Saturday, February 14, 2009

It's not all candy and flowers: "Leave my loneliness unbroken"


The narrator hears a sound, then isn't sure:
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

. . .

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,

The Raven has entered:
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.'

The narrator wants some answers:
"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 named Lenore -
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?"
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore."


The narrator is losing it . . .

“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 descends into despair:
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!

I saw U.S. stamps for Edgar Allan Poe in the Post Office the other day; it's a bicentennial birth year for him too. And that inspired a bit of the appealing macabre to counterbalance this treacly day.

4 comments:

dorki said...

Poe had a great talent for stabbing his words straight to one's heart did he not? I sometimes feel "what is wrong with me?" after enjoying reading his works.
Maybe a review of dismal and deadly matters such as he wrote about can serve to re-calibrate how we view our own misfortunes.

M.A.Peel said...

dorki, Poe is certainly a unique talent. I'm glad the Post Office is recognizing him!

Zach said...

This one always did it for me :)

http://poling.vox.com/library/video/6a00d4141d6e763c7f00cd970fe8474cd5.html

M.A.Peel said...

Zach, The Simpsons sees all and knows all. (FYI, that video is no longer available on youtube because of a copyright claim by 20th century fox.)