Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. Killis Campbell), “Notes (Part 02),” The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, Ginn and Company, 1917, pp. 203-259


∞∞∞∞∞∞∞


[page 203, continued:]

ISRAFEL (57)

(1831; Southern Literary Messenger, August, 1836; Graham’s Magazine, October, 1841; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843, Broadway Journal, July 26, 1845; 1845)

(TEXT: Lorimer Graham copy of 1845)

In Israfel Poe gives us, as in Al Aaraaf, a partial expression of his poetic creed. In Al Aaraaf he had sung of the “holiness of beauty”; here he proclaims the belief that the true poet will write from his heart, that his numbers will be melodious, and that he will be informed with a superior wisdom. In the concluding stanza there is also the hint that the poet’s success will be conditioned, to some extent, on his environment.

The angel Israfel is described in Sale’s “Preliminary Discourse” on the Koran (§ iv) as being one of the four angels who stand highest in God’s favor and as having “the most melodious voice of all God’s creatures.” Sale’s words — “the angel Israfil, who has the most melodious voice of all God’s creatures” — Poe used as the motto of his poem, garbling his text, as usual, and interpolating in later texts the clause “whose heartstrings are a lute.”

These words, “whose heartstrings are a lute,” which give expression to the central idea of the poem, were probably suggested to Poe by two lines (41-42) in Béranger’s Le Refus:

Son cœur est un luth suspendu;

Sitot qu’on le touche, il resonne, — [page 204:]

lines used by Poe in 1839 as the motto of his story The Fall of the House of Usher (see the Dial of November 16, 1909, pp. 374-375). Le Refus was called forth by an offer made to Béranger by the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, General Francois Sébastiani, of a pension in acknowledgment of his services in behalf of the people in the Revolution of July, 1830. Béranger promptly declined the pension, but the precise date at which the lines touching his declination were published I have been unable to discover; another brief poem — A mes amis devenus ministres — by Béranger relating to M. Sebastiani was published in Le Figaro in January, 1831, and it is probable that Le Refus was published either then or in some other Parisian journal about the same time. Israfel was first published in the volume of 1831 (which came from the press in April or May of that year).

The poem must have been composed — if my theory as to its indebtedness to Béranger is correct — in January or February, 1831.

The changes made by Poe in republishing his lyric were few, but some of them were extremely happy. The initial stanza, for instance, originally only five lines in length, ended weakly with the line, “And the giddy stars are mute”; line 25 at first read “Where Love is a grown god”; and the fine line (37), “Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love,” read quite tamely in the earliest version, “Thy grief — if any — thy love.”

In its melody and in other lyric qualities, Israfel will impress most readers as being one of the rarest of Poe’s poems; and the critics, almost without exception, have given it warm praise. Here, says Professor Woodberry (I, p. 82), “rings out the lyric burst, the first pure song of the poet, the notes most clear and liquid and soaring of all he ever sang.” Mr. J. M. Robertson (p. 209) holds that Israfel is “one of the choicest of melodies — a thing we remember like an air of Schubert’s”; and Professor Trent (The Raven, etc., p. 22, note) declares that “it may be doubted whether even in the lyrics of Shelley, ... there is to be found any more complete expression of the highest poetic rapture than is contained in several of these stanzas.” But none of the critics have been more enthusiastic in their praise than the late E. C. Stedman (Poets of America, p. 248). “Of all [Poe’s] lyrics,” says Stedman, “is not this the most lyrical, — not only charged with music, but with light? For once, and in his freest hour of youth, Poe got above the sepulchres and mists, even beyond the pale-faced moon, and visited the empyrean. There is joy in this carol, and the radiance of the skies, and ecstatic possession of the gift of song.” And then he adds: “If I had any claim to make up a ‘Parnassus,’ not perhaps of [page 205:] the most famous English lyrics, but of those which appeal strongly to my own poetic sense, and could select but one of Poe’s, I confess that I should choose ‘Israfel,’ for pure music, for exaltation, and for its original, satisfying quality of rhythmic art.”

Professor Richardson, on the other hand (History of American Literature, II, p. i11), with a want of sympathy such as he displays nowhere else in his comments on Poe, speaks of “the trashy verses on ‘Israfel,’ which form so absurd a contrast to the lovely text from the Koran which inspired their thought.”

Motto. Printed in 1845 at the foot of the page. Drawn originally, as noted above, from Sale’s “Preliminary Discourse” on the Koran (§ iv), though Poe takes various liberties with his text. Sale’s words are “The angel Israfil, who has the most melodious voice of all God’s creatures.” Poe in 1831 and in 1836 wrote: “And the angel Israfel who has the sweetest voice of all God’s creatures.” In 1841 he changed this to read: “And the angel Israfel, or Israfeli, whose heartstrings are a lute, and who is the most musical of all God’s creatures.” And in subsequent texts it was made to read: “And the angel Israfel, whose heartstrings are a lute, and who has the sweetest voice of all God’s creatures.” Poe gives credit to the Koran in each instance, except in the Broadway Journal (where he credits it to “Sale’s Koran”). Sale’s words are also quoted by Moore in a note on Lalla Rookh (“The Fire-Worshippers,” Part IV, I.419), and Professor Woodberry suggests (I, p. 180, note) that Poe merely copied from Moore. This may have been the case, but that Poe had an early first-hand acquaintance with Sale is pretty well established by his notes on Al Aaraaf.

1 spirit. To be pronounced as one syllable. Cf. also Politian, IV, l. 20, and V, l. 88.

2 “Whose heartstrings are a lute.” See the note, above, as to Poe’s probable indebtedness to Béranger’s Le Refus.

3 None sing so wildly well. P. P. Cooke in the Southern Literary Messenger for April, 1846 (XII, p. 200), calls attention to the similarity of this line to Byron’s line (The Bride of Abydos, Canto II, stanza xxviii, l. 41): “He sings so wild and well”; but expresses the opinion that Poe’s indebtedness (if any) involves “an unconscious appropriation.”

3-7 Mr. Harry T. Baker (Modern Language Notes, XXV, pp. 9495) suggests a possible connection between these lines and the lines in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (ll. 365-366):

And now it is an angel’s song,

That makes the heavens be mute. [page 206:]

5 I have taken the liberty of inserting a necessary comma at the end of this line.

8-15 Markham (p. xxxv) objects that this stanza “jars upon the high harmony of the song.” The word “even,” he observes, makes “an ineffectual rhyme; and the remark concerning ’the enamored moon’ blushing with love has the ring of sentimentality instead of sentiment.”

9 Cf. the note on Al Aaraaf, Part II, l. g.

11 Cf. Aldrich’s The Dæmon Lover, ll. 11 f.:

Blushing with love,

In the white moonshine

Lie in my arms,”

So, safe from alarms,

Imogene.

13, 14 Poems devoted to the “lost Pleiad” have been written by Mrs. Hemans, “L.E.L.,” Simms, Stoddard, and Stedman among others.

23 But the skies that angel trod. The order is inverted: “skies” is the object of “trod,” and “that” is a demonstrative. (See, for Poe’s attitude toward inversion, the note on Stanzas, l. 6.)

25, 26 In the original each of these lines closes with a dash.

26 Houri glances. According to Mohammedan traditions, the houris are the beautiful black-eyed nymphs that inhabit paradise, “the enjoyment of whose company,” to quote Sale’s “Preliminary Discourse” on the Koran (§ iv), “will be a principal felicity of the faithful.” They are said (according to Sale) to have been “created, not of clay, as mortal women are, but of pure musk,” and to dwell in pavilions of pearls.

29 Therefore. Inasmuch as this is the way of heaven.

32 To thee the laurels belong. Cf. Longfellow’s Wapentake (1877), l. 12:

Therefore to thee the laurel-leaves belong.

33 Best bard, because the wisest! Wisest (I take it) not in possessing more of knowledge than other bards, but in knowing more of the “deep thoughts,” the love, and the beauty of heaven. Both in Al Aaraaf and in Sonnet — To Science Poe takes the position that science is hostile to poetry and to the full appreciation of the beautiful.

37 Thy grief, thy joy, thy hate, thy love. Cf. Waller’s lines On a Girdle, l. 7:

My joy, my grief, my hope, my love. [page 207:]

45-51 Cf. the closing stanza of Shelley’s To a Skylark (1820):

Teach me half the gladness

That thy brain must know,

Such harmonious madness

From my lips would flow,

The world should listen then — as I am listening now.

THE CITY IN THE SEA (59)

(1831; Southern Literary Messenger, August, 1836; American Whig Review, April, 1845; Broadway Journal, August 30, 1845; 1845)

(TEXT: 1845)

The City in the Sea is the most notable of a group of seven poems in which Poe deals with the world of spirits, the rest of the group being Spirits of the Dead, Al Aaraaf, Fairy-Land, The Valley of Unrest, Sonnet — Silence, and Dream-Land. He also treats this theme in several of his tales, in particular in Silence. A Fable and in Shadow. A Parable. In the present poem, in Spirits of the Dead, in The Valley of Unrest, and incidentally in Sonnet — Silence, he deals with the place of departed spirits, with what is variously known in Christian tradition as Hades, or Sheol, or Purgatory. In Al Aaraaf he deals with a region corresponding to the Mohammedan paradise, or to Paradise (or Abraham’s Bosom) in Christian tradition. In Fairy-Land he is concerned, as the title implies, with the realm of fairies; and in Dream-Land ostensibly with the land of dreams.

In all these he is careful to present his images vaguely, and he is constantly ringing the changes on his fundamental conception. There is, however, no one of the poems mentioned — nor of the tales — that does not possess some motif in common with one or more of the rest. The notion of the stillness of the winds, for instance (see lines 38-41 of the present poem), recurs also in Spirits of the Dead, in The Valley of Unrest, and in Silence. A Fable; and that of the calmness of the waters (see lines 24 f. of the present poem) appears also in The Sleeper; while both motifs recur in Dream-Land. In The Valley of Unrest, on the other hand, and in Silence. A Fable, the seas are pictured as ceaselessly in motion. The skies are, as a rule, pictured as darkened (as in the present poem and in Spirits of the Dead), and such of the luminaries as are visible as being “without beam” (Spirits of the Dead) or “pale” [page 208:] (Fairy-Land); but in Silence. A Fable the moon is “crimson in color,” in Spirits of the Dead the stars (though “without beam”) are “redorbed,” and in Dream-Land the skies are “of fire.” In Spirits of the Dead all is shrouded in mist; and in The Sleeper, Fairy-Land, Dream-Land, The Valley of Unrest, and Silence. A Fable, the “everlasting dews” are falling from trees and flowers or from the moon. The lily (suggested perhaps by the asphodel of the Elysian Fields) is prominent in The Valley of Unrest, The Sleeper, Dream-Land, and Silence. A Fable; and shrouded forms are represented as passing to and fro in Spirits of the Dead, The Sleeper, and Dream-Land.

That Poe’s conception in The City in the Sea is that of the wicked dead is indicated by the atmosphere of gloom which pervades the “doomed city,” and is plainly implied also in the closing lines of the poem and in the title adopted in 1836 — The City of Sin. (See, however, the note on line 4.) More specifically, the situation with which the poet has to do here is that of the “City of Death” (which he identifies symbolically, as did Isaiah and the apostle John, with the city of Babylon), and in particular with this city shortly before the day of the last judgment.

In the images that he conjures up, Poe was evidently influenced by Byron’s account of the end of the world in his poem Darkness; and in a less degree, by Shelley’s Lines written among the Euganean Hills (see W. L. Weber, Selections from the Southern Poets, p. 195). It is also reasonably clear that he owed certain hints to the Scriptures — in particular, to Isaiah and Revelation. From Byron’s poem he apparently drew the suggestion of most of his landscape effects — his conception of the lurid waters contrasting with the darkness of the heavens, and of the stillness of the winds accompanied by the supreme calm upon the sea (cf. the notes on lines 12-13, 30-41). An indebtedness to Shelley is apparent in lines 12-29 (with which the third and fourth sections of Shelley’s poem are to be compared) and in the general idea of the destruction of a gloriously beautiful “city in the sea.” To Isaiah and to Revelation he was indebted, probably, for the idea of the City of Death, and for its identification with the city of Babylon, and also perhaps for some of the minor details (see an article entitled “E. A. Poe: An Unnoticed Plagiarism,” in the London Academy for June 25, 1910, pp. 612-613, and the comments, below, on lines 18, 23, 37, 50-51, 52-53).

Despite these “influences,” however, The City in the Sea is one of the most original of Poe’s poems; and it is likewise one of his most imaginative. E. C. Stedman (Poets of America, p. 242) expresses the opinion [page 209:] that it is superior to The Raven in the matter of imagination; Professor Richard Burton declares (Literary Leaders of America, p. 85) that there are “few greater poems of mood and picture ... in all literature”; and Edwin Markham (I, pp. xxxv f.) observes that although “Browning in ‘Abt Vogler,’ Coleridge in ‘Kubla Khan,’ have built up fair imaginations of tower and dome and minaret, ... the wizardry of Poe in his ‘City in the Sea’ has left us the most rare, the most mysterious, of all such ethereal structures.... Never before,” he adds, “has the ‘palpable obscure’ been bodied forth with a more cunning and gloomy imagination.”

Title. The title was repeatedly changed. It first read The Doomed City (1831); this presently gave way to The City of Sin (1836); and this, in turn, to The City in the Sea. A Prophecy (American Review, 1845). The present title was first adopted in the Broadway Journal.

4 This clashes with the interpretation that I have proposed above; namely, that the “city in the sea” is the abode of wicked spirits (only) after death. That the governing idea, however, is that of the abiding-place of the wicked dead is not only indicated (as I have already noted) by the title adopted in 1836, but by the association, symbolically, of the “city in the sea” with Babylon.

9 lifting winds. Professor A. G. Newcomer (Poe: Poems and Tales, p. 300) calls attention to the parallel with N. P. Willis’s Absalom (1827) ll. 5-7:

The willow leaves,

With a soft cheek upon the lulling tide,

Forgot the lifting winds.

9-12 Professor Woodberry comments (I, p. 82): “The melodious monotone, the justness of touch in lines like these, are as artistic as the idea is poetic.”

12, 13 Cf. B ll. 2-4:

And the stars

Did wander darkling in the eternal space,

Rayless, and pathless.

12-29 It is in these lines that the analogy with Shelley’s Lines written among the Euganean Hills is plainest.

18 Babylon-like walls. See the quotation from Revelation xvi, in the note on lines 50-51; also Revelation xvii and xviii and Isaiah xiv, in which Babylon is represented as the type of the wicked city.

23 vio1. A stringed instrument similar to the violin; here apparently one of the sculptured monuments of the marvelous shrines [page 210:] mentioned in line 21. The word may have been suggested to Poe by Isaiah xiv, 11: “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols” (see the London Academy, June 25, 1910, p. 613). 30-41 Cf. B ll. 73-81:

The rivers, lakes, and ocean all stood still.

And nothing stirred within their silent depths;

Ships sailorless lay rotting on the sea,

And their masts fell down piecemeal; as they dropped

They slept on the abyss without a surge —

The waves were dead; the tides were in their grave,

The Moon, their mistress, had expired before

The winds were withered in the stagnant air,

And the clouds perished.

37 Cf. Revelation iv, 6: “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal”; also Revelation xv, 2: “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire.” See also Spirits of the Dead, l. 23, and The Valley of Unrest, ll. 11 f.

39 far-off happier sea. See The Sleeper, l. 32: “far-off seas”; and ll. 9-10:

Like some enchanted far-off isle

In some tumultuous sea.

49 The hours are breathing faint and low. So also in Politian, III, l. 40: “the Hours are breathing low.” Shelley in The Indian Serenade has the line (3):

When the winds are breathing low.

50, 51 Cf. Revelation xvi, 18-19:

And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell; and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

Note also Revelation xx, 14: “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.”

52, 53 Probably a reminiscence of Isaiah xiv, 9: “Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.” [page 211:]

THE SLEEPER (63)

(1831; Southern Literary Messenger, May, 1836; Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America, 1842; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843, Broadway Journal, May 3, 1845; 1845)

(TEXT: Lorimer Graham copy of 1845)

The Sleeper, by reason of its fundamental situation and of its atmosphere, associates itself with the group of poems in which Poe deals with the world of shades (see the general note on The City in the Sea). The setting, however, is not that, apparently, of the grave or of the place of shadows, but of the death-chamber, in which the body has lain for some time and from which it is soon to be removed to its last resting-place. About this picture the poet has thrown an atmosphere much the same as that which invests his spirit world as depicted in other poems belonging to this group. The analogy is closest with The Valley of Unrest and Dream-Land.

The Sleeper, also, belongs with the more famous group of poems, in which the poet treats of the death of a beautiful woman — or, more precisely, with the grief of a bereaved lover for his dead lady. Others of this group are Lenore, To One in Paradise, The Raven, Ulalume, and Annabel Lee; and Tamerlane and the Sonnet — To Zante make incidental use of the same theme. To the same genre, also, belong Bridal Ballad and For Annie, in which the lover is represented as dead.

How far these poems actually reflect the poet’s own experiences and sorrows it is impossible to say. Suggestions are made in the general notes on each as to the possible autobiographical allusions contained in them. For the present poem it has been suggested (by R. H. Stoddard in Harper’s Monthly, XLV, p. 559, 1872) that the poet refers to Mrs. Jane Stith Stanard, who had also been the inspiration, according to Poe’s account, of the earlier lines To Helen. There is nothing in the content and spirit of the poem to contradict this view; and it is in keeping with a statement made by Poe (in a letter written, apparently, in 1845 — see Letters, p. 207) that he wrote the lines when “quite a boy.” It should be added, however, that there is nothing to show that the poem was not written in memory of the first Mrs. Allan (see the notes on Lenore). And there is, again, of course, the possibility that the poet merely refers to an ideal love. [page 212:]

In 1831 and in the Messenger (1836) The Sleeper is entitled Irene. The present title was substituted in 1842. The changes made in the body of the poem were, as the footnotes make evident, both numerous and varied.

The text here adopted — that of the Lorimer Graham copy of 1845 — differs slightly from all earlier versions. The same text is preserved in some proofs intended by Poe for publication in the Richmond Examiner in 1849 (see Whitty, p. viii). There is also a manuscript copy of the poem, now in the possession of Captain William Gordon McCabe, of Richmond, Virginia, which bears the title Irene the Dead (see Whitty, p. 207).

In one of his letters (Harrison, XVII, p. 207) Poe expresses the opinion that The Sleeper is “in the higher qualities of poetry” superior to The Raven; and a similar view has been expressed by J. T. Trowbridge in My Own Story (1902, p. 184): “Poe’s Sleeper, — the most strikingly beautiful of all the productions of that aberrant genius.”

Title. In 1845 followed by a colon. In the present edition all end punctuation with mid-page titles is omitted.

10 lolls. The word occurs also in Al Aaraaf, Part I, l. 17; Fairy-Land (1831), l. 6; Coliseum, l. 22; and Dream-Land, ll. 20, 24. Margaret Fuller, in her review of Poe’s poems (1845) in the New York Tribune of November 26, 1845 (reprinted in her Life Without and Life Within, p. 91), complains of Poe’s use of the word here. “This word lolls,” she says, “presents a vulgar image to our thought.” It is also objected to by an anonymous contributor to The Talisman and Odd Fellows’ Magazine of September, 1846, who speaks of Poe as “the tomahawk man,” “the Comanche of literature ... who uses the word loll on nearly every page.”

18-36 In 1831 these lines are represented as being “hummed” by the moon; see lines 25 f. of that text.

26 fringéd lid. Cf. The Tempest, I, ii, l. 407:

The fringed curtains of thine eye advance.

35 thy length of tress. Cf. Lenore (1831), l. 28. 37,38 (1831) These lines suggest Porphyro’s passionate words in Keats’s The Eve of St. Agnes, ll. 276-278:

And now, my love, my seraph fair, awake!

Thou art my heaven, and I thine eremite:

Open thine eyes, for meek St. Agnes’ sake. [page 213:]

37-44 Instead of these lines, there appeared in 1831 (Irene, ll. 41 f.) a passage which gives the reason for the poet’s prayer that the sleep of his loved one may be deep as well as enduring; the dead sleep, so holds the poet, only so long as their loved ones on earth continue to grieve for them. This idea is more fully developed in a gruesome passage in The Premature Burial (Harrison, V, p. 267):

I looked; and the unseen figure ... had caused to be thrown open the graves of all mankind; ... so that I could see into the innermost recesses, and there view the shrouded bodies in their sad and solemn slumbers with the worm. But, alas! the real sleepers were fewer, by many millions, than those who slumbered not at all; and there was a feeble struggling; and there was a general sad unrest; and from out the depths of the countless pits there came a melancholy rustling from the garments of the buried. And of those who seemed tranquilly to repose, I saw that a vast number had changed, in a greater or less degree, the rigid and uneasy position in which they had originally been entombed.

43 unopened eye. Griswold, in his Poets and Poetry of America (1842), printed this “uncloséd eye.” Poe protested against this in one of his letters to Griswold (Letters, p. 203), but the error remained uncorrected in all subsequent editions.

45-47 Cf. Shelley’s Rosalind and Helen, ll. 345-347:

And the crawling worms were cradling her

To a sleep more deep and so more sweet

Than a baby’s rocked on its nurse’s knee;

see also Byron’s Giaour, ll. 945-948:

It is as if the dead could feel

The icy worm around them steal,

And shudder, as the reptiles creep

To revel o’er their rotting sleep, —

which is so close in one line to the earlier (1831) form of line 47:

No icy worms about her creep,

as to beget the suspicion that Poe wrote with his Byron in mind.

48-59 (1831) The passage is reminiscent of The Lake: To —— , especially of the last stanza of that poem.

54 f. Cf Lenore, ll. 29-31. [page 214:]

LENORE (68)

(1831; Southern Literary Messenger, January, 1836; Pioneer, February, 1843; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843; Graham’s Magazine, February, 1845; Broadway Journal, August 16, 1845; 1845; Richmond Whig, September 18, 1849; Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America, 10th edition)

(TEXT: Richmond Whig)

Entitled A Pæan in 1831 and in the Southern Literary Messenger (1836). These two earlier versions adopt a short ballad stanza, while the text published in Lowell’s Pioneer is printed in an odelike stanza (see the footnotes of this edition). The present stanza-form was first adopted in the text published in Graham’s Magazine (in Lowell’s sketch of Poe) in February, 1845, the manuscript of which was sent to the printers in October, 1844, at about the time that The Raven may be presumed to have been completed (see Woodberry, II, pp. 100, 103-104). In Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America, 10th edition (which appeared in December, 1849), the poem is broken up into half-lines. Whether or not Poe authorized this variation is uncertain, though it is known that he gave his approval to a similar variation in the stanza of The Raven. In addition to the changes in title and in stanza-form, the poem underwent numerous alterations of other sorts in the course of its half-dozen revampings, and was immensely improved, especially in tone and finish.

The text here adopted, that of the Richmond Whig, appeared in that paper during Poe’s last visit to Richmond in the summer of 1849. The text published by Griswold in his poetical anthology was probably based on a manuscript sent him by the poet in 1849 before setting out for Richmond. Besides these late texts, there is also a late version preserved in proof sheets intended for publication in the Richmond Examiner (Whitty, p. viii); and there are autographic revisions in the Lorimer Graham copy of 1845.

The poem was probably written in 1830. Poe declares in one of his late reviews (Griswold, III, p. 211) that it was “first published in 1830,” but his memory as to dates was not to be relied on.

To whom Poe refers in Lenore — or whether he refers to anyone in particular — it is impossible to say. Ingram holds (p. 27), as does also Mrs. Weiss (p. 122, note), that the poem was written in memory of Mrs. Stanard; and this view is supported by the fact that Poe, in [page 215:] line 38 of the text published in the Southern Literary Messenger (1836), gives to his heroine the name “Helen” (cf. the notes on the earlier lines To Helen). Professor Harrison suggests (I, p. 95) that the poem “may be in its first draft a memorial dirge in memory of the first Mrs. Allan” — a view that has the support of several lines (9, 13-15, 35-36) in the text of 1836, as well as of certain lines (15-19) in the Pioneer version of 1843; and is further supported by the fact that Mrs. Allan died shortly before the poem was written. But J. M. Daniel makes the statement in an article on Poe (Southern Literary Messenger, March, 1850, XVI, p. 177) that Poe declared to him shortly before his death that Mrs. Shelton was the “original of his Lenore.” This falls in with the theory that I have advanced below in the interpretation of Bridal Ballad and Sonnet — To Zante. But it should be borne in mind that Daniel was not a trustworthy witness; and that Poe at the time that he is reported to have made this statement to Daniel was paying suit to Mrs. Shelton. It should be noted, too, that in the tale Eleonora Poe’s heroine, from whom the story takes its name, is plainly none other than his wife.

The name “Lenore” first appeared in the poem in 1843. It was perhaps suggested to Poe by Bürger, whose ballad Lenore has to do with a situation resembling in some respects that of Poe’s poem, and was widely popular in England during the first quarter of Poe’s century (see Beers, A History of English Romanticism in the Eighteenth Century, p. 392, note, and A. Brandl, “Lenore in England,” in E. Schmidt’s Characteristiken, pp. 244 f., Berlin, 1886). Poe refers to Bürger’s ballad in two of his reviews printed in the Southern Literary Messenger in 1836 (Harrison, IX, pp. 173, 202).

T. W. Higginson in his Life of Longfellow (p. 269) declares that the poem in its 1843 version is “perhaps the first piece of lyric measure in our literature”; and in his Short Studies of American Authors (p. 15) he writes: “Never in American literature, I think, was such a fountain of melody flung into the air as when ‘Lenore’ first appeared in ’The Pioneer’; and never did fountain so drop downward as when Poe rearranged it in its present form.” But Professor Richardson (p. xxx) complains of the “Beautiful Snow arrangement” of the Pioneer version; and Professor Fruit, also, defends the adoption of the longline stanza (Mind and Art of Poe’s Poetry, p. 101).

1 broken is the golden bowl. Cf. Ecclesiastes xii, 6.

3 Guy De Vere. Not in the versions of 1831 and 1836. Possibly suggested (see the query of Professor Kent, Poe’s Poems, p. 145) by [page 216:] Tennyson’s “Lady Clara Vere de Vere” (i 832); possibly by J. P. Ward’s novel De Vere, though the family name “De Vere” was doubtless well known in Poe’s time.

8 The second “ye” appears for the first time in the Whig; it injures, I think, the rhythm, and is perhaps traceable to a typographical error.

8-12 The reply of Guy De Vere, the lover, to Lenore’s false friends. — The comma after “wealth” was inserted by the present editor; and so also with the comma after the second “yours” in line 11 and the comma before “and” in line 12.

9 in feeble health. This phrase, Markham (I, p. xxix) holds to be an “inexcusable blemish, a bald phrase of the prose man ... a mud-ball stuck upon the radiant front of the rainbow.”

10-12 Poe in a vitriolic notice of his one-time friend, H. B. Hirst, apparently not printed in Poe’s lifetime, but published by Griswold (III, pp. 209 f.), calls attention to what he pronounces a plagiarism from these lines in Hirst’s The Penance of Roland.

13 The reading of 1845 and of the Lorimer Graham copy — “Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song” — seems to me superior to the reading of the Whig.

15-19 (Pioneer) Possibly an allusion to Mrs. Allan (see the introductory note, above).

20 Avaunt! — avaunt! to friends from fiends. The Lorimer Graham reading — “Avaunt! avaunt! from fiends below” — is both simpler and more euphonious.

25, 26 These lines were imitated by W. W. Lord in his Niagara (see Harrison, XII, 156):

They, albeit with inward pain.

Who sought to sing thy dirge, must sing thy Pæan!

They are perhaps echoed, also, by T. B. Aldrich, in his Ode on the Unveiling of the Shaw Memorial (ll. 44-45):

A pæan, not a knell,

For heroes dying so!

and by Lowell in his Harvard Commemoration Ode, ll. 242-244:

I sweep them for a pæan, but they wane

Again and yet again

Into a dirge, and die away, in pain.

26 Pæan. Spelled “Pœan” in the origina1. [page 217:]

55, 56 (Pioneer) Printed in the Pioneer (by an obvious error of the press) as one line.

58 (Pioneer) gold. For Poe’s use of a monosyllable with dissyllabic value, see the note on Tamerlane, l. 201.

THE VALLEY OF UNREST (72)

(1831; Southern Literary Messenger, February, 1836; American Whig Review, April, 1845; Broadway Journal, September 6, 1845; 1845)

(TEXT: 1845)

The Valley of Unrest is one of the group of poems in which Poe deals with the place of departed spirits (see the general note on The City in the Sea). The situation here is apparently that of the temporary abiding-place of the wicked after death, though the poet is careful not to make this explicit. The nearest analogues are The City in the Sea and Silence. A Fable (Harrison, II, pp. 220-224). An interesting partial parallel is furnished by a passage in The Unparallelled Adventure of Hans Phaal (ibid., II, p. 80).

In its earliest form (1831) and in the revised text published in the Southern Literary Messenger (1836), the poem is much fuller than in the later versions (see the footnotes, in which the text of 1831 is given in its entirety). There is no clue to the date of the poem other than that afforded by the date of first publication.

7 (1831) Nis. Perhaps suggested to Poe by the word “sin” (cf. the inverted spelling in “Bedlo” (that is, “Oldeb”) in A Tale of the Ragged Mountains, and note that The City in the Sea was at one time entitled The City of Sin). The word nis is to be found in the Hebrew text of Jeremiah xlviii, 44, so I am informed by a gifted orientalist, but is there corrected in the margin to nds. “Nis” also occurs in Norse mythology. But there is scant likelihood that Poe was acquainted with the word in either of these uses.

8 (1831) a Syriac tale. A bit of mystification on Poe’s part, I suspect. If he actually has reference to some tale, it is probably to some scriptural narrative, though I am unable to identify it with any scriptural story.

9 visitor. Spelled “visiter” in the original texts.

15, 16 Poe declares in one of his letters (Harrison, XVII, p. 207) that these lines are “the two best lines” in the poem. It seems not [page 218:] improbable that they were suggested by Wordsworth’s well-known lines in The Solitary Reaper:

Breaking the silence of the seas

Among the farthest Hebrides.

The idea of the “palpitating seas” Poe has also in his Silence. A Fable, in the following passage (Harrison, II, p. 220): “The waters of the river have a saffron and a sickly hue; and they flow not onwards to the sea, but palpitate forever and forever beneath the red eye of the sun with a tumultuous and convulsive motion.”

18 rustle. The reading of the American Review, “rustles,” is evidently a misprint.

25 Eternal dews come down in drops. See The Sleeper, ll. 3 ll. 12 f., and Fairy-Land, l. 4.

27 The fantastic lines with which the poem concludes in the American Review (1845):

They wave; they weep; and the tears, as they well

From the depth of each pallid lily-bell,

Give a trickle and a tinkle and a knell,

find a parallel in Fairy-Land, ll. 24 f. (1831).

29 (1831) Helen. The poetic name adopted by Poe for Mrs. Jane Stith Stanard; see the notes on the earlier lines To Helen.

46 (1831) The quotation is from Farquhar’s The Recruiting Officer, III, scene iii.

THE COLISEUM (75)

[[first printing]]

(Saturday Morning Visiter, 1833; Southern Literary Messenger, August, 1835; Saturday Evening Post, June 12, 1841; Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America, first edition, 1842; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843; Broadway Journal, July 12, 1845; 1845)

[[second printing]]

(Baltimore Saturday Visiter, October 26, 1833; Southern Literary Messenger, August, 1835; Saturday Evening Post, June 12, 1841; Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America, first edition, 1842; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843; Broadway Journal, July 12, 1845; 1845)

(TEXT: 1845)

[[first printing]]

The Coliseum appears to have been the first of Poe’s poems to be published after the publication of the volume of 1831. It was submitted in 1833 to the Baltimore Saturday Morning Visiter in competition for a prize of fifty dollars offered by that paper, and is said to have” been published in The Visiter in the same year (Stedman and Woodberry, X, p. 177). Along with the poem, Poe had submitted a number of his tales in competition for a prize of one hundred dollars. The larger prize was awarded [page 219:] to Poe’s MS. Found in a Bottle, and the other prize would have been awarded to The Coliseum except that the judges deemed it best not to give both prizes to the same competitor. Their decision was announced in the Visiter of October 12, 1833 (see a statement reprinted in part in the Southern Literary Messenger for August, 1835, I, p. 716). A detailed account of the deliberations of the judges, by one of their number, General J. H. B. Latrobe, appears in the Edgar Allan Poe Memorial Volume, ed. Miss S. S. Rice, Baltimore, 1877, pp. 57-62 (reproduced in part by Harrison, I, pp. 102 f.); a briefer account of the matter is given by J. H. Hewitt (editor of the Visiter at the time the prizes were offered and winner of the prize for the best poem) in his Shadows on the Wall, pp. 155 f. Hewitt reprints in the same connection a garbled version of The Coliseum — drawn, however, not from the Visiter, but from some later text of the poem. All files of the Visiter for 1833 appear to have been lost.

[[second printing]]

The Coliseum appears to have been the first of Poe’s poems to be published after the publication of the volume of 1831. It was submitted in 1833 to the Baltimore Saturday Visiter in competition for a prize of twenty-five dollars offered by that paper, and was published in The Visiter two weeks after the announcement of the decision of the judges. Along with the poem, Poe had submitted a number of his tales in competition for a prize of fifty dollars. The larger prize was awarded [page 219:] to Poe’s MS. Found in a Bottle, and the other prize would have been awarded to The Coliseum except that the judges deemed it best not to give both prizes to the same competitor. Their decision was announced in the Visiter of October 12, 1833 (see the article of Professor J. C. French, “Poe and the Baltimore Saturday Visiter,” Modern Language Notes, XXXIII, pp. 257 f. (May, 1918). A detailed account of the deliberations of the judges, by one of their number, General J. H. B. Latrobe, appears in the Edgar Allan Poe Memorial Volume, ed. Miss S. S. Rice, Baltimore, 1877, pp. 57-62 (reproduced in part by Harrison, I, pp. 102 f.); a briefer account of the matter is given by J. H. Hewitt (editor of the Visiter at the time the prizes were offered and winner of the prize for the best poem) in his Shadows on the Wall, pp. 155 f. Hewitt reprints in the same connection a garbled version of The Coliseum — drawn, however, not from the Visiter, but from some later text of the poem.

[[resume first printing]]

The poem at one time constituted a part of Poe’s drama, Politian, appearing there as a soliloquy uttered by the hero. A facsimile of a part of this version, comprising lines 1-9, is given by Ingram in the London Bibliophile, May, 1909, p. 136.

Byron’s influence is plainly discernible in Poe’s lines (see the notes on lines 1-2, 17, 21, 30). There are reminiscences also, apparently, of Quevedo’s sonnet, Rome in Ruins (see the note on lines 26-32).

The poem furnishes the earliest known example of Poe’s use of blank verse and at the same time his most successful use of it. The verse of Politian is comparatively unimpressive, and that of the later blank verse pieces (To M. L. S., To — — — , and To Helen) is little better. Some of the lines in The Coliseum, however — as the opening lines of the second section:

Vastness! and Age! and Memories of Eld!

Silence! and Desolation! and dim Night!

I feel ye now — I feel ye in your strength —

possess a genuine dignity and something of eloquence as well.

1 reliquary. Receptacle.

1, 2 Cf. Childe Harold, Canto IV, ll. 7-8:

This long-explored but still exhaustless mine

Of contemplation.

5, 6 In accordance with the custom of his day, Poe placed a comma at the end of the first of these lines, and also at the end of the second but inside the parenthesis. [page 220:]

9 Cf. the note on line 46.

13 The only reference to the Christ in Poe’s poems.

15 The star-gazing Chaldeans are also alluded to in Al Aaraaf, Part II, l. 42.

17 Here, where a hero fell. Byron thrice introduces a line with the collocation “here, where,” in his description of the Coliseum in Childe Harold (Canto IV, stanza cxlii); and in both Childe Harold and Manfred he alludes to the gladiatorial combats that took place in the Coliseum.

21 The two verses inserted after this line in the text of the Southern Literary Messenger:

Here where on ivory couch the Caesar sate,

On bed of moss lies gloating the foul adder,

were perhaps suggested by the following passage from Manfred (III, iv, ll. 22 f.):

Where the Cæsars dwelt,

And dwell the tuneless birds of night, amidst

A grove which springs through levelled battlements,

And twines its roots with the imperial hearths,

Ivy usurps the laurel’s place of growth.

24 wan light. Spelled “wanlight” in 1845.

26-30 These lines may have been vaguely influenced by a passage in Gaunt’s famous speech in Shakespeare’s Richard III, II, i, ll 40-60.

26-32 Possibly written by way of protest against one of Byron’s lines in allusion to the Coliseum (Childe Harold, Canto IV, stanza cxlv, l. 8):

Rome and her Ruin past Redemption’s skill;

or against the sentiment of the opening lines of Quevedo’s Rome in Ruins:

Pilgrim! in vain thou seekst in Rome for Rome!

Alas! the Queen of Nations is no more!

Dust are her towers that proudly frowned of yore,

And her stern hills themselves have built their tomb —

lines which Poe quoted in one of his reviews in the Southern Literary Messenger in 1836 (Harrison, VIII, p. 140), copying a translation in the American Monthly Magazine of December, 1833 (II, p. 224).

30 gray. Repeated, perhaps, because of its symbolical import. Byron had applied the same epithet to the walls of the Coliseum (Childe Harold, Canto IV, stanza cxliv). [page 221:]

31 In the original a comma is erroneously inserted after “found.”

34-46 In the original, quotation marks appear before each of these lines.

36 As melody from Memnon to the Sun. For the traditions associated with Memnon and for allusions to Memnon’s statue, see Gayley’s Classic Myths, pp. 179 f., 512. To Professor Gayley’s list of allusions may be added the following: Byron’s Don Juan, Canto XIII, stanza lxiv; Tennyson’s The Palace of Art, l. 171, and The Princess, Book III, l. 117; Mrs. Browning’s An Essay on Mind, l. 841, and her sonnet, Futurity, l. 14; Bayard Taylor’s To the Nile, l. 18; Mrs. S. H. Whitman’s The Portrait, l. 4; and Simms’s Charlemont, p. 306.

46 a robe of more than glory. Possibly an allusion to Wordsworth’s “trailing clouds of glory.”

TO ONE IN PARADISE (77)

(Godey’s Lady’s Book, January, 1834; Southern Literary Messenger, July, 1835; Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, July, 1839; Tales, 1840; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843 , Broadway Journal, May 10, 1845; Broadway Journal, June 7, 1845; 1845)

(TEXT: Lorimer Graham copy of 1845)

This poem was composed not later than 1833, since it formed a part of Poe’s story, The Visionary (later entitled The Assignation), as published in Godey’s Lady’s Book in January, 1834. It is possible that it refers to Miss Royster, she being conceived of symbolically as dead (see the general note on Bridal Ballad) — a view that is supported especially by a rejected final stanza (given above in the textual footnotes). A slightly garbled text of the poem was published in the London Spectator of January 1, 1853, and there attributed to Tennyson, Poe at the same time being charged with theft of the lines from Tennyson. But Tennyson replied in a letter of January 20, 1853, to the Spectator, vindicating Poe.

Title. In Burton’s Magazine (1839) the title is To Ianthe in Heaven. The name “Ianthe” had previously been used in Al Aaraaf.

1 that all. The reading also of Godey’s (1834), the Southern Literary Messenger (1835), and Burton’s, but rejected in all subsequent versions save the second of the texts printed in the Broadway Journal (June 7, 1845) and the Lorimer Graham copy of 1845.

The text of the poem printed in the Spectator of January 1, 1853, and there attributed to Tennyson (see above), omits the word “that,” [page 222:] with the result that the line is made unmetrica1. There are other crudities in that text — enough, I think, to establish it as unauthentic. It was probably a carelessly made copy of one of the earlier versions.

3 A green isle in the sea. Cf. the Sonnet — To Zante, and the opening lines of Shelley’s Lines written among the Euganean Hills:

Many a green isle needs must be

In the deep wide sea of misery.

16 No more. The collocation appears also in the Sonnet — To Zante (ll. 8-11) and in the Sonnet — Silence (1. 9). It is perhaps, as Fruit suggests (p. 55), “the germinal form” of the ‘Nevermore’ of The Raven. But see the note on The Raven, l. 48.

21-26 One of Poe’s most sonorous stanzas. The melodious effect is secured in part by the use of the repetend, in part by the skillful employment of liquids and nasals.

23 grey. It is open to question whether Poe gained anything by his substitution, in the Lorimer Graham text, of this word for the epithet “dark” found in all other texts.

25, 26 In what ethereal dances, By what eternal streams. Professor Richardson (p. xxvii) pronounces these two lines to be “perfect in every detail of thought and expression” and “as inherently and perennially lovely as Wordsworth’s

And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore, —

because in both cases the utterly poetic conception is phrased in the only words that seem exquisitely fit.” The last line was much improved by the substitution, in the later versions, of the word “eternal” for the “Italian” of the earlier versions.

HYMN (78)

(Southern Literary Messenger, April, 1835; Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, November, 1839; Tales, 1840; Broadway Journal, August 16, 1845; 1845)

(TEXT: Lorimer Graham copy of 1845)

Hymn was written not later than 1834. Morella, of which it originally formed a part, was evidently one of the sixteen tales sent to Carey and Lea in the autumn of 1834 (see Woodberry, II, p. 401), and it is not improbable that it was one of the six tales submitted in the [page 223:] Baltimore Saturday Visiter’s contest in 1833 (see the description of an early manuscript of this tale in Catalogue No. 17 of the Rosenbach Company, Philadelphia, 1913, p. 106). The poem first appeared as a separate item in the Broadway Journal of August 16, 1845. As incorporated in Morella (in 1835, 1839, and 1840), it is divided into stanzas of four lines each, including a stanza at the beginning, which was subsequently dropped (see above, p. 78), and is without title. In the Broadway Journal and in 1845 it is entitled Catholic Hymn. In the Lorimer Graham copy (which furnishes the text followed in this edition) the word “Catholic” is stricken out.

[[first printing]]

In no other poem does Poe strike so distinctly the religious note. The Deity is not infrequently referred to in his poems, but always in colorless terms; and the Christ is mentioned only once (in The Coliseum, l. 13), and the Virgin Mary only twice (here and in For Annie, l. 83). In Poe’s tales and in his critical writings, allusions to the Deity are more frequent, and in Eureka there are several passages in which Poe discusses, in set terms, the relation between God and his creatures. In one of these passages he declares that “The Universe is a plot of God” (Harrison, XVI, p. 292), a sentiment not unworthy of Emerson, Poe’s antithesis in most regards. See for other striking passages in Eureka, Harrison, XVI, pp. 254 f., 311, 313 f.; and see also in this connection a letter of July 2, 1844, to Lowell (Woodberry, II, pp. 92 f.). According to Mrs. Weiss (p. 32) the poet, though a believer in a Supreme Being, “had no faith in the doctrine of the Divinity of Christ.”

[[second printing]]

In no other poem does Poe strike so distinctly the religious note. The Deity is not infrequently referred to in his poems, but always in colorless terms; and the Christ is mentioned only twice (in The Coliseum, l. 13, and The Sleeper (1831), l. 38), and the Virgin Mary only twice (here and in For Annie, l. 83). In Poe’s tales and in his critical writings, allusions to the Deity are more frequent, and in Eureka there are several passages in which Poe discusses, in set terms, the relation between God and his creatures. In one of these passages he declares that “The Universe is a plot of God” (Harrison, XVI, p. 292), a sentiment not unworthy of Emerson, Poe’s antithesis in most regards. See for other striking passages in Eureka, Harrison, XVI, pp. 254 f., 311, 313 f.; and see also in this connection a letter of July 2, 1844, to Lowell (Woodberry, II, pp. 92 f.). According to Mrs. Weiss (p. 32) the poet, though a believer in a Supreme Being, “had no faith in the doctrine of the Divinity of Christ.”

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As to Poe’s religious practice, such evidence as we have is conflicting. His early Baltimore sweetheart, Miss Devereaux, asserts that “he scoffed at everything sacred, and never went to church” (Harper’s Monthly, LXXVIII, p. 636). But Mrs. Shew, in her diary (see Ingram, pp. 333-334), mentions having attended a midnight service with him in New York, in 1847, on which occasion, she says, he followed the ritual “like a churchman.” Mrs. Weiss also tells of seeing him at church in Richmond in 1849 (the New York Independent, LVII, p. 446). Mrs. J. J. Moran, wife of the physician who attended him in his last illness, relates that she discussed with him, shortly before he died, the matter of divine forgiveness in the hereafter (Harrison, I, p. 337); and Dr. Moran himself testifies that his last words were, “Lord, help my poor soul.” There is a tradition that he was baptized soon after being adopted by the Allans at the home of a neighbor of the Allans, a Mr. John Richard (Richmond Standard, May 7, 1881), and it is said that he was confirmed at some time in youth as a member of the [page 224:] Episcopal Church (Mrs. Weiss, p. 31). He doubtless attended in his youth the church to which the Allans belonged in Richmond, the old Monumental Church on Broad Street. For an extended discussion of his religion, accurate in the main, but unsympathetic, see A. H. Strong, American Poets and their Theology, pp. 159-206.

4 Mother of God, be with us still! The line suggests Kipling’s line in The Recessional:

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet.

TO F —— (79)

(Southern Literary Messenger, July, 1835; Graham’s Magazine, March, 1842; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843; Broadway Journal, April 26, 1845; 1845)

(TEXT: 1845)

To F —— is one of three poems addressed by Poe to Mrs. Frances Sargent Osgood, the other two being the lines To F —— s S. O —— d and A Valentine. A fourth poem complimentary to Mrs. Osgood, Impromptu: To Kate Carol, and apparently written by Poe, is included in the present volume among the Poems Attributed to Poe.

Though addressed to Mrs. Osgood in 1845, the poem was originally dedicated to another. As first published, in July, 1835, it was entitled To Mary; and as republished in 1842 (Graham’s) and again in 1843 (Saturday Museum) it bore the title To One Departed.

To whom the poet refers in these earlier versions is not clear. Professor Kent suggests (Poe’s Poems, p. 135) that “Mary” of the text of 1835 was possibly Eliza White, daughter of the proprietor of the Southern Literary Messenger; and the same view has been taken by others. But Poe did not reach Richmond to enter upon his editorial connection with the Messenger until after July 20, 1835 (see Letters, pp. 10 f.), and the issue of the Messenger in which the lines appeared must have been published before that time: in any event, it is improbable that he was acquainted with Miss White at the time the lines were written. Professor Woodberry suggests (II, p. 414) that the lady referred to was Poe’s “Baltimore Mary,” to whom, according to her account, he dedicated a “poem of six or eight verses” that was published in a Baltimore paper early in the thirties (see Harper’s Monthly, LXXVIII, p. 638); though he notes in the same connection [page 225:] (II, p. 415) that the lines To —— . (“I heed not that my earthly lot”) were, in the edition of 1829, entitled To M —— . It should also be noted that the lines said to have been addressed to the “Baltimore Mary” are described by her as “very severe” and as complaining of “fickleness and inconstancy” — a description which does not apply to the present poem. Mr. Charles Marshall Graves, in his Selected Poems and Tales of Poe, p. 146, expresses the belief that the reference is to “Miss Mary Winfree, of Chesterfield, Virginia, who rejected [Poe’s] proffered love” — a lady to whom no other reference is made by Poe’s editors and biographers.

It is even more difficult to say whom Poe refers to in the texts of 1842 and 1843, both entitled To One Departed. Is the reference to Mrs. Allan? or to Mrs. Stanard? — or is it, perhaps, to Miss Royster (see the notes on Bridal Ballad)? The poet’s “Baltimore Mary” lived until after the death of Mrs. Poe in 1847 (see Woodberry, II, p. 225).

Mrs. Osgood, to whom Poe dedicated the poem in its final form, was born in Boston in 1815 (the year is sometimes given as 1811). In 1835 she married S. S. Osgood, an artist of note (who was later to paint one of the best-known portraits of Poe), and together they spent the next four years in England. Returning to America, they settled, in 1840, in New York, where Mrs. Osgood at once became prominent in social and literary circles. She began to write verses at an early age, and some of these were published before her marriage. Her first volume of poems, A Wreath of Wild Flowers from New England, appeared in London in 1838. This was followed by The Casket of Fate (1839), Poems (1846), A Letter about Lions (1849), and a collective edition of her poems in 1850. Among other works variously accredited to her are: The Snowdrop; A New Year’s Gift for Children (Providence, 1842); The Language of Gems; Puss in Boots; Cries of New York; The Rose: Sketches in Verse; and The Happy Release, or The Triumph of Love (a drama). She also edited The Poetry of Flowers and Flowers of Poetry (New York, 1841), and The Floral Offering (Philadelphia, 1847). She died May 12, 1850. A memorial volume — The Memorial written by Friends of the Late Mrs. Osgood — from which most of the information here given is taken, was edited by Mrs. Mary E. Hewett and published shortly after Mrs. Osgood’s death (New York, 1851) and again in 1854 under the title Laurel Leaves. The proem of this volume (a brief life-sketch) was written by R. W. Griswold, to whom Mrs. Osgood had dedicated the edition of her poems published in 1850. [page 226:]

Poe’s first meeting with Mrs. Osgood took place in the spring of 1845, and a warm friendship at once sprang up between them. They not only addressed verses to each other, but exchanged letters freely, and met often both at Poe’s home and at social gatherings, Mrs. Poe approving their intimacy. But misunderstandings presently arose, and all intercourse between the two came abruptly to an end in the spring or early summer of 1846 (see the Introduction, pp. xxiii-xxiv). They did not meet after this, but they continued friends, Poe letting slip no opportunity to praise her verses, and she continuing to publish verses in praise of him up to the year of her death. See, for her own account of their friendship, the letter to Griswold printed in the latter’s “Memoir,” pp. lii f.; and see also Woodberry, II, pp. 178 f.; Ingram, pp. 286 f.; Griswold’s Correspondence, pp. 256-257; and for Mrs. Osgood’s verses about Poe, her Poems (1850), pp. 451 f. and passim.

1 f. The two stanzas appear in inverted order in Graham’s Magazine and the Saturday Museum.

The mood of the opening stanza is much the same as that which prevails in the volumes of 1827 and 1829.

8-14 Cf. the Sonnet — To Zante.

9 Like some enchanted far-off isle. In one of his letters to “Outis” in the course of the “Longfellow War” (Harrison, XII, pp. 88, 89), Poe charges Longfellow with having imitated this line in his poem Seaweed (1. 31):

From the far-off isles enchanted.

TO F —— S S. O —— D (80)

(Southern Literary Messenger, September, 1835; Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, August, 1839; Broadway Journal, September 13, 1845; 1845)

(TEXT: 1845)

These lines, like the preceding, though dedicated to Mrs. Osgood in 1845, were originally addressed to another — referred to by the poet as “Eliza.” According to Ingram (p. 105) and Woodberry (II, p. 180), this lady was Eliza White (see the notes on To F ); but Whitty (p. 222) has advanced the theory that she was none other than Virginia Clemm, Poe’s cousin and child-wife, whose second name was Eliza. This theory is not unplausible, but it should also be noted that another [page 227:] cousin of Poe’s to whom he had made love, Miss Herring, of Baltimore, bore the name Eliza, and that the lines may, accordingly, have been addressed to her (see, above, p. 136, for two acrostics devoted to Miss Herring).

The poem, as printed in the Broadway Journal, September 13, 1845, appears to have been published in answer to Mrs. Osgood’s Echo-Song, evidently referring to Poe, which had been printed in the Broadway Journal of the preceding week.

Mrs. Osgood’s lines begin as follows:

I know a noble heart that beats

For one it loves how “wildly well”!

I only know for whom it beats;

But I must never tell!

Never tell!

Hush! hark I how Echo soft repeats, —

Ah! never tell!

In 1835 the poem was printed as two quatrains.

Title. In 1835, Lines written in an Album; in 1839, To —— ; and in September, 1845 (Broadway Journal), To F ——.

3 which now thou art. Byron uses the same collocation in the dedication of Childe Harold, l. 10:

Ah! may’st thou ever be what now thou art.

5-8 Omitted in the Broadway Journal text (September 13, 1845).

8 Cf. Browning’s The Guardian Angel, l. 34:

And knowing this, is love, and love is duty.

SCENES FROM “POLITIAN” (80)

(Southern Literary Messenger, December, 1835, and January, 1836; Broadway Journal, March 29, 1845 (in part); 1845)

(TEXT: Lorimer Graham copy of 1845)

[[first printing]]

Date of Composition. Ingram holds (p. 90) that Politian was probably begun as early as 1831; and Harrison (I, p. 111) and Whitty (p. 228) indorse this view. Woodberry in his revised life of Poe is silent as to the date of composition, but in the earlier edition of this work (p. 70) he suggests that Poe perhaps devoted the summer of 1834 to his play. [page 228:] J. P. Kennedy, in a letter to White, proprietor of the Southern Literary Messenger, in April, 1835, mentions the fact that Poe was then “at work upon a tragedy” (Woodberry, I, p. 110). The Coliseum, which formed a part of the manuscript version of the play (it appears as a soliloquy uttered by Politian in Act IV) was written in 1833 or earlier, but it does not follow that the play was written so early as this.

[[second printing]]

Date of Composition. Ingram holds (p. 90) that Politian was probably begun as early as 1831; and Harrison (I, p. 111) and Whitty (p. 228) indorse this view. Woodberry in his revised life of Poe is silent as to the date of composition, but in the earlier edition of this work (p. 70) he suggests that Poe perhaps devoted the summer of 1834 to his play. [page 228:] J. P. Kennedy, in a letter to White, proprietor of the Southern Literary Messenger, in April, 1835, mentions the fact that Poe was then “at work upon a tragedy” (Woodberry, I, p. 110). Professor Thomas Ollive Mabbott, who has carefully edited the play in its entirety (Poe’s Politian, Richmond, 1923), holds (p. 58) that the play was probably written in 1835.

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Text. The text here followed is verbally the same as that of 1845 (Lorimer Graham copy), but the spelling, indentation, pointing, and type (especially of the stage directions) have been altered to accord with more modern usage. The excerpts printed in the Broadway Journal (March 29, 1845) are all taken from the second scene.

An early manuscript of the play, once owned by Mrs. Lewis and later by Mr. J. H. Ingram, is now in the possession of Mr. J. P. Morgan, of New York City. This manuscript contains scenes not published by Poe amounting to upwards of six hundred lines, but is incomplete. The first “scene” of the play, as published, is the third scene of Act I in the manuscript version; the second scene (as printed) is the first scene of Act II in the manuscript; the third scene is scene iii of the second act; the fourth and fifth scenes as published belong to the third act; most of the fourth act is missing; and the fifth act apparently was never written. (See for further particulars the description given by Ingram in The Southern Magazine, November, 1875, pp. 588 f.; also a brief article in the New York Nation, September 5, 1907 (LXXXV, pp. 205-206).) Parts of the play not published by Poe are given by Ingram in The Southern Magazine (l.c.) and in a note on Politian in his Poetical Works of Poe, New York [1888], pp. 96-99.

[[first printing]]

Source. The plot of Politian, as Ingram has pointed out (Southern Magazine, XVII, pp. 588 f.), is based on a sensational tragedy enacted in Kentucky in 1825 and the following year, the killing of Colonel Solomon P. Sharp, Attorney General of Kentucky, by Jeroboam O. Beauchamp (whose wife had been betrayed by Sharp), and the trial and conviction of Beauchamp, followed by the suicide of Beauchamp’s wife and the attempted suicide of Beauchamp himself on the day set for his hanging, lengthy accounts of which appeared in the newspapers of the day. The same incidents supplied Chivers with the plot of his drama, Conrad and Eudora (1834), furnished Charles Fenno Hoffman with the plot of his prose romance, Greyslaer, and gave Simms the materials for two of his romances, Beauchampe (1842) and Charlemont [page 229:] (1856). Professor W. P. Trent (Life of Simms, p. 119) also mentions a poem on the subject by Isaac Starr Classon, Professor H. G. Shearin has called attention to two folk songs growing out of the tragedy which are now current in the mountain regions of Kentucky (see A Syllabus of Kentucky Folk-Songs, Lexington, 1911, pp. 16, 19), and Dr. E. C. Perrow calls attention to a ballad on the subject current in the mountains of North Carolina (see the Journal of American Folk-Lore, XXVIII, pp. 166-168). The story is also related by Hoffman in his Winter in the West (1834), and by Mary E. Macmichael, in a tale entitled The Kentucky Tragedy, in Burton’s Magazine for April, 1838 (II, pp. 265271). Poe comments on the story and the literary employments of it in Beauchampe and Greyslaer in a notice of Hoffman in the Literati (Harrison, XV, p. 119), but mentions in that connection neither Chivers’s drama nor his own, though he remarks, significantly, that the incidents of the actual event “might be better woven into a tragedy.” Poe probably drew upon newspaper accounts for his plot, the newspapers of the day having been full of the story at the time of its occurrence. A comparison of Poe’s play with Chivers’s brings out no verbal parallels between the two, nor any incidents common to the two that are not also to be found in the original story.

[[second printing]]

Source. The plot of Politian, as Ingram has pointed out (Southern Magazine, XVII, pp. 588 f.), is based on a sensational tragedy enacted in Kentucky in 1825 and the following year, the killing of Colonel Solomon P. Sharp, Attorney General of Kentucky, by Jeroboam O. Beauchamp (whose wife had been betrayed by Sharp), and the trial and conviction of Beauchamp, followed by the suicide of Beauchamp’s wife and the attempted suicide of Beauchamp himself on the day set for his hanging, lengthy accounts of which appeared in the newspapers of the day. The same incidents supplied Chivers with the plot of his drama, Conrad and Eudora (1834), furnished Charles Fenno Hoffman with the plot of his prose romance, Greyslaer, and gave Simms the materials for two of his romances, Beauchampe (1842) and Charlemont [page 229:] (1856). Professor W. P. Trent (Life of Simms, p. 119) also mentions a poem on the subject by Isaac Starr Classon, Professor H. G. Shearin has called attention to two folk songs growing out of the tragedy which are now current in the mountain regions of Kentucky (see A Syllabus of Kentucky Folk-Songs, Lexington, 1911, pp. 16, 19), and Dr. E. C. Perrow calls attention to a ballad on the subject current in the mountains of North Carolina (see the Journal of American Folk-Lore, XXVIII, pp. 166-168). The story is also related by Hoffman in his Winter in the West (1834), and by Mary E. Macmichael, in a tale entitled The Kentucky Tragedy, in Burton’s Magazine for April, 1838 (II, pp. 265271). Poe comments on the story and the literary employments of it in Beauchampe and Greyslaer in a notice of Hoffman in the Literati (Harrison, XV, p. 119), but mentions in that connection neither Chivers’s drama nor his own, though he remarks, significantly, that the incidents of the actual event “might be better woven into a tragedy.” Poe probably drew upon newspaper accounts for his plot, the newspapers of the day having been full of the story at the time of its occurrence. A comparison of Poe’s play with Chivers’s brings out no verbal parallels between the two, nor any incidents common to the two that are not also to be found in the original story. The Knickerbocker remarked editorially in May, 1842 (XIX, p. 494), that the theme had already become hackneyed.

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Most of the names of his dramatis personæ Poe found in Italian history. “Politian” will be recognized at once as the name of the wellknown Florentine poet and scholar, Angelo Poliziano; “Alessandra” was the given name of Politian’s friend, Alessandra Scala; and “Baldazzar” and “Castiglione” the given name and the surname, respectively, of the author of the famous Book of the Courtyer, Baldassare Castiglione. “Di Broglio” is apparently an Italianized form of “De Broglie,” a name prominent in French politics at the time Poe was writing his drama. “Jacinta” was perhaps suggested by the princess Jacinto, who plays the part of a page to her lover in R. M. Bird’s Calavar, a novel reviewed by Poe in the Southern Literary Messenger (I, p. 315) early in 1835 (though the name “Jacinta” also occurs in Shirley’s play The Example). “Benito” figures as a servant in Dryden’s The Assignation. “Lalage” was perhaps suggested by Horace.

None of Poe’s critics have claimed for Politian any extraordinary excellence. The play is confessedly fragmentary, and so much of it as is printed is merely a series of detached scenes; it is without either climax or catastrophe; it is slow of movement, and exhibits little of wit or of sprightly dialogue; and in the form in which we have it, it lacks clearness. But it scarcely deserves all the strictures that have been passed on it. Nichols, for instance (American Literature, p. 217), pronounces it the “stupidest fragment of a play that survives”; and [page 230:] a reviewer in the London Athenæum of February 28, 1846 (p. 215), declares that “the excess of the puerile [contained in the play] amounts to imbecility.” It is at least superior as poetry to Tamerlane; and in style and finish it is superior to parts of Al Aaraaf, though it contains nothing comparable to the lyrics in Al Aaraaf.

Title. The title adopted in the Southern Literary Messenger (December, 1835, January, 1836) is Scenes from an Unpublished Drama.

Scene I. This scene, which is the third scene of the first act in the manuscript version of the play, was the fourth scene published in the Messenger — the second, third, and fourth scenes (as now printed) having preceded it. The present order is plainly the natural one.

In the initial scene of the play, according to Ingram’s description of the manuscript version, the information is brought out that Castiglione, who is now betrothed to Alessandra, his cousin, had at some time in the past betrayed Lalage, her friend. And in the following scene, Castiglione is pictured in a repentant mood, but being bantered by San Ozzo.

I, 1 Alessandra. Probably suggested by Alessandra Scala. Poe mentions both Politian and Alessandra Scala in his Pinakidia (first published in 1836; see Harrison, XIV, p. 65). — Castiglione. As pointed out above, this name was doubtless suggested to Poe by Baldassare Castiglione, author of the Book of the Courtyer (Venice, 1528). Castiglione was a stanch admirer of Politian, whom he mentions several times in the Courtyer.

I, 21 Di Broglio. The name was probably suggested by Victor de Broglie, who held the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs for France at the time Politian was published. He is mentioned by Poe in 1841 (see Harrison, X, p. 134) as among the men “playing important parts in the great drama of French affairs” at that time.

I, 31 Lalage. Chosen, perhaps, because of its etymological significance, dulce loquens; but probably suggested, as already noted, by Horace (Odes, I, xxii).

Scene II. This scene is the initial scene of Act II in the manuscript text of the play (according to Ingram’s description). It is followed in the manuscript by a scene not published by Poe, but given by Ingram in a note on Politian (Poetical Works of Poe [New York, 1888], pp. 96 f.). In this excerpt of the play, Di Broglio is represented as discussing with Castiglione Politian’s melancholy, when Politian appears with Baldazzar, but Politian retires abruptly after receiving Di Broglio’s welcome. [page 231:]

Excerpts from this scene, containing lines 6-28, 57-113, were reprinted by Poe in the Broadway Journal of March 29, 1845 (Harrison, XII, pp. 98 f.) in a foolish attempt to show that the play had been imitated by Longfellow in the Spanish Student, II, iv.

II, 6, 7 Incorrectly quoted from ll. 632-633:

But in another country, as he said,

Bore a bright golden flower, but not in this soil.

II, 8-10 From ll. 566-568. Possibly translated by the poet himself; possibly adapted from Cowper’s translation (IV, ll. 682-685):

... no snow is there,

No biting winter, and no drenching shower,

But zephyr always gently from the sea

Breathes on them, to refresh the happy race.

II, 15 f. The play referred to is Webster’s Duchess of Malfi.

II, 18-20 From the Duchess of Malfi ll. 261-263:

She died young.

I think not so: her infelicity

Seemed to have years too many.

Poe erroneously inserts the word “full” before “young” in the first line.

II, 23 that Egyptian queen. Cleopatra.

II, 27 Eiros and Charmion. Attendants of Cleopatra in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra. The same characters appear also in one of Poe’s “dialogues of the dead,” The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion (1839).

II, 32 spirit. Pronounced as one syllable ll. 20 and 62, and V, l. 88.

II, 31, 32 balm ... in Gilead. See Jeremiah viii, 22. The same allusion occurs in The Raven, l. 89.

II, 34, 35 “dew sweeter far ... Hermon hill.” Slightly misquoted from Peele’s drama, David and Bethsabe, ll. 46-47:

Or let the dew be sweeter far than that

That hangs, like chains of pearl, on Hermon Hill,

a passage based on Psalms cxxxiii, 3: “As the dew of Hermon and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion.” The passage from Peele is quoted again in To — — — (“Not long ago,” etc), ll. 9-10. [page 232:]

II, 46 “Is there no farther aid!” Both 1845 and the Messenger omit the quotation marks.

Scene III. This (according to Ingram) is the third scene of Act II in the manuscript text of Politian.

III, 1 Baldazzar. Accented throughout on the penult. By an interesting coincidence, both this name and “Politian” and “Alessandra” occur in George Eliot’s Romola.

III, 22 Fame awaits thee — Glory calls. Possibly an echo of Moore’s well-known line:

Go where glory waits thee.

III, 23 the trumpet-tongued. Cf. Macbeth, I, vii, l. 19. The phrase is without pointing in the original.

III, 40 the Hours are breathing low. Cf. The City in the Sea, l. 49:

The hours are breathing faint and low.

III, 41 The sands of Time are changed to golden grains. Cf. A Dream within a Dream, l. 15.

III, 45-50 The passage suggests the famous moonlight scene in the fifth act of The Merchant of Venice.

III, 57 heart of hearts. Cf. Wordsworth’s Ode on Intimations of Immortality, l. 190:

Yet in my heart of hearts I feel your might,

and Hamlet, III, ii, l. 68:

In my heart’s core, ay, in my heart of heart.

Poe was fond of the phrase; he uses it again below, in IV,”1. 51; and also in the sonnet To my Mother, l. 7 — in each case adopting the Wordsworthian form.

III, 70 f. The lines are from Sir Thomas Wyatt’s An Earnest Suit to his Unkind Mistress Not to Forsake Him, stanza ii. In the Aldine edition of Wyatt (pp. 108-109), the passage runs as follows:

And wilt thou leave me thus?

That hath lov’d thee so long?

In wealth and woe among:

And is thy heart so strong

As for to leave me thus?

Say nay! Say nay!

Poe, it will be observed, changes the order slightly, and garbles his original in still other particulars. [page 233:]

III, 103, 104 The source whence these two lines are taken is unknown to me.

III, 107 The word “voice” in the stage directions is erroneously printed outside of the parenthesis both in the Messenger text and in 1845. The words “Say nay! say nay!” are printed in 1845 in italics and without quotation marks.

Scene IV. This, the most spirited scene in the play, is the initial scene of Act III in the manuscript version. It is followed there by an unpublished scene which has to do mainly with “preparations for the wedding of Alessandra and Castiglione,” and with “Jacinta’s harsh treatment of Ugo” (Ingram).

IV, 8 In the original a comma is inserted after “brightest.”

IV, 28 My seared and blighted name. Cf. the phrase, “My seared and blighted heart,” in “The Happiest Day, the Happiest Hour” l. 2.

IV, 30-45 The passage is much in the manner of some of Poe’s juvenilia, and one line (38) is almost identical with line 178 of Tamerlane:

On Earth, of all we hope in Heaven!

IV, 56 the grim shadow Conscience. The conflict between the evil self and the conscience furnishes the theme of one of the best of Poe’s tales, William Wilson.

IV, 62, 63 the night wind Is chilly. See Dreams, ll. 21-22:

’twas the chilly wind Came o’er me in the night.

Scene V. This is the third scene of Act III in the manuscript text of the play (Ingram). Following this scene there is, says Ingram, a lacuna in the manuscript extending through line 37 of the second scene of the fourth act. Then follows the third scene of this act, in which The Coliseum appears as a soliloquy uttered by Politian; and with this the manuscript breaks abruptly off.

V, 34 the Earl of Leicester. Ingram (Southern Magazine, XVII, p. 589) justly objects that the representing Politian as Earl of Leicester and Baldazzar as Duke of Surrey injures the vraisemblance of the play.

V, 38 Thou reasonest well. Cf. Addison’s Cato, IV, iv:

Plato, thou reasonest well.

V, 44 After this line the Messenger text has three and a half lines which are omitted in 1845. In consequence of this omission the line has only three stresses. [page 234:]

BRIDAL BALLAD (100)

(Southern Literary Messenger, January, 1837; Saturday Evening Post, July 31, 1841; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843; Broadway Journal, August 2, 1845; 1845)

(TEXT: Lorimer Graham copy of 1845)

It is possible that Bridal Ballad refers to Miss Royster’s marriage to Mr. Shelton and the bride’s distress on learning that Poe had not been, as she supposed, disloyal to her. The reference to the death of the earlier lover (ll. 10-11) would, on this supposition, have to be explained as symbolica1. Mrs. Shelton is said to have “created a scene in her household” on discovering that Poe’s letters to her had been intercepted by her father, and Poe is said to have “upbraided her parents” for their treatment of him (see, for both traditions, Whitty, p. xxviii; and see also, in this connection, the reminiscences of E. M. Alfriend, Literary Era, VIII, p. 490).

The view here proposed as to the personal import of the poem is strengthened by a theory advanced by Professor Woodberry (II, p. 415); namely, that Bridal Ballad is a revised and improved version of a poem entitled Ballad, published in the Southern Literary Messenger for August, 1835. This poem as published in the Messenger is attributed to a lady; but Poe was notoriously fond of mystification — besides, there were practical reasons why any allusion to Mrs. Shelton at this time should not have been made explicit. Ballad contains one line — “And tho’ my poor heart be broken” — which is identical, save for one word, with a line (l. 23) of Bridal Ballad, and exhibits other fairly obvious resemblances to that poem, so that the theory of a connection with Bridal Ballad is entirely plausible. It is reproduced above (pp. 140-141) among the Poems Attributed to Poe.

3 This line and the line following it in the text of 1837 — “And many a rood of land” (omitted in all other texts) — refer perhaps to the wealth of Mr. Shelton, which is said to have furnished one of the grounds for Miss Royster’s rejection of Poe.

10, 11 The mention of the earlier lover’s having died in battle — the one detail that is inconsistent with the supposition that the poem refers to Miss Royster — may not unreasonably be explained as a bit of symbolical mystification, the rejected poet representing himself as figuratively dead to Miss Royster. [page 235:]

18 Thinking him dead D’Elormie. First included in the poem in 1841. The name “D’Elormie” was perhaps suggested by G. P. R. James’s novel De L’Orme (1836). Poe reviewed James’s Memoirs of Celebrated Women in Burton’s Magazine for July, 1839 (V, pp. 60-61), and mentioned James’s De L’Orme in the heading of his review. In the next number of Burton’s (V, p. 69), he introduced the name (adopting James’s spelling) into his extravaganza, The Man that was Used Up. In 1845 the comma at the end of this line is inside the parenthesis.

19 After this line there appeared in the Messenger two other stanzas (see the footnotes), which were omitted in all subsequent editions. Of the first of these stanzas —

And thus they said I plighted

An irrevocable vow —

And my friends are all delighted

That his love I have requited —

And my mind is much benighted

If I am not happy now! —

Professor Woodberry remarks (in the first edition of his life of Poe, pp. 94-95) that it “perhaps marks the nadir of Poe’s descent into the prosaic, tasteless, and absurd.” The second of the omitted stanzas repeats, with slight verbal alterations, the opening stanza of the poem.

24 In the Lorimer Graham copy of 1845, Poe inserted a comma after “ring.”

SONNET — TO ZANTE (102)

(Southern Literary Messenger, January, 1837; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843; Broadway Journal, July 19, 1845; 1845)

(TEXT: 1845)

This sonnet was the last of Poe’s poems to be published in the Southern Literary Messenger during the period of his connection with it as editor. It appeared in the issue in which his resignation as editor was announced (January, 1837), and may possibly have been intended by him as a farewell to Richmond, the home of his stormy youth and the scene of his love romance with Miss Royster.

The date of composition is uncertain. The repetition of a line from Al Aaraaf (see the note on lines 13-14) and the recurrence of the [page 236:] notes of “entombed hope” and “departed bliss” point to some period in the twenties; but the poem also resembles To One in Paradise, and its manner clearly is not that of Poe’s earliest volumes.

It is noteworthy that the sonnet, though several times republished, underwent no verbal revision. The text adopted here follows that of 1845, except for the omission of a comma after line 1 and the substitution of a comma for an exclamation mark at the end of line 2.

“Zante” is the modern form of the classic “Zacynthus.” The name early caught Poe’s fancy, as is evidenced by his use of it in Al Aaraaf (Part I, l. 76). The tradition that the island of Zante took its name from the hyacinth, and the Italian epithets which are applied to it — “I sola d’oro” and “Fior di Levante,” incorporated into both this poem and Al Aaraaf (Part I, l. 77) — Poe probably borrowed (as is suggested by Stedman and Woodberry (X, pp. 176-177)) from a passage in Chateaubriand’s Itinéraire de Paris à Jerusalem (Paris, no date), p. 15: “Je souscris a ses noms d’Isola d’oro, de Fior di Levante. Ce nom de fleur me rappelle que l’hyacinthe e’toit originaire de 1’ile de Zante, et que cette ile recut son nom de la plante qu’elle avoit portée.”

2 Thy gentlest of all gentle names. Among other melodious proper names used by the poet are “Lenore,” “Ligeia,” “Israfel,” “Ianthe,” “Eulalie,” “Ulalume,” “D’Elormie,” and “Annabel Lee.”

3 f. The poet’s association of his early disappointments and sorrows with the island of Zante must be understood as a mere play of the fancy: he was never in Greece; nor is there any reason to believe that he was ever on the European mainland. His story of having run away from home shortly after leaving the University of Virginia “on a quixotic expedition to join the Greeks,” has long since been shown to be mythical (see Woodberry, I, pp. 37, 365).

7, 8 a maiden that is No more. See the introductory note above and the notes on Lenore and Bridal Ballad.

8 No more. Cf. To One in Paradise, l. 16 (and the note thereon), and Sonnet Silence, l. 9.

13, 14 Cf. Al Aaraaf, Part I, ll. 76-77:

And thy most lovely purple perfume, Zante!

Isola d’oro ! — Fior di Levante!

and the passage quoted from Chateaubriand above. [page 237:]

THE HAUNTED PALACE (102)

(Baltimore Museum, April, 1839; Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, September, 1839; Tales, 1840; Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America, 1842; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843; Graham’s Magazine, February, 1845; Broadway Journal, May 24, 1845 (in part); Tales, 1845; 1845; Griswold’s Prose Writers of America, 1847)

(TEXT: Lorimer Graham copy of 1845)

Written, in all likelihood, during the dark days that followed Poe’s leaving Richmond in 1837. It is noteworthy that his periods of greatest adversity were the periods most productive of verse. The text followed here, save for slight corrections, is that of the Lorimer Graham copy. The same text, except for one verbal substitution (see the note on line 42) and slight differences in punctuation, is preserved also in proof sheets made for the Richmond Examiner in 1849 (see Whitty, p. 225) and in an incomplete manuscript copy, now in the possession of Mrs. W. M. Griswold (see the facsimile given by Woodberry (I, opposite page 200)).

In Burton’s Magazine (1839), in the Tales (1840 and 1845), and in Griswold’s Prose Writers of America (1847), the poem is printed as a part of The Fall of the House of Usher, where it purports to be one of the “rhymed verbal improvisations” of the hero of that tale. It is there interpreted as evincing a consciousness on the part of Usher “of the tottering of his lofty reason upon her throne.” See also a letter to Griswold in 1841 (Griswold’s “Memoir,” p. xxi), in which Poe states: “By ’The Haunted Palace’ I mean to imply a mind haunted by phantoms — a disordered brain.”

It was in connection with the foregoing statement as to the allegoric significance of his poem that Poe brought a charge against Longfellow of having “plagiarized” The Beleaguered City from The Haunted Palace. Griswold declared in his “Memoir” (p. xlviii) that Longfellow had shown him a “series of papers which constitute a demonstration” that The Haunted Palace was the rather based on The Beleaguered City. But Longfellow, in a letter to Griswold called forth by this statement (Letters, pp. 406-407), denied that he had exhibited to Griswold any papers of such import. The Haunted Palace was first published in April, 1839, and The Beleaguered City not until November of the same year; but that there is no ground for holding Longfellow to be indebted to Poe is obvious enough upon comparing the two [page 238:] poems. We have Longfellow’s word, indeed (Letters, p. 407), that he had not seen Poe’s poem at the time that his was published.

John Forster, in a review of Griswold’s poetical anthology in the Foreign Quarterly Review, January, 1844, charged Poe with having imitated Tennyson in The Haunted Palace, implying, presumably, an indebtedness to Tennyson’s The Deserted House; but one must feel that there is no more ground for such a charge than for Poe’s charge against Longfellow. An anonymous contributor to the Literary World of September 28, 1850, calls attention to a parallel between Poe’s poem and one of “Peter Pindar’s” ballads, but admits that there is no reason for a charge of obliquity in this connection.

The critics have vied with one another in their praise of Poe’s lyric. Lowell wrote-in 1845 (Graham’s Magazine, XXVI, p. 52): “We know no modern poet who might not have been justly proud” of The Haunted Palace. Stedman in his Poets of America (p. 247) pronounces it one of the “two poems which ... represent [Poe’s] highest range.” Professor Woodberry declares (II, p. 174) that the poem “in intense, imaginative self-portraiture is scarcely excelled in literature.” And Mr. Brownell, a critic not always prodigal of his praise of Poe, writes enthusiastically (p. 216): “The idea and inspiration of ’The Haunted Palace’ ... amply sustain the happy technical art that expresses them with not only admirable musical aptness, but with a beautiful fusion of restraint born of taste and ease springing from fulness that makes it an indisputable masterpiece.”

Whether the poem is to be construed as in any sense autobiographical, we cannot be sure. Fruit holds (p. 51) that “it is designedly a piece of self-portraiture.” Brownell, on the other hand, declares (p. 216) that it possesses “an objectivity that is exceptional in Poe.” It is not probable, in our judgment, that Poe consciously depicted himself in the poem; though he may have subconsciously portrayed himself in the description that he gives of Roderick Usher, to whom he credits the poem in his tale. On the subject of a possible dementia in Poe, see the Introduction, p. xxiii, note.

3 Cf. Childe Harold, Canto II, stanzas v, vi:

Remove yon skull from out the scattered heaps:

Is that a temple where a God may dwell?

.... .... . . .

Look on its broken arch, its ruined wall,

Its chambers desolate, and portals foul:

Yes, this was once Ambition’s airy hall,

The Dome of Thought, the Palace of the Sou1. [page 239:]

Cf. also a passage in the final chapter of The Last Days of Pompeii, imitated, perhaps, from the foregoing:

The skull was of so striking a conformation ... that it has excited the constant speculation of every itinerant believer in the theories of Spurzheim who has gazed upon the ruined palace of the mind. Still, after the lapse of ages, the traveler may survey that airy hall within whose cunning galleries and elaborate chambers once thought, reasoned, dreamed, and sinned the soul of Arbaces the Egyptian.

[These two passages are placed in juxtaposition in an article in the Southern Literary Messenger of January, 1835, I, p. 250.]

5 I have substituted a comma for the dash with which this line ends in the original.

9-16 Cf. Stedman (Poets of America, p. 247): “The magic muse of Coleridge, in ‘Kubla Khan,’ or elsewhere, hardly went beyond such lines as these.... The conception of a ‘Lost Mind’ never has been so imaginatively treated, whether by poet or by painter.”

10, 12 Poe, after the custom of his time, placed a comma after line 10, and also at the end of line 12, but inside the parenthesis.

12 Time long ago. The same words, in the order “Long time ago,” are used by G. P. Morris as the refrain of his lyric, Near the Lake.

16 odor. The spelling of the Lorimer Graham copy.

22 Porphyrogene. Born to the purple, rega1. Poe also uses the epithet, in its Latin form, Porphyrogenitus, in his Marginalia (Harrison, XVI, p. 61).

In all texts of the poem published during Poe’s lifetime, this line was inclosed in parentheses; but in the Lorimer Graham copy of 1845, in the Griswold MS., and in the Examiner proof sheets (see Whitty, p. 38), the parentheses are stricken out.

27 The comma with which this line closes has been inserted by the present editor.

30-32 Professor Trent (The Raven, etc., p. 76, note) calls attention to the parallel with Lovelace’s To Althea, from Prison (ll. 17-20):

When, like committed linnets, I

With shriller throat shall sing

The sweetness, mercy, majesty,

And glories of my King.

36 The comma after “him” does not appear in the original.

42 red-litten. A late manuscript of the poem (see Woodberry, I, opposite page 200) and the Examiner proof sheets (see Whitty, p. 225) read “encrimsoned.” [page 240:]

43, 47 The present editor has omitted the comma which, in 1845, follows the word “forms” in line 43, and has inserted a comma at the end of line 47.

45 ghastly rapid. Originally the order of these epithets was inverted; the gain that is made in bringing “rapid” into juxtaposition with “river” is obvious.

SONNET — SILENCE (104)

(Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, April, 1840; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843 . Broadway Journal, July 26, 1845; 1845)

(TEXT: 1845)

An irregular sonnet, but one of the most poetic of Poe’s briefer poems.

The idea of Silence as symbolical of Death occurs frequently in Poe’s writings. It is constant in the group of poems dealing with the world of shades (discussed above in the notes on The City in the Sea); and it also appears in several of the prose tales — notably, in Silence. A Fable and in Shadow. A Parable. It is idle to inquire how the idea first came to the poet; but in the special thrust given to it in the present poem he was probably influenced to some extent by Hood’s sonnet on Silence, which Poe had published above his own initial in Burton’s Magazine six months before the publication there of his own poem (see the article “Poe’s. ‘Silence’” in the New York Nation of January 20, 1910). Hood’s sonnet runs as follows:

There is a silence where hath been no sound,

There is a silence where no sound may be,

In the cold grave — under the deep, deep sea,

Or in wide desert where no life is found,

Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound;

No voice is hush’d — no life treads silently,

But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free,

That never spoke, over the idle ground:

But in green ruins, in the desolate walls

Of antique palaces, where Man hath been,

Though the dun fox, or wild hyena, calls,

And owls, that flit continually between,

Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan,

There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone. [page 241:]

Poe’s sonnet also bears some resemblance to a passage in Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound (I, i, ll. 195 f.):

For know there are two worlds of life and death:

One that which thou beholdest; but the other

Is underneath the grave, where do inhabit

The shadows of all forms that think and live

Till death unite them and they part no more;

Dreams and the light imaginings of men,

And all that faith creates or love desires,

Terrible, strange, sublime, and beauteous shapes.

There thou art, and dost hang, a writhing shade,

’Mid whirlwind-peopled mountains; all the gods

Are there, and all the powers of nameless worlds,

Vast, sceptred phantoms; heroes, men, and beasts;

And Demogorgon, a tremendous gloom;

And he, the supreme Tyrant, on his throne

Of burning gold.

The text here followed is identical with that of 1845 except that the comma in the closing line has been made to follow the parenthesis rather than to precede it. The poem was probably written shortly before publication.

5 a two-fold Silence. Cf. the opening line of the passage quoted above from Prometheus Unbound:

For know there are two worlds of life and death.

9 “No More.” See the note on To One in Paradise, l. 16.

10 the corporate Silence. That is, I take it, the physical death, the death which we can perceive with the senses. His shadow (1. 13), incorporate Silence, is, then, to be construed as the tyrant that rules in the nether world, in which the spirits of the unrighteous remain till the Day of Judgment. Poe advances a similar idea in a review of Longfellow’s The Voices of the Night (Harrison, X, pp. 73-75), in which, in commenting on a passage in Longfellow’s Hymn to the Night, he differentiates between the corporate and the incorporate Night, using the terms as synonymous with “the personified” and “the absolute” Night.

15 For Poe’s religious faith and practice see the notes on Hymn. [page 242:]

THE CONQUEROR WORM (105)

(Graham’s Magazine, January, 1843; Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843; Broadway Journal, May 24, 1845; Broadway Journal, September 27, 1845; 1845; Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America, 1847)

(TEXT: Lorimer Graham copy of 1845)

There is no tangible clue to the date of this poem beyond that furnished by the date of first publication — January, 1843. The theme was an old one with Poe, but had hitherto been treated either incidentally, as in The Sleeper (ll. 45-47), or in the abstract, as in the tales Silence. A Fable and Shadow. A Parable. The title was probably suggested, as Mr. Ingram has noted (London Bibliophile, May, 1909, p. 135), by a poem of Spencer Wallis Cone’s, reviewed in Burton’s Magazine (VI, p. 294) in June, 1840, while Poe was one of its editors. A stanza of this poem, quoted in the review in Burton’s, runs as follows:

Lay him upon no bier,

But on his knightly shield;

The warrior’s corpse uprear,

And bear him from the field.

Spread o’er his rigid form

The banner of his pride,

And let him meet the conqueror worm,

With his good sword by his side.

The poem was changed but little in the course of its several reprintings. The text of the Lorimer Graham copy of 1845 differs in only half a dozen lines from the earliest text, and none of the variations are of much moment. A text intended for publication in the Richmond Examiner in the fall of 1849 (see Whitty, p. 224) agrees verbally with the Lorimer Graham text. A manuscript copy sent to Griswold (presumably for use in his poetical anthology) belongs with the earlier texts (Whitty, p. 224). In the second of the two texts printed in the Broadway Journal (September 27, 1845), the poem appears as a part of the tale Ligeia. The present text follows that of the Lorimer Graham copy save for the insertion of a comma at the end of line 25 and after “hero” in line 40 and the omission of a comma at the end of line 19.

Opinion is divided as to the worth of the poem. Stedman holds (Stedman-Woodberry edition of Poe, X, p. xxviii) that The Conqueror Worm [page 243:] “verges on the melodramatic”; and Mr. Brownell (p. 216) finds in it something of “staginess.” Poe’s contemporary and one-time friend, H. B. Hirst, in an article in the Saturday Courier, January 22, 1848, deplores the “Golgothian idiosyncracy that produced” the poem. “We pity,” he remarks, “the man who can write such things, and ... we remember his story or poem precisely as we would recall a cancer or tumor under which we had suffered, with feelings of absolute pain, terror and horror, if not disgust.” But Professor Woodberry (II, p. 39) pronounces The Conqueror Worm a “fine poem,” and in the earlier edition of his life of Poe (p. 255) he spoke of it as possessing a “flawless art.” Mr. Ingram (London Bibliophile, May, 1909, p. 135) declares it to be “Poe’s most original poem.” Professor Kent (Poems by Poe, p. 146) notes that the five stanzas of the poem “correspond roughly to the five acts of a play.”

T. B. Aldrich has a not unclever imitation of The Conqueror Worm in his poem The Tragedy. La Dame aux Camillas. And Professor Henry A. Beers (A History of English Romanticism in the Nineteenth Century, p. 389, note) has called attention to a partial imitation of the poem in O’Shaughnessy’s The Fountain of Tears. Compare with the opening stanza of Poe’s poem the following stanza from O’Shaughnessy:

Very peaceful the place is, and solely

For piteous lamenting and sighing,

And those who come living or dying

Alike from their hopes and their fears:

Full of cypress-like shadows the place is,

And statues that cover their faces;

But out of the gloom springs the holy

And beautiful Fountain of Tears.

Professor Alcée Fortier (The Book of the Poe Centenary, ed. Kent and Patton, p. 55) suggests also a connection with one of Baudelaire’s lyrics, Le Mori Joyeux.

15 Condor wings. Cf. “Condor years,” Romance, l. ll.

16 Invisible. Possibly to be accented on the penult; cf. Paradise Lost, III, l. 586: “Shoots invisible virtue even to the Deep.” It will be observed that the last line in each of the remaining stanzas has three stresses.

39, 40 Mr. Brownell remarks (p. 216) that these two lines “are among the classics of the ‘catching.’” [page 244:]

DREAM-LAND (107)

(Graham’s Magazine, June 1, 1844; Broadway Journal, June 28, 1845, 1845; Richmond Examiner, October 29, 1849)

(TEXT: Lorimer Graham copy of 1845)

By reason of its abundant use of repetition, Dream-Land associates itself with The Raven, Eulalie, and Ulalume, and so may have been written shortly before its first publication. But in theme and general situation it belongs rather with certain of the earlier poems — notably with Spirits of the Dead, The Valley of Unrest, and Fairy-Land, from each of which it borrows lesser details and occasional phrases, while from Fairy-Land it borrows (with slight modification) several entire lines (see the note on lines 9-12). Hence it may be that the poem was originally composed a number of years before it was printed.

The main sources of Dream-Land are to be found in the early lyrics just mentioned. And Poe may also have written with certain passages from Prometheus Unbound in mind (see the note on lines 21-25, 27). In an article published in Scribner’s Monthly in October, 1875 (X, p. 695), the charge is made by F. G. Fairfield that the poem was copied from Lucian (“ palpably paraphrases Lucian’s ‘Island of Sleep’”); but there is clearly no basis for the charge. By the “Island of Sleep” is, doubtless, meant (as Robertson has noted, p. 85) the” Isle of Dreams” in Lucian’s The True History (see The Works of Lucian Samosata, translated by H. W. and F. G. Fowler, II, pp. 166-168).

The text of Dream-Land here followed is that of the Lorimer Graham copy of 1845 (except that corrections have been made in the punctuation of lines 18, 19, and 42). A slightly revised version appeared in the Richmond Examiner of October 29, 1849 (see Whitty, p. 217); but the Examiner text is marred by a misprint (“Beyond” for “Beholds”) in line 50 and by an inferior reading (also traceable, perhaps, to typographical error) in line 42.

3 an Eidolon, named NIGHT. Apparently a personification of Night as symbolic of Death — as in The Raven, l. 47, and in The Premature Burial (Harrison, V, p. 267 and passim).

6 Thule. For the traditions that cluster about this word the student may consult the Century Dictionary or the New English Dictionary. The literary allusions to Thule are numberless. [page 245:]

8 Out of Space — out of Time. The line is often cited as characterizing Poe’s relation to his times. It is true that Poe was less influenced by his times than any other American writer of front rank. But it is a mistake to assume that he was wholly uninfluenced by his age. See the paper by Professor Barrett Wendell, “The Nationalism of Poe,” in The Book of the Poe Centenary, ed. Kent and Patton, pp. 117-158; also an article by Professor C. A. Smith, “The Americanism of Poe,” ibid., pp. 159-179.

9-12 Copied with slight verbal changes from Fairy-Land, ll. 1-4.

12 tears. The Lorimer Graham correction for “dews” of all other versions. This change makes the verse identical with line 4 of Fairy-Land.

13 The reading of the Broadway Journal — “Fountains” for “Mountains” — is doubtless traceable to a printer’s error, as is also the reading “enclosed” for “unclosed” in line 46.

18, 19 Poe used a dash after the word “waters” in each of these lines.

20 lolling lily. See the note on The Sleeper, l. 10.

21-25, 27 Cf. the song of the Echoes in the opening scene of the second act of Shelley’s Prometheus Unbound:

By the forests, lakes, and fountains

Thro’ the many-folded mountains;

To the rents, and gulphs, and chasms,

Where the Earth reposed from spasms.

30 the Ghouls. Cf. The Bells, l. 88.

33-38 The situation finds a parallel in Spirits of the Dead, ll. 7-9:

The spirits of the dead who stood

In life before thee, are again

In death around thee.

42 ’Tis — oh, ’tis. The Examiner substitutes “O! it is” (see Whitty, p. 27). Poe omitted the comma after “oh.”

43-50 So also in The Sleeper, ll. 43-44, the lover prays that his lady may lie

Forever with unopened eye,

While the pale sheeted ghosts go by! [page 246:]

50 Beholds. The Examiner, by an obvious misprint, substitutes “Beyond” (Whitty, p. 217).

THE RAVEN (109)

(New York Evening Mirror, January 29, 1845, American Whig Review, February, 1845; New York Tribune, February 4, 1845; Broadway Journal, February 8, 1845; Southern Literary Messenger, March, 1845; London Critic, June 14, 1845; Literary Emporium, 1845; 1845; Graham’s Magazine, April, 1846 (in part); Philadelphia Saturday Courier, July 25, 1846; Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America (8th edition), 1847; Southern Literary Messenger, January, 1848 (in part); Richmond Examiner, September 25, 1849; 1850)

(TEXT: Richmond Examiner)

Date and Place of Composition. Numerous theories have been advanced as to the time and the place of composition of The Raven. Mrs. Weiss declares (Home Life of Poe, p. 185) that Poe assured her during his last visit to Richmond that he began the poem more than ten years before it was published, and that he worked on it “at long intervals” during the years that intervened. Dr. William Elliot Griffis (Home Journal, November 5, 1884) records an account emanating from a Mrs. Barhyte to the effect that Poe mentioned the poem to her while on a visit to Saratoga Springs in the summer of 1842 and that he exhibited a manuscript copy of it to her on a visit to the same place during the following summer. This account falls in with the statement made by H. P. Rosenbach (The American, February 26, 1887), that Poe offered a manuscript of the poem to G. R. Graham in Philadelphia in the winter of 1843-1844 for publication in Graham’s Magazine. There is also a well-authenticated tradition (see Harrison, I, pp. 224 f.) that Poe read a draft of The Raven to a Mrs. Brennan, a New York lady with whom the Poe family boarded, in the summer or autumn of 1844. And there is a story, recorded by F. G. Fairfield (Scribner’s Monthly, October, 1875 (X, pp. 694-695)), romantic in the main, but apparently not all fiction, that Poe submitted the poem, in the summer of 1844, while it was in process of composition, to certain convivial companions in a tavern in Ann Street, New York, and that he profited by their “criticism and emendation.” Fairfield also records a tradition, palpably inaccurate in some of its details, that Poe “dashed off” the poem at one sitting one night after ten o’clock.

It is not likely that Poe began The Raven so long as ten years before its publication, though the poem may have been incubating in his mind for several years before it was reduced to writing. The [page 247:] evidence afforded by the poem itself of indebtedness to other works that appeared shortly before it was published — notably, to Barnaby Rudge, which began to appear in 1841, and to Lady Geraldine’s Courtship, which first appeared early in 1844 (see below) — makes it all but certain that The Raven was not written before 1842; and circumstantial evidence, together with the traditions mentioned above, would indicate an even later date — either 1843 or 1844. And we can be reasonably certain that it was not completed before the middle of 1844.

Text. The Raven was first published in the New York Evening Mirror for January 29, 1845. It had been previously sold to the American Whig Review, and appeared in the February (1845) issue of that magazine; but that its publication in the Mirror preceded its publication in the Whig Review is evidenced both by the statement of Willis in the Mirror that it was there published “in advance of publication” in the Whig Review and by a similar statement — doubtless authorized by Poe — made in connection with the publishing of the poem in the Southern Literary Messenger for March, 1845. As published in the American Whig Review the poem is attributed to “Quarles” (a nom de plume not elsewhere adopted by the poet); but in the Mirror it is openly attributed to Poe.

The price paid for The Raven by the American Whig Review is said to have been only five dollars (see an article by David W. Holley in the South for November, 1875, quoted in part by Ingram in his commentary on The Raven, p. 24; but see also Mr. Ingram’s statement, in his life of Poe, p. 221, that the price paid was ten dollars); and there is evidence that appears to be authentic that the poem had been declined by Graham’s Magazine before being offered to the American Whig Review (see H. P. Rosenbach in the American, February 26, 1887 (XIII, p. 296)).

The poem is preserved, either in whole or in part, in no fewer than sixteen different forms, all apparently sanctioned by Poe. Of these, fifteen are mentioned above in the bibliographical list prefixed to these notes. The one not mentioned there is the important text of the Lorimer Graham copy of 1845, containing revisions in Poe’s handwriting. The texts published in Graham’s Magazine and in the Southern Literary Messenger in 1848 are incomplete, the one being incorporated in The Philosophy of Composition, the other in P. P. Cooke’s sketch of Poe. The authenticity of the Richmond Examiner text is established by an editorial notice in which it is stated that the poem is there published “by the courtesy of Mr. Poe himself.” That the text contained in [page 248:] Cooke’s article was duly authorized is established by a comparison of the variants. The authenticity of the texts appearing in the Saturday Courier, the Literary Emporium, the London Critic, and the Broadway Journal is established in the same way. The text of the Saturday Courier is further authenticated by a notice prefixed to the poem as published a second time in the Courier on November 3, 1849 (though this latter text is marred by printer’s errors), in which the editor states: “The copy we give was revised and handed to us by the author himself, when we gave it on a previous occasion.” An editorial notice also vouches for the authenticity of the text published in the Southern Literary Messenger in 1845. And a letter of Poe’s to Griswold, of date April 19, 1845 (Letters, p. 202), authenticates the text published in the Poets and Poetry of America in 1847. The text of the New York Tribune is authenticated both by internal evidence and by a scrap of manuscript containing seven lines of the poem, sent to J. A. Shea at the time of its publication there (see Harrison, I, p. 218; and see, for the fact of Shea’s connection with the Tribune at this time, the obituary notice of him in the Tribune of August 16, 1845).

The text adopted in the present edition is that of the Richmond Examiner of September 25, 1849 (with the correction of certain obvious errors in punctuation). The date and the circumstances of the publication of this text make it virtually certain that it represents Poe’s latest revision. The only other texts that might possibly be thought of as representing a later revision are those of the Lorimer Graham copy of 1845 and the Griswold edition (1850). But the Lorimer Graham version (which exhibits only one verbal variant from the Examiner text — “all my sad soul” for “my sad fancy,” in line 67) probably belongs to the late spring or summer of 1849 — and it is unlikely that Poe made revisions in it after the publication of the Examiner version, though the volume remained in his hands until his departure for Baltimore ten days before his death. The text of Griswold (1850) presents something of a puzzle. It is clearly a late version, differing from the Examiner and the Lorimer Graham versions in only four lines. But the variant readings for two of these lines (26 and 32) are probably due to typographical error, and the readings adopted in the other two (55, 67) are in accord with readings adopted in earlier versions. It is proper to add, however, that Griswold not only had in his hands at the time of his editing of Poe’s poems the Lorimer Graham volume (see Woodberry, II, p. 451) but also was acquainted with the fact that The Raven had appeared in the Examiner shortly before the poet died [page 249:] (see Whitty, p. 199). Possibly Poe had sent Griswold a revised copy of the poem in the summer of 1849.

Of the remaining versions, the text of the Whig Review is farthest removed from that here adopted. The text of the Southern Literary Messenger follows the Whig Review except in one line (18). The text of the Tribune is also based on the Whig Review, but departs from it in lines 60, 61, 64, and 66. The Broadway Journal based its text on the Mirror version but introduced two variations (in lines 60 and 64). The Critic text was probably based on that of the Broadway Journal, but exhibits slight variations in lines 64 and 73 — both perhaps due to printer’s errors. The text of Griswold’s anthology likewise appears to have been based on that of the Broadway Journa1. The texts of the Literary Emporium and the Saturday Courier are both close to the edition of 1845. The same holds true of the fragmentary texts included by Poe in The Philosophy of Composition in 1846 (comprising lines 39-40, 43-54, 91-96, 101-108), and by Cooke in his article in 1848 (comprising lines 1-6, 9-18, 37-108).

The variant readings exhibited by these several versions are comparatively few — much fewer, relatively, than in the case of most of the earlier poems. Altogether, only twenty-one lines, or about one in five, show any variation. Several of the texts differ in but a single reading. And typographical errors or editorial carelessness are responsible for some of the variant readings (see the notes on lines 11, 18, 26, 32). In the text preserved in Griswold’s anthology, the poem is printed in short lines (each of the first five lines of the stanza being broken in two at the cæsura); and Poe also adopted this form in the excerpt of the poem printed in the Broadway Journal of May 24, 1845, and in brief passages quoted in a letter to Griswold of April 19, 1845 (Letters, p. 202), in which he gives his approval to this variation. (See also in this connection a letter of Griswold to the New York Times of November 19, 1855, in reply to a charge brought against him by R. S. Mackenzie in the Times of November 12, 1855, of having taken liberties with Poe’s text in this regard.)

Origin and Circumstances of Composition. In his Philosophy of Composition (reprinted in the Appendix of this volume) Poe gives what purports to be a veracious account of the genesis of The Raven. After once he had conceived the purpose of writing the poem, the work of composition, he avers, “proceeded, step by step, to its completion with the precision and rigid consequence of a mathematical problem.” The first thing decided on, he says, was the effect to be produced: this [page 250:] must be a novel and a vivid one. Next he addressed himself to the matters of length and of tone or mood, and concluded that the length should be about a hundred lines and the mood that of sadness. He then set himself to contrive “some artistic piquancy which might serve ... as a keynote in the construction of the poem,” and finding this in a refrain, he then considered what should be the nature of his refrain, and presently hit upon the word “nevermore” as the most effective for his purpose. His next concern was to find some pretext for the repetition of the refrain, and this was provided by the introduction of a raven as one of the actors in his story. The next thing considered was the theme of the poem, and this, Poe determined, should be the grief of a devoted lover in consequence of the death of a beautiful woman, inasmuch as the most poetic of moods is that of sadness, and the saddest of themes is that of the “death of a beautiful woman.” He then considered the matter of the climax of the poem, which he decided should come with the lover’s final query and the bird’s reply to it. With this, says the poet, the actual composition of the poem began.

Opinion has differed as to how far Poe’s account is to be credited. Some have found in it a considerable element of truth. The poet Stedman, for instance — and his opinion is obviously entitled to very high respect — writes in his Poets of America (p. 246): “I have accepted his analysis of The Raven as more than half true.” Professor C. F. Richardson, also (American Literature, II, p. 113), expresses the belief that “the genesis of the poem ... is in the main truly described.” And Professor Minto declares that “there is not the least occasion to doubt” that “the basis of The Raven was laid after the method which [Poe] describes” (Fortnightly Review, XXXIV, p. 77). On the other hand, there are some who have believed Poe’s account to be a hoax (see, for instance, Brownell, p. 215); and Poe himself is said to have confessed this, in effect, in conversation with the Philadelphia poet, Thomas Buchanan Read (see Ingram, p. 223, and see also Mrs. Weiss, p. 185). But however much of truth or of falsity there may be in Poe’s account, it is manifest that it does not tell the whole story. It is plain that the central theme of The Raven is but a variation on the old theme, dealt with in Lenore and The Sleeper and other early poems and in a half-dozen of the tales, of the grief of a lover who has been bereft of his mistress. It is plain, too, that Poe utilized certain hints that came to him from other writers — from the two already mentioned in the discussion of the date of the poem, Mrs. Browning and Dickens, assuredly, and not improbably also from others. [page 251:]

To Mrs. Browning, and specifically to her Lady Geraldine’s Courtship, he was indebted evidently, as was pointed out not long after his death (see the Southern Literary Messenger for November, 1857), for the suggestion of his phrasing in several lines (see the notes on lines 13, 43, 79-80, 87, 104-105); and to one of Mrs. Browning’s lines,

With a murmurous stir uncertain, in the air the purple curtain —

(Lady Geraldine’s Courtship, l. 381),

he is said to have admitted on one occasion that he owed the suggestion of “the whole process of the construction of his poem” (see Ingram, pp. 222-223). He was probably indebted to Mrs. Browning, also, in some degree, for the model of his stanza (see the note on lines 1 f.). Mrs. Browning had been praised by the poet in the columns of the Evening Mirror in 1844 (October 8 and December 7); and in the Broadway Journal of January 4 and 11, 1845, he had reviewed the volume in which Lady Geraldine’s Courtship originally appeared, devoting several paragraphs to minute criticism of that poem (see Harrison, XII, pp. 16-20).

To Dickens we can be reasonably certain that Poe owed the suggestion of his raven, the prototype of this bird being almost surely the pet raven, “Grip,” in Barnaby Rudge. As in the case of Mrs. Browning’s poem, Poe had reviewed Dickens’s novel before the appearance of The Raven, contributing an early notice to the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post of May 1, 1841 (upon the publication of the opening chapters), and a lengthier notice to Graham’s Magazine for February, 1842; and in the course of his second notice (Harrison, XI, p. 63) he had made the following significant observation as to a possible symbolic use to which the raven might have been put:

“The raven, too, intensely amusing as it is, might have been made, more than we now see it, a portion of the conception of the fantastic Barnaby. Its croakings might have been prophetically heard in the course of the drama. Its character might have performed, in regard to that of the idiot, much the same part as does, in music, the accompaniment in respect to the air.”

Poe is careful to explain in the Philosophy of Composition that the raven is “emblematically” used in his poem.

Whether other sources were used in the composition of The Raven it is impossible to say with certainty. The suggestion was made by “Outis” in the so-called “Longfellow War” (see Harrison, XII, pp. 50 f., 68 f.) that the poem owed something, especially in its [page 252:] atmosphere and in its use of the repetend, to The Ancient Mariner; and it would seem not improbable that Poe was subconsciously influenced by that poem, though he flouted the charge when it was first made. It is not improbable that he was also vaguely influenced by some of the lyrics of Thomas Holley Chivers, though Chivers, in his repeated charges of plagiarism against Poe, grossly exaggerated such indebtedness as there may be, and further discredited his case by flagrantly imitating and copying Poe in his own poems. (See, for the Poe-Chivers controversy, a series of articles contributed by Chivers to the Waverley Magazine, beginning with its issue of July 30, 1853; the booklet of Joel Benton, In the Poe Circle; Harrison, VII, pp. 266 f., XVII, p. 408; an article by A. G. Newcomer, “The Poe-Chivers Tradition Reexamined,” in the Sewanee Review, January, 1904 (XII, pp. 20 f.); and Woodberry, II, pp. 376 f.)

Other suggestions that have been made as to the origin of the poem — no one of which is entirely convincing — are (1) that it owed something to Albert Pike’s Isadore (or The Widowed Heart), which appeared in the New Mirror for October 14, 1843 (see Ingram, pp. 223 f.); (2) that it borrowed the idea of “the character and adventure of the raven” from one of the Noctes Ambrosiana, published in Blackwood’s Magazine in 1829 (see the Southern Literary Messenger for November, 1857 (XXIII, pp. 331 f.)); and (3) that it echoes at certain points two of Tennyson’s juvenilia (see the London Athenæum, March 20, 1875, p. 395).

Among apocryphal accounts of the origin of the poem are (1) the legend, given currency by J. A. Joyce, and attributed to L. Penzoni, that The Raven was translated from an Italian poem written by Penzoni’s father and said to have been published in the Milan Art Journal in 1809 (see Joyce, Edgar Allan Poe, pp. 207-218); (2) that it was originally suggested by a Chinese story by one Kia Yi (see the London Academy, June 22, 1901); (3) that it was based on a Persian poem (cf. Ingram’s The Raven, etc., pp. 84-85); (4) that it was written in large part by Henry B. Hirst, with whom Poe was closely associated during his stay in Philadelphia (cf. Woodberry, II, p. 419); and (5) that it was written in its entirety by a Samuel Fenwick (see Ingram, The Raven, etc., p. 91).

Critical Estimates. The publication of The Raven made Poe, for the time being, famous. The poem was copied far and wide in the American press, and Mrs. Browning wrote from London that it had “produced a sensation” in England (Letters, p. 229). “No brief poem,” [page 253:] says Woodberry (II, pp. Iio-iii), “ever established itself so immediately, so widely, and so imperishably in men’s minds.” It has been translated repeatedly into foreign languages, especially into French, and its popularity is still further attested by a host of parodies and imitations. It may safely be said that no other short poem of its time has given rise to so much discussion and controversy. Two separate treatises have been devoted to its history and interpretation: the one by J. H. Ingram (The Raven: With Literary and Historical Commentary, London, 1885); the other by Henry E. Legler (Poe’s Raven: Its Origin and Genesis, Wausau, Wisconsin, 1907); and the list of briefer articles that have been written about it is well-nigh endless.

The critics, especially the poet-critics, have been lavish in their praise of the poem. Willis described it, in the notice accompanying it when first published in the Mirror, as “the most effective single example of ‘fugitive poetry’ ever published in this country; and unsurpassed in English poetry for subtle conception, masterly ingenuity of versification, and consistent sustaining of imaginative lift” (sic). Mrs. Browning wrote R. H. Horne in May, 1845 (Letters, p. 386): “I am of opinion that there is an uncommon force and effect in the poem”; and to Poe she wrote in April, 1846, that Robert Browning had been “struck much by the rhythm” of The Raven (Letters, p. 229). D. G. Rossetti, in a memorable statement, attributed to him by Hall Caine, confesses that he found in The Raven the suggestion of his Blessed Damozel, and adds in the same connection: “I saw that Poe had done the utmost it was possible to do with the grief of the lover on earth, and I determined to reverse the condition, and give utterance to the yearning of the loved one in heaven” (Hall Caine’s Recollections, p. 284). Baudelaire, who made one of the earliest translations of The Raven, speaks (with apparent reference to the poem) of “cette extraordinaire élévation, cette exquise délicatesse, cet accent d’immortalité qu’ Edgar Poe exige de la Muse.” Stedman, in his admirable essay prefixed to the poems in the Stedman-Woodberry edition of Poe (X, pp. xxxii-xxxiii), praises its melody and its use of “refrain and repetends,” and observes that “even the more critical [have] yielded to its quaintness and fantasy, and [have] accorded it a lasting place in literature.” Edwin Markham asserts (I, p. xxxiv) that The Raven is “secure in its dark immortality” and “safe among the few remarkable poems of the world.”

But from the beginning there have been those who recognized certain imperfections in the poem. Mrs. Browning complained of the [page 254:] “fantasticalness” displayed in several of its lines (Letters, p. 386). Griswold, who freely conceded to Poe the gift of genius, objected to the poem’s mechanical nature (“Memoir,” p. xlviii). Stedman, also, maintains (Poets of America, p. 242) that the poem has artificial qualities, and declares that because of these he is unable to account The Raven Poe’s “most poetical poem.” Newcomer (Poe: Poems and Tales, p. 302) finds in The Raven “a shade of the melodramatic and the declamatory.” J. M. Robertson, from among the more enthusiastic of Poe’s admirers, admits (New Essays, p. 77) that there is a “certain smell of the lamp” about the poem, “an air of compilation, a suspicion of the inorganic,” and adds (ibid., p. 79) that “the admixture of simple oddity and the factitious rustling of the curtains” (in line 13) and “the falling of the shadow, which has no right to fall” (in line 106), are sufficient to take The Raven “out of the first rank of poetry.” W. C. Brownell, among Poe’s less enthusiastic critics, writes (p. 215): “It is not a moving poem. It has ... a certain power, but it is such power as may be possessed by the incurable dilettante coldly caressing a morbid mood.... The Raven is in conception and execution exceptionally cold-blooded poetry.”

Poe himself, it appears, was not blind to some of the defects in the poem. Mrs. Weiss avers (pp. 184 f.) that the poet admitted to her that there were a number of passages with which he was not satisfied; and in a letter, apparently to Eveleth (see Ingram, p. 222), he virtually concedes the justice of the criticism with respect to the “tinkling footfalls” of line 80 (see the note on that line). It is in the same letter that Poe expresses the opinion, already adverted to, that “in the higher qualities of poetry” The Sleeper is superior to The Raven.

1 f. It is needless here to enter into an enumeration of the devices that Poe employs to give to The Raven its extraordinary melody; it will be proper, however, to point out that he had already made sporadic use of most of these devices in one or another of his earlier poems, though never before on so large a scale. His occasional use of parallelism and the repetend dates back to his West Point period (see his Israfel, The Sleeper, and the earlier lyric To Helen), and is marked in the closing stanza of To One in Paradise (1834), in several stanzas of Bridal Ballad (1837), and in the 1843 version of Lenore. The 1843 version of Lenore also exhibits much of phonetic syzygy. Poe’s free use of internal rhyme was probably influenced, as suggested below, by Mrs. Browning (though the text of Lenore which Poe sent to Graham’s Magazine, [page 255:] in October, 1844 (see his letter to Lowell quoted by Woodberry, II, pp. 103 f.), makes liberal use of the same device), and he may have been influenced to some degree in his use of parallelism by Coleridge. Professor C. A. Smith, in a highly interesting chapter on Poe’s use of repetition in his volume Repetition and Parallelism in English Verse, suggests (pp. 51 f.) the influence, also, of the English ballad.

For “the rhythm and metre” of The Raven Poe disclaims, in his Philosophy of Composition, any originality; the combination that he makes of lines into stanza, however, he holds to be entirely his own, declaring that “nothing even remotely approaching this combination [had] ever been attempted” before. It was this claim, in particular, that Chivers took exception to in his articles on The Raven (Waverley Magazine, July 30, 1853, etc.), in which he endeavored to show that Poe found in his lines To Allegra Florence in Heaven (reprinted by Harrison (VII, pp. 285-288)) the true and only source of the rhythm and the stanza that he adopts in The Raven.

It is possible that Poe was in some degree influenced by Chivers’s lines (though it may be noted that no proof has ever been brought forward, beyond Chivers’s own statement, that they had been published before The Raven appeared). It is much more likely that Poe owed the suggestion of his stanza to Mrs. Browning. The stanza adopted in the second division of Lady Geraldine’s Courtship, the “Conclusion” (from which, as already shown, Poe borrowed certain of his phrases), has not only the trochaic movement of The Raven and its marked feminine end-rhymes, but has also, except in one stanza, pronounced internal rhymes — some of them highly grotesque — such as Poe affected in The Raven. The following stanza from Mrs. Browning’s poem (ll. 377-380) will serve to make this clear:

“Eyes,” he said, “now throbbing through me! are ye eyes that did undo me?

Shining eyes, like antique jewels set in Parian statue-stone!

Underneath that calm white forehead are ye ever burning torrid

O’er the desolate sand-desert of my heart and life undone?”

By the side of this may be placed one of the stanzas quoted by Chivers to support his contention (To Allegra Florence in Heaven, stanza vii):

Holy angels now are bending to receive thy soul ascending

Up to Heaven to joys unending, and to bliss which is divine;

While thy pale, cold form is fading under Death’s dark wings now shading

Thee with gloom which is pervading this poor broken heart of mine! [page 256:]

That Poe was acquainted with Mrs. Browning’s poem we know from his review in the Broadway Journal of January 11, 1845, in which the stanza quoted above is incorporated.

3, 4 In a review of W. W. Lord’s Poems in the Broadway Journal, May 24, 1845 (Harrison, XII, p. 158), Poe, in citing these lines, substitutes “pondered” for “nodded” and “rapping” for “tapping” in line 3, and “tapping, tapping” for “rapping, rapping” in line 4; but these variations appear nowhere else and were doubtless due to carelessness in quoting.

5 visitor. Spelled “visiter” in the early texts of the poem, as appears to have been customary in Poe’s time.

10 Lenore. The name had already been used by Poe in his poem Lenore, being first introduced there in 1843 in the text printed in Lowell’s Pioneer. See the general note on that poem, where the statement of Daniel is cited that Poe assured him that Mrs. Shelton was the original of his Lenore. It has also been held that in the Lenore of The Raven Poe has reference to his wife, who had been stricken with consumption in 1841 or 1842, and whose recovery was despaired of for several years before her death in 1847.

11 The variant “named” for “name” in the Messenger (1848) is doubtless a typographical error; and so also with the reading “ebon” for “ebony” in line 43.

13 A reminiscence, clearly, of Lady Geraldine’s Courtship, l. 381. It was to this line of Mrs. Browning’s poem, indeed, that Poe is said to have admitted that he owed the suggestion of the mechanism of the poem (Ingram, pp. 222-223).

15 In the original this line is without end-punctuation. A comma is similarly omitted before a quotation in lines 48, 58, 60, 84, 90, 96, and 102. The Examiner text also omits the comma after “oh” in line 83, and inserts a meaningless comma after “bird” in line 68.

18 This it is. The reading of the Southern Literary Messenger (1848) — “Only this” — is perhaps due to inaccurate quotation on the part of Cooke.

20 “Sir,” said I, “or Madam. This locution was objected to by Mrs. Browning in a letter to R. H. Horne (Letters, pp. 385-386) as being so “fantastical” as to be “ludicrous,” unless there were “a specified insanity to justify the straws.” Markham (I, p. xxxii) also complains of the passage and of others, — as “little relevancy bore” (1. 50), and “the fact is I was napping” (1. 21), — holding that they verge on the grotesque, though he admits that he would not wish them away. [page 257:] Stedman, apropos of these and similar passages (Poets of America, p. 242), remarks: “Only genius can deal so closely with the grotesque, and make it add to the solemn beauty of structure an effect like that of the gargoyles seen by moonlight on the façade of Notre Dame.”

26 morta1. The Griswold edition of Poe (1850) — by a typographical error, doubtless — reads “mortals.”

32 somewhat. The reading of the Griswold edition — “something” — is probably an error due to haplography (cf. line 33).

33, 34 that is; lattice; thereat is. Cf. the similarly grotesque rhymes in Lady Geraldine’s Courtship: “mercies,” “self-curses” (1- 375); “forehead,” “torrid” (1. 379); “while in,” “smiling” (1. 389).

38 As already noted, the raven was probably suggested by Dickens’s Barnaby Rudge. Poe asserts in the Philosophy of Composition that the bird that he first thought of was a parrot. Mrs. Weiss declares (p. 185) that he assured her in 1849 that the bird first thought of was an owl.

43 With this line and with line 67 compare Lady Geraldine’s Courtship, l. 389 (repeated in line 397):

Ever, evermore the while in a slow silence she kept smiling.

48 “Nevermore.” Poe declares in The Philosophy of Composition that the selection of this word as the key word of his refrain was arrived at through a process of coldly deliberate reasoning. He had, however, used the phrase “no more” as a refrain in 1834 in To One in Paradise (i. 16), and also in the Sonnet — To Zante (1837) and in the Sonnet — Silence (1840). It is reasonable to suppose, too, that he was acquainted with Shelley’s use of “nevermore” in his lyric, A Lament (one stanza of which Chivers had quoted in a letter to Poe written conjecturally in 1842 — see the Century Magazine, XLIII, p. 440); and he may also have been aware of Lowell’s use of it in his Threnodia (Knickerbocker Magazine, May, 1839). Chivers also had used the refrain in his Sonnet on the Death of my Mother (1837), and he contended vigorously in his article in the Waverley Magazine, July 30, 1853, that Poe had “stolen” the phrase from him. In a note on Chivers’s poem as reprinted in the United States Gazette of August 1, 1839, occurs this comment, which may also have fallen under Poe’s eye: “I think that Madame de Stael has said somewhere — perhaps in her Corinne — that the most musical words in the English language are ‘no more.’”

73 This. The reading of the London Critic, “Thus,” is perhaps a printer’s error. The reading “Thus” also occurs in a text of the poem [page 258:] in the Philadelphia Saturday Courier of November 3, 1849. This later text of the Saturday Courier also substitutes “as” for “while” in line 1 and “name” for “named” (as does the later Messenger text for 1849 in line ll. 11.

79, 80 Mr. Ingram (The Raven, pp. 13 f.) notes the resemblance between these lines and Lady Geraldine’s Courtship, l. 6:

And she treads the crimson carpet and she breathes the perfumed air.

80 foot-falls tinkled. The idea of the tinkling of footfalls on a tufted floor was objected to by Griswold in an article published in a Hartford periodical in the fall of 1848 (Last Letters of Mrs. Whitman, p. 43); Poe, in reply (Ingram, p. 222), admitted that he had “hesitated to use the term” when composing the poem. “I finally used it,” he says, “because I saw that it had, in its first conception, been suggested to my mind by the sense of the supernatural with which it was, at the moment, filled. No human or physical foot could tinkle on a soft carpet, therefore the tinkling of feet would vividly convey the supernatural impression. This was the idea, and it is good within itself; but if it fails (as I fear it does) to make itself immediately and generally felt, according to my intention, then in so much is it badly conveyed, or expressed.” J. M. Gambrill (Selections from Poe, p. 188) calls attention to the fact that Poe in his Ligeia speaks of “carpets of tufted gold.” Brownell (p. 218) remarks: “Tinkling feet on a tufted carpet is nonsense, but it is not a false note in the verbal harmony of the artificial ‘Raven.’” Whitty (p. 195) cites Thomas to the effect that Poe urged in defense of his figure the passage in Isaiah (iii, 16) in which the prophet represents the daughters of Zion as “making a tinkling with their feet.”

[[first printing, removed in second printing]]

85-90 According to Poe’s account in the Philosophy of Composition, this stanza — containing the climax of the poem — was the first of the stanzas to be written.

[[resume first printing]]

87 Ingram (The Raven, p. 14) notes the similarity of this line to Mrs. Browning’s line (Lady Geraldine’s Courtship, l. 380):

O’er the desolate sand-desert of my heart and life undone.

89 Cf. Jeremiah viii, 22.

93 Aidenn. Poe’s spelling of the Arabic Aden (English, Eden), one of the names of the Mohammedan paradise (see the Koran, chap. ix, and Sale’s “Preliminary Discourse” on the Koran). Poe adopts the same spelling in his Eiros and Charmion (Harrison, IV, p. 2) and in his [page 259:] essay, The Power of Words (ibid., VI, p. 140). This spelling has been adopted also by two of Poe’s admirers — John Henry Boner, in his The Light of Aidenn (Poems of Boner, 1903, p. 101), and Richard Hovey, in his lyric entitled The South (Along the Trail, p. 93).

101 Take thy beak from out my heart. Cf. the concluding paragraph of The Philosophy of Composition:

It will be observed that the words, “from out my heart,” involve the first metaphorical expression in the poem. They, with the answer, “Nevermore,” dispose the mind to seek a moral in all that has been previously narrated. The reader begins now to regard the Raven as emblematical — but it is not until the very last line of the very last stanza, that the intention of making him emblematical of Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance is permitted distinctly to be seen.

104, 105 Ingram (The Raven, p. 14) notes the parallel here with Lady Geraldine’s Courtship, ll. 377-378:

“Eyes,” he said, “now throbbing through me! are ye eyes that did undo me?

Shining eyes, like antique jewels set in Parian statue-stone!”

106 throws his shadow on the floor. In defending himself against the criticism that his image here “involves something of improbability,” Poe urged in a letter quoted by Ingram (p. 222) that “For the purposes of poetry it is quite sufficient that a thing is possible, or at least that the improbability be not offensively glaring,” and explains that his conception of the lamp was “that of the bracket candelabrum affixed against the wall, high up above the door and bust, as is often seen in the English palaces, and even in some of the better houses of New York.” The same matter was discussed with Mrs. Weiss in the summer of 1849 (Home Life of Poe, p. 191).

 


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Notes:

None.

 

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[S:0 - KCP, 1917] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Notes (Part 02) (ed. K. Campbell, 1917)