Text: Edgar Allan Poe to Anson G. Chester — April 1, 1849 (LTR-309a)


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Fordham — Ap. 1 — 49.

My Dear Sir,

In reply to your very flattering request for an autograph poem, I have the honor of copying for you the subjoined lines just written. As they will be sold to one of our periodicals, may I beg of you not to let them pass out of your possession until published?

Very respectfully,
Yr. ob. St.
Edgar A. Poe

A, G, Chester, Esq.

For Annie.

Thank Heaven! — the crisis —  
     The danger is past,
And the lingering illness 
     Is over at last —  
And the fever called “Living” 
     Is conquered at last.

——

Sadly, I know, I am 
     Shorn of my strength, 
And no muscle I move, 
     As I lie at full length —  
But no matter! — I feel 
     I am better at length.

——

And I rest so composedly 
     Now, in my bed, 
That any beholder 
     Might fancy me dead —  

Might start at beholding me, 
     Thinking me dead.

——

The moaning and groaning, 
     The sighing and sobbing, 
Are quieted now; with 
     The horrible throbbing 
At heart: — oh, that horrible, 

Horrible throbbing!

——

The sickness — the nausea —  
     The pitiless pain —  
Have ceased, with the fever
     That maddened my brain —
With the fever called “Living” 
     That burned in my brain.

——

 

[page 2:]

And ah, of all tortures 
     That torture the worst 
Has abated — the terrible 
     Torture of thirst 
For the napthaline rivers 
     Of Passion accurst ! —
I have drank of a water 
     That quenches all thirst: —

——

Of a water that flows, 
     With a lullaby sound,
From a spring but a very few 
     Feet under ground —
From a cavern not very far 
     Down under ground.

——

And ah! let it never be
     Foolishly said
That my room it is gloomy 
     And narrow my bed;
For man never slept 
     In a different bed —
And, to sleep, you must slumber 
     In just such a bed.

——

My tantalized spirit here
     Blandly reposes,
Forgetting, or never 
     Regretting, its roses —
Its old agitations
     Of myrtles and roses.

For now, while so quietly 
     Lying, I fancy 
A holier odor about me, 
     of pansy —
A rosemary odor 
     Commingled with pansies —
With rue and the beautiful 
     Puritan pansy

——

And so I lie happily 
     Bathing in many 
A dream of the love 
     And the beauty of Annie —  
Drowned in a bath 
     Of the tresses of Annie.

——

She tenderly kissed me —
     She fondly caressed —  
And then I fell gently 
     To sleep on her breast —  
Deeply to sleep from the 
     Heaven of her breast.

——

When the light was extinguished, 
     She covered me warm,
And she prayed to the angels
     To keep me from harm —
To the queen of the angels
     To shield me from harm.

——

 

[page 3:]

And I lie so composedly 
     Now, in my bed,
(Knowing her love) 
     That you fancy me dead —
And I rest so contentedly
     Now in my bed, 
(With her love at my breast) 
     That you fancy me dead —
That you shudder to look at me,
     Thinking me dead: —

But my heart it is brighter
     Than all of the many
Stars of the sky —  
     Sparkles with Annie —
It glows with the light 
     Of the love of my Annie —
With the thought of the light
     Of the eyes of my Annie.

——

 

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Notes:

This letter was purchased by the Lilly Library about 1984, and therefore unknown to Ostrom. Accompanying the letter is a manuscript of “For Annie.” Anson Gleason Chester was a young Presbyterian minister, living in Saratoga Springs in New York. The back of the letter is inscribed, as an envelope, in the middle, “A. G. Chester, Esqr. [/] Saratoga Springs, [/] N. Y.” and in the lower left corner “EAP”. The letter is postmarked New York, with the date of April 2, and the charge of 5 cents. The letter was first described in the Post Express (Rochester, NY) on April 2, 1887 in an article about the collection of E. Kirke Hart (1841-1893). After being acquired by the Lilly Library, it was printed, with a facsimile of the letter and poem, in J. Albert Robbins, “New Poe Manuscript Finds a Home at the Lilly,” The Friends of the Lilly Library Newsletter, Indiana: The Indiana University Foundation, Number 6, Spring 1985, pp. 1-4. It was then published, with very fine photographs of the three pages and a textual study of the poem, in J. Albert Robbins, “A New Manuscript of Poe’s ‘For Annie’,” Studies in Bibliography, Charlottesville, Virginia: The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia, 1986, pp. 261-265.


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[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to A. G. Chester (LTR309a/RCL781b)