Friday, July 05, 2013

PARODY: Once Upon a Midnight Dreary

One of my favorite hymns is "Of the Father's Love Begotten," an eleventh century hymn celebrating the Incarnation and Nativity of Our Lord. It also happens to be the conference hymn for this year's "From Above" Higher Things Conferences. Pastor Buetow, one of the HT bigwigs, is also a neighbor of mine, in a manner of speaking, and we get together most weeks to study the pericope for the coming Sunday in the Greek. Before our study this week, he planted an idea in my head: a parody of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," with its famous line, "Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'" Earlier this week on Facebook I posted a single verse parody:

"Once upon a midnight dreary-"
Thus wrote Edgar Allan Poe.
'Tis the story of the Raven
Who once did a-tapping go.
Perched he did within my chamber,
And he muttered, muttered slow,
"Nevermore--" just "Nevermore."

However, as OCD as I tend to be, I couldn't leave it done halfway. So today I finished a parody of the whole poem. Here it is.

PARODY: Once Upon a Midnight Dreary

Once upon a midnight dreary
Sought I quaint, forgotten lore,
And while pond’ring, weak and weary,
I heard tapping at my door.
And I thought perhaps it could be
Just a random visitor—
            Only that and nothing more.

How distinctly I remember,
Like a ghost upon the floor
Shone the glowing of each ember,
And I thought of lost Lenore.
But my books could not distract me
From that radiant maid of yore—
            Nameless now forevermore.

Lo, the rustling, purple curtains
Brought me fear like ne’er before,
Yet I stood repeating, certain,
“Tis some late night visitor.”
Yet those words stilled not the beating
Of my heart, yet still I swore,
“Tis a guest and nothing more.”

Thinking thus, my soul grew stronger.
“Your forgiveness I implore,”
Said I to the stranger rapping,
Rapping gently on my door.
“Scarcely could I hear your tapping.”
Here I opened wide the door.
            Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering,
Dreaming doubts like ne’er before,
Long I stood there wond’ring, fearing,
Ere I fin’lly gasped, “Lenore?”
Whispered once and then repeating,
Merely this and nothing more—
            Just one single word: “Lenore!”

Back into the chamber turning—
This time it was not the door!
All my soul within me burning
As, much louder than before,
Heard I tapping from the window.
Here’s a myst’ry to explore.
            “Tis the wind and nothing more.”

Open here I threw the shutter,
And a Raven inward tore,
Causing curtains, hearts to flutter
As he perched above the door.
Not a bow or bob he gave me,
This most stately bird of yore.
            Perched he sat and nothing more.

Then the great black bird beguiling
By the stern, grave face he wore,
My sad fancy into smiling.
“Raven from the nightly shore,
To what name should I be calling
As you perch above my door?”
            Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Strange to hear this discourse plainly,
Though the speech no reason bore,
From this Raven most ungainly
Who did perch above my door.
What an odd and ugly naming
This poor, guesting Raven bore—
            Such a name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven sitting only
Did that single word outpour
From that perch most placid, lonely,
There above the chamber door,
Til I scarcely more than muttered,
“You will fly as all before.”
            Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”

This reply, so aptly spoken,
Seemed its only stock and store.
Startled by the stillness broken,
I considered, sad and sore.
Such a song, a hopeless burden,
Was the sad, sad dirge he bore—
            Only “Never—Nevermore.”

Still, that Raven most beguiling,
As I turned to face the door,
Brought me once again to smiling
As I thought these matters o’er.
What could be this Raven’s meaning—
This most ghastly bird of yore—
            Mean in croaking, “Nevermore”?

Though no word I was expressing
As I sat, consid’ring more,
I sat thus engaged in guessing,
His eyes burning to my core.
On the cushion’s velvet lining
Sat I, where my fair Lenore
Shall not sit forevermore.

Then, methought, the air grew denser,
As if Seraphs on the floor
Swung an unseen, perfumed censer,
Wafting mem’ries of Lenore.
“Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe
And forget the lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet,” said I, “thing of evil,
Tempter sent or tossed ashore—
Desolate, yet all undaunted,
Tell me truly, I implore:
Is there any balm or comfort?
Is there comfort heretofore?”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet,” said I, “thing of evil,
By the heav’ns that bendeth o’er—
Prophet, still, if bird or devil,
Tell this soul with burden sore,
If, within the distant Aidenn
Rests the angel, blest Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting.
Say it not forevermore.”
Thus I said unto the Raven.
“Seek ye out some distant shore.
Haunt my heart and soul no longer.
Quit the bust above my door!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting
From his perch, which I deplore,
Still resides—he still is sitting
On the bust above my door.
And the shadow on my spirit
From his shadow on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!

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