Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore"

Nothing inspires a tablesetting more than a holiday, and what holiday is more fun than Halloween?  For generations, we have dressed up as goblins, witches, and spooks, read frightening stories and poems, like Edgar Allen Poe's, "The Raven," watched scary movies like, "The Shining," and carved pumpkins into scary likenesses, all for the fun of peeking into a darker side of life.  It is the official burial of summer, and recognition that the skies need to darken for rain to fall, that seasons turn dark before Spring can come again.

So out come my Raven dishes, found at Marshall's and just so right for this time of year.
Add ceramic Jack-O-Lantern that I've had since my adult children were little ones...
 Add candles that are ooozing off of the candle holders because they were left outside on a hot summer day....

 Add a creepy spider my husband wore on his shoulder last year on Halloween.....
Add the dried flowers I saved from my son's wedding, and one of the orange wedding runners (See post Table Runner Tutorial)...

...for a Halloween Raven inspired table!

I love little Halloween hats, so they came out of my closet to play.  Do you see them?  One is a headband placed over the appetizer plate carry-all, and the other is a Raven Hat sitting atop the Jack-O-Lantern.

I bought this hat on Etsy four years ago and wear it every year to work.  The Raven needs some tailfeather repair before October 31, 2011.

 Found these sweet glasses at the Rose Bowl Flea Market for $2 each.  Love the Rose Bowl Best Flea Market in the World!  See previous post:  Tour Rose Bowl Flea Market, Pasadena California
Rattan chargers and bamboo handled flatware for a woodsy, fall flavor.

 The sideboard chandelier is a branch candle holder from my master bath, adorned with another creepy spider.  The three-tier tray has orange plates, left-over from a wedding shower from five years ago.  Never throw away a thing!

Of course, the table was set because I had a weekend guest who gets a special table every time she comes to play at Grandma's house.

 China: Marshall's Garden Revery
Flatware: Neiman Marcus Bamboo Handle
Glassware: Rose Bowl Flea Market, Vintage
Napkins: HomeGoods
Jack-O-Lantern: Tuesday Morning
Candlesticks:  San Francisco Antique Mall
Branch Chandelier:  SaveOnCrafts online
Rattan Chargers: Santa Barbara Goodwill

The Raven

by Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--
Only this, and nothing more."
Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;--vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow--sorrow for the lost Lenore--
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
Nameless here for evermore.
And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door--
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;--
This it is, and nothing more."
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"--here I opened wide the door;--
Darkness there, and nothing more.
Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore!"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"--
Merely this, and nothing more.
Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice:
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore--
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;--
'Tis the wind and nothing more."
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 blest with seeing bird above his chamber door--
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."
But the raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered--not a feather then he fluttered--
Till I scarcely more than muttered, "other friends have flown before--
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said, "Nevermore."
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 Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore--
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never--nevermore'."
But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust, and door;
Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore--
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."
This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamplight gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!
Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose footfalls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee,--by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite,--respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore!
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!--
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted--
On this home by horror haunted--tell me truly, I implore--
Is there--is there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil--prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us--by that God we both adore--
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend," I shrieked upstarting--
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore."
And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamplight o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor


  1. Love your table and the inspiration! Next week (or the next) I am sharing my "Dinner with Edgar Allen Poe" tablescape - Great minds think alike! You have done a great job with this table!

  2. Gorgeous Halloween post! Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  3. What a synchronicity, I just bought those same raven plates at TJ Maxx for $5! Your table is gorgeous.

  4. Good morning, CJ! The candles could not have turned out any better!!! What a great idea for a Halloween table! Making lemons out of lemonade...the mark of a truly creative person! Of course, I love the plates, too! They look like they could be used not only for Halloween but for a contemporary black & white Christmas setting (pears in all the arrangements) as they could easily pass for a partridge in a pear tree, and for spring paired with pale pink....oooooohhh!!! Great find!

  5. Such a cool table! That spider is so creepy (in a good Halloween way!) and your raven dishes are just perfect for this 'scape!! Your table turned out really great!

  6. What a fun the Raven dishes. That tarantula is creepy!

  7. Great table...I love those black and white dishes!! Love Poe as well! Perfect for your great table. Happy Halloween!

  8. Wonderful tablescape. Poe's raven never looked as pretty as your special plates. Thank you for sharing your delightful design. Cherry Kay


Thanks for your encouraging messages! No anonymous messages. Thanks!~CJ