Ravens get a bad reputation for being bad omens—as you will see in these raven quotes.
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Edgar Allan Poe’s famous, yet dark poem, The Raven, certainly didn’t help the poor bird any!
Many of these raven quotes from the poem paint the creature in an unpleasant light.
But why are people so sure that a raven means something bad is coming?
The answer actually dates back to Greek mythology.
Ravens were associated with the God Apollo, who was the God of Prophecy.
According to the myth, Apollo sent a white raven to spy on Coronis, who was his lover at the time.
When the bird returned with news that Coronis was unfaithful, Apollo became enraged.
Someone should have told him not to shoot the messenger because in his anger, he scorched the bird’s white feathers—turning him black!
That is the reason for ravens being black today.
Keep reading for more references to the raven that helped it gain its slightly creepy status in today’s culture.
Raven quotes from Edgar Allan Poe’s famous poem
1. “Quoth the Raven, ‘Nevermore.’” — Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven, 1845
2. “Perched, and sat, and nothing more.” — Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven, 1845
3. “Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before.” — Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven, 1845
4. “Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!” — Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven, 1845
5. “’Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,’ I said, ‘art sure no craven.” — Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven, 1845
6. “Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer.” — Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven, 1845
7. “Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; This it is, and nothing more.” — Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven, 1845
8. “For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore- nameless here forevermore.” — Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven, 1845
9. “And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting, on the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door.” — Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven, 1845
10. “Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, by the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore.” — Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven, 1845
Short raven quotes
11. “Honestly, all crows are not ravens.” — Munia Khan
12. “Why is a raven like a writing desk?” — Lewis Carroll
13. “And the crow once called the raven black.” — George R. R. Martin
14. “One raven does not peck out another’s eyes.” — Danish proverb
15. “Censure acquits the raven, but pursues the dove.” — Juvenal
16. “So lonely I make friends with the ravens that prey on lambs.” — Hannah Kent
17. “My love, she’s like some raven at my window with a broken wing.” — Bob Dylan
18. “The raven spread out its glossy wings and departed like hope.” — Cecilia Dart-Thornton
19. “Ravens are at home everywhere. They only have one enemy—humans.” — Bernd Heinrich
20. “It wasn’t for nothing that the raven was just now croaking on my left hand.” — Plautus
Raven quotes from writers
21. “Some battles are won with swords and spears, others with quills and ravens.” — George R. R. Martin
22. “Ravens bring things to people. We’re like that. It’s our nature. We don’t like it.” — Peter S. Beagle
23. “On the road to wisdom, behave like a raven and observe everything carefully!” — Mehmet Murat İldan
24. “To fight the raven, you may make alliance with the serpent until the battle is done.” — Robert Jordan
25. “The raven himself is hoarse, that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements.” — William Shakespeare
26. “Cruel birds—ravens—but wise. And creatures should be loved for their wisdom if they cannot be loved for kindness.” — Hannah Kent
27. “How sweetly did they float upon the wings of silence, through the empty-vaulted night at every fall smoothing the raven down of darkness till it smil’d.” — John Milton
28. “Day is a snow-white dove of heaven that from the East glad message brings. Night is a stealthy, evil raven, wrapped to the eyes in his black wings.” — Thomas Bailey Aldrich
29. “Sorrow is not a raven perched persistently above a chamber door. Sorrow is a thing with teeth, and while in time it retreats, it comes back at the whisper of its name.” — Dean Koontz
30. “Like a feather in a dust storm with no direction, the raven flies through life, helpless and omitted, until night declares and the wind expires. Then it flies to the land of stones and etchings, and becomes an ember breaking away.” — Jessica Sorensen
Raven quotes about death and bad omens
31. “When I die, let the black rag fly raven falling from the sky.” — George Woodcock
32. “Needless to say, urgings by ravens are ignored at one’s peril.” — James D. Doss
33. “That raven on yon left-hand oak, curse on his ill-betiding croak! Bodes me no good.” — John Gay
34. “Death makes angels of us all and gives us wings where we had shoulders smooth as ravens claws.” — Jim Morrison
35. “For this reason, the lean wolf in the world rejoiced, and the dark raven, a bird greedy for slaughter.” — Cynewulf
36. “Love’s torments made me seek the chase; rifle in hand, I roam’d apace. Down from the tree, with hollow scoffs, the raven cried, ‘Head-off! head off!’” — Heinrich Heine
37. “The raven’s house is built with reeds. Sing woe, and alas is me! And the raven’s couch is spread with weeds, high on the hollow tree; and the raven himself, telling his beads in penance for his past misdeeds, upon the top I see.” — Thomas D’Arcy McGee
38. “To all new truths or renovation of old truths, it must be as in the ark between the destroyed and the about-to-be renovated world. The raven must be sent out before the dove, and ominous controversy must precede peace and the olive wreath.” — Samuel Taylor Coleridge
39. “He that has no present Christ has a future, dark, chaotic, heaving with its destructive ocean; and over it there goes forever black-pinioned, winging its solitary and hopeless flight, the raven of his anxious thoughts, and finds no place to rest, and comes back again to the desolate ark with its foreboding croak of evil in the present and evil in the future.” — Alexander Maclaren
40. “If there are words and wrongs like knives, whose deep inflicted lacerations never heal— cutting injuries and insults of serrated and poison-dripping edge—so, too, there are consolations of tone too fine for the ear not fondly and for ever to retain their echo: caressing kindnesses; loved, lingered over through a whole life, recalled with unfaded tenderness, and answering the call with undimmed shine, out of that raven cloud foreshadowing death himself.” — Charlotte Bronte
Interesting raven quotes
41. “No doves come from ravens’ eggs.” — Hannah Kent
42. “And the crow once called the raven black.” — George R. R. Martin
43. “A fairly good crow or a raven can lay pretty nearly as good an egg.” — Henrik Ibsen
44. “Does wisdom perhaps appear on the earth as a raven which is inspired by the smell of carrion?” — Friedrich Nietzsche
45. “There comes Poe, with his raven, like Barnaby Rudge, Three-fifths of him genius and two-fifths sheer fudge.” — James Russell Lowell
46. “The cry of a young raven is nothing but the natural cry of a creature. But your cry, if it be sincere, is the result of a work of grace in your heart.” — Charles Spurgeon
47. “He that visits the sick in hopes of a legacy, but is never so friendly in all other cases, I look upon him as being no better than a raven that watches a weak sheep only to peck out its eyes.” — Seneca the Younger
48. “Entranced by the flight of a raven, I watch its shadow move effortlessly against golden, shimmering granite. I long to be that free, flying above the cluttered world of normalcy, where so many are half alive.” — Dean Potter
49. “Ravens are the birds I’ll miss most when I die. If only the darkness into which we must look were composed of the black light of their limber intelligence. If only we did not have to die at all. Instead, become ravens.” ― Louise Erdrich
50. “We saw a raven very high above us. It called out, and the dome of the sky seemed to echo the sound. It called again and again as it flew onwards, and the mountains gave back the sound, seeming as if from their center; a musical bell-like answering to the bird’s hoarse voice.” — Dorothy Wordsworth
More information about ravens
Ravens are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, Islamic culture, the Viking Age, Celtic traditions, and many other places.
In the Bible, according to the Law of Moses, ravens are a forbidden food.
Philo of Alexandria (first century AD) stated that ravens were a symbol of vice, whereas the dove was a symbol of virtue.
In the Qur’an’s version of the story of Cain and Abel, a raven is mentioned as the creature who taught Cain how to bury his murdered brother.
In Viking lore, Odin is associated with Ravens as well.
The Old English word for a raven was hræfn; in Old Norse it was hrafn.
They frequently used this word in combinations as a poetic expression for bloodshed and battle.
In Celtic traditions, ravens are also associated with war and battlegrounds.
The goddess Morrígan, who is known as the goddess of war, witchcraft, and death, protection, and retribution, once alighted on the hero Cú Chulainn’s shoulder as a raven after his death.
A raven even made it into Disney’s Sleeping Beauty as Maleficent’s eyes and ears.
However, in reality, ravens are quite special.
They appear to feel empathy despite their mischievous nature.
They also can remember other birds they like but hold grudges against those they don’t!
What are your thoughts about ravens? Let us know in the comment section below.