Quoth the Raven, Nevermore

On this day before Halloween, I'm gettin' my spook on. Won't you join me in revisiting one of my favorite Poe tales?

Raven If you want to hear the inimitable Vincent Price read a few stanzas  of The Raven (less than 2 minutes' worth), click the link at the end of this sentence and it will (should?) play in your computer's media player.  Download Poe Raven poem (Credit to www.soundboard.com)

This reading is featured on the spooky CD I compiled and will be playing on a continuous loop in the dark, near the front door, so as to repel  annoy increase the literacy of all my trick-or-treaters.  (Well, someone's gotta do it, right?) Also on the mix? Bach's Toccata in D Minor. You know the one – it's the organ piece you hear in your head when you think of a haunted castle. What's that you say? You would like to hear the Toccata, and the Fugue, too?  'Tis the season! Go here on YouTube. (I'll spare you an embedded video.)

Because that's what you get Chez Soup: Literature and classical music with your teeny tiny box of Junior Mints and your fun-size Almond Joy. It's like Liberal Arts trick-or-treating. (I know. Shut up.)

Where was I? Oh, yes! The Raven. Give it a read, won't you?  Because scary poems rock.

The Raven

-Edgar Allen 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.
"'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 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 sour within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping something 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 the 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 that placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if its soul in that one word he did outpour
Nothing farther 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 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 has 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 shadows on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted–nevermore!

If Mommy and Daddy Outsourced Customer Service

Customer service is our priority THANK YOU FOR CALLING MOMMY AND DADDY!

Your complete satisfaction is always our highest priority.  Para español, marque el dos.

Please listen closely, as our menu items have changed. This call may be monitored for training and quality control purposes. Your wait may be longer during times of increased call volume. So that we may direct you to the right area, please choose from the following options:

If you are younger than three years old, press 1. If you are in preschool, press 2. Elementary school, press 3. Middle school, press 4. High school, please hang up, attempt to resolve your issue yourself first, and call back later if you still need help.

Younger than three menu.

If your diaper is wet, press 1. Poopy, press 2. If you are hungry, press 3. Thirsty, press 4. Bored, press 5. Angry, press 6.  Itchy, press 7.  Too cold or too hot, press 8. If you are tired, please press 0 and a representative will immediately to put you down for your nap. To return to the main menu, press 9.

 

Preschool menu.

 

If you are hungry, press 1. Thirsty, press 2.  If you want someone to put on the Cars movie for the umpteenth time, press 3.   To tattle on one of your older brothers, press 4. To tattle with that sing-songy whiny voice of yours, press 5. If you've been holding in your poop for three days and can't hold it any longer, press 6 and someone will run you to the potty so fast it'll make your head spin. If it's too late for that, press 7. To repeat your choices, press 8. To return to the main menu, press 9.

 

Elementary school menu.

If you are hungry or thirsty, press 1.  If you need help operating the remote control or DVRing Toon Disney, press 2. To arrange for a playdate at our house, press 3. At your friend’s house, press 4. For homework help, press 5. If you've accidentally broken something of value in the house, press 6. If you missed the school bus, press 7.  If you’re at school and just realized you left your instrument or your lunch at home, press 8. If you waited too long to go potty and need to have your pants changed, please hang up and try your call again later. To return to the main menu, press 9.

Middle school menu.

 

If there is blood, press 1. Compound fractures or head trauma, press 2.  For help with a malfunctioning computer, TV or other home electronics, press 3. If you need a ride somewhere, press 4. For money, press 5.  To confirm your homework has, in fact,  been completed, press 6.  To convey a message of love, esteem, admiration and gratitude to your parents without having to actually verbalize it, press 7. For all other issues, please hang up and try your call again later. To return to the main menu, press 9.

Thank you for calling. Goodbye! *click*

Many thanks to my friend Joel for inspiring this post via his Facebook status update, and for our friend Rob for commenting that if you imagine the Moviefone guy's voice, this is really hilarious.