Text: Lambert A. Wilmer, “Ode XXX. — To Edgar A. Poe,” Saturday Evening Post (Philadelphia, PA), August 11, 1838, p. 1, cols. 5-6


[page 1, column 5:]

For the Saturday Evening Post.





“Quid dedicatum poscit Apolinem,” &c.


What object has the poet’s prayer?

(If poets have the grace to pray;)

Petitions he for sumptuous fare,

For gold, — for garments rich and rare,

(For which the owners oft forget to pay;)

Asks he for houses or extended lands,

Rich harvests, ripening in the fervid ray

Of August suns; — or credit that commands

Another’s purse, (if back’d by good security

And fair financial prospects in futurity.)

Say do the poet’s ardent wishes seize

On objects such as these?-


No: — if the genuine spark is there,

A careless mortal you shall see,

Unfetter’d by the world and free —

Unlike what C—e and W—s are.


A sordid mind was never blent

With genius; — such accompaniment

Would be like brazen cow-bells rung

While heavenly Caradori sung.

Praise is the subject of the poet’s sighs;

Neglect, the atmosphere in which he dies.


And yet, true genius, (like the sun

With bats and owls,) is little noted;

But when his glorious course is run,

His griefs forgot, his labors done,

Then is he prais’d, admired, and quoted!


Dull mediocrity, meanwhile

Along his level turnpike speeds,

And fame and fortune are his meeds;

While merit wants one cheering smile,

How bless’d stupidity succeeds!


But let the heavenly gifted mind

Not hopeless mourn, if men are blind,

And imbecility prevails;

Time, sternly frowning on the base

Shall sweep the poor ephemeral race

To where oblivion tells no tales.

As autumn’s rapid breezes sweep

Ten thousand insects to the deep.


But the same wind whose angry tones

Sends small dull craft to Davy Jones,

Is but an impulse to convey

The nobler vessel o’er the sea; —

So thou dear friend, shalt haply ride

Triumphant through the swelling tide

With fame thy cynosure and guide.


So may it be. — tho’ fortune now

Averts her face, and heedless crowds

To blocks, like senseless Pagans, bow; —

Yet time shall dissipate the clouds,

Dissolve the mist which merit shrouds,

And fix the laurel on thy brow.


There let it grow; and there ‘twould be

If justice rul’d and men could see.

But reptiles are allow’d to sport

Their scaly limbs in great Apollo’s court.

Thou once did whip some rascals from the fane

O let thy vengeful arm be felt again.





[S:0 - SEP, 1838] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Review of A. G. Pym (L. A. Wilmer, 1838)