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 named 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 darkness 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 blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door –


Bird or beast above 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 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 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 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 has 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 named Lenore –


Clasp a rare and radiant maiden, whom the angels named Lenore?’


Quoth the raven, `Nevermore.’


`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! – 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!

Una volta in una fosca mezzanotte, mentre io meditavo, debole e stanco,

sopra alcuni bizzarri e strani volumi d’una scienza dimenticata;


mentre io chinavo la testa, quasi sonnecchiando – d’un tratto, sentii un colpo leggero,


come di qualcuno che leggermente picchiasse – pichiasse alla porta della mia camera.


— « È qualche visitatore – mormorai – che batte alla porta della mia camera » —


Questo soltanto, e nulla più.



Ah! distintamente ricordo; era nel fosco Dicembre,
e ciascun tizzo moribondo proiettava il suo fantasma sul pavimento.
Febbrilmente desideravo il mattino: invano avevo tentato di trarre
dai miei libri un sollievo al dolore – al dolore per la mia perduta Eleonora,
e che nessuno chiamerà in terra – mai più.



E il serico triste fruscio di ciascuna cortina purpurea,
facendomi trasalire – mi riempiva di tenori fantastici, mai provati prima,
sicchè, in quell’istante, per calmare i battiti del mio cuore, io andava ripetendo:
« È qualche visitatore, che chiede supplicando d’entrare, alla porta della mia stanza.
« Qualche tardivo visitatore, che supplica d’entrare alla porta della mia stanza;
è questo soltanto, e nulla più ».



Subitamente la mia anima divenne forte; e non esitando più a lungo:
« Signore – dissi – o Signora, veramente io imploro il vostro perdono;
« ma il fatto è che io sonnecchiavo: e voi picchiaste sì leggermente,
« e voi sì lievemente bussaste – bussaste alla porta della mia camera,
« che io ero poco sicuro d’avervi udito ». E a questo punto, aprii intieramente la porta.
Vi era solo la tenebra, e nulla più.


Scrutando in quella profonda oscurità, rimasi a lungo, stupito impaurito
sospettoso, sognando sogni, che nessun mortale mai ha osato sognare;
ma il silenzio rimase intatto, e l’oscurità non diede nessun segno di vita;
e l’unica parola detta colà fu la sussurrata parola «Eleonora!»
Soltanto questo, e nulla più.



Ritornando nella camera, con tutta la mia anima in fiamme;
ben presto udii di nuovo battere, un poco più forte di prima.
« Certamente – dissi – certamente è qualche cosa al graticcio della mia finestra ».
Io debbo vedere, perciò, cosa sia, e esplorare questo mistero.
È certo il vento, e nulla più.



Quindi io spalancai l’imposta; e con molta civetteria, agitando le ali,
si avanzò un maestoso corvo dei santi giorni d’altri tempi;
egli non fece la menoma riverenza; non esitò, nè ristette un istante
ma con aria di Lord o di Lady, si appollaiò sulla porta della mia camera,
s’appollaiò, e s’installò – e nulla più.



Allora, quest’uccello d’ebano, inducendo la mia triste fantasia a sorridere,
con la grave e severa dignità del suo aspetto:
« Sebbene il tuo ciuffo sia tagliato e raso – io dissi – tu non sei certo un vile,
« orrido, torvo e antico corvo errante lontanto dalle spiagge della Notte
« dimmi qual’è il tuo nome signorile sulle spiagge avernali della Notte! »
Disse il corvo: « Mai più ».

-Edgar Allan Poe-

(1845)


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