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And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fear-
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling
Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen
“Prophet !” said I, “thing of evil! prophet still, if bird or devil?
“Prophet !” said I, “thing of evil—prophet still, if bird or devil'
“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend so 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
100 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; 105 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 1
HELPS TO STUDY.
What is the theme of this poem? | Of what is the raven a symbol? What gives it its musical quality? | Why does the poet call the bust Mention parts that you think are of Pallas ‘‘pallid’’?
especially beautiful. What is the significance of the last Find examples of alliteration. stanza! What does the refrain add to this From this poem, in what would
poem 7 you say Poe's poetry excels? 'What is the meaning of “Night’s | Which stanza do you like best?
Plutonian shore”? Why?
Words and Phrases for Discussion
“ghost’’ ‘‘censer’” ‘‘tufted floor.” ‘‘Surcease ’’ ‘‘seraphim'’ ‘‘pallid bust” ‘‘entreating” “nepenthe'' ‘‘radiant maiden’’ ‘‘ obeisance ’’ “dying ember” ‘‘dirges of his Hope” ‘‘craven’’ ‘‘fantastic terrors” “bird of yore” “‘ominous” “saintly days.” ‘‘balm in Gilead '’
HENRY WADSWORTH LONGIFELLOW
IN “The Courtship of Miles Standish” Longfellow has made us acquainted with his ancestors, John Alden and Priscilla Mullens, passengers of the Mayflower. Of such ancestry Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow was born in Portland, Maine, February 27, 1807. His birthplace was at that time a beautiful and busy town, a forest city
with miles of sea beach and a port where merchant vessels from the West Indies exchanged sugar and rum for the products of the forest and the fisheries of Maine.
We are told that he was a boy “true, high-minded and noble”; “active, eager, often impatient”; “handsome in appearance” and the “sunlight of the home.” His conduct at school was “very correct and amiable”—he read much and was always studious and thoughtful. The first book which fascinated his imagination was Irving’s “Sketch-Book.” Indeed there is a resemblance between the gentle Irving and the gentle Longfellow which is expressed in the prose of one and the poetry of the other. Longfellow’s education was obtained in Portland and at Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, where he had for classmates several youths who afterward became famous, Nathaniel Hawthorne, J. S. C. Abbott, and Franklin Pierce. Upon Longfellow’s graduation, the trustees of the college, having decided to establish a chair of modern languages, proposed that this young graduate, of scholarly and literary tastes, should fit himself for this position. Three years, therefore, he spent in delightful study and travel in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany. Here was laid the foundation for his scholarship, and, as in Irving on his first European trip, there was kindled that passion for romantic lore which followed him through life and which gave color and direction to much of his work. He mastered the language of each country visited in a remarkably short time, and many of the choicer poems found in these languages he has given to us in the English. After five years at Bowdoin, Longfellow was invited in 1834 to the chair of modern languages in Harvard College. Again he was given an opportunity to prepare himself by a year of study abroad. In 1836 he began his active work at Harvard and took up his residence in the historic Craigie House, overlooking the Charles River —a house in which Washington had been quartered for some months when he came to Cambridge in 1775 to take command of the Continental forces. Longfellow was thenceforth one of the most prominent members of that group of men including Sumner, Hawthorne, Agassiz, Lowell, and Holmes, who gave distinction to the Boston and Cambridge of earlier days. For twenty years Longfellow filled the professorship of modern