Text: Edgar Allan Poe to John Allan — October 16, 1831 (LTR-032)


Octo: 16th 1831.

Dear Sir,

It is a long time since I have written to you unless with an application for money or assistance. I am sorry that it is so seldom that I hear from you or even of you — for all communication seems to be at an end; and when I think of the long twenty one years that I have called you father, and you have called me son, I could cry like a child to think that it should all end in this. You know me too well to think me interested — if so: why have I rejected your thousand offers of love and kindness? It is true that when I have been in great extremity, I have always applied to you — for I had no other friend, but it is only at such a time as the present when I can write to you with the consciousness of making no application for assistance, that I dare to open my heart, or speak one word of old affection. When I look back upon the past and think of every thing — of how much you tried to do for me — of your forbearance and your generosity, in spite of the most flagrant ingratitude on my part, I can not help thinking <you> myself the greatest fool in [page 2:] existence, — I am ready to curse the day when I was born.

But I am fully — truly conscious that all these better feelings have come too late — I am not the damned villain even to ask you to restore me to the twentieth part of those affections which I have so deservedly lost, and I am resigned to whatever fate is alotted [[sic]] me.

I write merely because I am by myself and have been thinking over old times, and my only friends, until my heart is full — At such a time the conversation of new acquaintance is like ice, and I prefer writing to you altho’ I know that you care nothing about me, and perhaps will not even read my letter.

I have nothing more to say — and this time, no favour to ask — Altho I am wretchedly poor, I have managed to get clear of the difficulty I spoke of in my last, and am out of debt, at any rate.

May God bless you —
E A P.

Will you not write one word to me?



This letter is printed here with permission from the Valentine Museum in Richmond, Virginia. A photographic facsimile of this letter was published in Mary Newton Stanard, Edgar Allan Poe Letters Till Now Unpublished in the Valentine Museum, Richmond, Virginia, Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1925.


[S:0 - MS, 1831] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to J. Allan (LTR032/RCL066)