Text: Sarah H. Whitman to Edgar Allan Poe — early August 1848


A low bewildering melody

Is murmuring in my ear —

Tones such as in the twilight wood

The aspen thrills to hear

When Faunus slumbers on the hill

And all the entranced boughs are still.

The jasmine twines her snowy stars

Into a fairer wreath —

The lily through my lattice bars

Exhales a sweeter breath —

And, gazing on Night’s starry cope,

I dwell with “Beauty which is Hope”.

Providence R. I.  August 1848



These two stanzas were sent to Poe, unsigned. The letter was addressed to Poe at Fordham, which had no post office. The nearest post office was at West Farms, where the letter sat for several weeks, until Mrs. Clemm was informed that there was an unclaimed letter there for Poe. She forwarded the letter to Poe in Richmond. Although it is unsigned, Poe said that he recognized Sarah H. Whitman’s handwriting, and a long, involved series of impassioned letters were exchanged between the two, culminating in a short-lived engagement and ending when Poe broke his pledge not to drink.


[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - S. H. Whitman to Poe (RCL719b)