Text: Thomas Ollive Mabbott, “Appendix IV (Apocrypha - II: Rejected Poems),” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. I: Poems (1969), pp. 502-514 (This material is protected by copyright)


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II
[[Rejected Poems]]

The following is a descriptive catalogue of pieces in verse that have been ascribed to Edgar A. Poe for erroneous or insufficient reasons. They are numerous, and range from confessed hoaxes — and worse — to poems ascribed to him by reputable scholars. A few have some merit, many are harmlessly pedestrian, and others are trash. Some selectivity might seem desirable, but seems to me unwise. Anything omitted, no matter how trivial, would ere long be “discovered” and solemnly discussed. Hence I describe and comment on all the items known to me, in a chronological order.

Both external and internal evidence is considered dispassionately. What I know of the personalities of the attributors is taken into account.(1) We are often told that the merit of a poem is no criterion for judgment, but that is only a half truth. Poe could — and on occasion did — write undistinguished verses, but some faults were not his. He was an impeccable metrist; and, except for comic effect, did not write nonsense.(2) ­[page 503:]

The collection includes everything of which I have record. I describe poems “received from Poe’s spirit” by mediums; at least one of them was later hoaxingly ascribed to Poe in this world. Paul G. Henderson, son of the editor who published James Whitcomb Riley’s “Leonainie,” kindly gave me a good deal of material collected by him for a study of that and the other hoaxes, and I include references to all. Regretfully, I mention everything first attributed to Poe in a pamphlet Index of 1941.(3) Every item ascribed to Poe by J. H. Whitty in print, or in correspondence known to me, is discussed here(4) — except, of course, his valid discoveries recorded among the accepted texts. Excluded from my list as not warranting discussion are twenty poems ruled out by Killis Campbell in a footnote on p. 198 of his book The Mind of Poe (1933) — poems signed “P.” found in old periodicals which, he thought, could not possibly have any connection with Poe.(5)

1.  “Lines to Louisa” or “The Vital Stream,” sixteen lines beginning “Flow softly — gently — vital stream” from a manuscript in Poe’s hand, were assigned to him by J. H. Whitty in the New York Sun, November 21, 1915, and collected by Whitty in the second edition (1917) of The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, p. 151. Sylvia Townsend Warner in a comment on Dame Una Pope-Hennessy’s Edgar Allan Poe in the New Statesman, November 17, 1934 (8:730, n.s.), pointed out that they are found in a novel by Thomas Skinner Surr, George Barnwell, published in 1798.

2-22.  Twenty-one poems in a compilation by Elizabeth Chase, Miscellaneous ­[page 504:] Selections (1821), pp. 204-222 and 129, are signed “Edgar.” The author is described as a “youth of eighteen” and a “very young gentleman of Baltimore.” He had a sister named Ellen. See Charles F. Heartman and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of the First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (1943), pp. 11-12, for the absurdity of an ascription to Edgar Poe. The titles are: (2) “Absent Friends,” (3) “Music,” (4) “To a Friend on his Departure for Europe,” (5) “Ode to Contemplation,” (6) “To the Eagle,” (7) “Martial Glory,” (8) “To the Olive,” (9) “To the Laurel,” (10) “A Lily,” (11) “To my Friend — —,” (12) “A Dream,” (13) “Lines on the Death of Mr. John C. Clapham,” (14) “Ode, for the Twelfth of September,” (15) “To my Sister on her Birthday,” (16) “To Sorrow,” (17) “To a Female Friend,” (18) “A Smile,” (19) “Female Virtue,” (20) “Twilight,” (21) “To Despondency,” and (22) “Monody on the Death of General Joseph Sterett.”

23.  “Lines by E. A. S.,” presumably published about 1821, are mentioned (without source) in Whitty’s first edition of The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (1911), p. 170, as “perhaps . . . Poesque.” The quatrain quoted begins “What clouds my brow, O, ask me not” and can be dismissed.

24.  Thomas Hood’s sonnet “Silence” has been mistaken for Poe’s work. It was originally published, signed “T.,” in the London Magazine for February 1823, and was copied in Burton’s for September 1839 as a filler with signature “P.” It is quoted in full in the notes on Poe’s own “Sonnet — Silence” above.

25-27.  (25) “Isabel,” thirty-one lines; (26)“Mr. Po,” twenty-five lines; and (27)“Richmond, or the Map of Virginia,” forty-six lines, are found in the Southern and Western Songster (1826), a compilation of J. Grigg. See Heartman and Canny, pp. 21-22, on absurd ascriptions to Poe by an auctioneer.

28.  “To Lucy,” fifty-six lines beginning “The silver tones of woman’s tongue,” in “Noctes Ambrosianae,” no. xxviii, by Christopher North (Blackwood’s, October 1826, 20:636) was tentatively ascribed to Poe by Diana Pittman in the revived Southern Literary Messenger, April 1942, for unreasonable reasons.

29.  “Enigma” appeared in the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post, March 10, 1827, and was reprinted in The Casket for May of that year and by Killis Campbell in The Mind of Poe, p. 200. It was given in a new version in “Omniana” in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, May 1840. Whitty reprinted the second version in his Complete Poems (1911), p. 146, because he thought Poe had composed “Omniana,” but that now seems most improbable. The amusing poems (on palindromes) can be removed from the canon.

30.  “In a Pocket-Book,” signed W.H.P., in the Baltimore North American, August 11, 1827, is certainly by Edgar Poe’s elder brother Henry (see Appendix VI). Frances Winwar in The Haunted Palace (1959), p. 63, insisted on thinking it Edgar’s work.

31.  “The Sabbath Morning,” thirty lines beginning “How calm comes ­[page 505:] in the holy day!” and signed “P.,” is in the Baltimore North American, August 11, 1827. It is wholly unlike the work of Edgar Poe or his brother.

32.  “A Poor Scholar,” thirty-six lines beginning “I saw him starting in his new career” and signed “E.P.,” is in The Forget Me Not, a Philadelphia annual for 1828. Neither its finder, the Reverend Leonard Twynham, nor I can think this undistinguished piece is Poe’s.

33.  “The Three Meetings — To Eva,” twenty lines signed “Edgar” and dated “Cambridge, Feb. 19, 1828,” in The Yankee (published at Portland, Maine), February 27, 1828, was ascribed — in the face of the fact that Poe was in the South at the time of its publication — to Poe by Irving T. Richards in Modern Language Notes, March 1927.

34-35.  Two poems that appeared in 1829 in John Neal’s monthly magazine, The Yankee; and Boston Literary Gazette, were ascribed to Poe by George Birdley in the Chicago Current Opinion, June 14 (reprinted in the Richmond Dispatch of June 15), 1884; J. H. Ingram refuted this ascription in a letter printed in the same paper for July 3. See the Ingram List — J. C. Miller, John Henry Ingram’s Poe Collection at the University of Virginia (1960) — numbers 835 and 836. The pieces are (34) “The Skeleton-Hand,” sixty lines beginning “Lo! one is on the mountain side,” in The Yankee for August 1829; and (35) “The Magician,” forty-two lines beginning “Thou dark sea-stirring storm,” in the magazine for December. Both are crude and incoherent, but they turn up like bad pennies. They may be seen in James A. Harrison’s Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (1902), VII, 252-256.

36.  “First of May,” forty-two lines beginning “There is music on the breeze,” is in the Atlantic Souvenir for MDCCCXXX and was assigned to Poe by one Charles Bromback in 1917 since Poe had mentioned the possibility of his contributing to the annual in a letter of July 28, 1829. The poem ends:

Then how can I be gay

On this merry first of May?

Ah no! I am sad, I am sad.

It is to its unknown author’s credit that no signature was affixed to this trash.

37.  “Life,” twenty lines beginning “Look back on life! years, how they pass,” assigned to “Poe” and dated October 22, 1829, in the album of Miss Mary A. Hand of Baltimore, were copied for Ingram by William Hand Browne. See the Ingram List, no. 2. I assign the piece to William Henry Poe.

38.  The Musiad or Ninead, by Diabolus, edited by ME (1830), was printed in Baltimore. It has 101 lines, some referring to Poe. I think attempts to ascribe the work to Edgar Poe are mere wishful thinking. See the Ingram List, numbers 292 and 293, and an extract in the Annals, below.

39-41.  Three pieces signed “A.P.” appeared in the New York Euterpiad in 1831. They are (39) “To Music,” thirty lines in the issue of January 1; ­[page 506:] (40) “To —” (beginning “Lady! forgive the uncourteous strain”), forty lines in that of February 15; and (41) “Sonnet[s] to Keats,” twenty-five lines in that of April 1. The editor of that period, George W. Bleecker, said A.P. was a young man of twenty-seven. See Heartman and Canny, p. 182. My former ascription to Albert Pike is incorrect.

42.  Some verses described as having been addressed by Poe to Miss Kate Bleakly are mentioned by Mary E. Phillips in Edgar Allan Poe the Man (1926), I, 421-423. The material strikes me as of doubtful reliability; but in any case, the verses described are said to have been burned.

43.  “The Magic of Night,” twenty-four lines in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier, January 28, 1832, I discussed in correspondence with J. H. Whitty long ago. I am now satisfied it is not Poe’s.

44.  “Woman’s Heart,” twenty-four lines beginning “First take a feather,” is in the Baltimore Times of June 10 (misprint for 16), 1832. See Phillips, I, 435, where the poem is reprinted as perhaps the lost poem “To Mary.” It seems to me not reproachful enough to be the poem described by Mary Starr Jenning, and it seems unnecessary to reprint it here from the unique file in the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

45.  In the Bookfellows’ Step Ladder (Chicago), October 1927 (13:226), J. H. Whitty told of finding some lines written in an old book as by Poe. He suggested that they were the lost poem “To Mary” and quoted the first four lines, beginning “What though the name be old and oft repeated.” These are from “Mary” by Henry Theodore Tuckerman, to be seen in R. W. Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America (1842), p. 415.

46.  “Extract from an Unfinished Poem,” twenty-six lines beginning “There is a form before me now,” is in the Southern Literary Messenger, March 1835. The piece was tentatively ascribed to Poe by Killis Campbell in Modern Language Notes, May 1917, and in his Mind of Poe, p. 206. I cannot accept it.

47.  “Spring,” twenty lines beginning “To see thy tiny songsters” and signed “A Prisoner,” in the Southern Literary Messenger of May 1835, is tentatively ascribed to Poe by Heartman and Canny, p. 251. I cannot accept this ascription.

48.  “To Sarah,” twenty-four lines beginning “When melancholy and alone,” signed “Sylvio” in the Southern Literary Messenger, August 1835, was collected by J. H. Whitty in Complete Poems (1911), p. 142. He admitted to me that a memorandum he found in a copy of the magazine that was once in Poe’s hands did not specifically acknowledge authorship. The piece I firmly reject from the canon.

49.  “Ballad,” thirty-six lines in Scottish dialect, in the Southern Literary Messenger of August 1835 (1:705-706), is quoted in connection with Poe’s “Bridal Ballad,” above. Woodberry’s suggestion in his Life (1909), II, 415, that Poe composed the dialect piece is wholly unacceptable. ­[page 507:]

50.  “Hymn, in Honor of Harmodius and Aristogiton,” is in an article entitled “Greek Song,” signed “P.,” in the Southern Literary Messenger of December 1835 (2:38). The verses were collected by J. H. Ingram in his Complete Poetical Works . . . of . . . Poe (1888), p. 106. They were composed by Lucian Minor. See Poe’s letter of October 31, 1835; an article signed “M.” in the Southern Literary Messenger, March 1848 (14:184-185); and Campbell’s Mind of Poe, p. 194.

51.  “The Great Man,” twenty lines beginning “The great man lives,” J. H. Whitty claimed to have found in an unsigned manuscript “in Poe’s hand,” and published in Complete Poems (1911), p. 143. Whitty’s failure to show me the manuscript makes me think he came to doubt it, and the phrasing of the last lines, “Like the needle to the mariner amidst the tempest wrath / Let it fire your hopes,” is too technically nonsensical for me to accept the piece as composed by Poe.

52.  “To lanthe” is discussed in Phillips, I, 616, as a poem addressed to one Miss Anne Savidge about 1838. A fragment of the manuscript, reading “never to forget . . . losing thee . . . Yet will love thee always,” is said to have been worn by the lady in a locket and to have been buried with her. One may gravely doubt it.

53.  “The First Day of May,” thirty-six lines beginning “From the isles of the south,” signed “E. P.” and dated “Camden, S.C.,” is in the Southern Literary Messenger of May 1840 (6:385). This was ascribed to Poe in the Index to American Literature in 1941.

54.  “Lines to My Mother,” beginning “By Thrasymené’s lake,” signed “P. E.” and dated “Passignano, Italy, 1839,” was printed in the Knickerbocker Magazine for July 1840, and was ascribed to Poe by the irresponsible compilers of the Index in 1941. The author was Dr. Pliny Earle and the verses may be seen in his Marathon and Other Poems (Philadelphia, 1841), pp. 86-87.

55.  “Night,” 104 lines beginning “ ’Tis night,” is signed “E. P.” in the Yale Literary Magazine for February 1842. The only Yale student at that time having those initials was Eliphalet Parker, in the Divinity School.

56.  “The Bridge of Sighs,” a couplet reading, “Could it but read the nonsense on its stones, / The Bridge of Sighs would be a bridge of groans!” in Blackwood’s, June 1842 (51:738), is in “Sketches of Italy,” obviously by a Briton. The ascription by Miss Phillips, I, 751, is absurd.

57.  “Rupert and Madelon,” beginning “Mad. Why hast thou led me here” is from “Woman’s Trust” by Frances Sargent Osgood, first published in her volume A Wreath of Wild Flowers from New England (London, 1842). Poe copied it out for a review of her work in the Southern Literary Messenger of August 1849 (15:510). The extract was facsimiled by John P. Kennedy in Autograph Leaves of Our Country’s Authors (1864) as if composed by Poe. ­[page 508:]

58.  “An Angel Face,” eight lines from Mrs. Osgood’s “Woman’s Trust,” beginning “An Angel Face; its sunny wealth of hair,” was written as a “sentiment” and signed “Edgar A. Poe” in the album of one Sarah E. Turner, who died in 1855. It has, I believe, been thought Poe’s composition on occasion. (The album is described in a letter to me from Richard Hart of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore.)

59-60.  Two short poems are written in what is said to be Poe’s hand in a copy of J. L. Comstock’s Conversations on Chemistry (8th American ed., 1822) which once belonged to Henry Morton Partridge (1820-1893), who gave up a classical academy in Baltimore in 1842. The first item, (59) a dozen lines beginning “Is there a tear that scalds the cheek?” was published in the auction catalogue of the Parke-Bernet Galleries, January 16, 1941. Although signed “E.A.P.,” the poem is in quotation marks. The second piece, (60) eight lines beginning “How mildly the sun of the even,” is also in quotation marks, not signed. I now believe that neither item was composed by Poe. Mr. Freeman F. Hepburn and I gave the Comstock book to Princeton University Library in 1961.

61-62.  English Notes for General Circulation by “Quarles Quickens,” a pamphlet published in Boston on December 6, 1842, was ascribed to Poe by Joseph Jackson in “Dickens in America Fifty Years Ago” (World’s Work, January 1912, pp. 292-293). The pamphlet was reprinted in 1920. W. N. C. Carlton demolished the ascription in the Americana Collector for February 1926. See Heartman and Canny, p. 65. The pamphlet contains two “poems,” each of twenty-four lines — (61) “A Poetical Epistle to Mr. Pickwick” and (62) “A Bachelor’s Address to his Cane,” which must be mentioned as erroneously ascribed to Poe.

63.  “The Times” by “The Author of English Notes” is in the Boston Daily Mail of January 11, 1843, and was reprinted by W. N. C. Carlton in the Americana Collector, February 1926. It has more than 130 lines. Two extracts are enough: “From lip to lip, the ringing echo passed / Mounts on the breeze and mutters on the blast,” and “Man wraps himself in narrowness of soul.” Nevertheless, Phillips, I, 738f., discussed this stuff seriously as by Poe, and it must be mentioned here.

64.  “The Maniac Lover,” twenty-four lines, unsigned, is in Snowden’s Ladies’ Companion for March 1843. I discussed this piece in correspondence with J. H. Whitty, but now see no reason to connect it with Poe.

65.  A New Year’s Address of the Carriers of the Columbia Spy is a broadside, issued about January 1, 1844, that accompanied the file of the paper used by Jacob E. Spannuth and myself for our edition of Poe’s Doings of Gotham (1929). We reprinted the lines with a query if they could be by Poe. I feel sure now that they are not.

66.  “The Forsaken” by Mrs. Sarah Anna Lewis was printed in her Records of the Heart (1844) before she met Poe. He admired the poem excessively, and often quoted it in reviews. A detached fragment of a manuscript in his ­[page 509:] handwriting was taken for his composition when auctioned by Bangs & Co., April 13, 1903, lot 346.

67.  “The Departed,” forty lines beginning “Where the river ever floweth,” in the Broadway Journal of July 12, 1845, is signed with a broken printer’s ornament. Dr. Thomas Holley Chivers attributed it to Poe in his manuscript “Life of Poe” — see the edition of Richard Beale Davis (1952), p. 74. Since Chivers admits that Poe disclaimed writing the poem, and it includes the bathetic line “Spirit, cooped in mortal bower,” I do not think an ascription to him is justified. From the story as told I think Poe suspected “The Departed” was by Chivers. See also Killis Campbell, Mind of Poe, p. 201.

68.  “Flora,” twenty lines beginning “The snow lay thick upon the ground” and signed “P.,” in Graham’s Magazine for June 1845, I ascribe to Charles J. Peterson, since the single initial of his surname is usually an editor’s prerogative. The conclusion, “But what to me is Spring or Love / Since Flora’s gone to Heaven above?” is too flat for Poe. Mention must be made of “Flora” because two poems concerning Mrs. Osgood, signed “P.” later in 1845 in Graham’s, are accepted in this edition — see “The Divine Right of Kings” and “Stanzas to F.S.O.”

69.  In the “Editorial Miscellany” of the Broadway Journal for August 30, 1845, Poe said, “A very pretty poem, which (unfortunately for us) we did not write, appears in Wednesday’s Tribune with the initials E.A.P. appended.” It begins, “O, where shall our waking be?” and is assigned, with a query, to E. A. Stansbury by Killis Campbell in his Mind of Poe, p. 192.

70-73.  Four poems signed “A. M. Ide” were published in the Broadway Journal in 1845. John H. Ingram thought “A. M. Ide” might be a pen name of Poe, and reprinted three of these four poems as possibly Poe’s in The Complete Poetical Works . . . of Edgar Allan Poe (1888) — but Abijah M. Ide was a young New Englander who corresponded with Poe and with J. R. Lowell and wrote for the Columbian Magazine in 1844 and 1845. In 1865 he was an editor of the Gazette, in Taunton, Massachusetts. His poems in the Broadway Journal are: (70) “The Village Street” (September 13, 1845), (71) “The Forest Reverie” (September 27), (72) “To Isadore” (October 25), and (73) “Annette” (December 6).

74.  “The Mammoth Squash” is an amusing burlesque in an article (also containing parodies on Whittier and others) in the Aristidean for October 1845. In the Broadway Journal of November 29, 1845, Poe said the article was “no doubt by the editor” — Thomas Dunn English. “The Mammoth Squash” has several times been reprinted, most conveniently by Harrison in Complete Works (1902), VII, 236.

75.  Two lines without title reading, “I thought Kit North a bore — in 1824 — / I find the thought alive — in 1845,” are in the Broadway Journal of January 3, 1846. They have been taken for Poe’s by several writers (including myself), but Thomas Dunn English mentions writing them in his unpublished autobiography, as Professor William Graveley informs me. Christopher North was the pen name of John Wilson, editor of Blackwood’s. ­[page 510:]

76.  An epigram, “P—, the Versifier, Reviewing his own Poetry,” signed “W.” in Graham’s Magazine for December 1846, was used by Poe in his jeu d’esprit “A Reviewer Reviewed” (1849). Miss Phillips, II, 967, suggested that Poe wrote it himself — something I find no reason to believe.

77.  “The Idiot Boy,” 138 lines signed “E. P.” in Graham’s Magazine for June 1847, is probably by Emily Percival.

78.  A valentine beginning “Like all true souls of noble birth,” sent by Mary Gove Nichols to Marie Louise Shew probably in 1847 was copied out by Poe. He did not compose it. See the Ingram List, no. 39 and no. 213.

79.  Poe told Mrs. Shew he wrote a poem called “Humanity” which was later credited to George Sand. See the Ingram List, no. 215. This was obviously mere banter which Mrs. Shew swallowed as fact.

80.  The Poets and Poetry of America by Lavante, published as a pamphlet by W. S. Young (Philadelphia, 1847), was republished as Poe’s by “Geoffrey Quarles” (Oliver Leigh) in 1887. Leigh supposed it Poe’s “lost” projected work on the “American Parnassus.” We now know the little done on the book Poe planned was in prose. Of the Philadelphia satire (479 heroic couplets) Harrison gives samples in Complete Works, VII, 246ff. I think ascription of this stuff to Lambert A. Wilmer as improbable as that to Poe.

81.  “Gratitude,” twenty lines beginning “As turns the eye,” was signed “E.A.P.” in a tiny octavo periodical called The Symposia, published in Providence, Rhode Island. Whitty reprinted the verses in Complete Poems (1911), p. 144. Campbell, in The Mind of Poe, p. 201, says The Symposia contained two poems signed “E. A. B.”; he thought the signature to “Gratitude” might be a misprint for the initials of E. A. Brackett. Whitty dates the leaflet January 27, 1848: Campbell, “early in 1845.” A copy was auctioned at Boston in 1896, but I cannot locate it. “Gratitude” certainly can be rejected from the canon of Poe’s writings.

82.  “To the Author of the Raven” by Harriet Winslow, in Graham’s Magazine for April 1848, seems to have been polished by Poe. See Collaborations above, p. 492. A manuscript copy in his hand sold by Bangs in New York on April 11, 1896, was erroneously described as Poe’s own composition.

83-85.  Three poems signed “Henry Adams” appeared in the Columbian Magazine, June, July, and October 1848. They are: (83) “To Kate Karol” (forty-six lines); (84) “A Dream” (forty-eight lines), and (85) “Lunar Aspirations” (thirty lines). Whitty wished to ascribe them to Poe. His discussion in the Step Ladder, October 1927, is baffling, but with the clues he provided I was able to find the poems. The first begins “Will you, darling, dainty Kate / In your kindness please to state,” and is addressed to Mrs. Frances S. Osgood, who had many admirers capable of such stuff. I cannot accept an ascription to Poe on the wishful thinking of Whitty.

86.  On February 17, 1849, George W. Eveleth asked Poe if he had written a poem called “Ullahanna,” and on June 26 Poe denied it. I find the grotesque ­[page 511:] title coupled with “The Raven” in Holden’s Dollar Magazine for December 1848 (2:719) in a way that convinces me that it is a misprint for “Ulalume.”

87.  “The Lady Hubbard” is in Godey’s Lady’s Book for December 1849 in an article called “Specimens of American Poets.” It is given as by E. A. Poe, but other pieces are ascribed to Morris, Willis, John Neal, and Whittier. All are dated April 1, 1848, and are delightful burlesques. That assigned to Poe is about Mother Hubbard and her disappointed dog, whose “extremity caudal / Dropped slowly again.” I once saw a manuscript of these verses in the hand of Thomas Dunn English, who is the probable author. But the poem has been seriously attributed to Poe on occasion, as by Ruth E. Finley in The Lady of Godey’s (1931), p. 249

88.  “Verses for the Widow Meagher” were referred to by Eugene L. Didier in the Richmond Critic, January 20, 1889, and in The Poe Cult (1909), p. 175. The story is that Poe, when in Baltimore, frequented the Widow Meagher’s oyster stand and liquor bar and composed “many a witty couplet and at times poems of some length” at the request of the widow. Didier credits “a former Baltimorean now living in San Francisco,” who incidentally said Poe wrote “The Gold-Bug” at the tavern, and had just left it when nabbed by election hoodlums in 1849. This is a farrago of nonsense. Mary Meagher, widow of Patrick, is mentioned in Baltimore directories from 1829 to 1837, but was a “huckster.” Nobody named Meagher kept a tavern in Baltimore during Poe’s lifetime. See Phillips, II, 1496-1497, for an elaborate flight of fancy, “signifying nothing.”

89.  “Poe in Heaven,” thirty-four lines beginning “O, the dark, the awful chasm!” were received by a medium, Mrs. Lydia M. Tenney of Georgetown, Massachusetts, in November 1851, according to her manuscript volume of poems at Brown University. The verses, headed “Message from Edgar A. Poe,” were printed at Springfield, Ohio, in The Spirit Messenger for January 15, 1852. See also the Ingram List, no. 519.

90.  Dr. J. J. Garth Wilkinson, a Swedenborgian who practiced “automatic writing,” in his Improvisations from the Spirit (London, 1857), p. 178f. printed a poem called “Edgar Allan Poe.” The third stanza includes lines he believed to be from Poe’s spirit:

He said: “How came you hither?

You have no title here:

My little eye could wither

The fruits your eyes revere:

They are my subject creatures;

Created by my rays:

They ripen through my features;

And my smiles are their days”

The physician was a friend of the James family and godfather of Garth Wilkinson James, a brother of Henry James the novelist.

91.  “The Fire-Fiend — A Nightmare,” sixty lines beginning “In the ­[page 512:] deepest dearth of midnight,” is a hoax by Charles D. Gardette. It was first printed in the New York Saturday Press, November 19, 1859, with a note from the editor, Henry Clapp, indicating disbelief in its authenticity. Gardette in his pamphlet, The Whole Truth in the Question of “The Fire Fiend” (Philadelphia, 1864), stated that he considered it a “venial and harmless literary joke,” and he collected it as his own in The Fire Fiend and Other Poems (New York, 1866). The piece is called “The Fire Legend” in the Southern Literary Messenger for July 1863, where it is ascribed to Poe; W. F. Gill, who also thought it was by Poe, calls it “The Demon of the Fire” in a letter dated June 1, 1901, to James A. Harrison. See Harrison’s Complete Works of . . , Poe (1902), VII, 238-245. See also London Notes and Queries, September 17, 1864, and January 21, 1865.

92.  “Dream: ‘The Angel,’ ” in the Knickerbocker Magazine for April 1860, is signed “E. B.” or “E. P.” — the type is broken. The ascription to Poe in the notorious 1941 Index is laughable.

93-98.  Elizabeth Doten, a medium and a poet of some talent, believed that she was sometimes inspired by the spirits of Shakespeare, Burns, Poe, and others. In the first edition of her Poems from the Inner Life by Lizzie Doten, issued before December 19, 1863, she gave five poems she believed Poe’s; she added another in later editions. These poems are the following: (93) “The Streets of Baltimore,” 100 lines beginning “Woman weak, and woman mortal” was “received” in Baltimore on January 11 and printed in the Boston Banner of Light for January 31, 1863; Brown University Library has a broadside separate edition. The conclusion reads:

For my soul from out that shadow

Hath been lifted evermore —

From that deep and dismal shadow

In the streets of Baltimore.

The last line has become a familiar quotation. (94) “The Prophecy of Vala,” 118 lines beginning “I have walked with the Fates and the Furies,” founded “on the Scandinavian mythology.” (95) “The Kingdom,” 104 lines beginning “ ’Twas the ominous month of October,” first printed in the Banner of Light, April 4, 1863. (96) “The Cradle or Coffin,” fifty-four lines beginning “The Cradle or Coffin, the robe or the shroud.” (97) “Resurrexi,” sixty-six lines beginning “From the throne of Life Eternal,” “recited . . . Boston” and printed in the Springfield Republican of uncertain date. I have seen a copy “from a Poe manuscript” as made by “Thomas T. Latham . . . January 15, 1847.” This copy has a new title, “The Spirit Ideal”; the text is printed in the Mobile Chronicle, March 5, 1882. (98) “Farewell to Earth,” 139 lines beginning “Farewell! Farewell!” These verses were “given in New York, . . . November 2, 1863,” and printed in the Banner of Light, January 2, 1864. They appear only in later editions of Miss Doten’s collection. In this poem she was informed that it was to be Poe’s last communication from heaven.

99.  “Leonainie,” beginning “Leonainie — Angels named her,” is a hoax by James Whitcomb Riley. He wrote it and signed it “E. A. P.” in a copy of ­[page 513:] Ainsworth’s Latin Dictionary (preserved in the Lilly Collection at the University of Indiana), and arranged for John Oscar Henderson, editor of the Dispatch of Kokomo, Indiana, to print it in his paper on August 2, 1877. The editor’s son, Paul G. Henderson, assures me that Riley, who merely wanted to show he could write something that might be believed to be Poe’s, also arranged for the exposé in the Kokomo Tribune of August 25, 1877, Riley published the poem as a song in 1879 and collected it in Armazindy (1894); it is in his Complete Works (1916), I, 216. Many persons — E. C. Stedman among them — were taken in.

100-101.  “Poe’s Two Unpublished Poems” were described in the Richmond State of May 29, 1880. A clipping is catalogued in the Ingram List, no. 768. It states that in May 1874 a lady of Washington, who as a girl was engaged to Poe but broke her engagement and married another, had two manuscript poems (not quoted) on the broken engagement and her marriage. This is a typical newspaper canard. No sweetheart of Poe ever resided in Washington.

102.  “Lilitha” or “Lilitha, Princess of Ghouls,” sixty-four lines beginning “The night, it was misty, and phantasmagorical” (a bad imitation of “Ulalume”), is said to have been printed in the Washington Sunday Gazette in 1882; no file for the period is known. It was published as by Poe in the Louisville Southern Bivouac, April 1886 (1:655-657), but in the issue of October 1886 was claimed by Francis Gerry Fairfield, who said he had written it “as early as 1863.” The name of N. J. Kent has also been suggested. Lilith is the demon first wife of Adam in many legends.

103.  “A Wine Ballad” appeared, with Fairfield’s letter dated July 19, 1886, in the Southern Bivouac for October (2:298-300), as something omitted from “Lilitha.” The new part consists of seven lines beginning “They say these dwellers in palaces of shadow.”

104.  “A Sequel to the Raven,” thirty-three lines beginning “Fires within my brain were burning,” is said to have been dictated by Poe’s spirit to “R. Allston Lavender Jr. . . . of an asylum in Raleigh, North Carolina.” See the Ingram List, no. 840. The date is 1884, but the lines have not been traced in London Funny Folks, to which the clipping in the Ingram Collection has been questioningly credited.

105.  “The Murderer,” seventy lines beginning

Ye glittering stars! how fair ye shine tonight,

And O, thou beauteous moon! thy fairy light

Is peeping thro’ those iron bars so near me.

appeared as an uncollected poem by Poe in George W. Conklin’s Handy Manual (Chicago, 1887), a work of which there are later editions. The ascription to Poe is baseless, but it is widely known.

106.  “The Demon of the Doldrums,” fifty-six lines beginning “One night I lay a-dreaming,” is known from an undated clipping: “Frantic Jerry Foodle ­[page 514:] sends to the Editor of the Daily Graphic a new poem said to be by Poe,” described in the Ingram List, no. 844. Credit is given The Looking Glass, a weekly of Atlanta, Georgia, probably in 1892 or 1893 — years lacking in the unique file at the New York Public Library, which was searched for me by Gabriel Austin. The ascription cannot have been serious.

107.  “My Soul,” thirty-two lines beginning “Sailing over seas abysmal,” a cleverly prepared hoax, was printed in Corks and Curls (1895), the annual of students of the University of Virginia. McLane Tilton has acknowledged authorship; but a forged separate edition, Poem by a Bostonian (dated “Boston, 1827”) is described in Heartman and Canny’s Bibliography (1943), p. 18.

108.  “The Sea of Serenity,” sixty lines beginning “From the Mountains of the Moon,” was printed as Poe’s in the literary supplement of the San Francisco Examiner on March 12, 1899. The author, Herman Scheffauer, was induced by Ambrose Bierce to publish it as a joke on James Whitcomb Riley, who was lecturing in California. See Carroll Douglas Hall, Bierce and the Poe Hoax (San Francisco, 1934).

109.  “Kelah,” seventy lines beginning “In my hermitage, I lingered,” appeared in the Baltimore Sun of October 7, 1906. See the Ingram List, no. 928. This hoax is not connected with “The Murderer,” as some have supposed.

110.  Amelia F. Poe, on August 16, 1912, sent Ingram a copy of a stanza without title, said to be signed “E. A. Poe” in manuscript. The description in the Ingram List, no. 465, is inadequate. The “poem,” which begins “Then the vessel, sinking, lifting,” is the last stanza of “My Soul,” no. 107 above.

111.  “A Bowlegged Man,” reading, “Yo ho, what manner of man is this, / Who wears his pants in parenthesis?” was described as “written by Poe in a barroom” in an article by Joseph Maxwell in the New York Evening Journal. I have only an undated clipping, but the date was shortly before December 8, 1930. This is a jocular hoax — I have seen a blank verse version called Shakespeare’s.

112.  In the New York Times Book Review of September 3, 1950, “M. H.” sought a very short children’s prayer supposed to have been written by Edgar Allan Poe and containing the words, “Make me worthy.” No reply was forthcoming, but Poe was capable of composing a prayer for children, whom he loved. We thus conclude with what, if it is a legend, is at least a charming legend.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 502:]

1  Some were sanguine, and given to wishful thinking. Others were overcautious. Scholars who made firm or tentative ascriptions of poems to Poe, which are unacceptable in the present state of knowledge, include Ingram, Harrison, Woodberry, Killis Campbell, and myself.

2   I use this word in the technical sense like critics of the eighteenth century. Poe’s “echoes” do not “mutter.”

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 503:]

3  The Pamphlet Distributing Company, New York, in 1941 issued Index to American Literature, part 2, “Edgar Allan Poe,” with an introduction I wrote, being promised a sight of the proofs. The promise was not kept, and the work appeared, marred by many irresponsible attributions. Nothing it first ascribed to Poe can be accepted. This is not the first occasion on which I have repudiated that Index.

4  Whitty sometimes ascribed pieces to Poe without revealing precisely where he found them. All but one of these, and that not firmly ascribed, have now been tracked down.

5  Campbell’s list is less detailed and accurate than might be expected. I have checked his material carefully, and the poems he had in mind must be the following: in The Memorial (1826), “A Voice is Heard,” “Ye Come to Me,” and “O! Sing to Me”; in the Philadelphia Casket, May 1827, “Morning in Spring”; in the Baltimore Emerald, June 21, 1828, “To Hope” (from the Danish), and June 28, 1828, “From Goethe’s Faust”; in The Token for 1830, “The Wounded Bird” and “To —” (“When Love and Reason dwell”); in the Boston American Monthly Magazine, August 1830, “Ambition” (“There came”), and November 1830, “Changes”; in the New England Magazine, January 1832, “To Mary” and “The Employments of Death”; in the Providence Literary Journal, February 22, 1834, “Ambition” (“What is Ambition?”); in the New England Magazine, December 1834, a sonnet beginning “The hour — the place — the twilight”; in The Casket, November 1837, “Lines”) “As I sat at eve”); in Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, Philadelphia, December 13, 1837, “The Fairy Queen,” and December 20, 1837, “Impromptu” (about a song of Miss C. H. Waterman); in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier, October 15, 1842, “Autumn Morning”; in the New York New Mirror, July 8, 1843, “Woman’s Tactics” (a punning quatrain); and in the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper, May 17, 1848, “To — (On Giving Her an Album).” There is nothing pertinent in The Token for 1829.

 


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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) (Appendix IV - Apocrypha - II: Rejected Poems)