Text: Thomas Ollive Mabbott, “Lines to Richmond Schoolgirls,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. I: Poems (1969), pp. 3-4 (This material is protected by copyright)


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[LINES TO RICHMOND SCHOOLGIRLS]

Poe certainly wrote poetry while at the school of Joseph H. Clarke in Richmond, in the years 1820 to 1823. Clarke lived to be very old, remained a lifelong friend of his distinguished pupil, and attended the unveiling of his monument in 1875. To Eugene L. Didier he wrote on April 16, 1876 (the letter is in the Wendell Collection at Harvard), that Poe’s “imaginative powers seemed to take precedence of all his other faculties, he gave proof of this, in his juvenile compositions addressed to his young female friends.” William Fearing Gill (Life of Edgar Allan Poe, 1878, p. 28) says that the boy Poe “wrote poems, chivalrously inscribed to his girl playmates, and . . . prepared them for the press, and handed them to Mr. Allan for publication.” Gill adds that it was “due to the judicious advice of Professor Clarke that the verses were not published.” Richard Henry Stoddard (“Life,” p. xxvii) says the work was “a manuscript volume” and that “Mr. Allan . . . retained his admiration for Master Edgar’s poetry, which he was in the habit of reading to his friends.” Father John B. Tabb had heard that Mrs. Mackenzie, to whom Poe submitted his ­[page 4:] juvenile poems, called them “worthless imitations of Byron blended with some original nonsense.”(1)

Susan Archer Talley Weiss (The Home Life of Poe, 1907, p. 37) says that when Poe was about fifteen he used to have his sister Rosalie carry candy, letters, and “original poetry” to her school-mates at Miss Jane Mackenzie’s. These “verses were sometimes compared by their fair recipients, and found to be alike, with the exception of slight changes appropriate to each; a practice which he kept up in after years.” Not one of these poems addressed to schoolgirls has been preserved.

 


[[Footnotes]]

1  Stoddard’s “Life” is quoted from Selected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (1880). Father Tabb is quoted from a manuscript of “Recollections” collected by the poet-priest from people who had known Poe; see the Ingram List (John Henry Ingram’s Poe Collection at the University of Virginia: A Calendar, by John Carl Miller, 1960), no. 361.


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Notes:

None.


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[S:1 - TOM1P, 1969] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (T. O. Mabbott) (Lines to Richmond Schoolgirls)