Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Preface to the Poems” (Text-C), ­The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe­ (1850), 2:iii


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­ [page iii, unnumbered:]

PREFACE TO THE POEMS.

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THESE trifles are collected and republished chiefly with a view to their redemption from the many improvements to which they have been subjected while going at random “the rounds of the press.” I am naturally anxious that what I have written should circulate as I wrote it, if it circulate at all. In defence of my own taste, nevertheless, it is incumbent upon me to say that I think nothing in this volume of much value to the public, or very creditable to myself. Events not to be controlled have prevented me from making, at any time, any serious effort in what, under happier circumstances, would have been the field of my choice. With me poetry has been not a purpose, but a passion; and the passions should be held in reverence; they must not — they cannot at will be excited, with an eye to the paltry compensations, or the more paltry commendations, of mankind.

E. A. P.


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Notes:

With a few modifications, especially in the sentence which begins “I am naturally anxious that what I have written . . . .”, this preface is essentially that used in The Raven and Other Poems (1845). The revisions are from Poe’s own copy of that book. Later editions erroneously dropped the comma in the final sentence, preceeding “of mankind.”


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[S:1 - Works, 1850] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Misc - Preface to the Poems (Text-C)