Edgar Allan Poe — “Tamerlane”


Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “Tamerlane” — reading copy


Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings (full text):

  • Text-01 — “Tamerlane” — 1827, no original manuscript or fragments are known to exist (but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02)
  • Text-02 — “Tamerlane” — 1827 — TAOP — (Mabbott text A)  (This is Mabbott’s copy-text for this version) (a number of copies of TAOP were apparently sent out for review, probably by Poe himself. With the expressed purpose of impressing reviewers, it is safe to assume that none of these copies bore any special marking or corrections.)
  • Text-03 — “Tamerlane” — about 1828 — fragmentary “Wilmer” manuscript — (Mabbott text B)  (This is Mabbott’s copy-text for selected stanzas this version) (The date is assigned based in part on its presence among the Wilmer manuscript collection, and also based on the text it contains. This text is a transitional form, bearing considerably more similarlity to the text in TAOP than that in ATMP. A number of changes represented by the manuscript are reflected in the text of ATMP, including the addition of a full line in stanza 17.)
  • Text-04 — “Tamerlane” — 1829 — (speculated revised manuscript made in preparation of ATMP. The changes present in Text-05 are too significant to have been made in the typesetting process or in evaluating proof-sheets. Indeed, the changes are so signfificant that multiple drafts are possible. This manuscript has, or these manuscripts have, not survived, but are presumably reflected in Text-05. Having had the poems set in type for the book, Poe appears to have sent the manuscripts for “Al Aaraaf,” “Tamerlane,” “To” (“Should my early life seem”) and “Fairyland” to John Neal, who printed exerpts. Neal may have returned the manuscripts as portions of “To” and the earlier version of “Tamerlane” were retained by L. A. Wilmer. Poe subsequently sent the manuscript of “Fairland” to N. P. Willis of the American Monthly, who says, with some relish, that he burned them. It is possible that this form of the manuscript of “Tamerlane,” met the same fate, as it does not appear that it was among the manuscript collection in Wilmer’s possession. Alternatively, Wilmer or his descendants may have had the manuscript but gave it away as an autograph, as appears to have happened with a few of the shorter poems. Unfortunately, if it did survive, there is no subsequent record of this “Tamerlane” manuscript. Being lost, it must be presumed that the text is reflected in Text-05. The manuscript has never been described, but based on the other suviving pages of the Wilmer collection, including a few pages of the earlier draft of “Tamerlane,” it was written on off-white sheets of paper, using dark brown ink and a careful script. The length of the poem indicates that it would have been written across a series of separate pages, with odd pages numbered in the upper right corner and even ones in the upper left corner. At this point, Poe had not yet adopted the style of printing in imitation of type, nor the practice of connecting pages by using wax to form a roll.)
  • Text-05 — “Tamerlane” — last 1829 — (speculated manuscript changes made by Poe to the proof-sheets during the typesetting process for ATMP. The excerpts printed by John Neal in 1829 appear to be from the revised manuscript of Text-04. Other differences between the text printed by Neal and that printed in ATMP strongly suggest that Poe continued to make some changes during the process of typesetting and proofing. These proof-pages have not themselves survived, but the texts are presumably reflected in Text-06.)
  • Text-06 — “Tamerlane” — 1829 — ATMP — (Mabbott text C)
  • Text-07 — “Tamerlane” — 1829 — ATMP-JN, presentation copy to John Neal (with one manuscript change) — (Mabbott text D)
  • Text-08 — “Tamerlane” — about 1830-1831 — (speculated revision of the poem, in preparation for the publication of POEMS. As a very long poem, it does not seem that Poe wrote out a fully new manuscript. Instead, it is likely that he created a revised draft by combining existing pages from the poem as it was printed in ATMP with additional bits of manuscript for substantially new material, particularly at the beginning. This draft, as well as preparations for other poems that appeared in the new edition, probably resulted in Poe using up his own copy of ATMP. This draft has not survived, but is presumably recorded in Text-09. Additional minor changes may have been made in proof. during the production of POEMS.)
  • Text-09 — “Tamerlane” — 1831 — POEMS — (Mabbott text F)  (This is Mabbott’s copy-text for this version) (with substantial revisions, which were essentially abandoned in the subsequent printing.)
  • Text-10 — “Tamerlane” — 1845 — minor manuscript revisions in ATMP-EH prepared for RAOP — (Mabbott text G, although he does not actually give the variant, which is indistinct, possibly an error, and was not used in RAOP)
  • Text-11 — “Tamerlane” — about September-November 1845 — (Speculated manuscript changes made by Poe to the proof-sheets during the typesetting process for RAOP. Although we have no specific statement that Poe saw such proof-sheets, the idea seems eminently likely as the book was prepared and printed in New York while Poe was still working at the Broadway Journal. He would certainly have availed himself of the opportunity to do so, and because he could do everything in person there was no need for correspondence that would have provided us with the certain documentation of the fact. Most of the changes are in punctuation, but there are several verbal changes, including a one fully new line in stanza 6. The few changes made in ATMP-EH do not appear in the 1845 printing, with the original text of 1829 being used instead and the numbering of stanzas being retained. These proof-pages have not themselves survived, but the texts are presumably reflected in Text-12.)
  • Text-12 — “Tamerlane” — 1845 — RAOP — (Mabbott text H)  (This is Mabbott’s copy-text for this version) (Poe made no changes to this poem in the J. Lorimer Graham copy of RAOP-JLG, suggesting that he was either happy with that text as a final form or, perhaps more likely, that he saw no chance of republishing such a long poem, and one that had garnered so little attention.) (For Griswold’s 1850 reprinting of this text, see the entry below, under reprints.)


Manuscripts and Authorized Printings (excerpts):


  • Tamerlane” — December 1829 — Yankee (excerpts only)  — (Mabbott text E) (the overlap of four lines between this printed text and the suviving fragmentary manuscript of Text-03 shows at least one notable change that is present in the final printed version, and therefore presumably represents the revised manuscript of Text-04. The change is “Gurgled within ...” rather than “Gurgled in...” and the omission of “pleas”” in the same line, in the fourth stanza printed by Neal.)


  • Tamerlane” — 1850 — WORKS — Griswold merely reprints the text from the stereo-plates of Text-12  (Mabbott text J)
  • Tamerlane” — 1875 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol 3: Poems  and Essays, ed. J. H. Ingram, Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black (3:77-83)
  • “Tamerlane” — June 1876 — John H. Ingram, “The Unknown Poetry of Edgar Poe,” Belgravia: A London Illustrated Magazine (London, UK) (29:504-509) (reprinted from the recently discovered copy of TAOP from the British Museum, and thus the first reprint portions of this early version of the poem since 1827) (Ingram’s text makes what appear to be editorial adjustments, but does not sustain R. H. Shepherd’s charge that Ingram’s printed text is “shown to be valueless on account of its inaccuracies.”)
  • “Tamerlane” — June 8, 1876 — John H. Ingram, “Poe’s Suppressed Poetry,” New York Graphic, pp. 804-805 (reprinted from Belgravia for June 1876)
  • “Tamerlane” — June 21, 1876 — John H. Ingram, “Unknown Poetry of Poe,” Home Journal (New York, NY) (reprinted from Belgravia for June 1876)
  • “Tamerlane” — 1884 — Tamerlane and Other Poems, ed. Richard Herne Shepherd, London: George Redway (pp. 21-38 and pp. 59-62)  (Having long been thought lost, a copy of the original Tamerlane and Other Poems of 1827 was discovered in the British Museum and printed in this “second edition.”)


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • Tamerlane” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 10: Poems, ed. E. C. Stedman and G. E. Woodberry, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (10:97-105, and pp. 196-216)
  • Tamerlane” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 7: Poems, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (10:1-9, and 10:127-146)
  • Tamerlane” — 1911 — The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. J. H. Whitty, Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co. (pp. 89-97, and pp. 247-265)
  • Tamerlane” — 1917 — The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Killis Campbell, Boston: Ginn and Company (pp. 1-21, and p. 147-156)
  • “Tamerlane” — 1965 — The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Floyd Stovall, Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia (pp. 3-11, and pp. 155-176)  (In his notes, Stovall reprints the full text of the 1827 version of the poem)
  • Tamerlane” — 1969 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 1: Poems, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (1:22-64)  (Mabbott gives several versions of the poem)
  • “Tamerlane” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, ed. Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America) (pp. 24-30) (reprints Text-08)


Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:

  • Tamerlane” — Comparative Text (TAOP and Wilmer-MS) (only for portions reflected in both texts)
  • Tamerlane” — Study Text (ATMP-JN)
  • Tamerlane” — Comparative Text (ATMP and POEMS)
  • Tamerlane” — Study Text (ATMP-EH)
  • Tamerlane” — Comparative Text (ATMP, ATMP-EH and RAOP)


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “Tamerlan” — dated 2009, but available in late 2008 — Poèmes d‘Edgar Allan Poe, Paris: Publibook (translation by Jean Hautepierre)



  • Anonymous, “J. P. Morgan buys Rare Manuscripts; Gets Wakeman Collection of Poe, Thoreau, Lowell, Longfellow, Whittier, and Bryant,” New York Times, October 27, 1909
  • Baxter, Nancy Niblack, “Thomas Moore’s Influence on ‘Tamerlane’,” Poe Newletter, April 1969, 2:36
  • Heartman, Charles F. and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, MS: The Book Farm, 1943.
  • Loberger, Gordon J., “Poe’s Use of ‘Page’ and “Lore’ in ‘Tamerlane’,” Poe Newsletter, December 1970, 3:37-38
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vol 1 Poems), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969.
  • Shockley, M. S., “Timour the Tartar and Poe’s ‘Tamerlane’,” Publications of the Modern Language Association, December 1941, 56:1103-1106
  • Routh, James, “Notes on the Sources of Poe’s Poetry: Coleridge, Keats, Shelley,” Modern Language Notes, March 1914, 29:72-75


[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Tamerlane