Text: Rufus Wilmot Griswold, “The Late Edgar A. Poe,” Literary American (New York, NY), vol. III, no. 19, November 10, 1849, p. 372-373


[page 372, column 3, continued:]

The Late Edgar A. Poe.


He was at all times a dreamer — dwelling in ideal realms — in heaven or hell — peopled with the creatures and the accidents of his brain. He walked the streets, in madness or melancholy, with lips moving in indistinct curses, or with eyes upturned in passionate prayer, (never for himself, for he felt, or professed to feel, that he was already damned,) but for their happiness who at the moment were objects of his idolatry; or, with his glances introverted to a heart gnawed with anguish, and with a face shrouded in gloom, he would brave the wildest storms; and all night, with drenched garments and arms beating the winds and rains, would speak as if to spirits that at such times only could be evoked by him from the Aidenn, close by whose portals his disturbed soul sought to forget the ills to which his constitution subjected him — close by the Aidenn where were those he loved — the Aidenn which he might never see, but ill fitful glimpses, as its gates opened to receive the less fiery and more happy natures whose destiny to sin did not involve the doom of death.

He seemed, except when some fitful pursuit subjugated his will and engrossed his faculties, always to bear the memory of some controlling sorrow. The remarkable poem of The Raven was probably much more nearly than has been supposed, even by those who were very intimate with him, a reflection and an echo of bis own history. He was that bird’s [page 373, column 1:]

—— unhappy master

Whom unmerciful Disaster

Followed fast and followed faster,

Till his songs one burden bore —

Till the dirges of his hope the

Melancholy burden bore

Of ‘Nevermore,” of “never more.”




These few paragraphs appeared, almost entirely intact, in Griswold’s memoir of Poe, first published in 1850.

The Literary American is a very scarce journal. A copy of this issue is in the collection of the New York Society Library.



[S:0 - LA, 1849] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - The Late Edgar A. Poe (R. W. Griswold, 1849)