Text: Thomas H. Chivers to Edgar Allan Poe — December 7, 1842


Augusta, Ga., Dec. 7th, 18[42]

My Dear Sir, — You will, doubtless, be very much surprised to hear that I am so far from New York. When I wrote to you last, I told you that I would write on to my brother, the Administrator of my father’s estate, and ascertain when I could receive my part of the money. When I wrote to him I had no idea of coming to the South, but there is not a man in the world who can tell today what he will do to-morrow. Hope, with her snowy wings, soared, beckoning me away, up to the gates of heaven. My antisipations [[sic]] were then as joyful as my hopes were bright — every thing on the face of the earth appeared bright to me. Now my hope is dead — the beautiful saintly winged dove which soared so high from the earth — luring my impatient soul to wander, delighted, from prospect to prospect — has been wounded in her midway flight to heaven by the keen icy arrows of Death! My antisipations are sorrowful — every thing in the round world is dark to me! The little tender inocent [[sic]] blue-eyed daughter of my heart — the soul of my own soul — the life of my own life — “my joy, my food, my all — the world” — is dead!

“Out of the day and night
A joy has taken flight;
Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar,
Move my faint heart with grief, but the delight
No more — O, never more!”

All that I can say now is in the divine language of Shelly:

“Come, obscure Death,
And wind me in thing all-embracing arms!
Like a fond mother hide me in thy bosom,
And rock me to the sleep from which none wake!”

Never can I see another day of peace on earth! She was so healthy, so happy, so inocent, and so beautiful, that I did not believe that she could die. She was sick only two days — sick when I was not near to render her assistence! [[sic]] My God! there is a darkness gathering round [[my]] soul of he deepest sorrow, which the light of no future joy can ever illume! No, the very joys of others make my sorrows more intolerable! Why did man come into the world to see so much sorrow? Why should he be the father of those who are to live only long enough to be interesting to him, and then to lose them? My little daughter of three years old — my blue eyed child — is gone! A precious being — my Angel-child — in whose seraphic soul such heavenly divineness dwelt, I did not think her of this world! Death has hushed her innocent prattle. In the deep azure grave of the silence of her voice the music of the world is buried! My soul is so sorrowful for the loss of that sweet voice that it can never more listen to any other tones! Have you ever lost a child! If you ever have, then you can know what I mean when I tell you that I have lost the whole world — that there can be no more spring nor summer — but an endless winter cold and chilly to the heart! But whether you have ever lost one or not, I know you possess such fine feelings that you can sympathise with me. I have brought her on to the south to have her buried by the side of my dear old mother whom I loved next to heaven — that is the reason why I have not written to you before this. What have you done with the “Penn Magazine?” When I received your last letter in regard to it, my little blue-eyed daughter sat upon my knee and smiled in my face while I read it. To read your letters, with my little child sitting on my knee, in regard to an enterprise in which we were to be partners, filled my heart with joyful antisipations. When I lay her tender body in the earth, I will then plant flowers upon her grave — such flowers as she loved — for she loved flowers beyond any child I ever knew — flowers that [[wi]]ill last through all the winter. Why may I not hope [[t]]hat her soul will come to me again?



Chivers’ daughter, Allegra Florence Chivers, was born on June 12, 1839 and died on October 18, 1842. In this letter, Chivers consistently spells “anticipations” as “antisipations” and “innocent” as “innocent.”


[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - T. H. Chivers to Poe (RCL403)