Text: Mary E. Phillips, “Section 06, Part I,” Edgar Allan Poe: The Man (1926), pp. 863-983


[page 863, unnumbered:]






IN the March 10, 1844, answer to Lowell's letter, Poe made far and wide mention of his literary atmosphere and touched upon Boston as a possible opening for his pen and lecture energies. But he does not name New York City for his plans. This letter seems to have outlined a new scheme in a coalition dream for literary results in Poe's ideal periodical that haunted him day and night. But as the Philadelphia field for magazines appeared secure in returns only to their kind, which all in all made no appeal to Poe, he was thus lured into thinking — aside from the other possible reasons — of pastures new and, in his belief, more attuned to his purposes of intellectual force and energies in New York City. No doubt his lecture at Reading, Pa., was given prior to March 21, 1844, to aid this early April project.

From October, 1838, to the end of 1844, Poe gave Burton's and Graham's magazines more than sixty reviews(1) on belle-lettres of American and foreign writers. From the latter date to the autumn of 1849, including “The Poetic Principle,” for which he was paid [page 864:] $30, and of his after-death print in Sartain's October, 1850, issue — Poe's writings grew to over six hundred known items of poems, tales, criticisms, essays, etc. So much work of exquiste [[exquisite]] finish as he did, in Philadelphia, with eight or more hours a day, at times, of editorial labor, aside from endless letters of all times, left but little leisure for Poe's accredited many sprees. His peerless, able, truthful and incorruptible criticisms made him enemies. “He was poor, because he did ten times as much work as he was paid for,” not because he was “an irregular profligate and sot” — as recorded by some of his adversely touched critics. However it came about, Poe's Spring Garden, Philadelphia, home was broken up — and the teamster at the old farmhouse across the way was called upon to take the big hair-cloth sofa, the roll of carpet and the three wooden chairs to the good Quaker landlord for the, back rent “they did not cover”; but this tenant did the best he could in this way before he and Virginia, with less than $11, went to New York City, leaving Mrs. Clemm to sell his books, settle their Philadelphia affairs and later to join them in that city.

While much indefinite reference occurs as to Poe's alleged “Philadelphia irregularities,” it is but fair to bear in mind, and repeat, that the amount of literary values he accomplished there, his endless letters’ cost of that day postage, illness of his wife and himself, ceaseless efforts — with and without salary — all in all would suggest that Edgar Allan Poe wasted little of either time or substance in the “notorious” derelictions that have been charged to his career in the Quaker City. Good fellowship exacted among pressmen and the [page 865:] haunting depression of his nervous forces were enough to cover the few occurrences of absence — not those by chance of prior noting — from not only editorial duties but from his home, and with no clear remembrance of whatever he may have said or done when under the sway of those baneful spells. Under one of these was written Poe's severe review, of Cornelius Mathew's “Wakondah,” in Graham's February, 1842, issue. But its author's various later courtesies moved Poe, March 15, 1844, three weeks prior to leaving Philadelphia, to write Mr. Mathews:

I have a letter and small package for Mr. Horne, your friend, author of “Orion.” Would you be so kind as to furnish me with his address?

I am reminded I am your debtor for many little attentions, and embrace this opportunity of tendering you my special thanks for your able pamphlet on International Copy-Right Question, and admirable adventures of Puffer Hopkins.

Could I imagine that, at any moment, you regarded a certain impudent and flippant critique as more than a matter to be laughed at, I would proffer you an apology on the spot. Since I scribbled the article in question, you yourself have given me fifty good reasons for being ashamed of it.

With highest Respect & Esteem Yr. Ob. St. EDGAR A. POE.

Poe apologized but did not lift the ban on “Wakondah,” as “from beginning to end is trash.”

Because Mathews and Poe from this letter date remained close friends for life, and that critique of “Wakondah” found November, 1845, reprint in Godey's, it must have appeared by mutual consent. It [page 866:] seems that Mathews clearly realized Poe's honesty, in giving glowing commendation to “Orion” and short comments to “Wakondah,” was justified in both cases. This appealed to Mathews’ generosity of heart for Horne, his friend, and against himself; also to his own literary judgment.

In The Opal annual of 1844 appeared “Morning on the Wissahiccon.” In this tale entitled “The Elk” (to Lowell), prior May, Poe pictured the beauties of rural Philadelphia he had so intensely enjoyed and was then so near to leaving. Graham's March issue gave Poe's reviews of R. H. Horne's “Orion” and Lowell's “Poems.”

Godey's April, 1844, number gave “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains” which had been brewing in Poe's brain from his University of Virginia days, and reflects their autumn scenic charms of its environment. Professor Woodberry notes this tale,(1a) “a picturesque story of metempsychosis ascribed to the influence” of E. T. W. Hoffmann's “Der Magnetiseur.” It is said Poe caught indirectly, and mainly from Hoffmann, coincidental use of universal themes and the disposition of their natural incidents, but gave them essential difference in their basic closing treatments. There are two records that Poe knew “not a word of German,” but there are other records where his works and words give definite evidence of accurate knowledge of that language. With his alert mental force, also his delight in such subjects, Poe soon absorbed enough German in his University of Virginia days to read Hoffmann in his native tongue. Certainly enough of “Serapions Brüder” to inspire the “Introduction” [page 867:] to “The Folio Club”; of “Doge and Dogaressa,” for “The Assignation,” and “Die Jesuitenkirche in G —— ” for “The Oval Portrait — (Life in Death).” Yet they only inspired Poe; for his closing treatments radically differed from Hoffmann's. While Scott and Carlyle gave reviews of Hoffmann's works in 1827 English periodicals and French translations of his writings were issued at Brussels in 1836, Poe's knowledge of Hoffmann's pen seems too intimate to come wholly from these sources. In Professor Palmer Cobb's “Influence of Hoffmann on Poe” appears, that about 1835 there was a growing interest in German literature in England and America. That Poe read German; also French and English translations from the German. The Hoffmann literature did dominate Poe from 1835 to 1844; yet he was only looking for such combinations. At times, Hoffmann's works caught Poe's fancy, fitted his purpose in a general way, but mostly in mesmerism and metaphysics. Also there is similarity of treatment of the same motives by both authors as to “The Tale of the Ragged Mountains” and “Der unheinliche Gast” and “Der Magnetiseur.”

But Poe seems hauled out of one pit to be pitched into another; as Lawrence Oliphant(2) holds that Poe plagiarized much of “The Tale of the Ragged Mountains” from Macaulay's “Essay on Warren Hastings.” Only in items of Oriental description could this be true, for Poe knew how to select the best from all literatures. Yet by the touch of Poe's own wizardry these everlasting hills melted into a rich Orientalism of city and mighty reverie effects. [page 868:]

By a seemingly sudden resolution, aided by Poe's Reading (Penn.) lecture and the sale of some books for $10, he and Virginia were enabled to leave Philadelphia. Just how they made their way to New York City, where they arrived April 6, 1844, is most intimately told by him in a letter to Mrs. Clemm. It dated “New York, Sunday Morning, April 7th.” Poe's letter, condensed, reads

MY DEAR MUDDY,(3) — We have just this minute done breakfast, and I now sit down to write you about everything. [page 869:] I can’t pay for the letter, because the P. O. won’t be open today. In the first place we arrived safe at Walnut St. Wharf. The driver wanted to make me pay a dollar, but I wouldn’t. Then I had to pay a boy a levy to put the trunks in the baggage car. In the meantime I took Sis [Virginia] in the Depˆt Hotel. It was only a quarter past 6, and we had to wait ‘til 7. We saw the Ledger & Times — nothing in either — a few words of no account in the Chronicle. We started in good spirits, but did not get here until nearly 3 o’clock. We went in the cars to Amboy about 40 miles from N. York, and then took the steamboat the rest of the way, — [It was then an eight hours’ journey from Philadelphia to New York.] Sissy coughed none at all. When we got to the wharf it was raining hard. I left her on ... the boat, after putting the trunks in the Ladies’ Cabin, and set off to buy an umbrella and look for a boardinghouse. I met a man selling umbrellas and bought one for 62 cents. Then I went up Greenwich St., and soon found a boarding-house ... just before you get to Cedar St. ... West side going up the left-hand side. It has brown stone steps with a porch with brown pillars.

“Morrison” is the name on the door. I made a bargain in a few minutes and then got a hack and went for Sis. I was not gone more than 1/2 an hour, and she was quite astonished to see me back so soon. ’ ... There were 2 other ladies waiting on board — so she wasn’t very lonely. — When we got to the house we had to wait ... 1/2 an hour before the room was ready. The house is old & looks buggy. [letter is cut here for autograph on the reverse] ... the cheapest board I ever knew, taking into consideration the central situation and the living. I wish Kate could see it — [Catterina the cat] she would faint. Last night, far supper, we had the nicest tea you ever drank, strong & hot — wheat bread & rye bread — cheese — tea-cakes (elegant) a great dish (2 dishes) of elegant ham, and 2 of cold veal, piled up like a mountain and large slices — 3 dishes of cakes, and everything in great [page 870:] profusion. No fear of starving here. The landlady seemed as if she couldn’t press us enough. Her husband is living with her — a fat good-natured old soul. There are 8 or 10 boarders — 2 or 3 of them ladies — 2 servants. For breakfast we had excellent-flavored coffee, hot & strong — not very clear & no great deal of cream — veal cutlets, elegant ham & eggs & nice bread and butter. I never sat down to a more plentiful or a nicer breakfast. I wish you could have seen the eggs — and the great dish of meat. I ate the first hearty breakfast I have eaten since we left our little home. Sis is delighted, and we are both in excellent spirits. She has coughed hardly any and had no night sweat. She is now busy mending my pants which I tore against a nail. I went out last night and bought a skein of silk, ... thread, 2 buttons, a pair of slippers & a tin pan for the stove. The fire kept in all night. — We have now got $4 and a half left. Tomorrow I am going to try & borrow $3 — so that I may have a fortnight to go upon. I feel in excellent spirits & haven’t drunk a drop — so I hope to get out of trouble. The very instant I scrape together enough money I will send it on. You can’t imagine how much we do both miss you. Sissy had a hearty cry last night, because you and Catterina were n’t here. We are resolved to get 2 rooms the first moment we can. In the meantime it is impossible we could be more comfortable or more at home than we are. It looks as if it was going to clear up. ... Be sure and go to the P. O. & have my letters forwarded. As soon as I write Lowell's article, I will send it to you, & get you to get the money from Graham. Give our best love to C[atterina the cat].

Be sure & take home the Messenger [“to Hirst” is added, in Dr. Woodberry's 1909 “Life of E. A. Poe.”]

This caution acquits Poe of all knowledge that this Messenger number, borrowed for him by Mr. Hirst from Mr. Duane, had been sold in some way, by [page 871:] some one, by mistake. — Poe's letter concluded with “We hope to send for you very soon.”

But to continue the bountiful table, in which description Poe's own hunger touches so pathetically appear, he must have made an early Monday morning start for his placing of his MS. of “The Balloon Hoax” — an account of an imaginary transatlantic air-voyage made by a party of Englishmen. It was written in Philadelphia, and was finally accepted by the editor of The Sun. Saturday, April 13, 1844, issue gave a double-leaded type P. S. notice that a balloon had crossed the Atlantic, bringing news to Charleston, S. C., and promised a ten o’clock morning extra giving a detailed account. W. Norris, U. S. N., stated Poe's hoax depended chiefly on an actual balloon trip made in November 1836, by Monck Mason, Charles Green and Robert Holland, “M.P., who paid for Green's air-voyage,” notes Thomas O. Mabbott, M.A. The Norfolk, Va., press voted it “one of the most ingeniously written things”(4) Poe ever produced. Western scientific record is: “Two items in Poe's ‘Balloon Hoax’ attract attention — a coffee warmer contrived for warming coffee by means of slack lime”(5) — and when passing over an expanse of water it becomes necessary to employ kegs of copper or wood fitted with liquid ballast lighter than water. Both items were used in Walter Wellman's recent Atlantic experiment. Hoaxes were usual in those days, yet Poe noted of The Sun, April 13, 1844, issue: “The rush for the ‘sole paper which had the news’ was something beyond even the prodigious; and, in fact, if (as some assert) the ‘Victoria’ did not absolutely accomplish [page 873:] the voyage recorded, it would be difficult to assign a reason why it should not have accomplished it.”

Mr. Victor Hugo Paltsits, New York City, sent a July 14, 1919, clipping from The Sun, recording the prior week anchorage of the R. 34, at Roosevelt Field; and of her return trip was noted: “Curiously, the time of the return passage, seventy-five hours, is the time Poe set down, for the trans-Atlantic cruise of his imaginary balloon in 1844.” Some lines of what the wizard-poet then wrote seem here, in both time and place: “The great problem is at length solved. The air, as well as the earth and ocean, has been subdued by science and will became a common and convenient highway for mankind. The Atlantic has been actually crossed in a Balloon! and this without difficulty — [page 874:] without any great apparent danger — with thorough control of the machine — and in the inconceivable brief period of seventy-five hours from shore to shore!” M. Potez(6) traced Verne's “Five Weeks in a Balloon” to Poe's “Balloon Hoax” April, 1844, print.

No doubt Poe and Virginia enjoyed the excitement created by his “Balloon Hoax,” and still more the money it added to their $4.50, which in all made secure at least two weeks’ stay in the house plentiful of which Poe wrote to Mrs. Clemm, and where it seems they were until near June, 1844.

April 27th, 1844, found R. H. Horne,(7) London, writing Poe as to his favorable review of “Orion,” in Graham's March issue. Horne stated that Mr. C. Mathews and Miss E. B. Barrett had advised its writer as to this “review” which he had finally read, and considered the details of “high praise” and “objections noted ”; also, he made inquiry of “Orion's chance for American publisher's issue.” Poe's MS. of “The Spectacles” was mentioned as “safely lodged in my iron chest with my own MSS. till I find favorable opportunity for its use.” Horne concluded with his happiness to express his “obligations to the boldness and handsomeness of American criticism.”

In an Oaky Grove, Ga., May 15, 1844, letter to Poe from Dr. Thomas H. Chivers(8) was, that he had no answers to his two prior letters inquiring as to the Penn Magazine; that he expected his share of his father's estate in July, and, if favorable to his interests, he would unite with Poe in this venture of which was asked a definite statement. A delicious interlude follows [page 875:] in, — “I have just been eating strawberries and honey.” Chivers mentioned Poe as still with Graham and added: “He ought to give you ten thousand ... a year for supervising it ... [Graham's Magazine] through your ability, ... it was first established. ... It is not my opinion that you ever have been or ever will be paid for your intellectual labours ... until you establish a magazine of your own. ... You have friends in the South and West, who will support you. ... Your criticism of ‘Orion’ pleased me much. ... There is, in ... your pure English, a subtle delicacy ... except when you tomahawk people. ... In general your criticisms are very just. ... I see you speak well of Lowell's ‘Poems.’ ”

It appears that Lowell had offered to write Poe's “Life Sketch” for “Our Contributors“’ series in Graham's. Concerning it, Poe, at New York, May 28, 1844, wrote that he would be proud if Lowell would write it and thanked him sincerely. Poe noted sending his life by Hirst; the items, as given by F. W. Thomas and T. W. White, which were mainly correct barring praise. Poe stated the Graham's pages, for this life sketch, as limited to six; noted his various editions; named his unpublished tales as, “The Oblong Box,” “Premature Burial,” “Purloined Letter,” “Mesmeric Revelation” and “Thou Art the Man,” making sixty with those in print. He continued “Of the ‘Gold Bug’ (my most successful tale) more than 300,000 copies have been circulated. There is an article on ‘American Poetry’ in a late number of the ‘London Foreign Quarterly,’ in which some allusion is made to me, as a poet, and as an imitator of Tennyson.” [page 876:] The article — mentioned in October, 1843, to January 1844, Foreign Quarterly — was a review of “Poets and Poetry of America,” Philadelphia, 1842, which noted this work as, “a huge anthology collected by a Mr. Griswold. All the poetasters — and biographical notice to each — who could be scrambled together are crammed into the volume.” After a flagrant-of-facts touch upon Poe's life the reviewer stated his imitation of Tennyson's spirituality, instanced in Poe's “Haunted Palace”; gave another example in the “opiate vapor” — of “The Sleeper” that:

“’Steals drowsily and musically

Into the universal valley.

The rosemary nods upon the grave;

The lily lolls upon the wave.’

And still more like a strain under an ‘open lattice’ drop:

“‘The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,

Flit through thy chamber in and out,

And wave the curtain canopy

So fitfully — so fearfully —

Above the closed and fringèd lid

‘Neath which the slumb‘ring soul lies hid,

That o‘er the floor and down the wall,

Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!’

Those passages have spirituality in them, usually denied to imitators: who rarely possess a solitary note of their own.” So concluded this foreign reviewer. Poe requested Lowell to state the facts, in their writer's life sketch, that the quotations given were printed prior to the issue of Tennyson's first volume. Lowell's [page 877:] life-sketch of Poe noted: “A writer; in the ‘London Foreign Quarterly Review,’ who did, some faint justice to Mr. Poe's poetical abilities, speaks of his resemblance to Tennyson. The resemblance, if there be any, ... may be traced in his earliest poems, published several years before the first of Tennyson's appeared.” Poe's May 28, 1844, letter to Lowell added: “Dickens (I know) wrote the article — I have private, personal reasons for knowing this.” It seems certain Poe had in mind those “English Notes” by Quarles Quickens having been seen and recognized by “Boz” In any case this episode not only is definite that foreign critics, even then, seemed to share Poe's opinion of “Poets and Poetry of America” but gave quite as definite estimates as to wide differences between the literary abilities of Dr. R. W. Griswold and Edgar Allan Poe.

May 29, 1844, after “The Oblong Box” had been refused by Willis for The New Mirror, Poe offered this story to Mrs. S. J. Hale, who later accepted it for Godey's September issue. After the stated reasons for Willis’ refusal, in Poe's letter appeared: “Mr. Willis was pleased to express himself in very warm terms of the article which he considers the best I have written ... urged me to offer it to Mr. Riker for the next ‘Opal‘; promising to speak to Mr. R. and engage him ... to accept the Tale. ... I have thought best to write ... and ... ask if you would accept an article, ... whether you could be so kind as to take it, unseen, upon Mr. Willis’ testimony in its favor. ... I make the latter request to save time because I am, as usual, exceedingly in need of a little money.” Poe [page 878:] must have been in harrowing straits at this time, for two days later dated another letter to Mrs. Hale. In it was: “if you will ... keep open for me the ten pages of which you speak, I will forward, ... in 2 or 3 days ... an article which will about occupy that space, and which I will ... adapt to the character of ‘The Opal.’ The price you mention — 50 cts. per page — will be amply sufficient: I am ... anxious to be ranked in your list of contributors.” In 1850 Lowell wrote Mrs. Hale: “I do not feel inclined to become a contributor to ... Godey's ... on the terms proposed. These are purely matters of business. ... Five years ago I was paid $30 for a poem and for a longer poem $50, and I do not think my market value has fallen since then.” At that time Poe received but $10 for “The Raven” from the American Whig Review. In 1844 Lowell obtained from $3 to $4 per page; quite a contrast to qualities Poe seemed glad to give for 50 cents. While sizes of pages may have varied on these counts, to a certainty their relative prices were far apart. Poe's letter to Mrs. Hale concluded “Should you see Mr. Godey ... will you oblige me by saying, ... I will write in a few days, and forward him a package.” Because Poe had finished “The Oblong Box,” in August, 1844, Dollar Newspaper, writes Professor Killis Campbell, and those strange verses “Dreamland,” during their stay in the Greenwich Street house-plentiful, indicates he was on the alert for pay work, for he had no salary security for their daily needs; and yet he found time for the revision of all his sixty tales which he sent to Professor Charles Anthon with a request for his influence for their [page 879:] issue in five volumes by Harpers. Queries covering other literary prospects for a livelihood appear in Poe's letter of June, 1844, to Dr. Anthon; also Poe's early visions of the magazine he hoped to acquire and control. He noted the many years since his last letter, and because lighter literature lay outside of Dr. Anthon's intellectual pursuits he may have seen none of the papers sent, containing writer's tales of which “variety” had been the “chief aim.” With these tales went some opinions of eminent expression, of which their writer felt he had the right to be proud. Then followed basic principles of all Poe's future magazine prospectus efforts. Briefly they were:

“Before quitting the ‘ Messenger’ I saw, or fancied I saw, through a long and dim vista, the brillant [[brilliant]] field for ambition which a ‘Magazine of bold and noble aims presented to him who should successfully establish it in America. ... I perceived that the whole energetic, busy spirit of the age tended ... to Magazine literature — to the curt, the terse, the well-timed, and the readily diffused, in preference to the old forms of the verbose and ponderous and the inaccessible. ... I could see no real reason why a :Magazine, if worthy of the name, could not be made to circulate among 20,000 subscribers, embracing the best intellect and education of the land. This ... thought ... stimulated my fancy and my ambition. The influence of such a journal would be vast indeed, and I dreamed of honestly employing that influence in the sacred cause of the beautiful, the just and the true. Even in a pecuniary view, the object was a magnificent one. The journal . . , would be a large octavo of 128 pages, printed with bold type, single column, on the finest paper; and disdaining ... what is termed ‘embellishment’ with the exception of an occasional portrait of a literary man, or some well-engraved wood-design in [page 880:] obvious illustration of the text. Of such a journal I had cautiously estimated the expenses. Could I circulate 20,000 copies at $5, the cost would be about $30,000, ... There would be a balance of $70,000 per annum ... I joined the ‘ Messenger,’ . . , in its second year with 700 subscribers, ... Yet, ... in despite of the wretched taste of its proprietor, which hampered and controlled me at all points, I increased the circulation in fifteen months to 5,500 subscribers paying an annual profit of $10,000 when I left it. ... ‘Graham's Magazine’ ... had been in existence under the name of the ‘ Casket’ for eight years when I became its editor, with a subscription list of about 5000. In about eighteen months ... its circulation amounted to no less than 50,000. ... At this period I left it ... the number of subscribers is now not more than 25,000. ... Its price was $3, but not only were its expenses immense, owing to the ... absurd steel plates and other extravagances, which tell not at all, but ... to ... agents, whose frequent dishonesty occasioned enormous loss. But if $50,000 can be obtained for a $3 Magazine among ... readers who really read little, why may not 50,000 be procured for a $5 journal among the true and permanent readers of the land? Holding steadily in view my utimate [[ultimate]] purpose, — to found a Magazine of my own, or in which ... I might have a proprietary right, — it has been my constant endeavor ... to establish a reputation ... of that particular character which should best further my special objects, . . as Editor of a Magazine. Thus I have written no books, and have been so far essentially a Magazinist ... bearing, not only willingly but cheerfully, sad poverty and ... other ills which the condition of the mere Magazinist entails upon him in America, where, ... to be poor is to be despised. ... He loses, too, ... on the score of versatility — a point which can only be estimated by collection of his various articles in volume form and all together. This is ... a serious difficulty — to seek a remedy for which is my object in writing you this letter. [page 881:]

“Setting aside, ... my criticisms, poems, and miscellanies, ... my tales, ... are in number sixty-five. They would make, . , . five of the ordinary novel-volumes. I have them prepared ... for the press; but, alas, I have no money, nor that influence ... to get a publisher — although I seek no pecuniary remuneration. My sole immediate object is the furtherance of my ultimate one. I believe that if I could get my tales fairly before the .public, and thus have an opportunity of soliciting foreign as well as native opinion respecting them, I should ... be in a far more advantageous position ... in regard to the establishment of a Magazine. ... I have no claims upon your attention, not even that of personal acquaintance. But I have reached a crisis of my life in which I sadly stand in need of aid, and without being able to say why, — unless it is that I so earnestly desire your friendship, — I have always felt a half-hope that, if I appealed to you, you would prove my friend. I know that you have unbounded influence with the Harpers, and I know that if you would exert it in my behalf you could procure me the publication that I desire.”

This letter clearly stated Poe's plans, hopes and fears of its date; but his patience had some five harrowing months of ‘waiting for its answer. Then, at New York, Nov. 2, 1844, Dr. Anthon's reply,(9) in part, was:

I have called upon the Harpers as you requested, and have cheerfully exerted ... what influence I possess, but without accomplishing anything of importance. They have complaints against you ... on certain movements of yours, when they acted as your publishers some years ago; [This difference seems really based on Poe's connection with Professor Wyatt in his issue of a cheap form of “The Conchologist's First Book” advised by Harvard professors, as Harpers’ issue was [page 882:] too expensive, and a cheap issue being refused by Harpers, Wyatt aided by Poe made changes enough in a new edition to escape suit for copyright. Dr. Anthon continued that Harpers] appear very little inclined ... to enter upon the matter which you have so much at heart. However, they have retained, for a ... more careful perusal, the letter which you sent to me, and have promised that, if they should see fit to come to terms with you, they will address a note to you forthwith. ... My own advice to you is, to call in person at their store, and talk over the matter with them. I am very sure that such a step ... will remove many of the difficulties which at present obstruct your way. ... I subscribed to the ‘Messenger’ solely because you were connected with it, and I have since ... read and, ... admired very many of your other pieces. The Harpers also entertain, as I heard front their own lips, the highest opinion of your talents, but — I remain very sincerely

Your friend & well-wisher


In a Charles C. Curtis letter, owned by C. George Werner, W. Hoboken, appears: “During the year 1844 Poe was my room-mate and companion. We boarded with Mrs. Foster at No. 4 Ann Street.” Mrs. Clemm's coming from Philadelphia might have forced a near move from the house plentiful and finding but one room, she probably shared it with Virginia, while C. C. Curtis shared his with Poe, for a short time.

In the meantime the June days of 1844 were of close summer heat in the heart of New York City; therefore when Mrs. Clemm came from Philadelphia, Poe no doubt thought country air would help Virginia and benefit them all, and began his search for such a refuge of quiet restfulness. From the late Gen. [page 883:] James R. O‘Beirne — with Congress medal-records of brilliant Civil War and other services to our own and other countries, and in official attendance at the deathbed of President Lincoln — comes a tribute to Poe in connection with his stay in the Brennan household, of which General O‘Beirne became a son-in-law by marriage with the poet's “little lady,” Martha Brennan. The wedding coat was donned in Poe's “Raven Room,” as they always called it. This Poe tribute came from what General O‘Beirne heard from those who knew the poet personally and well when he, his wife and Mrs. Clemm made their home with Mr. and Mrs. Patrick Henry Brennan, and noted: “When I came [page 884:] on the scene Poe's most important works were in fugitive way of preparation, and he was seeking a quiet, comfortable retreat along the Hudson in Bloomingdale, so called because of its picturesque scenery of hill and dale, fertility of soil in growing fine fruits and early vegetables for the city markets some miles away. It was full of quaint by-paths, small ponds, flowing streams and sequestered nooks of primitive beauty. Fine extensive views of country over and beyond the far shore of the Hudson and other directions were obtained from the height of the house location. This made it important as one-time Revolutionary Headquarters of Washington, where he conferred with Hamilton, Burr, Lafayette, the Patriot Spy — Nathan Hale — and Admiral Barry. This plain country house, of Old Dutch style, was of two connected buildings, — one, two stories high; the other, two stories and attic for storage, and a spare room under peak of the roof where one of Washington's staff found safety until British pickets retired. Poe's stormy-days musings were at times spent in this loft room, near its window views of the slope to the river, and Jersey coast beyond. There he lay dreaming, listening to the raindrops on the shingles and reading books. But many a blessing, prayer and aspiration were uttered over this old home's quaint knickerbocker lower half-door as it opened some hundred paces from Bloomingdale Road — an extension of the old turnpike that ran from the Battery to Albany, and for its width was called by the early Dutch ‘Breitweg,’ or in English ‘Broadway.’ The house nestled within a clump of fine trees, and in easy reach of its half-open door was [page 885:] a never-failing spring, with its oaken bucket, under low shed beneath the old willows. Their slips we brought from Napoleon's tomb on the rock of St. Helena. They protected various out-houses during the heavy storms and high winds of frequency and fury from the Hudson. The first owner supplied a whale-oil cask to catch the rainwater for the complexions of the cottage ladies. Soon after 1812, Patrick — father of Poe's landlord — and his brother Hugh took charge of these 216 acres and made the Brennan place a model farm for crops, fruits and prize cattle. His eldest son, Patrick Henry, Jr., married Mary Elizabeth Maloney, a bright, energetic, native New York young woman. Aided by her ability and thrift, Mr. Brennan made this farm a large supply depot for miles about it. Mrs. Brennan was not only [page 886:] quick-witted in business but also an excellent housewife and devoted mother.” When Poe was seeking a refuge from city heat for his frail, young wife, the comfort and cheer at Mrs. Brennan's home attracted him, as did also her kind motherly heart and winning smile. He came to her one pleasant day in early Tune of 1844, and modestly, hesitatingly requested to be admitted to her household. Knowing that she had no money needs, he still pressed his wish. Because her growing family claimed so much care and attention she was about to say “No” when Poe “so pathetically pleaded for his failing wife with a force and courtesy beyond her resistance, Mrs. Brennan relented, and was happy to say that she never later regretted this decision. Poe was greatly pleased and from that day looked upon his landlady with little less than filial regard; nor did he less prize her worthy, fine-looking six-foot husband's enthusiasms of Irish wit, old sayings and stories of the noted men of that day, many of whom were personally known to him. Marked, as it was, with plenty and cheerful surroundings, made Poe's stay in the Brennan household acceptable and pleasant to the over-worked, anxious poet, who later referred to this home as ‘a perfect heaven’ — that he could always feel its cheer and strength ‘however downcast,’ which owing to Virginia's and his own broken health was often the case. There, his every wish was anticipated by Mr. and Mrs. Brennan. Martha Susannah, their eldest of ten children — then near fifteen — was sweet, strong, wise and a beauty in her simplicity and winning ways. Poe instinctively turned to her from time to time for small [page 887:] household favors. She took a girl-like interest in his writings, being near when he needed assistance, or to find out if anything was wanted. He was pleased to have ‘the little lady’ about for kindly attentions to his invalid wife. ‘The little lady’ brought Mrs. Clemm and Mrs. Poe their wraps and sunshades when they went for strolls in the woods, orchards, or valley below. When Martha could leave her lessons she would go with them, taking with her the bulldog Tiger and the terrier Askine. Yet still more important to I the little lady’ was the confidential trust of gathering up and [page 888:] arranging of the precious MS. copy of ‘The Raven’ and other revisions and writings as Poe finished these pages, then threw them script side down on the floor of their room, in the second story of the Brennan home. Poe's room was 16 by 25 feet. The east front had three 4 by 6 windows of small thick panes of French glass to resist the storm gusts coming up from the Hudson. Two rear windows over-looked the woodlands. There was a heavy, French plaster-of-Paris bust of Pallas on a small shelf over the door — and under its smoky transom. It was brought from France by its original Huguenot owner who [page 889:] fought under Napoleon at Austerlitz. It made, with a few martial engravings, the only ornaments of the room, which was furnished with old hair-cloth covered pieces and a bookcase, all from France with the fighting Colonel who died a good patriotic American citizen.” No doubt Poe delighted in these small scenic touches of French atmosphere and all the old stories of the place. Hooding the chimney fireplace was a fine wooden mantel-piece, hand carved in French designs of urns, garlands and willows. The center panel, of tracery pattern, hid andirons upon which [page 890:] wood-fire cheer drove the chill of early autumn mornings and evenings from Virginia. The record runs that Mrs. Brennan never but once was abrupt with Poe, and then he was lost in thought when leaning against this mantel-piece while cutting his name into its black, painted wood, when she called his attention to what he was doing. Then he smiled and begged her pardon. By the efforts of Charles Hemstreet, Esq., this mantel-piece has been placed in the Hall of Philosophy of Columbia University, New York City. Mrs. O‘Beirne — Poe's “little lady” — said that his writing-table stood between the front windows, and was “littered with books and papers of continuous work overflow.” Here she saw him revising some parts of “The Raven” and there — at his feet — she put in order the falling leaves, but could not understand why he turned them written side down to the floor. Her sister, Mrs. Manley, has “the 5 by 7 inches” old lock of Poe's chamber door.

Sometimes there were gatherings in Poe's old-fashioned room; with songs, stories and later refreshments in the dining-room below with Mr. Brennan presiding. There are records of Poe's night-watch of tempest-tossed gales, brewed up in the Catskills, swooping down past the palisades and spending their final fury against the height of the Brennan home and its whirling willows. The old house rocked betimes with the wild wind's force, and storm-driven birds in their frenzy of fear dashed against Poe's lighted windows for refuge they found not. The cloud legions clashed in blaze and roar, followed by the stillness and darkness of his own “Stygian shore.” [page 891:] So thrilling an hour must have moved the poet's soul in creative and enduring inspirations. On one such night as this Poe did much writing and the next morning Martha — who looked after his copy — found the floor strewn with sheet upon sheet of paper whereon he had written while the might of the storm spirit bent over him. With its majesty, the metaphysical conditions of his unfathomable character were in perfect attune and the time most fitting for revisions of “The Raven,” most, if not all of it, being of earlier Philadelphia writing. Mrs. Brennan said Poe read this poem to her one evening before it appeared in print. But turning from his serious trend of thought Poe's pleasant days’ recreation was, first, his daily swim, for which he would go regularly down the slope of the great rock known as Mt. Tom, now in Riverside Park Driveway. Sometimes Virginia would go with him to a near clump of trees on the bank. There she would sit and watch her expert swimmer's acquatic [[aquatic]] evolutions [page 893:] with delight, clapping her hands in glee as occurred special shows of his skilful maneuvres. Upon Mt. Tom, with its river views and surrounded by trees, Poe would often sit, write and dream “at sunset, gazing listlessly upon the moving tides of the river” — notes Dr. Theodore F. Wolfe. Sometimes, missing the poet at dark, Mr. Brennan went in quest of his [page 894:] guest through the secluded places of Stryker's Bay, and always found him in some delightful spot musing by himself, deeply absorbed and quite unconscious of the late hour or lonely surroundings, but in a somewhat exhausted condition when they got back for their evening meal.

Stryker's Bay Tavern(10) was in “a certain secluded little snuggery” — foot of 96th Street — with Joseph [page 895:] Francis as its host from 1841. Of Poe there, the record was, — “Often did he occupy a seat on Francis’ piazza, to enjoy the prospect and converse with friends and familiars — Woodworth, Morris, English, and the lawyer poet Wm. Ross Wallace.”

M. B. Brady stated Poe was brought to his gallery during the Broadway Journal days — 1845-46 — by their mutual friend William Ross Wallace. The daguerreotype taken of Poe was later on printed in “Anthony's Collection of Celebrities.”

It seems Wallace and Poe(11) were of such intimate, pleasant association as to read to each other their prior-print productions. Meeting one day, Wallace was advised by Poe that he had just finished the greatest poem ever written and asked if he cared to hear it. Poe was assured, and read “The Raven” in his best manner — then asked his friend's opinion of the verses. To this answer, “Poe, they are fine!” their writer replied, — “Fine? Is that all you can say for this poem? I tell you, it's the greatest poem ever written.” While undoubtedly Poe meant all this on literary and psychological scores, yet his expression of this occasion seems to indicate that he was under the rod of his “Imp of the Perverse,” as happened by like expression to Librarian Saunders — of the Astor Library — who met Poe in one of these stricture straits when he spoke of — and too truly — American authors’ designs to belittle his genius and smother his work.” And this was pathetically in point at Boston. But with prophetic emphasis, and a gleam of pardonable pride in his eye, Poe said to Saunders : “But posterity shall judge. Future generations [page 896:] will be able to sift the gold from the dross, and then ‘The Raven’ will be beheld shining above all, as a diamond of the purest water.” Mr. Saunders added of Poe: “The next time I saw him he was very much depressed, — suffering from melancholia, to which he was subject.”(12)

Quite another Poe dicta on “The Raven” comes through Mr. Dallett Fuguet, Montclair, N. J., and from his father's cousin, Poe's brief Broadway Journal partner — Thomas H. Lane. He asked: “Poe, really why did you write ‘The Raven‘?” The poet answered: “To see how near to the absurd I could come without over-stepping the dividing line.” Mr. Fuguet adds: “That anecdote I heard quite a few times from Mr. Lane, who wondered at the effect of ‘The Raven,’ not understanding why it was so effective, yet considering it Poe's best effort.”

Returning to the narrative order, and the Brennan home: near it was the Brennan Pond, a bit of water shaded with trees, beneath which was a rustic seat favored by Poe, in many summer days of writing there, until the children were sent to call him to his meals. “He was said to be always gentle and amiable, very fond of children and loved to be among them; and as there were ten model boys and girls he was well supplied in this regard.” One of the “ten” — Thomas Sebastian Brennan — “was about eight or nine years old when” his friend “Poe used to take him out walking and draw pictures with a stick in the sand” for the boy. This comes from his grandson H. Mott Brennan through Thomas O. Mabbott. There are several records of the poet's chivalric affection for his wife; [page 897:] frequently, when she was weaker than usual, he would carry her from her room to the dining-room; often out of doors, and seemed eager to gratify her every whim. “Mrs. Brennan said, that during the two years she knew Poe intimately she never saw him affected by liquor or do aught that evinced the impetuous nature accredited to him.” How much Poe, Virginia and Mrs. Clemm must have enjoyed the fresh vegetables and fruits of her bountiful table! No need there, to piece out a too slender bill of fare with a bite and stimulants of a bar-room. Concerning later charges as to Poe's habits and want of sobriety, General O‘Beirne noted: “So far as I have heard and investigated his stay with the Brennans, no word from any of that family did I ever hear that any violation of the strictest temperance had ever occurred. Mrs. Brennan was an uncompromising advocate of temperance and had such a dread of spirituous liquors, that I do not hesitate to say that the poet could not have remained an hour under her roof had he exhibited the slightest sign of the influence of liquor at any time. Nor had any of the family ever hinted of such an occurrence. Mrs. Brennan said that Poe and family had no visitors; took many of their meals in their own room where Mrs. Clemm spent her days; but nights she slept in a tiny room down stairs: that Poe could afford to pay for their board; but for little else. Yet he worked hard, — that he was shy; solitary; taciturn, at times, but very quiet and gentlemanly in his manners; and while with her, — he carried himself with exemplary correctness.” It is said, Poe's conscience tale “The Imp of the Perverse” — printed in Graham's 1845 July issue — was [page 898:] written at the Brennan home. As transit between Bloomingdale and the City of those days was made by omnibus and ferry-boat, Poe took the bus when he could pay for it and lacking its fare he walked the seven miles: but Virginia loved the water and the record runs that he took her twice at least to the City center during their stay with Mrs. Brennan. Every reference of her entire family to Poe was of praise for his gentle manners, kindly words, his devotion to his invalid wife, Mrs. Clemm and his attachment to them all. With regret they finally parted when the late, cool autumn days came; for in November Poe was obliged to go into the city. With that summer's simple, quiet, out-of-doors life with an abundant table Poe stood in no need of stimulants, that harsher times of overwork and lack of proper nourishment created. For bread and butter calls Poe engaged in some gossipy anonymous contributions for editors Bowen and Gossler, of the Columbia Spy, Columbia, Penn. One letter was dated New York, June 18, 1844. Among its items that claimed Poe's attention were, “The natural beauty” and convenience of New York Harbor, its inartistic landscape and architectural features: he compared the length of Broadway with four miles of Front Street, Philadelphia; mentioned the near trial of Polly Bodine at Richmond, N. Y. “She was a servant accused of murdering her mistress and child, and was acquitted at her third trial in 1846,” — comes from Thos. O. Mabbott, New York. Poe criticised the city's investigations of ‘Mary Rogers’ murder, allowing the culprit's escape; noted of N. P. Willis: “Few men have [page 899:] received more abuse, deserving it less”; deplored his leaving the “tranquillity and retirement of Glen Mary,” and wished for his sake “‘The New Mirror’ would go the way of all flesh”: Willis’ biography in Graham's was noted as by Landor, not Longfellow, “whose works compare as the Virgins of Masaccio with Raphael's.” Poe likened Landor, as a unistylist, to Cardinal Chigi, — “who boasted that he used one pen for fifty years.” A general drag in the “annual” way, caused by small profits, was mentioned, and Mr. Riker's Opal was stated to be first edited by Dr. Griswold, briefly by Willis and — “now by Mrs. Hale, — of fine genius, masculine energy and ability.” Poe inquired if The Spy editors had seen Griswold's “Series of the Curiosities of Literature,” which was noted, “per se, the greatest of all ... curiosities ... as great a curiosity as the compiler himself.” While Poe stood by his canons in literary estimates of Dr. Griswold, from time to time his critic found himself marooned by the keen need of Dr. Griswold. On such lines, after Poe's lecture on “American Poetry” before the New York Society Library audience, Feb. 28, 1845, he wrote a letter — of no date — in which was:

DEAR GRISWOLD, — I return the proof, with many thanks for your attentions. ... You will perceive, ... that some of the lines have been divided at the wrong place. I have marked them right. ... In the “Sleeper” the line

“Forever with unclosed eye,”

should read

“Forever with unopen‘d eye.”

Is it possible to make the alteration? ... [page 900:]

P. S. I presume you understand that in the repetition of my Lecture on the Poets (in N. Y.) I left out all that was offensive to you?

In Dr. Griswold's edited print of this letter appear abject words that are not in original Poe-manuscript letter.

Charles Fenno Hoffman's sketch of Griswold (in Graham's, June, 1844) was given special mention by Poe's prior-print review in May 17, 1845, Broadway Journal. Mr. Graham wrote of Poe: “As a critic he was despotic, supreme. Yet no man with more readiness would soften a harsh expression at the request of a friend, or if he himself felt he had infused too great bitterness ... into his article, ... though still maintaining the justness of his critical views. I do not believe he wrote to give pain; but in combating ... error he used the strongest word that presented itself, even in conversation.” Another quality record of Poe's criticism was: “So sure of aim and faultless of touch.”

In June, 1844, Graham's issue(13) was Poe's weird verses “Dreamland” of prior noting, as written at the Greenwich Street house of abundance.

June 27, 1844, at Elmwood, Cambridge, Lowell replied to Poe concerning his biography for Graham's Series of “Our Contributors.” Lowell told his “dear friend” that the writer had stolen a month's vacation and he hoped that “lying fallow” would enrich future crops. He apologized for his delay of the biography; owned to constitutional laziness not corrected in early years, but he protested his tardy effort was owing to “no lack of interest” but to “incurable” [page 901:] indolence: he promised immediate action, and appealed to Poe for some sort of “spiritual” self-estimate, as the Hirst “Sketch” — of Saturday Museum, Philadelphia, March 4, 1843 — would furnish facts. Lowell also asked for records of various Poe-writings. And with him, Lowell thought the Foreign Quarterly Review article on Dr. Griswold's “Poets and Poetry” fair as to conclusions, but the reviewer was ignorant on political scores, and added of Poe : “But you are mistaken as to the authorship. ... It was ... written by ... Forster ... author of ... ‘ Statesmen of the Time of Cromwell‘! Dickens may have given him hints.” Lowell concluded, that he would send his prior-print life sketch of Poe to him and he could make suggestions or suppress it; but its writer preferred to please Poe, rather than the public, and signed himself, “Affectionately,” Poe's friend. While at Mrs. Brennan's, July 2, 1844, Poe wrote Lowell that his “constitutional indolence” was understood because it was one of the writer's sins. He stated: “I am excessively slothful and wonderfully industrious ... by fits. There are epochs when any ... mental exercise is torture.” At such times nothing gave Poe pleasure but dreaming with nature for months, when he would finally waken with an acute desire for scribbling all day and reading all night. Poe voted himself negatively ambitious: he perceived the vanity of human wishes; lived in a reverie of the future and believed man now more active but neither wiser nor happier than “6000 years ago.” He could not lose man, the unit in the masses. Poe stated that no one had any idea of spirit: atomic matter rarefied [page 902:] itself from stone to gas and continuously beyond gas. He wrote: “spirit, ... is unparticled, ... Its activity is the thought of God — which creates.” That man individualized by matter was rudimental, and as such required the stars for habitations. Death was transformation. “At death the worm is the butterfly.” Personally, Poe noted: “My life has been whim — impulse — passion — a longing for solitude — a scorn of all things present, in an earnest desire for the future.” He wrote that he was “profoundly excited by music,” which “is the perfection of soul, or idea of Poetry.” He was also deeply moved by some poems of Tennyson, Keats, Shelley, Coleridge. Poe believed the vague exaltation awakened by “a sweet air” should be the aim of poetry. So Poe, the dreamer, estimated this phase of his own life. Of Poe's life Dr. Woodberry states, “it is its idiosyncratic character that marks it as genuine.” Certainly it teems with vital interests of wide margins and disrupts the charge of infidelity made against Poe. But returning to the Review of Dr. Griswold's “Poets and Poetry,” in Foreign Quarterly Review, Poe's letter repeats, that he still clings to Dickens as its writer or dictator, and stated, — “My reasons would convince you could I give them to you.” Poe mentioned his two long interviews with Dickens when in Philadelphia, and that most of items in the critique Poe heard from Mr. D., or suggested to him; also read to him the Emerson poem. Among the details mentioned of his own works were, that “The Purloined Letter” was best on ratiocination scores, and that it was to appear in The Gift; “The Oblong Box” was for September [page 903:] Godey's; but “Thou Art the Man” was as yet unpublished. The only work its writer had, “The Gold Bug,” was sent to Lowell; and Poe's review of Longfellow's “Spanish Student” exposing plagiarisms was mentioned as being with Graham's nine months. This exposition probably answered Poe's query why it did not appear. He concluded with an inquiry of his life sketch, with a half fear that it might come too late, as it was intended for Graham's September issue.

Professor Killis Campbell states that “The Premature Burial,” by Poe, was in the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper, July 31, 1844. Dr. Lewis Chase writes that Poe obtained some ideas for this tale from traditions of actual happenings in and near London, to which stories Poe, the boy, was an absorbed listener.

Oaky Grove, Ga., Aug. 6, 1844, dated a letter from Poe's ardent admirer, Dr. Thomas H. Chivers, in which he wrote: “I have just received your beautiful friendly, abstruse and transcendental letter of July 10th, ... I am ... delighted with its contents. I should like very much to see your ... ‘Mesmeric Revelation.’ Will you be so good as to forward ... ’ Columbian Magazine’ containing it.” Its date was August, 1844. Dr. Chivers gave the details mentioned in Poe's letter to Lowell and concluded: “I intend to get all your writings.” Of “Mesmeric Revelation” Mr. Albert J. Edmunds, Philadelphia, states: “Poe dropt into Andrew Jackson Davis’ Trance lectures, before the rise of spirit-rapping, in 1845, during the writing of these themes, by which Poe excited so much domestic and foreign attention.” Of Davis and his Magic Staff [page 904:] sheet, Poe wrote: “There surely cannot be ‘more things in Heaven and Earth’ than are dreamt of (oh, Andrew Jackson Davis!) in your Philosophy.” By 1846 print of “Mesmeric Revelation” in London Popular Science Monthly quite a commotion was created in British literary and scientific circles. Swedenborgians discovered all Poe said in this tale to be “absolutely true,” although at first doubting his veracity, of which Poe himself said: “ ... a thing which, in that particular instance, I never dreamed of not doubting myself. The story is a pure fiction from beginning to end.”(14) It was only one hoax of Poe's many.

Aug. 18, 1844, Poe wrote Lowell that a periodical print of “Mesmeric Revelation,” amplifying the ideas in a prior letter, had been sent to him. His influence was requested for its reprint in the Boston Notion or other papers. Poe could not do this for himself, as he was living so entirely out of the world. He added that he was very industrious — collecting and arranging materials for a “Critical History of American Literature.” He inquired of Hawthorne, and rated him, “of rare genius,” voted his “Drowne's Wooden Image” to be “delicious” and mentioned its main idea as suggested by Michael Angelo's couplet:

Non ha l’ ottimo artista alcun concetto

Ché un marmo solo in se non circonscriva.”

Poe added: “To be sure, Angelo half stole the thought from Socrates.”

Professor Killis Campbell notes, that early prints of “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Oblong [page 905:] Box” were in Aug. 28, 1844, issue of The Dollar Newspaper Weekly, and therein the latter had the sub-title of, “A Capital Story.”

Poe's good friend F. W. Thomas, at Washington, wrote him about this time. Sept. 8, 1844, dated Poe's answer,(15) which addressed him as “My Dear Thomas.” Then followed: “I received your letter with sincere pleasure. ... while you were wondering that I did not write you, I was making up my mind that you had forgotten me. ... I ... left Philadelphia, and am living ... about five miles out of New York. For ... months I have been playing hermit ... nor have I seen a living soul out of my family — who are well, ... (as regards Virginia) as well as usual. Her health remains excessively precarious.” Poe noted details of Thomas’ “Beechen Tree” verses and wrote of himself as, “out of the world,” to which was added: “Thank God! Richard (whom you know) is himself again. Tell Dow so: ... I am working at a variety of things ... with an ardor of which I did not believe myself capable.” This assertion testified what simple, out-of-doors life and nourishing food could and did do for Poe when with the Brennan family. He continued: “You said ... in Philadelphia ... you believed Robert Tyler really wished to give me the post in the Custom House. This I also think ... and he could not ... do as he wished ... by seeing at — the head of the ‘Aurora,’ [Thomas Dunn English] — a bullet-headed ... villain who [English] has been more ... busy in ... vilification of Robert Tyler than any individual, ... in America. Let me hear from you very soon.” Out of narrative date order, Oct. 10, Thomas [page 906:] replied: “I do not know when I have received more pleasure than in the reception of your letter of the 8th ultimo — You know my opinion ... of your critical fairness and acumen — I ... would rather have praise from you. ... than from, any other critic in the broad land. ... I have seen my book favorably noticed so far, with the exception of Dunn English, and, ... Park Benjamin, who, ... has mounted me without mittens. Do, ... obtain a copy of the ‘New World’ which contains the aforesaid criticism, and send it to me. Poe, I begin to think that your Philadelphia notice of the editor of the ‘N. W.’ was true! ... At any rate ... Park and I are both limping rhymers [as a literal fact, both were lame] ... the old proverb ‘two of a trade’ applies. As to Dunn English — what you say of him I believed long ago — ... I am glad, my dear Poe, to learn that your family are all ‘well.’ The ‘as usual’ applied to your fair lady gives me great hope, ... Our friend Dow is ... deeper immersed in politics than ever. ... Dow is door keeper to the House of Representatives, has a good salary, ... has purchased ... a house, and is living ... I may say, luxuriously. ... Poe, would you believe it? I have become quite a reader of biblical subjects, and have forgotten the smack of wine, ‘t is so long since I have tasted it, ... Remember me in the kindest manner, my old friend, to Mrs. Poe and her good mother, and believe me that I know of no one whose happiness and success I have more at heart than yours.”

In Godey's September, 1844, issue was Poe's story, “The Oblong Box,” a fearsome conscience study in horrors of convincing effects for their created purpose. [page 907:] If Poe taxed others for personal service, many also levied on his limited time, strength and lesser purse-force. Yet, in kindly spirit, a letter dated at Oaky Grove, Ga., Sept. 24, 1844, came to him, from Dr. Chivers, in which he wrote: “I have been looking with ... anxiety for another ... of your transcendental letters. ... Your last ... gave me such intellectual delight ... as the Angels feel in heaven ... I have been studying it ever since . ... If you knew how much pleasure it gives me ... I know you would write me once every week.” Thus, so little do health and plenty realize their heedless tax on those lacking both! Dr. Chivers might have made it financially worth Poe's while to write those suggested “once a week” brain-wearing letters. The Doctor concluded with: “I will be in New York soon. As Fra Paulo Scorpi said of his native land — Esta perpetua — may you live forever.”

Closing September, 1844, brought Poe's “Life Sketch” from Lowell, who wrote from Elmwood, Cambridge, Mass., the 27th, that he kept it back to send by private hand: that it was written under a “depression of spirits which unfits a man for anything.” Very true! but few realize that most of Poe's works were written tinder far greater measure of such pressure, and this fact claimed no consideration from his adverse critics nor, later on, from Lowell himself: his letter requested Poe to modify the slighting mention of Chatterton in this “Sketch,” which was sent to the care of Charles F. Briggs, No. 1 Nassau Street, New York.

After a month and a day — Oct 28 — Poe wrote [page 908:] Lowell: “A host of small troubles arising from the one ... poverty,” — prevented the writer from thanking Lowell again and again for the Biography and all its well-intended flatteries. Poe stated, that it was sent to Graham at once; also was mentioned, that he had not seen the announcement of Lowell's marriage, made known in his penultimate letter, but congratulated him, and wished him no better than the substantial happiness the writer had found in his own. Poe further noted that his own long letter, to Lowell, never answered, concerned the coalition of author's scheme for protection [page 909:] against publishers — by a magazine of high character — and that details of its purpose, cost and returns had been given in his prior letter to Lowell.

Many letters and MS. print issues kept Poe hard at work through this summer, and early autumn months of 1844, at Mrs. Brennan's home. His “poverty” found him reaching out in all possible directions for means of mere existence. Doubtless the cold of late November days and the need to be nearer the city's center induced Poe to move his little family to No. 15 Amity Street, New York. The city omnibus fare — a shilling — from Mrs. Brennan's was then beyond Poe's purse tax, as was daily walking that distance beyond his strength. One record is, that their No. 15 Amity Street rooms were two flights up, in the rear; and, Poe's roofage there, for many years sheltered — to the date of his death — Colonel Trumbull, the fine vigorous painter of American Revolutionary scenes and many portraits. But there, the comforts of Poe's summer home and its plentiful table loss assailed him, to the extent of his own illness added to Virginia's failing health.

Under this double distress, and of it, comes from N. P. Willis — then editor of the New York Evening Mirror — that Mrs. Clemm called on him to ask for some employment for Poe. Nathaniel Parker Willis, as one of Poe's noblest friends, commands special mention. Willis was born at Portland, Me., Jan. 20, 1807. His father, Nathaniel Willis, founded the Youth's Companion, said to be the first paper in the world issued for children — at Boston, Mass., where N. P. Willis passed his childhood, attended its Latin [page 910:] School, and thence, Phillips Andover Academy, Andover, Mass., until he went to Yale in 1823. Graduating therefrom in 1827, Willis edited The Token for 1828; tried for two years to edit The American Monthly, Boston — but “tight purses of Boston culture,” in 1833, drove Willis to New York, where he became “Master workman” on the staff of the New York Mirror. In its interest he, as pioneer foreign correspondent, spent several years in Europe, gaining name, notoriety and, in 1835, a wife in England; he [page 911:] returned to the United States in 1837, By transition, in 1844, the New York Mirror (a weekly) became a daily issue as the Evening Mirror, which, fortunately for Poe, then needed a “mechanical paragraphist” or sub-editor. In 1846, George P, Morris and Willis, owners of the Evening Mirror, drifted into their popular Home Journal venture with its office at 107 Fulton Street, near John. From an N. P. Willis letter to his editorial associate, General George P. Morris, comes: “Our first knowledge of Mr. Poe's removal to this city was by a call ... from a lady who introduced herself to us as the mother of his wife. She was in search of employment for him, and she excused her errand by mentioning that he was ill, that her daughter was a confirmed invalid, and ... circumstances were such as compelled her taking it upon herself. The countenance of this lady, made beautiful and saintly, with ... complete giving up of her life to privation and ... tenderness, her gentle and mournful voice urging its plea, her ... refined manners, and her ... appreciative mention of the claims and abilities of her son, disclosed at once the presence of one of those angels upon earth that women in adversity can be. ... Mr. Poe wrote ... too much above the popular level to be well paid. [Thus, notwithstanding his endless industry,] he was always in pecuniary difficulty, and, with his sick wife, [and often sick himself] frequently in want of the merest necessaries of life.” No one so well knew as did Mrs. Clemm the cause of Poe's heritage of nerve exhaustion, and resulting depression that paralyzed human consciousness, not will, beyond mortal power-resistance of a supposed remedy. [page 912:]

At Idlewild, October 17, 1859, Willis wrote Morris of Poe:(16) “In our harassing and exhausting days of ‘daily’ editorship, Poe, for a long time, was our assistant — the constant and industrious occupant of a desk in our office. ... [from nine in the morning until the paper went to press] Poe came to us quite incidentally, neither of us having been personally acquainted with him ‘til that time; ... I wish to make a remark or two which will stand for YOUR VOICE AND MINE. ... I should preface my avowal of an almost reverence for the man, as I knew him, ... It was rather a step downward, after being the chief editor of several monthlies, ... to come into the office of a daily journal as a mechanical paragraphist. It was his business to sit at a desk, in the corner of the editorial room, ready to be called upon for ... miscellaneous work of the day; yet you remember how absolutely and how good humouredly ready he was for any suggestion; how punctually and industriously reliable in the following out of the wish once expressed; how cheerful and present-minded his work when he might excusably have been so listless and abstracted. We loved the man for the entireness of fidelity with which he served us.”

In the Home Journal comes from Willis: “Poe was employed by us, ... as critic and sub-editor. ... With the highest admiration for his genius, and a willingness to let it atone for more than ordinary irregularity, we were led by common report to expect a very capricious attention to his duties, and, occasionally, a scene of violence and difficulty. Time went on, however, and he was invariably punctual and industrious. [page 913:] With his pale, beautiful, and intellectual face, as a reminder of what genius was in him, it was impossible, ... not to treat him ... with deferential courtesy, and to our occasional request that he would not probe too deep in a criticism, or that he would erase a passage colored too highly with his resentments ... he readily and courteously assented — far more yielding than most men, ... on points so excusably sensitive. With a prospect of taking the lead in another periodical, he, at last, voluntarily gave up his employment with us, and, through all this ... period, we had seen but one presentment of the man — a quiet, patient, industrious, and most gentlemanly person, commanding the utmost respect and good feeling by his unvarying [page 914:] deportment and ability.” So stands Poe's record when with Morris and Willis in their Evening Mirror Office, corner Ann and Nassau Streets, New York City.

Earlier and later,(17) Poe voted Gen. George P. Morris “our best writer of songs, ... ‘Woodman, Spare that Tree’ and ‘By the Lake where droops the Willow’ are compositions of which any poet, living or dead, might justly be proud. By these, if by nothing else, Morris is immortal.”

In the New York Evening Mirror, Oct. 8, 1844, and second issue, appeared Poe's critique of “Drama of Exile and other Poems” by Elizabeth Barrett Barrett. After critical details of contents Poe noted of their writer: “Miss Barrett has done more, in poetry, than any woman living or dead,” her “Lady Geraldine” was voted “very far the superior poem.” From the late Mr. J. H. Ingram it comes, that Robert Browning was told by Buchanan Read that Poe described to him the construction process of “The Raven” and, in part, its suggestion lay in a line from “Lady Geraldine.” Very likely these words,

“With a murmurous stir uncertain, in the air the purple curtain”

brought to “The Raven” Poe's later revision in —

“And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain ”

— with the sway of it — scarcely more, as “The Raven” was in draft form, including this 3rd verse and up to the 10th at least, as early as the summer of [page 915:] 1842, according to the Barhytes — father, daughter and son — of Saratoga, N. Y.

Echoes of Poe's illness, Mrs. Clemm mentioned to Willis, when asking for Poe's employment, are found in his story “The Angel of the Odd,” which appeared in October, 1844, Columbian Magazine. Poe certainly felt himself in the desperate straits of this tale's hero, who found himself — with his left arm broken — suspended in space, by clutching with his right hand the guide rope of a balloon in which stood the impish “Angel of the Odd.” He demanded the unfortunate's belief in him prior to rescue; and as an evidence of good faith, the fiend required his victim to put his right Band, holding the rope, into his lefthand breeches pocket. As a reflex of Poe's physical condition this vicious dream-story, “Angel of the Odd,” seems to carry not less of evil consequences than the limited mercy and wits of the American literati — with a few exceptions — levied on Poe. Another proof of his nerve strictures then, was his answer of Oct. 24, 1844, to an unlocated letter from S. D. Craig, Esq., Quoque. Some items of Poe's answer were:

SIR, — Proceed. There are few things which could afford me more pleasure than ... holding you up to that public admiration which you have so long courted: and this I think I can do to good purpose — with the aid of some ... poor labourers and ... other warm friends of yours about Yorkville.

The tissue of ... lies ... you have addressed to myself ... I deem it well to retain. It is a specimen of attorney grammar too rich to be lost. As for the letter you designed for Mr. Willis ... I take the liberty [page 916:] of re-enclosing it. The fact is, I am neither your footman nor the penny-post.

With all due respect, nevertheless

I am yr ob. St. EDGAR A. POE.

S. D. CRAIG, Esq., Quoque

New York, Oet. 24, ‘44.

Thomas Ollive Mabbott locates Quoque on the south-eastern shore of Long Island. From “Doggett's New York City and Co-partnership Directory for 1844” Mr. Victor H. Paltsits notes: “S. D. Craig, lawyer, 20 Chambers St.,” house, “Quoque.” This letter rather definitely indicates that however tired, tried or ill, Poe's wits were keenly on the alert. But more than an echo of trouble came to Poe these October days. His “P. S.” to the New York April 7th letter to Mrs. Clemm at Philadelphia gives the cause in, — “Be sure to take home the ’ Messenger’ to Hirst.” The condensed letter items that follow explain this misadventure. They begin with Poe's Oct. 28, 1844, letter to William Duane, Esq., one time Secretary of the U S. Treasury. Poe's letter keenly regretted that circumstances might lead Mr. Duane to think the writer careless in not returning the “Messenger.” Poe stated that some eight months prior he mentioned within hearing of Mr. Hirst the wish to look over a special article in the Messenger. Mr. Hirst insisted on borrowing the volume from Mr. Duane, although the writer would have preferred to have done this himself: but he retained it a short time, and more than seven months ago he returned it to Mr. Hirst by Mrs. Clemm, who said she left it at his office, with one [page 917:] of his brothers. Poe mentioned a possible placing of it in a bookcase; its being overlooked and forgotten, and requested sending for it to the owner. He endorsed Poe's letter to the effect that this volume's return to Mr. Hirst was said by him to be “a damned lie.” Mr. Duane added, that later events proved Mr. Hirst right, — “Mr. Poe having sold the book, I hope unintentionally, to William A. Leary, the book-seller on Second St.” Poe's April 7th, 1844, “P. S.” to Mrs. Clemm certainly exonerated him from this charge. Mr. Whitty notes: “Hirst was hard up then and he might have sold the ‘Messenger.’ ” In any case he borrowed it and did not seem concerned to make the loss good. And yet in the confusion of the Philadelphia closing up of his affairs Mrs. Clemm might have placed this Messenger with Poe's books to be sold and taken Hirst another number of it. Yet Mrs. Clemm's record seemed very faithful and accurate in all her other transactions between Poe and others, and it seems well to bear in mind that Miss Clarke(18) said, “Hirst enjoyed the reputation of being the most accomplished liar of his day.”

By sale transits, this Messenger volume reached its Richmond publishers, who sold it to a visiting friend of Mr. Duane for him. Of this fact he must have advised Poe; for his Jan. 28, 1845, reply stated that “Richmond” was the last place he should have tried to find volumes of the Messenger to number 3 — and therefore did not try to, but he had tried in New York to collect contents of the missing volume, and he was relieved by the last letter from its owner; but Poe recognized only the party who insisted on forcing the [page 918:] Messenger loan on him in this affair and to whom he believed it had been returned and with him the owner was advised to settle and insult writer no more. Mr. Duane endorsed this letter as from “Bombastes Furioso Poe,(19) ... received, Jan. 31, 1845,” — added the details of its loan to Poe, as of prior mention, also return to owner and concluded: “My name was on the title-page during all these sales. Poe had the grace to be ashamed of himself, when he heard ... I had had to repurchase my own book. He remarked to H. B. Hirst, Esqr., ‘What must Mr. Duane think of me,’ on hearing of which, I sent him word that he ought to send me the five dollars which the repurchase had cost me. He died without doing so, I suppose from inability.”

Much stress seems to have been placed by Poe biographers on William J. Duane (1780-1865), as “Secretary of the United States Treasury.” Duane's brief [page 919:] sway of that office only dated from flay to September, 1833. He was then removed by President Jackson. As a bright lawyer, Duane wrote on political, financial and legal subjects, and should have realized that his rebought, lost volume of Southern Literary Messenger, at “$5,” was several times that sum advanced in value. by reason of Poe's pencil revisions in it. This fact may have moved Poe to forget to send that “repurchase” cost to the owner. In any case Poe had tried, without success, to buy Duane's lost sections of the Messenger for him. In connection with Robert Tyler's 1842, promised place that Poe failed to obtain in the Philadelphia Custom House, and lawyer-editor Duane, his “Bombastes Furioso Poe,” at New York, September 8, 1894, wrote F. W. Thomas: “you believed Robert Tyler ... wished to give me the post in the Custom House. This I also think; and I am confirmed in the opinion that he could not, ... by seeing — at the head of the ‘Aurora,’ ... a ... malicious villain who has brought more odium upon the Administration than any fellow (of equal littleness) in its ranks, and who has been more indefatigably busy in open and secret vilification of Robert Tyler than any individual, big or little, in America.” Duane's father revived his powerful, political Aurora, of Philadelphia, in 1834, but he died in 1835. From his ashes may have arisen that Philadelphia “clique,” John Tomlin, of Tennessee, mentioned to Poe in 1843, as having “completely baulked” his Stylus venture. And the Poe-letter fragment, on the “Aurora” galaxy, may have included Thomas S. Smith, who detested. Robert Tyler's name that lost Poe his Custom House place. [page 920:] All this seems to explain Poe's political and The Stylus failures and why he did not himself borrow from and return Duane's Messenger to its owner.

Poe's life records note him as a borrower of many books from Mr. Duyckinck and various other friends, but no other known mention than Mr. Duane's exists as to Poe's failure to return such loans, if it was a failure on his part through Mrs. Clemm. This Duane set of the Southern Literary Messenger contains Poe's own pencil corrections for revisions: “Hans Phaall” pages with the printer's take-marks torn out and replaced, which, with other points, indicate that this volume was used by Poe in the 1840 issue of “The Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque” — all of which comes from Mr, James H. Whitty, who includes this Duane set of the Messenger amongst his many Poe treasures.

November, 1844, Godey's issue gave the poet's strong conscience story, “Thou Art the Man.” This drained pool tragedy Poe probably studied out when he was found, lost in reveries, on the rustic seat by the margin of Brennan's Pond in the twilights of the prior summer. But a November sidelight on the poet's family affairs came from Mr. Willis’ letter dated at the Home Journal office, Nov. 12th. After noting a concert and paragraph it concluded with:

I had a letter ... from your sister enquiring where you were; supposing you had moved, I could not inform her. You seem as neglectful of your sister as I am of mine; but private letters are “the last ounce that breaks the camel's back” of a literary man.

Yours very truly. [page 921:]

Besides paragraphing for the Evening Mirror Poe sent his revised old print of “Marginalia, or Miscellaneous Nothings,” to the November and December issues of O’Sullivan's Democratic Review, which aside from its politics Poe thin thought “the most valuable journal of the day,” and its editor “a man of fine matter-of-fact talents,” as its criticism was “candid, sensible and upright.” Of the reference to McKnight's “Harmony of the Gospels,” in this date's “,‘Marginalia,” Mr. Hogg writes that McKnight was an Irvine man; his book was common in Ayrshire, and Poe probably read it in Allan's library. Mr. Hogg adds, that “on hearing this book much praised an Ayrshire man said, ‘I see naething wonderful aboot it, makin four men agree that never fell oot! “’ Of “Marginalia” Mr. Hogg continues, “that Poe was also very severe on :Montgomery — the ‘Christian poet,’ another native of Irvine whose works Poe noted as, ‘the epics of Hell-Fire Montgomery’ — and sure to be found in Allan's library,” concludes Mr. Hogg. who laments Poe's critique of Professor Wilson and harsh scoring of Burns, but adds, “Burns has some severe critics amongst those of his native Ayrshire heaths.” Yet Poe elsewhere, twice at least, held Burns’ genius in high esteem, as well as that of Sir Chistopher [[Christopher]] North. In Sept. 6, 1845, Broadway Journal, Poe wrote of Professor Wilson as “one of the most gifted and altogether one of the remarkable men of his day. His ideality ... enthusiastic appreciation of the beautiful, conjoined with a temperament compelling him into action and expression, has been the root of his eminent success.” But [page 922:] the persistent non-open recognition of Poe seems to have touched him keenly as to Sir Christopher North; and into later flippant lines found by Mr. Thomas O. Mabbott in Jan. 3, 1846, Broadway Journal:

“I though Kit North a bore — in 1824 —

I find the thought alive — In 1845.”

No doubt this couplet encased some heart-ache caused by long deferred foreign recognition; never in Blackwood's print over Poe's name was this given. The phastasy [[phantasy]] satire, “Literary Life of Thingum Bob,” said to be a “take off” on George K. Graham's and other editors’ methods of catering to the public taste, appeared in the December, 1844, Southern Literary Messenger as an anonymous contribution. This was Poe's first known article in the Messenger since he left its service. It was sent by letter agreement, at $3.00 per page, to Editor B. B. Minor, who wished to better the magazine's criticism and Poe's welfare. But while editors were complacently allowing Poe's fresher MSS. to sleep, wedged into pigeonholes, and he was overworking his depleted strength from 9 A.M. to press time of the Evening Mirror, it was hardly “audacity” in him to provide what they would print of “writings and clippings” from his earlier articles in brief, readable form. Thus Poe's “Marginalia,” “Omniana,” and their kind, gave convincing evidence of his scholarship.

Poe's twice outreaching quest of Lowell as to an author's coalition periodical was answered from Elmwood, Cambridge, Dec. 12, 1844. Lowell apologized for delayed reply, so brief then, because he was keeping [page 923:] the printers busy at the rate of from eight to twenty pages a day of prose “about poets and everything else.” It was “Conversations on Some of the Old Poets.” In Lowell's letter was another, to introduce his friend, Charles F. Briggs, who was to start a literary weekly in New York City, and he wished Poe's aid. Lowell stated he read his “Life Sketch of Poe” to Briggs when in Boston some time ago; but that day his letter plan of his literary venture and request of Poe's address was answered by enclosed introduction. Lowell thought the “pay” would be useful to Poe, and Briggs would “pay.” Lowell also praised Poe to Editor George H. Colton, of the American Review, and from the “wry faces” made by the author of “Tecumseh,” Lowell suspected he had been “cut up” by Poe. But Lowell thought he had convinced this editor of his own interest in making permanent terms with Poe; but as to pay, nothing was known. Lowell's marriage was delayed until after the birth of his book, — probably it might be prior to Christmas, and he planned to spend the winter in Philadelphia. Halting a night in New York, going — he was to stay longer on his return, and then of course he would see Poe, who would like Briggs; and he would edit “an excellent paper.” On the opposite page, in a “P. S.” Lowell wrote that he knew nothing, except what Poe's letter told of his circumstances, but thought it never safe for an editor to know “an author wants his pay.” Briggs’ address was given as No. T, Nassau Street, New York. Thus by Lowell's aid and the Evening Mirror, Charles F. Briggs, of Nantucket, — but better known in New York from his “Adventures of Harry [page 924:] Franco” (in Knickerbocker) by that name — came into personal touch with Edgar Allan Poe. He contributed to Briggs’ Broadway Journal from its start, Jan. 4, 1845, at Clinton Hall, Beekman Street, near Broadway. In Charles F. Briggs’ letter, noted in Lowell's, were mentioned the plans for publishing it that date, by John Bisco, a Worcester (Mass.) schoolteacher in New Jersey, and one time publisher of Knickerbocker. Briggs followed these details by his request for Poe's address. This resulted in Poe's long review of Miss Barrett's “Drama of Exile and Other Poems” in the first and second numbers of Broadway Journal, also his continuous writing for it, at $1.00 per column. Poe's review of Miss Barrett's “Poems” claimed from her but one criticism, — he “attributes the ‘Œdipus Coloneeus’ to Æschylus ... ” Poe knew better, but this made one of his very few script slips, which later on moved Briggs — of no comparison in literary force or scholarship — to write of Poe: “He talks about dactyls and spondees with surprising glibness. ... He makes quotations from the German but can’t read a word of the language.” Mr. Whitty and three other authorities record that Poe could read German; but Mr. Briggs added: “As to his Greek, — you might see very well if it were put in your eye.” Professor Clarke told a different story of Poe's reading Greek when he was thirteen years old, but Mr. Briggs continued of Poe: “He does not read Wordsworth and knows nothing about him.” And seriously enough a present-day press-man(20) called Charles F. Briggs a much better educated man than Poe, who “used French lavishly and ignorantly” — and said that “much of [page 925:] Poe's writing was shallow, arrogant and misguided.” However, the “better educated” Briggs wrote also of Poe: “Three things he did with remarkable skill: unravel and judge a plot; detect excellence or defect of rhythm in verse, and expose faults and failures in the writing of English.” An altogether fine commendation of Poe, the master-critic! Of Poe, “the scholar,” and “primarily a poet”(21) Dr. William P. Trent, New York, writes: “It was no small achievement to have sung imperishable songs of heaven, love and elusive beauty. It is no small achivement [[achievement]] to have produced unexcelled strains of harmony that have since so rung in the ears of brother poets that the echoes of them may be detected even in the verses of such artists as Rossetti and Swinburne.”

To Lowell, Jan. 6, 1845, Briggs wrote that he liked Poe “exceedingly well,” but had been “told shocking, bad stories” about him by the Rev. Dr. Griswold (whose clerical soul seemed not above such gossip), but which stories “Poe's whole demeanor contradicts.” As to “The Gold Bug,” Briggs continued, Jan. 6th, that he never read it “until recently,” and considered it as one of “the most ingenious pieces of fiction,” and added, he was told by Poe that “The Haunted Palace” was returned to him by Editor O’Sullivan of the Democratic Review, and Graham had kept “The Gold Bug” nine months without printing it.(22) Of all this Briggs noted: “You see by these, what the judgment of Magazine editors amounts to.” He added that he had strangely misunderstood Poe, thinking him of the Godey-Graham kind, but had found him as different as possible, and thought Lowell would like [page 926:] Poe when they came into personal touch. The usual fatality of Poe's evil genius, in nerve-strictures then, prevented what otherwise might have been a strong life friendship between these two fine men.

Gabriel Harrison — artist, author, actor — was born at Philadelphia in 1812. He was a friend of Forrest, John Howard Payne, Halleck, and Aaron Burr, who gave the boy Gabriel lessons in elocution. In 1838 he was a member of the Historical Society of New York; played Othello to Lester Wallack's Iago, and brought out “The Scarlet Letter” successfully in 1878, Harrison died at Brooklyn, N. Y., Dec., 1892. Of Poe, comes from Gabriel Harrison: “It was the fall of 1844, when I was president of the White Eagle Club, [page 927:] New York, that I first met Poe. I kept a tea store at the S. W. corner of Broadway and Prince Street. One chilly evening I observed a person looking intently through my windows at some Virginia leaf tobacco. After some minutes he entered and spoke of the beauty of the leaf, its duality, took a bit in his mouth and remarked, he might be considered a small user of the Solace and left. In a few days he called again, when I was endeavoring to compose a campaign song for my club. I mentioned the fact; and while I was waiting on a customer, he had composed a song — to the music measure of ‘The Star Spangled Banner’ — which was successfully used through the campaign of 1844. I was exceedingly pleased, ready to present to him all the tobacco I had; the most of it he declined. On his departure I requested the name of my stranger friend, which was left as Thaddeus K. Peasley. [The name given in Harrison's account in the Brooklyn Eagle, November 18 [[17, p. 4, col. 4]], 1875.] One of his verses was:

‘See the White Eagle soaring aloft to the sky,

Wakening the broad welkin with a loud battle cry;

Then here's the White Eagle, full daring is he,

As he sails on his pinions o‘er valley and sea.’ ”

Poe's “Marginalia” classic note of the United States motto “E. Pluribus Unum” was, that it might have a sly allusion to Pythagoras’ definition of beauty — ‘the reduction of many into one.’ ” Mr. Harrison continued: “Fitz-Greene.Halleck, with whom I was well acquainted, was then in John Jacob Astor's office, a little brick building, N. side of Prince St., W. of Broadway. Halleck frequently visited me in the evenings [page 928:] and behind a pile of tea-chests, dividing off a little room, we could sit in company with old Grant Thorburn, the florist next door, and listen to his stories of Old New York. Incidentally we three lords of the hour would embellish its pleasures with occasional taste of my several wines. On one of these occasions, when Mr. Halleck was leaving, he met the so-called Peasley entering, and hailed him as ‘ Poe ! ’ Explanation was soon made and in a few moments we were behind those blessed walls, smiling over the nom de plume of Thaddeus K. Peasley. From this moment we became friends.” It seems Poe had walked several miles through sleet and rain, and seeing the cheery, [page 929:] lighted window, thought he would step in “to warm up somehow.” Mr. Harrison took him to the stove, “almost red hot, behind the tea boxes” — there the drenched coat was taken off and dried. The host spread out crackers, and old English, pine-apple cheese with a bit of old port — about which the three bent elbows in homage, and talked of “pleasant things until the big clock struck the hour of midnight.” It is of record that young Harrison was so charmed by their presence, he frequently forgot to collect his dues; also, that his store finally failed. As host on this occasion he noted: “Poe left with Halleck — stopped at his house that night and went to Philadelphia the next day.” Mr. Whitty says, that Poe went there in the autumn of 1844, when he superintended the issue of the 3rd, 1845, edition of “The Conchologist's First Book,” and took “his name from its title-page, but signed the Preface ‘E. A. Poe.’ ” It was this edition that caused Poe to be charged with plagiarism in the Philadelphia press of prior mention; and likely, of that time, was made the charge of “bachelor quarters” against Poe (from New York City) as “shared for days and weeks with his associates who were not aware that he was a married man.” That alleged as fact could not have escaped its recorders, of a resident of Philadelphia; and these “bachelor quarters,” “alleged” of Poe, they claimed, were notoriously known.“’ All research(23) fails to find press-record of them.

No such items could be found, in this given authority, up to date. Mr. Harrison continued: “From 1844 to ‘47 we frequently met, talked, walked and drank together, and I ... attest that in all my intimacy [page 930:] with Mr. Poe I never saw him in a state of intoxication nor was his conduct otherwise than befitted a gentleman of the most refined sensibilities. He dressed his sentiments in the most exquisite drapery of words ... his talks inspired me to closest attention to, and appreciation of, English and American poets. I am indebted to Poe, and thank my stars I met him on the wayside of this covetous world. He was then slim; his face full of thoughtful expression; handsome mouth; eyes, full of thoughtfulness with the ends of his brows slightly turned upward. His dress was that of a gentleman — coat generally buttoned up close — a black stock, and rounded corners to his collar amply extending over it. His walk was slow — voice, somewhat sweet, and his articulation remarkably fine. Poe had his faults unquestionably, but nc,ne that I ever saw, were they mine, would I blush to confess to the world. I respectfully subscribe myself for truth and candor Gabriel Harrison.”

In Miss Leslie's annual for 1845 — The Gift — appeared “The Purloined Letter,” the last of Poe's signed, and he thought the best, of his ratiocination stories. Mr. Whitty thinks that The Gift was issued in November, 1844. “The Purloined Letter” first appeared in November, 1844, Chambers’ Journal. It was copied into The Gift, and noted by the Living Age, January 1, 1845, as follows: “The Gift contains an article so remarkable that we leave aside several — for an abridgment of it. The writer, Mr. Edgar A. Poe, is evidently an acute observer of mental phenomena: We have to thank him for one of the aptest illustrations which could he well conceived [page 931:] of that curious play of two minds in one person.” This last tale of Poe's detective trilogy was preceded by “Marie Roget” in 1842, and “Murders in the Rue Morgue” in 1841. Poe is said to have found his “M. Dupin” of them all in Voltaire's “Zadig”;(24) and Voltaire, in his turn, is credited as having taken “Zadig” from an Oriental prototype. Another record is, that Conan Doyle's “Adventures in Bothnia”(25) is “more than co-incidentally” from Poe's “Purloined Letter”; and a third record is, that Sardou took the idea of his “Scrap of Paper” from this story of “The Purloined Letter.”

Charles Whibley, M.A., London, wrote of “The Purloined Letter”: “It displays the perfect logic, the complete lucidity, the mastery of analysis which make M. Dupin immortal.” Of Poe was added: “He knows by long experience that in pitting your intelligence against another's, you are sure to win if you identify yourself with your adversary.”

Dr. Brander Matthews notes:(26) “The true detective story as Poe conceived it is not in the mystery itself, but rather in the successive steps whereby the analytic observer is enabled to solve the problem that might be dismissed as beyond human elucidation.” Elsewhere Dr. Matthews states: “If we assent to Poe's reasoning we are at once on firm ground. The story in prose corresponds to the lyric in poetry: its unity of effect turns largely on its brevity.”

Hon. R. M. Hogg, Headmaster of Bank Street School, Irvine, Scotland, recently wrote: “Reading in school ‘The Purloined Letter’ I was interested to find the scholar noted in Poe's schoolboy guessing with [page 932:] marbles, an old Irvine game with which the pupils were still familiar. Some one gave me an old, well-known rhyme on guessing how many marbles a boy has in his clenched fists. It was,

‘Nevie, nevie nick nack

Whit han’ will ye tack?

Nak’ the richt, tak’ the wrang;

Tak’ the auld blin’ man.’

(or) ‘I‘ll beguile ye, if I can.’

I tried the Infants, if they knew the rhyme and was delighted to find it just as familiar to them.”

This winter, of 1844 and 1845, for some reason, found Poe again coquetting with his birth-date in a January 10th letter to Dr. Griswold at Philadelphia; and who, for obvious reason, was formally addressed as “Sir.” In Poe's letter was:

I perceive by ... the papers, that your “Prose Writers of America” is in press. Unless your opinions of my literary character are entirely changed, you will, I think, like something of mine, and you are welcome to whatever best pleases you, if you will permit me to furnish a corrected copy; but with your present feelings you can hardly do me justice in any criticism, and I shall be glad if you will simply say after my name: “Born 1811; published Tales of the Grotesque and the Arabesque in 1839; has resided latterly in New York.”

Your obedient servant, EDGAR A. POE.

He was born Jan. 19, 1809. In Dr. Griswold's letter, next day, as formal response, was:

SIR, — Although I have some cause of quarrel, ... as you seem to remember, I do not ... permit ... my personal [page 933:] relations to influence ... my opinions, as a critic. By the inclosed proof-sheet. ... written before the reception of your note, you will see that I think quite as well of your works as I did when I had the pleasure of being Your friend,


Three days later, at New York, January 14th, Dr. Griswold sent Poe a “Confidential” note that repeated the first passages of prior letter and added;

I retain, ... the early ... well founded favorable opinions of your works, ... and in a new volume wh. I have in preparation, I shall endeavor to do you very perfect justice. ... Carey & Hart are publishing ... “The Prose Authors of America, and their Works,” and I wish, of course, to include you in the list, — not a very large one — ... And I shall feel myself yr debtor if there being any writings of yours with wh. I may be unacquainted, you will advise me of their titles, and where they may be purchased; and if, in the brief biography of you in my Poets, &c.   ... there are any inaccuracies, you will point them out to me. ... I should like to receive a list of all your works, with the dates of their production.

Yours, &c.,


He knew Poe's works would add value to “The Prose Authors of America.”

From childhood Poe was nervously irritable and quick of speech, but always as quickly moved by kindly approach. He no doubt sincerely regretted the severity of his attacks bearing on Dr. Griswold the man, but not on his works, in a critic's defense of literary ideals. This seems in evidence by Poe's letter of Jan. 16, 1845, to Dr. Griswold, wherein was: [page 934:]

DEAR GRISWOLD, — If you will permit me to call you so. Your letter occasioned me first pain ... because it gave me to see that I had lost, through my own folly, an honorable friend: — pleasure, because I saw — in it a hope of reconciliation. I have beep aware, for several weeks, that my reasons for speaking of your book as I did, (of yourself I have always spoken kindly,) were based on the malignant slanders of a mischief-maker by profession. ...

These “slanders,” however, Dr. Griswold did repeat to Charles F. Briggs. Poe continued

I supposed you irreparably offended. I could make no advances when we met at the “Tribune” office, although I longed to do so. I know of nothing which would give me more sincere pleasure than your accepting these apologies, and meeting me as a friend. If you can do this, and forget the past, let me know where I shall call on you — or come to see me at the “Mirror” office, any morning about ten. We can then talk over other matters, which, to me at least, are far less important than your good will.

Very truly yours,


So Poe, the child, became father to Poe the man. While he is charged with selfish motives in making advances to Dr. Griswold, in order to appear in his “Prose Writers of America,” it is scant justice to Dr. Griswold's intelligence to doubt he did not realize that Poe's literary standing at home and abroad, even prior to “The Raven” printing, would add supreme advantage for that and future times by the appearance of his prose in Dr. Griswold's work; and this, aside from Poe's desirable later good-will, in critical service [page 935:] to it. As to selfishness, their mutual action was a fair exchange of commodities, until after Poe's death. However, to Dr. Chivers, Cornelius Mathews and others, as well as Dr. Griswold, there are letters in which Poe expressed sorrow for any intention to be so hypercritical as to cause pain or loss of friendship, notes Mr. Whitty.

Concerning Cornelius Mathews(27) another record is: “Mr. Mathews knew Mr. Poe very well; he was a personal friend, and saw him at his editorial rooms, city residence and his home at Fordham. Once, at the bedside of his wife Virginia. ... then lying very sick in their chamber on Fast Broadway.”

Through Frances Ayman Mathews,(28) niece of Cornelius Mathews, it comes of Poe and “The Raven” from her uncle: One day, as a child of twelve, she stood at tip-toe attention, looking at an engraving in her uncle's office, which hung high above the side lamp-bracket of his mantel-piece. The picture was of a man's face; dark, sad, proud, irresistible in attraction. Beneath it was written in a firm, small even hand, “To my friend, Cornelius Mathews, from his devoted friend, Edgar Allan Poe.” To the inquiry of his niece if that was the man “who wrote ‘The Raven,’ “her uncle nodded, and then began the later, often-repeated story: “It was in the early winter of 1844 and ‘45): a drizzling rain, full of chill murk, and shifty with freaks of an east wind that shivered against the lamp-posts and rattled the swinging signs along Broadway. On such a night, years ago, the warm flare of gas at the entrance to Park Theatre, on Park Row, seemed very attractive to a young man, [page 936:] with a play of his own in his desk, into which he had put his best. I crossed over, went in. I found Edgar Poe in the seat behind mine; we shook hands, — we had known each other for some years by letter, and some months face to face. He was one of the most courteous, attentive listeners I ever encountered. With delicacy and interest he inquired as to the ‘Witchcraft’ play I was so intent upon, and I briefly outlined the plot to him. As I came to the horror of the hero, when convinced his mother was a witch — Poe said in his low voice, ‘Why do you not at this point have a raven, bird of ill omen, flit across the stage over the witch's head? Do you know,’ he went on, his eyes riveted on the glowing space, ‘that bird, that imp bird [page 937:] pursues me, mentally, perpetually: I cannot rid myself of its presence; as I sit here, I hear its croak as I used to hear it at Stoke Newington, the flap of its wings in my ear.’ He wondered if Dickens was ever like haunted by Barnaby's raven.” Mr. Mathews convinced Poe that Dicker’ raven was for effect. They talked on many themes until the curtain fell, when Mathews put out his hand to touch Poe and ask him to share his umbrella and a hot oyster supper; but Poe's delicacy eluded hospitality he could not return. After Mathews’ supper, he boarded a “bus rattling over the cobble stones through the mirth of Broadway to Blecker Street”; there, in the circle of a sickly light, he saw Poe standing, writing on the margin of a paper and utterly lost to all about him. Mathews dashed out, to see something like the glitter of stars in Poe's grey eyes, and the sparkle of frozen rain-drops on his dark hair. Mathews shared his umbrella with Poe, and asked why he had fled from a friend and a supper. With gentle courtesy Poe thanked him and added: “I could not have eaten, drunk or slept or gone a step farther than this, or waited a moment longer than now. It is ‘The Raven.’ ” Mr. Mathews continued, that Poe's feet were in a freezing puddle and his friend stood against the fierce wind-heater umbrella above them; but there they stood ‘til Poe read in a strained voice to the words: “Perched and sat, and nothing more,” when sheer lack of strength made him stop, saying with a slight tremor, “It is cold.” Mathews told him the poem was superb, but it was madness to stay out in the storm; and, as they walked on together, Poe's lips were framing snatches of the [page 938:] verses destined to win him immortality. When they reached the steps of Poe's home, 15 Amity Street, Mr. Mathews concluded: “Poe turned and thanked me with the peculiar grace and charm of manner which, in my acquaintance with hint, always distinguished Edgar Allan Poe. ‘Be sure and finish this Raven poem,’ I said. With a sigh he answered, ‘I shall have to — it has not let me rest; it will not let me sleep until it is completed. Perhaps if I have it on paper the ill-omened fowl will quit my ear and leave me in peace.“’ Mathews dated this incident “the early winter of 1844 and ‘45”; this indicates that Poe did not then consider “The Raven” a finished production.

From Judge George Shea, once presiding over the Marine Court of New York, comes, that his father and Poe mere close cadet associates at West Point; their friendship ended only with the elder Shea's life, Aug. 15, 1845; and “his death was noticed in Broadway Journal the 23rd issue,” says Mr. Whitty, by, “We note with regret the death of James Augustus Shea, Esq., ... on Friday, ... at the early age of 42. ... His ‘Ocean’ is really one of the most spirited Lyrics ever published. Its rhythm strickingly [[strikingly]] resembles ‘The Bridge of Sighs.“’ Concerning the issues of Poe's poems, he often consulted Shea, noted his son, also that his father and Poe were much together those winter days of 1845; and to this friend a MS. of “The Raven” was entrusted. In connection with Shea's known London literary correspondents, thinks Mr. Whitty, who believes Shea's “Raven” MS. had reference to the one Poe sent to the London Critic for June 14th of that year, Poe's revision obsession led [page 939:] him to write on glazed paper, in his clear script, a note (which, Mr. Whitty writes, refers to the New York Tribune print of “The Raven”) to Mr. Shea, in which was: “Dear Shea, — Lest I should have made some mistake, ... I transcribe the whole alteration.” This changed “Wondering at the stillness broken,” in the 11th stanza, to “Startled at the stillness broken,” and at the close of the 10th stanza, “Quoth the raven ‘Nevermore,“’ was altered to “Then the bird said, ‘Nevermore.“’ This note, without a date, Poe left at Shea's home during his absence, and after his death it was found among his papers by his son. Judge Shea voted Poe “one of the best elocutionists I have ever heard. It was my good fortune to be present when Poe and my father read and recited to each other.” Poe's “reading of ‘The Raven’ ... was a weird, rapturous invocation as to an actual presence. Poe was among the first authors who took to reading and lecturing as a professional. ... I heard him in the society library, New York, March, 1845, on ‘The Poets and Principles of Poetry.“’

One who knew Poe well enough to own his picture, some pages of “Marginalia” and letters, “tied together with a faded blue ribbon,”(29) said his manner of reading “The Raven” was to “turn down the lamps ‘til the room was almost dark, then standing in the center ... he would recite those wonderful lines: ... gradually, becoming more and more enthused ... he forgot time, spectators, his personal identity.” To listeners came sounds of falling rain, waving branches, flapping of dusky wings — and from out the shadows, the lovely face of Lenore, ‘til his audience [page 940:] would fear to draw a breath lest the enchantment of the spell be broken.

Mr. Graham's foreman printer, Alexander McKelly,(30) called “Uncle Alex,” knew Poe well and called him “Eddie.” Uncle Alex was with the American Whig Review when it printed “The Raven,” for which he set the type. Ile later rescued this MS., and many another. This one he later sold, but to whom is unknown. But nothing incensed Uncle Alex so much as to hear Poe called a drunkard, yet it was admitted he had an occasional spree.

From Mr. Whitty is learned of “The Raven,” that F, W. Thomas was advised by Poe it was written in a day and the idea of having it appear anonymously was a whim, like Coleridge's publication of his “Raven.” Poe read the old English poets with special pleasure, and in his mind the name over which “The Raven” appeared in the American Whig Review — “Quarles” — referred to that poet. Poe later thought this a mistake and had the poem printed over his own name in the Evening Mirror. Mr. Whitty adds, that if the Mirror issue of “The Raven” was from advance sheets of the American Whig Review, “Poe handled the proof and made corrections, as the two prints show deviations.” Mr. Charles F. Briggs copied this poem in the Broadway Journal prior to Poe's editorial connection with it. “The Raven” reprint, over Poe's own name, appeared in the Evening Mirror issue of Jan. 29, 1845. Concerning this poem Editor Willis noted: “We are permitted to copy (in advance ... ) from the second No. of the American Review, the following remarkable poem by Edgar A. [page 941:] Poe. In our opinion it is the most effective single example of fugitive poetry ever publisher) in this country, and it is unsurpassed in English poetry for subtle conception, masterly ingenuity of versification, and consistent sustaining of imaginative lift.” Of this first double-date print of these verses Professor Woodberry graphically notes: “No brief poem ever established itself so immediately ... and so imperishably in men's minds. ‘The Raven’ became, in some sort, a national bird, and the author the most notorious American of the hour.” Feb. 4, 1845, Poe's verses found New York Tribune print. Yet Poe was richer in purse but $10, then paid for “The Raven,” which has been transcribed into the tongues of many nations. Its inspiration grows through different forms of one name, — “Helen, Lenore, Eleanora — all meaning Light.” So floats an echo from the Southland: “‘The Raven’ represents the ego, repining for lost intellectual and spiritual light.”

Of Poe's supremacy in this abstract, Rossetti wrote: “I saw that Poe had done the utmost it was possible to do with the grief of a lover on earth, so I determined to reverse the conditions and give utterance to the yearnings of the loved one in heaven, — in ‘The Blessed Damosel’ the two poems stand as harmonious contrast.”(31)

Of “The Raven,” Edwin Markham wrote: “In The Philosophy of Composition,’ I‘oe makes the work of construction as simple as fence-building. It was natural to the man to attempt to balance the wings of his imagination with the weight of his intellect. However, he does not tell where he found the music, the [page 942:] fire, the shaping imagination. So after all, ,ve can call ‘The Raven,’ not a thing of rule, but a creation of true phrenzy, that carries a cry of the heart.”

Of “The Raven” Poe wrote a friendly critic (page 275, Vol. I, “Life of E. A. Poe,” J. H. Ingram): “It is true the ... lamp might have thrown the bird's shadow on the floor. My conception was that of the bracket candelabrum affixed against the wall, high above the door and bust, as is often seen in the English palaces, ... Your objection to the tinkling of the footfalls is far more pointed, ... I finally used it, because ... it had, ... been suggested to my mind by the sense of the supernatural. ... No human or physical foot could tinkle on a soft carpet. ...

Later on Poe gave his Scriptural source of this idea, the “tinkling footfalls,” as taken from “Isaiah iii, 16, of the daughters of Zion, as making a tinkling with their feet,”

With scissors and reprints “The Raven” swept Poe's popularity with a brief glory into the new world and the old of his day. This fact cheered Mr. Godey for his pigeon-holed Poe MS. of “The Thousand-and-Second Tale of Scheherazade,” — She-her-has-said — a satirical story of Sinbad, amongst odds and ends of modern science concerning the Vizier's daughter in “The Arabian Nights.” But more in point was the February, 1845, issue of Graham's, by No. 17 of “Our Contributors,” which gave Lowell's.“Life Sketch of Poe,” then on the apex of his literary laureldom of that day. Lowell's effort was fulsome of praise, of which perhaps nothing so much pleased Poe as: “Had Mr. Poe control of a magazine of his own, in which to [page 943:] display his critical abilities, he would have been as autocratic ere this, in America, as Professor Wilson has been in England; and his criticisms ... would have been far more profound and philosophical than those of the Scotsman,” No doubt Sir Christopher North was Poe's ideal critic, for he wrote: “There is no literary popularity more absolutely and universally effective than the pungent impartiality of a Wilson or a Macaulay.”(32)

While errors concerning Lowell's sketch of Poe were events of births, etc., in self-supplied from Hirst's “Sketch,” it is well to bear in mind that Poe wrote Lowell that this sketch was “correct in the main”; but on no account did Poe's letter, or other prevarications as to his age, etc., hurt any others than himself, and him mostly by the basis they offered for insinuations to adverse critics. Of Lowell's Poe “Life-Sketch,” the New York Weekly News, Feb. 1, 1845, noted: “Graham's, for February, is illustrated with a portrait of Edgar A. Poe [by A. C. Smith, Philadelphia], with a biography by Lowell. We cordially welcome this distinct recognition of Mr. Poe's merits. Wherever his name is mentioned it has been with the comment that he is a remarkable man of genius.”

This water-color portrait of Poe, painted in 1843, at Philadelphia, by A. C. Smith, is a half-length miniature from life, representing the poet seated in a chair, in a careless, easy attitude. “For many years it was owned by the well known Philadelphia journalist, John Swinton,” notes Anderson's New York Feb. 6, 1920, Catalogue.

The Feb. 3rd issue of the Evening Mirror gave Poe's [page 944:] “Increase of Poetical Heresy.” Poe strongly refuted Poetry's use for moralizing. In the Broadway Journal, Feb. 15th, was “Some Secrets of the Magazine Prison House.” Undoubtedly they throw a flashlight over Poe's own experiences, as all too vividly for an abstraction he pictures how a struggling young author, wrestling with “Despair,” in abject poverty, is requested to compose an article for which he will be handsomely paid. Enraptured, he neglects bread and butter labor for a month to complete and send this article, with a broad hint of his needs. A month passes, and another, of starvation of himself and family, and no reply. At the end of six months a personal application to the editor is made, with the answer, “Call again!” The poor devil goes out, and fails not “to call again” and again; finally he demands the article, which “is in print,” and he is told such prints “are not paid for under six months after issue.” As the editor and proprietor is a gentleman, the poor devil would have waited if he could, but Death in the meantime would not. He died, and the editor is fat forever to account of five and twenty dollars saved, to be spent in canvas-back ducks and champagne. Poe grimly concluded with the hope that readers would not believe the article covered personal experience, nor apply the remarks “to any living Magazine publisher.” And yet this was life as Poe and his small family faced it so bravely many a time, and up to his death. Starvation, on any scores, is an unhinging process of nervous forces of those in normal health. One need not go far to seek reasons for desperate issues as to the outcome of such effects upon an unstrung, hypersensitive man [page 945:] to whom, and to his wife, health had been a stranger for years. For misleadings, of his kind, Poe has likely escaped the lake of fire that the tender consciences of his more fortunate critics feared for him.

“A Forgotten Poe Item,” by Dr. Harry L. Koopman, notes, that during these early 1845 uncertain days there came to tease Poe, in his hoped-for magazine-venture success,(33) a curious creature best identified by a booklet entitled, “The Life and Death of Maria Bickford. A Beautiful Female, who was inhumanely murdered in the Moral and Religious City of Boston, on the 27th of Oct., 1845, by Albert J. Tirrell, Her Paramour, arrested on board the ship Sultana, off New Orleans, Dec. 6th. By a Clergyman of Brunswick; ‘Me. ‘Boston, 1846. Second Edition, Revised.” Boston Public Library pencil note on this print identifies this Maine “Clergyman” as “Silas Wilder.” As a born adept in sowing wild oats Tirrell flung to the winds his [page 946:] $27,000 patrimony in less than two years. His personal exploits wound up with an address beneath the gallows. Including those of business, when possessed of his heritage, was his descent on New York City with wild intentions of founding some wonderful periodical of overwhelming national influence. Tirrell called on Poe to offer him exclusive editorship and unconditional control of the venture. Poe's cautious and analytical estimate of this would-be benefactor soon scored his lack of mental balance in answering Ills statement: “The people want knowledge; they thirst for it as the heart panteth for the water brooks,” by “Yes, sir, precisely, but engagements compel me to decline your generous offers; I have already promised to do more than I can possibly accomplish. I think, however, there is a compositor of my acquaintance whose talents are so nearly like your own that he would prove the very person you are seeking. I will give yon his name, — Silas Estabrook. Explain your plan to that individual, sir, and there will be no lack of projects, I assure you.’ ” Dr. Koopman adds: “The offer may be regarded as a tribute to Poe's prominence in the literary world, and his engagements indicate that his venture with Charles F. Briggs in Broadway Journal was under way. Also, that the unfortunate Estabrook, upon whom Poe unloaded Tirrell's glittering propositions, was the publisher of above noted booklet and freely confided the results of being duped by Tirrell to the Brunswick, Me., clergyman, Silas Wilder, its writer.” The force of this incident lies not alone on its passing interest but, to a degree, that some of Poe's critics seem desperately driven to fasten [page 947:] upon him, at times, the charlatan irresponsibility of Tirrell's character, even to the making away of Virginia as inspiration for “The Raven.” The 20th chapter of Longfellow's “Kavanaugh” in “Hathaway,” so fine all etching of A. T. Tirrell, and with an artist's touch clouding out the ugly phases of that irresponsible enthusiast on literary nationalism, that it compels one to believe that the boisterous call made on Poe was repeated by Tirrell on Longfellow. Dr. Fr. von Spielhagen believed that Longfellow intended to picture Poe himself in “Hathaway.” This view seems equally impossible to the credits, characters, or intellects of either of the poets. As to Poe, nothing so weak and flat could ever have come from Longfellow's pen, and no other known contemporary record seems found to sustain Dr. von Spielhagen's belief.

Dr, von Spielhagen(34) noted Poe as “hungry for fame” and having “a hatred” for his successful rival, Longfellow. Poe was then, alas! hungry for food and rest, as well as fame, but cherished no “hatred” in his heart for any one. Poe felt hurt by reason of non-recognition of his writing's worth: having to pay for the print of his “Tamerlane,” etc. ; “The Raven” being rejected and finally fringing but $10 to him; also other efforts being pigeon-holed when editors were paying Longfellow $150 for “The Spanish Student”; Lowell $150 for “Legend of Brittany”; Cooper and others along the same measures; and especially hurt was Poe when he knew the literati value of verses whose MS. today is held in money value above $10,000. Dr. von Spielhagen mentioned Poe's definition of poetry as “Rythmical creation of Beauty,” [page 948:] and added, that “Epic and dramatic. beauty are objective; lyric beauty is subjective.”

Mad love of liquor formed no part of Poe's seeming failures; but it was as he himself wrote: “a thirst of supernal Beauty, a beauty not afforded the soul by any existing collocation of earth's forms.” This was wholly beyond the mental grasp of materialists, but this he ruled as the first and last inspiration of poetry, and devoutly believed with Edwin Markham that, “The path through beauty is the most direct path to the Divine.” Thus this Celtic mantle of his early ancestors fell upon Poe, the Mystic.

Mr. Whitty states, Poe had an idea of having his poems introduced by Dr. Griswold and issued by Clarke of London. In the Evening Mirror, Feb. 15, 1845, Poe noted the poems “would shortly appear in a series with other American poets.” Dr. Griswold's New York, Jan. 14, 1845, request for items of Poe's prints, he answered Feb. 24th. Condensed details of this answer were:

MY DEAR GRISWOLD, — Soon after seeing you I sent you, through Zieber, all my poems ... With this I send you another package. ... It contains ... “Mesmeric Revelation,” which I would like to go in, ... I send also a portion of the “Marginalia,” ... I have marked some of the most pointed passages. ... I believe that in “funny” criticism ... Flaccus will convey a tolerable idea of my style, and of my serious manner Barnaby Rudge is a good specimen. ... In the tale line I send you “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” and “The Man that was Used Up” — ... you can select to suit yourself. I would prefer having in The Gold Bug” ... but have not a copy just now. ... I have taken a 3d interest [page 949:] in the “Broadway Journal” & will be glad if you could send me anything, at any time, in the way of “Literary Intelligence.”

Truly yours, POE.

This letter's print in Dr. Griswold's “Poe Memoir”(35) differs from Poe MS. in these items not in the original letter:

“A thousand thanks for your kindness in the matter of those books, which I could not afford to buy, and had so much need of. ... I sent you, ... my poems. ... I was sincerely delighted with what you said of them, ... I say this not because you praised me: everybody praises me now; but because you so perfectly understand me, ... I did not think you had so much delicacy of appreciation joined with your strong sense; I can say truly that no man's approbation gives me so much pleasure.” Hence, in Dr. Griswold's print of this letter follows Poe's noting of “3rd interest in ‘Broadway Journal.’ ” But dissimilar edited print of Poe's letter concluded with: “Why not let me anticipate the book publication of your splendid essay on Milton?” These differences stand for not a few as radical between Poe MS. originals and their dated prints, which appeared in the first “Memoir and Works” of Poe, issued by J. S. Redfield, 1850, and later, its reprints. Such treatments seem convincing that some ministers of the Gospel, in those days, were not more averse to self-laudation nor more scrupulous in prevarication of facts than was Poe charged to be by those who allowed themselves like indulgences. [page 950:]

From Dr. B. B. Minor,(36) this date editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, is learned that Poe sent it several articles, not his best, but paid for at $3 per page. Poe wrote, asking the editor to take out the center line of the Messenger page to allow “The Raven,” from the American Whig Review, to appear in the full beautiful typography of the Messenger. Dr. Minor did not grant Poe's request, as “The Raven” was printed in two columns preceded by Editor Brooks’ (of the New York Express) “Note,” on the poem, which closed with: “In power and originality of versification the whole is no less remarkable than it is, psychologically, a wonder.” “The Raven,” in revised form, appeared in the March, 1845, Messenger, notes Mr. Whitty.

Under sway of “The Raven” popularity Poe arranged for a lecture on “The Poets and Principles of Poetry” at the New York Society Library, of which appears a Poe-period picture given by Librarian A. J. Wall, New York Historical Society. Poe's lecture dated Feb. 28, 1845, and his ideas on the subjects it covered were too definite and his memory too keen to need “scissors,” or “pieced-out clippings” aid as credited to his use for this effort, which — without prior thrusts at Dr. Griswold — seemed a repetition of Poe's Philadelphia lecture. The records were that he interested several hundred listeners. Mr. Willis noted the event, in March 12, 1845, Weekly Mirror, as to Poe: “He becomes a desk, — his beautiful head showing like a statuary embodiment of Discrimination: his accent drops like a knife through water, and his style is so much purer and clearer than the pulpit commonly [page 951:] gets or requires, that the effect of what he says, pampers the ear.” Poe's sharp scorings of the sins of editors and would-be poets against his literary idealisms was relieved with recitations of “some fine poems” and “too generous praise‘’ he thought clue the ladies, Sigourney, Welby, and Osgood, and the poets Longfellow, Bryant and others.

By virtue of Poe's critical pen, his presence seemed in demand from New York social-literary circles, — one, presided over by the eloquent Unitarian divine, Dr. Orville Dewey, in whose Mercer Street home Poe met among others the sparkling editor of Knickerbocker, Charles Fenno Hoffman. Mrs. Whitman later noted Poe as “an ever welcome guest” at the homes of her New York friends, Hon. Jno. R. Bartlett and others.(37) Another of Poe's hosts was James Lawson, the Scotch scholar, “having ardently at heart the welfare of American letters.” He was an enthusiast in art, taste; who “tells a capital story and is generally respected [page 952:] and beloved,” according to Poe. Then there was the Willis circle, clustered about the Astor House, where he lived. Also the home of Anne Charlotte Lynch, “a most exemplary daughter,” who lived with her mother at 116 Waverley Place. Miss Lynch, a native of Vermont, and educated at Albany, N. Y., spent some time at Providence, R. I., where, in 1841, she issued the “Rhode Island Book” of prose and verse, including writings of her own. Of Miss Lynch Poe wrote as, “above medium height; slender, with brown hair and soft eyes, full of intelligent expression. Her department dignified, graceful and full of repose.” [page 953:] Of her Salon Miss Catherine M. Sedgwick wrote: “I was admitted to a rather dimly lighted hall by a little portress, some ten or twelve years old, who led me to a small apartment to deposit my hat and cloak. There was no lighted staircase, no trained attendant, ... When I entered I found two fair-sized drawing-rooms filled with guests in a high state of social enjoyment. There was music, dancing, recitation, and conversation. There were artists in ... painting, poetry, sculpture and music. ... If ere was a young woman ... filling her rooms weekly with choice spirits, ... who enjoyed high rational pleasure for two or three hours, and retired so early as to make no drafts on the health or spirits of the next day.” In Miss Lynch's circle Poe met able Dr. Jno. W. Francis, “a florid gentleman with flowing gray locks who knew and was known to everybody”; Fitz-Greene Halleck; George P. Morris, “who entreated the Woodman to spare the tree”; William M. Gillespie, eminent in mathematics and difficult of speech; Dr. Thomas Ward, whose Horatian “Flaccus” efforts claimed Poe's special, humorous critical attention; Richard Adams Locke, author of “The Moon Hoax”; Cassius Clay; Dr. Thomas D. English; Hart, the sculptor; Margaret Fuller; Mrs. Ann Stephens; Mrs. Mary E. Hewitt; Mrs. Embury; Mrs. E. O. Smith; Mrs. S. S. Osgood; Mrs. Mary Gove Nichols; Mrs. Kirkland; Aliss Sedgwick; and, unhappily for Poe and others, Mrs. Elizabeth Frieze Ellet was one of Miss Lunch's “Saturday Evenings” literati circle. Some of this cluster, “Poe later incensed and incensed in his ‘Literati’ papers,” notes Dr. Theodore F. Wolfe. From the New York Sun, March 18, 1906, print of [page 954:] “Edgar Allan Poe in New York,” etc., by Mr. Chauncey L. C. Ditmars, grandson-in-law of Mrs. Marie Louise Shew, comes, he was told by the widow of famous Rev. Ferdinand C. Ewer, also intimate friend of Edwin Booth, that she, as Miss Sophie M. C. Congdon, lived during these Poe-period days with Miss Lynch. At her home, 116 Waverley Place, also the one on Clinton Place, now West Eighth Street, Mrs. Ewer was positive she met Poe. At Miss Lynch's 1848 Valentine Party, in Clinton Place home, Poe's Acrostic Valentine to Mrs. Osgood was read, and remembered by Mrs. Ewer. She frequently saw Poe walking along Broadway. He often went to the old New York Hotel, Broadway and Waverley Place, to see Dr. Thomas H. Chivers, William Gilmore Simms and other Southern friends.

Dr. Thomas Dunn English(38) noted that Poe soon became a lion with a coterie of literary ladies, and an occasional guest at their conversaziones. At these Poe appeared his best. “In the plainly furnished room, at one corner, stands Miss Lynch with her round, cheery face, and Mrs. Ellet, decorous and ladylike, who ceased their conversation when Poe broke into his lecture. On the sofa, one side of the room, I sit with Miss Fuller on my right and Mrs. E. O. Smith on my left. At my feet, little Mrs. Osgood, doing the infantile act, is seated on a footstool, her face upturned to Poe as it had been ... to Miss Fuller and myself. In the center stands Poe, giving his opinions in, a judicial tone and occasionally reciting passages with telling effect.” Of Poe. Mrs. Osgood wrote: “For flours I have listened to him entranced by strains of pure and almost celestial [page 955:] eloquence such as I have never read nor heard elsewhere.” And there, too, went Virginia now and then with her brilliant husband. She was winning, sweet and attractive in her simple, crimson, home-made gown, with only a bit of old yellow lace at her throat, as pictured by Mrs. Mary Newton Stanard. Virginia “seldom tool: part in the conversation,” but “the memory of her fair, girlish, animated face was strongly impressive,” comes from another. In striking contrast followed a different record of Miss Fuller, then literary critic of the New York Tribune, in “a lady, noted for her scholarship,” wishing to discipline the vanity of a young author's prententious [[pretentious]] use of translations from the Greek, of which she vas aware he knew but little, proposed he should translate a difficult passage from that tongue for the company, when Poe rescued the victim with “a few keen, incisive rejoinders” to the extent that it was whispered, “The Raven has perched upon the casdue of Pallas, and pulled all the feathers out of her cap.” And yet, Poe's “Literati” papers treated this Pallas with “Castilian courtesy.” In Nov. 26, 1845, New York Tribune, Miss Fuller wrote that “The Raven” was “a rare and finished specimen” seemingly intended to “show the writer's artistic skill.” In March 1, 1845, Tribune (after attending Poe's Lecture), Editor Greeley made marked mention of Poe's acute candor as a “critic of genius and established reputation.” Both items are given by Dr. Killis Campbell.

It has been charged that to non-appearance of Poe's name in “The Waif,” described by Professor Woodberry as “a collection of fugitive pieces by minor [page 956:] authors edited by Longfellow,” was due Poe's hypercritical review of that small volume in the Jan. 14, 1845, Evening Mirror. Poe's far more drastic review of “Poets and Poetry of America,” that did include himself, edited by Dr. Griswold and of earlier date, seems to dispose of this omission from “The Waif” charge. But obsessed by his life purpose of standardizing the construction of English expression in our country, Poe made intentional and impersonal choice of methods, and a name, Longfellow's, that would strike to the heart of American scholarship, in his attacks on plagiarism, which it was his plan to place in the limelight of all possible bearings, by arguments between himself and qualified others, or, failing them, a self-created hoax-dummy christened “Outis,” or “Nobody,” one of Long fellow's four defenders, and whose name localized this seemingly fictitious combat. “What is plagiarism? and what constitutes a good ground for its charge,” was the standard under which Poe started his hoax of double tilting. For truly he was far too intimate with every turn and twist of Outis’ points and queries for them not to have been Poe-created for his purpose. Even in his noting: “All have forgotten or no one has ever known that Outis is a Yankee,” fits the fact that Poe was born in Boston. The brief chronology of the so-called “Longfellow War,” supplied by Thomas Ollive Mabbott, is, that Jan. 13th and 14th, 1845 dates of the Evening Mirror, gave Poe's critical review of “The Waif,” by Longfellow. Poe's review at once provoked a reply from “H.,” who indited his letter at Boston, Jan. 15th. Willis, Jan. 18th, promised “an argument” on Longfellow's [page 957:] “Waif,” which argument appeared Jan. loth, when the letter from “H.” was printed, with a biting reply from Poe in the Evening Mirror. (See page 42, Vol. XII, “Virginia Poe,” by Dr. James A. Harrison.) Feb. 5th a second defense of Longfellow was given, in part, by the Mirror, with a humorous reply from Willis. (No such treatment would Ire give to Longfellow's serious affairs, unknown to him!) Reprinted from the Western Literary Messenger appeared in the Feb. 8th issue of The Rover the charges by an unknown writer, as to Longfellow's translation from the German of “The Good George Campbell,” being plagiarized from those verses by William Motherwell. But Poe's review of “The Waif” seems neither more nor less than an attempt to engage some one of high authority in a literary discussion of plagiarism. In the Feb. 14th issue of the Mirror, Willis “disagrees with all disparagement of Longfellow.” Feb. 15th, the Broadway Journal gave Charles F. Briggs“’ Thefts of American Authors,” dealing with Poe's charge against Aldrich, some one's charge against Longfellow in The Rover, etc. Feb. 17th, Poe replied, with foreword by Willis, in the Mirror, to Briggs on Aldrich. (See p. 44, Vol. XII, “Virginia Poe.”) Feb. 19th dated the Cambridge, Longfellow reply to the “Good George Campbell” charge, which letter, etc., was printed in May, 1845, Graham's Magazine. March 1st the Outis, letter-defense of Longfellow appeared in full and once for all, prefaced by Willis and postscripted by Poe, in the Evening Mirror. Its March 8th date, noted by Willis, was that owing to haste in printing, a foreword by him thanking Outis was not given. [page 958:] March 8th, 1845, Edgar A. Poe transferred his editorial services from the Evening Mirror to the Broadway Journal. The Outis letter in full, with the first installment of Poe's reply, appeared in Broadway Journal of the same date; and there his replies continued March 15th-29th, and April 5th, as noted by “Virginia Poe,” Vol. X11. March 16th, Briggs wrote Lowell: “Poe is a monomaniac on the subject of plagiarism. I thought best to allow him to ride his hobby to death, and be clone with it. Somebody in Boston, ‘Outis,’ whose name I forget, replied to Poe on behalf of Longfellow and Aldrich.” Briggs either forgot on purpose, or possibly may never have known it. March 19th, he wrote Lowell: “You are far too sensitive in regard to Longfellow. Poe has indeed a very high admiration for Longfellow, and so he will say before he has done.” Results proved that Briggs in this knew whereof he wrote. Poe's impersonal motives seemed marked, by his (Poe-) Outis query of Willis: “Pray, ... did you ever think the worse of Dana because ... Neal charged him with pirating upon Paul Allan, and Bryant too, in his poem of ‘THE DYING RAVEN‘?” Concerning “The Raven” by Poe, OUTIS (Poe of the so-called “Longfellow-War ”) deftly suggested that this poem owed its atmosphere and its repetend to ““The Ancient ‘Mariner.” This self-reference definitely tallies with Poe's well-known and profound admiration for Coleridge, of whom Poe, the litterateur, wrote: “Of Coleridge I cannot speak but with reverence. His towering intellect! his gigantic power!” However, in the last paragraph of Poe's review of “The Waif” was [page 959:] the defiant challenge of plagiarism Poe threw at the wits of all scholarships. Failing combat with qualified others, — and probably he had been refused issue, as no Poe-period print has been found of his “A Reviewer Reviewed” over the pseudonym of Walter G. Bowen, charging himself with plagiarism, etc., — it seems certain that Poe himself, masked as Outis, could best serve this intellectual's purpose by a double-tilting in behalf of literary principles. Also, that the name of Longfellow — author-idol of that time — with special significance centered the attention of the student world at large upon the contestants in one or more persons; whereas the neutral argument of the subject, however profoundly made, would have claimed but little, if any, passing notice. Few seem aware that Evert A. Duyckinck called Poe's attention to a resemblance of the “Proem” to “The Waif,” to “some verses of a woman writer.” Because she and her lines remained unnamed by Poe, he undoubtedly found this resemblance too slight for mention. Poe opened his fray with: “We conclude our notes on the ‘Waif’ with the observation that, although full of beauties, it is infected with a moral taint — or is this a mere freak of our own fancy? ... but there does appear, in this little volume, a very careful avoidance of all American poets who may be supposed especially to interfere with the claims of Mr. Longfellow. These men Mr. Longfellow can continuously imitate (is that the word?) yet never even incidentally commend” — excepting several English poets, including Robert Browning, then all but unrecognized at home and abroad — in these two verses [page 960:]

“Not from the grand old masters,

Not from the bards sublime,

Whose distant footsteps echo

Through the corridors of time”

. ... . ...

“Read from some humbler poet

Whose songs gushed from his heart,

As showers from the clouds of summer

Or tears from the eyelids start.”

Longfellow's “Proem” to “The Waif” fairly gave its contents as from the “humbler” poets. From such a cluster it is idle to think that Lowell, Bryant, Dana or Poe could feel hurt by exclusion. This intentional vacuity of Poe's challenge indelibly marked Outis a hoax. With some Poe touches on “The Spanish Student” and notings of verbal imitations of Longfellow's “drifting, drifting, drifting” of his “Sea Weed,” in “form and collocation only, [with “flowing, flowing, flowing” in one verse of “The Haunted Palace”] of a line in a beautiful and ... powerful poem of MR. EDGAR A. POE. (Write it rather EDGAR, a Poet, and then it is right to a T.)” Outis entered the lists and this double tilting began. It seems certain no one other than Poe even wrote those last hoaxing words on himself. And here Outis dropped his mask, and too strongly for doubt revealed the individuality of Poe's pen. And this incident stands but for various others. As for Poe's methods: Few are aware of his writing — on such lines — “A Reviewer Reviewed” over the pseudonym of Walter G. Bowen, in which Poe charged himself with plagiarism, literary thefts, [page 961:] hoaxing classical quotations of no existing source, etc., and undoubtedly for the double purpose of illuminating some phases of literary craft and with the hope thereby of calling sale attention to his own books; a result of Outis controversy later recognized by and mentioned of Longfellow; he was probably sent a copy of “A Reviewer Reviewed,” by Poe, its writer, with some explanation of his plan. As a fact this would explain why, by courteously allowed examination of Longfellow's letter files covering the period of this so-called “Longfellow War” — January to May, 1845 — no reference whatever to it, by that poet, has been found; and the few allusions from others to it give no clue as to the identity of Outis. Like research of all found MSS. of Morris and Willis, Evening Mirror editors of that time, obtained the same results. Such facts taken in connection with the Poesque phrases, sentiments camouflaged at times by errors as to grammar, etc., also including those of “A Reviewer Reviewed,” mark Poe himself as Outis. This fascinating document reads:


By Walter G. Bowen

As we rode along the valley we saw a herd of asses on the top of one of the mountains — how they viewed and reviewed us!

— STERNE, “Letter from France.”

MR. EDITOR: In a late number of your widely circulated magazine I had the satisfaction of reading an epigram which appeared to me, and to your subscribers generally, if I am not very much mistaken, to be not less well aimed and fairly driven home to the mark, than righteously deserved. It was in these words: [page 962:]

On P——— the Versifier, reviewing his own verses.

When critics scourged him, there was scope

For self-amendment and for hope;

Reviewing his own verses, he

Has done the deed — felo de se.

I am glad to perceive that there is at least one editor of a magazine who is not so tied up in Mr. Poe's interest as to be afraid of expressing an honest opinion of him as a literary man, but I do assure you that not only myself but a great many others were astonished beyond measure at finding that you had the courage to insert the epigram, good as it was. Your putting it in, however, has elevated you not a little in the public opinion, and has encouraged me to hope that you will do me the favor of publishing this Review of the Reviewer, especially as what I ask is merely in the way of perfectly fair and above board retaliation for what Mr. P. upon one or two occasions has seen fit to say of some unpretending poems of mine, as well as of a novel by my brother-in-law. And as for the truth and justice of what I shall write, I trust that on that score there will be no one to offer objection, as I do not intend to say a single word that shall not be accompanied by the proof. Mr. Poe, to say nothing of my own case, has done little else than “ride rough shod” over what he is in the facetious habit of denominating the “poor devil authors” of the land, and I presume that neither you nor anybody else will think it unreasonable that, sooner or later, he should have the bitter chalice of criticism returned to his own lips — provided always, and, of course, that the thing is done fairly, honorably, and with no trick or subterfuge — in a word, provided that the criticism be just.

To follow Mr. Poe's own apparently frank mode of reviewing, I will begin by putting the merit of my author “in the fairest light.” I shall not pretend to deny then that he has written several pieces of very considerable merit, and that some of these pieces have attracted, partly [page 963:] of their own accord and partly through the puffing of his friends, an unusual degree of notoriety. Among these I feel called upon to mention his “‘Pales,” published by Wiley & Putnam, and especially the one called “The Murder in the Rue Morgue,” which, I learn, has been reprinted and highly complimented in Paris, and “The Gold Bug,” which Martin Farquhar Tupper justly praises, as well as the “Descent Into the Maelstrom” and several other stories, all of which I am willing to admit display great power of analysis and imagination. “The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar” has perhaps made a greater “sensation” than anything else he has written, and has, I understand, not only gone the complete rounds of the London press, from the Morning Post clown; but has been printed in pamphlet form in London, Paris and Vienna. The ingenuity and general merit of his “Raven” I do not wish to detract frown, although I certainly do not think quite so highly of it as Miss Barren or as Mr. Willis professes to do, nor as Mr. Poe himself does, if we are to judge by the laudatory criticism on it which he lately published in Graham, a criticism which displayed, perhaps, more analysis than modesty. Some of his shorter poems are also praiseworthy, and his “Sleeper” and “Dreamland” are, in my opinion, better than the “Raven,” although in a different way. Of his criticisms I have not so much to observe in the way of commendation. They show scholarship and the peculiar analytic talent which is the ruling feature in everything he writes. They are also remarkable for that Quixotic kind of courage which induces people of Mr. Poe's temperament to be perpetually tilting at something — although it too often happens that the something is a wind mill: and there is one good point about them which it would be unjust to omit, and that is, they show no respect for persons. They are seldom aimed at small game. On the other hand they seem to me bitter in the extreme, captious, faultfinding and unnecessarily severe. Mr. Poe has been so often complimented for his powers of sarcasm [page 964:] that he thinks it incumbent upon himself to keep up his reputation in that line by sneers upon all occasions and downright abuse. As for the beauties of a work, he appears to have made up his mind to neglect them altogether, or, when he condescends to point one out, or to quote it, his compliments, however well they begin, are always sure to end with a point, or barb, which it is easy to mistake for satire in disguise. Real, honest, heartfelt praise is a thing not to be looked for in a criticism by Mr. Poe. Even when it is his evident intention to be partial, to compliment in an extravagant manner some of his lady friends (for he never compliments a gentleman), there always seems to be something constrained — and shall I say malicious? — at the bottom of the honey cup. These blemishes render his critical judgment of little value.

Before proceeding with some very serious literary accusations which I have to make on my own part against Mr. Poe, it may be as well, perhaps, to call his attention to something which has been said about him in the London Literary Gazette. I wish to see if he will vouchsafe a reply to it. Mr. Poe has pointed out, in his late “Literati,” a number of scientific blunders on the part of Mr. Richard Adams Locke, and perhaps the public may have some curiosity to know how he will account for his own. The Gazette referred to is of the date of March 14, 1846.

To the Editor of the Literary Gazette:

SIR: Having just read a review of Edgar Poe's romances iii the Literary Gazette of January, page 101, allow me to advert to a curious misconception m a scientific point of view which the author has fallen into. In describing his whirling in the maelstrom, he says: “On looking out when half way dorm, the boat appeared hanging, as if by magic, upon the interior surface of a funnel of vast circumference and prodigious depth. ... My gaze fell instinctively downward. ... The smack hung on the inclined surface of the pool, which sloped at an angle of more than forty-five degrees, so that we seemed to be lying on our beam ends.” ... [page 965:]

Now, with all deference, I would submit, first, that our only motions of up or down are derived from the direction of gravity; when, therefore, the direction of gravity is changed by centrifugal force, that direction will still appear to be clown. Second, that our only sense of motion is relative; when, therefore, all that is visible is rotating along with ourselves, we shall have no sense of motion, and in few cases do we ever ourselves appear to be the moving objects (witness the case of railway travelling; the only apparent motion will be the slight difference of motion between the various objects and ourselves. Whence it appears that the gentleman in the predicament described would, on looking about him, see a vast funnel of water apparently laid on its side, with its lower side horizontal, at which lower part his boat would always appear to be lying; the heavens appearing at one end horizontally and apparently rotating, while the chaotic abyss and foam would be at the opposite end, the waters appearing (full of local currents, no doubt) stretching in a miraculous archway or tunnel, almost motionless, about and over the boat and apparently supported by nothing, and objects nearer the entrance would appear to rotate vertically in a slowly retrograde direction, while objects would appear to have an opposite rotation, more and more rapid, toward the misty, tumultuous end, the real velocity of the whole being unperceived, except by the contrary apparent rotation of the heavens. This would indeed be a wondrous spectacle, though scarcely sufficing to induce a personal experiment by your humble servant.


So much for Mr. Petrie, and, leaving Mr. Poe to reply to him, I will just here put in a point for myself, although I confess it has been suggested to me by a friend at my elbow. It is this: In accounting for his hero's escape from the maelstrom, Mr. P. quotes Archimedes's “De Incidentibus in Fluido,” lib. 2, for the following fact, viz., that “a cylinder swimming in a vortex offers more resistance to its suction and is drawn in with greater difficulty [page 966:] than an equally bulky body of any form whatever.” Now, the friend at my elbow asserts roundly, first, that the fact stated is no fact at all, and is contrary to known laws. Secondly, that there is no such passage in the second book of Archimedes as the one referred to. Thirdly, he says that no such passage, nor any resembling it, is in Archimedes at all, and that he defies Mr. Poe to point it out.

The truth is, I have something more serious to speak of. The great point which Mr. Poe has become notorious for making is that of plagiarism, and in his elaborate reply to “Outis,” in the earlier numbers of the Broadway Journal, he was at great pains to demonstrate what a plagiarism is, and by what chain of reasoning it could be established. My own purpose at present is simply to copy a few parallel passages, leaving it for the public to decide whether they do or do not come properly under the head of wilful and deliberate literary theft.

At page 24 of Mr. P.'s last volume of poems (Wiley & Putnam's edition), in a song called “Eulalie,” is the passage.

“Now, Doubt; now, Pain,

Come never again,

For her soul gives me sigh for sigh.”

In Tom Moore's “Last Rose of Summer” we find it thus:

“No flower of her kindred,

No rosebud is nigh

To reflect back her blushes

Or give sigh for sigh.”

The author of the lines which follow I cannot name just now, but I give them because there are doubtless many of my readers who can. Some poet, however, is speaking of a traitor to his country and wishes him doomed

“to dwell

Full in the sight of Paradise,

Beholding Heaven yet feeling Hell.” [page 967:]

In “Al Aaraaf,” at page 69 of the poems, we read:

“And there, oh! may my weary spirit dwell

Apart from Heaven's eternity and yet how far from Hell.”

One of Mr. Poe's most admired passages is this, forming the conclusion of the poem called “The City in the Sea,” and to be found at page 22:

“And when amid no earthly moans,

Down, down, that town shall settle hence,

Hell rising from a thousand thrones

Shall do it reverence.”

But unfortunately Mrs. Sigourney, in a little poem called “Musing Thoughts,” first published in “The Token,” for 1829, has the lines:

“Earth slowly rising from her thousand thrones

Did homage to the Corsican.”

That Mr. Poe has in many cases obtained help from the more obscure classics is, I fancy, no more than a legitimate inference from so glaringly obvious an Imitation as this, which the find at page 20. [Sonnet to Zante quoted]. Here I might safely pause: but it would not be quite proper to omit all mention of this critic's facility at imitation — in prose as well as verse. In his story of “Hans Phaal,” published in his “Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque,” but originally appearing in the first volume of the “Southern Literary Messenger”

“The MS. here ends abruptly,” noted Thomas Ollive Mabbott, who supplied twenty or more of the last, foregoing lines, and added: “I date this ‘MS.’ later than December, 1846, because the epigram on Poe that begins ‘MS.’ did not appear until then in Graham's.” It seems certain that Poe himself far earlier hoaxed that epigram, for print, and the express purpose of writing, concerning it, “A Reviewer Reviewed,” [page 968:] by Walter G. Bowen: and print refusal of the latter probably “abruptly” ended it, as above noted; also keyed up Poe's patience to touch the point of “What's the use!” of further struggle. Photostat copy of much of “A Reviewer Reviewed” was supplied (from the New York Journal, March 15, 1896) by Edwin Orr Denby.

Finally, Poe's definite, repeated statement (without italics), “I am but defending ... principles,” points with only less than absolute certainly to Poe as Outis, whose identity was unquestionably known to — with some mutual knowledge of Poe's hoax existing between — Morris, Willis, Duyckinck and Poe with Longfellow, in some measure, aware of the affair. All knew, but none so keenly as Poe, that as a simply literary argument by any writer of that time, “plagiarism” would have attracted no attention whatever, perhaps not even space for press-print. Whereas Poe's hoax-plan secured unusual sales of the Evening Mirror, and of Longfellow's works attacked; and no doubt some much needed money to Poe himself, masked as Outis. Therefore, by active and passive allowance, was hurled this incognito defiance at the wits of all literary posterity; and thus, via the “Letters of Junius,” Poe seems to have proved himself master-hoaxer of his century in Outis; until, at least, documentary evidence discovers such identity in another writer.

Concerning Poe's methods, he claimed that “human ingenuity could not construct a cipher human ingenuity could not resolve.” He made emphatic mention of “Outis” as “Nobody.” As a fact, at thirteen Poe read Greek and Latin authors in their native [page 969:] tongues. As a literary Ulysses in this episode, and his own needs, Poe seems to have dwelt strongly on his “Homer”(39) in, —

“‘Cyclops! thou hast my noble name enquired,

Which I will tell thee. Give me, in return,

Thy promised boon, some hospitable pledge.

My name is Outis; Outis I am call’d

At home, abroad, wherever I am known,’

So I; to whom he, savage, thus replied,

‘Outis, when I have eaten all his friends,

Shall be my last regale. Be that thy boon.’

.....   .....  .

.....  . All-conquering sleep

Soon seized him, . ...

They, seizing the hot stake rasp’d to a point,

Bored his eve with it, .....  . .

.....   ..... .

Then, bellowing, he sounded forth the name

Of every Cyclops dwelling in the caves

Around him, on the wind-swept mountain-tops;

They at his cry flocking from every part,

Circled his den, and of his ail enquired,

‘What grievous hurt hath caused thee, Polypheme!

Thus yelling to alarm the peaceful ear

Of night, and break our slumber? ...

.....   .....  .

Them answer‘d then, Polypheme from his cave,

‘Oh, friends! I die, and Outis gives the blow.

.....   .....  .

If no man harm thee, but thou art alone,

And sickness feel'st, it is the stroke of Jove,

And thou must bear it;

So saying, they went, and in my heart I laugh’d

That by the fiction only of a name,

Slight stratagem! I had deceived them all.” [page 970:]

The foregoing italics are not in the translation, but too closely cover Poe's methodical plan of this episode for their omission. Poe's Evening Mirror review of the “Waif” dated Jan. 14, 1845. In the Evening Mirror of March 1st was all of Longfellow's defense by Outis. March 8th dated Poe's resignation from the Mirror service which, with this controversy over his own name, was that day transferred to The Broadway Journal, which claimed his editorial energies and one third interest of ownership. And March 8th (of March 1st, Outis, Mirror print), Poe, far too intimately than any, other than one of the inner shrine, wrote: “This well-intended defence was published in the ‘Mirror’ with a few words of preface by Mr. Willis, and of postscript by” himself. These “few words” indicate, to the edge of certainty, the Outis plan and identity were in the command of Poe as well as of Willis. The latter, with no undue eagerness later on, responded to Graham's urging of disavowal, in the Evening Mirror, by Willis of Poe's attacks, in his own name, on plagiarism in connection with Longfellow. The manner of this denial seems in line with the entire Outis farce, also points to “A Reviewer Reviewed” by Walter G. Bowen as unknown to Graham, whose later letter to Longfellow affirms this view. As to the Evening Mirror's disagreement with “all disparagement of Mr. Longfellow,” Poe was in full accord with Mr. Willis. The summary is: the entire Outis defense of Longfellow, prefaced by Willis and postscripted by Poe, appeared in the Evening Mirror, March 1, 1845: one week later Willis’ Mirror noted that, owing to haste in printing, a foreword [page 971:] by him thanking Out's was not given; March 8th, Poe resigned from the Mirror service; and the same day passed Outis defense in fell into Broadway Journal print, which also gave a first installment of Poe's reply to it. Therein others, dated March 16th, 22nd, 29th, ended April 5th, which ending, curiously enough, teas entitled “Postscript,” with which ballast the Outis-hoax was launched by Poe's March 1st Evening Mirror. In Poe's March 29th reply he very definitely stated: “I am but defending a set of principles ... for whose defence no honest man will consider an apology required.” Plying his hoax Poe added: “not even an Outis can accuse me, ... of having ever descended, in ... my reviews, to that personal abuse which ... has indeed been levelled at myself, ... to rebut what I have ventured to demonstrate. ... I have had one or two impotent enemies, and a multitude of ... friends — ... yet no man can point to a single critique, ... I have written during the last ten years, which is ... wholly faultfinding or wholly in approbation; nor is there an instance ... either ‘n praise or censure, ... without attempting, at least, to give it authority by something ... of a reason.”

In Poe's April 5th “Postscript” appears:

“In ... replying, my design has been to place fairly and distinctly before the literary public certain principles of criticism for which I have been long contending and which through sheer misrepresentation were in danger of being misunderstood. ... The thesis of my argument, in general, has been the definition of the grounds on which a charge of plagiarism may be [page 972:] based, and of the species of ratiocination by which it is to be established; that is all.” Italics are not in the original print but seem to cover Poe's double tilting and impersonality of his use of Longfellow's name. Poe continued: “I make no charge of moral delinquency against Mr. Longfellow, Mr. Aldrich or Mr. Hood: ... lest in the heat of argument, I may have uttered any words which may admit of being tortured into such an interpretation, I here fully disclaim them upon the spot, ... no true poet can be guilty of a meanness ... the converse of the proposition is a contradiction in terms.”

The free-lance shadow of Outis fell upon several, in near touch with Longfellow from January to May, 1845. One was Henry Stevens, bibliographer, then a young man of about twenty-five, studying law under Judge Story at Cambridge, and winning bookmen's favor in that college town. Stevens seems to be the only man of the right time and place that American libraries card-catalogue as using the pseudonym of Outis : but his son, Henry N. Stevens, was doubtful if his father used this press-name at so early a date; also no letters from him concerning this episode appear in Longfellow's files. This Outis tilting has also been ascribed to Lowell's love for Longfellow. But print mention of Lowell's omission from the “Waif” caught him at Philadelphia, March 8, 1845, writing Longfellow:(40) “Somebody has been mixing me up with the foolish controversy about the ‘Waif’ ... you would be the last to deem me capable of attributing such omission to cause suggested by the ‘ (Mirror.’ But as I had written a life of Mr. Poe I thought some of [page 973:] your friends might imagine I jogged Mr. Poe's elbow in the criticism. I have had no communication with him, ... since nearly two months before the appearance of the ‘ Waif.’ I say frankly your copying any verse of mine into that pleasant little volume never occurred to me. If I had felt aggrieved, ... I should never have opened my lips about it. I wish no favorable verdict on what I write. ... compelled by feeling of friendship.” It appears that Lowell was keenly distressed by what he believed to be Poe's (March 15, 1845, reply to Outis) personal reference to “Mrs. Longfellow and hers — [children] including the grandchildren ... if any, who will ... transmit the idea ... [in Poe's, that date, by-play of Outis: “There can be no doubt ... that Outis considers me a fool ”] down an infinite vista of generations yet to come.” Lowell was deeply irritated by what he termed “this grossness and vulgarity.” However, on this point Charles F. Briggs then plainly wrote Lowell: “The allusion to Mrs. Longfellow was only a playful allusion to an abstract Mrs. Longfellow, for Poe did not know even that Longfellow was married: look at the thing again and you will see that it contains nothing offensive. Poe has, indeed, a very high admiration for Longfellow and so he will say before he has done.” But Lowell, ever after, refused to be comforted as to Poe. Over the stalwart name of R. H. Dana also fell shadow's from the fluttering pinions of Outis, and that of Professor Felton, who defended Longfellow to editors Lawrence Lebree [[Labree]] and Arthur Morrell of The Rover. But more logically upon Poe himself has been cast suspicions of tilting, with a double-edged lance, [page 974:] for “principles” in this literary tournament, as well as in adverse critical arenas on his own works by criticisms now known to be written by him; and each one to reach some strong, special purpose, that pigeonholing habits of publishers would otherwise have placed beyond his grasp. Samuel Longfellow‘; “Life of Henry W. Longfellow” (1886 issue, Ticknor & Co., Boston) blanks his “Diary” from Nov. 26, 1844, to Oct. 1, 1845, which time generously covers “Outis” controversy from January to mid-April, 1843. All known facts seem to acclaim Longfellow was in some measure aware of Poe's secret and kept its incognito a rigid trust. Poe closed up accounts of his fray by: “It appears to me that what seems ... gross inconsistency of plagiarism ... is ... a ... perhaps abnormally keen appreciation of the beautiful, with a longing for its ... absorption, into poetic identity. What the poet intensely admires, becomes thus, ... partially, a portion of his own intellect. It has secondary origination within his own soul. ... The poet is thus possessed by another's thought, and cannot be said to take of it possession ... he thoroughly feels it as his own ... the volume from which he has derived it ... in the long lapse of years it is almost impossible not to forget ... for ... the thought itself is forgotten. But the frailest association will regenerate it ... its absolute originality is not even a matter of suspicion — and when the poet has ... printed it, and on its account is charged with plagiarism, there will be no one in the world more entirely astounded than himself.” Of this Outis-fray, in Poe's March 17, 1845, letter (Century Magazine, [page 975:] February, 1903) to J. Hunt, Jr., editor of National Archives, Ithaca, N. Y., appears: “The charges of which you speak [in March 13th National Archives] ... of plagiarism &c — are not made at all. ... I have some important developments to make, which the commonest principles of self-defence demand at my hands. ... If ever man had cause to be in good humor with [himself — Poe had just realized the dream of his literary life, a proprietary, interest in a Magazine] Outis and all the world, it is precisely myself, at this moment.” In this connection is most interesting what Thomas O. Mabbott writes concerning Poe and Keats: “On reading heats through I find some similarities, ‘quaint and curious,’ ‘dream within a dream,’ etc. Poe's statement that Keats is ‘the one English poet who never errs in choice of a subject,’ should be mentioned.” As to Poe's foregoing delineation of plagiarism, therein is dropped his Outis mask with a clatter, that calls attention to its writer's purpose in special connection with himself and Henry W. Longfellow, whose force of intellect seemed to accept this summary of the entire discussion. But Longfellow did not accept the challenge Dr. Fr. yon Spielhagen noted, as (but it cannot be found), in “last words of Poe's ‘Mr. Longfellow, Mr. Willis and the Drama.’ ” They were stated to he: “If these words should not draw a retort from the victim, surely he has either no wit, or he is an angel.” They referred to Poe's alleged Rover treatment of Longfellow‘; translation of “The Good George Campbell” from the German, which appeared in February, 1843, Graham's Magazine, Longfellow saw it noted “original” by [page 976:] O. L. B. Wolff, in “Deutscher Sänger-Saale,” edited by Gollmich. But Wolff himself had translated it from William Motherwell's “Minstrelsy, Ancient and Modern,” issued at Glasgow by John Wylie, 1827. Poe's and others’ caustic comments on the translation as from the original German, drew from Longfellow his only known print touch of irritation as to Poe's attacks. In a Feb. 19, 1845, letter to Mr. Graham(41) Longfellow wrote: “Perhaps you may remember that, a year or two ago, I published in your Magazine a translation from the German of O. L. B. Wolf, [Oscar Ludwig Bernard Wolff, 1799-1851] entitled ‘The Good George Campbell.’ Within a few days I have seen a paragraph in a newspaper, asserting, in very discourteous language, that this was not a translation from the German, but a plagiarism from a Scotch ballad ... in Motherwell's ‘ Ministrelsy.’ My object in writing you is to deny this charge, and to show that the poem ... is what it pretended to be.

“As I was passing up the Rhine, in the summer of 1842, a gentleman ... on board the steamer put into my hands ... Deutscher Sänger-Saale, edited by Gollmich. In this collection I found ‘The Good George Campbell’ ... as an original poem by Wolf, and I was so much struck with its simplicity and beauty that I ... wrote a translation of it, with a pencil, in my pocket-book; and the same evening, at Mayence, made a copy of the German, which I enclose. Soon after my return ... my version was published in your Magazine. ... I had not the slightest suspicion that the German poem was itself a translation, ... ‘til Mr. Griswold, ... wrote to me, ... [page 977:] and sent me a copy of the Scotch ballad ... I had never before seen it, ... Since I have seen the Scotch ballad in Motherwell I have detected, by means of it, a misprint in the German poem. The last word of the second line is Tag* (day) instead of Tay,* the name of the river. I translated the word as it stood, and thus the accidental misprint of a single letter has become an unimpeachable witness of the falsity of the charge brought against me. Will you ... publish this letter and the several versions of the poem enclosed?” All appeared in Graham's May, 1845, issue. Four lines of each version cover the misprint in Wolff's German, which follows:

“Hoch anf dem Hochland

Und tief an dem Tag,*

Der mite George Campbell

Ritt eines Tags frei.”

Longfellow's Translation:

“High on the Highlands

And deep in the day,*

The good George Campbell

Mode free and away.”

Motherwell's Original:

“Hie upon Hielands

And low upon Tay,*

Bonnie George Campbell

Rade out on a day.”

All this proved Poe and others mistaken as to Longfellow's plagiarism of “The Good George Campbell,” also that his poet critic was well acquainted with the Old Scotch Minstrelsy of William Motherwell, issued the same year at Glasgow as was “Tamerlane” at [page 978:] Boston in 1827. In Mr. Graham's March 11, 1845, answer(42) to Longfellow's letter was:

MY DEAR SIR: Your letter with poetry reached me — but I am sorry too late for the number on press. I will put it in the next. What has “broke loose” in Poe? I see he is down on you in New York papers and has written demanding return of Review I mentioned he had written for me. If he sends money or another article I shall be obliged to let him have it. ...

P. S. Mr. Willis made a disclaimer of being an endorser of Poe's views, at my request. I cannot see what Poe says now can hurt you.

If Graham had been sent “A Reviewer Reviewed” by Walter G. Bowen, wherein Poe, its writer, charged himself with plagiarism, literary thefts, hoaxing, etc., and his “defence of principles” in the Poe-Outis hoax, both would have clearly answered Graham's query, at has ‘broke loose’ in Poe’ ” Graham's letter strongly reflects the fact that, paid for or not, Poe's writings were pigeon-holed by publishers of his day. One instance being nine months of such rest obtained by “The Gold Bug,” from Graham, prior to winning the Dollar Newspaper $100 prize, Tune, 1843. To those knowing that both Willis and Longfellow were born at Portland, Ale., within a year of each other, and lived there for five years in childhood touch; and that early friendship, continued through later life, claimed for Mrs. Long fellow Samuel Lawrence's 1837 portrait of Willis, and from her husband his heart's service share of bearing N. P. Willis to his long earthly rest within that City of Shadows, Mount Auburn, Graham's “request” of Willis — to disclaim “Poe's views,” as to Longfellow — will seem an idle caution [page 979:] and curiously out of place. Graham's letter indicates he was coquetting between his own financial interests and Longfellow's, with Poe as the last consideration on all scores; for Graham's self-interest was but repeated tactics as to Poe.

More genuine script-expression as to “The Good George Campbell” translation came to Longfellow, Feb. 10, 1845, from editor Bernard Rolkner(43) of the New York Magazine in: “You ought to have double credit as it is almost word for word like the original without your having seen it. You showed me the German, and your translation, with which 1 was delighted for its beauty and fidelity.” April 30, 1845, at Bainbridge, N. Y., Editor J. Hart, Jr.,(44) wrote Longfellow: “I send you my paper this week in which I have answered Mr. Edgar A. Poe touching severity of his strictures on productions of others. I believe you are able and willing to place ‘The Good George Campbell’ in a light that will completely exonerate you. ... I have seen it stated ... you had explained the matter in the flay number of ‘Graham's.’ I intend to pursue the subject of criticism. ... and shall be highly pleased to receive from you a letter from which maybe taken extracts or, [have it] published in full. With much personal esteem.” So editors, great and small, found traffic advantage in this Poe-Longfellow episode, but as no record appears that above requested letter was sent for its mission, it is reasonable to assume Longfellow's noble soul was satisfied with placing himself in the right over his own pen-print in Graham's May, 1845, issue.

However, William Gilmore Simms’ criticisms [page 980:] claimed far less merciful expression than Poe's critiques from Longfellow:(45) “Read a very abusive article upon my poems by Mr. Simms the novelist, the most original and inventive of all his fictions.” Yet Southern critics were not less courteous than was the New England pen of Margaret Fuller, who noted Longfellow “a booby.” Of her he wrote: “Miss Fuller makes a furious onslaught on me in the ‘New York Tribune,’ It is what might be called ‘a bilious attack.’ ” Few are aware that Poe was sharply answered by Miss Fuller for exceptions he took on her “Longfellow” Tribune article, of later mention. But all this proves that Longfellow, the gentle and favored, Lowell and Miss Fuller as well as Poe, the desperately driven, were all very human and could be irritated into adverse comments by adverse criticism. Once again Longfellow defended himself, when charged by the New York Atlas with having stolen the tale of “Martin Franc, or Monk of St. Anthony's, from Geo. Colinan's ‘ Knight and Friar.’ ” Longfellow replied that the story was very ancient in various forms as far back as the Little Hunchback of the “Arabian Nights” to which Mr. Colman might also have had access unknown to Longfellow.

In William Winter's reminiscences of Longfellow appears: For the infirmities of humanity he was charity itself, ... ‘It is the prerogative of the poet,’ he once said ... to give pleasure; but it is the critic's province to give pain.’ ... Yet his tolerant nature found excuses for even as ... hostile a critic as ... Edgar Allan Poe, of whom I have heard him speak with genuine pity. [With an intellectual recognition [page 981:] of a master-mind and genuine sympathy for its mortal limitations, seems a closer Longfellow view of Poe.] His words were few and ... indicated his consciousness that Poe had ... abused ... him: but instead of resentment ... they displayed only sorrow for an unfortunate ... adversary. There was a little volume of Poe's poems — an English edition — on the library table; and at sight of this I was prompted to ask Longfellow [page 982:] if Poe had ever personally met him. ... He answered that he had never seen Poe, ... Then ... he added very gravely: ‘My works seemed to give him much trouble first and last; but Mr. Poe is dead and gone, and I am alive and still writing ... that is the end of the matter. I never answered Mr. Poe's attacks; ... Let them all pass.’ [These words definitely attest, first and last, that Longfellow had no part in the “Outis” defense prints.] He then took up the volume of Poe, and, turning the leaves, particularly commended the stanzas — ‘For Annie’ and ‘The Haunted Palace.’ ” Surely this was significant of Longfellow's motto which ruled his life, —

“Not noise but love sounds in the ear of God.”

Some years after Poe passed on — when “Hiawatha” appeared in the 1850's — it claimed sharp attacks from certain press editors, and Mr. Fields, excited by one outburst, hastened a call on Longfellow. He inquired how it was selling. The reply was “Enormously; we are running presses night and day to fill orders.” Longfellow quietly said, “Very well, don’t you think we had better let these critics go on advertising it?” Undoubtedly this was precisely the effect that Longfellow learned from Poe-Outis critical combat, which results were then so understood by Poe, who failed to duplicate them for himself in his seemingly rejected MS. of “A Reviewer Reviewed” by Walter G. Bowen. But Poe was doomed to lose in this Outis literary venture as he did in so many, unless, as Longfellow contended: “A masterly retreat is in itself a victory.” No other was ever made by Edgar [page 983:] Allan Poe. The New York Evening Mirror, Jan. 20, 1845, gave a reprint of Lowell's literary estimate of Poe as author, critic and editor — in its valedictory comments on his retiring from its service. The parting of their ways was sincerely regretted by editors Morris and Willis. The latter noted of Poe's departure: “We loved the man for the entireness of the fidelity with which he served us, we were very reluctant to part with him.” These sentiments were undoubtedly known to Longfellow.


[[Section 6, part II]]






[S:0 - EAPTM, 1926] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - E. A. Poe: The Man (M. E. Phillips) (Section 06)