The Raving

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 gapping
In the VDU screen mapping, mapping from dynamic store -
"'Tis the refresh strobe", I muttered, "Tapping my dynamic store -
Only this, and nothing more".

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each seperate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had sought to borrow
>From old Knuth surcease of sorrow - sorrow, could there e'er be more?
For my patched and mangled program, unknown lines, and, even more, For
each NEXT without a FOR!

Then the whole screen flickered briefly, and some garbage underneath
the Text appeared, and sent the cursor to location 314
And in size the letters doubled; so I sat there, somewhat troubled -
My thinking now was somewhat muddled by the things I'd never seen before.
I decided that the things I'd never seen before
Were a glitch, and nothing more.

Thus I sat, engaged in guessing, not a syllable expressing,
Was it really in the software? Could it be a bug in core?
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's nylon lining, when the screen all darken'd o'er!
Not a flash or bang or whimper, just the screen all dark'ning o'er,
Only this, and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I sat there, wond'ring, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;But the
silence was unbroken, and the system parsed no token,
And the only words there spoken were the whispered words, "Oh lor!"
This I whispered, and the echo murmered back the words, "Oh, lor!"
Merely this, and nothing more.

Then methought the air grew denser, perfumed by an unseen censer
Swung by seraphim whose footfalls clumped upon the wooden floor.
"Wretch!" I cried, "A fiend has zonked thee! By dark angels has he gronked
thee!"
However much I thumped and bonked the keyboard it defied my lore.
"Drat! Oh Darn!" I cried (but stronger), "that this fault defies my
lore! What a pain! Oh, what a bore!"

So I'm sitting with a meter, wond'ring if I'll ever beat a
Fault so nasty, fault so tricky, or must I throw it out the door?
When will this thing once more turn on, let me once more PASCAL learn
on,Let me pocket money earn on, as it used to do before?
So again I sought to find out, would it work as once before?
Quoth the handbook, "Nevermore!"

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This message was sent on 19 May 1996