The Raven

Edgar Allan Poe 1809 (Boston) – 1849 (Baltimore)

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,
  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
  In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore;
    Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed
    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
   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
  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
    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.'

About this poem

The poem “The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe is a narrative poem that tells the story of a man’s encounter with a mysterious raven. It is written in a form of trochaic octameter, which is a poetic rhythm made up of eight syllables per line with a stressed and an unstressed syllable alternating. The poem is divided into eighteen stanzas, each containing six lines. The poem is written in a melancholic tone and uses a great deal of alliteration and assonance to create an eerie and dark atmosphere.

The poem follows the protagonist as he is visited by a raven and asked a series of questions that the bird cannot answer. The man is overwhelmed by grief and loneliness as he contemplates the situation, and the bird’s unanswerable questions add to his sense of helplessness. The raven’s presence is a reminder of the protagonist’s loss, and the bird’s mysterious answer of “Nevermore” serves as a symbol of the protagonist’s despair. The poem explores themes of grief, death, and the consequences of losing a loved one.

The poem also contains a number of literary devices, such as personification and symbolism. The raven is personified and takes on a human-like quality, while the use of the word “nevermore” is symbolic of the protagonist’s grief and the finality of death. The poem also includes several biblical references, such as the mention of “Lenore”, which is a reference to “Lazarus” from the New Testament.

Overall, “The Raven” is a powerful poem that effectively uses imagery, symbolism, and literary devices to explore themes of grief, death, and despair. It is a classic example of Poe’s dark and melancholic style and remains one of his most famous works.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified by acronimous on February 16, 2023

3:54 min read

Quick analysis:

Closest metre Iambic heptameter
Characters 4,560
Words 785
Stanzas 12
Stanza Lengths 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 6, 8, 7, 6, 7, 6, 7

Edgar Allan Poe

Edgar Allan Poe was an American author, poet, editor, and literary critic, considered part of the American Romantic Movement. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. more…

All Edgar Allan Poe poems | Edgar Allan Poe Books

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Discuss the poem "The Raven" with the community...

  • tristamccloud2
    I have always liked his poems I just finished to tell tale heart
    LikeReply7 months ago
  • jim.rainey
    What wry humour! A very special poem for the ages.
    LikeReply11 months ago
  • rnadc
    Last time I read this? 30 years ago. F*!# that's good. "Window lattice...thereat is"
    LikeReply1 year ago
  • zenspirit_r
    i love this poem.
    LikeReply 31 year ago


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"The Raven" STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 23 Sep. 2023. <>.

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