Poe wrote “The Raven” within a set of self-imposed rules that proved to be a challenge to emulate when I wrote this mashup.  I didn’t realize the complexity until I set about matching the meter and rhyme scheme of the original.

 

“The Raven” has stanzas, or groups of 6 lines each, that conform to an “ABCBBB” rhyme scheme.  Within that rhyme scheme, he uses internal rhyme within a few of the lines.  It breaks down like this:

 

Line 1:  16 syllables; the middle word rhymes with the last word

Line 2:  15 syllables; the last word rhymes with the word “more”

Line 3:  16 syllables; the middle word rhymes with the last word

Line 4:  15 syllables; the middle word rhymes with the last word from Line 3; the last word rhymes with “more”

Line 5:  15 syllables; the last word repeats the last word from Line 4

Line 6:  7 syllables; the last word is or ends with “more” (e.g. “nevermore”)

 

Poe’s original piece has 18 stanzas; “Quoth the Raider” has 45.  So it starts to become really challenging – how many ways can you use the word “more”?  And there are only so many words that rhyme with it.

 

One of my cheats is that I sometimes use homonyms to end Lines 4 and 5.  For example, I use the words “core” and “corps”.  I’m sure Poe would admire this creative approach… or not.

 

And if that’s not enough, he applies a healthy amount of alliteration, which I’m a big fan of.  I love being able to write, “…slews and slews of slimy serpents slithering…”. Saying it out loud is another matter.