Nevermore. The word drives me mad all because of one wretched raven. Upon a bust of Pallas above my chamber door he sits as if he's part of the statue, haunting me, taunting me with his incessant, "Nevermore. Nevermore."

My troubles began one bleak December evening. I had fallen asleep in my armchair, dreaming of my lost Lenore, when I heard a strange knocking at my door. "'Tis some visitor," I mumbled, half awake, "tapping at my chamber door. Only this and nothing more."

The tapping grew more persistent, drawing me out of my slumber, but I dared not cross the shadowy room to answer. I dared not leave the comforting warmth of my chair and step out into the freezing winter air that swarmed into my chamber from an open window. And who knows what shadowy horrors may lurk in the corners, behind bookcases, or behind the rustling purple curtains? So I did not budge, yet the tapping continued. "'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door. Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door. This is it, and nothing more," I repeated to myself.

The knocking soon sounded like a woodpecker drilling into a tree. I must answer the door now, I thought, for it must be very important if they are calling at this late an hour. I gathered my courage, and ventured out. "Sir," I said, tentatively inching toward the door, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness 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 was scarcely sure I heard you."

I then opened the door, but was met by darkness. I stood, waiting, for someone, something, to be there, but there was nothing. "Lenore?" I called, for maybe by some odd chance she had returned. But my only answer was the echoed word, "Lenore."

I slammed the door and began to walk back to my chair, but then I heard yet another tapping. This time, however, it was coming from the window. "Surely, surely that is something at my window lattice," I said, changing my course from the chair to the window. "Let me see then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore. Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore. 'Tis the wind and nothing more."

I flung open the shutter, and in flew an ebony raven. It flew past me and perched upon a statue above my chamber door. "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou, 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," I said.

The raven replied, "Nevermore."

This greatly puzzled and amused me, for I had never heard of a raven with such a name as Nevermore. In fact, I had never heard of a raven with a name at all. How priviledged I must be then, to be speaking with a raven with a name, and with such a name as Nevermore.

The raven was silent until I muttered to myself, "Other friends have flown before. On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."

The raven replied, "Nevermore."

Was that all he could say? "Doubtless, what it utters is its only stock and store," I said, for maybe the raven was like a parrot, repeating only what his owner said, "caught from some unhappy master, whom unmerciful disaster followed faster till his songs one burden bore, till the dirges of his hope that melancholy burden bore of, 'Never- nevermore.'"

So greatly amused I was by this bird, that I wheeled my chair in front of my door so that I had a clear view of the mysterious raven. Maybe this raven knows my beloved angel Lenore. Oh, Lenore. My lovely lost Lenore! "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, of quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"

The raven replied, "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" I yelled. "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."

The raven replied, "Nevermore."

I jumped up and pointed a furious finger and the devil bird. "Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked. "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!"

The raven was undisturbed by this outburst. It simply replied, "Nevermore."

And so there the raven still perches. Haunting me, taunting me, with the maddening word, "Nevermore."