54 great opening lines: 20

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 someone gently rapping – rapping at my chamber door.

The Raven, Edgar Allan Poe


Today I’m working on a translation of a story in which a raven stands guard in a widow’s window, terrifying passers-by.  As I search for the right words to interpret the story, the lines of Poe’s The Raven go round and round in my head.

Gustave Doré created the image in my header.  It’s his interpretation of Poe’s lines.
This and more of Doré’s illustrations for The Raven are available here.

11 thoughts on “54 great opening lines: 20

    • Thanks for referring me to Vincent Price, a recording which was easy to find – I’ve just listened to it. I learnt this poem in high school and remember laughing at the teacher’s reading and acting out ‘Quoth the raven – Nevermore’.


      • Oh dear, you didn’t laugh so they could see you did you? I can imagine them making you standup in front of the class and reciting the poem. Horrors!


    • I’ve never thought of myself as inspirational, but clearly that’s what happens in the blogging world: I think it’s fantastic that bloggers inspire others.


    • I liked the illustration, too. After finding the Doré sketches, I began observing crows around my area – they are very similar to ravens (which we don’t have). My imagination easily fitted a black low-flying quarking crow into Doré’s image.


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