Text: Dwight R. Thomas and David K. Jackson, “Chapter 10,” The Poe Log (1987), pp. 713-781


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[page 713:]

CHAPTER TEN

Eureka and Mrs. Whitman

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Sarah Helen Whitman [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 712]
 
Sarah Helen WHitman

1848

Poe begins the year 1848 with renewed energy and enthusiasm, working on his cosmological treatise Eureka and issuing a prospectus for the Stylus. He plans a promotional tour for the proposed magazine in the Southern and Western states, hoping to raise the necessary expenses by delivering an abbreviated version of Eureka as a public lecture. The 3 February lecture in New York, entitled “The Universe,” attracts a small but appreciative audience. The poetess Sarah Helen Whitman, a widow living in Providence, Rhode Island, brings herself to Poe’s attention by contributing a poem “To Edgar A. Poe” to Miss Anne C. Lynch’s valentine party on 14 February. On 2 March Poe sends his 1831 verses “To Helen” to Mrs. Whitman; around 1 June he forwards the manuscript of a new poem he has specifically addressed to her. Early in July Poe visits Lowell, Massachusetts, as the guest of the local poetess Mrs. Jane Ermina Locke; there he delivers a 10 July lecture on “The Poets and Poetry of America.” Around 11 July the New York publisher George P. Putnam issues Eureka, which receives mixed reviews and has only a limited sale. In late July Poe travels to Richmond, where he renews old friendships, indulges in intermittent drinking, and prepares to depart on a tour promoting the Stylus. There he receives two stanzas of poetry which Mrs. Whitman has sent him to acknowledge the manuscript poem he forwarded to her around 1 June. Poe immediately leaves for New York, determined to make her acquaintance. On 21 September he calls on her in Providence, subsequently declaring his love for her and urging her to marry him. After he returns to his home at Fordham, Mrs. Whitman writes him to decline his proposal of marriage, explaining that she is older than he and in poor health. Poe calls on her again in late October, asking her to reconsider her answer. The next few days he spends in Lowell with the family of Annie Richmond, a young married woman whom he had met during his July visit. In early November he returns to Providence, where Mrs. Whitman shows him one or more letters she has received questioning his integrity. Deeply hurt, Poe drinks to excess and becomes ill; afterwards Mrs. Whitman consents to a conditional engagement, assuming he totally abstains from alcohol. Poe is back at Fordham on 14 November, but he pays Mrs. Whitman a brief visit early in December. Her mother Anna Power strongly opposes the proposed [page 714:] marriage; as soon as Poe leaves, Mrs. Power obtains legal control of her family’s estate, placing it out of his reach. Poe returns to Providence on 20 December, when he lectures on “The Poetic Principle” before an audience of almost two thousand people. Mrs. Whitman agrees to an immediate marriage; but when Poe begins to drink on the morning of 23 December, she realizes that he cannot free himself from his alcoholism and abruptly cancels their engagement. He leaves for New York that evening, never to see her again.

 


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~~ 1848 ~~

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[page 714, continued:]

[1848] JANUARY OR BEFORE. FORDHAM. Poe begins work on Eureka. Mrs. Clemm recalls: “He [Poe] never liked to be alone, and I used to sit up with him, often until four o’clock in the morning, he at his desk, writing, and I dozing in my chair. When he was composing ‘Eureka,’ we used to walk up and down the garden, his arm around me, mine around him, until I was so tired I could not walk. He would stop every few minutes and explain his ideas to me, and ask if I understood him” (quoted by Woodberry, 2:236; cf. Didier [1877], p. 104, and Stoddard [1903], pp. 157-58).

[1848] JANUARY OR BEFORE. Poe prepares a fragmentary manuscript entitled “Literary America,” containing critical sketches of Richard Adams Locke, Thomas Dunn English, and Christopher Pearse Cranch (Quinn, pp. 560-61).

[1848] JANUARY. Poe has printed a prospectus announcing the Stylus: “In the first number of The Stylus the editor will commence the publication of a work on which he has been employed unremittingly for the last two years. It will be called ‘Literary America,’ and will endeavor to present, much in detail, that great desideratum, a faithful account of the literary productions, literary people, and literary affairs of the United States.” The Stylus will be concerned only with literature, the fine arts, and the drama: “In regard to what is going on, within the limits assigned, throughout the civilized world, it will be a principal object of the magazine to keep its readers really au courant. For this end accurate arrangements have been made at London, Paris, Rome and Vienna. The most distinguished of American scholars [Charles Anthon] has agreed to superintend the department of classical letters” (copy in NN-B). [page 715:]

[1848] JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. Graham’s Magazine contains an installment of Poe’s “Marginalia.”

[1848] JANUARY. RICHMOND. The Southern Literary Messenger contains Philip Pendleton Cooke’s sketch “Edgar A. Poe,” described as “a sequel to Mr. Lowell’s Memoir” in the February 1845 Graham’s. Cooke discusses “The Raven,” “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” and other writings which have appeared since Lowell’s biography. “I believe Mr. P. has been for some time ill — has recently sustained a heavy domestic bereavement — and is only now returning to his literary labors.”

[1848] JANUARY. NEW YORK. In the “Editor’s Table” of the Knickerhocker Magazine, Lewis Gaylord Clark summarizes the largely unfavorable review of Wiley and Putnam’s “Library of American Books” in the November 1847 Blackwood’s, quoting the Scottish critic’s condemnations of Cornelius Mathews, William Gilmore Simms, and Margaret Fuller. “Of Mr. POE’s ‘Tales’ the reviewer remarks, that while they cannot be called commonplace, they evince little taste and much analytic power. [‘]One is not sorry to have read them — one has no desire to read them twice.’ ”

[1848] 1 JANUARY. In the Home Journal Nathaniel P. Willis reprints “Ulalume: A Ballad” without identifying the author, as Poe had requested in his 8 December 1847 letter. In a prefatory query headed “Epicureanism in Language,” Willis observes: “We do not know how many readers we have who will enjoy as we do, the following exquisitely piquant and skilful exercise of rarity and niceness of language. It is a poem which we find in the American Review, full of beauty and oddity in sentiment and versification, but a curiosity, (and a delicious one, we think,) in its philologic flavor. Who is the author?”

[1848] 4 JANUARY. Poe replies to George W. Eveleth’s 27 July 1847 letter: “I have been living ever since in a constant state of intention to write, and finally concluded not to write at all until I could say something definite about The Stylus and other matters. You perceive that I now send you a Prospectus.” Poe’s critique of Hawthorne has finally been published, in Godey’s Lady’s Book for November 1847; he encloses his “Ulalume,” reprinted in the Home Journal. “The Rationale of Verse,” which he originally submitted to George H. Colton for the American Review, was later sold to Graham’s Magazine: “in Grahams hands it is still — but not to remain even there; for I mean to get it back, revise or rewrite it . . . and deliver it as a lecture when I go South & West on my Magazine expedition. . . . My health is better — best.” Poe answers Eveleth’s question about the “terrible evil” in his life which led to his “irregularities”: [page 716:]

Six years ago, a wife, whom I loved as no man ever loved before, ruptured a blood-vessel in singing. Her life was despaired of. I took leave of her forever & underwent all the agonies of her death. She recovered partially and I again hoped. At the end of a year the vessel broke again — I went through precisely the same scene. Again in about a year afterward. Then again — again — again & even once again at varying intervals. Each time I felt all the agonies of her death — and at each accession of the disorder I loved her more dearly & clung to her life with more desperate pertinacity. But I am constitutionally sensitive — nervous in a very unusual degree. I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity. During these fits of absolute unconsciousness I drank, God only knows how often or how much (L, 2:354-57; Moldenhauer [1973], pp. 65- 67; Stylus prospectus now in NN-B).

[1848] 8 JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. In the John-Donkey Thomas Dunn English comments: “MR. EDGAR A. POE. By some kind of mistake, a little squib was fired off at this very estimable young man, in our first number [issued ca. 15 December 1847]. We should not have recalled it to the memory of our readers, had not the ‘Miner’s Journal,’ at Pottsville, [Pennsylvania,] thought proper to make it the occasion to puff Mr. POE. That writer does not deserve such cruel treatment at the hands of his friends. He has no objections to be abused, when the abuse comes from men of talent; but to be praised by the editor of the Miner’s Journal, [then Eli Bowen,] is an insult not to be forgiven.”

[1848] 11 JANUARY. PHILLIPS, MAINE. Eveleth replies to Poe’s 4 January letter: “I had become fearful that matters were going wrong with you, as I heard nothing from you, neither by letter nor per the newspapers which have always been so regardful of your welfare. . . . I like ‘Hawthorne’ generally — don’t think it is the best critical article you have ever written. ‘Ulalume’ is the only piece of poetry I have read for some time — ’tis a beauty — Before I had read two verses of it in the Am. Rev. I stopped, went back again, read it over, and vowed that Edgar A. Poe was its author.” Eveleth quotes reports about Poe contained in four letters sent to him last year: from George H. Colton on 24 July and 15 October, from Louis A. Godey on 6 August, and from the editors of the Weekly Universe on 17 August. Godey’s letter gave Eveleth “the first positive intimation” that Poe had a drinking problem: “I had suspected something long before — was afraid, from the wild imaginations manifested in your writings, that you were an opium-eater — had some chance for hope that this might not be the case, as the same wildness was evident in your childhood productions — supposed that you could not have acquired the habit when so young, and therefore hoped” (Eveleth, pp. 16-18). [page 717:]

[1848] 11 JANUARY. BROOKLYN. In the Daily Eagle Walt Whitman prints “A Jig in Prose,” an unsigned parody of “The Raven” (Brasher, pp. 30-31).

[1848] 17 JANUARY. FORDHAM. Poe writes H. D. Chapin in New York:

Mrs. Shew intimated to me, not long ago, that you would, perhaps, lend me your aid in my endeavour to re-establish myself in the literary world . . . . When I last spoke with you, I mentioned my design of going to see Mr. [John] Neal at Portland, and there, with his influence, deliver a Lecture — the proceeds of which might enable me to take the first steps towards my proposed Magazine: — that is to say, put, perhaps, $100 in my pocket; which would give me the necessary outfit and start me on my tour. But, since our conversation, I have been thinking that a better course would be to make interest among my friends here — in N. Y. city — and deliver a Lecture, in the first instance, at the Society Library. With this object in view, may I beg of you so far to assist me as to procure for me the use of the Lecture Room? The difficulty with me is that payment for the Room is demanded in advance and I have no money. I believe the price is $15.

In a postscript Poe thanks Chapin for a “note of introduction” to James Watson Webb, editor of the Morning Courier: “As yet I have not found an opportunity of presenting it — thinking it best to do so when I speak to him about the Lecture” (L, 2:357-58).

[1848] 17 JANUARY. Poe writes Louis A. Godey in Philadelphia: “What do you say to an article? I have one which I think may please you. Shall I send it and draw as usual? — deducting, of course, the $5 you were so kind as to loan me when in Philadelphia. . . . The article is imaginative — not critical — and will make rather more than 5 pp” (Ostrom [1974], pp. 532-33).

[1848] 19 JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. Godey replies to Poe (cited on Poe’s letter).

[1848] AFTER 19 JANUARY? FORDHAM? Poe forwards the article, presumably his tale “Mellonta Tauta” (published in Godey’s Lady’s Book for February 1849).

[1848] 22 JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. Under the heading “Poe’s Last Poem” the Saturday Courier reprints “Ulalume” from the Home Journal of 1 January, prefacing it with an unfavorable criticism:

We copy the following poem, partly, because Willis has called attention to it, but principally, because we have a word or two to say in relation to Edgar A. Poe, who is undoubtedly its author. No other American poet, in the first place, has the same command of language and power of versification: it is in no one else’s vein — it is too charnel in its nature; while Mr. Poe is especially at home in pieces of a sepulchral character. “Ulalume” is a continuation of the same Golgothian idiosyncrasy [page 718:] that produced the “Conqueror Worm,” the “Fall of the House of Usher,” “Ligeia,” “Berenice,” the revivification of Monsieur Valdemar . . . . We pity the man who can write such things, and, while we wonder at the artistic talent displayed by Mr. Poe in the working up of his repulsive subjects, — a wonder which it is his sole object to create, we remember his story or poem precisely as we would recall a cancer or tumor under which we had suffered, with feelings of absolute pain, terror and horror, if not disgust. There was a time when we considered Poe a man of genius, a very pardonable because natural mistake, and one, moreover, into which the larger mass of his readers have fallen. He is a man of great talent — wonderful talent — wonderful powers of ratiocination, nothing more, and withal not at all original. In short we question if he ever produced an entirely original article: indeed, he admits, we have understood, quite as much himself.

[The Courier’s editor was then Andrew McMakin.]

[1848] 22 JANUARY. FORDHAM. Poe writes Nathaniel P. Willis that he intends to establish a magazine “entirely out of the control of a publisher,” to be called the Stylus: “I must get a list of, at least, five hundred subscribers to begin with: — nearly two hundred I have already. I propose, however, to go South and West, among my personal and literary friends — old college and West Point acquaintances — and see what I can do. In order to get the means of taking the first step, I propose to lecture at the Society Library, on Thursday, the 3d of February.” Poe’s subject will be “The Universe”; he asks Willis to announce the lecture in the Home Journal (L, 2:359).

[1848] 23 JANUARY. NEW YORK. Anne C. Lynch writes Sarah Helen Whitman in Providence, Rhode Island: “I am going to have another Valentine party on the 14th of next month, & I should be delighted to have some contributions from you. Your last year’s efforts were so happy & so much admired I do not see how you can refuse. I wish very much that you could be here” (RPB-W; cf. entries for 14, 21 FEBRUARY 1846 and 16, 31 JANUARY, 14 FEBRUARY 1847).

[1848] AFTER 23 JANUARY. PROVIDENCE. Mrs. Whitman sends Miss Lynch several valentine poems, including one addressed to Poe. She inquires about Poe (Lynch’s 31 January reply).

[1848] 29 JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. In the John-Donkey Thomas Dunn English publishes “Sophia Maria,” a weak parody of “Ulalume.”

[1848] 29 JANUARY. NEW YORK. The New World contains a favorable advance notice of Poe’s 3 February lecture on “The Universe” (Pollin [1975a], p. 28). [page 719:]

[1848] 30? JANUARY. The Weekly Universe announces the lecture: “Mr. Poe is not merely a man of science — not merely a poet — not merely a man of letters. He is all combined; and perhaps he is something more — but whatever he may be he is sure of giving a lecture worth hearing” (quoted in Eveleth to Poe, 9 July).

[1848] 31 JANUARY. The Morning Express and the Evening Express carry a report that Poe will lecture on Thursday evening at the Society Library: “Mr. Poe’s subject for the occasion is ‘The Universe,” — a theme which he will doubtless invest with that spirit of quaint originality and treat with that degree of taste and ability which have already gained for him a wide reputation both at home and abroad. We take pleasure in calling the attention of our readers to this lecture of Mr. Poe’s and trust that it will be attended by a fitting audience.” The report is reprinted in the Semi-Weekly Express of 1 February.

[1848] 31 JANUARY. Miss Lynch writes Mrs. Whitman in Providence: “I recieved [sic] your letter & the valentines enclosed, this evening & hasten to reply to it. . . . I will endeavor to answer your queries . . . Poe I have seen nothing of for more than a year past. There was a great war in bluestockingdom some time ago & Poe did not behave very honorably in it — the truth is that with all his genius he has no moral sense, & he said & did a great many things that were very abominable. He has lived several miles from town since then & although I have had no particular difference [with him], I now scarcely ever see him” (RPB-W).

[1848] FEBRUARY. PHILADELPHIA. Graham’s Magazine contains a brief installment of Poe’s “Marginalia.”

[1848] 2-3 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. The Daily Tribune carries this advertisement: “Edgar A. Poe will lecture at the Society Library on Thursday evening, the 3d inst at half-past 7. Subject, ‘The Universe.’ Tickets 50 cents — to be had at the door.”

[1848] BEFORE 3 FEBRUARY. PHILADELPHIA. In the John-Donkey for 5 February English scoffs: “BAD IN EITHER CASE. Mr. POE, who used to flourish in this city, is announced to deliver a lecture on the ‘Universe’ at the N. Y Society Library. Some of our friends say that they hope he will not disappoint his auditors, as he did once before. We suspect he will, whether he delivers his lecture or not.”

[1848] BEFORE 3 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. In the Home Journal for 5 February Willis comments: [page 720:]

EDGAR A. POE. — We, by accident, omitted to mention, in our last week’s paper, that our friend and former editorial associate, Mr. Poe, was to deliver a Lecture, on Thursday evening, February 3d, at the “Society Library.” The subject is rather a broad one — “The Universe;” but from a mind so original, no text could furnish any clue to what would probably be the sermon. There is but one thing certain about it, that it will be compact of thought, most fresh, startling, and suggestive. . . .

We understand that the purpose of Mr. Poe’s Lectures is to raise the necessary capital for the establishment of a magazine, which he proposes to call “THE STYLUS.” They who like literature without trammels, and criticism without gloves, should send in their names forthwith as subscribers. If there be in the world a born anatomist of thought, it is Mr. Poe. He takes genius and its imitations to pieces with a skill wholly unequalled on either side [of] the water. . . .

[1848] 3 FEBRUARY. The Daily Tribune reports that Poe will lecture tonight, quoting Willis’ advance notice in the Home Journal. The Morning Express and the Evening Express also carry a favorable announcement: “The novelty of his subject, ‘The Universe,’ and the universally acknowledged ability of the lecturer, will undoubtedly bring together a large audience.”

[1848] 3 FEBRUARY. William Cullen Bryant’s Evening Post announces Poe’s lecture tonight (Pollin [1975a], p. 28).

[1848] 3 FEBRUARY. At 7:30 PM Poe lectures on “The Universe” at the Society Library, corner of Broadway and Leonard Street. Maunsell B. Field, a young lawyer, recalls: “It was a stormy night, and there were not more than sixty persons present in the lecture-room. I have seen no portrait of POE that does justice to his pale, delicate, intellectual face and magnificent eyes. His lecture was a rhapsody of the most intense brilliancy. He appeared inspired, and his inspiration affected the scant audience almost painfully. He wore his coat tightly buttoned across his slender chest; his eyes seemed to glow like those of his own raven, and he kept us entranced for two hours and a half” (Field, p. 224).

[1848] 3 FEBRUARY. Later in the evening John Henry Hopkins, Jr., a divinity student at the General Theological Seminary, writes a long, appreciative review of Poe’s lecture at the home of Marie Louise Shew, 47 Bond Street (Mrs. Shew to J. H. Ingram, 3 April 1875, Miller [1977], p. 120).

[1848] 4 FEBRUARY. The Daily Tribune reports:

The Lecture of E. A. POE, Esq. on “The Universe,” was not very largely attended, but the intelligence of his auditory compensated for its deficiency in numbers. His remarks on a subject — the contemplation of which is infinite, (a word, as Mr. Poe happily said, used in the effort to express the thought of a [page 721:] thought) were characterized by the strong analytical powers and intense capacity of imagination, which distinguish him, rather than by any shadow of probability, which might assist the soul in its graspings after the unattainable. The substance of Mr. Poe’s theory of the Universe, briefly stated, is, that at some inconceivable period of past time, an exertion of the Divine essence created throughout immeasurable space, the systems and clusters of systems which have been revealed to us by Astronomy, yet whose extent we can never measure; that these clustering systems, circling round still grander systems, to an infinite degree, are influenced by a universal tendency to agglomeration, or union in one overwhelming globe; that when, at an inconceivable period in the future this shall take place, each individual soul that inhabits every sun and planet, shall return into the Deity of which it now forms a part, when all matter will disappear and the great drama of the Universe be acted over in some other region of space.

[1848] 4 FEBRUARY. The Morning Express contains Hopkins’ lengthy review of the lecture, unquestionably “the most elaborate and profound” he ever heard. “The work [lecture] has all the completeness and oneness of plot required in a poem, with all the detail and accuracy required in a scientific lecture. . . . Starting from the Deity, as a comet from the Sun, it went careering onward in its march through infinite space, approaching more and more closely the comprehension of man, until bending its course gradually homeward at length, it drew nearer and nearer, grew brighter and brighter, until it buried itself in the blaze of glory from whence it had its birth. It would be impossible to give any respectable report of this extraordinary work of Art without devoting several columns to it, and even then justice could not be done.” Hopkins summarizes Poe’s arguments in the order they were given. “The conclusion of this brilliant effort was greeted with warm applause by the audience, who had listened with enchained attention throughout.” The unsigned review is reprinted in this afternoon’s Evening Express and in the Semi-Weekly Express for 9 February (attribution in Poe’s 29 February letters to G. W. Eveleth and G. E. Isbell).

[Hopkins’ detailed synopsis reveals that Poe’s lecture was quite similar in content and organization to his published text, Eureka.]

[1848] 4 FEBRUARY. Under the heading “Hyperbolic Nonsense,” the Commercial Advertiser reprints part of Hopkins’ review from the Morning Express. The afternoon paper comments: “Well, would not ‘several columns’ be space enough for such a presentation? As to that start from the Deity, and the ultimate burial in a blaze of glory — it is beyond our comprehension, but being editorial it is doubtless all right.”

[1848] 4 FEBRUARY. Evert A. Duyckinck writes his brother George in Paris: “Poe delivered a lecture last evening on the Universe — full of a ludicrous [page 722:] dryness of scientific phrase — a mountainous piece of absurdity for a popular lecture and moreover an introduction to his projected magazine — the Stylus: for which it was to furnish funds. Why it drove people from the room, instead of calling in subscribers” (NN-D).

[1848] 5 FEBRUARY. The Albion reports: “EDGAR A. POE’S Lecture on the Universe was attended by a select, but highly appreciative audience, that remained attentive and interested for nearly three hours, under the Lecturer’s powerful, able, and profound analytical exposition of his peculiar theory, on the origin, creation, and final destiny of the Universe. . . . His delivery alone, although a minor accomplishment in a lecturer, is so pure, finished and chaste in its style — that on a popular subject he could not fail to attract audiences.” The Albion understands that Poe’s lecture “will shortly be published” and has “no doubt but that it will meet with an extensive circulation.”

[1848] 5 FEBRUARY. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Evening Post reviews the 29 January issue of English’s John-Donkey: “Among the articles . . . is a capital parody on a poem recently published in the Knickerbocker [American Review], and supposed to have been written by E. A. Poe — at least it is decidedly Poe-ish.”

[1848] 6? FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. The Weekly Universe comments on Poe’s lecture: “To those who could comprehend its scope and follow closely its train of reasoning, the lecture was profoundly interesting as delivered, and would be still better, to be read, with time to pause and reflect . . . . The fault of the lecture was its length . . . . Two hours is a long session — and that Mr. Poe fastened the attention of his audience for more than that period, to such a subject, is quite significant of the character of his discourse” (Stedman and Woodberry, 9:314; paper identified in Eveleth to Poe, 9 July).

[1848] 9 FEBRUARY. The Morning Express publishes a 5 February letter from a pseudonymous correspondent, “Spes Credula,” who reacts to this paper’s report of Poe’s lecture:

I have admired the collection of tales published by Mr. Poe, some time since, (the Gold Bug and other tales,) in which you may recollect, occurs a conversation with a dying man while in a state of magnetic trance. In that conversation, very much the same ideas may be found, respecting “the universe,” which Mr. Poe has reproduced in this lecture. . . . One cannot fail to be extremely interested, in what is there [in “Mesmeric Revelation”] said, as well as by the manner in which it is said. But, while we admire Mr. Poe for his captivating and energetic style of expression — while we are struck with the strange audacity of speculation which [page 723:] characterises him as a thinker, we should be careful that so erratic a genius do[es] not lead us astray in forbidden paths.

It is with unaffected diffidence that I venture to suggest that the great staple of all these strange speculations may be found in those old systems of philosophy which taught the eternity of matter. A very striking identity of thought at least will be found in the systems of Pythagoras, Plato, Xenophanes, Epicurus, Aristotle . . . .

I know that a newspaper is not the proper place for a homily; but permit me to suggest in conclusion that whatever Science may pretend to discover, in relation to the world of matter, she can give us no idea of the origin of things. Revelation alone discloses to us a satisfactory and reliable idea of God.

The editors of the Express, James Brooks and William B. Townsend, explain that while they willingly printed this “well intended and learned communication,” they “would notice one point in which the writer seems to have mistaken Mr. Poe’s meaning . . . . Mr. Poe was so far from maintaining the eternity of matter, as ‘Spes Credula’ supposes, that he distinctly asserted that those primary particles irradiated throughout all space, were the immediate result of the volition of the Godhead, a volition and action which continued only during a limited time. If this is not equivalent to creation, we do not know what is.” The letter and the editorial comment on it are reprinted in this afternoon’s Evening Express and in the Semi-Weekly Express for 11 February.

[1848] BEFORE 10 FEBRUARY. Under the heading “Mr. Poe upon the Universe,” the New World for 12 February carries a review by “Decius,” who complains that the lecture of “some two hours and a half” was extraordinarily long: “At the end of an hour and a half, some of us began to be quite sensible of the lapse of time . . . . Still no end was visible; the thin leaves, one after another, of the neat manuscript, were gracefully turned over; yet, oh, a plenty more were evidently left behind, abiding patiently ‘their appointed time.’ ” The reviewer summarizes Poe’s arguments at length, suggesting that he is indebted to Robert Chambers’ Vestiges of Creation as well as to the work of Sir William Herschel and the Marquis de Laplace. Poe’s lecture “contained the fruits of much thought and study . . . . Resolved, as it would seem, to bring before the public a work which he evidently felt proudly conscious to be worthy the attention of his audience for the manner, if not the materials of its execution, he unflinchingly marched onward to the close with uniform and stately steps; unmindful whether his hearers were pleased or not; perhaps sometimes unconscious of their presence, as he turned up his cold, abstracted eye, unwarmed even by the fire of invention, not upon the men and women before him, but toward those sublime celestial orbs, about whose origin and destiny he was discoursing in such lofty language” (Stedman and Woodberry, 9:314-15; see also Pollin [1975a], p. 28). [page 724:]

[1848] 10 FEBRUARY. BINGHAMPTON, NEW YORK. George E. Isbell writes Poe, inquiring about his lecture. Isbell discusses the review in the New World and Chambers’ Vestiges of Creation (Poe’s 29 February reply).

[1848] 11 FEBRUARY. WOODLANDS, SOUTH CAROLINA. William Gilmore Simms replies to a letter from Evert A. Duyckinck, who presumably criticized Poe’s lecture: “Poe is a very remarkable man. It is great pity that he should be wasted and should waste himself, as he does. I should like to see him succeed — still more gladly see him deserve wholly to succeed” (Simms, 2:394-98; cf. Duyckinck’s 4 FEBRUARY letter to his brother).

[1848] 11 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. James Watson Webb’s Morning Courier favorably reviews Poe’s lecture, praising him for developing Laplace’s nebular hypothesis far beyond what this French astronomer envisioned and for relating both the formation and the eventual destruction of the universe to the law of gravitation. The lecture is “a nobler effort than any other Mr. Poe has yet given to the world” (Quinn, p. 539; see also Pollin [1975a], p. 27).

[1848] 12 FEBRUARY. BOSTON. The Boston Journal quotes a portion of the review in the Morning Courier, commenting sarcastically: “Mr. Poe is already a great man. If he establishes this theory to the satisfaction of learned and philosophical astronomers, his greatness will be greater than ever” (Eveleth, pp. 19, 26-27).

[1848] 12 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. The Literary World reviews Poe’s lecture, briefly summarizing his arguments. “The freedom and boldness of the speculations, together with the nervousness and vivacity of the reading, made the whole performance in the highest degree entertaining; and its publication will be anticipated with much interest by the many admirers of the author.”

[1848] 12 FEBRUARY. The Home Journal reprints the favorable review of Poe’s lecture from the Albion of 5 February.

[This paper’s failure to give its own review might be attributed to the illness of Poe’s friend Willis, who was confined to bed during February and March (Reece [1954], p. 82; Taylor, pp. 118-19).]

[1848] 12 FEBRUARY. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Evening Post publishes a 5 February letter from “Gothamite,” its New York correspondent, who discusses several lectures given in that city during the past week:

The crack lecture . . . has been that of Edgar A. Poe, the Raven Poet. His theme was the — Universe — and the discourse, upon the whole, was one of the most [page 725:] unique and well digested, that I have ever heard. I cannot give you an abstract of it, for it occupied in its delivery only two hours and a half, but it was eminently Poe-ish from beginning to end, and of course exceedingly interesting. It displayed an extensive knowledge of astronomy, abounded in passages of fine philosophy, contained an abundance of analytical writing, and an occasional burst of genuine eloquence, at one time, somewhat poetical, and at another, rather amusing and witty. His subject was the Universe — but he treated it in a style that could not be called universal. With the proceeds of his Lectures it is Mr. Poe’s intention to start a new Magazine, but if he succeeds in establishing a permanent affair it will indeed be a marvel.

The Saturday Courier contains a paragraph headed “Theory of the Universe,” apparently written by the editor Andrew McMakin:

Edgar A. Poe delivered a lecture in New York, last week on the “Universe,” in which, from a brief notice of his views that we have seen, we infer that he propounds a doctrine somewhat similar to one advanced a century or two ago by Spinoza, that man is a mere extension or part of Deity. Mr. Poe thinks that there is a tendency to consolidation and material unity in our great stellar system, and that, in the lapse of ages, all the suns and earths of our great system will fall into one, and man be absorbed into his Creator, as a part of him. After this, there will be another exertion of creative power, and the whole thing be done over again. Of course, this is all theory, and to the great majority of enlightened and philosophical thinkers, not very good theory at that.

[1848] 12 FEBRUARY. The Saturday Gazette scoffs at Poe’s theory (Pollin [1975a], p. 28).

[1848] 12 FEBRUARY. The John-Donkey contains an installment of “The Adventures of Don Key Haughty,” Thomas Dunn English’s travesty of Cervantes’ Don Quixote. The title character Don Key Haughty, an impractical reformer based on Horace Greeley, is imprisoned “in the Tombs,” where he encounters an unnamed poet obviously meant to be Poe, “a melancholy-looking little man, in a rusty suit of black.” The poet promptly delivers an unsolicited lecture: “The poem is the rhythmical creation of beauty . . . whenever it possesses an object or an end — whenever it has anything like sense — or whenever point is not entirely sacrificed to euphony, it can no longer claim the name of poem, or be regarded as a work of art.” To illustrate his thesis he recites “Rosaline: A Dactylo-Spondaic Poem,” an absurd composition of his own which he declares “incomparably superior to that of any writer ever known.”

[1848] 13 FEBRUARY OR BEFORE. FORDHAM. Poe revises his 1846 acrostic valentine addressed to Mrs. Frances S. Osgood. He submits a copy of the poem, dated “Valentine’s Eve, 1848,” to James L. DeGraw, publisher of the Union Magazine (facsimile in Woodberry, 2:182-83; see also Mabbott [1969], 1:387-88, [page 726:] 1:387-88, and entries for 13, 14 FEBRUARY 1846, and 17, 18, 24 FEBRUARY, 10 MARCH 1849).

[1848] 14 FEBRUARY OR BEFORE. Poe sends Marie Louise Shew a manuscript copy of his valentine poem addressed to her, giving it the heading “To Marie Louise” (published in the Columbian Magazine for March; see Mabbott [1969], 1:405-09, and Miller [1977], pp. 115, 125).

[1848] 14 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. Anne C. Lynch’s valentine soiree is held at her home, 109 Clinton Place. Among the valentines read to the assembled guests is Sarah Helen Whitman’s “To Edgar A. Poe,” romantically addressing Poe as “The Raven” (published in the Home Journal, 18 March).

[1848] 21 FEBRUARY. Miss Lynch writes Mrs. Whitman in Providence:

Our party last Monday evening every one said was very brilliant. — There was an immense crowd, many more than I expected . . . . Your valentines were all read[;] some of them I have sent to the Home Journal at the request of Morris & Willis . . . . The one to Poe I admired exceedingly & would like to have published with your consent with the others, but he is in such bad odour with most persons who visit me that if I were to recieve [sic] him, I should lose the company of many whom I value more. [Name obliterated] will not go where he visits & several others have an inveterate prejudice against him. The valentines will appear next week[;] I shall send you a copy of course (RPB-W).

[The name Mrs. Whitman scratched out was probably that of Mrs. Elizabeth E Ellet (cf. Poe to Mrs. Whitman, 24 November).]

[1848] BEFORE 29 FEBRUARY. Poe prepares a revised prospectus for the Stylus, dated April. It is similar to the January prospectus, except that it omits the paragraph announcing the serialization of his “Literary America” (Heartman and Canny, pp. 118-21).

[1848] 29 FEBRUARY. Poe replies to George E. Isbell’s 10 February letter, writing on stationery bearing the revised Stylus prospectus. Poe has not seen Chambers’ Vestiges of Creation: “The extracts of the work which have fallen in my way, abound in inaccuracies of fact: — still these may not materially affect the general argument. . . . The notice of my Lecture, which appeared in the ‘New-World’, was written by some one grossly incompetent to the task which he undertook. No idea of what I said can be gleaned from either that or any other of the newspaper notices — with the exception, perhaps, of the ‘Express’ — where the critique was written by a gentleman of much scientific acquirement — Mr E. A. [John Henry] Hopkins, of Vermont. I enclose you his Report — which, however, is inaccurate in numerous particulars.” [page 727:] When the lecture is published, Poe will send Isbell a copy (L, 2:362-64).

[1848] 29 FEBRUARY. Poe replies to George W. Eveleth’s 11 January letter. He now intends to leave for Richmond on 10 March, Willis’ “somewhat premature announcement” of the Stylus forcing him to begin his promotional tour sooner than he had planned.

“The Rationale of Verse” will appear in “Graham” after all: — I will stop in Phil: to see the proofs. . . . The editor of the “Weekly Universe” speaks kindly and I find no fault with his representing my habits as “shockingly irregular”. . . . The fact is thus: — My habits are rigorously abstemious and I omit nothing of the natural regimen requisite for health: — i,e — I rise early, eat moderately, drink nothing but water, and take abundant and regular exercise in the open air. But this is my private life — my studious and literary life — and of course escapes the eye of the world. The desire for society comes upon me only when I have become excited by drink. Then only I go — that is, at these times only I have been in the practice of going among my friends: who seldom, or in fact never, having seen me unless excited, take it for granted that I am always so.

Poe encloses Hopkins’ account of his lecture from the Morning Express (L, 2:360-62)

[Poe did not leave for Richmond until late July.]

[1848] AFTER FEBRUARY. Poe obtains the return of “The Rationale of Verse” from Graham’s Magazine (published in the Southern Literary Messenger, October and November numbers).

[1848] MARCH. The Columbian Magazine contains Poe’s valentine poem addressed to Marie Louise Shew, under the heading “To —— —— ——.”

[1848] MARCH. The Union Magazine contains Poe’s “Sonnet,” an acrostic poem concealing the name Sarah Anna Lewis (subsequently entitled “An Enigma”; cf. Poe to Mrs. Lewis, 27 November 1847).

[1848] MARCH. PHILADELPHIA. Graham’s Magazine contains an installment of “Marginalia”: Poe discusses the credulous republication of his “Mesmeric Revelation” and “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar” by the London Popular Record of Modern Science (cf. entries for 29 NOVEMBER 1845 and 10 JANUARY 1846).

[1848] 2 MARCH OR BEFORE. FORDHAM. Poe receives the manuscript of Mrs. Whitman’s valentine poem “To Edgar A. Poe,” forwarded to him by Miss Lynch through Mrs. Osgood. “He recognized the handwriting having two [page 728:] or three years before been shown by Miss Lynch some MS. verses I had sent her for the editor of the Democratic Review “ (Mrs. Whitman quoted by Ticknor, pp. 47-48).

[1848] 2 MARCH. From a copy of The Raven and Other Poems, Poe removes the last page of text, containing his 1831 poem “To Helen,” and forwards it anonymously to Mrs. Whitman (postmarked envelope and detached page in InU-L; cf. Poe’s explanation in his 1 October letter to her).

[1848] AFTER 2 MARCH. PROVIDENCE. Mrs. Whitman receives “To Helen.” A “gentleman from New York” tells her that the address on the envelope is “in Poe’s handwriting” (Whitman to J. H. Ingram, 6 March 1874, Miller [1979], p. 60).

[1848] 4 MARCH. NEW YORK. Under the heading “The Valentine Party” the Home Journal prints forty-two short poems read at Miss Lynch’s soiree.

[1848] AFTER 4 MARCH? PROVIDENCE. Mrs. Whitman receives a copy of the published valentines, forwarded by Miss Lynch. She writes Miss Lynch to request the publication of her “To Edgar A. Poe,” which was not included in the Home Journal article (implied by Lynch to Whitman, 21 February and 10 March).

[1848] 9 MARCH. PHILLIPS, MAINE. Eveleth replies to Poe’s 29 February letter. He identifies the New York Weekly Universe: “It was originally published under the title of the ‘Weekly Dispatch,’ but changed a few months ago to its present one. . . . I have noticed that articles which were published in it as original were copied into other papers, and credited to the Sunday Dispatch, a paper which I have never seen.” He believes he has formed “a correct idea” of Poe’s lecture on “The Universe” from Hopkins’ account; the only other notice of it he saw appeared in the Boston Journal, a paper which often sneers at Poe. Quoting this paper’s 12 February report, Eveleth observes: “Praises you but don’t intend it for praise” (Eveleth, pp. 18-20).

[1848] 10 MARCH. NEW YORK. Miss Lynch replies to a letter from Mrs. Whitman in Providence: “I really do not think it would be any advantage to you to publish the Valentine to Poe not because it is not beautiful in itself but there is a deeply rooted prejudice against him which I trust he will overcome. I wish you would not mention this & if you still wish it published [&] if you will send me another copy I will ask some one to have it done. I e[a]rnestly request you not to mention this because I have no quarrel with Poe & admire his genius as much as any one can” (RPB-W). [page 729:]

[1848] 18 MARCH. The Home Journal publishes Mrs. Whitman’s “To Edgar A. Poe,” prefacing it with this editorial explanation: “The following Valentine, by one of America’s most justly distinguished poetesses, was among the number received at the Valentine soirée, commemorated in our paper of the 4th instant. A poem, however, whose intrinsic beauty takes it quite out of the category of ordinary Valentines, seemed to demand the honor of separate publication.” In the ten-stanza poem Mrs. Whitman invites Poe to share a “lofty eyrie” with her:

Oh, thou grim and ancient Raven,

From the Night’s Plutonian shore,

Oft, in dreams, thy ghastly pinions

Wave and flutter round my door —

Oft thy shadow dims the moonlight

Sleeping on my chamber floor!

 

Romeo talks of “white doves trooping

Amid crows, athwart the night;”

But to see thy dark wing swooping

Down the silver path of light,

Amid swans and dovelets stooping,

Were, to me, a nobler sight.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Midst the roaring of machinery,

And the dismal shriek of steam,

While each popinjay, and parrot,

Makes the golden age his theme,

Oft, methinks, I hear thee croaking,

“All is but an idle dream.”

 

While these warbling “guests of summer”

Prate of “Progress” evermore,

And, by dint of iron foundries,

Would this golden age restore,

Still, methinks, I hear thee croaking,

Hoarsely croaking, “Nevermore.”

[1848] 18 MARCH. PHILADELPHIA. The John-Donkey contains Thomas Dunn English’s “Natural History of the John-donkey.” He describes the “two kinds of JOHN-DONKEYS — those who were made Donkeys — and those who have made Donkeys of themselves.” The latter “usually walk erect on two legs, and have all the appearance of men. . . . The ranks of the Poe-ts and philosophers are infested with them.”

[1848] 26 MARCH. NEW YORK. Mrs. Frances S. Osgood writes Mrs. Whitman in Providence: “I see by the Home Journal that your beautiful invocation has [page 730:] reached the Raven in his eyrie and I suppose, ere this, he has swooped upon your little dove cote in Providence. May Providence protect you if he has! — for his croak the most eloquent imaginable. He is in truth ‘A glorious devil, with large heart & brain’ ” (RPB-W).

[1848] 28 MARCH. Miss Lynch writes Mrs. Whitman in Providence: “Your Raven was much admired in the Home Journal. Gen M. [‘General’ George P. Morris] met me one day in great extacies [ecstasies] over the exquisite poem or valentine he had just recd for the paper, which I had seen of course before” (RPB-W).

[1848] 30 MARCH. FORDHAM. Poe writes Mrs. Shew in New York:

Dearest Louise — You see that I am not yet off to Richmond as I proposed. I have been detained by some very unexpected and very important matters which I will explain to you when I see you. What is the reason that you have not been out? — I believe the only reason is that you suspect I am really anxious to see you.

When you see Mr Hopkins I wish you would say to him that I would take it as an especial favor if he would pay me a visit at Fordham next Sunday. I have something to communicate to him of the highest importance and about which I need his advice. Won’t you get him to come — & come with him to show him the way? (PP-G; cf. imperfect transcript given by Ingram, p. 352, and reproduced in L, 2:364-65).

[1848] BEFORE APRIL. Poe copies and corrects Miss Harriet B. Winslow’s manuscript poem “To the Author of ‘The Raven’ ” (Mabbott [1969], 1:492-93).

[1848] APRIL. PHILADELPHIA. Graham’s Magazine contains a revised version of Miss Winslow’s poem.

[1848] 2? APRIL. FORDHAM. John Henry Hopkins, Jr., visits Poe, accompanied by Mrs. Shew (date suggested by Poe to Shew, 30 March; see also Hopkins to Poe, 15 May, and Poe to Shew, June).

[In his 9 February 1875 letter to Mrs. Shew (then Mrs. Houghton), Hopkins described his interview with Poe:

It was in regard to his brilliant lecture “Eureka,” which I had heard on the occasion of its first delivery, and in which I was much interested, having made a report of it for one of the daily papers. He was thinking of printing it in book form. I did all I could to persuade him to omit the bold declaration of Pantheism at the close, which was not necessary to the completeness or beauty of the lecture. But I soon found that that was the dearest part of the whole to him; and we got into quite a discussion on the subject of Pantheism. For some time his tone and manner were very quiet, though slowly changing as we went on; until at last, a [page 731:] look of scornful pride worthy of Milton’s Satan flashed over his pale, delicate face & broad brow, and a strange thrill nerved and dilated for an instant his slight figure, as he exclaimed, “My whole nature utterly revolts at the idea that there is any Being in the Universe superior to myself!” I knew then that there was no use in further argument (Miller [1977], pp. 100-01).]

[1848] 15 APRIL. PHILADELPHIA. In the John-Donkey English comments: “POE’S NEW DUNCIAD. We hear it stated in certain quarters, that Mr. POE is about to resume his sketches of character, commenced in the Lady’s Book something more than a year ago. These biographies were well received by the public albeit some authors were not altogether pleased with their showing up. Mr. POE is a close analyst, a correct poet and a perfect windfall of a critic. He is a ripe scholar, too; dead ripe; rather too ripe; perhaps gone to seed.”

[English may have been referring to “Literary America,” a continuation of “The Literati” which Poe had announced in the January prospectus of the Stylus.]

[1848] LATE APRIL? NEW YORK. The publisher George P. Putnam, formerly of Wiley and Putnam, accepts the manuscript of Eureka. He recalls the initial visit of the author, “a gentleman with a somewhat nervous and excited manner,” to his office at 155 Broadway:

Seated at my desk, and looking at me a full minute with his “glittering eye,” he at length said: “I am Mr. Poe.” I was “all ear,” of course, and sincerely interested. It was the author of “The Raven,” and of “The Gold Bug!” “I hardly know,” said the poet, after a pause, “how to begin what I have to say. It is a matter of profound importance.” After another pause, the poet seeming to be in a tremor of excitement, he at length went on to say that the publication he had to propose was of momentous interest. Newton’s discovery of gravitation was a mere incident compared to the discoveries revealed in this book. It would at once command such universal and intense attention that the publisher might give up all other enterprises, and make this one book the business of his lifetime. An edition of fifty thousand copies might be sufficient to begin with . . . . I was really impressed — but not overcome. Promising a decision on Monday (it was late Saturday, P.M.), the poet had to rest so long in uncertainty about the extent of the edition — partly reconciled, by a small loan, meanwhile. We did venture, not upon fifty thousand, but five hundred (Putnam, p. 471).

[1848] LATE APRIL? The Weekly Universe reports that Poe has prepared his lecture on “The Universe” for publication: “We think it will rank as his noblest work” (quoted in Eveleth to Poe, 9 July).

[1848] LATE APRIL? Poe dines with Rufus W. Griswold; afterwards he becomes intoxicated and sends a request for help to Mrs. Shew’s home, 47 Bond [page 732:] Street. She asks Hopkins and Roland S. Houghton to go to his aid. Hopkins recalls: “Dr. Houghton and I found him [Poe] crazy-drunk in the hands of the police, and took him home to Fordham (eleven miles), where we found poor Mrs. Clemm waiting for him. He had been gone three days, — went to draw pay for an article, got into a spree, spent all, and we had to leave $5, with Mrs. Clemm for immediate necessities, as there was not a penny in the house” (Hopkins to Shew, 9 February 1875, Miller [1977], pp. 100-101; see also Shew to J. H. Ingram, 16 February 1875, pp. 104-05).

[1848] EARLY MAY. At Mrs. Shew’s home Poe completes the first draft of “The Bells,” a manuscript of seventeen lines bearing the ascription “By Mrs. M. L. Shew.” She recalls: “He came in and said, ‘Marie Louise, I have to write a poem. I have no feeling, no sentiment, no inspiration —’ I answered we will have supper and I will help you. So after tea had been served in a conservatory with the windows open, near a church — I playfully said, here is paper. A Bell (very jolly and sharp) rang at the corner of the street. He said I so dislike the noise of bells tonight. I cannot write. I have no subject. I am exhausted. So I took his pen and wrote ‘The Bells. By E. A. Poe,[’] and I mimic[k]ed his style, and wrote the Bells, the little silver Bells &c. &c. he finishing each line” (Shew to Ingram, 23 January 1875, Miller [1977], pp. 98-99; see also Mabbott [1969], 1:429-30, 434, and Moldenhauer [1973], pp. 12-13).

[1848] EARLY MAY. Dr. John W. Francis examines Poe at Mrs. Shew’s home, diagnosing heart disease (Miller [1977], p. 99; cf. Poe’s denial of diagnosis in 1 October letter to Mrs. Whitman).

[1848] EARLY MAY? LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS. The poetess Mrs. Jane Ermina Locke replies to a letter from Poe. She expresses her deep interest in his welfare and indicates a desire to obtain an account of his life and his portrait. She is reluctant, however, to answer his requests for information on her own life: “They attach to the brief page of my own history an importance — an ‘all’ that while it surprises, grieves me. . . . Can it be that because you absolutely know ‘nothing’ of me — because of what seems to you my obscurity there may be something wrong that makes you secretly hesitate to call me friend” (quoted in Poe’s 19 May reply).

[Poe hoped to remarry, as demonstrated by his subsequent courtships of Mrs. Whitman and Mrs. Elmira Royster Shelton; the tactful questions he directed to Mrs. Locke were designed to determine whether she was a widow (cf. Bardwell Heywood to Miss Annie Sawyer, 2 October).] [page 733:]

[1848] MAY. FORDHAM. Poe sends a letter of recommendation to the shipowner Charles H. Marshall. Poe believes that Dr. Freeman, a neighborhood physician, is fully qualified for the post he seeks, that of surgeon on board the passenger ship United States: “I have great pleasure in mentioning that he [Dr. Freeman] has attended my family for the last two years” (L, 2:368).

[1848] 3 MAY. Poe replies to a letter from the Philadelphia poetaster Henry B. Hirst: “I am glad to hear that you are getting out ‘Endymion’, of which you must know that I think highly — very highly — if I did fall asleep while hearing it read.” Poe is now living at Fordham, Westchester County, “14 miles” from New York by railroad: “Should you have any trouble about finding me, inquire at the office of the ‘Home Journal’ — or ‘Union Magazine’ ” (L, 2:365).

[1848] 15 MAY. NEW YORK. John Henry Hopkins, Jr., writes Poe about Eureka:

On glancing over your MS. the other day at Mr. Putnam’s, I perceived that you had added a new developement of your ideas. After the closing[,] the magnificent and sublime thought of a new universe springing into existence at Every throb of the Divine heart, (a passage at which in my humble judgment, the work should end,) you go on to explain the Divine heart as being our own, and then lay down a system of complete and pure pantheism.

Now I do not intend to object to this on theological grounds at present, for that would lead me into an almost interminable discussion, besides being out of place in me. But I think that on further reflection you will see that scientifically it is unsound, and contradictory of other parts of your theory.

1st. You do not deny I suppose that God is Infinite. Yet you make the primary irradiation of matter limited both in time and in extent — How can infinity resolve itself, or diffuse itself or expand itself into finity? If God is infinite and the whole deity exists now only under the form of the Universe, the irradiation must have been infinite in time & extent also . . . .

2nd. But this is not all. You know well that the great body of Christians regard pantheism as a damnable heresy, if not worse. Such a brand would be a blight upon your book, which not even your genius could efface, and your great discovery would at once be ranked by the majority among the vain dreams of skepticism and the empty chimaeras of infidelity. If published as it now stands, I should myself be compelled to attack that part of it, for I could not in conscience do otherwise (MB-G).

[1848] 19 MAY. FORDHAM. Poe writes Mrs. Jane Ermina Locke in Lowell, apologizing for failing to answer her “last kind and noble letter” more promptly: “But for duties that, just now, will not be neglected or even postponed — the proof-reading of a work of scientific detail [Eureka], in which a trivial error would involve me in very serious embarrassment — I would, ere this, have been in Lowell — to clasp you by the hand — and to [page 734:] thank you personally for all that I owe you: — and oh, I feel that this is very — very much.” Poe again asks Mrs. Locke for the details of her “personal history,” explaining that his secluded existence at Fordham has prevented him from learning anything about her: “I feel that you cannot misunderstand me. . . . Tell me only of the ties — if any exist — that bind you to the world: — and yet I perceive that I may have done very wrong in asking you this: — now that I have asked it, it seems to me the maddest of questions, involving, possibly, the most visionary of hopes.” Mrs. Locke can find biographical sketches of Poe in Graham’ Magazine for February 1845 and in the Southern Literary Messenger for January 1848: “The only portrait, I believe, was in ‘Graham’ ” (L, 2:366-68).

[1848] 22 MAY. NEW YORK. Poe and George P. Putnam sign a printed “Memorandum of Agreement,” stipulating that Eureka will be published on or before 15 June. After the publisher has recovered the cost of publication, he will pay the author at the rate of “ten percent upon the retail price of all copies that have been or may be sold,” payments to be made in February and August of each year (PP-G; see CA. 11 JULY for actual publication).

[1848] 23 MAY. Poe signs a promissory note: “Received of George P. Putnam Fourteen Dollars money loaned, to be repaid out of the proceeds of the Copyright of my work entitled ‘Eureka, a Prose Poem’; and I hereby engage, in case the sales of said work do not cover the expenses, according to the account rendered by said Putnam in January 1849, to repay the said amount of Fourteen Dollars; and I also engage not to ask or apply for any other loans or advances from said Putnam in any way, and to wait until January 1849 for the statement of account as above, before making any demand whatever.” The note in Poe’s hand is also signed by two witnesses, Maria Clemm and Marie Louise Shew (facsimile in Nelson, p. 168).

[1848] 23, 25, 27 MAY. PARIS. La Démocratie pacifique contains “ Le Scarabée d’or,” a translation of “The Gold-Bug” by Isabelle Meunier (Mabbott [1978], 3:805-06).

[1848] BEFORE 24 MAY. PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND. The English authoress Anna Blackwell, who had boarded with Poe and Mrs. Clemm last autumn, comes to Providence to receive “magnetic treatment” from Professor de Bonneville. She discusses Poe with Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman (Varner [1940], p. 289; Whitman to J. H. Ingram, 14 February 1875, Miller [1979], p. 255).

[1848] CA. 24 MAY. Miss Blackwell writes Poe, asking his advice about publishing a collection of her poetry (Poe’s 14 June reply). [page 735:]

[1848] LATE MAY. FORDHAM. The authoress Maria J. McIntosh makes Poe’s acquaintance at the home of Mr. Lindsay, a relative of Mrs. Mary Osborne. Poe learns that Miss McIntosh is a friend of Mrs. Whitman and that she is about to visit Providence; he enthusiastically discusses Mrs. Whitman’s writings with her (Whitman to Ingram, 6 March 1874 and 14 February 1875, Miller [1979], pp. 61, 255-56; see also L, 2:375-76, 528).

[1848] JUNE OR BEFORE. NEW YORK. Marie Louise Shew is persuaded that a continued association with Poe would be detrimental to her spiritual well-being: “Mr. Hopkins was a great admirer of Mr. Poe, and often met him at my house, but when the question of pantheism came up, you see he thought him either insane or a hopeless infadel [sic], and . . . he would tell the story of that dreadful night when they took him home to Fordham, Mr. Poe reciting, ‘some unheard of jargon with glorious pathos — or deadly hate’ . . . . Of course I felt he was lost, either way” (Shew to Ingram, 16 February 1875, Miller [1977], pp. 104-05).

[1848] JUNE OR BEFORE. Mrs. Shew writes Poe at Fordham, declining further intimacy (Poe’s June reply).

[On 3 April 1875 Mrs. Shew wrote Ingram: “Mr. Poe always treated me with respect and I was to him a friend in need, and a friend indeed, but he was so excentric, and so unlike others, and I was also, that I had to define a position, I was bound to take, and it hurt his feelings, and after he was dead I deeply regret[t]ed my letter to him” (Miller [1977], p. 124).]

[1848] JUNE. FORDHAM. Poe replies to Mrs. Shew: “Can it be true Louise that you have the idea fixed in your mind to desert your unhappy and unfortunate friend and patient. . . . I have read over your letter again, and again, and can not make it possible with any degree of certainty, that you wrote it in your right mind (I know you did not without tears of anguish and regret) . . . . Oh Louise how many sorrows are before you, your ingenuous and sympathetic nature, will be constantly wounded in contact with the hollow heartless world, and for me alas! unless some true and tender and pure womanly love saves me, I shall hardly last a year longer, alone!” Poe sadly recalls Mrs. Shew’s last visit to Fordham, when she accompanied Hopkins in early April: “I heard your voice as you passed out of my sight leaving me with the Parson, ‘The man of God, The servant of the most High.’ He stood smiling and bowing at the madman Poe! But, that I had invited him to my house, I would have rushed out into Gods light and freedom!” (L, 2:372-74).

[1848] JUNE. CINCINNATI. The Gentleman’s Magazine commences publication. In the first number Poe’s name appears on a list of prominent American [page 736:] authors said to have sent “letters and assurances” promising contributions. This monthly expires in August with its third number, nothing by Poe having been printed (Heartman and Canny, pp. 197-98; Hull, p. 701).

Mrs. Whitman's home on Benefit Street, Providence [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 736, middle]
 
Mrs. Whitman’s home on Benefit Street, Providence

[1848] CA. 1 JUNE. FORDHAM. Poe sends his poem beginning “I saw thee once — once only — years ago” to Mrs. Whitman in Providence. Although the manuscript bears “no signature . . . nor any title,” she recognizes the handwriting as Poe’s by comparing it with that on the 2 March envelope in which he sent her his 1831 “To Helen” (Whitman to Ingram, 6 March 1874, Miller [1979], p. 60; see also L, 2:386, 409).

[Poe’s 1848 poem commemorates the brief glimpse he had of Mrs. Whitman on “a July midnight” in 1845; subsequent editors have called it “the second ‘To Helen’ ” to distinguish it from his 1831 verses.]

[1848] 1 JUNE. LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS. Mrs. Jane Ermina Locke completes “The True Poet,” a poem addressed to Poe (New York Evening Post, 3 August).

[1848] 3 JUNE. PHILADELPHIA. The John-Donkey contains Thomas Dunn English’s “Hints to Authors: On the Germanesque,” an attack on Poe in the guise of purported instruction. Any aspirant author can learn the “Germanesque” [page 737:] mode: “Indeed, judging by the works and mind of its chief and almost only follower on this side of the Atlantic, it is a pure art, almost mechanical — requiring neither genius, taste, wit, nor judgment — and accessible to every impudent and contemptible mountebank, who may choose to slander a lady [Mrs. Ellet], and then plead insanity to shelter himself from the vengeance of her relatives.” By way of illustration English reprints his “Tale of a Gray Tadpole,” a parody of Poe’s fiction originally published in the Philadelphia Irish Citizen as “The Ghost of a Grey Tadpole.” This story “has been attributed to Mr. POE. We are not sure that it is from the pen of that very distinguished writer; but if not his, is a palpable imitation of his style.”

[1848] 7 JUNE. FORDHAM. Poe writes Charles Astor Bristed in New York. Recalling Bristed’s “former kindness,” Poe explains that he is “desperately circumstanced” and knows of no other person who might be both able and willing to aid him: “My last hope of extricating myself from the difficulties which are pressing me to death, is in going personally to a distant connexion near Richmond, Va, and endeavoring to interest him in my behalf. With a very little help all would go well with me — but even that little I cannot obtain; the effort to overcome one trouble only serving to plunge me in another. Will you forgive me, then, if I ask you to loan me the means of getting to Richmond? . . . Mr Putnam has my book [Eureka] in press, but he could make me no advance, beyond $14 — some weeks ago” (L, 2:368-69).

[1848] AFTER 7 JUNE? NEW YORK. Poe calls on Bristed, sending in his engraved card, bordered in black to indicate mourning for Virginia’s death, and bearing this handwritten request: “Will Mr Bristed honor Mr Poe with a few minutes private conversation?” Poe probably tells Bristed that he needs to visit Richmond to promote his forthcoming magazine, the Stylus; possibly he identifies the distant relative who might support this project as Edward Valentine (suggested by Poe to Bristed, 7 June, and to Valentine, 20 November; facsimile of Poe’s card in Quinn, p. 567).

[1848] 14 JUNE. FORDHAM. Poe replies to Anna Blackwell’s “letter of three weeks ago,” claiming (falsely) that he failed to answer it sooner because he has been “absent from home rather more than that time” and “only this moment received it.” Although Miss Blackwell’s poems are “infinitely superior to many,” she will have difficulty in publishing them: “The Appletons will publish them, leaving you the eventual copyright, but binding you to supply all loss resulting from the publication: — and they will allow you ten per cent on all values effected after all expences are paid — so long as they continue to publish the book. No publisher will [page 738:] make better terms with you than these.” Poe wonders why Miss Blackwell has gone to Providence: “Do you know Mrs Whitman? I feel deep interest in her poetry and character. I have never seen her — but once. Anne Lynch, however, told me many things about the romance of her character which singularly interested me and excited my curiosity. . . . Can you not tell me something about her — any thing — every thing you know — and keep my secret — that is to say let no one know that I have asked you to do so?” (L, 2:369-71).

[1848] 15 JUNE. Poe writes Bayard Taylor, who is editing the Union Magazine during Mrs. Caroline M. Kirkland’s absence in Europe. If Taylor finds the enclosed poem [presumably the second “To Helen”] suitable for the Union, Poe asks to be informed how much he can pay for it and when it could appear. Poe regrets that he has never thanked Taylor for his “picturesque and vigorous” sketches of European travel published in 1846, Views A-Foot: “when they reached me, and long afterwards, I was too ill to write — and latterly I have been every day hoping to have an opportunity of making your acquaintance and thanking you in person” (L, 2:371; for Taylor’s editorship, see Derby, pp. 597-99, and Taylor, pp. 122, 127-28).

[1848] 17 JUNE. NEW YORK. The Literary World carries an advertisement for George P. Putnam, Publisher, who announces several forthcoming books: “Eureka . . . By EDGAR A. POE, Esq. . . . In June.”

[1848] 17 JUNE. PHILADELPHIA. The John-Donkey contains “REVIEW OF NEW BOOKS: BY E. A. POE,” in which English reprints verbatim the satire on Poe’s literary criticism which had appeared in the New York Town of 17 May 1845, a mock notice of the fictitious title Adventures, Life and Opinions of John Smith.

[1848] 17, 20, 22, 24 JUNE. PARIS. Le Journal du Loiret reprints Isabelle Meunier’s translation of “The Gold-Bug” from La Démocratie pacifique of 23, 25, 27 May (Mabbott [1978], 3:806).

[1848] 21 JUNE. FORDHAM. Poe writes Mrs. Sarah Anna Lewis in New York: “I have been spending a couple of hours most pleasantly, my dear Stella, in reading and re-reading your ‘Child of the Sea’. When it appears in print — less enticing to the eye, perhaps, than your own graceful MS. — I shall endeavor to do it critical justice in full; but in the meantime permit me to say, briefly, that I think it well conducted as a whole — abounding in narrative passages of unusual force — but especially remarkable for the boldness and poetic fervor of its sentimental portions, where a very striking originality is manifested” (L, 2:372; Ostrom [1969], pp. 36-37). [page 739:]

[1848] LATE JUNE. PROVIDENCE. Maria J. McIntosh spends an evening at Sarah Helen Whitman’s home, Anna Blackwell also being present. Mrs. Whitman recalls: “Miss M[cIntosh] said, ‘Mrs. W[hitman], on just such a night as this one month ago I met Mr. Poe for the first time at the house of a gentleman in Fordham — a Mr. Lindsay . . . his whole talk was about you.’ . . . Miss Blackwell then said that she had received a letter from Poe to much the same effect two or three weeks before, but had not thought to speak of it to me. She afterwards at my request gave me the letter, which she said she had not answered” (14 February 1875 letter to J. H. Ingram, Miller [1979], pp. 255-56; see also p. 61).

[1848] LATE? JUNE. FORDHAM. Mrs. Jane Ermina Locke travels to Fordham to meet Poe, spending the day at his cottage. She suggests that he deliver a lecture in Lowell, inviting him to stay at her home. Poe presumably discovers that his correspondent is not a widow, but a married woman older than himself, with five children (Annie Richmond to Ingram, 13 March 1877, Miller [1977], p. 166; see also Reilly [1972], p. 210, and Miller [1979], pp. 162, 346).

[1848] JULY OR BEFORE. NEW YORK STATE. Poe makes a walking tour of “one or two” of the Hudson River counties north of Fordham (implied by his sketch “Landor’s Cottage”).

[1848] JULY. CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA. The Southern Quarterly Review contains an article “Fugitive Poetry of America” by “A. S. P.,” who discusses “The Raven” at length, quoting several stanzas. While this critic praises Poe “for the production of so remarkable a metrical novelty,” he finds fault on other grounds:

The psychology of the poem is deformed by the same error which characterizes some of this writer’s prose productions, a wild and unbridled extravagance. Scenery and incidents of themselves insignificant are made to produce a most powerful effect upon the mind of the dramatis personae. . . . A rap at the door and a flutter of the curtain exert as powerful an influence over a man, as they would over a child who had been frightened to the verge of idiocy by terrible ghost stories. It seems as if the author wrote under the influence of opium, or attempted to describe the fantastic terrors which afflict a sufferer from delirium tremens. A sound mind is incapable of such vagaries, and finds it very difficult to sympathize with them.

[1848] EARLY JULY? LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS. Mrs. Locke makes arrangements for Poe’s lecture (Miller [1977], p. 166).

[1848] 7 JULY. The Daily Journal & Courier reports: “We are requested to state that Mr Edgar A. Poe will lecture in Wentworth’s Hall, on Monday evening, [page 740:] 10th inst., on the Poets and Poetry of America; and give recitations from various authors. He will also read his beautiful and popular poem, ‘The Raven.’ ” The Journal also carries a brief advertisement, which is repeated in the 8 and 10 July issues: “MR. EDGAR A. POE, of N. York, will deliver a Lecture to the citizens of Lowell . . . . Tickets to be had at the stores of Bixby & Co., Carleton & Hovey, Merrill & Heywood, Oliver March, James C. Ayer, and at the Hall.”

[1848] 8 JULY. The Lowell Advertiser reports: “Mr E. A. Poe, the well known poet and critic, is expected to visit Lowell this week. On Monday evening of next week, he will comply with the wishes of his many admirers in our city, by giving an entertainment in Wentworth’s Hall. The entertainment will consist of a lecture on ‘the poets and poetry of America’ . . . . Mr Poe is too well known to need comment of ours. His friends and foes, (for all critics have foes) acknowledge his talents to be of the highest order. It will be quite a treat, and no every-day-affair.”

[1848] 9 JULY PHILLIPS, MAINE. George W. Eveleth writes Poe, inquiring when his lecture on “The Universe” will be published. He quotes favorable notices of the lecture and an announcement of its forthcoming publication from the New York Weekly Universe. Eveleth has recently read the unsigned critique of Poe’s Tales and other American books in Blackwood’s Magazine for November 1847: “It appears to me that the writer here (in speaking of yours) contradicts himself in some instances — that he often finds fault, in words, where his manner and tone show that he would applaud — and that in many cases he takes unnecessary pains to remove objections, to reconcile things which would not be raised as objections by any other than the shallow-headed. . . . I have been, and am, half inclined to put down the article as written by none other than one Edgar A. Poe” (Eveleth, pp. 20-22).

[1848] 10 JULY OR BEFORE. LOWELL. Poe arrives in Lowell, taking lodging at Wamesit Cottage on the Concord River, the home of Mrs. Locke and her husband, the attorney John G. Locke (Reilly [1972], p. 210).

[1848] 10 JULY OR BEFORE. Mrs. Locke introduces Poe to her friend and neighbor Annie Richmond, wife of the well-to-do paper manufacturer Charles B. Richmond (Coburn, pp. 468-69).

[In “Landor’s Cottage,” published in the Boston Flag of Our Union for 9 June 1849, Poe gave a fictionalized account of his first meeting with Mrs. Richmond:

I rapped with my stick against the door [of the cottage], which stood half open. Instantly a figure advanced to the threshold — that of a young woman about [page 741:] twenty-eight years of age — slender, or rather slight, and somewhat above the medium height. As she approached, with a certain modest decision of step altogether indescribable, I said to myself, “Surely here I have found the perfection of natural, in contradistinction from artificial grace.” The second impression which she made on me, but by far the more vivid of the two, was that of enthusiasm. So intense an expression of romance, perhaps I should call it, or of unworldliness, as that which gleamed from her deep-set eyes, had never so sunk into my heart of hearts before. . . . The eyes of Annie (I heard some one from the interior call her “Annie, darling!”) were “spiritual gray;” her hair, a light chestnut.

In a 5 February 1877 letter to J. H. Ingram, Annie recalled her initial impressions of Poe: “He seemed so unlike any other person, I had ever known, that I could not think of him in the same way — he was incomparable — not to be measured by any ordinary standard — & all the events of his life, which he narrated to me, had a flavor of unreality about them, just like his stories” (Miller [1977], pp. 162-63; see also p. 166).]

[1848] 10 JULY. The Daily Journal & Courier carries a laudatory advance notice of Poe’s lecture this evening, possibly contributed by Mrs. Locke:

His subject will be, The Poets and Poetry of America, interspersed with various recitations, and, to conclude, at the particular request of his friends, with his own most beautiful and highly imaginative Poem of “The Raven.” This, with several other Poems of scarcely less merit, have ranked him, both in this country, and in Europe, if we may judge at all by the critical and biographical notices of him in Foreign Reviews, as a Poet of the highest order. As a Prose-writer few go before him according to Griswold, Lowell, and others. — His Tales, in which are “Valdemar,” “The fall of the House of Usher,” which ’tis said French writers have so much admired as to steal, at the risk of their own reputation for plagiarism, no one can read without a thrilling admiration. . . .

This is the first time Mr Poe has ever visited our city, and we hope for its intellectual and literary reputation that he may have a crowded house.

[1848] 10 JULY. Poe lectures on “The Poets and Poetry of America,” paying especial attention to female poets and highly praising Mrs. Lewis, Miss Lynch, Mrs. Osgood, and Mrs. Whitman (Poe’s letter to Annie Richmond, after 1 October; manuscript fragment of lecture Poe gave Mrs. Whitman, after 20 October).

[Many years later Sarah H. Heywood, Mrs. Richmond’s younger sister, recalled Poe’s lecture: “His manner of rendering some of the selections . . . fascinated me, although he gave no attempt at dramatic effect. Everything was rendered with pure intonation and perfect enunciation, marked attention being paid to the rhythm: he almost sang the more musical versifications. I recall more perfectly than anything else, the modulations of his smooth baritone voice, as he recited the opening lines of Byron’s ‘Bride of Abydos’ — ‘Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle’ — measuring [page 742:] the dactylic movement as perfectly as if he were scanning it: the effect was very pleasing. . . . I did not hear the conversation at Mrs. Richmond’s after the lecture, when a few persons came in to meet him” (Ingram, p. 389; also in Gill, pp. 209-11).]

[1848] 10-11 JULY. After the lecture Poe spends “the remainder of the evening and part of the next day” at Annie Richmond’s home on Ames Street, where he relates a somewhat romanticized account of his early life to her brother Bardwell Heywood (Bardwell to Miss Sawyer, 2 October).

[1848] 11 JULY. The Lowell Advertiser reports: “MR POE’S LECTURE on the Poets and Poetry of America, last evening, was deservedly listened to with much attention. His remarks upon the system by which criticisms and puffs are ground out, were, we are inclined to believe, too true.”

[1848] CA. 11 JULY. NEW YORK. George P. Putnam issues Eureka: A Prose Poem, a small volume priced at seventy-five cents. The text is preceded by Poe’s “Preface”:

To the few who love me and whom I love — to those who feel rather than to those who think — to the dreamers and those who put faith in dreams as in the only realities — I offer this Book of Truths, not in its character of Truth-Teller, but for the Beauty that abounds in its Truth; constituting it true. To these I present the composition as an Art-Product alone: — let us say as a Romance; or, if I be not urging too lofty a claim, as a Poem.

What I here propound is true: — therefore it cannot die: — or if by any means it be now trodden down so that it die, it will “rise again to the Life Everlasting.”

Nevertheless it is as a Poem only that I wish this work to be judged after I am dead.

[1848] 12 JULY. In the Morning Express the editor James Brooks reviews Eureka:

A most extraordinary essay upon the Material and Spiritual Universe, — but one to which we are at this moment unable to do anything like adequate justice, — the work itself having barely made its appearance from the press of Mr. Putnam. Those of our readers who remember a report of Mr. POE’S Lecture at the Society Library, a few months ago, which appeared in this journal at the time, may gather some idea of the work before us from the fact that that lecture has been expanded, with really consummate art . . . . We shall be greatly surprised if this work do[es] not create a most profound sensation among the literary and scientific classes all over the Union . . . . In respect of novelty, Mr. POE’S new theory of the Universe will certainly attract universal attention, inasmuch as it is demonstrated, so to speak, with a degree of logical acumen which has certainly not been equalled since the days of Sir Isaac Newton . . . . But we must bring our brief notice of this extraordinary book to a hurried close here — earnestly recommending it to every one of our readers as one that can in no event fail to shed an unfading lustre upon [page 743:] the American name, as a work of almost unequalled power in respect of philosophical research and speculative force. Mr. POE has appropriately dedicated it, “with very profound respect,” to Alexander Von Humboldt, whose well-known “COSMOS” he very justly ranks higher than any other work upon the same subject.

The review is reprinted in today’s Evening Express.

[1848] 12 JULY. The Commercial Advertiser notices Eureka: “We have not read this book, but intend to con it over without loss of time. We expect to find in it some brilliant thoughts, and some truths, with much eccentricity. The author calls it ‘an art-product — a romance — or perchance a poem.’ We should not be surprised to find it verify the description.”

[1848] 14 JULY. The Journal of Commerce favorably notices Eureka (Pollin [1975a], p. 29; [1980], p. 28).

[1848] 14 JULY. FORDHAM. Poe writes the Georgia poet Thomas Holley Chivers, who is visiting New York: “I have just returned from an excursion to Lowell: — this is the reason why I have not been to see you. My mother [Mrs. Clemm] will leave this note at your hotel in the event of your not being in when she calls. I am very anxious to see you — as I propose going on to Richmond on Monday [17 July]. Can you not come out to Fordham & spend tomorrow & Sunday with me? . . . The cars for Fordham leave the dépôt at the City Hall almost every hour” (L, 2:375; Chivers [1957], p. 74).

[1848] 15 JULY. Poe writes the Fordham authoress Mrs. Mary Osborne: “May I beg of you to make my acknowledgments as warmly as possible — or as admissible — to Miss [Maria J.] McIntosh, for the favor she has done me in sending me the book — rendered doubly valuable by her autograph? Will you request for me, also, her acceptance of a late work of my own — ‘Eureka’ — which accompanies this note? I have ventured to send with it, too, a duplicate copy, in the hope that Mrs Osborne will honor me by receiving it as an expression of my very sincere esteem and friendship” (L, 2:375-76).

[1848] 15 JULY. NEW YORK. The Albion reviews Eureka, quoting Poe’s preface in its entirety: “Passing over the manifest tone of self-complacency that runs through this introduction, deeming it very venial in a dreamy poet, we turned over a few pages, but found to our surprise that all the poetry was in the preface. Eureka, in point of fact, is an ‘Essay on the Material and Spiritual Universe’ . . . . It is obvious, therefore, that there is a singular discrepancy between the preface and the essay. . . . the latter is deep, abstruse, and metaphysical, as far as a hasty glance enables one to judge [page 744:] . . . . We doubt not that with Mr. Poe’s keen research and undoubted talents, he has written what will draw upon him criticism the most thorough and acute, and we trust for his own sake that there will prove to be no romance at all in ‘Eureka.’ ”

[1848] 15 JULY. The Evening Mirror and the Evening Post contain brief notices of Eureka, neither reviewer having had time to read the book (Pollin [1975a], p. 29; [1980], p. 28).

[1848] 15 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. The Saturday Evening Post publishes a 10 July letter from its New York correspondent, Bayard Taylor, who mentions several forthcoming books, including “Poe’s prose-poem of Eureka, in which his new theory of the universe will be revealed. Whether the readers of the work will echo its title, on perusal, is a question to be decided; but many, I have no doubt, will answer with the Raven: ‘Nevermore!’ ” (Laverty [1951], p. 346; cf. Taylor, p. 122).

[1848] 15 JULY. PARIS. In La Liberté de penser Charles Baudelaire publishes “Révélation magnetique,” his translation of “Mesmeric Revelation,” prefacing it with a brief appreciative essay on Poe’s writings (P. F. Quinn, pp. 89-93).

[1848] 17 JULY OR LATER. NEW YORK. Poe leaves for Richmond “to obtain subscriptions for ‘The Stylus,’ intending, if successful there, to make a tour of the Southern States before returning to the North” (Mrs. Whitman to R. H. Stoddard, 30 September 1872, Stoddard [1884], 1:155; cf. Poe to Chivers, 14 July 1848).

[1848] 19 JULY. PHILADELPHIA. The Dollar Newspaper copies the notice of Eureka which had appeared in the New York Commercial Advertiser on 12 July (Phillips, 2:1266; Pollin [1980], p. 28).

[1848] 20 JULY. BOSTON. In the Evening Transcript Epes Sargent, the new editor, reviews Eureka:

Mr Poe . . . dedicates his work . . . to Alexander Von Humboldt. So ingeniously does he smatter of astronomical systems, concentric circles, centrifugal forces, planetary distances, the Nebular theory and the star Alpha Lyrae, that we should not be surprised if the great cosmogonist himself were to be dismayed by the lavish ostentation of scientific lore . . . . There is talent unquestionably in these fanciful speculations, and we are occasionally reminded of that remarkable work [Robert Chambers] “The Vestiges of Creation” by the character and tendency of the author’s scientific romancing. But the vital element of sincerity is wanting. The mocking smile of the hoaxer is seen behind his grave mask. He is more anxious to mystify and confound than to persuade, or even to instruct . . . . [page 745:] Sargent hopes that Poe will “exercise his really fine talents upon something more profitable to himself and his readers.”

[1848] 22 JULY. The Saturday Rambler reports that Poe “is about publishing a prose-poem” revealing “his new theory of the universe” (Pollin [1975a], p. 28; [1980], p. 28).

[1848] 22 JULY. The Boston Museum reports: “Edgar A. Poe has been lecturing and giving recitations of his own verse, at Lowell.” This issue also contains a reprint of “The Gold-Bug.”

[1848] 22 JULY. NEW YORK. The Literary World lists Eureka among the books published during the past week.

[1848] 29 JULY. The Home Journal contains a five-stanza poem by Sarah Helen Whitman, written in response to Poe’s second “To Helen” and quoting the phrase “Beauty which is Hope” from his unpublished manuscript (Reilly [1965], pp. 188, 234, 265).

[Mrs. Whitman’s poem, headed “Stanzas” in the Journal, was subsequently entitled “A Night in August.” Poe did not see it, as he recalled in his 1 October letter to her: “of all my set of the ‘Home Journal’, I failed in receiving only that individual number which contained your published verses.”]

[1848] 29 JULY. The Literary World contains a long review of Eureka, unsigned but written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. Eureka opens with “a keen burlesque on the Aristotelian and Baconian methods of ascertaining truth”; the author then “pours forth his rhapsodical ecstasies in glorification of the third mode — the noble art of guessing.” Hopkins agrees that a guess is “as good as anything else, provided it hits.” Poe’s guesses are “apparently near the mark” when he is “accounting for the principle of the Newtonian Law of Gravity” or explaining “the formation of stars and suns, luminous and non-luminous, moons and planets with their rings, &c., . . . according to the nebular theory of La Place.” While the “physical portion” of Poe’s theory may be largely true, his theological speculations are “intolerable.” Hopkins condemns “the system of Pantheism which is more or less in-woven into the texture of the whole book, but displays itself most broadly at the end.” The author is guilty of absurd inconsistencies:

On pp. 28, 29, Mr. Poe speaks of “God” and “the Godhead” as a Christian or a deist might speak — as being One. On p. 103 he has the “hardihood” to assert that we have a right to infer that there are an infinity of universes (?) such as ours, of which “Each exists, apart and independently, in the bosom of its proper and [page 746:] particular god.” This makes Mr. Poe a polytheist — a believer in an infinite number of proper and particular gods, existing apart and independently. On page 141 it appears that this infinity of gods is forgotten, and Mr. Poe cannot conceive “that anything exists greater than his own soul” . . . . All this is extraordinary nonsense, if not blasphemy; and it may very possibly be both (attribution in Poe to C. F. Hoffman, 20 September).

[1848] 31 JULY. A copy of Eureka is deposited, for copyright, in the Clerk’s Office of the United States District Court, Southern District of New York State (Nelson, pp. 173, 201).

[1848] 31 JULY. BROOKLYN. The Daily Eagle favorably notices Eureka, which contains “new and startling” thoughts about God, man, and immortality, written in a poetic style (Pollin [1975a], p. 28; [1980], p. 28).

[1848] LATE JULY. RICHMOND. Poe calls on his early love Sarah Elmira Royster, now the well-to-do widow Mrs. Shelton. “I . . . was amazed to see him — but knew him instantly — He came up to me in the most enthusiastic manner and said: ‘Oh! Elmira, is this you?’ ” (Mrs. Shelton’s reminiscences transcribed by E. V. Valentine on 19 November 1875, ViRVal).

[Although Quinn (pp. 571, 629) doubted that Poe saw Mrs. Shelton in the summer of 1848, Mrs. Whitman stated repeatedly that he renewed the acquaintance at this time, basing her testimony upon what Poe told her in the autumn of 1848. “During this visit to Richmond, late in July, 1848, Mr. Poe had called on Mrs. Shelton . . . . Having been received by her with great kindness he was urged by one of their mutual friends to renew his addresses to her. He was tempted to follow this advice” (Mrs. Whitman to R. H. Stoddard, 30 September 1872, Stoddard [1884], 1:155). “I think he [Poe] told Mr. Pabodie that the years of their separation had greatly changed the tastes & idiosyncrasies of both” (Whitman to Mrs. Clemm, 4 April 1859, W, 17:424, or Quinn and Hart, p. 44).]

[1848] CA. AUGUST. PROVIDENCE. Mrs. Whitman receives a visit from Rufus W. Griswold, who obtains her permission to include several of her poems in his forthcoming anthology The Female Poets of America. She recalls: “He spoke of Poe’s interest in my writings & said that he [Poe] had been delivering a lecture on the poetesses of America in Lowell . . . . I asked him how it was that Poe had incurred the enmity of so many of the literary men of New York. He said it certainly was not that he had done anything exceptionably wrong to deserve it — that he had always said Poe was not so much to blame in his literary embroilments as were his enemies” (letter to J. H. Ingram, 6 March 1874, Miller [1979], pp. 60-61; cf. Whitman to Griswold, 13 February 1849, PHi, which alludes to his visit “last summer”). [page 747:]

[1848] EARLY AUGUST. Mrs. Whitman sends Poe these two stanzas transcribed from her poem to him published in the Home Journal for 29 July:

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”.

Her manuscript is “without signature . . . dated Providence R. I. August 1848.” Because she addresses it to Fordham — which has no post office — it is delivered instead to the post office in nearby West Farms, where it is detained (Whitman to Mrs. Julia Deane Freeman, 20 January 1859, Varner [1940], pp. 296-97; see also L, 2:386).

[1848] AUGUST. NEW YORK. The Democratic Review contains Poe’s “The Literati of New-York: S. Anna Lewis,” an unsigned critique in which he praises Mrs. Lewis’ forthcoming volume The Child of the Sea and Other Poems, “now in the press.” The Review briefly notices Eureka: “Mr. Poe is too well and favorably known not only to the reading public of this country but of England to make an extended notice of his peculiar excellence at all necessary here. The work now published by Mr. Putnam will doubtless be readily sought.”

[1848] AUGUST. In his Merchants’ Magazine Freeman Hunt reviews Eureka: “It is well the author has, by his own admission, brought this startling work into the provinces of poetry or romance. As a work of the imagination, it teems with the highest beauty of view and glorious thought. There is, there must be, much of the true in the grand Utopia of the universe thus imaged forth, because the presence of the true is intuitively felt. And then, Mr. Poe has a wonderful faculty of illustrating his theories. He unites the precision of mathematical acumen with the creative energy of the wildest imagination, and uses facts or fancies, as the exigencies demand, with equal facility.”

[1848] AUGUST. The New Church Repository, a Swedenborgian organ edited by George Bush, reviews Eureka: [page 748:]

A poet here enters upon profound speculations, shooting ahead of the Newtons, Laplaces, Herschells, and Nicholses, in the solution of the great problems of the Universe. He calls his work a poem, perhaps because, with Madame De Stael, he regards the Universe itself as more like a poem than a machine . . . . We might perhaps feel the want of a certain property termed demonstration as a buttress to his reasonings, but that the author has effectually estopped any such inconvenient demand in his case by the peremptory position that “in this world, at least, there is no such thing as demonstration” . . . . Waving, however, the application of this sweeping negatur to his own speculations, we refuse not to concede that the work before us does offer some hints towards solving no less a problem than that of the cause of gravitation, before which the grandest geniuses have shrank abashed. Of this we can scarcely make the barest statement in a manner which shall do full justice to the propounder’s thought, but we may afford an inkling of it by saying that he assumes a created unitary and irrelative particle as the first principle or germ of the Universe, and supposes an internal force, identical with the Divine volition, to have radiated or projected all but an infinity of minimal atoms from this parent particle into the regions of space, and that the attraction of gravitation is nothing else than a conatus on the part of these atoms to return to the central unity.

Many of Poe’s ideas were anticipated by Emanuel Swedenborg in his Outlines on the Infinite. Since “the worst feature” of Eureka is a “pantheistic tendency,” the reviewer recommends that Poe read this earlier treatise, hoping that “he may feel the force of Swedenborg’s reasoning in regard to the being and agency of a God distinct from nature.”

[1848] AUGUST. LOWELL. Jane Ermina Locke sends Poe her “Ermina’s Tale,” a manuscript poem of thirty-one stanzas describing her reactions to him:

Then forth there came to my enraptured sight, —

From whence I know not — how — or why it came —

A mortal form! — immortal — veiled! — in light

That well nigh had consumed my heart . . . .

 

Around his brow was twined a serpent wreath, —

And to his fingers swayed harpstrings of fire,

That swelled forlornest strains, burthening the breath

Of air, to memories of uncrowned desire. . . .

 

I felt as in the presence of a god!

My heart awe-struck, sent up a censer flame

With fingers clasped; flower burthened was the sod,

And there the figure knelt as best it me became! . . .

 

I felt his clasp, as lip to lip he pressed,

Listened, beguiled as to an angel’s tone,

To his impassioned words; — then sank to rest,

In trance divine my heart upon his own! [page 749:]

The poem, presumably forwarded to Fordham, is accompanied by Mrs. Locke’s brief letter: “I hope you will acknowledge the receipt of this immediately, tho’ more than this I shall not entreat of you, le[a]ving all to your own discretion and feelings, mine are written out, and you cannot mistake them; therefore you can judge of the safety of any thing you may say to me, or of the manner in which it will be received” (Reilly [1972], pp. 210-12).

[1848] AUGUST? RICHMOND. Poe makes the acquaintance of John R. Thompson, editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, who accepts “The Rationale of Verse” for publication (Thompson to P. P. Cooke, 17 October).

[Years later Thompson left a reminiscence which is exaggerated but not altogether untrue:

I was editing the “Messenger” . . . when one day, probably in the latter part of 1848, on going home for lunch my mother told me that a stranger had called to see me, and had left a message to the effect that for a week past a man calling himself Poe had been wandering around Rocketts (a rather disreputable suburb of Richmond) in a state of intoxication and apparent destitution, and that his friends, if he had any, ought to look after him. I immediately took a carriage and drove down to Rocketts, and spent the afternoon in a vain search . . . . Ten days, perhaps, had passed, and in the press of occupation the matter had entirely gone from my mind, when on a certain morning a person whom I had never seen before entered the office, asked if I was Mr. Thompson, and then said, “My name is Poe,” without further introduction or explanation. . . . He was unmistakably a gentleman of education and refinement, with the indescribable marks of genius in his face, which was of almost marble whiteness. He was dressed with perfect neatness; but one could see signs of poverty in the well-worn clothes, though his manner betrayed no consciousness of the fact. . . .

Poe was not what is called “a regular drinker,” but he was what is worse, a most irregular one, the desire for stimulants seeming to seize him like an attack of madness which he was powerless to resist. . . . After a month, perhaps, of total abstinence, he would be “off “ for a week . . . . Once I found him in a saloon called “The Alhambra,” frequented by gamblers and sporting men. He was mounted on a marble-top table, declaiming passages from his then unpublished [sic] “Eureka” to a motley crowd, to whom it was as unintelligible as so much Hebrew (quoted by Dimmock, p. 316).

The “Rocketts,” a wharf district on the James River, is luridly described in Thompson’s 9 November 1849 letter to E. H. N. Patterson, which places Poe at “the residence of Mr. John MacKenzie” (Quinn, pp. 569-70). If Poe did not stay with the Mackenzie family, who had adopted his sister Rosalie, perhaps he shared “bachelor lodgings” with Hugh Pleasants, editor of the Richmond Whig (asserted by Woodberry, 2:271, and Phillips, 2:1306, 1310-12).] [page 750:]

[1848] AUGUST? Poe challenges John M. Daniel, the young editor of the Semi-Weekly Examiner, to a duel (Poe to Mrs. Clemm, 28?-29? August 1849).

The Rocketts, Richmond Wharf disctrict [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 750, middle]
 
The “Rockets,” Richmond’s wharf district

[The duel, which never took place, was probably related to Poe’s problems with alcohol and money (cf. the Examiner’s 19 January 1849 notice of his engagement to Mrs. Whitman). Several days after Poe’s death Daniel wrote: “Thousands have seen him [Poe] drunk in the streets of this city. In all his visits save the last, he was in a state approaching mania. Whenever he tasted alchohol he seldom stopt drinking it so long as he was able. . . . His taste for drink was a simple disease — no source of pleasure nor of excitement” (Examiner, 19 October 1849).]

[1848] AUGUST? Mrs. Jane Clark, who had met Poe in 1835 during his Messenger editorship, recalls: “When in Richmond he [Poe] generally stayed with the Mackenzies at Duncan Lodge . . . . One day he came in with his sister [Rosalie] and two of the Mackenzies and stopped with me. There were some other people present, and he read The Raven for us. He shut out the daylight and read by an astral lamp” (quoted by Weiss [1907], pp. 159-64; see also W, 1:222-23, and Mabbott [1969], 1:564; for “Duncan Lodge,” see Scott [1941], pp. 215-17).

[1848] 2 AUGUST. PHILADELPHIA. The North American briefly notices Eureka (Pollin [1980], p. 28). [page 751:]

[1848] 3 AUGUST. NEW YORK. The Daily Tribune reviews Eureka: “This is one of the most remarkable books we have read in a long time. As a poem, it has the quality of a bold and exhaustless force of imagination; as an essay on the Material and Spiritual Universe, which it would more properly be termed, it is marked with the keenest analysis and the most singular ingenuity.” Poe’s 3 February lecture on “The Universe” has been “wrought out into a more perfect shape, with some additional illustrations. . . . The tenacity with which he pursues the subject along the farthest brink of finite knowledge, and the daring with which he throws aside all previous systems of philosophers and theologians, constitute the chief merit of the book. . . . We do not admire, however, the attempt at humor, in his description of the contents of a bottle floating in the Mare tenebrarum; it degrades the high aim with which the work sets out.” Recommending Eureka to “all who take an interest in the subject,” the Tribune excerpts from Poe’s conclusion his “wild conjecture” equating “the Heart Divine” with that of mankind itself.

[1848] 3 AUGUST. The Evening Post contains Mrs. Locke’s “The True Poet” a nine-stanza poem addressed to Poe and dated “Wamesit Cottage, June 1st” (Reilly [1972], pp. 209-10, 219).

[1848] 5 AUGUST. WESTFORD, MASSACHUSETTS. Bardwell Heywood writes Miss Annie Sawyer in Lowell, alluding to Mrs. Locke’s infatuation with Poe (Coburn, p. 469).

[1848] 6 AUGUST. NEW YORK. Charles F. Briggs writes Rufus W. Griswold, furnishing information on his career: “Poe said, in his absurd [‘Literati’] sketch of me, that ‘Harry Franco’ was published in the Knickerbocker, but not a line of it was ever published in that Magazine” (Griswold [1898], pp. 240-42).

[1848] 12 AUGUST. The Home Journal reviews Eureka:

In the spirit of bold speculation and ideal thought, Mr. Poe has undertaken, in the little treatise before us, to expound a theory of the universe. He begins by repudiating the idea that the arcana of nature are to be completely explored by induction. He recognizes the intuitive and unconscious process as the source of discovery . . . . In a word, he believes in a kind of scientific inspiration . . . . Mr. Poe recognizes but two absolute principles in the universe — attraction and repulsion. He assumes a unit or particle as the germ of all subsequent creation, and imagines an innate power — which he identifies with divine volition — to have projected from this atom an infinity of other atoms into space, and that gravitation is only an attempt on the part of those to return to their central unity. [page 752:]

Eureka is “not a demonstrative so much as a suggestive work,” which probably contains “as much phantasy as fact.” The book has “brilliant rhetorical passages,” but reveals “no great novelty in the scientific ideas advanced.” It shares “a certain correspondence of tone” with Chambers’ Vestiges of Creation and Swedenborg’s writings on the Infinite.

[1848] 12 AUGUST. PHILADELPHIA. In the John-Donkey Thomas Dunn English comments: “GREAT LITERARY CRASH. We learn that a row of shelves, occupying one side of the publishing house of our friend WILEY [Putnam], broke down on Saturday, with a tremendous crash, which startled the clerks from their afternoon naps, and made the worthy publisher himself look up from his ledger. . . . It appears that a new porter, not yet acquainted with the specific gravity of the various American authors, had imprudently piled the entire edition of POE’S new poem ‘Eureka,’ upon these shelves. It is only wonderful, considering the immense ponderosity of the burden, that not only the shelves, but the whole building did not come to the ground.”

[1848] 19 AUGUST. LONDON. The Athenaeum lists Eureka under “New American Books” (Pollin [1975a], p. 28; [1980], p. 27).

[1848] 23, 30 AUGUST. OQUAWKA, ILLINOIS. The Oquawka Spectator reprints “The Fall of the House of Usher” in two installments, identifying Poe as the author (McElroy, p. 257; Mabbott [1978], 2:397).

[1848] 26 AUGUST. NEW YORK. The Gazette of the Union favorably notices Eureka (Pollin [1975a], p. 29; [1980], p. 28).

[1848] LATE AUGUST. FORDHAM. Mrs. Clemm apparently sees Poe’s name on a list of persons having uncollected letters at the West Farms post office. She forwards the letter, containing the stanzas Mrs. Whitman transcribed early in the month, to Richmond (Poe to Whitman, 1 October).

[1848] SUMMER. PROVIDENCE? Miss Anne C. Lynch gives Mrs. Whitman her version of the early 1846 scandal involving Poe’s handling of Mrs. Elizabeth F. Ellet’s love letters (Whitman to J. H. Ingram, 11 February 1874, Miller [1979], pp. 20-21).

[1848] LATE SUMMER. NEW YORK. John Sartain, the engraver, and William Sloanaker, the former business manager of Graham’s Magazine, purchase the Union Magazine from its publisher James L. DeGraw for $5,000 (Sartain, pp. 218-19). [page 753:]

[The editor Caroline M. Kirkland wrote Charles S. Francis from London on 7 September: “My little world has been turned upside down, as I hear — the Union is dissolved for Sartain!” (Derby, p. 582). From the beginning of the new volume, in January 1849, the monthly was published in Philadelphia as Sartain’s Union Magazine.]

[1848] BEFORE SEPTEMBER? FORDHAM. Annie Richmond visits Mrs. Clemm (Bardwell Heywood to Miss Sawyer, 2 October).

[1848] SEPTEMBER. NEW YORK. In the “Editor’s Table” of the Knickerbocker Magazine, Lewis Gaylord Clark scoffs at a correspondent “who has been reading ‘Poe on the Creation.’ ”

[1848] SEPTEMBER. RICHMOND. The Southern Literary Messenger contains Poe’s review of Mrs. Lewis’ The Child of the Sea and Other Poems, in which he expands his favorable advance notice published in the August Democratic Review.

[1848] 2 SEPTEMBER. ATHENS, GEORGIA. The Southern Literary Gazette publishes a 24 August letter from a correspondent in Lake George, New York, who discusses Eureka: “It is a discourse on the system of the universe on this thesis: — ‘In the original unity of the first thing lies the secondary cause of all things, with the germ of their inevitable annihilation.’ I do not profess, at least in the present state of the thermometer, to be equal to the agitation of this subject. . . . The admirers of the author’s tales, which are some of the most original publications the country has produced, should procure a copy.”

[1848] BEFORE 5 SEPTEMBER. RICHMOND. Poe receives the letter Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman mailed from Providence in early August, containing only her unsigned verses quoting the phrase “Beauty which is Hope “ from the manuscript poem he sent her around 1 June. Although Poe had intended on this “very day” to leave “on a tour” — presumably to promote the Stylus in the South — he decides instead to return to the North and seek Mrs. Whitman’s acquaintance (Poe to Whitman, 1 October).

[1848] 5 SEPTEMBER. NEW YORK. Using the pseudonym “Edward S. T. Grey,” Poe writes Mrs. Whitman in Providence: “Being engaged in making a collection of autographs of the most distinguished American authors, I am, of course, anxious to procure your own, and if you would so far honor me as to reply, however briefly, to this note, I would take it as a very especial favor” (L, 2:379). [page 754:]

[Mrs. Whitman later wrote this explanation on the letter: “Sent by E. A. P. under an assumed name in order to ascertain if [I was] in Providence.”]

[1848] 7 SEPTEMBER. AUGUSTA, MAINE. The Maine Farmer reprints “The Gold-Bug” (Mabbott [1978], 3:806).

[1848] 12 SEPTEMBER. RICHMOND. In the Semi-Weekly Examiner John M. Daniel notices the September Southern Literary Messenger: “There is also in this number a review of Mrs. Lewis’ Poems, from the pen of Edgar Poe. We are bound to say, the article is a very poor one; but still it is from Poe himself, and he is a great man.”

[1848] 12 SEPTEMBER. NEW YORK. William Cullen Bryant replies to a letter from his friend Richard Henry Dana, an admirer of Poe’s poetry: “You have much to say of Mr. P., of whom I think very well in many respects, but who has some peculiarities in his character which show it, perhaps, not to be quite a healthy one. I shall be glad to be useful to him in any way; but how can you, who know me, ask me to get acquainted with anybody? I do not know that I ever got acquainted with anybody of set purpose in my life” (C. H. Brown, p. 320, or Godwin, 2:37-38).

[1848] 13 SEPTEMBER. OQUAWKA, ILLINOIS. The Oquawka Spectator reprints Poe’s poem “Lenore,” giving it the title “Dirge” (McElroy, pp. 257-58; Mabbott [1969], 1:334).

[1848] 15 SEPTEMBER. NEW YORK. Miss Maria J. McIntosh writes Mrs. Whitman in Providence: “This letter will be handed to you by Mr Edgar A Poe. He is already so well known to you that any thing more than the announcement of his name would be an impertinence from me. I feel much obliged to Mr Poe for permitting me thus to associate myself with an incident so agreeable to both of you, as I feel persuaded your first meeting will prove” (RPB-W).

[1848] BEFORE 20 SEPTEMBER. POTTSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA. Eli Bowen, the former editor of the Columbia Spy, writes Poe. He is now editing the Miner’s Journal, a weekly newspaper in Pottsville; he invites Poe to furnish its New York correspondence. Bowen’s friend Dr. Samuel A. Whitaker of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, would like to have a copy of “The Raven” in the author’s hand (Bowen to Whitaker, 25 September; Poe to Bowen, 18 October).

[1848] CA. 20 SEPTEMBER. FORDHAM. Poe replies to Bowen, enclosing a copy of “The Raven” inscribed to Dr. Whitaker. Poe inquires whether Bowen could [page 755:] join him in issuing the Stylus; he apparently discusses his sketch “Landor’s Cottage,” which might not be suitable for the Miner’s Journal (Poe to Bowen, 18 October; facsimile of “Raven” manuscript in Gimbel, pp. 167-68).

[1848] 20 SEPTEMBER. Poe writes Charles Fenno Hoffman, editor of the Literary World, protesting the unsigned review of Eureka in the 29 July issue. The reviewer has distorted Poe’s text by asserting that he endorses “guessing” as a means of ascertaining truth: “What I really say is this: — That there is no absolute certainty either in the Aristotelian or Baconian process — that, for this reason, neither Philosophy . . . has a right to sneer at that seemingly imaginative process called Intuition (by which the great Kepler attained his laws;) since ‘Intuition,’ after all, ‘is but the conviction arising from those inductions or deductions of which the processes are so shadowy as to escape our consciousness, elude our reason or defy our capacity of expression.’ ” A “second misrepresentation” is the suggestion that Poe is largely indebted to Laplace: “The ground covered by the great French astronomer compares with that covered by my theory, as a bubble compares with the ocean on which it floats.” The young “Student of Theology” who wrote the review has also misquoted and distorted Poe’s references to God: “Were these ‘misrepresentations’ . . . made for any less serious a purpose than that of branding my book as ‘impious’ and myself as a ‘pantheist,’ . . . I would have permitted their dishonesty to pass unnoticed, through pure contempt for the boyishness — for the turn-down-shirt-collar-ness of their tone” (L, 2:379-82).

[Hoffman did not publish Poe’s letter protesting Hopkins’ review. Mrs. Shew later observed: “the description of ‘the turn down shirt collar’ was so like the artistic habit of dress of Mr. Hopkins when he was a theological student” (16 May 1875 letter to J. H. Ingram, Miller [1977], p. 141).]

[1848] 21 SEPTEMBER. PROVIDENCE. Poe calls on Mrs. Whitman at her home, 76 Benefit Street, presenting Miss McIntosh’s 15 September letter of introduction (Whitman to R. H. Stoddard, 30 September 1872, Stoddard [1884], p. 156).

[1848] 21? SEPTEMBER? Poe gives Mrs. Whitman the Wiley and Putnam editions of The Raven and Other Poems and his Tales, bound together in one cloth volume with this inscription on the flyleaf: “To Mrs Sarah Helen Whitman — from the most devoted of her friends. Edgar A Poe” (Wakeman, item 948; cf. Miller [1979], pp. 122-23).

[1848] 21? SEPTEMBER? Poe gives Mrs. Whitman a complete set of the Broadway Journal. In her presence he goes through the two bound volumes and [page 756:] initials the more important of his unsigned contributions with a penciled “P” (volumes in CSmH; Hull, p. 518; Miller [1979], p. 22).

[1848] 22? SEPTEMBER. In the morning Poe and Mrs. Whitman visit the Athenaeum library. She asks him whether he ever read “Ulalume,” an unsigned poem in the American Review for December 1847: “To my infinite surprise, he told me that he himself was the author. Turning to a bound volume of the Review which was in the alcove where we were sitting, he wrote his name at the bottom” (Whitman to J. H. Ingram, 10 April 1874, Miller [1979], pp. 116-17; see also p. 243).

[1848] 22? SEPTEMBER. Poe and Mrs. Whitman call at Anna Blackwell’s hotel, leaving an invitation for her “to join a party of friends to meet him that evening” (Whitman to Ingram, 14 February 1875, Miller [1979], p. 256; see also p. 483).

[1848] 22? SEPTEMBER. In the afternoon Miss Blackwell sends a note to Mrs. Whitman: “I regret very much, my dear friend, that I did not have the pleasure of seeing you & Mr Poe this morning, especially as I am, as usual, so far from well, that I do not think it probable I can avail myself of yr kind invitation for this evening. . . . What about the ‘garden of roses’ & are the flowers still blooming? I begin to feel on the wing; my passage on board the ‘Sarah Land’ being engaged” (RPB-W).

[Miss Blackwell was to return to England in a few weeks. Her allusion to roses indicates that she had been permitted to read the unpublished poem Poe sent Mrs. Whitman around 1 June. The second “To Helen” depicts “an enchanted garden” of a thousand roses in which Mrs. Whitman is said to have been standing when Poe first glimpsed her.]

[1848] 22? SEPTEMBER. In the evening Poe is introduced to Mrs. Whitman’s friends at her home. One of the guests is probably her neighbor William J. Pabodie, an attorney who is a minor poet.

[Mrs. J. K. Barney, another friend, left a reminiscence which may refer to this occasion: “Poe and Mrs. Whitman sat across the room from each other. . . . All [present] were drawn toward Poe, whose eyes were gleaming and whose utterance was most eloquent. His eyes were fixed on Mrs. Whitman. . . . Of a sudden the company perceived that Poe and Helen were greatly agitated. Simultaneously both arose from their chairs and walked toward the center of the room. Meeting, he held her in his arms, kissed her; they stood for a moment, then he led her to her seat. There was a dead silence through all this strange proceeding” (Phillips, 2:1315-16).] [page 757:]

[1848] 23? SEPTEMBER. Poe tells Mrs. Whitman of his early life in Richmond, discussing John Allan, Mrs. Stanard, and Elmira Royster, now Mrs. Shelton (Whitman letters to Mrs. Clemm in W, 17:422-30, or Quinn and Hart, pp. 41-49, and to J. H. Ingram in Miller [1979], pp. 95, 104).

[1848] 23? SEPTEMBER. Poe and Mrs. Whitman visit the Swan Point Cemetery on the outskirts of Providence, overlooking the Seekonk River. Here she listens to his proposal of marriage: “he endeavored . . . to persuade me that my influence and my presence would have power to lift his life out of the torpor of despair which had weighed upon him, and give an inspiration to his genius, of which he had as yet given no token. Notwithstanding the eloquence with which he urged upon me his wishes and his hopes, I knew too well that I could not exercise over him the power which he ascribed to me. I was, moreover, wholly dependent on my mother [Mrs. Anna Power], and her life was bound up in mine” (Whitman to R. H. Stoddard, 30 September 1872, Stoddard [1884], 1:156; see also Phillips, 2:1317, and Varner [1940], pp. 301-03).

[1848] 24? SEPTEMBER. Mrs. Whitman recalls: “In bidding him [Poe] farewell, I promised to write to him & explain to him many things which I could not impart to him in conversation” (23 March 1874 letter to Ingram, Miller [1979], P. 90).

[Poe seems to have parted with Mrs. Whitman on Sunday, 24 September; he did not leave Providence that evening, because the steamboat to New York did not operate on Sundays (advertisements for service, Providence Evening Transcript, 20 September and later).]

[1848] 25 SEPTEMBER. In the morning Poe revisits the Swan Point Cemetery alone; at 6:00 PM he boards the regular mail train to Stonington, Connecticut, where he transfers to Captain Richard Peck’s steamboat Connecticut, bound for New York (schedule in today’s Evening Transcript).

[Poe recalled this day in his 18 October letter to Mrs. Whitman: “I cannot explain to you — since I cannot myself comprehend — the feeling which urged me not to see you again before going — not to bid you a second time farewell. I had a sad foreboding at heart.”]

[1848] 25 SEPTEMBER. POTTSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA. Eli Bowen writes Dr. Samuel A. Whitaker in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania: “I have the pleasure of transmitting to you, a copy of The Raven in the handwriting of the author. I received it on Saturday [23 September], and having taken the liberty of [page 758:] showing it to several of my friends, the paper has become somewhat ruffled — nevertheless you can make it out” (PP-G).

[1848] BEFORE 30 SEPTEMBER. PROVIDENCE. Mrs. Whitman writes Poe, assuring him of her affection and regard, but giving several reasons for not accepting his proposal of marriage: “You will, perhaps, attempt to convince me that my person is agreeable to you — that my countenance interests you: — but in this respect I am so variable that I should inevitably disappoint you if you hoped to find in me to-morrow the same aspect which won you today. And, again, although my reverence for your intellect and my admiration of your genius make me feel like a child in your presence, you are not, perhaps, aware that I am many years [six years] older than yourself. I fear you do not know it, and that if you had known it you would not have felt for me as you do.” Mrs. Whitman’s health makes it unwise for her to marry: she has a weak heart and a nervous temperament. “I find that I cannot now tell you all that I promised. I can only say to you that had I youth and health and beauty, I would live for you and die with you. Now, were I to allow myself to love you, I could only enjoy a bright, brief hour of rapture and die” (quoted in Poe’s 1 October reply).

[1848] 30 SEPTEMBER. FORDHAM. On Saturday evening Poe receives Mrs. Whitman’s letter (stated in Poe’s second letter to her, 18 October).

[1848] 1 OCTOBER. On “Sunday Night” Poe replies to Mrs. Whitman, repeating the passionate declaration of love he made during their “walk in the cemetery.” He recounts the history of his growing awareness of her, beginning with the “few casual words” about her spoken by Anne C. Lynch in early 1845, and ending with his receipt of her verses in Richmond last month. Poe assures Mrs. Whitman (an ardent believer in predestination and spiritualism) that he gradually came to realize that their destinies were “interwoven” by “Fate,” asking her to reflect upon the almost miraculous “coincidences” apparent in their several exchanges of unsigned poems. He recalls their first meeting on 21 September: “As you entered the room, pale, timid, hesitating, and evidently oppressed at heart; as your eyes rested appealingly, for one brief moment, upon mine, I felt, for the first time in my life, and tremblingly acknowledged, the existence of spiritual influences altogether out of the reach of the reason. I saw that you were Helenmy Helen — the Helen of a thousand dreams.” Quoting Mrs. Whitman’s objections that she is older than he and not in good health, Poe asserts: “I am older than you; and if illness and sorrow have made you seem older than you are — is not all this the best of reasons for my loving you the more? . . . Long-continued nervous disorder . . . will give rise to all the symptoms of heart-disease and so deceive the most skillful [page 759:] physicians — as even in my own case they were deceived. . . . My love — my faith — should instil into your bosom a praeternatural calm. You would rest from care — from all worldly agitation. You would get better, and finally well” (L, 2:382-91).

[1848] AFTER 1? OCTOBER. Poe writes Annie Richmond in Lowell: “This note will be handed you by Mrs Stella Anna Lewis, of whose poetic genius you will remember I spoke so much at length in my late lecture at Lowell. . . . I feel assured that you have but to know her personally to be as proud of her friendship as, unquestionably, she must and will be of your own” (L, 2:398-99).

[1848] AFTER 1? OCTOBER. Poe gives Mrs. Lewis a letter of introduction addressed to Jane Ermina Locke in Lowell. He requests Mrs. Locke to show Mrs. Lewis “every attention” (L, 2:398).

[1848] AFTER 1 OCTOBER? NEW YORK. The Weekly Universe publishes a letter by Poe protesting Hopkins’ attack on Eureka in the 29 July Literary World (Eveleth to Poe, 3 July 1849; cf. Poe to Hoffman, 20 September 1848).

[1848] 2 OCTOBER. WESTFORD, MASSACHUSETTS. Bardwell Heywood writes Miss Annie Sawyer in Lowell: “Since writing you before [on 5 August] I have seen Mrs. Locke and laid myself under solemn and everlasting obligation not to divulge what I know of herself and Edgar A. Poe. . . . I will tell you this much. You are aware that Mr. Poe is a widower. In a singular way (I wish I could tell you how) he got the impression that Mrs. L. was a widow. A correspondence was commenced and kept up which was ‘touching certainly,’ neither party ever having seen the other. At length he came to Lowell called upon Mrs. L. at Wamesit Cottage. — ‘Nuf said! She has a husband and three or four [five] children!!” Poe’s 10 July lecture in Lowell was “a brilliant affair.” Afterwards Bardwell’s sister Annie Richmond entertained him at her home: “ ’Twas then that I learned something of his history. . . . He spoke of his wife in a most eloquent and touching manner, the tears running down his cheeks in torrents. Spoke of her as beautiful beyond description, as lovely beyond conception, and my sister, who has since visited his mother [Mrs. Clemm] in N. Y, says she (Virginia) is represented as being almost an angel on earth” (Coburn, pp. 470-71).

[1848] 3 OCTOBER. FORDHAM. On “Tuesday Morning” Poe adds this postscript to his 1 October letter to Mrs. Whitman: “I beg you to believe, dear Helen, that I replied to your letter immediately upon its receipt; but a most unusual storm, up to this moment, precludes all access to the City.” He [page 760:] encloses a lock of his hair in the letter, which he apparently mails later in the day (L, 2:390; see also Miller [1979], p. 156).

[1848] 7 OCTOBER. NEW YORK. The Literary World carries a valedictory by Charles Fenno Hoffman, whose editorship ended with the 30 September issue. The weekly is now owned and edited by Evert A. Duyckinck and his younger brother George L. Duyckinck.

[1848] AFTER 10 OCTOBER. PROVIDENCE. Mrs. Whitman replies to Poe. While she admits that she could sense the love embodied in his letter, she gives additional reasons for declining marriage, citing her financial dependence on her mother and apparently her responsibilities toward her mother and her unmarried younger sister, Susan Anna Power. She inquires why so many persons have formed unfavorable opinions of Poe’s character: “How often I have heard men and even women say of you —‘He has great intellectual power, but no principle — no moral sense’ ” (quoted in Poe’s 18 October reply; cf. Miss Lynch’s letters to Whitman, 31 January, 21 February, and 10 March).

[1848] BEFORE 14 OCTOBER. RICHMOND. The Southern Literary Messenger for October contains the first half of “The Rationale of Verse.”

[1848] 14 OCTOBER. NEW YORK. The Home Journal reviews the Messenger: “The original prose articles are, first — ‘The Rationale of Verse,’ by Edgar A. Poe, who justly remarks that there is a prevailing ignorance upon this subject, and he treats it in this article with much analytical acumen. A reference to the carefully finished, free and original style of the ‘Raven,’ will furnish a practical illustration of his theory. The admirable variety, pause and cadence of the versification of that poem, could only have emanated from a mind well acquainted with the art.”

[1848] 17 OCTOBER. RICHMOND. John R. Thompson, the Messenger’s editor, replies to a letter from Philip Pendleton Cooke:

Poe is not in Richmond. He remained here about 3 weeks, horribly drunk and discoursing “Eureka” every night to the audiences of the Bar Rooms. His friends tried to get him sober and set him to work but to no effect and were compelled at last to reship him to New York. I was very anxious for him to write something for me, while he remained here, but his lucid intervals were so brief and infrequent that it was quite impossible. “The Rationale of Verse” I took — more as an act of charity than anything else, for though exhibiting great acquaintance with the subject, it is altogether too bizarre and too technical for the general reader. Poe is a singular fellow indeed (Quinn, p. 568). [page 761:]

[1848] 18 OCTOBER. FORDHAM. Poe replies to Mrs. Whitman’s second letter. He fears that she does not love him, because she imposed on him “the torture of eight days’ silence — of eight days’ terrible suspense.” Quoting her inquiry about his reputation, Poe declares: “I swear to you that my soul is incapable of dishonor — that, with the exception of occasional follies and excesses which I bitterly lament, but to which I have been driven by intolerable sorrow, and which are hourly committed by others without attracting any notice whatever — I can call to mind no act of my life which would bring a blush to my cheek — or to yours.” His enemies have slandered him because he has been an “unscrupulously honest” critic who condemns “the pretensions of ignorance, arrogance, or imbecility,” both in literature and in life: “Ah, Helen, I have a hundred friends for every individual enemy — but has it never occurred to you that you do not live among my friends? Miss Lynch, Miss Fuller, Miss Blackwell, Mrs Ellet — neither these nor any within their influence, are my friends.” Poe had dreaded that Mrs. Whitman might be “in worldly circumstances” superior to his own: “the horror with which . . . I have seen affection made a subject of barter . . . inspired me with the resolution that, under no circumstances, would I marry where ‘interest,’ as the world terms it, could be suspected as, on my part, the object of the marriage.” He was actually relieved to learn that Mrs. Whitman is dependent on her mother (L, 2:391-98).

[1848] 18 OCTOBER. Poe replies to a letter from T. L. Dunnell of Providence, who has invited him to deliver a lecture before that city’s Franklin Lyceum on 13 December. Poe gladly accepts this “very flattering invitation”; he will arrive in Providence on the appointed day (L, 2:391).

[1848] 18 OCTOBER. Poe writes Eli Bowen, editor of the Pottsville, Pennsylvania, Miner’s Journal: “About three weeks ago [ca. 20 September] I wrote you quite a long letter, enclosing a MS copy of ‘The Raven’ and making you a proposition in regard to the establishment of a Magazine — but have received no reply. . . . I have now to say that I am willing to accept your offer about the Correspondence, and will commence whenever you think proper — provided you decline the tour &c as I suggested” (Ostrom [1974], pp. 533-34).

[The “tour “ seems to have been Poe’s sketch “Landor’s Cottage,” which describes “a pedestrian tour last summer, through one or two of the river counties of New York.”]

[1848] AFTER 20 OCTOBER. PROVIDENCE. Before Mrs. Whitman has had time to reply to Poe’s 18 October letter, she receives a visit from him. Poe explains [page 762:] that he is on his way to Lowell, having been invited by some friends there to repeat his lecture on “The Poets and Poetry of America.” He urges her to reconsider his proposal of marriage, suggesting that she defer her decision for a week and that she send him an answer at Lowell. She promises to write him there (Whitman to R. H. Stoddard, 30 September 1872, Stoddard [1884], 1:156; and Whitman to J. H. Ingram, 25 October 1875, Miller [1979], p. 346).

Poe shows Mrs. Whitman the manuscript of his lecture, giving her two pages of it which contain a favorable evaluation of her poetry as well as that of Miss Lynch and Mrs. Osgood (Whitman to Mrs. Clemm, 3 February [1850 or later], Quinn and Hart, pp. 39-40; see also Miller [1979], pp. 36, 155, 243, 466).

[Poe did not repeat his lecture in Lowell. According to Mrs. Whitman, the excitement attending the 1848 Presidential election made its delivery impractical (Stoddard [1884], 1:156-57; Miller [1979], p. 463).]

[1848] AFTER 20 OCTOBER. LOWELL. Upon his arrival in Lowell Poe takes lodging in “Wamesit Cottage,” the home of Jane Ermina Locke and her husband John G. Locke; he soon moves to Annie Richmond’s house on Ames Street, thereby permanently alienating Mrs. Locke (Miller [1979], pp. 311-12, 346).

[On 18 February 1849 Poe wrote Mrs. Richmond: “I quarrelled with the Lockes solely on your account & Mr R[ichmond]’s — It was obviously my interest to keep in with them, & moreover they had rendered me some services which entitled them to my gratitude . . . . It was only when I heard them declare that through their patronage alone, you were admitted into society — that your husband was everything despicable — that it would ruin my mother [Mrs. Clemm] even to enter your doors — it was only when such insults were offered to you, whom I sincerely & most purely loved, & to Mr R. whom I had every reason to like & respect, that I arose & left their house & incurred the unrelenting vengeance of that worst of all fiends, ‘a woman scorned.’ ”]

[1848] 25 OCTOBER. NEW YORK. George P. Putnam publishes A Fable for Critics, a verse satire on American authors containing this estimate of Poe:

There comes Poe, with his raven, like Barnaby Rudge,

Three-fifths of him genius and two-fifths sheer fudge,

Who talks like a book of iambs and pentameters,

In a way to make people of common sense damn metres,

Who has written some things quite the best of their kind,

But the heart somehow seems all squeezed out by the mind. [page 763:]

[Although issued anonymously, the poem was widely known to be by James Russell Lowell. The title page carried the date of 31 October; but according to Scudder, 1:249-50, Putnam released the book on 25 October. It was advertised for sale in the Literary World of 28 October.]

[1848] LATE OCTOBER. WESTFORD, MASSACHUSETTS. Poe visits the farm of Annie Richmond’s parents, the Heywoods. He discusses Eureka with John B. Willard, a Unitarian minister, and other members of the Westford Reading Circle. Bardwell Heywood recalls: “In October he [Poe] spent three days with us, during which time the reading circle met at our house. I then had the pleasure of hearing Mr. Poe and Mr. Willard converse. It was a treat, I assure you. Mr. W. sustained himself admirably and showed himself deeply read, though he had such an antagonist as he does not often meet. . . . Mr. Poe recited some of his best poems before the circle, among which were ‘The Raven,’ ‘Eulalamme, etc. . . . I said he promised to read ‘Eureka’ aloud at Westford. So he did, but what with riding, walking and climbing rugged hills, we found no time to sit down and read” (24 December letter to Miss Sawyer).

Sarah H. Heywood recalls:

During the day he [Poe] strolled off by himself, “to look at the hills,” he said. I remember standing in the low porch with my sister [Annie Richmond], as we saw him returning, and as soon as he stepped from the dusty street on to the green sward which sloped from our door, he removed his hat, and came to us with uncovered head, his eyes seeming larger and more luminous than ever with the exhilaration of his walk. . . .

My memory photographs him again, sitting before an open wood fire, in the early autumn evening, gazing intently into the glowing coal, holding the hand of a dear friend — “Annie” — while for a long time no one spoke, and the only sound was the ticking of the tall old clock in the corner of the room. . . .

The next morning I was to go to school, and before I returned he would be gone. I went to say “Good-bye” to him, when, with that ample gracious courtesy of his which included even the rustic school-girl, he said, “I will walk with you” (Ingram, pp. 390-91; also in Gill, pp. 211-13).

[1848] LATE OCTOBER OR EARLY NOVEMBER? LOWELL. Poe writes Mrs. Clemm at Fordham: “God bless you my own dear mother. I do not think it would be advisable for you to write, unless there is some very great necessity — for I might not get your letter” (manuscript fragment printed in Ostrom [1974], pp. 534-35).

[1848] NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. The Union Magazine publishes Poe’s second “To Helen” under the heading “To —— —— ——,” chosen by him to represent “Sarah Helen Whitman.” [page 764:]

[1848] NOVEMBER. BOSTON. The Pictorial National Library reprints Poe’s tale “The Black Cat” (Heartman and Canny, pp. 239-40; Mabbott [1978], 3:849).

[1848] CA. NOVEMBER. RICHMOND. John R. Thompson writes Poe at Fordham, soliciting a contribution for the January 1849 number of the Southern Literary Messenger (Poe’s 7 December reply).

[1848] 1 NOVEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. The Dollar Newspaper reprints “The Raven” (Heartman and Canny, p. 181).

[1848] CA. 2 NOVEMBER. PROVIDENCE. Mrs. Whitman sends Poe an indecisive reply to his proposal of marriage. She recalls: “I delayed writing from day to day, unwilling to say the word which might separate us forever, & unable to give him the answer which he besought me to accord him. At last I wrote a brief note, which I felt afterwards must have perplexed & agitated him. He wrote by return mail to say that he should be at Providence on the following evening” (Whitman to J. H. Ingram, 25 October 1875, Miller [1979], pp. 346-47; cf. Stoddard [1884], 1:156).

[1848] 3 NOVEMBER. LOWELL. On Friday Poe replies briefly to Mrs. Whitman, promising to call on her Saturday evening (Poe to Whitman, 7 November).

[1848] 3-4 NOVEMBER. Annie Richmond comforts Poe, who is deeply depressed. She advises him to marry Mrs. Whitman, telling him what to say when he sees the older woman. Poe extracts a promise from Annie that she will come to him if he should be near death (Poe to Annie, 16 November).

[1848] 4 NOVEMBER. PROVIDENCE. The Daily Journal reports: “The spirited young men of the Franklin Lyceum, announce a brilliant course of lectures for the coming year.” The speakers will include Daniel Webster, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Edgar A. Poe, and “others of high reputation.”

[1848] 4 NOVEMBER. Poe arrives in Providence but does not call on Mrs. Whitman. He spends “a long, long, hideous night of despair” in a hotel room (Poe to Annie, 16 November).

[Quinn, p. 592, observed that Poe “loved ‘Annie’ as a man loves a woman, while he loved Helen Whitman as a poet loves a poetess . . . . Many a perfectly normal man has approached his engagement or his wedding with one woman, whom he loves well enough to marry, clouded by his knowledge that if another woman were free, he would be trying to win her instead.”] [page 765:]

[1848] 5 NOVEMBER. BOSTON. In his 16 November letter to Annie, Poe describes this day:

I arose [in Providence] & endeavored to quiet my mind by a rapid walk in the cold, keen air — but all would not do — the demon tormented me still. Finally I procured two ounces of laud[a]num & without returning to my Hotel, took the cars back to Boston. When I arrived, I wrote you a letter, in which I opened my whole heart to you — to you — my Annie, whom I so madly, so distractedly love — I told you how my struggles were more than I could bear — how my soul revolted from saying the words which were to be said [to Mrs. Whitman] — and that not even for your dear sake, could I bring myself to say them. I then reminded you of that holy promise, which was the last I exacted from you in parting — the promise that, under all circumstances, you would come to me on my bed of death — I implored you to come then — mentioning the place where I should be found in Boston — Having written this letter, I swallowed about half the laud[a]num & hurried to the Post-Office — intending not to take the rest until I saw you — for, I did not doubt for one moment, that my own Annie would keep her sacred promise — But I had not calculated on the strength of the laudanum, for, before I reached the Post Office my reason was entirely gone, & the letter was never put in. . . . A friend was at hand, who aided & (if it can be called saving) saved me.

[1848] 7 NOVEMBER. PROVIDENCE. Early on Tuesday morning Poe visits Mrs. Whitman’s home. She recalls: “I felt quite unable to see him, having passed a restless & troubled night on account of his failure to be in Providence on Saturday evening, as he had purposed. I sent word to him by a servant that I would see him at noon. He replied [to the servant] that he had an engagement & must see me at once” (Whitman to Ingram, 25 October 1875, Miller [1979], p. 347).

Poe sends Mrs. Whitman a note: “I have no engagements, but am very ill — so much so that I must go home, if possible — but if you say ‘stay’, I will try & do so. If you cannot see me — write me one word to say that you do love me and that, under all circumstances, you will be mine. Remember that these coveted words you have never yet spoken . . . . It was not in my power to be here on Saturday as I proposed, or I would undoubtedly have kept my promise” (L, 2:399-400).

Mrs. Whitman sends Poe a message that she “would meet him in half an hour at the Athen[a]eum” (her annotation on his note; see L, 2:531).

Mrs. Whitman recalls her interview with Poe: “He . . . told me that, agitated by my note [of ca. 2 November], he had taken the cars for Providence via Boston, but had on arriving in Providence taken something at a druggists which bewildered him instead of composing him, that he entered the next train for Boston, & remained there ill & depressed until Monday.” Poe reproaches Mrs. Whitman “for so long delaying to send the promised letter, & then sending one so vague & illusive [elusive]”; he urges her “to marry him at once, and return with him to New York” (Whitman to Ingram, 25 October 1875, Miller [1979], p. 347). [page 766:]

[1848] 8 NOVEMBER. In the afternoon Mrs. Whitman has a second interview with Poe: “As an additional reason for delaying a marriage which, under any circumstances, seemed to all my friends full of evil portents, I read to him some passages from a letter which I had recently received from one of his New York associates. He seemed deeply pained at the result of our interview” (Whitman to G. W. Eveleth, 17 January 1866, Miller [1977], pp. 219-21).

In the evening Poe begins drinking in the barroom of his hotel; he sends Mrs. Whitman “a note of renunciation & farewell.” She recalls: “The handwriting showed that it was written in a state of great excitement. . . . I supposed that he had taken the evening train for New York via Stonington . . . [I] passed a night of unspeakable anxiety in thinking what might befall him travelling alone in such a state of mental perturbation” (Whitman to Ingram, 25 October 1875, Miller [1979], p. 348).

[1848] 9 NOVEMBER. Mrs. Whitman recalls:

A Mr. MacFarlane, who had been very kind to Poe during the night & who had become deeply interested in him, persuaded him in the morning to go with him to the office of Masury & Hartshorn to sit for a daguerreotype. Soon after he left the office, he came alone to my mother’s house in a state of wild & delirious excitement, calling upon me to save him from some terrible impending doom.

The tones of his voice were appalling & rang through the house. Never have I heard anything so awful, even to sublimity.

It was long before I could nerve myself to see him. My mother was with him more than two hours before I entered the room. He hailed me as an angel sent to save him from perdition. When my mother requested me to have a cup of strong coffee prepared for him, he clung to me so frantically as to tear away a piece of the muslin dress I wore.

In the afternoon he grew more composed, & my mother sent for Dr. A. H. Okie, who, finding symptoms of cerebral congestion, advised his being taken to the house of his friend Wm. J. Pabodie, where he was kindly cared for (Whitman to Ingram, 25 October 1875, Miller [1979], p. 348; for “Ultima Thule” daguerreotype, see pp. 22, 38, 72, 319-21).

[1848] BEFORE 11 NOVEMBER. RICHMOND. The Southern Literary Messenger for November contains the second half of “The Rationale of Verse.”

[1848] 11 NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. The Home Journal reviews the Messenger, noticing “a continuation” of Poe’s essay among the “leading prose papers.”

[1848] 11 NOVEMBER. ATHENS, GEORGIA. The Southern Literary Gazette reviews the Messenger: “Mr. Poe continues the ‘Rationale of Verse, and is out against English hexameters without mercy. He thinks [Longfellow’s] [page 767:] ‘Evangeline’ ‘very respectable prose,’ and nothing else. ’Tis easy to find fault, we know. Can you do better, Mr. Poe?”

[1848] BEFORE 13 NOVEMBER. PROVIDENCE. With many misgivings Mrs. Whitman agrees to a “conditional engagement” with Poe. If he completely refrains from drinking, she will try to obtain the consent of her mother, Mrs. Power, “before the end of December.” She recalls: “My mother was inflexibly opposed to our union, and being in a pecuniary point of view entirely dependent upon her, I could not, if I would, have acted without her concurrence. Many painful scenes occurred during his several visits to Providence in consequence of this opposition” (Whitman to Mrs. Mary E. Hewitt, 27-28 September 1850, Williams, pp. 761-62; see also Stoddard [1884], 1:157-58).

[On 20 March 1874 Mrs. Whitman wrote John Henry Ingram:

I hope you will not think . . . that my family were harsh or ungracious to him [Poe]. They were, at times, even ready to place implicit trust in his power to retrieve his destiny. No person could be long near him in his healthier moods, without loving him & putting faith in the sweetness & goodness of his nature & feeling that he had a reserved power of self-control that needed only favoring circumstances to bring his fine qualities of heart & mind into perfect equipoise. But after seeing the morbid sensitiveness of his nature & finding how slight a wound could disturb his serenity, how trivial a disappointment could unbalance his whole being, no one could feel assured of his perseverance in the thorny paths of self-denial & endurance. My mother did say more than once in his presence that my death would not be regarded by her so great an evil as my marriage under circumstances of such ominous import (Miller [1979], p. 88).

Mrs. Whitman had been disturbed by Poe’s behavior on 9 November, but believed that she might be able to influence him. In her 21 July 1874 letter to Ingram, she stated frankly: “If I had never seen Poe intoxicated, I should never have consented to marry him; had he kept his promise never again to taste wine, I should never have broken the engagement” (Miller [1979], p. 193).]

[1848] 13 NOVEMBER. Poe has his daguerreotype taken for Mrs. Whitman at the office of Masury & Hartshorn. At 6:00 PM he leaves Providence on the train to Stonington, Connecticut, where he boards the steamer Massachusetts, bound for New York. Mrs. Whitman recalls: “An hour or two after he had left the city certain representations were made to my family in relation to the imprudence of the conditional engagement subsisting between us which augmented almost to phrenzy my mother’s opposition to the relation. During the painful scenes which followed, I chanced to look toward the western horizon & saw there Arcturus shining resplendently [page 768:] through a rift in the clouds . . . . To my excited imagination everything at that time seemed a portent or an omen. . . . That night, an hour after midnight, I wrote under a strange accession of prophetic exaltation the lines ‘To Arcturus’ ” (16 March 1874 letter to Ingram, Miller [1979], pp. 76-79; train schedules in Evening Transcript).

[When Poe was taking leave of Mrs. Whitman, he had spoken “of Arcturus as a star with which he had associated some romantic fancies” (Whitman to Mrs. Hewitt, 27-28 September 1850, Williams, pp. 765-66). Her “To Arcturus,’ collected in her Hours of Life, and Other Poems (1853), reads in part:

Hast thou not stooped from heaven, fair star! to be

So near me in this hour of agony? —

So near — so bright — so glorious, that I seem

To lie entranced as in some wondrous dream —

All earthly joys forgot — all earthly fear

Purged in the light of thy resplendent sphere:

Gazing upon thee, till thy flaming eye

Dilates and kindles through the stormy sky;

While, in its depths withdrawn — far, far away —

I see the dawn of a diviner day

(Reilly [1965], pp. 189-90, 233-36).]

[1848] 14 NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. Poe writes Mrs. Whitman: “My own dearest Helen, so kind so true, so generous — so unmoved by all that would have moved one who had been less than angel . . . . I am calm & tranquil & but for a strange shadow of coming evil which haunts me I should be happy. That I am not supremely happy, even when I feel your dear love at my heart, terrifies me. What can this mean? . . . It is 5 o’clock [AM] & the boat is just being made fast to the wharf. I shall start in the train that leaves New York at 7 for Fordham. I write this to show you that I have not dared to break my promise to you.” In a postscript Poe expresses his gratitude for William J. Pabodie’s kindness to him during his illness in Providence (L, 2:400, 719-20; Ticknor, p. 95).

[1848] 16 NOVEMBER. FORDHAM. Poe writes Annie Richmond in Lowell: “So long as I think that you know I love you, as no man ever loved woman — so long as I think you comprehend in some measure, the fervor with which I adore you, so long, no worldly trouble can ever render me absolutely wretched. But oh, my darling, my Annie, my own sweet sister Annie, my pure beautiful angel — wife of my soul — to be mine hereafter & forever in the Heavens — how shall I explain to you the bitter, bitter anguish which has tortured me since I left you?” Poe recalls the first two days after he left Lowell, describing his anguished night in a Providence hotel on 4 November [page 769:] and his consumption of laudanum in Boston on 5 November. After he recovered from the laudanum, he returned to Providence:

Here I saw her [Mrs. Whitman], & spoke, for your sake, the words which you urged me to speak — Ah Annie Annie! my Annie! — is your heart so strong? — is there no hope! — is there none? — I feel that I must die if I persist, & yet, how can I now retract with honor? . . . Think — oh think for me — before the words — the vows are spoken, which put yet another terrible bar between us . . . . I am at home now with my dear muddie [Mrs. Clemm] who is endeavoring to comfort me — but the sole words which soothe me, are those in which she speaks of “my Annie” — she tells me that she has written you, begging you to come on to Fordham — ah beloved Annie, IS IT NOT POSSIBLE? I am so ill — so terribly, hopelessly ILL in body and mind, that I feel I CANNOT live, unless I can feel your sweet, gentle, loving hand pressed upon my forehead (L, 2:400-04).

[1848] 16 NOVEMBER. Mrs. Clemm writes Annie:

God has heard my prayers and once more returned my poor, darling Eddy to me. But how changed! I scarcely knew him. I was nearly distracted at not hearing from him. . . . I have read his letter to you, and have told him I think it very selfish, to wish you to come; for I know, my darling child, it would be inconvenient. . . . He raved all night about you, but is now more composed. I too am very sick, but will do all I can to cheer and comfort him. . . . Have you heard anything of Mrs. L[ocke] since her tragic performance? I never liked her, and said so from the first (Ingram, p. 394; also in W, 17:391-92).

[1848] 17 NOVEMBER. PROVIDENCE. Mrs. Whitman replies briefly to Poe’s 14 November letter. She expresses concern over his health, promising that he will receive a long letter from her on Tuesday, 21 November (Poe to Whitman, 22 November).

[1848] 18? NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. The Home Journal publishes an unsigned poem addressed to Poe (Poe to Mrs. Whitman, 26 November; Mrs. Clemm to Annie Richmond, 28 November or later 1848 and 11 January 1849).

[1848] 20 NOVEMBER. Poe writes Edward Valentine, the brother of his foster mother Frances Allan, in Richmond: “I call to mind . . . that, during my childhood, you were very kind to me, and, I believe, very fond of me. . . . I venture to throw myself upon your generosity & ask you to lend me $200. With this sum I should be able to take the first steps in an enterprise where there could be no doubt of my success, and which, if successful, would, in one or two years ensure me fortune and very great influence. I refer to the establishment of a Magazine [the Stylus] for which I have already a good list of subscribers” (L, 2:404). [page 770:]

[1848] 20 NOVEMBER. Poe writes Valentine’s niece, the young Richmond poetess Susan Archer Talley: “If Miss Talley will, upon reading the enclosed letter [to Valentine], seal it and forward it to its address with a word from herself in behalf of the writer, she will confer the greatest of favors upon one who most profoundly respects and admires her genius, tho he cannot as yet boast of her personal acquaintance” (Weiss [1904], p. 1013).

[1848] CA. 20 NOVEMBER. PROVIDENCE. Mrs. Whitman writes Poe, enclosing her poem “To Arcturus” and requesting his comments on it. She has arranged for the republication of his “Ulalume” in a Providence newspaper. Although she has been “tortured” by unfavorable reports about Poe’s character, these have since been explained to her satisfaction. Their proposed marriage depends entirely on the firmness of his resolve (Poe’s 24 November reply).

[1848] 22 NOVEMBER. The Daily Journal reprints “Ulalume,” prefacing it with Nathaniel P. Willis’ query about its authorship from the New York Home Journal of 1 January. The Daily Journal observes that a “Southern paper,” when reprinting the ballad, wrongly attributed it to Willis: “by way of rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, we now correct the mistake — which would have been natural enough but for the wide difference of style between ‘Ulalume’ and anything written by Willis. ‘Ulalume,’ although published anonymously in ‘The American Review, is known to be the composition of EDGAR A. POE.”

[At Mrs. Whitman’s suggestion, Poe omitted the poem’s last stanza in this republication (Miller [1979], p. 98).]

[1848] 22 NOVEMBER. FORDHAM. Poe writes Mrs. Whitman: “Last Monday [20 November] I received your note, dated Friday [17 November], and promising that on Tuesday [21 November] I should get a long letter from you. It has not yet reached me, but I presume will be at the P.O. [in New York] when I send this in. In the meantime, I write these few words to thank you, from the depths of my heart, for the dear expressions of your note . . . . The terrible excitement under which I suffered, has subsided, and I am as calm as I well could be, remembering what has past. . . . My mother [Mrs. Clemm] was delighted with your wish to be remembered” (L, 2:405).

[1848] 23 NOVEMBER. Poe writes Sarah H. Heywood in Westford, Massachusetts: “If there is any pity in your heart reply immediately to this letter, & let me know why it is, I do not hear from Annie . . . . I wrote her a long letter eight days ago, enclosing one from my mother who wrote again on the 19th[.] Not one word has reached us in reply[;] oh Sarah, if I did not [page 771:] love your sister, with the purest & most unexacting love, I would not dare confide in you — but you do know, how truly — how purely I love her . . . . In my wildest dreams, I have never fancied any being so totally lovely — so good — so true — so noble so pure — so virtuous — her silence fills my whole soul with terror” (L, 2:405-06).

[1848] BEFORE 24 NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. The Home Journal for 25 November contains a letter discussing several American poetesses from “C. M.” This correspondent praises Mrs. Sarah J. Hale’s “Three Hours,” the longest poem in her latest collection, Three Hours, or the Vigil of Love. “The idea in one line — in the second part — ‘The sound, it died in the arms of night,’ — has been boldly plagiarized by an American male poet — in a recent production.”

[“C. M.” was probably Caroline May, whose anthology The American Female Poets had appeared a few weeks earlier. In Poe’s second “To Helen,” published in the November Union Magazine, “the very roses’ odors” are said to have “Died in the arms of the adoring airs.”]

[1848] 24 NOVEMBER. FORDHAM. Poe replies to Mrs. Whitman’s letter of ca. 20 November: “all does not depend, dear Helen, upon my firmness — all depends upon the sincerity of your love.” Quoting her statement that she has been “tortured” by unfounded reports about him, he warns her to beware of Mrs. Elizabeth F. Ellet: “No sooner will Mrs E. hear of my proposals to yourself, than she will set in operation every conceivable chicanery to frustrate me . . . . You will be sure to receive anonymous letters so skillfully contrived as to deceive the most sagacious.” Poe describes the controversy in early 1846 involving his handling of Mrs. Ellet’s letters to him: “Forgive me that I let these wrongs prey upon me — I did not so bitterly feel them until they threatened to deprive me of you. I confess, too, that the intolerable insults of your mother & sister still rankle at my heart — but for your dear sake I will endeavor to be calm.” Mrs. Whitman’s “To Arcturus” is “truly beautiful”; Poe suggests several revisions. “When ‘Ulalume’ appears, cut it out & enclose it: — newspapers seldom reach me.” He is forwarding the letter from “C. M.” published in this week’s Home Journal: “The accusation will enable you to see how groundless such accusations may be, even when seemingly best founded. Mrs H[ale]’s book was published 3 months ago. You had my poem about the first of June” (L, 2:406-09).

[1848] BEFORE 25 NOVEMBER. PROVIDENCE. T. L. Dunnell writes Poe, asking him to deliver his lecture before the Franklin Lyceum on 6 December instead of the date originally scheduled, 13 December (Poe to Whitman, 26 November, and to Dunnell, 27 November). [page 772:]

[1848] BEFORE 26 NOVEMBER. HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT. Rufus White Griswold reprints “The Raven” in the New England Weekly Gazette (Bayless [1934], pp. 69-72).

[This obscure editor is a different individual from Poe’s first biographer, the anthologer Rufus Wilmot Griswold. When used elsewhere the name refers to the latter figure.]

[1848] 26 NOVEMBER. FORDHAM. Poe writes Mrs. Whitman, returning her poem “To Arcturus.” He protests her proposed deletion of the two lines depicting “the dawn of a diviner day”; he asks, “is that dawn no longer perceptible?” Poe encloses an unsigned poem addressed to him, requesting her aid in identifying the author: “It is from last Saturday’s ‘Home Journal.’ Somebody sent it to me in M.S.” Yesterday he received a letter from T. L. Dunnell: “He says that they have ‘lost’ their lecturer for the 6th prox. & offers me that night . . . . I cannot be in Providence before the 13th.” Rufus White Griswold has recently reprinted “The Raven” in his Hartford newspaper: “I enclose his editorial comments — so that you have quite a budget of enclosures.” In a postscript Poe asks Mrs. Whitman to mail him “as soon as possible” three articles of his which she will find “among the critical papers” he gave her: “The Philosophy of Composition,” his critique of Hawthorne in the November 1847 Godey’s, and “a review of ‘Longfellow’s Poems.’ ” He needs to refer to these in writing his lecture (L, 2:409-11).

[1848] 27 NOVEMBER. Poe replies to Dunnell: “I fully perceive the force of what you say — that the chance of a good audience is better for the earlier day, and thank you for your suggestion — while I regret that other arrangements will not permit me to avail myself of it. I believe that I must adhere to the 13th, and hope that my decision will put you to no inconvenience” (L, 2:720-21).

[1848] 27 NOVEMBER. LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY? Frederick William Thomas writes Poe, enclosing a prospectus of his forthcoming Chronicle of Western Literature (Poe’s 14 February 1849 reply; review of Thomas’ periodical in New York Home Journal, 20 January 1849).

[1848] CA. 27? NOVEMBER. PROVIDENCE. Mrs. Whitman promptly returns the three articles Poe requested in his 26 November letter. She believes that “Grace Greenwood” [pseudonym of Sara Jane Lippincott] wrote the poem addressed to him in the Home Journal. She asks Poe to send a brief note signed with his full signature to William J. Pabodie, who wishes to obtain his autograph (Mrs. Clemm to Annie Richmond, 28 November or later, and Poe to Pabodie, 4 December; see also Miller [1979], p. 98). [page 773:]

[1848] BEFORE 28 NOVEMBER? LOWELL. Annie Richmond replies to Poe’s 16 November letter, asking him to make a promise (implied by Mrs. Clemm to Annie, 28 November or later).

[1848] 28 NOVEMBER OR BEFORE? FORDHAM. Poe writes Annie, making a promise.

[Annie recalled that Mrs. Clemm borrowed “the letter containing this promise” and never returned it (Miller [1977], p. 25).]

[1848] 28 NOVEMBER OR LATER. Mrs. Clemm writes Annie, discussing Poe’s engagement with Mrs. Whitman: “I so much fear she is not calculated to make him happy. I fear I will not love her. I know I shall never love her as I do you, my own darling. . . . Thank you a thousand times, dearest, for inducing Eddy to make that promise to you, and which I feel so sure he will never violate. . . . Did you see the lines addressed to our Eddy in the ‘Home Journal’ week before last? . . . Mrs. W. says they were written by Grace Greenwood! They were sent to Eddy in manuscript, and Mrs. W. says she knows it to be Grace Greenwood’s” (Miller [1977], pp. 24-26).

[1848] 29 NOVEMBER. RICHMOND. Susan Archer Talley replies to Poe’s 20 November letter: “Miss Talley will take pleasure in complying with Mr. Poe’s request so far as she is herself concerned & cannot but feel gratified at the trust reposed in her by one whose genius she has ever regarded with so profound an admiration. Mr. Valentine will be in Richmond in the course of a week or two, & Miss Talley prefers waiting till then, to forwarding Mr. Poe’s letter immediately . . . . She has little doubt of the success of his application, & need not assure Mr. Poe that his communication will be made known to Mr. Valentine only” (W, 17:324).

[1848] LATE NOVEMBER? NEW YORK. Miss Anne C. Lynch writes William J. Pabodie in Providence: “I hear that Mrs Whitman has concluded, contrary to the lady in the song, to become ‘Mrs Poe.’ I should like to know if this is really so” (InU-L).

[Miss Lynch was alluding to the song of “Gaffer Poe,” preserved in Anne E. C. Clarke’s reminiscence. It contained the refrain “I’ll never marry you and be called Mrs. Poe” (Sartain, p. 216).]

[1848] LATE NOVEMBER? PROVIDENCE. Mrs. Whitman recalls: “soon after Mrs. [Frances S.] Osgood learned from some of Poe’s friends in New York that we were engaged, she came to Providence on purpose to see me . . . . She threw herself at my feet & covered my hands with tears & kisses; she told me all the enthusiasm that she had felt for him & her unchanged & unchanging interest in him & his best welfare. In answer to her questions, [page 774:] I told her of the poem which he had sent me[,] of his visit[s] to Providence, of his letters, & of all that she wished to know. When I spoke of the letters of ten or twelve pages, she seemed almost incredulous. She said his letters to her were all very brief” (Whitman to J. H. Ingram, 11 May 1874, Miller [1979], p. 154-55; see also Miller [1977], p. 218, [1979], p. 382, and Williams, p. 769).

[1848] CA. DECEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. John Sartain pays $15 for an eighteen-line poem entitled “The Bells. — A Song,” the first of three versions of “The Bells” that Poe will submit to Sartain’s Union Magazine (editorial in December 1849 number; Sartain, p. 220).

[1848] DECEMBER. NEW YORK. Holden’s Dollar Magazine contains an installment of John Tomlin’s pseudonymous serial, “The Autobiography of a Monomaniac” edited by “Joe Bottom,” which incorporates the texts of many letters he received from literary celebrities. Tomlin prints Poe’s 5 October 1842 letter to him; in a footnote he comments humorously on the Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque.

[1848] DECEMBER. In his Merchants’ Magazine Freeman Hunt reviews Lowell’s A Fable for Critics: “Our friends Bryant, Halleck, Willis, Whittier, Poe, and, last but not least, Harry Franco, (Briggs,) are, in our judgment, as genuine life pictures as were ever sketched with pen or pencil, in prose or verse. The severity, if any, is lost in the general fidelity of the delineations.”

[1848] EARLY DECEMBER? Poe agrees to contribute literary criticism to the forthcoming American Metropolitan Magazine, to be edited by William Landon and published by Israel Post (prospectus in first number, dated January 1849; Mrs. Whitman’s statements to J. H. Ingram, Miller [1979], pp. 35, 104).

[1848] EARLY DECEMBER? In the office of the Metropolitan, 259 Broadway, Poe reads Mrs. Frances S. Osgood’s “Lines from an Unpublished Drama,” which will appear in the first number. “He . . . . believed them [the verses] to be addressed to himself. With his impressible & impulsive temperament . . . they must have deeply affected him” (Mrs. Whitman to Mary E. Hewitt, 4 October 1850, Williams, pp. 767-68).

[1848] EARLY DECEMBER? PROVIDENCE. T. L. Dunnell presumably replies to Poe’s 27 November letter, changing the date of his lecture from 13 December to 20 December (implied by delivery of lecture on latter date). [page 775:]

[1848] 4 DECEMBER. FORDHAM. Complying with Mrs. Whitman’s request, Poe sends William J. Pabodie a brief letter signed with his full signature: “On the principle of [‘]better late than never’ I seize the first opportunity afforded me, in the midst of cares and vexations of all kinds, to write you a few words of cordial thanks for your considerate and gentlemanly attentions to me while in Providence. . . Please say to Mrs. W., when you next see her, that I thank her for the ‘papers’ and for her promptitude. . . . Edgar Allan Poe” (L, 2:411-12; facsimile in Stoddard [1884], 1:158-59; cf. Whitman to Poe, ca. 27? November).

[1848] 7 DECEMBER. Poe writes John R. Thompson in Richmond: “I have been out of town for some weeks, and your letter, in consequence, did not reach me as soon as it should. — Now, of course, it will be out of my power to send you anything in time for your January number [of the Southern Literary Messenger] — but as soon as I find time to write an article such as I think will suit you, you shall hear from me. . . . Can you spare me the number of the Messenger containing Miss Talley’s beautiful lines entitled ‘Genius’? If I am not very much mistaken ‘Susan’ will ere long, stand at the head of American poetesses” (L, 2:721-22).

[1848] AFTER 7 DECEMBER. PROVIDENCE. Poe visits Mrs. Whitman.

[Quinn, p. 582, argued that Poe did not return to Providence until his 20 December lecture; but Mrs. Whitman clearly referred to an early December visit in her 30 September 1872 letter to Stoddard and in her 4 January 1876 letter to Ingram (Stoddard [1884], 1:158; Miller [1979], p. 382). See also 12 DECEMBER.]

[1848] 11 DECEMBER. MILLERS TAVERN, ESSEX COUNTY, VIRGINIA. Elmira Shelton writes her cousin Philip A. Fitzhugh in Richmond: “My heart is with you all — tho’ I think it very doubtful whether I shall return untill the 1st Jan’y” (TxU-HRCL).

[Quinn, p. 629, wrongfully inferred that this letter proved that Elmira “had not met Poe at that time.” In fact, it does not mention Poe, or even allude to him.]

[1848] 12 DECEMBER. PROVIDENCE. Poe reads Mrs. Whitman’s “Hours of Life.”

[On 12 December 1849 she wrote Rufus W. Griswold: “It is just a year ago to-day since Mr Poe read with me the greater part of this poem and his remarks, indicative of surprise & pleasure, were the more gratifying to me because I had feared that as the poem was not conformed to his own [page 776:] poetical creed, either in scope or structure[,] he would have been disposed to criticise rather than admire. He urged me at the time to fill up the unfinished portions of it & prepare it for immediate publication” (PHi; printed by Vincent, pp. 162-67).]

[1848] 12 DECEMBER OR LATER. Poe leaves Providence and returns to Fordham (indicated by Poe to Whitman, 16 December).

[1848] BEFORE 15 DECEMBER. Mrs. Anna Power realizes that her daughter Mrs. Whitman intends to persist in her engagement to Poe. Mrs. Power therefore decides to obtain sole control of the estate left her family by her sister Ruth Marsh, thus placing it beyond the reach of her prospective son-in-law (15 December documents).

[1848] 15 DECEMBER. The Daily Journal and the Evening Transcript carry this advertisement:

FRANKLIN LYCEUM LECTURES. The Fifth Lecture of the course will be delivered in Howard’s Hall, on WEDNESDAY EVENING, Dec. 20th, by EDGAR A. POE, Esq.

Tickets to be had at Gladding & Proud’s Bookstore, and at Leland’s Music store, next door below the entrance to the Hall.

Doors open at 6 1/2 — Lecture at 7 1/2 o’clock.

The notice is repeated daily in both papers.

[1848] 15 DECEMBER. Mrs. Power signs a document of transfer in the presence of two witnesses, Henry Martin and William J. Pabodie. “To Charles F. Tillinghast Administrator . . . of the estate of Ruth Marsh . . . . You are hereby required in conformity to the provisions of the Will of the above named Ruth Marsh to pay to me the Subscriber [Anna Power] the Whole of the Estate . . . consisting of Bank Stocks and Notes.” The document itemizes sixty-six shares of stock issued by six banks, as well as notes totalling $5,318.00 signed by private individuals and “secured by Mortgage of Real Estate.”

Mrs. Power’s daughters sign a supporting document: “We Sarah Helen Whitman and Susan Anna Power legatees named in the will of the within named Ruth Marsh . . . hereby unite in the preceding request of Anna Power that the whole of the Estate . . . be transferred to her” (Harrison and Dailey, p. 446; also in Harrison [1909], pp. 47-48).

[1848] 15? DECEMBER. Mrs. Whitman sends a letter to Poe and one to Mrs. Clemm. She apparently informs them of her mother’s action regarding her aunt’s estate (Poe’s reply). [page 777:]

[1848] 16 DECEMBER. The Republican Herald reports that Poe will lecture at Howard’s Hall on Wednesday evening, 20 December.

[1848] 16 DECEMBER. NEW YORK. Poe writes Mrs. Whitman: “My own dearest Helen — Your letters — to my mother & myself — have just been received, & I hasten to reply, in season for this afternoons [mail]. . . . I cannot be in Providence until Wednesday morning; and, as I must try and get some sleep after I arrive, it is more than probable that I shall not see you until about 2, PM. Keep up heart for all will go well. My mother sends her dearest love and says she will return good for evil & treat you much better than your mother has treated me” (L, 2:412, 533; facsimile in Ticknor, after p. 162).

[In this letter Poe probably commented unfavorably on Mrs. Power’s action. The manuscript was cut in two after the word “afternoons” and a portion of the text excised and destroyed, presumably by Mrs. Whitman.]

[1848] BEFORE 18 DECEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Carey & Hart publish Rufus W. Griswold’s anthology The Female Poets of America (Griswold [1898], pp. 245-46; Bayless, p. 150).

[Heartman and Canny, p. 127, wrongly attributed Griswold’s sketch of Sarah Anna Lewis to Poe. In it Griswold sarcastically suggested that Mrs. Lewis’ “The Forsaken,” which had been warmly praised by “the acute critic Mr. Edgar A. Poe,” was plagiarized from “a very fine poem by [William] Motherwell.” See also Poe to Griswold, 28 June 1849.]

[1848] 18 DECEMBER. OQUAWKA, ILLINOIS. Edward H. N. Patterson, the junior editor of the Oquawka Spectator, sends Poe a letter in care of the publisher George P. Putnam. Patterson invites Poe to join him in establishing a national magazine, possibly explaining that he will come into sufficient financial means on his twenty-first birthday, 27 January 1849 (Poe’s reply, late April 1849; McElroy, p. 256).

[1848] 18 DECEMBER. PROVIDENCE. The Manufacturers and Farmers Journal contains an advertisement for Poe’s lecture on 20 December.

[1848] 19 DECEMBER. NEW YORK. Poe calls on the poetess Mary E. Hewitt, to whom he expresses a doubt that he and Mrs. Whitman will actually be married.

[Griswold gave a distorted version of this interview in his 1850 “Memoir;” pp. xxix-xxx, making it appear that Poe maliciously intended to break his [page 778:] engagement. Mrs. Hewitt wrote Mrs. Whitman on 2 October 1850, giving an accurate account:

As Mr Poe arose to leave he said “I am going to Providence this afternoon[.]” “I hear you are about to be married” I replied. He stood with the knob of the parlour door in his hand, and as I said this drew himself up with a look of great reserve and replied “that marriage will never take place[.]” “But” I persisted, “it is said you are already published[.]” Still standing like a statue with a most rigid face, he repeated “It will never take place.” These were his words and this was all. He bade me good morning on the instant and I never saw him more. Mr Griswold came in the afternoon and in reply to my “Mr Poe was here this morning” said “He has gone to be married I think[.]” In answer to which I repeated what Mr Poe had said (transcript in Mrs. Whitman’s hand, MB-G).]

[1848] 20 DECEMBER. PROVIDENCE. Poe arrives early in the morning, taking lodging in the Earl House, a large hotel operated by Robert Earl at 67 North Main Street (Phillips, 2:1393; Mabbott [1978], 3:1361, 1367).

[1848] 20 DECEMBER. The Daily Journal comments:

THE LECTURE BEFORE THE FRANKLIN LYCEUM, this evening, will be delivered by EDGAR A. POE, one of the most remarkable literary men of this country. To an imagination of singular strength and brilliancy, he adds a wonderful power of analysis. He will not fail to make an interesting lecture, and the subject which we understand he has selected, “The Poetic Principle,” is one well calculated for his peculiar abilities.

The Evening Transcript also reports that Poe, “the celebrated Poetical writer,” will speak tonight: “This lecture will be attended with a great deal of interest, our readers being so familiar with his numerous productions.”

[1848] 20 DECEMBER. At 7:30 PM Poe lectures on “The Poetic Principle” in Howard’s Hall, before an audience of “1800 people” (Poe to Annie Richmond, 28 December).

[William J. Pabodie estimated the attendance at “some two thousand persons” (11 June 1852 letter to R. W. Griswold, W, 17:413). Stephen H. Arnold left this reminiscence: “Poe . . . had read ‘The Raven,’ ‘The Bells,’ and other selections, in his best manner. Mrs. Whitman was seated just in front of him and my mother, my sister Rebecca and I were a little way off at the side — on his right — where we could observe both him and Mrs. Whitman and get every change of expression. This had been very interesting but became intensely so when in closing he read Edward C. Pinkney’s lines — ‘I fill this cup to one made up of loveliness alone’ — all the while looking down into her eyes” (Harrison and Dailey, p. 447; cf. W, 14:280-81).] [page 779:]

[1848] 21 OR 22 DECEMBER. Presumably impressed by the success of Poe’s lecture, Mrs. Whitman agrees to an “immediate marriage.” Mrs. Power grudgingly consents to the union, insisting that Poe first sign a document acknowledging her control of her family’s estate (Williams, pp. 761-62).

[1848] 22 DECEMBER. With William J. Pabodie as a witness, Poe endorses copies of the two documents Mrs. Power and her daughters sent to Charles E. Tillinghast, administrator of the estate, on 15 December. He then signs a statement appended to these copies: “Whereas a Marriage is intended between the above named Sarah H. Whitman and the Subscriber Edgar A. Poe, — I hereby approve of and assent to the transfer of the property in the manner proposed” (Harrison and Dailey, p. 446, or Harrison [1909], p. 49).

[1848] 22 DECEMBER. In the evening Poe attends a social gathering at Mrs. Whitman’s home. Although he has been drinking, he is “very quiet.” He promises Mrs. Whitman and her friends that he will abstain from alcohol (Pabodie to Griswold, 11 June 1852, W, 17:413; see also Williams, p. 762).

[1848] 23 DECEMBER. Early in the morning Poe drinks a single glass of wine at the Earl House. He then calls on Mrs. Whitman: “Mr. Poe manifested and expressed the most profound contrition and regret [for the preceding evening], and was profuse in his promises of amendment. He was still urgently anxious that the marriage should take place before he left the City” (Pabodie to Griswold, W, 17:413; see also Stoddard [1884], 1:158).

[1848] 23 DECEMBER. With Mrs. Whitman’s consent, Poe writes a brief note to Reverend Nathan Bourne Crocker, minister of St. John’s Episcopal Church: “Will Dr. Crocker have the kindness to publish the banns of matrimony between Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman and myself, on Sunday [24 December] and on Monday. When we have decided on the day of the marriage we will inform you, and will thank you to perform the ceremony” (L, 2:413; Chivers [1957], p. 155).

[Poe handed the note to Pabodie, asking him to deliver it in person. “I delayed complying with his request, in the hope that the union might yet be prevented” (Pabodie to Griswold, W, 17:414).]

[1848] 23 DECEMBER. Poe writes Mrs. Clemm: “We shall be married on Monday [25 December], and will be at Fordham on Tuesday” (L, 2:412).

[1848] 23 DECEMBER. Mrs. Whitman recalls her last day in Poe’s company: [page 780:]

We rode out together in the morning & passed the greater part of the day in making preparations for my sudden change of abode. In the afternoon, while we were together at one of the circulating libraries of the city, a communication was handed me cautioning me against this imprudent marriage & informing me of many things in Mr. Poe’s recent career with which I was previously unacquainted. I was at the same time informed that he had already violated the solemn promises that he had made to me & to my friends on the preceding evening. . . . I felt utterly helpless of being able to exercise any permanent influence over his life. On our return home I announced to him what I had heard &, in his presence, countermanded the order, which he had previously given, for the delivery of the note he had addressed to Dr. Crocker. He earnestly endeavoured to persuade me that I had been misinformed, especially in relation to his having that very morning called for wine at the bar of the hotel where he boarded. . . . My mother on being informed of what had transpired had a brief interview with Mr. Poe which resulted in his determination to return immediately to New York. In her presence & in that of his friend, Mr. Pabodie, I bade him farewell, with feelings of profound commiseration for his fate . . . . While he was endeavouring to win from me an assurance that our parting should not be a final one, my mother saved me from a response by insisting upon the immediate termination of the interview. Mr. Poe then started up and left the house with an expression of bitter resentment at what he termed, the “intolerable insults” of my family. I never saw him more (27-28 September 1850 letter to Mrs. Hewitt, Williams, pp. 762-63; cf. Miller [1979], p. 145).

[1848] 23 DECEMBER. At 6:00 PM Poe leaves Providence “in the Stonington express train, accompanied to the cars by Mr. Pabodie”; at Stonington, Connecticut, he boards Captain Joel Stone’s steamer Massachusetts, which arrives in New York early the next day (Whitman to R. H. Stoddard, 30 September 1872, Stoddard [1884], 1:158; schedules in Providence Evening Transcript).

[1848] 24 DECEMBER. WESTFORD, MASSACHUSETTS. Bardwell Heywood writes Miss Annie Sawyer in Lowell, describing Poe’s late October visit to his parents’ farm in Westford (Coburn, pp. 472-74).

[1848] 24 DECEMBER. NEW LONDON, CONNECTICUT. The Daily Star reports: “Edgar A. Poe, Esq., the celebrated poet and critic, is about to lead to the Hymenial altar, Mrs. Sarah H. Whitman, of Providence, a well known and popular authoress.”

[1848] 26 DECEMBER. NEW YORK. The Morning Express copies the Star’s report.

[1848] 28 DECEMBER. LOWELL. The Daily Journal & Courier copies the Star’s report.

[1848] 28 DECEMBER. FORDHAM. Mrs. Clemm writes Annie Richmond in Lowell: [page 781:] “I feel so happy in all my troubles. Eddy is not going to marry Mrs. W. . . . All the papers say he is going to lead to the altar the talented, rich, and beautiful Mrs. W” (fragment printed by Ingram, p. 395).

[1848] 28 DECEMBER. Poe sends Annie a note accompanying Mrs. Clemm’s letter: “My own dear Mother will explain to you how it is that I cannot write to you in full — but I must write only a few words to let you see that I am well, lest you suspect me to be ill. . . . . I hope that I distinguished myself at the Lecture [in Providence] — I tried to do so, for your sake. There were 1800 people present, and such applause! I did so much better than I did at Lowell” (L, 2:413).

[1848] BEFORE 29 DECEMBER. NEW YORK. The first number of the American Metropolitan Magazine, dated January 1849, contains Mrs. Frances S. Osgood’s “Lines from an Unpublished Drama,” possibly addressed to Poe. A prospectus on the back cover lists Poe among the writers who have agreed to contribute (Hull, p. 694; Reece [1954], p. 165).

[1848] 29 DECEMBER. The Daily Tribune notices the Metropolitan.

[1848] 30 DECEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. The Quaker City, a weekly newspaper edited by George Lippard, commences publication. In this issue Lippard prints the first installment of his “Literary and Political Police,” satires featuring Poe as a magistrate (“Justice Poe”) meting out punishments to various literary “criminals,” including Rufus W. Griswold and Joel T. Headley. Subsequent installments appear intermittently during the winter and spring of 1849.

[1848] LATE 1848. HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT. Henry S. Parsons publishes Mrs. Elizabeth Oakes Smith’s anthology The Lover’s Gift, which contains Poe’s 1831 poem “To Helen” and his stanza “To F[rance]s S. O[sgoo]d,” both apparently reprinted from The Raven and Other Poems (Heartman and Canny, p. 276; Mabbott [1969], 1:165, 234, 584).

[1848] LATE 1848? FORDHAM? Poe returns the manuscript of Mrs. Sarah Anna Lewis’ “The Prisoner of Perotè” to her, penciling a note on the last page: “Upon the whole I think this the most spirited poem you have written. . . . You will observe that I have taken the liberty of making some suggestions in the body of the poem — the force of which, I think, would be much increased by the introduction of an occasional short line” (L, 2:413-14, 534; Mabbott [1969], 1:493-96).

[1848] 1848 AND 1849. Poe keeps a notebook in which he lists likely subscribers and contributors to his proposed magazine, the Stylus (Rose and Savoye).

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:1 - TPL, 1987] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - The Poe Log (D. R. Thomas and D. K. Jackson) (Chapter 10)