Text: Anonymous “Walt Whitman at the Poe Funeral,” Evening Star (Washington, DC), vol. 46, whole no. 7,067, November 18, 1875, p. 2, top of column 1


[page 2, top of column 1:]

WALT WHITMAN AT THE POE FUNERALConspicuous Absence of the Popular Poets. — About the most significant part of the Poe re-burial ceremonies yesterday — which only a crowded and remarkably magnetic audience of the very best class of young people, women preponderating, prevented from growing tedious — was the marked absence from the spot of every popular poet and author, American and foreign. Only Walt Whitman was present. Being in Washington on a visit at the time, “the old gray” went over to Baltimore, and though ill from paralysis, consented to hobble up and silently take a seat on the platform, but refused to make any speech, saying, “I have felt a strong impulse to come over and be here today myself in memory of Poe, which I have obeyed; but not the slightest impulse to make a speech, which, my dear friends, must also be obeyed.”

In an informal circle, however, in conversation after the ceremonies, Whitman said: “For a long while, and until lately, I had a distaste for Poe's writings. I wanted, and still want, for poetry, the clear sun shining, and fresh air blowing — the strength and power of health, not of delirium, even amid the stormiest passions — with always the background of the eternal moralities. Non-complying with these requirements, Poe's genius has yet conquered a special recognition for itself, and I too have come to fully admit it, and to appreciate it and him. Even my own objections draw me to him at last; and those very points, with his sad fate, will make him dearer to young and fervid minds.

“In a dream I once had, I saw a vessel on the sea, at midnight, in a storm. It was no great full-rigged ship, nor majestic steamer, steering firmly through the gale, but seemed one of those superb little schooner-yachts I had often seen lying anchored, rocking so jauntily, in the waters around New York, or up Long Island sound; now flying uncontroled [[sic]] with torn sails and broken spars through the wild sleet and winds and waves of the night. On deck was a slender, slight, beautiful figure, a dim man, apparently enjoying all the terror, the murk, the wierdness [[sic]] and the dislocation of which he was the center and the victim. That figure of my lurid dream might stand for Edgar Poe, his spirit, his fortunes, and his poems — themselves all lurid dreams.”





[S:0 - ES, 1875] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - A Poe Bookshelf - Walt Whitman at Poe's Funeral (Anonymous, 1875)