Text: G. A. Berry, “The Grave of Poe,” Appletons’ Journal (New York, NY), vol. VII, no. 150, February 24, 1872, p. 220, col. 3


[page 220, column 3, continued:]

The Grave of Poe.

To the Editor of Appletons’ Journal.

IN the issue of date January 27, 1872, an article entitled “The Grave of Poe,” over the signature of Eugene L. Didier, appeared, in which is contained what purports to be a copy of an inscription upon a marble intended to mark the last resting-place of the poet. If this inscription — “HIC TANDEM FELICIS CONDUNTUR RELIQULE EDGARI ALLAN POE” — be in truth that which was meant to inform the world that there slept one, the story of whose life is the saddest ever told, ‘tis well the stone was broken. To call one happy whose life was all unhappy — could keener, more cutting irony be conceived?

I hope Mr. Didier made some mistake in transferring the inscription from the stone to paper, as he has most certainly done in endeavoring to render Hic tandem felicis — “Here, at last, he is happy.” You will readily perceive that tandem in the sentence modifies conduntur, while felicis qualifies Edgari, making the entire translation read literally: “Here, at last, rest (or, are buried) the remains of the happy Edgar Allan Poe;” and even by curtailing the sentence, and supplying est, the gentleman could not by the most liberal construction make it read: “Here, at last, he is happy” — as in that form he would not want felicis in the genitive singular, even if the rest of the construction were allowable.

I am inclined to think Mr. Didier permitted his poetical inspirations to run away with his rules of grammar, even if he copied correctly from the broken monument, which I trust he did not; for to call happy one whose life had seen so much sorrow is bitter sarcasm.






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