"The Raven" was first published under the pseudonym Quarles in the New York Evening Mirror on 29 January 1845. Less than a week later, it appeared with significant changes in Horace Greeley’s New-York Daily Tribune -- amid advertisements for "cheap table cutlery" and "sheet rubber overshoes."
The day before publication in the Tribune, Poe sent the below letter to John Augustus Shea, altering the eleventh stanza. The hastily copied out note was "to be delivered as soon as he comes in" to ensure that Shea incorporated these changes before printing the following day's issue.
The original stanza reads:
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store,Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful DisasterFollowed fast and followed faster — so, when Hope he would adjure,Stern Despair returned, instead of the sweet Hope he dared adjure —That sad answer, "Nevermore!"
In this letter, Poe eliminates a "bad rhyme," altering the lines to:
Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store,Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful DisasterFollowed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore –Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore, ‘Nevermore – ah, nevermore!’”
Edgar Allan Poe considered "The Raven" a masterpiece, and continued tinkering with it until his death in 1849.
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