Nameless Midnight

Strange things wake at the stroke of twelve



The Raven
Poem by Edgar Allan Poe

  • Tells of a talking raven’s mysterious visit to a distraught lover suddenly waking up at midnight and traces the man’s slow fall into madness. The lover/narrator is lamenting the loss of his love, Lenore who is described as “nameless for evermore”

“Once upon a midnight dreary,”

“For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—

Nameless here for evermore.”

  • Sitting on a bust of Pallas, the raven seems to further instigate his distress with its constant repetition of the word “Nevermore”
  • The poem follows an unnamed narrator on a dreary midnight in December who sits reading “forgotten lore” by a dying fire  as a way to forget the death of his beloved Lenore
  • He hears a tapping at his window and after opening it to investigate the noise a Raven flies in and sits above his chamber door. The narrator asks that the bird tell him its name. The raven’s only answer is “Nevermore”
  • He at first is convinced Raven is the lost pet of an “unhappy master”, but then after asking it questions he starts to descend into madness. First he questioned if the raven was sent by god or seraphim in hopes to heal his broken heart but the bird repeats “nevermore” only to keep the narrator thinking of his lost love Lenore and becoming convinced the raven is a “thing of evil” or darkness sent as a omen to doom him for eternity


“Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, 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.

“’Tis 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—sorrow for the lost Lenore—

For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—

Nameless here for evermore.”


Poe experimented with the long o sound throughout many other poems: “no more” in “Silence” and “evermore” in “The Conqueror Worm”

*The words tap tap tapping on my chamber door that are repeated may be a nod to the sound of the scout rifles firing. Trigger taps