Text: Miles George, “[Reminiscence of Poe],” Richmond State, May 22, 1880, p. 2


We publish with pleasure the following letter from a contemporary and friend of the famous EDGAR A. POE:

To the Editor of The State:

In your columns of the 11th instant an extract appears from the University Magazine, in which my name is mentioned. To correct one or two errors in it and to satisfy the many inquiries made of me, I write this communication. Edgar A. Poe and myself were, at no time, roommates; perhaps if it had been so I might have imbibed, by a sort of capillary attraction, a portion of his superabundant talent. Poe occupied a room on the west side of the lawn, I on the east side. John Lyle, of Whitby, was my chum, a courteous and refined gentleman, who died in early life. The pugilistic combat, so minutely described, was a mere boyish affair, forgotten as soon as over, leaving no unfriendly or unkind feelings behind. My recollection of Poe is that his complexion was dark and his face handsome and intellectual, his person of a slender mould, yet muscular, easy in his movements and carriage, agile and atheletic, and if at all bow-legged, so slightly so as to escape notice, and did not mar the symmetry of his person, or make him less an adept in all gymnastic exercises.

Poe moved to the western range. I, with many others, was a frequent visitor at his room. He was, as the Magazine says, very fond of quoting, or, as the college boys called it, spouting passages from poetic authors and reciting productions of his own, with which his friends were greatly entertained; then, suddenly, a change would come over him, and he would evince his versatile talents by sketching with charcoal, over the walls of his dormitory, fantastic and grotesque figures, with such artistic skill as to leave us all in doubt whether in after life Poe would be painter or poet.

For myself, I look back to the days spent at the University as about the happiest of my life, and I never pass it without feeling a desire to stroll through its arcades and over the lawn and surrounding country, mediate upon the past, and (to borrow a quotation from the Magazine) enjoy the “bitter-sweets of melancholy.” If I could, after the style of the Magazine, command the “gray goose quill” and make it the “slave of my thoughts, obedient to my will,” I should be tempted to write by the hour of life at college and my cotemporaries of fifty years ago, but I forbear. Poe and I left college about the same time; he soared to the heights of fame upon the wings of the “Raven,” and I lost sight of him, except through his literary productions.




The present article survives as a clipping in the Ingram Collection, item #766.

The Richmond State had quoted on May 11, 1880 from the second part of the “Old Oddity Papers” article from Virginia University Magazine of April 1880.


[S:0 - RS, 1880] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - A Poe Bookshelf - Reminiscence of Poe (Miles George, 1880)