Text: Thomas Ollive Mabbott (and E. A. Poe), “May Queen Ode,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. I: Poems (1969), p. 302 (This material is protected by copyright)


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­[page 302, continued:]

MAY QUEEN ODE

This charming fragment is all that has reached us of a poem Poe composed about April 1836 for a schoolgirl in Richmond. She was Harriet Virginia Scott, who lived on Main Street, near the office of the Southern Literary Messenger. Her school was to have a May Day celebration, and she went in company with her cousin, a lawyer and friend of Poe, to ask him to compose a poem for her to recite to the Queen of the May. He complied by writing four or five stanzas. As a nonagenarian Mrs. Thomson of Austin, Texas, she remembered one of them and sent it to J. H. Whitty, sometime in the second decade of the present century. She thought that the stanzas might have been published in some periodical without Poe’s name about 1836, but they have not been discovered. There is no reason to doubt the authenticity of these graceful lines.

Whitty published them in the second edition of Complete Poems (1917), p. 164, and his text is followed. See also Phillips, I, 516.

[MAY QUEEN ODE]

Fairies guard the Queen of May,

Let her reign in Peace and Honor —

Every blessing be upon her;

May her future pathway lie

All beneath a smiling sky.

[1836]


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Notes:

The sentence that reads “As a nonagenarian Mrs. Thomson of Austin, Texas, she remembered one of them and sent it to J. H. Whitty, sometime in the second decade of the present century,” having been published in 1969, would today read better as “As a nonagenarian Mrs. Thomson of Austin, Texas, she remembered one of them and sent it to J. H. Whitty, sometime about 1911-1917.”

According to Daughters of the Republic of Texas: Patriot Ancestor Album, ed. Dorothy Burns Peterson (Paducah, KY: Turner Publishing Co., 1995), vol. 1, p. 274, Mrs. Thomson was born Harriet Virginia Scott, in Richmond, VA on November 15, 1823. She married William Thomson on October 4, 1849, having moved to Texas in 1845. She died in Austin, TX on October 17, 1917. She is buried in Fairview Cemetery, in Richmond City, VA. Her tombstone includes her birth and death years, but not the full dates.


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[S:1 - TOM1P, 1969] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (T. O. Mabbott) (May Queen Ode)