Text: Thomas H. Chivers (as “Fiat Justitia”), “The Phoenix,” Waverley Magazine (Boston, MA), vol. VII, no. 11, September 10, 1853, p. 168, cols. 1-3


[page 168, column 1, continued:]

The Phoenix.

IN a former communication we most solemnly assured the intelligent reader that what may be characterized, for the present, as a novel mode of iteration and reiteration, so peculiarly remarkable in several of Poe’s poems, may also be discovered in many of the early poems of Dr. Chivers — poems written long anterior to any of Poe’s poems. This observation we now repeat again with the firm assurance to the gentle reader that we are amply prepared not only to prove what we say, but to “hold fast to that which is good.”

The following singular passage we take from “The Lost Pleiad:”

“And though my grief is more than vain,

Yet I shall never cease to grieve;

Because, no more, while I shall live,

Will I behold thy face again!

No more will I have life or breath,

No more till I shall turn to dust!

But I shall see thee after death,

And in in [[sic]] the Heavens above I trust.”

The following is another from the same poem:

“And, till that hour, there shall be none

In heaven to match my love — not one!

Not even the mightiest angel there,

Shall his great love with mine compare!

It is as deep as deep can be —

lt rises from the world to thee!

Full as the ocean is of water,

Is my fond heart for thee, sweet daughter.

Sweet daughter! is my heart for thee!

Full as the ever brimful sea —

The ever-brimful sea — with love —

Is my fond heart for thine above!”

The following, from “Memoralia,” although published years ago, is not only the pathetic echo of the preceding, but possesses precisely the same novel euphony of response. Here it is:

“I shall never more see pleasure,

Pleasure never more, but pain —

Pleasure, losing that dear treasure

Whom loved here without measure,

Whose sweet eyes were Heaven’s own azure,

Speaking, mild, like sunny rain;

I shall never more see pleasure

For his coming back again!”

Now, the object of rhyme in a poem — (a true definition of which was never given before) — is not only to connect it together, as a melodious whole, through the euphony of its responses, but that this homophoneous echo of its systole and diastole shall produce on the ear the same musical pleasure that is produced in the mind by its rhythmical articulation.

If you will look into one of the past numbers of the Knickerbocker Magazine, for the present year, you will find a poem, furnished by Mr. John Savage, but written by an Irish poet, constructed upon the very same principle — yet, this gentleman, no doubt, prided himself upon the originality of the poem by his Irish brother, for he called him a “genius” for having produced so beautiful a thing. He was right in doing so, for no man but a “genius” could imitate so closely.

The following lines, touching the new style, about which so much has been said of late, are from “The Lost Pleiad.”

“O! when shall I be clothed again

In linen garments, free from stain,

To emblem my deliverance

From sorrow in its widest sense?

Never, until I go away,

Where she is gone, to endless day.

Never, until there shall be given

Those garments of resplendent white

To image my divine delight —

Such as the angels wear in heaven.”

Here we see not only the alliteration of words, but the parallelism of rhythmical construction, never seen anywhere but in the present poem.

The following is from the same poem:

“Forever flowing, full forever —

Forever flowing, failing never —

Forever emptying, like the sea —

Forever full eternally!”

Here we see not only the alliteration of the liquid consonations, — the most fluid in the English language — but also of the most sonorous word — a word, too, so beautifully balanced in its orthapy as to contain a most perfect alternation of vowels and consonants. But how can any mere school-boy understand this?

The following lines are from the same poem:

“For there the faithful here in heart

Shall re-unite, no more to part —

No more to bow to ruthless Fate —

No more to be disconsolate;

No more to sorrow, weep, or sigh —

But, more than all — no more to die.”

To a well-educated man, the mere quotation of these verses Is amply sufficient to show the ground-work of all Poe’s chrysomelphonian pagodas — the only difference between the two being that one is the result merely of Art, in its highest manifestations, the other an equal blending of both Nature and Art.

On looking over a review of this very same poem, which was written , by a gentleman in Cincinnati, a few years age, we find the following highly applicative language:

“We make no hesitation in saying that there is nothing, [column 2:] in the wide scope of literature, where passion, pathos, and pure art are combined, more touchingly tender than this whole unsurpassed, and, (in our opinion) unsurpassable poem.”

But this is not all. On looking over a poem published in a Philadelphia paper, in 1836, entitled “Ellen Æyre,” we find the following verse:

“Like the Lamb’s wife, seen in vision,

Coming ‘down from heaven above,

Making earth like Fields Elysian,

Golden city of God’s love —

Pure as Jasper. — clear as crystal —

Decked with twelve gates richly rare —

Statued with twelve angels vestal —

Was the form of Ellen Æyre —

Gentle girl so debonair —

Whitest, brightest of all cities, saintly angel, Ellen Æyre.”

This will substantiate what we said about his peculiar use of the refrain.

Nor is this all. In a poem, which we now have before us, entitled “The Invitation,” we discover all the choral vowel sounds which characterize Poe’s “Annabel Lee “ — the following being one of the verses:

“Oh! come away, my gentle one —

At midnight come to me,

And rest upon my breast alone,

In moonlight by the sea.

The moon shall hear each tender tone,

The stars above shall see

Thee lie upon my breast alone

In moonlight by the sea.”

Yet this poem was published in 1836. The following which we take from the “Beautiful Star,” published in 1837, is pretty much like it:

“As dew drops, pure and chaste as snow,

In falling, may be changed,

So hearts, oft chilled and racked by woe,

Will soon become estranged.

The dog that meets with constant blows,

Will shun his master’s eye,

And snap the hand food bestows —

My little babe, good bye!

Good bye, my love — good bye!

My little babe, good bye!”

But to return to the “Raven.” We remarked, in a former article, under the head of the “Halcyon’s Nest,” that Mr. Poe, in writing the “Raven,” had either overlooked or purposely avoided having his rhymes in their proper places; but whether the one or the other, does not matter a particle as regards the true nature of the poem. But what we wish the intelligent reader to observe, is, that in no instance before, or since, has a similar thing seen done — for, in all the imitations of the poem, “To Allegra Florence in Heaven,” from which the “Raven” was taken, the rhymes are immediate, or, in their proper places.

We will now give several, out of the many similar ones which we have here in our portfolio.

The following verse we take from a poem entitled “Autumn,” published in the “Southern Literary Messenger,” under the nom de plume of “The Stranger”:

“Summer’s sunny days are ended,

And the Spring hath long descended

To the grave, where Seasons blended,

With the dust of beauty lay;

And o’er hill and valley ringing,

Blithsome birds no more are singing,

But the feathered tribes are winging

Back to the mild South their way.”

A little while after, another poem appeared in the “Broadway Journal,” entitled “The Departed,” modeled after the very same poem, rhythm and everything. Here is the first verse:

“Where the river ever floweth,

Where each star most faintly gloweth,

I wander on,

My thick pulses hastily beating,

My quick glances now retreating,

And with bold advance, now meeting

Shadows of the gone!”

Some time after, appeared another in “The Boston Weekly Museum,” entitled “ To My Angel Daughter,” by J. W. Hanson. The following is the first vere [[verse]]:

Now a sister have the Angels,

Chanting all their grand Evangels.;

Sweetest among the star-crowned sisters,

Is the Angel Florence May!

With her song of braided sweetness,

Her white wings of light-like fleetness,

And her joys in full completeness,

In that world of upper day.”

A short time after, a beautiful poem appeared in the “ National Era, entitled a “ Dirge,” by Miss Phebe Cary, the first verse of which I now give:

“Where the shadows dull are creeping

O’er the green mounds of the sleeping,

And the mournful night is weeping

For the beauty from us gone;

Years on years I would not number,

One earth’s cares no more will cumber,

Has been lying in that slumber

Never shaken by the dawn?”

The poem, of which this verse is a specimen, is the best that has been quoted, except the one entitled “The Departed,” which possesses a peculiar sombre beauty, truly pleasing.

About this time a poem appeared in Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, written in the very same rhythm, but not equal to either of the two last quoted.

The same may be said of a most beautiful poem by Miss Sarah T. Bolton, which appeared, some short time ago, in the “Home Journal,” entitled, “On the Death of Edgar A. Poe,” as may be seen by the following lines:

“Like the winds of Autumn sighing,

When the Summer flowers are dying,

Like a Spirit-voice replying,

From a dim and distant shore,” &c.

But this is only the case with the concluding part of the stanza — the foregoing part being deficient from the very fact that it is wanting in the euphony of its responses. But Miss Bolton, no doubt, flattered herself, during the composition, that she was echoing the croak of the “Raven,” when, in truth, she was begetting a Daughter of the true Voice of the poem “To Allegro Florence in Heaven,” — for the rhymes are all taken from that poem, and one, by the same author, entitled The Vigil in Alden.”

The following is the poem to which Poe referred in the extract quoted in the article under the head of “The Halcyon’s Nest,” where he says, “ I allude more especially to the poem about Shelly, and the one the refrain [column 3:] of which is, She came from heaven to tell in was blessed,’ the title of which is, ‘ Mary’s Lament for Shelly, Lost at Sea’ — the following being one of the stanzas:

“Oh! never, never more! no, never more!

Lost in the deep!

Will thy sweet beauty visit this dark shore,

Where I now weep!

For thou art gone forever more from me,

Sweet mariner! lost — murdered by the Sea.

Here we see the very same sonorous peculiarities alluded to in the foregoing part of this article. Not this the case, but we perceive the very same novel combination of the vowel sounds — the poetical grammar of which Poe received the first rudiments of his education in the sublime Art of Language.

In one of these stanzas — (the like of which can be shown in any language in the world) — we find th lowing most remarkable, pathetic and forcible ref “And weep, weep, weep!” the very identical rhythm of “The bells, bells, bells!” in Poe’s poem entitled “The Bells!”

“And weep, weep, weep!”

What a wonderful combination of the Iambic and Spondaic rhythms!

Poe’s refrain, in “The Bells,”

“The bells, bells, bells, bells?”

is precisely the same. This will show you out of grammar he obtained his poetical language. But this is only a brief exposition. Had we the space, we could show you many more wonderful things. But this is not all. In the third volume of his works, before alluded to, edited by Rufus W. Griswold, on the Poetic Principle, Mr. Poe says, very beautifully, “He recognizes the ambrosia, which nourishes his soul, in the bright orbs that shine in heaven — in the waving of the green fields — in the blue distance of mountains — in the grouping of clouds — in the twinkling of the half-hidden brooks in the glowing of the silver rivers — in the repose of sequestered lakes — in the star-mirroring depths of the lonely wells — in the songs of birds — in the sighing of the winds — in the fresh breath of the woods,” &c.

Now read the following, by Dr. T. H. Chivers, taken from the “Atlanta Luminary,” published years before, where he is speaking of the very identical thing, and you will no longer wonder where Poe obtained his very delightful knowledge of the Art of Poetry: —

“There is poetry in the music of the birds — in the diamond radiance of the Evening Star — in the sun-illumined whiteness of the fleecy clouds — in the open frankness of the radiant fields — in the soft-retiring mystery of the vales — in the cloud-sustaining grandeur of the many-folded hills — in the revolutions of the spheres — in the roll of rivers, and the run of rills.”

“Look on this picture, then on that.”

Now, this article is written for the special edification of that gander-headed ignoramus, who arrogates to himself the truly enviable ability to sit, in his self-enshrined darkness, under the upas-wings of that “ineffable buzzard,” misnamed “The New York Review,” and spout billingsgate out of the “narrow confines” of his editorial wigwam to the no less enviable gratification of his brother carrion crows, who respond to his “fantastic tricks before High Heaven, which make the angels weep,” by luxuriating in the most ineffably obstreperous cachinnations to the inextinguishable gust of both devils and men.

This was the dunderheaded fellow who, only a few months ago, under the guise of detraction, nearly pilfered the whole of the preface from the work entitled “Memoralia,” in order, as he thought, to save himself from the penalty which might be imposed upon him for invading the copy-right, just as any pickpocket, it order the better to steal, will knock down, or stab his master, under the pretence that he is defending himself. Bah! “I would rather be a dog and bay at the moon,” than such a cowardly slave!








[S:0 - WM, 1853] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - A Poe Bookshelf - The Phoenix (T. H. Chivers, 1853)