Text: Henry Clay Preuss, “Edgar A. Poe,” Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, VA), vol. 46, no. 78, January 29, 1850, p. 4, col. 1


For the Enquirer.


Thine was a mind of most unearthly cast,

Which held no kindred with its fellow kind;

But soaring on the pinions of the blast,

It towered ‘mid the clouds, while, far behind,

Earth's humbler millions wond’ring shrunk aghast

From sights which strike the weaker vision blind,

While thou, like eagle soaring to the sun,

Had deemed thy giant race but scarce begun!

And hadst thou still maintained such dizzy height,

And dreamt thy dreamings out amid the skies,

Thou might'st have shone a bright unfading light;

But, like the setting sun, thou didst but rise

To lose thy peerless splendor in the night,

Which set its seals of darkness on thine eyes,

And, blind and tott’ring in its moral gloom

Thy traitor Genius shaped its master's tomb!

Life is a cup — its surface sweet to taste,

And he who would enjoy must learn to sip;

For, quaffing it with much too eager haste,

Its dregs soon turn to “ashes on his lip,”

And leave his soul a bleached and ruined waste,

With all the visions of his fancy nipp'd

E’en in their bud — and thus it was with thee,

O, Poe! poor fallen child of Poesy.

With bold and fearful power, thou dids't tear

The mystic veil from all life's hidden things:

And then thy rebel sould was doomed to bear

The penalty which too much knowledge brings;

Life's brighter lights to thee grew dark and drear —

The mortal drooped, though perched on angel's wings;

And now, with all the gifts of Genius blest,

Thou didst but ask of Death the boon of rest!

Baltimore, January 17, 1849 [[1850]]



The date of 1849 could hardly be correct as it cannot be presumed that the poem was written in anticipation of Poe's death on October 7, 1849

The “Bard of Baltimore” was Henry Clay Preuss. This is the first version of this poem, which Preuss revised and reprinted several times.


[S:0 - NB, 1849] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Edgar A. Poe (Henry Clay Preuss, 1849)