Edgar Allan Poe – The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pon-
     dered, 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 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 – sor-
     row 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 ter-
     rors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart,
     I stood repeating,
„‚T is 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; hesita-
     ting then no longer,
„Sir,“ said I, „or Madam, truly your for-
     giveness 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 still-
     ness 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 tbat 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 wande-
     ring 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 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 ist
     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 ofhis Hope that melancholy
     burden bore
         Of ‚Never – nevermore‘.“

But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy
     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 omi-
     nous 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 syl-
     lable 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, per-
     fumed from an unseen censer
Sivung by Seraphim whose foot-falls
     tinkled on the tuAed 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 tem-
     pest 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 Baven, „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 de-
     mon’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!

Edgar Allen Poe – Der Rabe, Insel Verlag
Übertragung  Hans Wollschläger
in der Übersetzung von Ursula Wernicke