“The Raven” by Edgar Allan Poe
Stanza 1 (Verbs describing the narrator’s actions are in bold.)
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 the chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”
The opening stanza of “The Raven” sets the scene for the rest of the poem. The narrator is sitting in his library or study reading about some old, forgotten story (lore) he has found in one of the volumes of his books. He is pondering, or thinking about the tale, but is also sleepy. He is weak and weary; he is tired because it is late at night. He can hardly keep his eyes open and nods asleep and awake while taking short naps. He hears a tapping on the door that startles him or catches him off guard, and mutters to himself that it must only be “some visitor” and “nothing more.”
The lore that he is reading at the time has peaked his imagination because it is a story about a dead woman named, Lenore, and he is unsure of who or what is causing the rapping. The setting is spooky and scary; it is December and cold, dark and mysterious, and the narrator is suddenly awakened by the rapping. The whole setting fills him with terror—the curtains are blowing, there is only darkness—and he has been startled awake. He calls out, “Lenore?”, and the rest of the poem becomes a nightmare as his imagination runs wild and to the macabre.