Statue of Poe by Sir Moses Ezekiel — Original Inscription


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Statue of Poe by Sir Moses Ezekiel, original inscription

Original in­scription for the statue of Poe by Sir Moses Ezekiel (Balti­more, Mary­land).

This photograph shows the style of lettering used for the inscriptions on the base of the statue, which were molded and pressed into the concrete rather than carved. The quotation from “The Raven” was taken from Griswold’s 1850 edition of Poe’s works and included an “s” at the end of “mortal.” The “s” is not in any printings of the poem done during Poe’s lifetime, and is apparently an error or an editorial intrusion. On May 29, 1930, a self-appointed corrector, Edmond Fontaine, took a chisel and removed the offending “s.” He also removed some black paint, which had been splashed on the monument by some unknown vandals. (Mr. Fontaine was a tree-surgeon and apparently well known in Baltimore as an eccentric character.) The police waited for him to complete his mission, then arrested him. He spent the night in jail because he could not provide the $100 collateral required for his bail. He was released the next day into the custody of a relative. A few days later, it was decided that he should not be prosecuted and he was let off with a mere warning. (As far as is known, Mr. Fontaine abstained from future acts of well-intentioned improvements to public property.)

When the statue was moved to its present location in 1982, the base, which was badly worn, was removed. The inscription panel, however, was cut off and is preserved by the University of Baltimore.


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[S:1 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Baltimore - Statue of Poe by Sir Moses Ezekiel - Original Inscription