Text: Nathan Haskell Dole, “Biographical Sketch [[of Edgar Allan Poe]],” Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1892, pp. 9-29


[page 9, unnumbered:]



About the middle of the last century John Poe emigrated from the North of Ireland to Pennsylvania. His son, David Poe, was a wheelwright, who, through his natural leadership, became Assistant Quartermaster-General for Baltimore during the Revolutionary War. His oldest son, also David Poe, was tempted from the dry study of law by the glamour of the footlights . He made “his second appearance on any stage” at Charleston, South Carolina, early in December, 1803. The next year he joined a strolling company of players, and finally married the widow of Mr. C. D. Hopkins, who had been one of the most popular of the “stars.”

The young couple drifted to Boston, where Mrs. Poe as a girl had made her American début in June, 1796. Her mother was Mrs. Arnold, an English actress from Covent Garden.

For three years they lived in Boston, where the wife in the course of time became “the leading lady,” playing “Cordelia,” or “Ophelia,” or “Palmyra” to John Howard Payne's “Zaphna,” and similar parts, though the current praise of her “moral qualities and domestic virtues” did not altogether disarm the severer criticism of her acting. [page 10:]

Of these Thespian parents Edgar Allan Poe was the second son, and he was born on January 19, 1809.

Shortly afterwards they removed to New York, where they remained through the next winter, “acting the romantic and sentimental drama and light comedy of the period.”

Nothing further is known of David Poe: he is supposed to have died of consumption. Mrs. Poe went South, and acted with approbation in the cities of the southern circuit. But she fell into a decline. Being in utter destitution, she appealed to the charity of the humane to attend her benefit night. On December 8, 1811, she died, and her children were taken by sympathetic friends.

Edgar was adopted by Mr. John Allan of Richmond, a wealthy tobacco-dealer, of Scotch descent and origin. The black-eyed, curly-haired boy, at the age of six, could read, draw, and dance: one of his accomplishments was to declaim pieces. He was sent to a private school. During the summer months for several years he went with Mr. and Mrs. Allan to White Sulphur Springs, where he had his dogs and pony.

In 1815 he was taken to England and placed at the Manor House School, Stoke Newington, where he remained till he was twelve years old, learning to construe Latin, speak French, write verses, run, jump, and swim.

On his return to Richmond he was put into Clarke's, afterward Burke's, Classical School, where, it is said, he “cut a considerable figure,” coming to stand next the head of his class, and excelling all his [page 11:] fellows in athletic sports, and in the literary feats of debate and poetry.

At home he had been petted and spoiled. At school he was haughty and overbearing, this fault being intensified by the treatment to which his aristocratic Virginian classmates subjected one known as the son of “play-actors.” He made no intimate friends, but lived mainly by himself in a world of dreams.

Once, according to his own story, the mother of one of his younger schoolmates, a lovely, gracious lady, spoke kindly to him. The tones of her voice thrilled him and kindled within him “the first purely ideal love of his soul.”

She died when she was only thirty-one years old, and for a long time the lonely lad of fifteen haunted her grave by night, and the experience of her loss and his desolation tinged his verse all his life long. During his school-days he paid some attention to Miss Sarah Elmira Royster, a neighbor's daughter. But her father intercepted his letters, and the romance ended at the time in her early marriage.

On February 14, 1826, having finished his preparations under a private tutor employed in Mr. Allan's newly purchased mansion-house, Poe entered the University of Virginia, where he studied the ancient and modern languages, and gave his leisure time to athletic sports or mingled with the faster set around the card-table and the punch-bowl. He was short, thick-set, compactly built, bow-legged, with a quick, jerky gait; his face was habitually grave and melancholy, though it kindled into [page 12:] animation if he grew excited in debate; his hair was dark and curly. Even at that time he had a notorious passion for strong drink. At play he was bold and reckless: thus he not only lost caste among the aristocratic students of the college, but ended the year with gambling-debts amounting to twenty-five hundred dollars.

In these circumstances Mr. Allan removed him from college and put him into his own counting-room. Poe soon revolted, and in the spring of 1827 ran away to Boston, where he published his first volume, entitled “Tamerlane and Other Poems by a Bostonian.” The “other poems” were nine in number and easily showed the influence of Byron.

It is supposed that Poe lived in his native city under an assumed name.

Toward the last of May one Edgar A. Perry was enrolled as a private soldier in the United States Army. He gave his age as twenty-two ; his occupation as that of a clerk . He was entered in the record as having gray eyes, brown hair, a fair complexion, and a height of five feet, eight inches.

This was Edgar Allan Poe.

During the summer he was on duty at Fort Independence. In October, he was transferred with Battery H of the First Artillery, to Charleston, S. C., and a year later to Fortress Monroe, Va. He was company clerk and assistant in the commissariat department, and on the first day of January, 1829, he was appointed sergeant-major, having earned the promotion by his faithfulness and good conduct.

Mrs. Allan died in the following February. Early [page 13:] in March returned to Richmond on leave of absence, and was honorably discharged April 15th by substitute. His taste of army life had caused him to think of arms as his profession, and after a delay of nearly a year he received his appointment as Cadet at West Point. Mr. Allan gave his formal consent, and Poe entered the Military Academy July 1, 1830, his age being recorded (through his false information) as nineteen years and five months.

Meantime he had published in Baltimore a second volume, entitled “Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems.” It was a thin volume of only seventy-one pages. The “minor poems were nine in number, several being the same as appeared in his maiden volume, but revised. The volume was largely distributed among his acquaintances, but caused more merriment than interest.

It took less than six months of life at West Point to convince him that he had made a mistake. He was proficient in French, and stood high in mathematics, but the routine of drill, roll-call and guard duty was utterly irksome to him.

He urged his patron to let him resign, but as Mr. Allan refused to sanction such a step, Poe systematically neglected all his duties as a cadet, was called before a court-martial, found guilty, and sentenced to dismissal.

On March 7, 1831, he was again free and with just twelve cents to his credit! His classmates subscribed enough to pay his fare to New York. He proposed to reimburse them by a new volume of poems which was soon published by Elam Bliss, with a dedication [page 14:] to the United States Corps of Cadets. The half dozen new poems which it contained seem to give a slight presage of his genius.

It is not known whether he returned to Mr. Allan's house. His patron was married for the second time, and was expecting a lineal heir. He himself declared that in the indulgence of his Quixotic sense of the honorable, of the chivalrous, which he regarded as the “true voluptuousness of his life,” he deliberately in his early youth threw from him a large fortune, rather than endure a trivial wrong! The probability is that Mr. Allan, whether rightly or wrongly, considered his adopted son as untrustworthy. He did not take into account how far he himself was responsible by his foolishly lavish indulgence for the habits into which the youth had fallen. Even in England the boy was spoiled “by an extravagant amount of pocket money.”

Poe was now thrown on his own resources. First he applied for a position on the Federal Gazette and Baltimore Daily Advertiser, edited by William Glynn [[Gwynn]]. Disappointed in this, he offered his services as assistant in a school at Reisterstown, near Baltimore. Nothing came of it. For eighteen months he struggled on in the direst poverty. Then in the summer of 1833 the Baltimore Saturday Visitor [[Visiter]] offered a prize of one hundred dollars for the best tale in prose, and one of fifty dollars for the best poem.

Poe competed for both and would have won both had not that been against the rules. Poe's story, “A Manuscript Found in a Bottle,” was accepted and published. [page 15:]

John P. Kennedy, author of “Swallow Barn,” one of the judges, went to look up the author, and found him, he said, “in a state of starvation.” He gave him clothing, free access to his table, and the use of a horse for exercise whenever he chose; in fact, brought him up from the very verge of despair.

During the next six months Poe contributed to the Saturday Visitor [[Visiter]], and earned small sums from other literary work. His home was in the family of his aunt, Mrs. Clemm, who with her daughter, Virginia, then a child of eleven, had recently returned to Baltimore to live.

In March, 1834, Mr. Allan died. Shortly before his death Poe forced his way to his presence. Mr. Allan threatened him with his cane, and ordered him out. This was but the prelude to the total ignoring of the young man in Mr. Allan's will.

His last hopes of inheriting a fortune being thus disappointed, he collected his tales and sent them to a Philadelphia publisher. During the summer he composed his blank verse tragedy, “Politian,” and in the autumn worked on “Hans Pfaal.”

Mr. T. W. White of Richmond, editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, was struck by some stories that Poe sent to him, and printed “Berenice” in the following March. After that, Poe became a frequent contributor, and in June, 1835, he left Baltimore to become Mr. White's assistant, at a salary of ten dollars a week.

Before his departure he became engaged to his cousin Virginia. Neilson Poe, a relation of both, objected with reason because the girl was not yet [page 16:] thirteen years old. He offered to take her into his own family and care for her till she should be eighteen.

This proposal destroyed for Poe all the glamour of his bright prospects in Richmond. He hastened back to Baltimore, and, evidently with the approval of Mrs. Clemm, took out a marriage licence (September 22d), and was probably married at Old Christ Church.

Neilson Poe's kindly offer was rejected, and the Clemms soon removed to Richmond, where the young husband was diligently working in his editorial position.

His brilliant tales attracted attention, but it was by a slashing editorial criticism of T. S. Fay's “Norman Leslie “ that the magazine was instantly brought into universal notice. It was an advantage for the periodical, but it naturally brought odium upon the writer, who went on in this vein, pointing out the faults in the favorites of the day.

What strikes one now is, that he was correct in his judgments. He undoubtedly was in search of truth, but the sensitive authors whom he criticised never forgave him.

Of poetry he contributed little to the Messenger, and that little reached no high level. It has been pointed out that he was under the influence of Coleridge, both in his critical and poetical effusions. He always made a great show of knowledge, but his learned notes were taken at second hand, and he often made odd blunders.

On May 16, 1836, Poe was publicly married to Virginia E. Clemm. His surety, Thomas W. Cleveland, [page 17:] took oath that she was “of the full age of twenty-one years.” The minister who performed the ceremony afterwards remembered the bride as seeming very young: she lacked four months of being fourteen years old.

Mrs. Clemm proposed to keep a boarding-house. Poe had incurred a debt of two hundred dollars for furniture. But it was discovered that the house was too small for more than one family, and the scheme was abandoned. Poe borrowed one hundred dollars on the strength of his increasing salary (it was to be twenty dollars a week after November) and the prospects of the Messenger, which he declared was “thriving beyond all expectation.”

Suddenly, in January, 1837, Poe's connection with the magazine ceased. A serial story, “Arthur Gordon Pym,” which had been begun in its columns was broken off.

There can be no doubt as to what was the cause of this abrupt change.

He was subject to more or less frequent fits of intoxication, which, when they had passed, left him weak and unfit for work.

Poe took his family to New York, where Mrs. Clemm took boarders. He finished “The Narration of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket,” and it was published by the Harpers; but, though tales of the sea were then popular, he made no profit from it. Nor, in the face of the financial panic of that time, did he succeed in finding remunerative work.

He borrowed money and went to Philadelphia, where he was engaged to prepare a text-book on [page 18:] Conchology. It was a palpable plagiarism in spite of his defence of his methods.

During the same year he earned small sums by stories contributed to the American Museum of Literature and Arts of Baltimore, and later to the local press of Philadelphia.

In July, 1839, he became associate editor of Burton's Gentleman's Magazine and American Monthly Review, and the next year published a collection of twenty-four tales in two volumes. (“Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque.”) Three of these stories are declared by Woodbury [[Woodberry]] “to mark the highest reach of the romantic element in Poe's genius;” but the world had not yet awakened to an appreciation of his greatness.

He was soon involved in a bitter quarrel with William E. Burton, the proprietor and editor of the magazine. Burton charged Poe with habits of intoxication and with employing underhand measures toward the establishment of a magazine of his own.

Poe declared that he had “abandoned every kind of alcoholic drink,” and that in four years he had allowed himself only one deviation from habits of strict temperance. He called Burton “a blackguard and a villain,’,” and claimed that if he issued the prospectus of the rival monthly, The Penn Magazine, it was because Burton had advertised his magazine for sale without giving Poe notice.

It is not known whether Griswold's charge that Poe clandestinely availed himself of Burton's list of subscribers is correct.

Poe proposed to furnish in his Penn Magazine the [page 19:] impress of his own individuality, such severity in criticism as was consistent “with the calmest yet strictest sense of justice,” honest and fearless opinions, versatility, originality, and pungency of literary pabulum without any “tincture of the buffoonery, scurrility, or profanity, which are the blemish of some of the most vigorous of the European prints,” and finally, perfection of mechanical execution.

An illness from which Poe suffered postponed the issue of the magazine, and the Saturday Evening Post of January 20, 1841, announced that the scheme was abandoned and that Poe would take the editorial chair of Graham's Magazine.(1)

To this, during the months from April, 1841, till June, 1842, he contributed “The Murders of the Rue Morgue,” “The Descent into the Maelstrom,” and many other stories, besides a succession of reviews of American and foreign authors. The magazine, which opened with a circulation of eight thousand, acquired in a year and a quarter a circulation of forty thousand; but Poe still dreamed of his own venture, and in spite of Graham's “unceasing civility and real kindness,” felt more and more disgusted with his situation. He even hoped that on the strength of having been at West Point he might obtain a government situation.

“I would be glad,” he wrote, “to get almost any appointment, even a five hundred dollar one, so that I have something independent of letters for a subsistence. To coin one's brain into silver, at the nod [page 20:] of a master, is, to my thinking, the hardest task in the world.”

He lived with his girl wife and her mother “in a pretty little rose-covered cottage on the outskirts of Philadelphia.” Mrs. Clemm, “a masculine matron of fifty, received and spent Poe's wages, and was the head of the household.

Virginia Poe, still under twenty-one, had a voice of wonderful sweetness, and sang exquisitely to the accompaniment of her harp or piano. One evening she ruptured a blood vessel, and for six years her life was a constant struggle with weakness.

The year after her death Poe wrote one of his most pathetic letters, explaining how, during the protracted agony of this terrible illness, undergoing again and again the sorrow of leave-taking, while at each accession of her disorder he “loved her more dearly and clung to her life with more desperate pertinacity,” he became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.”

During these fits of absolute unconsciousness,” he says, “I drank — God only knows how often or how much. As a matter of course, my enemies referred the insanity to the drink, rather than the drink to the insanity.”

He had doubtless at this time begun to use opium. In the spring of 1842 he lost his editorship of Graham's Magazine, his position being taken by Griswold, who afterwards wrote a libellous biography of him.

A period of wretched poverty followed. Poe won a prize of one hundred dollars for his famous story, [page 21:] the “Gold Bug,” but for most of his tales written at this time he was poorly paid. Nor did he make much money from his lectures, though he was favorably received both in Baltimore and Philadelphia.

It is interesting to know that as early as 1844 Poe wrote to Lowell, advocating an International Copy-Right Law. In the same letter he proposed that “the Ilite [[élite]] of our men of letters” should each subscribe two hundred dollars to establish a monthly journal, the chief aims of which should be “Independence, Truth, Originality.” He could see no reason why one hundred thousand copies should not be circulated in one or two years. But all such schemes fell through.

In April, 1844, Poe suddenly went to New York with his sick wife. A letter to his mother-in-law gives a pathetic picture of their journey and arrival in the rain. “Sissy coughed none at all,” he says. He found a cheap boarding-house — “the cheapest board he ever knew.” And he adds, “I wish Kate — meaning Catterina, the cat — could see it. She would faint.”

On getting settled, he tried to find profitable employment, and soon published in The Sun his famous “Balloon Hoax.” He also occupied himself collecting and arranging materials for a Critical History of American Literature, a work which he never finished. In October, he obtained an editorial position on N. P. Willis's Evening Mirror, and on the twenty-ninth day of the January following, this paper published from advance sheets, Poe's “Raven.”

Woodbury [[Woodberry]] says: “‘The Raven’ became, in some [page 22:] sort, a national bird, and the author, the most notorious American of the hour.”

He soon appeared in New York as a lecturer, and was highly commended by Willis. But his lecture, largely made up of his old book reviews, was full of savage criticisms, and “gained him a dozen or two of waspish foes,” as one said who heard him.

Within two months he quitted the Mirror and joined Charles F. Briggs and John Bisco in the management of the Broadway Journal. His hobby at this time was plagiarism. Briggs thought it was best to let him ride it to death, and gave him free rein. His bitterest attack was upon Longfellow. He charged that he had left out of “The Waif” all the Americans who might be supposed to interfere with the claims of the editor himself. He declared that Longfellow had stolen some scenes of “The Spanish Student” from “Politian.” Longfellow charitably attributed “the harshness of his criticisms” to “the irritation of a sensitive nature, chafed by some indefinite sense of wrong.”

During the first months of Poe's residence in New York he conducted himself soberly, but gradually fell back into his bad habits. Briggs discovered that he was showy, superficial, and untrustworthy in his learning, selfish and conceited in his behavior, “utterly deficient of high motive.”

Owing to business complications, Briggs withdrew from the Journal. Poe, remaining in full charge of it for a few months, with his third interest as pay, took advantage of his position to make an “unhandsome allusion” to Briggs, who had not only [page 23:] loaned him money “to pay his board and keep him from being turned into the street,” but, out of pure compassion had tried to hide his ill habits from observation.

During the summer he visited Boston, and in October, through Lowell's influence, he was invited to give a poem before the Boston Lyceum. Instead of furnishing an original production, he palmed off on the disappointed audience, the feeble effort of his youth, “El [[Al]] Aaraaf.” On the twenty-sixth day of the same month he bought out Bisco's rights for a promissory note for fifty dollars indorsed by Horace Greely [[Greeley]], who subsequently was called upon to pay it with the cost of its protest.

Lack of capital and inability to borrow caused the suspension of the monthly in December. A few days later, Wiley and Putnam, who had already issued a collection of his best stories edited by Duyckinck, brought out a volume of his verse under the title “The Raven and Other Poems.”

Poe occasionally mingled in the literary society of New York, and there met Mrs. Elizabeth F. Ellet and Mrs. Francis S. Osgood, both of whom conceived a mild Platonic love for the romantic poet. Through the interference of Mrs. Ellet, a scandal arose in consequence of Mrs. Osgood's letters to Poe, and the acquaintance between the three poets was brought to a sudden close.

In the mean time, Poe was publishing in Godey's Lady's Book a series of papers, entitled “The Literati of New York,” made up of scraps of his projected work on American literature. He distributed severe [page 24:] criticism and generous praise, and while many of his judgments have been sustained by posterity, the thinskinned “mediocrities,” now forgotten, who then regarded themselves as lights of the earth, were greatly disturbed. Thomas Dunn English retorted in the columns of the Mirror, and was so scurrilous in his abuse of Poe that the latter was not satisfied with a disclaimer in the Philadelphia Saturday Gazette, but sued the Mirror for libel, and obtained an award of two hundred and twenty-five dollars.

Woodbury [[Woodberry]] (1) gives a remarkably fair estimate of Poe's critical service, claiming that his claim to impartiality, sincerity and integrity, if spoken at all, is invalidated only by the praise that he gave to his feminine friends.

He was, he says, “prejudiced here and partial there; foolish or interested or wrong-headed; carping, or flattering, or contemptuous. Yet he was the first of his time to mark the limitations of the pioneer writers, such as Irving, Bryant, and Cooper, and to foresee the future of the younger men who have been mentioned; he was, too, though he originated no criterion, the first to take criticism from mere advertising, puffery and friendship, and submit it to the laws of literary art.”

Poe removed to the village of Fordham in the spring of 1846, where he lived in a little one-and-a-half story house with only four rooms, perched on the very top of Fordham Hill, and giving beautiful views in every direction. Poe's own health was fatally broken from overwork, disappointments, and poverty, and from his indulgence in strong drink and opium. [page 25:]

Once when Mrs. Mary Gove, whom Poe called “a mesmerist, a Swedenborgian, a phrenologist, a homœopathist, and a disciple of Priessnitz,” went to call upon them, she found Mrs. Poe suffering from “the dreadful chills that accompany the hectic fever of consumption.” Wrapped in her husband's military overcoat, she lay on a straw bed with a snowwhite counterpane and sheets for its only clothing. A large tortoise-shell cat snuggled to her bosom, to keep her warm, while Poe held her hands and Mrs. Clemm her feet.

Mrs. Gove, on returning to New York, bestirred herself to bring aid. A subscription of sixty dollars was sent to the sufferers. In December a public appeal was made in the Express and in Willis's Home Journal — a publicity which was extremely galling to his sensitive pride.

Mrs. Poe died on January 30th, 1847.

Poe himself was taken sick with brain fever, and while half delirious he dictated the strange story of his voyage to France, his duel, and his French novel. Needless to say the details are wholly untrue.

On his recovery he published among other things his remarkable poem, “Ulalume,” in the American Review. This poem, says Woodbury [[Woodberry]], “marks the extreme development of Poe's original genius.”

Still living at Fordham, and trying to re-establish his shattered health by early rising, moderate eating, absolute temperance, and out-of-door exercise, he wrote his prose poem, Eureka,” (1) which he thought [page 26:] contained truths of more consequence than the discovery of gravitation. He had been interested in astronomical subjects from his early youth in Richmond, where his guardian had a fine telescope. In the hope of raising enough money to establish his long projected magazine The Stylus, he read an essay entitled The Cosmogony of the Universe,” as a lecture in the Society Library. It was an abstract of the book. But the weather was stormy, and only about sixty people heard it. These were entranced.

In a journey made to Richmond in the summer of 1848 Poe met his old flame, Miss Royster, then a well-to-do widow not averse to his attentions. He was on the point of proposing to her, when he received from Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman of Providence a communication which altered all his plans.

He had for several years indulged an ideal passion for this brilliant but eccentric poet, whose affinity, he felt, corresponded with his own.

He returned to the North, sought a personal introduction to her, and after two days’ acquaintance offered himself to her. She was moved to pity for him, and felt that she was called to save him; but Poe's habits, related to her by friends, caused her to hesitate.

At Lowell, where he went to lecture, he made the acquaintance of a charming family, and apparently went almost as far as he could with decency, in his acquaintance with the lady known as “Annie,” in his correspondence.

Believing that Mrs. Whitman would not accept him, he bought two ounces of laudanum at Boston, and [page 27:] attempted suicide. In November he was in Providence again, and urged Mrs. Whitman to marry him at once and return to New York with him.

In spite of his extraordinary behavior she consented to a conditional engagement.

In December he went again to Providence to give a lecture before the Franklin Lyceum, where he had a large audience. Again he pleaded with Mrs. Whitman, but even with this happiness at stake, he drank at the public bar and called at her house while intoxicated.

Mrs. Whitman decided to break off the match, and after she had returned to him certain of his papers, “utterly worn out and exhausted by the mental conflicts and responsibilities” she had undergone, she drenched her handkerchief with ether and threw herself on a sofa, hoping to lose herself in utter unconsciousness.

Her last words spoken to him at his passionate appeal were, “I love you.”

He returned to Fordham “so, so happy,” by reason of his rupture with Mrs. Whitman-and devoted himself to literary work. His prospects in this respect were flattering. All the American magazines were open to him, and, if he had known it, his fame in France was already wide spread.

On February 6, 1849, he finished his second most famous poem, “The Bells,” which had probably been in his mind for some time.

He also wrote a number of his most characteristic pieces, but several of the journals in which they were published either failed or stopped payment, and again [page 28:] he was overwhelmed with disappointment. A deep melancholy settled upon him. In May he visited his Lowell friends, and then returned to New York on to the South, where he still hoped to establish his Stylus.

Mrs. Clemm, whose devotion to him was more than motherly, accompanied him to the steamboat, and he promised her to be “good” while he was away.

Nevertheless, he had an attack of delirium tremens at Philadelphia! At Richmond, where he was idolized, he spent three of the happiest months of his life.

He was described as erect in stature, cold, impassive, almost haughty, with broad brow, black, curly hair, pallid, care-worn, haggard features, large steel-gray eyes, expanding and contracting, and with most exquisite manners.

Twice during these months he suffered from illness due to his intoxication, and was told that if he yielded again it would prove fatal.

He also offered himself to Mrs. Shelton, who undoubtedly accepted him. He started north to make arrangements for the wedding, and to bring Mrs. Clemm back to Richmond.

All that is definitely known of his further movements is that he was found on Wednesday, October 3d, 1849, at one of the voting precincts of Baltimore — Ryan's rum-shop — “rather the worse for wear.”

His old friend Dr. J. E. Snodgrass, to whom he referred, was called, and had him taken to the Washington Hospital. He was then unconscious. In the only few moments of tranquillity, he was unable to give coherent answers to questions. But he [page 29:] declared that he had a wife in Richmond, and that the best thing his best friend could do would be to blow his brains out with a pistol,” that when he beheld his degradation, he was ready to sink into the earth.

He then relapsed into delirium, and his last words were, “Lord help my poor soul.”

On Sunday at five o’clock he died.

A few friends followed his body to the grave. It was not till long after his death that the world awoke to the greatness of the genius which it had lost.

N. H. D.


[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 19:]

1 This was a new venture, due to the union of Burton's former monthly with the Casket.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 24:]

1 In his admirable life of Poe, pp. 266-271.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 25:]

1 George P. Putnam published the work in a volume of one hundred and forty-three pages.



This “sketch,” is a fairly generic overview that covers much of the basic information without adding anything new. A slightly revised version was used in 1908 as a “biography and introduction” for a 10-volume edition of Poe’s works issued in Akron, Ohio by the Werner Company.

Nathan Haskell Dole (1852-1935) was an editor, author and journalist. In 1882, he was living in Boston. He served as an editorial adviser for Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1887-1901.


[S:0 - PP, 1892] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - A Poe Bookshelf - Biographical Sketch of Edgar Allan Poe (N. H. Dole, 1892)