Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, week 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 mortal 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 the 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 blessed 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 my sad 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 case 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 hath sent thee Respite-respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore! Quaft, 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 bird or fiend!” I shrieked, sign of parting,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!
From childhood's hour I have not been As others were -- I have not seen As others saw -- I could not bring My passions from a common spring -- From the same source I have not taken My sorrow -- I could not awaken My heart to joy at the same tone -- And all I lov'd -- I lov'd alone -- Then -- in my childhood -- in the dawn Of a most stormy life -- was drawn From ev'ry depth of good and ill The mystery which binds me still -- From the torrent, or the fountain -- From the red cliff of the mountain -- From the sun that 'round me roll'd In its autumn tint of gold -- From the lightning in the sky As it pass'd me flying by -- From the thunder, and the storm -- And the cloud that took the form (When the rest of Heaven was blue) Of a demon in my view --
It was many and many a year ago, In a kingdom by the sea, That a maiden there lived whom you may know By the name of ANNABEL LEE;-- And this maiden she lived with no other thought Than to love and be loved by me. She was a child and I was a child, In this kingdom by the sea, But we loved with a love that was more than love-- I and my Annabel Lee-- With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven Coveted her and me. And this was the reason that, long ago, In this kingdom by the sea, A wind blew out of a cloud by night Chilling my Annabel Lee; So that her high-born kinsman came And bore her away from me, To shut her up in a sepulchre In this kingdom by the sea. The angels, not half so happy in Heaven, Went envying her and me:-- Yes! that was the reason (as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea) That the wind came out of a cloud, chilling And killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love Of those who were older than we-- Of many far wiser than we- And neither the angels in Heaven above, Nor the demons down under the sea, Can ever dissever my soul from the soul Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:-- For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes Of the beautiful Annabel Lee; And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride, In her sepulchre there by the sea-- In her tomb by the side of the sea.
THE CITY IN THE SEA
Lo! Death has reared himself a throne In a strange city lying alone Far down within the dim West, Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best Have gone to their eternal rest. There shrines and palaces and towers (Time-eaten towers that tremble not!) Resemble nothing that is ours. Around, by lifting winds forgot, Resignedly beneath the sky The melancholy waters lie. No rays from the holy heaven come down On the long night-time of that town; But light from out the lurid sea Streams up the turrets silently- Gleams up the pinnacles far and free- Up domes- up spires- up kingly halls- Up fanes- up Babylon-like walls- Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers- Up many and many a marvellous shrine Whose wreathed friezes intertwine The viol, the violet, and the vine. Resignedly beneath the sky The melancholy waters lie. So blend the turrets and shadows there That all seem pendulous in air, While from a proud tower in the town Death looks gigantically down. There open fanes and gaping graves Yawn level with the luminous waves; But not the riches there that lie In each idol's diamond eye- Not the gaily-jewelled dead Tempt the waters from their bed; For no ripples curl, alas! Along that wilderness of glass- No swellings tell that winds may be Upon some far-off happier sea- No heavings hint that winds have been On seas less hideously serene. But lo, a stir is in the air! The wave- there is a movement there! As if the towers had thrust aside, In slightly sinking, the dull tide- As if their tops had feebly given A void within the filmy Heaven. The waves have now a redder glow- The hours are breathing faint and low- And when, amid no earthly moans, Down, down that town shall settle hence, Hell, rising from a thousand thrones, Shall do it reverence.
Thank Heaven! the crisis -- The danger is past, And the lingering illness Is over at last -- And the fever called "Living" Is conquered at last. Sadly, I know I am shorn of my strength, And no muscle I move As I lie at full length -- But no matter! -- I feel I am better at length. And I rest so composedly, Now, in my bed, That any beholder Might fancy me dead -- Might start at beholding me, Thinking me dead. The moaning and groaning, The sighing and sobbing, Are quieted now, With that horrible throbbing At heart: -- ah, that horrible, Horrible throbbing! The sickness -- the nausea -- The pitiless pain -- Have ceased, with the fever That maddened my brain -- With the fever called "Living" That burned in my brain. And oh! of all tortures That torture the worst Has abated -- the terrible Torture of thirst For the naphthaline river Of Passion accurst: -- I have drank of a water That quenches all thirst: -- Of a water that flows, With a lullaby sound, From a spring but a very few Feet under ground -- From a cavern not very far Down under ground. And ah! let it never Be foolishly said That my room it is gloomy And narrow my bed; For man never slept In a different bed -- And, to sleep, you must slumber In just such a bed. My tantalized spirit Here blandly reposes, Forgetting, or never Regretting its roses -- Its old agitations Of myrtles and roses: For now, while so quietly Lying, it fancies A holier odor About it, of pansies -- A rosemary odor, Commingled with pansies -- With rue and the beautiful Puritan pansies. And so it lies happily, Bathing in many A dream of the truth And the beauty of Annie -- Drowned in a bath Of the tresses of Annie. She tenderly kissed me, She fondly caressed, And then I fell gently To sleep on her breast -- Deeply to sleep From the heaven of her breast. When the light was extinguished, She covered me warm, And she prayed to the angels To keep me from harm -- To the queen of the angels To shield me from harm. And I lie so composedly, Now in my bed, (Knowing her love) That you fancy me dead -- And I rest so contentedly, Now in my bed, (With her love at my breast) That you fancy me dead -- That you shudder to look at me, Thinking me dead: -- But my heart it is brighter Than all of the many Stars in the sky, For it sparkles with Annie -- It glows with the light Of the love of my Annie -- With the thought of the light Of the eyes of my Annie.
GAILY bedight, A gallant knight, In sunshine and in shadow, Had journeyed long, Singing a song, In search of Eldorado. But he grew old -- This knight so bold -- And o'er his heart a shadow Fell as he found No spot of ground That looked like Eldorado. And, as his strength Failed him at length, He met a pilgrim shadow -- "Shadow," said he, "Where can it be -- This land of Eldorado?" "Over the Mountains Of the Moon, Down the Valley of the Shadow, Ride, boldly ride," The shade replied, -- "If you seek for Eldorado!"
By a route obscure and lonely, Haunted by ill angels only, Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT, On a black throne reigns upright, I have reached these lands but newly From an ultimate dim Thule -- From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime, Out of SPACE -- out of TIME. Bottomless vales and boundless floods, And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods, With forms that no man can discover For the dews that drip all over; Mountains toppling evermore Into seas without a shore; Seas that restlessly aspire, Surging, unto skies of fire; Lakes that endlessly outspread Their lone waters -- lone and dead, -- Their still waters -- still and chilly With the snows of the lolling lily. By the lakes that thus outspread Their lone waters, lone and dead, -- Their sad waters, sad and chilly With the snows of the lolling lily, -- By the mountains -- near the river Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever, -- By the grey woods, -- by the swamp Where the toad and the newt encamp, -- By the dismal tarns and pools Where dwell the Ghouls, -- By each spot the most unholy -- In each nook most melancholy, -- There the traveller meets aghast Sheeted Memories of the Past -- Shrouded forms that start and sigh As they pass the wanderer by -- White-robed forms of friends long given, In agony, to the Earth -- and Heaven. For the heart whose woes are legion 'Tis a peaceful, soothing region -- For the spirit that walks in shadow 'Tis -- oh 'tis an Eldorado! But the traveller, travelling through it, May not -- dare not openly view it; Never its mysteries are exposed To the weak human eye unclosed; So wills its King, who hath forbid The uplifting of the fringed lid; And thus the sad Soul that here passes Beholds it but through darkened glasses. By a route obscure and lonely, Haunted by ill angels only, Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT, On a black throne reigns upright, I have wandered home but newly From this ultimate dim Thule.
TO THE RIVER
Fair river! in thy bright, clear flow Of crystal, wandering water, Thou art an emblem of the glow Of beauty -- the unhidden heart -- The playful maziness of art In old Alberto's daughter; But when within thy wave she looks -- Which glistens then, and trembles -- Why, then, the prettiest of brooks Her worshipper resembles; For in my heart, as in thy stream, Her image deeply lies -- The heart which trembles at the beam Of her soul-searching eyes.
For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes, Brightly expressive as the twins of Loeda, Shall find her own sweet name, that, nestling lies Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader. Search narrowly the lines! -- they hold a treasure Divine -- a talisman -- an amulet That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure -- The words -- the syllables! Do not forget The trivialest point, or you may lose your labor! And yet there is in this no Gordian knot Which one might not undo without a sabre, If one could merely comprehend the plot. Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing Of poets, by poets -- as the name is a poet’s, too. Its letters, although naturally lying Like the knight Pinto -- Mendex Ferdinando -- Still form a synonym for Truth. -- Cease trying! You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do.
THE VALLEY OF THE UNREST
Once it smiled a silent dell
Where the people did not dwell;
They had gone unto the wars,
Trusting to the mild-eyed stars,
Nightly, from their azure towers,
To keep watch above the flowers,
In the midst of which all day
The red sun-light lazily lay.
Now each visitor shall confess
The sad valley's restlessness.
Nothing there is motionless --
Nothing save the airs that brood
Over the magic solitude.
Ah, by no wind are stirred those trees
That palpitate like the chill seas
Around the misty Hebrides!
Ah, by no wind those clouds are driven
That rustle through the unquiet Heaven
Uneasily, from morn till even,
Over the violets there that lie
In myriad types of the human eye --
Over the lilies there that wave
And weep above a nameless grave!
They wave: -- from out their fragrant tops
Eternal dews come down in drops.
They weep: -- from off their delicate stems
Perennial tears descend in gems.
THE HAUNTED PLACE
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!
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.
Wanderers in that happy valley,
Through two luminous windows, saw
Spirits moving musically,
To a lute's well-tuned law,
Round about a throne where, sitting
In state his glory well-befitting,
The ruler of the realm was seen.
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.
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.
And travellers, now, within that valley,
Through the red-litten windows see
Vast forms, that move fantastically
To a discordant melody,
While, like a ghastly rapid river,
Through the pale door
A hideous throng rush out forever
And laugh- but smile no more.
At midnight, in the month of June,
I stand beneath the mystic moon.
An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,
Exhales from out her golden rim,
And, softly dripping, drop by drop,
Upon the quiet mountain top,
Steals drowsily and musically
Into the universal valley.
The rosemary nods upon the grave;
The lily lolls upon the wave;
Wrapping the fog about its breast,
The ruin molders into rest;
Looking like lethe, see! the lake
A conscious slumber seems to take,
And would not, for the world, awake.
All Beauty sleeps!- and lo! where lies
Irene, with her Destinies!
O, lady bright! can it be right-
This window open to the night?
The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
Laughingly through the lattice drop-
The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
Flit through thy chamber in and out,
And wave the curtain canopy
So fitfully- so fearfully-
Above the closed and fringed lid
'Neath which thy slumb'ring soul lies hid,
That, o'er the floor and down the wall,
Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
Oh, lady dear, hast thou no fear?
Why and what art thou dreaming here?
Sure thou art come O'er far-off seas,
A wonder to these garden trees!
Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress,
Strange, above all, thy length of tress,
And this all solemn silentness!
The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
Which is enduring, so be deep!
Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
This chamber changed for one more holy,
This bed for one more melancholy,
I pray to God that she may lie
For ever with unopened eye,
While the pale sheeted ghosts go by!
My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep
As it is lasting, so be deep!
Soft may the worms about her creep!
Far in the forest, dim and old,
For her may some tall vault unfold-
Some vault that oft has flung its black
And winged panels fluttering back,
Triumphant, o'er the crested palls,
Of her grand family funerals-
Some sepulchre, remote, alone,
Against whose portal she hath thrown,
In childhood, many an idle stone-
Some tomb from out whose sounding door
She ne'er shall force an echo more,
Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!
It was the dead who groaned within.
A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow --
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand --
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep -- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?