Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Thomas Holley Chivers — July 22, 1846 (LTR-239)


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New-York, July 22 / 46.

My Dear Friend,

I had long given you up (thinking that, after the fashion of numerous other friends, you had made up your mind to desert me at the first breath of what seemed to be trouble) when this morning I received no less than 6 letters from you, all of them addressed 195 East Broadway. Did you not know that I merely boarded at this house? It is a very long while since I left it, and as I did not leave it on very good terms with the landlady, she has given herself no concern about my letters — not one of which I should ever have received but for the circumstance of new tenants coming in to the house. I am living out of town about 13 miles, at a village called Fordham, on the railroad leading north. We are in a snug little cottage, keeping house, and would be very comfortable, but that I have been for a long time dreadfully ill. I am getting better, however, although slowly, and shall get well. In the meantime the flocks of little birds of prey that always take the opportunity of illness to peck at a sick fowl of larger dimensions, have been endeavoring with all their power to effect my ruin. My dreadful poverty, also, has given them every advantage. In fact, my dear friend, I have been driven to the very gates of death and a despair more dreadful than death, and I had not even one friend, out of my family, with whom to advise. What would I not have given for the kind pressure of your hand! It is only a few days since that I requested my mother in law, Mrs. Clemm, to write to you — but she put it off from day to day.

I send you, as your request, the last sheet of the “Luciferian Revelation.” There are several other requests in your letters which I know you would pardon me for not attending to if you only were aware of my illness, and how impossible it is for me to put my foot out of the house or indeed to help myself in any way. It is with the greatest difficulty that I write you this letter — as you may perceive, indeed, by the M.S. I have not been able to write one line for the Magazines for more than 5 months — you can then form some idea of the dreadful extremity to which I have been reduced. The articles lately published in “Godey’s Book” were written and paid for a long while ago.

Your professions of friendship I reciprocate from the inmost depths of my heart. Except yourself I have never met the man for whom I felt that intimate sympathy (of intellect as well as soul) which is the sole basis of friendship. Believe me that never, for one moment, have I doubted the sincerity of your wish to assist me. There is not one word you say that I do not see coming up from the depths of your heart.

There is one thing you will be glad to learn: — It has been a long while since any artificial stimulus has passed my lips. When I see you — should that day ever come — this is a topic on which I desire to have a long talk with you. I am done forever with drink — depend upon that — but there is much more in this matter than meets the eye.

Do not let anything in this letter impress you with the belief that I despair even of worldly prosperity. On the contrary although I feel ill, and am ground into the very dust with poverty, there is a sweet hope in the bottom of my soul.

I need not say to you that I rejoice in your success with the silk. I have always conceived it to be a speculation full of promise if prudently conducted. The revulsion consequent upon the silk mania has, of course, induced the great majority of mankind to look unfavorably upon the business — but such feelings should have no influence with the philosophic. Be cautious and industrious — that is all.

I enclose you a slip from the “Reveilee.” You will be pleased to see how they appreciate me in England.

When you write, address simply “New-York-City.” There is no Post Office at Fordham.

God Bless You.
Ever Your friend,
Edgar A. Poe.

P.S. I have been looking over your “Luciferian Revelation” again. There are some points at which I might dissent with you — but there [are] a 1000 glorious thoughts in it.


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Notes:

This letter was first published by George Woodberry in “The Poe-Chivers Papers,” Century Magazine, NS XLIII, February 1903, p. 547.


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[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to T. H. Chivers (LTR239/RCL649)