Poe’s Source of the Raven?
“Col. John A. Joyce,
New York, July 4th, 1878.
My Dear Colonel: As you requested I send a literal translation of ‘The Parrot,’ a poem written by my grandfather in 1809, for the Art Journal, Milan, Italy. He was an etcher and writer for the paper.
‘The Raven,’ by Poe, was taken almost bodily
from ‘The Parrot.’
Who is the plagiarist?
I sit and pine so weary
in midnight sad and dreary.
Over long forgotten volumes
of historic love-lit lore;
And while winking, lonely blinking
I thought I heard while thinking
A rush of wings revolving above
my oaken door,
“What’s that,” said I, disturbing my
melancholy sore —
‘Tis my lost one, sweet “Belmore”
The frosts of wild December invoke
me to dismember
My tired and tortured body on this dreary,
And I trust no waking morrow
Shall rise upon my sorrow.
With all its hideous horror that now
thrills my inmost core —
For my brilliant beaming beauty,
beatic, dear Belmore —
Lost, gone forevermore!
The rustling purple curtain waves
in and out uncertain.
As weird wizard voices croaking
sardonic laughter o’er and o’er;
And with startled heart still heating
my lips kept on repeating —
“Some spirit seeks an entrance through
“the window or the door,
“Some ghostlike, lonely stranger
knocking at my chamber door” —
“Simply this, and nothing more.”
Startled “by this ghostly vision, with
My soul exclaimed, “sweet madam,
pardon I implore.
Yet your face it shone so brightly
and your footfalls tripped so lightly.
And you came so slighly stealing to my
rustic, artist door —
‘Tis a wonder that I heard you; wide,
open flung the door —
Horror, blackness, nothing more!
Loud into the blackness calling with
heart beats slowly falling.
With haunted dreams of doubting no
Artist felt before;
But the vision quickly vanished and
all but silence banished.
And I only heard that heaven-lit, love-lit
word “Belmore” —
This I murmured when sweet echo
answered back the word — “Belmore” —
Barely this and nothing more!
Startled hack so lone and sadly, my
soul revolving madly.
Once again I heard a rapping more
impulsive than before;
“Come in,” I kept repeating, and from
the door retreating
To the window, that I might the
curious nooks explore.
While my troubled brain endeavored to
reveal the noise, explore —
“Gusts of wind and nothing more!”
Open wide I flung the shutter when
a Parrot with a mutter
Flew into my lonely chamber as it
did in days of yore.
And it seemed to be quiescent, somber,
As it sat in lonely grandeur above
my chamber door.
Perching on the bust, Minerva, above
my oaken door.
Perched and blinked and nothing more!
And this croaking bird is leering,
With feathers ruffled ragged round the
countenance it wore;
Though thy beak he like a carrot, you
surely are a Parrot —
Croaking, grumbling, screeching Parrot
from some sandy tropic shore;
Tell me now thy devilish purpose
on this red, volcanic shore —
Cried the Parrot, “Nevermore!”
How I sat depressed, divining to see
some silver lining
Through clouds that hung around me on
this vile, detested shore.
And my soul with grief was haunted
while there I peered undaunted
To hear a bird with crest, and word
above my oaken door.
Bird or brute upon the marble bust
above my chamber door —
Utter name of “Nevermore”!
But the Parrot perching sadly on the
marble bust spoke madly
As if this dark, weird word was his
only stock in store;
And he merely croaked and muttered
While he preened and snapped and fluttered,
As I grumbled, growled and uttered —
“trusted friends have gonie before,”
“Soon, oh soon this bird will leave me,
“as sweet hopes have gone before” —
And this bird shrieked “Evermore”!
Shocked and stunned hy such replying,
can it be the bird is lying.
Or is it willfully determined to he a
Yet, perhaps it knew a master whose
life was all disaster.
And sorrows followed faster than was
ever felt before,
‘Till the echoes of his sorrows, sad re-
frains forevermore —
Fearful echo — “Nevermore”!
Yet the Parrot still is screeching, to
my seared heart sadly preaching;
Defiantly I faced the bird and bust and
gloom, and door.
Till on the carpet figures, wrought
up into cold rigors,
I frantically demanded what the bird
meant by its roar.
This horrid, raving, somber, ruffled
bird of the days that are no more
Meant in screeching — “Nevermore”!
There I sat in mortal terror, de-
nounced by many an error.
With the Parrots flashing eyeballs
piercing to my inmost core.
And I mused there, deeply pining, weep-
ing, crushed reclining.
by the curtain’s silken lining and the
lamplight glinting o’er,
Beneath its mystic radiance shining
o’er and o’er —
Roared the Parrot — “Nevermore”!
Then around me whirled a vision
from the land of the Elysian,
And the air within my chamber fairly
shimmered on the floor,
Wretched Devil! who hath sent thee
to a land where no nepenthe.
Or solace can be given for my lost
and, loved Belmore
Sure I never can forget her, ever
present, bright Belmore —
Growled the Parrot — “Nevermore”!
Parrot, prophet, thing of sorrow, is there
yet for me a morrow
To linger any longer on this sin-
cursed, stormy shore;
Shall I never know a pleasure en-
clasp again a treasure
On this damned, detested, dastard and
this lurid, shocking shore;
Is there any peace or pleasure, oh, tell
me I implore —
Croaked the Parrot — “Nevermore”!
Croaker, Dastard, Word of Evil, Prophet,
Bird or Screeching Devil!
By the stars that shine above us
by the God that all adore.
Tell this soul, whose hope is riven,
if in some celestial heaven
It shall clasp an angel Beauty, who
is known as rare “Bellmore,”
And entwine his arms around
her, my ethereal “Belmore” —
Pipped the Parrot — “Nevermore”!.
Horrid bird! I shrieked emphatic,
and wildly, loud, lunatic,
I flung the pratting Parrot through
the night’s dark, shoreless shore.
While its gilded feathers fluttered, in
the darkness still and muttered —
“I’ll not leave thee, doubting Devil, but
“remain above thy door —
“Sink my beak into thy trembling
“heart, and torture more and more” —
Shrieked the Parrot — “Evermore”!
And the Parrot still is posing,
winking, blinking, dozing
On that marble bust, Minerva, Just
above my oaken door.
And his hellish eyes are beaming
Like a Devil who is dreaming.
While the sputtering, fluttering
lamplight paints his shadow on the floor.
And my soul-lit spirit writhing in
that shadow on the floor —
Dead and damned — “Forevermore”!
Note: This source was ‘debunked’ as the artist and publication cannot be verified; and the ‘translation’ has rhyming words which would not have rhymed in Italian. It would have taken a talented poet to find words in English that rhyme as well as the original words in Italian, and also mean about the same…. which is not impossible, but certainly doubtful upon meditation.