Quaint and Curious - Parodies and Pastiches of Poe's The Raven

To the Author of “The Raven”

Graham’s Magazine Apr 1848

Leave us not so dark uncertain! lift again the fallen curtain!
Let us once again the mysteries of that haunted room explore—
Hear once more that friend infernal — that grim visiter nocturnal!
Earnestly we long to learn all that befalls that bird of yore:
Oh, then, tell us something more!
Doth his shade thy floor still darken? — dost thou still despairing hearken
To that deep sepulchral utterance like the oracles of yore?
In the same place is he sitting? Does he give no sign of quitting?
Is he conscious or unwitting when he answers “Nevermore?”
Tell me truly, I implore!
Knows he not the littlenesses of our nature — its distresses?
Knows he never need of slumber, fainting forces to restore?
Stoops he not to eating — drinking? Is he never caught in winking
When his demon eyes are sinking deep into thy bosom’s core?
Tell me this, if nothing more!
Is he, after all, so evil? Is it fair to call him “devil?”
Did he not give friendly answer when thy speech friend’s meaning bore?
When thy sad tones were revealing all the loneness o’er thee stealing,
Did he not with fellow-feeling, vow to leave thee nevermore?
Keeps he not that oath he swore?
He, too, may be only praying — vainly, earnestly essaying
To forget some matchless mate, beloved yet lost for evermore.
He hath donned a suit of mourning, and, all earthly comforts scorning,
Broods alone from night till morning. By the memories of Lenore,
Oh, renounce him nevermore.
Though he be a sable brother, treat him kindly as another!
Ah, perhaps the world has scorned him for that luckless hue he wore,
No such narrow prejudices can he know whom Love possesses—
Whom one spark of Freedom blesses. Do not spurn him from thy door
Lest Love enter nevermore!
Not a bird of evil presage, happily he brings some message
From that much-mourned matchless maiden — from that loved and lost Lenore.
In a pilgrim’s garb disguiséd, angels are but seldom prizéd:
Of this fact at length adviséd, were it strange if he foreswore
The false world for evermore?
Oh, thou ill-starred midnight ranger! dark, forlorn, mysterious stranger!
Wildered wanderer from the eternal lightning on Time’s stormy shore!
Tell us of that world of wonder — of that famed unfading “Yonder!”
Rend — oh rend the veil asunder! Let our doubts and fears be o’er!
Doth he answer — “Nevermore?”

This poem so pleased Poe that he “polished” it (Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Poems, University of Illinois Press, 2002, ed. Thomas Ollive Mabbott, p. 492). Harriet B Winslow married Charles Liszt in June 1848, and later lived in Boston. Her poem “Why thus longing” was printed in The Waif (1844) by Henry Longfellow.

Return to the Quaint and Curious index for more pastiches and parodies of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”.