Text: Anonymous, “The Poet Edgar Allan Poe; Dedication of a Monument to His Memory,” Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD), vol. LXXVIII, no. 3, November 18, 1875, pp. 1 and 4


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Dedication of a Monument to His Memory.


Ceremonies at the Western Female High School — Addresses by Prof. Wm. Elliott, Jr., H. E. Shepherd and J. H. B. Latrobe — Poems and Letters and Music.

[Reported for the Baltimore Sun.]

The monument erected to Edgar Allan Poe under the auspices of the teachers of the public schools of Baltimore was formally dedicated yesterday afternoon. The exercises were mainly conducted in the large study hall of the Western Female High School, where an entertainment was given ten years ago as a first effort in behalf of the project now so happily consummated. The remaining exercises were at the grave of the poet, over which the monument is reared in Westminster Cemetery, at, the corner of Fayette and Green streets, adjoining the Female High School. Two thousand invitations were extended, among others to the relatives and personal friends of the poet, to the Governor of the State, mayor of the city, heads of city departments, members of the city council and of the school board, and the teachers of the public schools. To give the teachers an opportunity to attend the school board authorized a half holiday in the public schools.

Persons Present.

The persons invited began to assemble at one o’clock, and by two o’clock, when the exercises began, every seat was occupied and a large number filled the aisles and the rear of the hall. There were fully a thousand ladies and gentlemen present, besides many who were unable to gain admittance. The platform was occupied be, some seventy-five persons. Among those on the platform and in other parts of the hall were Neilson Poe and his sister, Miss Harriet Poe; his sons, Charles and Neilson. and his daughters Miss Amelia Poe and Mrs. George G. Carey; George Poe, a brother of Neilson Pee. and his five daughters, Harriet, Elizabeth, Fannie. Kate and Mary; Thomas M. Coleman, city editor of the Philadelphia Ledger; Prof Joseph H. Clarke, now 85 years of age. a teacher of Poe when eight years of age at Clarke’s Academy, Richmond. in 1817; N. H. Morrison, provost of the Peabody Institute; Rev. John G. Morris, Prof. N. C. Brooks, Baltimore Female College; Rev. Mr. Lafevre, Dr. J. E. Snodgrass, of Washington; John T. Morris. president of the school board; Colonel Clark., of the Department of Education, Washington; Prof. J. C. Kinnear, Pembroke Academy, Joseph Merrefield, trustee Johns Hopkins University; Judge H. F. Carey, of the Court of Common Pleas; Rev. J. J. G. Webster, Walt Whitman, the “Leaves of Grass” poet; John T. Ford, Prof. John H. Hewitt, Professors H. E. Shepherd and M. A Newell, Wm. Elliott, Jr., D. A. Hollingshead, N. H. Thayer, A. S. Kerr and Alex Hamilton, and Miss Sara S. Rice.

Address of Prof. Wm. Elliott, Jr.

Prof. Wm. Elliott, Jr., president of the Baltimore City. College. occupied the chair, and in opening the formal exercises, after music. delivered an historical address on the movement to erect the monument, as follows:

Ladies and Gentlemen: I purpose, in discharging the duty assigned me on this occasion, to give a brief historical sketch of the movement which culminates to-day in the dedication of monument to the memory of the great American poet, Edgar Allan Poe, the first and only memorial expression of the kind ever given to an American on account of literary excellence.

This extraordinary and unique genius. born in Boston, January 20. 1809, during a brief sojourn of his parents in that place, died on the 7th of October, 1849, in this city, which is undoubtedly entitled to claim him as one of her distinguished sons. Two days thereafter, on the 9th of October, his mortal remains were interred in the cemetery attached to the Westminster Presbyterian Church, adjoining the building in which we are now assembled.

In this connection, acting as a truthful chronicler, I deem it proper to state some facts in relation to the circumstances of the interment. The reliability of the statements I shall now make is sufficiently attested by the evidence of at least three of the gentlemen present on that occasion — possibly the only three who yet survive.

I have been informed that the day was, for the season, more than ordinarily unpleasant, the weather being raw and cold; indeed just such a day as it would have been more comfortable to spend within than without doors.

The time of the interment was about four o’clock in the afternoon; the attendance of persons at the grave, possibly a consequence of the state of the weather, was limited to eight. certainly to not more than nine persons, one of these being a lady:

Of the number known to have been present were Hon. Z. Collins Lee, a class-mate of the deceased at the University of Virginia; Henry Herring, Esq., a connection of Mr. Poe; Rev. W. T. D. Clemm, a relative of Mr. Poe’s wife; our well-known fellow citizen, Neilson Poe, Esq., a cousin of the poet; Edmund Smith, Esq., and wife, the last named being a first cousin of Poe, and at this present time his nearest living relative in this city, and Dr. J. E. Snodgrass, at one time the editor of The Saturday Visitor, the paper in which the prize story written by Poe first made its appearance. The clergyman who officiated et the grave was Rev. W. T. D. Clemm, already mentioned, a member of the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who read the impressive burial service used by that denomination of Christians, after which all that was mortal of Edgar Allan Poe was gently committed to its mother earth.

Another item, which it may not be inappropriate to record n this historical compend will now mention, namely, that Geo. W. Spence, who officiated as sexton at the burial of Mr. Poe, is the same person who, after the lapse of twenty-six years, has superintended the removal of his remains and those of his loving and beloved mother-in-law, Mrs. Clemm, and their re-interment in the lot in which the monument now stands.

For a number of years after the burial of the poet no steps seem to have been taken towards marking his grave, until at length a stone was prepared for this purpose by order of Neilson Poe, Esq. Unfortunately, however, this stone never served the purpose for which it was, designed. A train of cars accidentally ran into the establishment of Mr. Hugh Sisson, at which place the stone was at the time, and so damaged it as to render it unfit to be used as intended.

Another series of years intervened, but yet no movement to mark the grave. True, articles almost innumerable, ad nauseam, made their appearance at short intervals during that time in different newspapers, but the authors of these articles were mostly of that class of persons who employ their energies in finding fault with others, totally oblivious of the fact that they themselves ne less deserve the censure they so liberally mete out to others.

“Poe’s neglected grave” was the stereotyped expression of these modern Jeremiahs, Nor were they content to indulge in lamentations; not unfrequently our good city was soundly berated because of its alleged want of appreciation of the memory of one whose ashes they intimated, had he been an Englishman, instead of filling an unmarked grave in an obscure cemetery, would have had accorded to them a place in that grand old abbey which England has appropriated as a mausoleum for her distinguished dead.

But the “neglected grave” was not always to remain such. At a regular meeting of the Public School Teachers’ Association, held in this hall October 7, 1865, Mr. John Basil, Jr., principal of No. 8 grammar school, offered a paper, of which the following is a copy:

“Whereas it has been represented to certain members of this association that the mortal remains of Edgar Allan Poe are interred in the cemetery of the Westminster Church, without even so much as a stone to mark the spot, therefore, Resolved, that a committee of five be appointed by the president of this association to devise some means best adapted in their judgment to perpetuate the memory of one who has contributed so largely to American literature.”

This resolution was unanimously adopted and a committee, consisting of Messrs. Basil, Baird and J. J. G. Webster, Miss Veeder and Miss Wise, appointed to carry out the purpose named.

This committee reported in favor of the erection of a monument, and recommended that measures be at once taken to secure the funds necessary te accomplish this object. This recommendation was heartily indorsed by the association, and without delay the committee entered upon the work of raising the funds.

In this work the young ladies of the Western Female High School took an active, and, as will be seen, a successful part. An entertainment of select readings by the pupils of that school, held in this hall on the evening of November 10, 1865, under the superintendence of Miss S. S. Rice, yielded the handsome sum of $380. A literary and musical entertainment, held in Concordia Hall, December 7, 1865, in which the pupils of the Eastern and Western Female High Schools and those of Baltimore City College took part, increased the fund by the addition thereto of $75 92. May 15, 1866, a contribution of fifty dollars was received from Prof. Charles Davies, of New York, and on the 19th of the same month a donation of $54 was received as the offering of the young ladies of the “Troy Female Seminary.” These sums, with interest added, amounted as per report of Thomas D. Baird, treasurer, submitted March 23, 1871, to $587 02. The enthusiasm that characterized the undertaking at the outset seemed now to have greatly abated, and serious thoughts were consequently entertained of abandoning the project. At this juncture a new committee, consisting of Messrs. Elliott, Kerr and Hamilton, Miss Rice and Miss Baer, was appointed to consider the matter.

After mature deliberation this committee reported, Apri1 15, 1872, as follows: “First resolved, that the money now in the hands of the treasurer of the ‘Poe memorial fund’ be appropriated to the erection of a monument, the same to be placed over Poe’s remains. Second, that a committee of five be appointed by the president, with power to act as stated in the first resolution. “These resolutions were adopted, and. the committee ‘therein provided for appointed as follows: Wm. Elliott, Jr., A. S. Kerr, Alexander Hamilton, Miss S. S. Rice and Miss E. A. Baer. September 2, 1874, this committee received from the estate of Dr. Thos. D. Baird, deceased, the late treasurer of the “Poe memorial fund.” $627 55. the amount of principal and [column 5:] interest to that date, which was immediately deposited in the Chesapeake Bank of this city. Believing that this amount could be increased to $1,000 by donations from some of our fellow-citizens who favored the project, the committee applied to Mr. George A. Frederick, architect of the city hall, for a design of a monument to cost about that sum.

Mr. Frederick, in due time, submitted a design, “at once simple, chaste and dignified,” but requiring for its realization much more than the amount included in the expectations of the committee. Moreover, a new feature was now introduced, that of placing a medallion likeness of the poet on one of the panels of the monument, which would still further increase the cost. With a view of determining whether the amount necessary to complete the monument according to the proportions it had now assumed could be raised, applications were made to a number of our citizens for contributions. From one, of acknowledged æsthetic taste, a check for $100 was promptly received. Two other gentlemen contributed, $50 each; while Miss S. S. Rice, a member of the committee, collected in small sums $52 more.

A knowledge of the “world-wide” known liberality of Mr. George W. Childs, of Philadelphia. formerly one of our fellow-townsmen, induced the chairman of the committee to drop him a note on the subject. Within twenty-four hours a reply was received from that gentleman expressive of his willingness to make up the estimated deficiency of $650.

The necessary amount having now been secured, the committee proceeded to place the construction and erection of the monument in the hand, of Mr. Hugh Sisson, his proposal being the most liberal one received. How faithfully he has executed his commission, will be seen when the covering that now veils the monument is removed. No one, so well as the chairman of the committee, knows how anxious Mr. Sisson has been to meet, even more than the expectations of those most concerned. To his generous liberality are we largely indebted for the reproduction of the classic lineaments of the poet in the beautiful and highly artistic medallion that adds so much to the attractivenes[[s]] of the monument.

To most of those present. I presume it is known, that the lot in which the monument is now located, is not the one in which it was first placed. In deference to what was considered by the committee the popular wish, the monument was remove) from its first location to its present one. The remains of Mr. Poe, and also those of his mother-in-law, were, as before intimated, removed at the same time. The new lot was secured mainly through the efforts of Mr. John T. Morris, president of the school board, to whom and to all others who have in any way contributed to the consummation of this undertaking, I wish here, on behalf of the committee, to render thanks.

In conclusion, allow me to congratulate all concerned that Poe’s grave is no longer a neglected one.

Letters from Writers.

Miss Sara S. Rice read a number of letters from poets and authors, chiefly of excuse for failures to accept invitations in connection with the dedication. Wm. Cullen Bryant regrets that he cannot be present, among other reasons on account of his advanced age. John G. Whittier, “the Quaker poet,” writes that the extraordinary genius of Edgar Poe is now acknowledged the world over, and says: “As a matter of principle I do not favor ostentatious monuments for the deed, but sometimes it seems the only way to express the appreciation which circumstances in some measure may have denied to the living man.”

John G. Saxe writes that the noble-hearted men and women of Baltimore, in erecting a monument to Poe, perform a patriotic office which was primarily and peculiarly the duty. as it should have been the pride, of the American literati toward one whose original genius has done so much to adorn and distinguish American literature.

Henry W. Longfellow suggests the lines of Poe as a suitable inscription for the monument:

“The fever called living

Is conquered at last.”

Alfred Tennyson, the English poet-laureate, writes that he has “long been acquainted with Poe’s works, add is an admirer of them.”


Boston, September 18, 1875. I regret that I cannot be present at the ceremony of placing a monument over the grave of your poet. Your city has already honored valor and patriotism by the erection of stately columns.

Republics are said to be ungrateful, perhaps because they have short memories, forgetting wrongs as quickly as benefits; but your city has shown that it can remember, and has taught us all the lesson of gratitude.

No one, surely, needs a mausoleum less than the poet.

His monument shall be his gentle verse,

Which eyes not yet created shall o’er read,

And tongues to be his being shall rehearse

When all the breathers of this world are dead.

Yet we would not leave him without a stone to Mark the spot where the hands that waked to ecstacy the living lyre were laid in the dust. He who can confer an immortality which will outlast bronze and granite deserves this poor tribute, not so much for his sake as for ours. — The hearts of all who reverence the inspiration of genius, Who can look tenderly upon the infirmities attending it too often, who can feel for its misfortunes, will sympathize with you as you gather around the resting place of all that was mortal of Edgar Allan Poe, and raise the stone inscribed with one of the few names which will outlive tile graven record raised to perpetuate its remembrance. O. W. HOLMES.


Letters were also read from Margaret J. Preston, of Virginia, whose husband was a boyish companion of the poet, to whom Pee, as a lad of fourteen, brought his earliest verses for criticism; from Thomas Bailey Aldrich, Boston, who says: “The desire to honor Poe’s genius is in the heart of every man of letters, though, perhaps, no American author stands so little in need of a monument to perpetuate his memory as the author of ‘The Raven;’ his imperishable fame is in all lends;” from J. R. Lowell, Cambridge; J. G. Holland, New York; Sarah Helen Whitman, of Providence, R. I.; George W. Childs, of Philadelphia, and Jas. T. Fields, of Boston.


S. D. Lewis, Esq., a lawyer of Brooklyn. New York, who knew Poe intimately in his cottage life at Fordham, where the family of three — Poe, his wife and mother-in-law, Mrs. Clemm — lived affectionately for some time, writes that Poe was one of the kindest hearted men he ever knew, and that his biographers have not done justice to his virtues or his genius. Mr. Lewis says:

“When Poe finally departed on his last trip South, the kissing and hand-shaking were at my front door. He was hopeful: we were sad: and tears gushed in torrents as he kissed his mother-in-law and my wife “good bye.” Alas! it proved, as Mrs. Clemm feared, a final adieu. His dear Virginia, fitter her death, was his “lost Lenore.” I have spent weeks in the closest intimacy with Mr. Poe, and I never sew him drink a drop of liquor, wine or beer in my life, and never saw him under the slightest influence of any stimulants whatever. He was, in truth, a most abstemious-and exemplary man. But I learned from Mrs. Clemm that if, on the importunity of a convivial friend, he took a single glass, even of wine, it suddenly flashed through his nervous system and excitable brain, and that he was no longer himself, or responsible for his acts. His biographers have not done his virtues or his genius justice; and to produce a startling effect, by contrast, have magnified his errors and attributed to him faults which he never had. He was always in my presence the polished gentleman, the profound scholar, the true critic and the inspired oracular poet; dreaming and spiritual; lofty but sad. His memory is green and fresh in many admiring and loving hearts, and your work of erecting a monument over, his grave, if it adds nothing to his fame, reflects honor on you and your association, and upon all who sympathize or assist in your noble work.”

Poem by Wm. Winter.

Mr. William Winter, of the New York Tribune, who had been invited to send a poem to be read at the dedication of Poe’s monument, forwarded the following sweet and tender tribute, which was also read by Miss Rice:


November, 1875.

Cold is the paean honor sings,

And chill is glory’s icy breath,

And pale the garland memory brings

To grace the iron doors of death.


Fame’s echoing thunders, long and loud,

The pomp of pride that decks the pall,

The plaudits of the vacant crowd —

One word of love is worth them all.

With dews of grief our eyes are dim;


Ah, let the tear of sorrow start,

And honor, in ourselves and him,

The great and tender human heart.


Through many a night of want and woe

His frenzied spirit wandered wild —

Till kind disaster laid him low,

And Heaven reclaimed its wayward child.


Through many a year his fame has grown,

Like midnight, vast — like starlight, sweet,

Till now his genius fills a throne,

And nations marvel at its feet.


One meed of justice long delayed,

One crowning grace his virtues crave:

Ah, take, thou great and injured shade,

The love that sanctifies the grave!


God’s mercy guard, in peaceful sleep,

The sacred dust that slumbers here;

And while around this tomb we weep,

God bless, for us, the mourner’s tear!


And may his spirit, hovering nigh,

Pierce the dense cloud of darkness through,

And know, with fame that cannot die,

He has the world’s affection too!


The letters and poem were admirably read by Miss Rice, doing full justice to the authors and elicited applause.

Address of Prof. H. E. Shepherd.

Mr. H. E. Shepherd, superintendent of public instruction of the city of Baltimore, delivered an “Address upon the Genius and Literary Character of Edgar A. Poe,” as follows:

Ladies and Gentlemen: — lt is my purpose to speak of Edgar A. Poe principally as a poet and as a man of genius. I shall abstain, for the most part, from personal incidents or biographical details. These, though by no means devoid of interest, pertain more properly to the historian of literature or to the biographer. Let his “strange, eventful history” be reserved for some American Boswell, Masson or Morley. Edgar A. Poe was born in 1809, the same year with Alfred [column 6:] Tennyson, the present poet laureate, and with Mrs. Browning, the most gifted poetess of any age. The third great era in English literature had then fairly commenced. The glory of the elder day was revived. The delusive splendor that had so long gilded the Augustan age of Anne paled before the comprehensive culture, the marvelous intellectual expansion that distinguished the first thirty years of the present century. The spirit of poesy. no longer circumscribed by the arbitrary and enervating procedures or Dryden’s contemplated academy, ranged in unchecked freedom over seas and continents, arousing the buried forms of medieval civilization, the lay of the minstrel, the lyric of the troubadour, the ancient glory of the Arthurian Cycle.

One day was as a thousand years in the growth and advancement of the human mind. Edgar was in his childhood when the Georgian era had attained the meridian of its greatness. He spent five years at school in England from 1816 to 1821. During this interval little is known of his personal history; save what he lute left us in the story of William Wilson, in which he depicts with a power of vivid delineation, worthy of the best days of De Quincy his impressions of the school and its surroundings We may feel assured, however, that his mind was rapidly unfolding, and with that keen susceptibility to external impressions characteristic of the dawning intellect of youth, acquiring a permanent coloring from the wonderful drama that was enacting around him. The term of Edgar’s school life in England was a period of intense poetical activity and creative power, heroic emprise, knightly, valor, and brilliant achievement. The atmosphere was echoing with the strains of songsters, whose notes make as sweet music as when they fell for the first time upon the ears of our youthful poet and aroused him to the consciousness of poetic power. Alfred Tennyson was seven years of age when Edgar arrived in England, and during the time of Edgar’s school life at Stokes was spending his play hours with Mallory’s Morte D’Arthur upon his knees, musing upon the faded splendors of the Table Round, and perhaps looking with prophetic vision to the time when Lancelot, Arthur, Percival and Galahad should regain their ancient sway with more than their ancient renown as the mythical heroes of the British race. Mrs. Browning and Arthur Hallam. the hero of “In Memoriam, were in their childhood; Byron, Scott, Shelley and Keats were in the zenith of their fame, and the English tongue had not been illustrated by so brilliant a constellation of poets since “the spacious times of great Elizabeth.” It were difficult to imagine that this constellation did not exert an inspiring influence upon the genius and temperament of our youthful poet, an influence which must have determined in some degree his future career. He must have listened with that exquisite sympathy of which the poetic temperament alone is capable to the mournful story of Keats, the young Lycidas” of our poetic history.

A strange resemblance in mental constitution may be discerned between these wayward children of genius; the same deep taint of Celtic sadness: the came enthusiastic worship of supernal beauty, the same relentless struggle with the immutability of fact. The delicately wrought sensibilities of Keats, who could “feel the daisies growing over him,” strikingly recalls the memory of our own poet, who imagined that he could “distinctly hear the darkness as it stole over the horizon.” “A thing of principle of the genius of the one and the art of the other. In 1822 Edgar, then in his fourteenth year, returned to his native land. He attained to manhood at a time when by a revolution familiar in the history of every literature, the supremacy was reverting from poetry to prose.

The romantic fervor, the Spensenian [[Spenserian]] symphonies of our last great poetic era were gradually yielding to the steady advance of philological investigation, critical dissertation and scientific analysis. A new reflective era, more brilliant than that of Pope or Bolingbroke, was dawning. The cold generalizations of reason, the relentless inductions of philosophy chilled the glowing ardor of the preceding era. The publication of Macaulay’s Essay on Milton in 1825 marked the transition from the sway of the imaginative faculty to the present unsurpassed period in our prose literature. From this desultory outline of nearly, contemporary literature, you will observe that our poet’s intellectual constitution was formed under peculiar conditions. He does not belong chronologically to the Georgian era; his position was for the most part one of comparative isolation, like that of Sackville, Wyatt or Collins in the mist of an unpoetic generation, unsustained by the consolations of poetic association or the tender endearments of poetic sympathy. When Poe attained to the full consciousness of his great power, none of these quickening influences existed save as matters of history or poetic tradition. Tennyson, in England, was viewing nature in perspective, and involving his critics in webs as tangled and hopeless as that which enveloped the fated lady of Shallot. Wordsworth had abjured the teachings of his early manhood. Shelley, Keats and Byron were dead. Morris and Swinburne were yet unborn, and the thrones of the elder gods were principally filled by “the idle singers of an empty day.” American poetry had then accomplished little that future ages will not willingly let die.

The succession of sweet songsters is never broken; the silver cord that binds in perennial union the spirit of Chaucer and the muse of Spenser is never severed, however slight and impalpable may be the filaments that bind it together. There are always some who retain the echoes of long gone melodies, upon whom descends something of the inspiration of those grand epochs around which is concentrated so much of the glory of the English tongue. Such a position is not an anomoly in our literary history; such a relation was sustained by the chivalrous Surrey, Who introduced into the discordant English of his time of that peculiar form of verse which was attaned to the harmonies of Milton. and by means of which Shakspeare, after a long and painful straggle with “the bondage of rimeing,” rose to the supreme height of poetic excellence. A similar relation was sustained by Sackville, the sombre splendor of whose “Induction” proved him the worthy herald of Spenser’s dawning greatness, and the gentle Cowper, who marks the transition from the school of Johnson and of Addison to the advent of the Gothic revival. Such was in some essential respects the position that Poe occupies among American poets in the order of poetic succession: Having traced somewhat in detail the conditions of the age during which our poet’s intellectual constitution was developed, we are now prepared to appreciate the distinctive characteristics of his genius as revealed in his prose, but more especially in his poetry. It is known to students of our literary history that in all periods of our literature from the time that our speech was reduced to comparative uniformity by the delicate discrimination and rare philological perception of Chaucer, there have existed two recognized schools el poetry — the native or domestic, and the classical. In some poets the classical element constitutes the animating principle, as in Milton, whose pages, sprinkled with the “diamond dust of ancient lore “thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks in Vallombroea,” furnish the most impressive illustration of its beauty audits power. A wonderful impulse was communicated to the development of literary poetry by that “morning star of modern song” the poet Keats, and since his advent our poesy had tended more and more to divest itself of domestic sympathies, and to assume an artistic or classical character. Our poetry may have lost pliancy, but it has gained in elaboration and perfection of structure. Genius and imagination are not repressed, but are regulated by the canons of art, and from their harmonious alliance arises the unsurpassed excellence of Poe’s maturer productions. In the school of classical poets he must be ranked in that illustrious succession of bards which includes the names of Surrey, Spenser, Ben Johnson, Herrick, Milton, Shelley and Keats. Having assigned to Poe an honorable eminence in the school of literary poets, I proceed to speak of the originality, the creative power displayed in his poetry, as well as his brilliant achievements in metrical combination. Specific points of resemblance may be discovered between his poetry, and that of his contemporaries and predecessors but no general or well defined likeness; and few poets have displayed a more surpassing Measure of creative power. Some of his maturer poems are almost without precedent in form, as well as in spirit.

The legend of the Raven, related by Roger De Hoveden, and referring to the era of the Latin conquest of Constantinople, nor the legend of Herod Agrippa, cited by De Quincey in his celebrated Essay on Modern Superstition, furnishes an adequate foundation for the text of Poe’s masterpiece. The Raven has constituted a prominent character in English poetry for many ages. ID Macbeth, in Hamlet, in Sir David Lindsay, in Tickell’s exquisite ballad of Colin and Lucy, and in Coleridge the appearance of this “ominous bird of yore’ will readily suggest itself to all lovers of our dramatic and lyric poetry. But none of these can be considered as the precursor of Poe’s poem. The nearest approach to any distinctive feature of the Raven is to be found, I suspect, in the dramas of Shakepeare, those unfailing sources of intellectual nutriment. The one word Mortimer, of Harry Parcy’s starling, presents a marked phonetic resemblance to the one word Nevermore of Poe’s Raven, whose melancholy refrain seems almost the echo of the starling’s unvarying note.

No poem in our language presents a more graceful grouping of metrical appliance and devices. The power of peculiar letters is evolved with a magnificent touch; the sonorous melody of the liquids is a characteristic feature, not only of the refrain, but throughout the compass of the poem, their “linked sweetness long drawn out,’ falls with a mellow cadence, displaying the poet’s mastery of those mysterious harmonies which lie at the basis of human speech. The alliteration of the Norse minstrel and the Saxon bard, the continuity of the rhythms, illustrating Milton’s ideal of true musical delight, in which “the sense is variously drawn out from one verse into another,” the power of sustained interest and graphic delineation are some of the features that place the Raven foremost among the creations of poetic art in our age and in our land.

But perhaps the especial glory of the Raven is the novelty as well as the skill of its metrical forms. In the Originality of his metrical combinations, Poe has surpassed almost every poet of our era except Tennyson. The invention of new metres, or new dispositions of those in existence, is a task upon which few poets have ventured for centuries. From Surrey to Cowley was an era of transition and experiment. Under the ascendency of the conventional school our poetry glided smoothly along in the orthodox ten-syllabled couplet, until Cowper broke [column 7:] through the consecrated measures of Pope and Dryden with a boldness and originality to which our literature had long been a stranger. Few poets of the Lake schools ventured into the enchanted ground of metrical experiment. They were inclined rather to discard the restraints of verse, or to render it sunbordinate to spontaneous expresssion of the thought. With the advent of the new poetic school, the increased attention to beauty of form and perfection of structure, the expanding of our metrical forms became a question of serious import. The possible combinations of metre are infinite, “but for centuries,” to use Poe’s own language, “lineman had thought of doing an original thing in verse.” The Raven, which is a novel blending of trochaic octometers, is one of the most brilliant achievements that our era has witnessed, and marks an epoch in the history of the metric art.

In no respect is the genius of our poet more signally displayed than in his essay upon the Poetic Principle, in which the aesthetics of poetry are discussed with a masterly comprehension and a felicity of illustration that entitle the author to be ranked among the finest critics that have ever lived. I have often thought that a dissertation upon poetry by a great poet would constitute an invaluable addition to the critical resources of our literature. Oh! that Shakspeare had left us but one line indicating the processes of his mind iu the creation of Lear or Cymbeline, or that Milton had bequeathed the rich legacy of a single item respecting the composition of L’Allegro or the Masque of Comas. It is one of the inestimable benefits conferred upon our literature by Edgar A. Poe that he has transmitted to us a critical .exposition of the principles of his art which in perspicuity and correctness of conception is unsurpeeped in the English language. A diligent reading of the Essay will reveal the fact that in his theory of poetry the mind of Poe was in perfect sympathy with the greatest masters, and the most discriminating expositors of the art of criticism. His theory of poetry is in thorough accord with that of Shakspeare, as indicated in the “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and in a single line in the play of “As You Like It.” It is repeated, in terms almost identical, by Shakspeare’s contemporary, Sir Francis Bacon, in his “Advancement of Learning.” “When I am asked for a definition of poetry,” Poe wrote to a friend, “I think of Titania, of Oberon, of the Midsummer Night’s Dream of Shakspeare.”

The next distinguishing characteristic of Poe’s poetry is its rhythmical power and its admirable illustration of that mysterious affinity which binds together the sound and the sense. Throughout all the processes of creation a rhythmical movement is clearly discernible. Upon the conscious recognition of this principle are based all our conceptions of melody, all systems of intonation and inflection. In this dangerous sphere of poetic effort he attained a mastery over the properties of verse that the Troubadours might have aspired to emulate.

I would next direct your attention to the classic impress of Poe’s poetry, its felicitous blending of genius and culture, and to the estimation in which his works are held in other lands. The Athenian sculptor in the palmiest days of Attic art wrought out his loveliest conceptions by the painful processes of continuous dilligence. The angel was not evolved from the block by a sudden inspiration or a brilliant flash of unpremeditated art. By proceeding upon a system, corresponding to the diatonic scale in music, the luxuriance of genius was regulated by the sober precepts and decorous graces of formal art. No finer illustration of conscious art has been produced in our era than the Raven. In all the riper productions of our poet there is displayed the same graceful alliance of genius, culture and taste. He attained the mastery over the most subtle metrical forms, even those to whose successful production the spirit on the English tongue is not congenial. The sonnet, that peculiarly Italian form of verse, immortalized by the genius of Petrarch, has been admirably illustrated in Poe’s poem of “Zante.” Indeed, much of the acrimony of his criticism arose from his painful sensitiveness to artistic, imperfection, and his enthusiastic worship of the beautiful. The Grecian caste of his genius led to an idolatrous love of beauty, embodied in palpable or material types.

This striving after sensuous beauty has formed a distinctive characteristic of all those poets who were most thoroughly, imbued with the Grecian taste and spirit. It has left its impress deep upon the texture of our poetry, and many of our most silvery symphonies owe their inspirations to this source. In addition to the classic element his poetry is pervaded by that natural magicuf style, that strange unrest and unreality, those weird notes like the refrain of his own Raven, “so musical, so melancholy,” which are traceable to the Celtic influence upon our composite intellectual character. The quick sensibility, the ethereal temper of these natural artists have wonderfully enlivened the stolid character of our Anglo Saxon ancestors, and much of the style and constructive power that have reigned in English poetry since the age of Walter Map, of Layamon, and of Chaucer, may be justly attributed to the Celtic infusion into the Teutonic blood. Conspicuous examples may be discovered in Shakspeare, in Keats, in Byron and in Poe.

I have thus endeavored to present to you the intellectual character of Edgar A. Poe as it has revealed itself to me from the diligent study, of his works, and from many contrasts and coincidences that literary history naturally suggest I have attempted, to show the versatility of his genius, the consummate, as well as conscious art of his poetry, the graceful blending of the creative and the critical faculty — a combination perhaps the rarest that the history of literature affords — his want of deference to prototypes or morals, the chaste and scholarly elegance of his diction, the Attic smoothness and the Celtic magic of his style. Much of what he has written may not preserve its freshness or stand the test of critical scrutiny in after times, but when subjected to the severest ordeal of varying fashion, popular caprice, the old order changing, yielding place to new,” there is much that will perish only with the English language. The maturer productions of Poe have received the most enthusiastic tributes from the sober and dispassionate critics of the older world.

I shall ever remember the thrill of grateful appreciation with which I read the splendid eulogium upon his genius in the London Quarterly Review, in which he is ranked far above his contemporaries and pronounced one of the most consummate artists of our times, potentially the greatest critic of our era, and possessing perhaps the finest ear for rhythm that was ever formed. You are doubtless familiar with the impresssion [[impression]] produced by “The Raven” upon the mind of Mrs. Browning, “Shakspeare’s daughter and Tennyson’s sister.” It is but recently that one of the master spirits of the new poetic school has accorded to Poe the pre-eminence among American poets. Alfred Tennyson has expressed his admiration of Poe, who with true poetic ken, was among the first to appreciate the novelty and delicacy of his method, and at a time when the Laureate’s fame was obscured by adverse and undiscriminating criticism, plainly foresaw the serene splendor of his matured greatness.

An appreciative and generous Englishmen has added to the literature of our language a superb edition of Poe’s works, in which ample recognition is accorded to his rare and varied poems, and the calumnies of his acrimonous biographer are refuted by evidence that cannot be gainsayed or resisted. No reader of English periodical literature can fail to observe the frequent tributes to his genius, the numerous allusions to his Memory, the impressive parallelisms between Poe and Marlowe, the contemporary of Shakspeare, and Greene, the rival of the great dramatist, that have appeared in the columns of the Athenaeum, the Academy, the British Quarterlies, and the Transactions of the New Shakspeare Society. Nor is this lofty estimate of his powers confined to those lands in which the English language is the vernacular speech; it has extended into foreign climes and aroused appreciative admiration where English literature is imperfectly known and slightly regarded.

Let us rejoice that Poe’s merits have found appropriate recognition among his own countrymen, and that the poets corner in our Westminster is at last rescued from the ungrateful neglect which, form quarter of a century, has constituted the just reproach of our State and metropolis. I recognize in the dedication of this monument to the memory of our poet an omen of the highest and noblest import, looking far beyond the mere preservation of his fame by the “dull, cold marble” which marks his long neglected grave. The impulse which led to its erection coincides in spirit and in character with those grand movements which the zeal and enthusiasm of patriots and scholars in Great Britain and in America have effected within the past ten years for the perpetuation of much that is greatest in the poetry of the English tongue. At last we have the works of Geoffrey Chaucer restored to their original purity by the praiseworthy diligence of Skeat, Furnivall, Morris, Child, and Bradshaw. At last we are to add to the golden treasury of our literature genuine editions of Shakepeare, in which the growth of his genius and his art will be traced by the graceful scholarship and penetrating insight of Tennyson, Ingleby, Spedding, Simpson, and Browning. Ten years have accomplished what centuries failed to achieve in rescuing from strange and unpardonable indifference the masterpieces of our elder literature, the Sibylline leaver of our ancient, poesy.

This graceful marble, fit emblem of our poet, is the expression, perhaps unconscious, undesigned; but none the less effective, of sympathy with this great intellectual movement of our era. I hail these auspicious omens of the future of our literature with gratitude and delight. But while we welcome these happy indications, while we rejoice in the critical expansion of our peerless literature, let us not disregard the solemn injunction conveyed by this day’s proceedings. While we pay the last tributes of respect to the memory of him who alone was worthy among American poets to be ranked in that illustrious procession of bards around whose names is concentrated the glory of the Englisd [[English]] tongue from Chaucer to Tennyson, let us cherish the admonition to nurture and stimulate the poesy of our land until it ascend “with no middle flight” into the “brightest heaven of invention,” and the regions of purest phantasy.

Address by J. H. B. Latrobe.

Mr. John H. B. Latrobe gave some interesting reminiscences of Poe. Mr. Latrobe said;

Ladies and Gentlemen; It has been announced that I am to give to this meeting “my personal recollections of the great poet whose name has attracted the crowd before me. The inference from such an announcement would be that my acquaintance was such as to enable me to describe him as one friend or close acquaintance [top of column 8:] has it in his power to describe another. You may be surprised, then, when I say that I never saw Edgar Allan Poe but once, and that our interview did not last au hour. Those, therefore, who invited me to be present here to-day, gave, to my assent a scope which was not justified by what L said, or by what it was in my power to do. The opportunity is afforded, however, of narrating the circumstances that led to our brief interview, and of correcting misstatements in regard, as it turned out, to a not unimportant event of his life. In adding au account of what occurred when we met I shall have excused Myself in taking the liberty, under the circumstances, of appearing before you at all.

About the year 1832 there was a newspaper in Baltimore called The Saturday Visitor, an ephemeral publication, that aimed at amusing its readers with light literary productions, rather than the news of the day. One of its efforts was to procure original tales, and to this end it offered on this occasion two prizes, one for the best story and the other for the best short poem — one hundred dollars for the first and fifty dollars for the last. The judges appointed by the editor-of the Visitor were the late John P. Kennedy, Dr. James H. Miller, now deceased, and myself, and accordingly we met one pleasant afternoon in the back parlor of my house in Mulberry street, and seated round a table, garnished with some old wine and some good cigars, commenced our critical labors. As I happened then to be the youngest of the three, I was required to open the packages of prose and poetry, respectively, and read the contents. Alongside of me was a basket to hold what we might reject.

I remember well that the first production taken from the prose pile was in a woman’s hand, written very distinctly, as, indeed, were all the articles submitted, and so neatly that it seemed a pity not to award it the prize. It was ruthlessly criticised, however, for it was ridiculously bad — namby-pamby in the extreme — full of sentiment, and of the school then known as the Laura Matilda school. The first page would have consigned it to the basket as our critical guillotine beheaded it. Gallantry, however, caused it to be read through, when in it went, along with the envelope containing the name of the writer, which, of course, remained unknown.

The next piece I have no recollection of, except that a dozen lines consigned it to the basket. I remember that the third, perhaps the fourth production, was recognized as a translation from the French, with a terrific denoument. It was a poor translation, too; for, falling into literal accuracy, the writer had in many places followed the French idioms. The story was not without merit; but the Sir Fretful Plagiary of a translator described the charge of Sheridan in the Critic of being like a beggar who had stolen another man’s child and clothed it with his own rags. Of the remaining productions I have no recollection. Some were condemned after a few sentences had been read. Some were laid aside for reconsideration — not many. These last failed to pass muster afterwards, and the committee had about made up their minds that there was nothing before them to which they would award a prize, when I noticed a small quarto-bound book that had until then accidentally escaped attention, possibly because so unlike, externally, the bundles of manuscript that it was to compete with. Opening it, an envelope, with a motto corresponding with one in the book, appeared, and we found that our prose examination was still incomplete. Instead of the common cursive manuscript, the writing was in Roman characters — an imitation of printing.

I remember that while reading the first page to myself Mr. Kennedy and the doctor had filled their glasses and lit their cigars, and when I said that we seemed at last to have a prospect of awarding the prize they laughed as though they doubted it, and settled themselves in their comfortable chairs, as I began to read. I had not proceeded far before my colleagues became as much interested as myself. The first tale finished I went to the second, then to the next, and did not stop until I had gone through the volume, interrupted only by such exclamations as “capital,” “excellent,” “how odd,” and the like from my companions. There was genius in everything they listened to; there was no uncertain grammar, no feeble phraseology, no ill-placed punctuation, no worn out truisms, no strong thought elaborated into weakness. Logic and imagination were combined in rare consistency. Sometimes the writer created in his mind a world of his own and then described it — a world so wierd [[weird]], so strange —

“Far down In the dim lake of Auber,

In the misty mid-region of Wier;

Far down by the dank tarn of Auber,

In the ghoul-haunted woodland of Wier,”

and withal, so fascinating, so wonderfully graphic, that it seemed for the moment to have all the truth of a reality. There was an analysis of complicated facts — an unraveling of circumstantial evidence that won the lawyer judges — an amount of accurate scientific knowledge that charmed their accomplished colleague — a pure classic diction that delighted all three.

When the reading was completed there was a difficulty of choice. Portions of the tales were read again, and finally the committee selected “A MS. Found in a Bottle.” One of the series was called “A Descent into the Maelstrom,” and this was at one time preferred. I cannot now recall the names of all the tales. There must have been six or eight. But all the circumstances of the selection ultimately made have been so often since referred to in conversation that my memory has been kept fresh, and I see my fellow-judges over their wine and segars [[cigars]] in their easy chairs — both genial, hearty men, in pleasant mood — as distinctly now as though I were describing an event of yesterday.

Having made the selection and awarded the one hundred dollar prize, not, as has been said most unjustly and ill-naturedly, because the manuscript was legible, but because of the unquestionable genius and great originality of the writer, we were at liberty to open the envelope that identified him, and there we found in the note whose motto corresponded with that of the little volume, the name which I see you anticipate, of Edgar Allan Poe. The statement in Dr. Griswold’s life, prefixed to the common edition Of Poe’s works, that “it was unanimously decided by the committee that the prize should be given to the first genius who had written legibly — not another manuscript was unfolded,” is absolutely untrue.

Refreshed by this most unexpected change in the character of the contributions, the committee refilled their glasses and relit their cigars, and the reader began upon the poetry. This, although better in the main than the prose, was bad enough, and when we had gone more or less thoroughly over the pile of manuscript, two pieces only were deemed worthy of consideration. The title of one was “The Coliseum,” the written printing of which told that it was Poe’s. The title of the other I have forgotten, but upon opening the accompanying envelope we found that the author was Mr. John H. Hewitt, still living in Baltimore, and well known, I believe, in the musical world, both as a poet and composer. I am not prepared to say that the committee may not have ‘been biased in awarding the fifty-dollar prize to Mr. Hewitt by the fact that they had already given the one hundred dollar prize to Mr. Poe. I recollect, however, that we agreed that under any circumstances the excellence of Mr. Hewitt’s poem deserved a reward, and we gave the smaller prize to him with clear consciences.

I believe that, up to this time, not one of the committee had ever seen Mr. Poe, and it is my impression that I was the only one that had ever heard of him. When his name was read I remembered that on one occasion Mr. William Gwynn, a prominent member of the bar of Baltimore, had shown me the very neat manuscript of a poem called “Al Aaraaf,” which he spoke of as indicative of a tendency to anything but the business of matter of fact life. Those of my hearers who are familiar with the poet’s works, will recollect it as one of his earlier productions, [[.]] Although Mr. Gwynn besides being an admirable lawyer, was noted as the author of wise and witty epigrams in verse, “Al Aaraaf” was not in his vein, and what he said of the writer had not prepared me for the productions before the committee. His name, I am sure, was not at the time a familiar one.

The next number of the Saturday Visitor contained the “MS. Found in a Bottle;” and announced the author. My office in those days was in the building still occupied by the Mechanics’ Bank, and I was seated at my desk on the Monday following the publication of the tale, when a gentleman entered and introduced himself, saying that he came to thank me as one of the committee, for the award in his favor. Of this interview, the only one I ever had with Mr. Poe, my recollection is very distinct indeed, and it requires but a small effort of imagination to place him before me now as plainly almost as I see any one of my audience. He was, if anything, below the middle size, and yet could not be described as a small man. His figure was remarkably good, and he carried himself erect and well, as one who had been trained to it. He was dressed in black, and his frock-coat was buttoned to the throat, where it met the black stock, then almost universally worn. Not a particle of white was visible. Coat, hat boots and gloves had very evidently seen their best days, but so far as mending and brushing could go everything had been done apparently to make them presentable. On most men his clothes would have looked shabby and seedy, but there was something about this man that prevented one from criticising his garments, and the details I have mentioned were only recalled afterwards. The impression made, however, was that the award in Mr. Poe’s favor was not inopportune. Gentleman was written all over him. His manner was easy and quiet, and although he came to return thanks for what he I regarded as deserving them, there was nothing obsequious in what he said or did. His features I am unable to describe in detail. His forehead was high and remarkable for the great development at the temple. This was the characteristic of his head, which you notice at once, and which I have never forgotten. The expression of his face was grave, almost sad, except when he was engaged in conversation, when it became animated and changeable. His voice, I remember, was very, pleasing in its tone, and well modulated, almost, mythical, and his words were well chosen and unhesitating. Taking a seat, we conversed awhile on ordinary topics, and he informed me that Mr. Kennedy, my colleague on the committee, on whom he had already called, had either given or had promised to give him a letter to the “Southern Literary Messenger,” which he hoped would procure him employment. I asked whether he was then occupied with any literary labor. He replied that he was engaged in a “voyage to the moon,” and at once went into a somewhat learned disquisition upon the laws of gravity, the height of the earth’s atmosphere, and the capacities of balloons, warming in his speech as he proceeded. Presently, speaking in the first person, he began the voyage, after describing the preliminary arrangements, as you will find them set forth in one of his tales, called “The Adventures of one Hans Pfall,” and leaving the earth, and becoming more and more animated, he described his sensations as he ascended higher and higher, until, at last, he reached the point in space where the moon’s attraction overcame that of the earth, when there was a sudden bouleversement of the car and a great confusion among its tenants. By this time the speaker had become so excited, spoke so rapidly, gesticulating much, that when the turn upside down took place, and he clapped his hands and stamped with his foot, by way of emphasis, I was carried along with him, and, for aught to the contrary that I now remember, may have fancied myself the companion of his [page 4, column 1:] aerial journey. The climax of the tale was the reversal I have mentioned. When he had finished his description he apologized for his excitability, which he laughed at himself. The conversation then turned upon other subjects, and soon afterwards he took his leave. I never saw him more. Dr. Griswold’s statement “that Mr. Kennedy accompanied him (Poe) to a clothing store and purchased for him a respectable suit, with a change of linen, and sent him to a bath,” is a sheer fabrication.

What I heard of him again and again, year after year, in common with all English-speaking people, more and more, it is unnecessary to say, heard of him in terms of praise sometimes, sometimes in terms of censure, as we all have done, until now that he has passed away, leaving his fame behind him to last while our language lasts. I have grown to think of him only as the author who gave to the world “The Raven” and “The Bells,” and many a gem beside of noble verse, who illustrated the power of the English tongue in prose composition, not less logical than imaginative. and I forget the abuse, whether with or without foundation, that ignorance, prejudice or envy has heaped upon his memory. Unfortunately in the first biography following his death, where the author, with a temper difficult to understand, actually seemed to enjoy his depreciation of the poet’s life, Edgar Allan Poe was seen by a malignant eye, and his story was told by an unkindly tongue, and the efforts since made by friends to do him justice are slowly succeeding in demonstrating that there was in him an amount of good, which in all fairness, should be set off against that which we must regret while we attempt to palliate.

To Poe there well may be applied the verse of one of the most gifted of our poetesses, addressed to a great name in a very different sphere:

“The moss upon thy memory, not

Not while one note is rung

Of those divine, immortal lays

Milton and Shakspeare sung;

Not till the gloom of night enshrouds

The Anglo-Saxon tongue.”

The reference in Mr. Latrobe’s address to John H. Hewitt was loudly applauded, that gentleman being present on the stage.

Remarks of Neilson Poe.

Mr. Neilson Poe was introduced, and said he could not permit this occasion to pass without expressing his thanks to the ladies and gentlemen who raised the monument to the genius of his cousin, Edgar Allan Poe. How could his relatives remain Indifferent to the rising fame which crowns the poet’s name throughout the world?

The whole assembly then proceeded to the grave of Poe. where the unveiling and crowning Ceremonies took place. A large number of persons attracted by the event filled the surrounding streets, and every available position in windows and on door-steps of the houses in the vicinity was occupied.

Dirge — “Softly Sleep.”

While the monument was being unveiled by Prof. Elliot a dirge, adapted from Tennyson, was sung, by the Philharmonic Society, as follows:

“Softly sleep, softly sleep,

Sleep in thy lowly bed,

Sleep, sleep in slumbers deep,

Waked not by earthly tread.

Over thy crave let the wild winds moan,

Under this fair memorial stone,

Poet, thou slumberest well,

All thy sorrows o’er, sleep forevermore, sleep!

“Peace and rest, peace and rest,

O! weary soul be thine,

Rest, rest, in earth’s cool breast,

Sheltered from storm and shine.

Darkness no more obscures, thy way,

Out of the night eternal day

Seams forth with power divine,

All thy sorrows o’er, sleep forevermore, sleep!”

Beautiful Floral Tribute.

The crowning was then conducted by Miss Sara S. Rice. A beautiful floral wreath, the gift of the theatrical artists of Baltimore, and presented by Mrs. Jame Germon, was the first tribute to crown the monument. Mrs. Germon’s grandparents were both members of the dramatic company of Holliday Street Theatre when Mrs. Poe, the mother of the poet, was an actress there. The wreath combined a raven worked in flowers, and calla lilies hung pendant from it to represent bells, both being symbolical of the poet’s productions. Heliotropes, camelias and beautiful rosebuds covered the wreath in protrusion, the body of which was laurel leaves. A laurel wreath, presented by the ladies who made the first effort towards the monument, was next placed in position. The reading of some stanzas from Annabel Lee, by W. F. Gill followed, an Mrs. Dillehunt recited the closing stanzas of the “Tolling Bells,” which ended the ceremonies, and the gates were thrown open to the public generally.

Fine Music.

The musical part of the programme was by the Philharmonic Society of Baltimore, one hundred singers, directed by Prof. R. Fairlamb, Prof. Julius E. Mueller presiding at the piano. The Philharmonic Society sang the “Pilgrim’s Chorus,” by Verdi; “He Watching Over Israel,” from Mendelssohn’s “Elijah.” The “Inflammatus,” from “Stabat Mater,” was sung solo, by Miss Ella Gordon, eliciting warm applause.

Mr. W. F. Gill, of Boston, was also greatly applauded after reading “The Raven,” by Poe. Indeed the performance was considered a splendid alert, the audience listening with rapt and undivided attention.

The Monument.

The monument is within a few feet of the pavement of Fayette street, in the churchyard at the southeast corner or Green and Fayette streets. It is in a neighborhood surrounded by public schools, and to graveyard adjoins the Western Female High School, one of the largest institutions in the city. Hundreds of youths and school children pass and repass the monument every day, which is in sight within the iron railings of the churchyard inclosure. The poet’s dust and the remains of his mother-in-law, Mrs. Clemm, were transferred from the lot of the Poe family, in the rear of the church, where the grave was hidden, and the monument was re-erected in its present and more conspicuous position on the 6th of November, 1876.

So much having been written about “the Poe monument,” many persons are disappointed in not seeing a more ostentatious memorial; but ostentation was not the object of the builders or designers. It was intended to have a neat, simple and tasteful memorial, sand the design presented is certainly chaste and beautiful. It is also of the style now coming extensively into use in this country, as well as abroad, but the American mind has not yet become familiar with anything but a column, shaft or obelisk above a pedestal. Poe’s monument is simply a pedestal or die block, with an ornamental cap. The lot is raised and sodded, the surroundings are gray mausoleums and time-stained tombs thickly clustered within a small area of ground. Poe’s monument is of pure white marble, and stands eight feet high, resting on a granite base six feet square. On the granite slab are two other bases of marble. On these rests the due block, three feet two inches square, surmounted by a heavy cap, carved with au ornamental lyre in the centre of each face. On the front of the die block is a beautifully chiselled medallion of the poet, carved in the purest Italian statuary marble, after a plaster cast by Volck, the sculptor, from a photograph in the possession of a member of Poe’s family. The likeness in marble is said to be correct. The other faces of the die block are tablets bearing inscriptions.

The side that faces east bears the medallion of honor: below this medallion is engraved in large characters the name of the poet — Edgar Allan Poe. The western side bears in relief the words Edgar Allan Poe; born January 20 [[19]], 1809: died October 7, 1849. The committee have written to the laureate of England, Tennyson, for a suitable inscription to be carved on one of the other faces of the monument, and if a favorable answer be returned, will have it placed upon either the north or south side, at the option of the committee.




Note: the text on page 1 ends with the comment: “Concluded on Fourth Page” and the article resumes at the top of page 4 with the comment “Continued from First Page.”

Although Poe was actually born on January 19, 1809, the inscription on the monument does indeed bear the error of January 20, 1809, which it is not possible to correct without marring the marble.

In the Baltimore Sun of November 17, 1875, appears the following interesting note, as one item under the general category of “The School Board of Baltimore”:


Mr. Roemer offered a resolution to have but one session of the schools to-day, in order that the teachers may have an opportunity to attend the Poe monument ceremonies. The resolution was at first opposed, but it was adopted finally after explanations by Messrs. Morris, Snowden, Emmerich and others to the effect that the monument was due to the effort inaugurated by the teachers of Baltimore; that they had received the countenance and support of the board when the measure was referred to at various times in the board, and otherwise.



[S:0 - BS, 1875] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - A Poe Bookshelf - The Poet Edgar Allan Poe (Anonymous, 1875)