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Tip: You have the right to read a in-depth explanation of all stanzas in my book about The Raven because that English learner (there is likewise a PDF version).

You are watching: What does quaff mean in the raven

Stanza XIV the Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Raven is one of the hardest piece of English literature to recognize for a non-native speaker. The complying with explanation is based upon my book about the whole poem. Note: The entirety stanza is divided into “half verses”.

You can read the whole stanza rewritten in easier English as well as the original at the end of the article.

Then, methought1, the air thrived denser2,

US ˈðɛn mɪˈθɔːt ði ˈɛr ɡruː ˈdɛnsɚ

UK ˈðɛn mɪˈθɔːt ði ˈɛə ɡruː ˈdɛnsə

1 “methinks” means “it seems to me”. This word, discovered in diversity in the works of Shakespeare, is only offered in modern-day English as a humorous way to express an opinion.

2 “grew denser” means “became denser”.

perfumed from an unseen1 censer2

US ˈpɝːfjuːmd frəm ən ʌnˈsiːn ˈsɛnsɚ

UK ˈpɜːfjuːmd frəm ən ʌnˈsiːn ˈsɛnsə

1 the cannot it is in seen.

2 a container provided to burn incense (a routine perfume) during religious ceremonies.

Swung by Seraphim1 whose foot-falls2 tinkled3

US ˈswʌŋ baɪ ˈsɛrəfɪm huːz ˈfʊtfɔːlz ˈtɪŋkld

UK ˈswʌŋ baɪ ˈsɛrəfɪm huːz ˈfʊtfɔːlz ˈtɪŋkld

1 seraphs or seraphim (both gift the plural of “seraph”) are angelic us belonging to the greatest order the the celestial hierarchy.

2 a footfall (alternatively assignment foot-fall) is the sound do by footsteps.

3 do a irradiate metallic sound.

on the tufted1 floor.

US ɔn ðə ˈtʌftɪd ˈflɔːr

UK ɒn ðə ˈtʌftɪd flɔː

1 having tufts. A tuft is a bunch of feathers, grass, hair, moss, or one more soft material joined in ~ the base. Here, “tufted floor” probably refers to the tufts uncovered on a mat on the floor.

Note: Tufts additionally refer to the swarm of threads v buttons at both ends that are regularly used in mattresses, cushions, etc., to combine the padding (the filling material), and the adjective “tufted” is largely used when talking about varieties of mattresses and cushions.

“Wretch1,” i cried, “thy God hath2 lent thee3—

US ˈrɛtʃ aɪ kraɪd ðaɪ ˈɡɑːd hæθ ˈlɛnt ðiː

UK ˈrɛtʃ aɪ ˈkraɪd ðaɪ ˈɡɒd hæθ ˈlɛnt ðiː

1 an unfortunate and miserable person, right here referring come the speak himself.

2 archaic 3rd person singular that “have”, i.e. “has”.

3 accusative of “thou”, one archaic kind of “you”.

by these angels that hath sent thee

US+UK baɪ ðiːz ˈeɪndʒəlz ˈhiː hæθ ˈsɛnt ðiː

Respite1—respite and also nepenthe2

US ˈrɛspɪt ˈrɛspɪt ˈænd nɪˈpɛnθiː

UK ˈrɛspaɪt ˈrɛspaɪt ˈænd nɪˈpɛnθiː

1 a quick interval the relief.

2 a mythological Greek drug that offers relief indigenous grief or sorrow.

from her memories that Lenore;

US frəm ðaɪ ˈmɛməriz əv ləˈnɔːr

UK frəm ðaɪ ˈmɛməriz əv ləˈnɔː

Quaff1, five quaff this kind2 nepenthe

US ˈkwæf oʊ ˈkwæf ðɪs ˈkaɪnd nɪˈpɛnθiː

UK ˈkwɒf əʊ ˈkwɒf ðɪs ˈkaɪnd nɪˈpɛnθiː

1 drink a big amount quickly; overindulge in drinking.

See more: What Is A Group Of Chickens Called ? What Is A Group Of Chickens Called

2 benevolent, nice.

and forget this lost Lenore!”

US ˈænd fɚˈɡɛt ðɪs ˈlɔːst ləˈnɔːr

UK ˈænd fəˈɡɛt ðɪs ˈlɒst ləˈnɔː

Quoth the crow “Nevermore.”

US ˈkwoʊθ ðə ˈreɪvn ˌnɛvɚˈmɔːr

UK ˈkwəʊθ ðə ˈreɪvn ˌnɛvəˈmɔː

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In a minute of madness, the speaker is talking to himself, imagining that angels carried him relief from his sorrow. Below is the totality stanza in easier language:

Then I believed the air obtained denser perfumed by an invisible censerWhich was swung by angels whose footfalls tinkled on the floor.“You negative thing,” ns said, “your God has actually lent friend relief and also medicine(which he sent out you by these angels) from your memories that LenoreDrink, oh drink this great medicine and forget this shed Lenore!”The crow replied: “Nevermore.”

Now, review the original again:

Then, methought, the air thrived denser, perfumed indigenous an unseen censerSwung by seraphim who foot-falls tinkled top top the tufted floor.“Wretch,” i cried, “thy God hath lent thee–by these angels he hath sent out theeRespite—respite and also nepenthe, from thy memories the Lenore;Quaff, five quaff this kind nepenthe and also forget this lost Lenore!”Quoth the crow “Nevermore.”


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This post was based on my ebook about The Raven. It defines vocabulary, pronunciation, and also grammar used in the ebook in detail—why nothing you examine it out?