Hi, this is Jason Bermingham on English Experts. For those of you who are just joining us, this series of posts features the poem “The Raven” by American author Edgar Allan Poe. Poe lived from 1809 to 1849 and is now considered one of America’s greatest writers. Among his many accomplishments, he is credited for inventing the detective-fiction genre, which was later made famous by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. Today we are going to read and hear stanzas 7, 8, and 9 of “The Raven”. If you haven’t read part 1 and part 2 of this series, please click on the links and have a listen before completing today’s exercise.
To start off, let’s take a look at Fernando Pessoa’s translation of the stanzas we will hear today. Hit the pause button on the audio player, read the translations, and then continue with the audio.
Abri então a vidraça, e eis que, com muita negaça,
Entrou grave e nobre um corvo dos bons tempos ancestrais.
Não fez nenhum cumprimento, não parou nem um momento,
Mas com ar solene e lento pousou sobre os meus umbrais,
Num alvo busto de Atena que há por sobre meus umbrais,
Foi, pousou, e nada mais.
E esta ave estranha e escura fez sorrir minha amargura
Com o solene decoro de seus ares rituais.
“Tens o aspecto tosquiado”, disse eu, “mas de nobre e ousado,
Ó velho corvo emigrado lá das trevas infernais!
Dize-me qual o teu nome lá nas trevas infernais.”
Disse o corvo, “Nunca mais”.
Pasmei de ouvir este raro pássaro falar tão claro,
Inda que pouco sentido tivessem palavras tais.
Mas deve ser concedido que ninguém terá havido
Que uma ave tenha tido pousada nos seus umbrais,
Ave ou bicho sobre o busto que há por sobre seus umbrais,
Com o nome “Nunca mais”.
OK, now that we have looked at the translation, let’s take a look at the original. I am going to start off by reading the stanzas all the way through.
Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately raven of the saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door –
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door –
Perched, and sat, 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.’
Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning – little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door –
Bird or beast above the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as `Nevermore.’
That is great writing, isn’t it? Makes me want to put away my pen forever! How can we ever compete with that?
Now, to practice our communication, go back to the top of the text and repeat each sentence after me.
(Follow along above)
That’s all for this week. Thanks again to all of you who have posted comments here in the blog. I read them all and I am glad that these audio classes have been useful to listeners.
Lastly, let me remind you: if you would like to learn more about my voice work, please visit my website: www.vozemingles.com. This is Jason Bermingham at English Experts. We’ll read more of “The Raven” next week!