Edgar Allan Poe: author, poet, editor, literary critic, total weirdo. A true master of horror, Poe constructed gripping stories for his avid following of claustrophobes. Who could forget the way poor Fortunato is sealed behind a brick wall in “The Cask of Amintillado”? Or the way a poor old man is dismembered and sealed behind floorboards, his heart still beating, in “The Tell Tale Heart”? Or the way someone is buried prematurely in “The Premature Burial”? Yes, Poe’s hordes of claustrophobic fans demanded more tales of horror every chance they got, and he did not disappoint.
Today though I’d like to present a first draft of another of Poe’s works, perhaps his most famous. I speak of course of, “The Raven”. I have selected some excerpts from which I hope you, the reader, may glean some insight as to this great man’s true, artistic intention. I have taken the liberty of highlighting in red the passages missing in later drafts. Dear reader, I publish here, a lost draft, of, Edgar Allan Poe’s, The Raven.
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.”
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.”
But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in wait a minute.
Did that fucking raven there, as I sat idly unaware
speak a full blown english word the likes I scarce have ever heard?
did it say it was it’s NAME?!?! It must be self aware! FOR SHAME!
That I would sit here idly writing of my lost love leonore
as a fucking bird says plain as day with perfect diction… “Nevermore.”
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“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, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
Holy hell! again it said it! do I give god or darwin credit?
All my life I understood that birds and creatures of the wood
would nary hear the words of man and comprehend or understand
Now I find my world is rocked. For now I know that RAVENS TALK!
Honestly. Holy fuck you guys. I’m pretty freaked out here. Please disregard all that shit about my dead girlfriend this raven is like way more important than that.
“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
“Devil” it screeched with certainty, “get on your knees and worship me”
“Ne’er” Said I as I pissed pants “Wait, okay. Did I miss my chance?
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
I’ll worship satan, even flaunt it– and lenore can be his whore”
Quoth the Raven “I’m Your I Lord”