Tip: You can read a detailed explanation of every stanzas in my book around The Raven because that English learner (there is additionally a PDF version).

You are watching: Once upon a midnight dreary, meaning

Each line of the poem (apart from the last heat of each stanza) is divided into 2 halves in the following text (which is based on my book). While these are usually exact halves, periodically it was essential to break the rhythmic framework for the two parts to make sense.

Don’t worry around your analysis experience being affected by the division; girlfriend will have the opportunity to read the whole stanza again at the end. Here is the first “half-line”:

Once ~ above a midnight1 dreary2,

US ˈwʌns əˈpɔːn3 ə ˈmɪdnaɪt ˈdrɪri

UK ˈwʌns əˈpɒn ə ˈmɪdnaɪt ˈdrɪəri

1 fairy story traditionally start with “once top top a time”. Poe’s poem starts in a grimmer setting.

2 “dreary” is one adjective definition “dark, cheerless, depressive”. Adjectives in literary works sometimes follow the nouns they change to develop a more dramatic effect, e.g. “a sight yet unseen”, “a world undiscovered”; we would an ext commonly speak “a dreary midnight”.

3 “upon” is also often pronounced /əˈpɑːn/ in American English.

while ns pondered1, weak and weary2,

US ˈwaɪl aɪ ˈpɑːndɚd ˈwiːk ənd3 ˈwɪri2

UK ˈwaɪl aɪ ˈpɒndəd ˈwiːk ənd3 ˈwɪəri2

1 thought deeply; was shed in thought.

2 exhausted, tired, fatigued; note the pronunciation, which differs from the of the similar-looking indigenous “wear” /wɛɚ/ US, /wɛə/ UK.

3 “and” has actually two feasible pronunciations in English: the strong kind and the weak form. What us see here is the weak type /ənd/, i beg your pardon is offered when words is no stressed. The strong form, used for emphasis, is express /ænd/.

There are plenty of words in English that have actually a weak type (for example “at” /ət/, “can” /kən/, “do” /də/ or /du/, and many others). Pay attention to the joint line; at any time you view a monosyllabic word all of sudden pronounced through a schwa /ə/ or through a short vowel wherein you would intend a long vowel, what you watch is in fact the weak form of the word, while the strong type is supplied only for emphasis. Numerous learners aren’t aware of the fact that the weak creates exist, yet the difference is necessary in poetry.

Over plenty of a1 quaint2 and also curious3 volume4

US ˈoʊvɚ ˈmɛni ə ˈkweɪnt ənd ˈkjʊriəs ˈvɑːljuːm

UK ˈəʊvə ˈmɛni ə ˈkweɪnt ənd ˈkjʊriəs ˈvɒljuːm

1 “many a + singular noun” method the same as “many + many noun”. This type is fairly uncommon in contemporary English however can still be discovered in official writing.

2 unusual in a satisfaction way, specifically when having actually old-fashioned charm.

3 out of the ordinary, bizarre; that may additionally refer to its archaic an interpretation of artfully constructed, elaborate.

4 a official word because that a book.

of forget lore1—

US əf fɚˈɡɑːtn ˈlɔːr

UK əf fəˈɡɒtn ˈlɔː

1 facts, beliefs, and traditions concerned a details subject gathered over time. The word “folklore”, which may be known to girlfriend from your mom tongue, is obtained from that (it is literally “the lore the the folk”).

While i nodded1, practically napping2,

US ˈwaɪl aɪ ˈnɑːdɪd ˈnɪrli ˈnæpɪŋ

UK ˈwaɪl aɪ ˈnɒdɪd ˈnɪəli ˈnæpɪŋ

1 “to nod” way “to move one’s head down and also up”, typically to express covenant or together a type of greeting. Somewhat figuratively, that is used likewise in connection with the movement of one’s head as soon as a person falls asleep in a sitting position.

2 a nap is a short sleep, usually during the day.

Here we check out a nice instance of alliteration. Alliteration is a literary an equipment defined together the event of the very same sound in ~ the start of number of words in a row or near to each other; the repeated letter below is N: While i nodded, virtually napping… Alliteration is offered to emphasize the rhythmic structure of the verse, and we will view it many times transparent the poem—in fact, us have currently seen that in “while i pondered, weak and also weary”.

suddenly there came a tapping1,

US ˈsʌdənli ðɛɚ keɪm ə ˈtæpɪŋ

UK ˈsʌdənli ðɛə keɪm ə ˈtæpɪŋ

1 “to tap” method “to hit something lightly”, as once you drum your fingers ~ above a table.

As of part one1 tenderness rapping2,

US+UK ˈæz əv ˈsʌmwʌn ˈdʒɛntli ˈræpɪŋ

1 “someone” is spelled as a single word in modern-day English.

2 “to rap” way “to hit an object several time making noise”. In this context, it describes knocking.

rapping at my chamber1 door.

US ˈræpɪŋ ət maɪ ˈtʃeɪmbɚ ˈdɔːr

UK ˈræpɪŋ ət maɪ ˈtʃeɪmbə ˈdɔː

1 “chamber” is used to refer to a bedroom or a exclusive room in enlarge literature.

“’Tis1 some visiter2,” i muttered3,

US ˈtɪz ˈsʌm ˈvɪzɪtɚ aɪ ˈmʌtɚd

UK ˈtɪz ˈsʌm ˈvɪzɪtə aɪ ˈmʌtəd

1 a literary expression definition “it is”.

2 an antiquated spelling the “visitor”; sometimes rendered as “visitor” in newer editions.

3 muttering is speak something under one’s breath, that is, v lips partially closed and also in a quiet voice, so that just the speaker self or herself and the people surrounding can understand, usually due to the fact that the declare being claimed expresses some kind of criticism or anger.

See more: Average House Size Australia: How Many Meters Is A House ? How Big Is An Average House In Square Meters

“tapping at my room door—

US ˈtæpɪŋ ət maɪ ˈtʃeɪmbɚ ˈdɔːr

UK ˈtæpɪŋ ət maɪ ˈtʃeɪmbə ˈdɔː

Only this and also nothing more1.”

US ˈoʊnli ˈðɪs ənd ˈnʌθɪŋ mɔːr

UK ˈəʊnli ˈðɪs ənd ˈnʌθɪŋ mɔː

1 an alert the recurring layout of the poem—the indigenous “more” that will eventually turn right into the Raven’s “Nevermore.”

In the last 2 lines, the speak is make the efforts to to convince himself the the resource of tapping is simply a visitant (and naught more). Us will later see what he is secretly hoping the tapping can mean.

* * *

Now that you have actually finished reading about the first stanza, review it again as a entirety to psychic all that you have actually learned:

Once top top a midnight dreary, while i pondered, weak and weary,Over numerous a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—While ns nodded, virtually napping, unexpectedly there come a tapping,As of some one gently rapping, rapping in ~ my chamber door.“’Tis part visiter,” i muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—Only this and also nothing more.”