Text: Richard H. Horne to Edgar Allan Poe — May 17, 1845


Fitzroy Park, Highgate, London, May, 17, 1845.

My Dear Sir, — After so long a delay of my last letter to you, I am at all events glad to hear that it reached you — or rather, that you, in diving among the shoals at the Post Office, had contrived to fish it up. But matters do not seem to mend in this respect; for your present letter of the date of Jany 25th/45 only reached my house at the latter end of April. In short, we might as well correspond from Calcutta, as far as time is concerned. However, I am glad that the letters reach their destination at all, and so that none are lost; we must be patient.

I have only just returned from a nine months’ absence in Germany. I principally resided during this time in the Rhine Provinces. I take the earliest opportunity of thanking you for all attentions.

As I thought your letter to me contained more of the bright side of criticism than the “Broadway Journal” I sent it to my friend Miss Barrett. She returned it with a note, half of which I tear off, and send you (confidentially) that you may see in what a good and noble spirit she receives the critique — in which, as you say, the shadows do certainly predominate. Well, for my own part, I think a work should be judged by its merits chiefly — since faults and imperfections are certain to be found in all works, but the highest merits only in a few. Therefore the highest merits seem to me to be naturally the first and main points to be considered.

Miss Barrett has read the “Raven” and says she thinks there is a fine lyrical melody in it. When I tell you that this lady “says” you will be so good as understand that I mean “writes” — for although I have corresponded with Miss Barrett these 5 or 6 years, I have never seen her to this day. Nor have I been nearer to doing so, than talking with her father and sisters.

I am of the same opinion as Miss Barrett about the “Raven;” and it also seems to me that the poet intends to represent a very painful condition of mind, as of an imagination that was liable to topple over into some delirium or an abyss of melancholy, from the continuity of one unvaried emotion.

Tennyson I have not seen, nor heard from yet, since my return. It is curious that you should ask me for opinions of the only two poets with whom I am especially intimate. Most of the others I am acquainted with, but am not upon such terms of intellectual sympathy and friendship as with Miss Barrett and Tennyson. But I do not at this moment know where Tennyson is.

You mention that an American publisher would probably like to reprint “Orion,” and I therefore send a copy for that purpose, or probability. I also send a copy, in which I have written your name, together with a copy of “Gregory VII.” and two copies of “Introductory Comments “ (to the 2nd Edn of the NW SPY of the Age) of which I beg your acceptance. Of “Chaucer Modernized” I do not possess any other copy than the one in my own library, and believe it is out of print; but if you would like to have a copy of Schlegel’s “Lectures on Dramatic Literature “ (to wh I wrote an Introduction to the 2nd Edn) I shall be happy to forward you the vols, and any others of my own you wd like to have — that is, if I have copies of them. “Cosmo de Medici,” for instance, I could send you.

I have made no revision of “Orion” for the proposed new Edition. The fact is, I have not time, and moreover am hardly disposed to do much to it, after so many editions. I had rather write (almost) another long poem.

I shall be happy to send you a short poem or two for your Magazine directly it is established, or for the 1st No., if there be time for you to let me know.

I am, dear Sir,

Yours truly,
R. H. Horne.





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Misc - Letters - R. H. Horne to Poe (RCL538)