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The Raven: Poems and Essays on Poetry

The Raven: Poems and Essays on Poetry

4.1 288
by Edgar Allan Poe, C. H. Sisson (Editor)

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An indispensable collection of the work of one of the 19th century’s most compelling and original poets, this comprehensive edition contains all of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry and three most important essays. Reissued to coincide with the release of a major Hollywood film of the same title, it exposes Poe’s diversity and genius, from breathtakingly


An indispensable collection of the work of one of the 19th century’s most compelling and original poets, this comprehensive edition contains all of Edgar Allan Poe’s poetry and three most important essays. Reissued to coincide with the release of a major Hollywood film of the same title, it exposes Poe’s diversity and genius, from breathtakingly seductive beauty of “To Helen” to the claustrophobic horror of “The Raven.” Unique in that it features the poetry of a writer more famous for his fiction, this book proves that Poe’s work runs deeper than the American gothic genre.

Product Details

Carcanet Press, Limited
Publication date:
Edition description:
Second edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Raven

Poems and Essays on Poetry

By Edgar Allan Poe, C.H. Sisson

Carcanet Press Ltd

Copyright © 2012 Estate of C.H. Sisson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-84777-651-8



    To Helen

    Helen, thy beauty is to me
        Like those Nicéan barks of yore,
    That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
    The weary, wayworn wanderer bore
    To his own native shore.

    On desperate seas long wont to roam,
        Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
    Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
        To the glory that was Greece,
        And the grandeur that was Rome.

    Lo! in yon brilliant window niche
        How statue-like I see thee stand,
        The agate lamp within thy hand!
    Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
        Are Holy Land!

    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 visiter,' 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 visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door –
    Some late visiter 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 an instant 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 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 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 angels whose faint 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!
    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 name Lenore –
    Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name 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!

    The Valley of 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 visiter 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.

    Bridal Ballad

    The ring is on my hand,
        And the wreath is on my brow;
    Satins and jewels grand
    Are all at my command,
        And I am happy now.

    And my lord he loves me well;
        But, when first he breathed his vow,
    I felt my bosom swell –
    For the words rang as a knell,
    And the voice seemed his who fell
    In the battle down the dell,
        And who is happy now.

    But he spoke to reassure me,
        And he kissed my pallid brow,
    While a reverie came o'er me,
    And to the churchyard bore me,
    And I sighed to him before me,
    Thinking him dead D'Elormie,
        'Oh, I am happy now!'

    And thus the words were spoken,
        And this the plighted vow,
    And, though my faith be broken,
    And, though my heart be broken,
    Behind the golden token
        That proves me happy now!

    Would God I could awaken!
        For I dream I know not how,
    And my soul is sorely shaken
    Lest an evil step be taken, –
    Lest the dead who is forsaken
        May not be happy now.

    The Sleeper

    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 moulders 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
    (Her casement open to the skies)
    Irene, with her Destinies!

    Oh, 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
    Forever with unopened eye,
    While the dim 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 hath 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.


Excerpted from The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe, C.H. Sisson. Copyright © 2012 Estate of C.H. Sisson. Excerpted by permission of Carcanet Press Ltd.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Edgar Allan Poe was a poet, short story writer, editor, critic, and one of the leaders of the American Romantics. C. H. Sisson was a poet, novelist, essayist, and polemicist. He is the author of the autobiography On the Lookout.

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The Raven: Includes Sound! 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 288 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why are people calling this a book? It is one of the most famous of American poems. It is grim psychological study of the narrator's tortured state of mind. He has lost his wife and tries desperately to imagine that she will return from the dead. It is self-torrture because he knows in the deepest recess of his soul that she will not return (Nevermore). Many Biblical and mythical allusions that need to be researched and the overdone alliteration is a blsst to read over and over: uupon the pallid bust of Pallas. This was Poe's first commercisl success, if my literary history serves me correctly. And written in Phila.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this poem. I read it in class and it was very amuzing. It is about a man whose wife, Lenore, has died. While in his chamber (another word for bed) at night, he hears tapping at his door. This causes him to go a little crazy each time. Every time he opens his door, he sees nothing. Read the poem to find out the rest! I rate this poem 5 stars. It has an phenomanol word choice and flows very excellently. I hope this review is helpful! :~)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you enjoy scary classics this is the poem to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My 8th grade class read this and it was quite suspenceful. I wanted to get it and found for free here. It also is quoted in Thriller by Michal Jackson. I really like Poe's work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my all time favorite poem, it is a greay attention grabber I can read this poem a million times and still not get tired o it and keep rereading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this poem! I highly recommend getting this and if you are not familiar with Edgar Allan Poe, I recommend reading his other poems and short stories as well. :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love this poem. The plot is fasinating, with the narrator begging a raven that keeps it's perch above his chamber door to let him forget his beloved Lenore, and just pleading the raven to leave. I especially liked that, at the last line of each stanza, was a short line, each with the same amount of syllables, that ended with the syllable "more." And you can't forget to mention, the ryming was FLAWLESS. I reccoment this to anyone in search of something slightly dismal to read, but be warned: Even I had to read tthis twice to make all the syallables come together as verses.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I heart this but it is scary
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a well written story of love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hate it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Boss book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So much good rythme and beat
teachermsjen More than 1 year ago
I love this classic!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a really good poem,we read this in 8th grade
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Edgar is the greatest poet around; he writes in unbeileveable quality. Rather than a typical poet, his poems have sentitmental meaning. Thanks, Edgar, for showing us a grand poem.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best poem i ever read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Always love reading this one. Never gets old...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Edgae allen is by far one of the best poets i have ever read. Only thin i dont get is the ravens name nevermore
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was good. I will write poetry todayzzz. XOXO La'sha ( Ladasha ) ;)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's free.   And one of the Classic Edgar Allen Poe poems!!  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
:-) loved it alot
Love_to_readDS More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Powerful, exciting, a lot of interesting Thoughts in this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best poem and author ever
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The raven was 16 pages long. I do not like that they put a free book as wierd as that sounds. I wonder if this is the entire raven novel. Very misleading. You could just google the raven poem and probably find it for free.