Text: Charles W. Kent (notes) Robert A. Stewart (variants) (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Notes to Scenes from Politian,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. VII: Poems (1902), pp. 194-197


[page 194:]


Page 59.


Text, 1845.

Variations of Southern Literary Messenger from text.

In the Southern Literary Messenger the piece is entitled “Scenes From An Unpublished Drama,” and begins with Part II. of the text.

II. 15 couldst (could’st) 21 so (so!) 22 Seemed (Seem’d) 25 oh, (!) 42 ma’am,’s (ma’am’s,) 43 say, (o. c.) 55 aid! (?) 81 ruined (ruin’d) after 1. 84 speaks, (o. c.) 85 hast, (o. c.) 113 anything (any thing) 116 This sacred (Avow — a) 117 shuddering (cap.) 126 daughter, (!) 128 divine — (!).

III. 1 Baldazzar (Baldazzar, his friend) 3 humours (humors) 6 Baldazzar! (,) 7 Surely (I live —) 11 honoured (honored) 12 sir! (,) 17 sir! (.) 18 field — (,) 33 voice! (,) 39 high-sounding (o. h.) 42 long — (.) 45 and (, and) 53 alas (cap.) 64 now — (, — ) 69 eloquent (voice — that) 70 Surely I (I surely) 76 it (that lattice) 84-90 “And. . . . nay!” (And . . . nay!) 93 Hist! (—) 94-100 “Is . . . nay!” (Is . . . nay!) 101 hushed (hush’d) 104 Baldazzar, (!) 108-111 “Who . . . nay!” (Who . . . nay!) 114 savoured (savored) 117 Believe me (Baldazzar! Oh) 119 lattice — (,) 120 “To (To) 121 tongue.” (tongue.) 124 down, (o. c.) 125 Say . . . nay! (n. i.) 132 me; (,) 133 tonight (o. h.). [page 195:]

IV. gardens (cap.) palace (cap.) 5 sob (weep) 6 mourn (weep) 9 Lalage! — turn here thine eyes (Lalage, and listen to me!) 14 I . . . thee; (n. i.) 15 I . . . thee (n. i.) 20 thee (n. i.) 27 dishonoured (dishonored) 30 honours (honors) 31 not to me (not — speak not) 36 it: (!) 44 unhonoured (unhonored) 49 Arise (n. i.) 53 together — together (n. i.) 57 knee. (knee) 59 Hist! (! —) 75 west? (;) 90 thee (thee,) no durst (n. i.) 115 very (n. i.).

In the January number of the Southern Literary Messenger are found Parts I. and V. of the text, numbered as I. and II. Same title as in December No.

I. 2 Sad! (! —) 3 Rome! (,) 19 even (ev’n) 23 it! (.) 24 company, (p. c.) 24 born — (!) 28 Thou wilt — thou (Thou) 52 I say, (o. c.) 62 Rumour (Rumor) 66 and (, and) 68 it, (o. c.) 70 it. (,) 72 strange! (,) 77 Now (Now,).

V. 1 faint, (o. c.) 7 Paradisal Hope! (hopes — give me to live,) 14 What (n. i.) 22 himself (himself,) 29 say (n. i.) 30 sir: (,) 35 service: (?) 48 to-morrow (o. h.). After ll. 50 insert:

If that we meet at all, it were as well

That I should meet him in the Vatican —

In the Vatican — within the holy walls

Of the Vatican.

59 Castiglione; (,) 66 then at once (— have at thee then) 72 thy sacred (hold off thy) 72 avaunt (cap.) 73 indeed I dare not (I dare not — dare not) 75 well; (,). After 75 insert:

Exceeding well! — thou darest not fight with me?

82 coward, (Coward!). Insert after 82 Thou darest not! 84 my lord, (alas!) 86 the veriest (— I am — a) 89 Scoundrel . . . die! (n. i.) 99 sir: (!) 108 indeed (— now this). [page 196:]


The Plot of this single attempt at a Drama is as follows:

Count Castiglione, son of the Roman Duke di Broglio, is betrothed to Alessandra but in love with Lalage, whom he has betrayed under promise of marriage. Lalage vows vengeance. Politian falls in love with Lalage and persuades her to flee with him when Castiglione is dead. Politian will not kill Castiglione, who refuses to defend himself, but swears to meet and insult him in public. Castiglione confesses the justice of this vengeance.

These five scenes are really the five undeveloped acts of a complete tragedy of revenge.

In Scene (Act) One, Alessandra and Castiglione are in conversation in a Hall in the Palace. The tone of the play is given in the first words — ‘Thou art sad, Castiglione.’ In protesting that he is not sad he yet, amid his sighs, utters the name Lalage. Di Broglio enters to announce the unexpected arrival of Politian (Earl of Leicester) and Politian’s qualities are discussed.

In Scene (Act) Two, Lalage and Jacinta her maid are together. The maid has lost respect for her mistress and serves her now for the remnant of her treasures. Lalage is bemoaning her sad fate when a monk enters to whom she confesses her fall. She asks for a crucifix upon which she may vow Castiglione’s death; but when the monk refuses, she swears upon the Cross-handle of her dagger.

Scene (Act) Third: Politian and Baldazzar (Duke of Surrey) have arrived in Rome and during conversation Politian is entranced by a lady’s voice in sorrowing song. Politian bids Baldazzar make his excuses to the Duke and remains.

Scene (Act) Four: Lalage tries to repulse Politian’s protestations of love to her whose story he knows, but finally accepts his avowals and is ready to fly with him to America, whenever Castiglione is killed. Politian swears he shall die. [page 197:]

In Scene (Act) Fifth, Politian sends a challenge to Castiglione, who declines it because he knows no reason why he should fight. Castiglione seeks out Politian and is insulted. They draw. Politian draws in the name of Lalage, Castiglione, thus unmanned, refuses to defend himself. Upon this Politian asserts that he will meet him in the streets of Rome and taunt him. The scene closes with

Now this indeed is just —

Most righteous and most just — avenging Heaven.

The incident upon which this drama was founded was also used by Chivers, in his little-known play of “Conrad and Eudora,” by W. Gilmore Simms (“Beauchampe”) and by Charles Fenno Hoffman (in “Greyslaer”). Mr. J. H. Ingram owns the original MS. of the drama, which is said to include unpublished scenes.






[S:0 - JAHCW, 1902] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (J. A. Harrison) (Notes to Scenes from Politian)