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

The Parrot

Edgar Allan Poe by Colonel John A Joyce, 1901

I sit and pine so weary in midnight sad and dreary,
Over long forgotten volumes of historic love-lit lore;
And while winking, lonely blinking I thought I heard while thinking
A rush of wings revolving above my oaken door,
“What’s that,” said I, disturbing my melancholy sore—
This my lost one, sweet “Belmore”!
The frosts of wild December invoke me to dismember
My tired and tortured body on this dreary, dastard shore,
And I trust no waking morrow shall rise upon my sorrow,
With all its hideous horror that now thrills my inmost core—
For my brilliant beaming beauty, beatic, dear Belmore—
Lost, gone forever more!
The rustling purple curtain waves in and out uncertain,
As weird wizard voices croaking sardonic laughter o’er and o’er;
And with startled heart still beating my lips kept on repeating—
“Some spirit seeks an entrance through the window or the door,
“Some ghostlike, lonely stranger knocking at my chamber door—
“Simply this, and nothing more.”
Startled by this ghostly vision, with desperate decision
My soul exclaimed, “Sweet madam, pardon I implore,
“Yet your face it shone to brightly and your footfalls tripped so lightly,
“And you came so slightly stealing to my rustic, artist door—
’Tis a wonder that I heard you;” wide, open flung the door—
Horror, blankness, nothing more!
Loud into the blackness calling with heart beats slowly falling,
With haunted dreams of doubting no artist felt before;
But the vision quickly vanished and all but silence banished
And I only heard that heaven-lit, love-lit word “Belmore”—
This I murmured when sweet echo answered back the word—“Belmore”—
Barely this and nothing more!
Startled back so lone and sadly, my soul revolving madly,
Once again I heard a rapping more impulsive than before;
“Come in,” I kept repeating, and from the door retreating
To the window, that I might the curious nooks explore,
While my troubled brain endeavored to reveal the noise, explore—
“Gusts of wind and nothing more!”
Open wide I flung the shutter when a Parrot with a mutter
Flew into my lonely chamber as it did in days of yore,
And it seemed to be quiescent, somber, and evanescent,
As it sat in lonely grandeur above my chamber door,
Perching on the bust, Minerva, above my oaken door,
Perched and blinked and nothing more!
And this croaking bird is leering, demoniac appearing,
With feathers ruffled ragged round the countenance it wore;
Though thy beak be like a carrot, you surely are a Parrot—
Croaking, grumbling, screeching Parrot from some sandy tropic shore;
Tell me now thy devilish purpose on this red, volcanic shore—
Cried the Parrot, “Nevermore!”
How I sat depressed, divining to see some silver lining
Through clouds that hung around me on this vile, detested shore,
And my soul with grief was haunted while there I peered undaunted
To hear a bird with crest, and word above my oaken door,
Bird or brute upon the marble bust above my chamber door—
Utter name of “Nevermore”!
But the Parrot perching sadly on the marble bust spoke madly
As if this dark, weird word was his only stock in store;
And he merely croaked and muttered while he preened and snapped and fluttered,
As I grumbled, growled and uttered— “Trusted friends have gone before,
“Soon, oh soon this bird will leave me, as sweet hopes have gone before”—
And this bird shrieked “Evermore!”
Shocked and stunned by such replying, can it be the bird is lying,
Or is it willfully determined to be a babbling bore;
Yet, perhaps it knew a master whose life was all disaster,
And sorrows followed faster than was ever felt before,
’Till the echoes of his sorrows, sad refrains forevermore—
Fearful echo—“Nevermore”!
Yet the Parrot still is screeching, to my seared heart sadly preaching;
Defiantly I faced the bird and bust and gloom, and door,
Till on the carpet figures, wrought up into cold rigors,
I frantically demanded what the bird meant by its roar,
This horrid, raving, somber, ruffled bird of the days that are no more
Meant and screeching—“Nevermore”!
There I sat in mortal terror, denounced by many an error,
With Parrot’s flashing eye balls piercing to my inmost core,
And I mused there, deeply pining, weeping, crushed reclining,
By the curtain’s silken lining and the lamplight glinting o’er,
Beneath its mystic radiance shining o’er and o’er—
Roared the Parrot—“Nevermore!”
Then around me whirled a vision from the land of the Elysian,
And the air within my chamber fair shimmered on the floor,
Wretched Devil! who hath sent thee to a land where no nepenthe,
Or solace can be given for my lost and loved Belmore;
Sure I never can forget her, ever present, bright Belmore—
Growled the Parrot—“Nevermore”!
Parrot, prophet, thing of sorrow, is there yet for me a morrow
To linger any longer on this sin-cursed, stormy shore;
Shall I never know a pleasure enclasp again a treasure
On this damned, detested, dastard and this lurid, shocking shore;
Is there any peace or pleasure, oh, tell me I implore—
Croaked the Parrot—“Nevermore”!
Coaker, Dastard, Word of Evil, Prophet, Bird or Screeching Devil!
By the stars that shine above us by the God that all adore,
Tell this soul, whose hope is riven, if in some celestial heaven
It shall clasp an angel Beauty, who is known as rare “Belmore”,
And entwine his arms around her, my ethereal “Belmore”—
Pipped the Parrot—“Nevermore”!
Horrid bird! I shrieked emphatic, and wildly, loud, lunatic,
I flung the pratting Parrot through the night’s dark, shoreless shore,
While its gilded feathers fluttered, in the darkness still and muttered—
“I’ll not leave thee, doubting Devil, but remain above thy door—
“Sink my beak into thy trembling heart, and torture more and more”—
Shrieked the Parrot—“Evermore”!
And the Parrot still is posing, winking, blinking, dozing
On that marble bust, Minerva, just above my oaken door,
And his hellish eyes are beaming like a Devil who is dreaming,
While the sputtering, fluttering lamplight paints his shadow on the floor.
And my soul-lit spirit writhing in that shadow on the floor—
Dead and damned—“Forevermore!”

In the final chapter of his book on Poe, Colonel John Alexander Joyce (1842–1915) describes his friendship with the artist Penzoni in New York, and how Penzoni once said that Poe took “The Raven” from a poem, “The Parrott”, by his grandfather, published in the Art Journal, in Milan, in 1809. Penzoni quoted a few verses and later wrote them out and sent them to Joyce, who published them, along with the letter, in his book on Poe. It’s most likely, though, that “Penzoni” was Joyce himself, and Joyce wrote the poem. Certainly no Art Journal of 1809 has been found.

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