What is the author's tone in the first stanza?
The author (or speaker) appears to be suffering from acute depression. His state of mind is not helped by the fact that it is the coldest, darkest season of the year. He is feeling exhausted but apparently is unable to sleep because he is troubled by painful emotions which we later learn are all connected with the death of a loved one named Lenore. Although he is "weak and weary," he is struggling to find escape from his thoughts and feelings by burying himself in difficult reading material. (In the second stanza he says, "...vainly I had sought to borrow / From my books surcease of sorrow...") He is actually half asleep and is probably not understanding very much of what he is reading. He is so tired and so close to falling asleep that he is not certain whether he really hears the tapping or where it is coming from. He is mentally confused. He sounds as if he has been suffering from insomnia for a long time