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EDGAR ALLAN POE was born in Baltimore, in January, 1811, and died there in October, 1849. He was the second of three children, left utterly destituto upon the death of their parents, who led the life of roving playactors. Being a bright and beautiful boy, he was adopted by Mr. John Allan, a wealthy citizen of Richmond, Virginia, and by him afforded the advantages of a complete education. But his whole course of life seems to have been marked with strangely wild and dissolute habits, and, though his writings discover no ordinary power of thought and expression, they are marred by “an absence of moral sentiment,” it has been observed, “almost unexampled in literature.” In the following piece, the student will scarcely fail to notice, in the subject, the characteristic gloom of his topics, wbile, in the execution, he will see, at once, the rare capabilities of the English language and the rarer skill of this singular genius in developing them.
1 PLUTO'NIAN, pertaining to Pluto, another name for Hades, the fabled god of the lower regions.
* NEPEN'THE is from the Greek (Ne, not or without, and PENTHE. grief or sorrow), and is a name applied to a medicine that relieves pain or soothes grief.
3 AIDENN is, according to the opinion of some, a form of the Greek word Hades, which signifies, literally, unseen; the name being in later times applied to the place of the dead,—the spiritual world. According to others, it is an Anglicized and disguised spelling of the Arabic form of the word Eden ;-—used as a synonym for the celestial paradise.” See Webster's New Dictionary, page 1545.
EDU. RA. POE.
I. Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak ard weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten loce, 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,
my books surcease of sorrow-sorrow for the los. Lenore
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore
Nameless here forevermore.
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 lat 3 zisitor, entreating entrance at my chamber-door ;
That it is, and nothing more.”
Presently my soul grew stronger : hesitating then no longer,
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.
Lack 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,
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.
VIII. 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,
With such name as Nevermore!”
But the raven sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
teredTill 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!”
* See Note on Exercise CXIII.
Startled at the stillness, broken by reply so aptly spoken,
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 yoreWhat this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking—“Nevermore!"
bosom's core ;
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
She shall press—ah! nevermore!
Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen
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 neper “he, and forget this lost Lenore !". Quoth the raven,
“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 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,
“ 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-uit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off
Quoth the raven,-“ Nevermore!”
And the raven, never fitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
the floor; And my sou' from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted-NEVERMORE!