if they had been sawed
off--the mainmast taking with it my youngest brother, who had lashed
himself to it for safety.
"Our boat was the lightest feather of a thing that ever sat upon water.
It had a complete flush deck, with only a small hatch near the bow, and
this hatch it had always been our custom to batten down when about to
cross the Stroem, by way of precaution against the chopping seas. But for
this circumstance we should have foundered at once--for we lay entirely
buried for some moments. How my elder brother escaped destruction I
cannot say, for I never had an opportunity of ascertaining. For my part,
as soon as I had let the foresail run, I threw myself flat on deck,
with my feet against the narrow gunwale of the bow, and with my hands
grasping a ring-bolt near the foot of the fore-mast. It was mere
instinct that prompted me to do this--which was undoubtedly the very
best thing I could have done--for I was too much flurried to think.
"For some moments we were completely deluged, as I say, and all this
time I held my breath, and clung to the bolt. When I could stand it no
longer I raised myself upon my knees, still keeping hold with my hands,
and thus got my head clear. Presently our little boat gave herself
a shake, just as a dog does in coming out of the water, and thus rid
herself, in some measure, of the seas. I was now trying to get the
better of the stupor that had come over me, and to collect my senses so
as to see what was to be done, when I felt somebody grasp my arm. It was
my elder brother, and my heart leaped for joy, for I had made sure
that he was overboard--but the next moment all this joy was turned into
horror--for he put his mouth close to my ear, and screamed out the word
"No one ever will know what my feelings were at that moment. I shook
from head to foot as if I had had the most violent fit of the ague. I
knew what he meant by that one word well enough--I knew what he wished
to make me understand. With the wind that now drove us on, we were bound
for the whirl of the Stroem, and nothing could save us!
"You perceive that in crossing the Stroem _channel_, we always went a
long way up above the whirl, even in the calmest weather, and then had
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 visitor entreating Entrance at my chamber door-- Some late visitor entreating Entrance at my chamber door; This it is and nothing more.Page 2
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 darkness 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.Page 3
[Illustration: 0022] 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 Wandering from the Nightly shore-- Tell me what thy lordly name is On the Night's Plutonian shore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.Page 4
" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore.Page 5
master Whom unmerciful Disaster Followed fast and followed faster, So when hope he would adjure, Stern despair returned, Instead of the sweet hope he dared adjure, That sad answer, "Nevermore.Page 6
whose velvet violet lining, With the lamplight gloating o'er, _She_ shall press, ah, nevermore! [Illustration: 0026] [Illustration: 0027] Then methought the air grew denser, Perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by angels whose faint footfalls Tinkled on the tufted floor.Page 7
" [Illustration: 0033] 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 Raven, "Nevermore.Page 8
And the lamplight 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! [Illustration: 0035].