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The Raven

by Edgar Allan Poe

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.
“‘T is 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
“‘T is 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;–
                                          ‘T is 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 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 lamplight gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight 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!
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 lamplight 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!

Welcome to Verbal Expression!

Verbal Expression is ready to launch on February 14, 2008! Valentine’s Day!  VE will feature poetry, prose, art, and short stories from our previously defunct print magazine Verbal Expression as well as some great public domain stuff.  Look for us soon.

Image:Venus de Milo Louvre Ma399 n4.jpg

Sonnet on Chillon

by Lord Byron

    Eternal Spirit of the chainless Mind!
      Brightest in dungeons, Liberty! thou art:
      For there thy habitation is the heart–
    The heart which love of thee alone can bind;
    And when thy sons to fetters are consigned–
      To fetters, and the damp vault’s dayless gloom,
      Their country conquers with their martyrdom,
    And Freedom’s fame finds wings on every wind.
    Chillon! thy prison is a holy place,
      And thy sad floor an altar–for ’twas trod,
    Until his very steps have left a trace
      Worn, as if thy cold pavement were a sod,
    By Bonnivard!–May none those marks efface!
      For they appeal from tyranny to God.

The Secret

by Emily Dickinson

Some things that fly there be, –
Birds, hours, the bumble-bee:
Of these no elegy.

Some things that stay there be, –
Grief, hills, eternity:
Nor this behooveth me.

There are, that resting, rise.
Can I expound the skies?
How still the riddle lies!

Count Lepic and His Daughters

by Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas

To Helen

by Edgar Allan Poe
  I saw thee once–once only–years ago:
  I must not say how many–but not many.
  It was a July midnight; and from out
  A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring,
  Sought a precipitate pathway up through heaven,
  There fell a silvery-silken veil of light,
  With quietude, and sultriness and slumber,
  Upon the upturn’d faces of a thousand
  Roses that grew in an enchanted garden,
  Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tiptoe–
  Fell on the upturn’d faces of these roses
  That gave out, in return for the love-light,
  Their odorous souls in an ecstatic death–
  Fell on the upturn’d faces of these roses
  That smiled and died in this parterre, enchanted
  By thee, and by the poetry of thy presence.

  Clad all in white, upon a violet bank
  I saw thee half-reclining; while the moon
  Fell on the upturn’d faces of the roses,
  And on thine own, upturn’d–alas, in sorrow!

  Was it not Fate, that, on this July midnight–
  Was it not Fate (whose name is also Sorrow),
  That bade me pause before that garden-gate,
  To breathe the incense of those slumbering roses?
  No footstep stirred: the hated world all slept,
  Save only thee and me–(O Heaven!–O God!
  How my heart beats in coupling those two words!)–
  Save only thee and me. I paused–I looked–
  And in an instant all things disappeared.
  (Ah, bear in mind this garden was enchanted!)
  The pearly lustre of the moon went out:
  The mossy banks and the meandering paths,
  The happy flowers and the repining trees,
  Were seen no more: the very roses’ odors
  Died in the arms of the adoring airs.
  All–all expired save thee–save less than thou:
  Save only the divine light in thine eyes–
  Save but the soul in thine uplifted eyes.
  I saw but them–they were the world to me.
  I saw but them–saw only them for hours–
  Saw only them until the moon went down.
  What wild heart-histories seemed to lie unwritten
  Upon those crystalline, celestial spheres!
  How dark a woe! yet how sublime a hope!
  How silently serene a sea of pride!
  How daring an ambition! yet how deep–
  How fathomless a capacity for love!

  But now, at length, dear Dian sank from sight,
  Into a western couch of thunder-cloud;
  And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees
  Didst glide away. Only thine eyes remained.
  They would not go–they never yet have gone.
  Lighting my lonely pathway home that night,
  They have not left me (as my hopes have) since.
  They follow me–they lead me through the years.

  They are my ministers–yet I their slave.
  Their office is to illumine and enkindle–
  My duty, to be saved by their bright light,
  And purified in their electric fire,
  And sanctified in their elysian fire.
  They fill my soul with Beauty (which is Hope),
  And are far up in Heaven–the stars I kneel to
  In the sad, silent watches of my night;
  While even in the meridian glare of day
  I see them still–two sweetly scintillant
  Venuses, unextinguished by the sun!

The Lost Dr. Seuss Poem – I Love My Job!

I Love My Job!

I received this poem one day in my email.  I found copies of it as far back as the year 2000, but was unable to identify it’s origin.

by Edgar Allan Poe

  The bowers whereat, in dreams, I see
    The wantonest singing birds,

  Are lips–and all thy melody
    Of lip-begotten words–

  Thine eyes, in Heaven of heart enshrined
    Then desolately fall,
  O God! on my funereal mind
    Like starlight on a pall–

  Thy heart–_thy_ heart!–I wake and sigh,
    And sleep to dream till day
  Of the truth that gold can never buy–
    Of the baubles that it may.

by Emily Dickinson

To fight aloud is very brave,
But gallanter, I know,
Who charge within the bosom,
The cavalry of woe.

Who win, and nations do not see,
Who fall, and none observe,
Whose dying eyes no country
Regards with patriot love.

We trust, in plumed procession,
For such the angels go,
Rank after rank, with even feet
And uniforms of snow.

Spirk Troll-Derisive

by James Whitcomb Riley

The Crankadox leaned o’er the edge of the moon,
And wistfully gazed on the sea
Where the Gryxabodill madly whistled a tune
To the air of “Ti-fol-de-ding-dee.”

The quavering shriek of the Fliupthecreek
Was fitfully wafted afar
To the Queen of the Wunks as she powdered her cheek
With the pulverized rays of a star.

The Gool closed his ear on the voice of the Grig,
And his heart it grew heavy as lead
As he marked the Baldekin adjusting his wig
On the opposite side of his head;

And the air it grew chill as the Gryxabodill
Raised his dank, dripping fins to the skies
To plead with the Plunk for the use of her bill
To pick the tears out of his eyes.

The ghost of the Zhack flitted by in a trance;
And the Squidjum hid under a tub
As he heard the loud hooves of the Hooken advance
With a rub-a-dub-dub-a-dub dub!

And the Crankadox cried as he laid down and died,
“My fate there is none to bewail!”
While the Queen of the Wunks drifted over the tide
With a long piece of crape to her tail.

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