

The Raven By Edgar Allen Poe

First published in 1845

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 named 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 mortal ever dared to dream before But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness 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 marveled 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 blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door — Bird or beast above 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 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

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 has 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 named Lenore — Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named 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

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!

By Edgar Allan Poe

Who Is Lenore?

It is possible that Lenore, the idealized deceased woman in the poem, represents Poe’s beloved wife, Virginia, who was in poor health when Poe wrote “The Raven.” She died two years after the publication of the poem, when she was only in her mid-twenties.

Importance of the Work:

“The Raven” is without a doubt the work for which Poe is best known. Through this poem, Poe has taken his favorite theme, that of the untimely death of a beautiful woman, and made that theme universally understandable and fascinating, earning himself literary immortality in the process. There is no doubt that “The Raven” takes direct influence from Poe’s life experiences. Poe was a moody bookworm, and Virginia Poe’s health had been declining since 1842. Poe’s friend, R. H. Horne, wrote of “The Raven,” “the poet intends to represent a very painful condition of mind, as of an imagination that was liable to topple over into some delirium or an abyss of melancholy, from the continuity of one unvaried emotion.” Poe’s life was varied in experience, but, as Horne’s letter said of Poe’s poetry, static in outlook, and his life’s entire tone is perfectly encapsulated in “The Raven.” Poe, like the persona, sought “balm in Gilead,” but was, according to Hammond, “doomed to be frustrated in his quest for a perfect emotional response.” Through “The Raven,” Poe makes his personal, introverted hell strangely mesmerizing and attractive to all, and as a result, “The Raven” is more well-known than any of Poe’s other poems, and even more well known than some of his greatest short stories.

Roger Keyserling

Reference are the above PDF files

Eleonora by Edgar Allan Poe article

THE RAVEN — Edgar Allan Poe with “Tips” was originally published in eCom Tips on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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