Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “To — —” (Text-04), “Wilmer” manuscript collection, about 1828


To — —


Should my early life seem,

[As well it might] a dream —

Yet I build no faith upon

The king Napoleon —

I look not up afar

To my destiny in a star:


In parting from you now

Thus much I will avow —

There are beings, and have been

Whom my spirit had not seen

Had I let them pass me by

With a dreaming eye —

If my peace hath fled away

In a night — or in a day —

In a vision — or in none —

Is it the less gone? —


I am standing ’mid the roar

Of a weather-beaten shore,

And I hold within my hand

Some particles of sand —

How few! and how they creep

Thro’ my fingers to the deep!

My early hopes? no — they

Went gloriously away,

Like lightning from the sky

At once — and so will I.


So young? ah! no — not now —

Thou hast not seen my brow,

But they tell thee I am proud —

They lie — they lie aloud —

My bosom beats with shame

At the paltriness of name

With which they dare combine

A feeling such as mine —

Nor Stoic? I am not:

In the terror of my lot

I laugh to think how poor

That pleasure “to endure!”

What! shade of Zeno! — I!

Endure! — no — no — defy.



This present text was at one time in the manuscript collection owned by Lambert A. Wilmer. Unfortunately, this poem was one of a few which no longer appear to survive in manuscript form. These now missing poems are presumed lost, but were were recorded by G. E. Woodberry and E. C. Stedman and subsequently printed in their collection of The Works of Edgar Allan Poe (1895-1896) (10:228-229). Mabbott (Poems, 1:582) briefly discusses the manuscript. He generally accepts the readings as printed by Woodberry and Stedman, but also makes some changes based on his own understanding of the poem. For example, Woodberry and Stedman give “Zeus” in place of “Zeno” in the second to last line, but given the printed version, as well as the context in regard to the Stoics, it is presumed that Woodberry and Stedman misread or incorrectly transcribed the word from the manuscript. They also omit the number for stanza four, but apparently in error as the other stanzas are numbered. Stedman and Woodberry capitalize “King,” which appears in ATMP in lower case. They also omit punctuation at the end of lines 1 and 16. In the present text, these differences have been restored to the version printed in 1829 since those editors claim to list the Wilmer-MS variants, which do not include these particular details and perhaps reflect changes made editorially or errors in transcription.


[S:1 - MS, 1828 (W&S, 1895, 10:228-229)] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - To — — [Text-04]