Edgar Allan Poe

1809-1849

Acclaimed most widely for his works
of fiction, Edgar Allan Poe also wrote many
noteworthy poems.  One of the most important and widely recognized is The Raven.

Edgar Allan Poe suffered with both
depression and alcoholism
until his death at age 40

 


added Nov, 2006 - thanks B Mitchell

The Haunted Palace

I

In the greenest of our valleys,
By good angels tenanted,
Once a fair and stately palace--
Radiant palace--reared its head.
In the monarch Thought's dominion--
It stood there!
Never seraph spread a pinion
Over fabric half so fair.

II

Banners yellow, glorious, golden,
On its roof did float and flow;
(This--all this--was in the olden
Time long ago)
And every gentle air that dallied,
In that sweet day,
Along the ramparts plumed and pallid,
A winged odor went away.

III

Wanderers in that happy valley
Through two luminous windows saw
Spirits moving musically
To a lute's well-tunèd law,
Round about a throne, where sitting
(Porphyrogene!)
In state his glory well befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.

IV

And all with pearl and ruby glowing
Was the fair palace door,
Through which came flowing, flowing, flowing
And sparkling evermore,
A troop of Echoes whose sweet duty
Was but to sing,
In voices of surpassing beauty,
The wit and wisdom of their king.

V

But evil things, in robes of sorrow,
Assailed the monarch's high estate;
(Ah, let us mourn, for never morrow
Shall dawn upon him, desolate!)
And, round about his home, the glory
That blushed and bloomed
Is but a dim-remembered story
Of the old time entombed.

VI

And travelers now within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms that move fantastically
To a discordant melody;
While, like a rapid ghastly river,
Through the pale door,
A hideous throng rush out forever,
And laugh--but smile no more.

 




The Raven

    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 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 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 door-
  Bird 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 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 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 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, 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 in 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!
 
 
 

 

 

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