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.”
First published in January 1845, The Raven is one of the most famous and recognisable poems ever written.
It certainly made writer Edgar Allen Poe widely popular within his own life time.
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, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censerSwung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent theeRespite—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!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.”
He was also known to give recitals of “The Raven“. A guest at one soiree famously noted…
He would turn down the lamps till the room was almost dark, then standing in the center of the apartment he would recite … in the most melodious of voices … So marvelous was his power as a reader that the auditors would be afraid to draw breath lest the enchanted spell be broken.
Poe wrote of the poem which immortalised him,
the death… of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world.
Indeed, The Raven in Gothic tone and mood, certainly captures a lover’s midnight reflections and agonies powerfully and emotively.