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Raven Poems

Table of Contents

  1. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
  2. The Raven's Tomb by Walter De la Mare

A Poem About Ravens

  1. The Raven

    Edgar Allan 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 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 name 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 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, "Lenore!"
    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 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 can not help agreeing
    That no living human being
    Ever yet was blest with seeing
    Bird above his chamber door—
    Bird or beast upon the sculptured
    Bust above his chamber door,
    With such name as "Nevermore."

    But the Raven, sitting lonely
    On that placid bust, spoke only
    That one word, as if his soul in
    That one word he did outpour.
    Nothing farther 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 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[1]
    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 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
    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 lamplight 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!

  2. The Raven's Tomb

    by Walter De la Mare

    "Build me my tomb," the Raven said,
    "Within the dark yew-tree,
    So in the Autumn yewberries
    Sad lamps may burn for me.
    Summon the haunted beetle,
    From twilight bud and bloom,
    To drone a gloomy dirge for me
    At dusk above my tomb.
    Beseech ye too the glowworm
    To rear her cloudy flame,
    Where the small, flickering bats resort,
    Whistling in tears my name.
    Let the round dew a whisper make,
    Welling on twig and thorn;
    And only the grey cock at night
    Call through his silver horn.
    And you, dear sisters, don your black
    For ever and a day,
    To show how true a raven
    In his tomb is laid away."