Quoth the Raven, “Spend some more”

This was sent to me by RD Rick, back in 1996. Found it again while searching for something else entirely. It’s too good not to share, and since it’s not in the Googlesphere (yet), here you go.

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of Volkswagen lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of something gently rapping, rapping in my engine core.
“‘Tis some valve lash, ” I muttered, “tapping on my flat four;
Only this, nothing more.”

And the sluggish sad uncertain revving of my recently installed engine
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 loose valve entreating adjustment at my engine core,
Or some sloppy bearing entreating replacement at my engine core.
This is it, and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Muir,” said I, “or Haynes, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is, I was napping, and so gently it came rapping,
And so faintly it came tapping, tapping at my rocker covers,
That I scarce was sure I heard it.” Here I opened wide the covers;
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into the 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, “Rod?”,
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Rod!”
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the combustion chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping, something louder than before,
“Surely,” said I, “surely, that is something in my bottom end.
Let me see, then, what there is, and this mystery explore.
Let my heart be still a moment, and this mystery explore.
‘Tis minor work, and nothing more.”

Open here I flung the engine cover, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
Out 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 engine core.
Perched upon the open deck lid, just above my engine core,
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 wandering from the nightly shore.
Tell me what the heck is wrong, the problem’s worse than before.”
Quoth the raven, “Spend some more.”

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 blessed with seeing bird above his engine core,
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bonnet above his engine core,
With such name as “Spend some more.”

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 “Spend – Spend some more.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!’ I shrieked, upstarting–
“Get thee back into the tempest and the engine’s bore!
Leave no black exhaust plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my Karmann Ghia unbroken! — quit the lid above my core!
Take thy beak from out my wallet, and take thy form from off my core!”
Quoth the raven, “Spend some more.”

And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid engine lid just above my engine core;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming.
And the trouble light o’er him streaming throws the shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore

If you know who wrote this, please let me know (I’m guessing one of the interesting people I hung out with on the Vanagon list waybackthen).