Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “To My Mother,” Richmond Examiner proof sheets, about September 1849


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Sonnet to My Mother

Because the angels in the Heavens above,

Devoutly singing unto one another,

Can find amid their burning terms of love,

None so devotional as that of “Mother,”

Therefore by that sweet name I long have called you;

You who are more than mother unto me,

Filling my heart of hearts, where God installed you,

In setting my Virginia’s spirit free.

My mother — my own mother, who died early,

Was but the mother of myself; but you

Are mother to the dead I loved so dearly,

Are thus more precious than the one I knew,

By that infinity with which my wife

Was dearer to my soul than its soul-life.

 


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Notes:

This poem is addressed, of course, to Poe’s mother-in-law and aunt, Maria Clemm. Whitty states that this text matches that printed in the Southern Literary Messenger (December 1849), but he does make one small change, capitalizing the first letter of “Mother” at the end of line 4, which is not capitalized in any other printing.


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[S:1 REPS, 1849 (Whitty, 1911)] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - To My Mother [reprint]