Text: Mary E. Phillips, “Section 07, part I,” Edgar Allan Poe: The Man (1926), pp. 1252-1349


[page 1252, continued:]



POE’S “Marginalia,” IX, appeared in January, 1848, Graham’s issue and “Marginalia,” X, in the February number of that year. Lowell’s “Life Sketch of Poe,” favorably continued by Philip Pendleton Cooke, — to whose ballads Poe had given his best critical attention in The American Review, — was in January, 1848, Southern Literary Messenger.

The New Year, 1848, brought Poe to renewed, energetic efforts to establish his ever cherished magazine venture. On former lines of The Penn it now became





To be edited by


Its “Prospectus” was dated New York, January, 1848, and signed by Poe, who stated that its service was “within limits assigned, throughout the civilized world, . . . For this end, accurate arrangements have been made at London, Paris, Rome and Vienna. The most distinguished of American scholars [Dr. Charles Anthon] has agreed to superintend the department of classical letters. At all points the most effective aid is secured.” In the first number was to begin “Literary America,” covering every literary “interest in the United States.” Poe’s letters of this period were [page 1253:] freighted with every possible appeal for his Stylus venture; and in its behalf he planned a personal lecture trip to various cities of literary marts South and West. His friend, young George W. Eveleth, of Phillips, Me., promised his influence for hearty support in that state. Prior July 27th, he asked Poe if he saw fit to “hint” to a medical student aught of the “terrible evil” which caused the “irregularities so profoundly lamented” noted by Poe in his “Reply” to Thomas Dunn English. January 4, 1848, Poe wrote Eveleth that these “irregularities” were owing to his wife’s illness and death, to which grief were added stimulant strictures whereby he became insane with “long intervals of horrible sanity,” etc., of prior text mention. Poe concluded with: “In the death of what was my life, then, I received a new, but — Oh God! — how melancholy an existence.” To this “GOOD FRIEND,” Poe wrote that his answer to the July letter was delayed until definite details of The Stylus, etc., could be obtained, — its “Prospectus” had been sent. Poe’s numbered replies to his friend’s various letter-quests were: 1. Hawthorne’s review by Poe was out; 2. “Rationale of Verse” bore down too heavily upon some of “poor Colton’s friends in Frogpondium” (Poe thus named Boston from a pond in its Common) and was therefore sold, at a round advance” price, on Colton’s, to Graham; but it was not to remain even there, for Poe added: “I mean to get it back, revise or rewrite it . . . and deliver it as a lecture when I go South and West on my Magazine expedition. 3. I have been . . . working at my book . . . [his American “Parnassus,” finally changed to “Living Writers of America,” so [page 1254:] Mr. Whitty thinks.] I have written some trifles,” — some of these were published. “4. My health is better . . I have never been so well. . . . 6. The ‘common friend’ alluded to is Mrs. Frances S. Os good . . .” This referred to Poe’s lawsuit won against the New York Evening Mirror. Poe continued: “I agree with you only in part, as regards Miss Fuller. She has some general, but no particular, critical powers . . . she abuses Lowell (the best of our poets, perhaps) on account of a personal quarrel. . . . She has omitted all mention of me, for the same reason — although, a short time before the issue of her book, [“Woman in the Nineteenth Century”] she praised me highly in the Tribune . . . she is an ill-tempered and very inconsistent Old Maid — avoid her.”(1)

Poe’s private opinion of Lowell seems of marked favor; but rarely do personal differences fail to influence writers. In Lowell’s “Fable for Critics” he wrote of Miss Fuller, for public, all-time reading:

“She will take an old notion and make it her own,

By saying it o‘er in a sibylline tone;

Or persuade you ‘t is something tremendously deep

By repeating it so as to put you to sleep;

And she well may defy any mortal to see through it,

When once she has mixed up her infinite me through it.”

On personal scores Hawthorne, the quiet, was even more harshly moved than Poe or Lowell to write of Miss Fuller:(2) “She was a great humbug, . . . with much talent and moral reality, or . . . she never could have been so great a humbug. But she had stuck herself full of borrowed qualities, . . . took credit to herself for having been her own Redeemer, if not her own [page 1255:] Creator.” Yet George W. Eveleth wrote of Margaret Fuller: “She too sighs impatiently after a national literature.” But of Brook Farm Transcendental Community Hawthorne (as well as Poe) sturdily, adversely wrote thus: “No sagacious man will long retain his sagacity, if he lives exclusively among reformers . . . without periodically returning to the settled system of things to correct himself from the old standpoint.” Poe was seldom more definite on Boston transcendentalism that so persistently barred him out of living recognition. Returning to Poe’s January 4, 1848, letter, he continued of The Stylus: “I am . . . to be my own publisher . . . my ambition is great, . . . My plan is to go through the South and West, . . . to interest my friends so as to commence with a list of at least five hundred subscribers. . . . Can you or will you help me? I have room to say no more.”

At Fordham, January 17, 1848, Poe wrote Mrs. Shew’s friend, H. D. Chapin, that she had intimated that he would aid writer’s efforts for The Stylus. Poe mentioned his plan for going to see Editor John Neal for a Portland, Me., lecture influence; but Poe later thought one at the New York Society Lecture Room would be of better service, but added that he had not the advance price of $15; and if aid was granted that he would like to engage the “Room for the first Thursday in February.” Poe was “deeply obliged” for the “introduction note to Col. Webb,” and would present it when speaking “to him about the Lecture.” All this seems the awakening of the literary lion, by Poe’s finding himself active along his old lines. In some way the Lecture Room was secured by January 22nd, and that [page 1256:] day Mr. Willis was written to by Poe that he was to re-establish himself in the literary world and felt he could depend upon Willis’ influence for The Stylus. The lecture was mentioned as a help for Poe’s trip to meet Southern, Western, College and West Point friends in its behalf. Poe stated that the subject of his lecture, to avoid all cause for “squabbling,” would “not be literary at all.” He added: “I have chosen a broad text — ‘The Universe.’ ” Poe noted his need of five hundred subscribers, of which he already had two hundred; he dated his lecture for February 3, 1848; he left these facts to the tact and generosity of Willis, and concluded with, “Gratefully, most gratefully, your friend always, Edgar A. Poe.” Willis gave Poe’s facts in a near date of the Home Journal, with this reminder, “that our friend and former editorial associate, Mr. Poe, was to deliver a lecture, on Thursday evening, February 3rd, at the Society Library. The subject is . . . a broad one, ‘The Universe‘; . . . There is . . . one thing certain about it, that it will be compact of thought . . . fresh, startling, and suggestive . . . a mental treat of a very unusual relish and point.” Without Poe’s intention his Stylus purpose was noted: “They who like literature without trammels, and criticism without gloves, should send in their names forthwith as subscribers.”

Of this lecture Maunsell B. Field(3) wrote: “EDGAR A. POE I remember seeing on a single occasion . . . a lecture . . . at the Society Library building . . . under the title of the ‘Universe.’ It was a stormy night, and there were not more than sixty persons present . . . I have seen no portrait of Poe that does justice to [page 1257:] his pale, delicate, intellectual face and magnificent eyes. His lecture was a rhapsody of the most intense brilliancy. He appeared inspired, and his inspiration affected the scant audience almost painfully. He wore his coat tightly buttoned across his slender chest; his eyes seemed to glow like those of his own raven, and he kept us entranced for two hours and a half. The late Mr. Putnam,(4) the publisher, told me that the next day the ‘wayward, luckless poet presented himself to him with the manuscript of the ‘Universe.’ . . . Mr. Putnam, while an admirer of genius, was also a cool, calculating man of business. As such he could not see the matter in exactly the same light as the poet [page 1258:] did, and the only result of the interview was that he lent Poe a shilling to take him home to Fordham.” Press mention of Poe’s Lecture was far from his satisfaction. The Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post noted very highly of it. February 12, 1848, Boston Journal quoted New York Courier facts taken from Willis’ Home Journal; and to these, the Boston Journal facetiously added: “Mr. Poe is already a great man. If he establishes this theory to the satisfaction of learned and philosophical astronomers, his greatness will be greater than ever.” March 9, 1848, George W. Eveleth wrote of this squib to Poe.

Concerning Poe presenting his MS. of “Eureka” to Mr. Putnam for print issue, the records are that Mr. Putnam was in his office, 155 Broadway; and, he noted: “Some years after, . . . a gentleman with a somewhat nervous and excited manner claimed attention on a subject which he said was of the highest importance. Seated at my desk, and looking at me a full minute with his ‘glittering eye,’ he at length said: ‘ I am Mr. Poe.’ I was ‘all ear,’ of course, and sincerely interested. It was the author of The Raven, . . . ‘I hardly know,’ said the poet, after a pause, ‘how to begin what I have to say. It is a matter of profound importance.’ After another pause, . . . he . . . went on to say that the publication he had to propose was of momentous interest. Newton’s discovery of gravitation was a mere incident compared to the discoveries revealed in this book. . . . An edition of fifty thousand copies might be . . . but a small beginning. . . . All this and more, . . . in intense earnest, for he held me with his eve like the Ancient Mariner. [page 1259:] I was really impressed — but not overcome. Promising a decision on Monday (it was late Saturday P.M.) the poet had to rest so long in uncertainty about the extent of the edition — partly reconciled, by a small loan, . . .” Asking for a desk, pen, ink and paper, Poe said: “Oh, Mr. Putnam, you do not yet realize how important is the work that I am here bringing to completion. I have solved the secret of the universe!” This work by Poe is recorded by Benjamin De Casseres as a “Philosophic Masterpiece. In ‘Eureka’ he took both the intuitional and the rationalistic tools of the soul and showed the universe to be an æonic or cyclic dream in the brain of Brahma. Evolution is the method of illusion. Matter has no reality. In volition of spirit is the truth . . . and there is nothing but God and vibrations . . . Has an American put Darwin and Newton into the nursery school of thought?” Poe quoted from the French of Baron Biefield: “We know . . . nothing of the nature or essence of God; in order to comprehend what He is, we should have to be God ourselves!” Poe added, “I nevertheless venture to demand if this our present ignorance of the Deity is an ignorance to which the soul is everlastingly condemned.” Poe certainly made almost a century’s stride to Christian Scientists’ belief of today, that it is impossible for man to be a separate intelligence from his Maker. Returning to Poe’s “Eureka” issue interview with Mr. Putnam, he continued that Poe wrote until it was time for the former to take the Staten Island boat, and Poe was left to the book-keeper’s care, and was still writing when he started for home, leaving the absorbed poet [page 1260:] to the porter, who, caring more for his belated supper than the “secrets of the universe,” put this writer thereon, out against his protests. It appears that this record was repeated until the third clay, when Poe, with glowing prophecies as to his production, brought it finished to Mr. Putnam. He noticed its beautiful, very legible script, and was himself impressed with the eloquence of the fantasy, but he was not clear as to its importance as a scientific discovery. Mr. Putnam “printed 750 copies,” and of these a year later one third were still on hand. Dr. George H. Putnam adds, as of Poe value, the following item:

Received of George P. Putnam Fourteen Dollars, money loaned, to be repaid out of the proceeds of the Copyright of my work entitled Eureka, a Prose Poem; and I hereby engage, in case the sales of said work do not cover the expenses, according to the account . . . [of] said Putnam in January, 1849, to repay the said amount of Fourteen Dollars and I also engage not to ask or apply for any other loans or advances from said Putnam in any way, and to wait until January, 1849, for the statement of account as above, before malting any demand whatever.

New York, May, 1848.




Within a short time Mr. Putnam brought to attractive print “Eureka: a Prose Poem By Edgar Poe.” It was dedicated, “With very profound respect, to Alexander von Humboldt.” This inscription was induced, it was said, by Poe’s admiration of von Humboldt’s “Cosmos.” In “Eureka’s” Preface appears: [page 1261:] “To the few who love me and whom I love — to those who feel rather than to those who think — to the dreamers and those who put faith in dreams as in the only realities — I offer this Book of Truths, . . . for the Beauty that abounds in its Truth; constituting it true. To these I present the composition as an Art-Product alone: . . . as a Poem.” Poe stated its basic idea was: “In the Original Unity of the First Thing lies the Secondary Cause of All Things, with the germ of their Inevitable Annihilation.” He proceeds with an unusual treatment of this text — thought coeval with the ages. Mr. Whitty writes: “Poe’s copy of ‘Eureka ’ — sent after his death by a relative to Dr. Griswold who wrote on the first flyleaf, ‘Poe’s private copy,’ — was marked throughout with pencil additions and alterations.” William Fearing Gill adds that this copy was sold with Dr. Griswold’s library; and, in the writing of Poe, “on the half-blank page at the end of the volume,” appears the following “NOTE. — The pain of the consideration that we shall lose our individual identity, ceases at once when see further reflect that the process as above described is neither more nor less than that of absorption, by each individual intelligence, of all other intelligences (that is, of the universe) into its own. That God may be all in all, each must become God.” Poe’s meaning seems to be, that each intelligence was to become a part of, or one with, the Eternal Goodness! Mr. Whitty(5) claims that some of Poe’s “Eureka” ideas came from his “Opinion on Dreams,” in August, 1839, Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine, wherein was mentioned that there should be a“distinction” [page 1262:] made “between Mind and Soul; I believe man to be in himself a Trinity, viz. — Mind, Body and Soul.”

In William Gowans’ 1852 Catalogue appears, “‘Eureka,’ 12 mo, pp. 148 at 50 cents.” February 29, 1848, found the poet still at Fordham, writing his Maine friend, George W. Eveleth: “I mean to start for Richmond on the 10th of March. Everything has gone as I wished it, and my final success is certain,” Poe noted that George H. Colton (Editor of American Review, for which he desired Eveleth’s influence) “acted pretty much as all mere men of the world act. [“Colton had just died; Poe’s notings were kind words on the dead,” states Thomas O. Mabbott.] I think very little the worse of him for his endeavor to succeed with you at my expense. I always liked him and I believe he liked me.” Answering Eveleth’s prior letter quests, Poe noted: “‘The Rationale of Verse’ will appear in Graham’s, . . . [but it did not!] I will stop in Philadelphia to see the proofs. As for Godey, he is a good little man and means as well as he knows how.” Poe asked Eveleth if he had seen press notices of “my late lecture on the Universe . . . All praised it . . . and all absurdly misrepresented it.” But “E. A. Hopkins, a gentleman of much scientific acquirement, son of Bishop Hopkins of Vermont,” gave Poe’s “general idea.” He, himself, stated its details were included in “A Prediction” written some time prior, but not printed. May 9, 1848, Eveleth wrote Poe of the February 12th Boston Journal noting of his lecture (of prior mention) and it was thought, by Eveleth, to be high praise but not so intended. [page 1263:] Eveleth’s later letter stated the comments on Poe’s lecture, given by the Weekly Universe, were: “Mr. Poe is not merely a man of science — not merely a poet — not merely a man of letters. He is all combined; and perhaps he is something more — but whatever he may be, he is sure to give a lecture worth hearing.” After its delivery was added: “The lecture was . . . profoundly interesting.” Even Poe’s press-foe Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post very highly commended this lecture. However, Eveleth thought that Editor Colton, of American Review, liked Poe, both as a writer and friend.

Between late winter of 1848 and early spring of 1849, the poet’s quiet student life was varied by exchanging visits with some few friends, among whom the noble-hearted Mrs. Shew stood first. Again Poe wrote lines of his grateful appreciation of her worth; and without a title they appeared under “Poems” on page 236, in March, 1848, Columbian Magazine, to “M. L. S.” He sent to her a manuscript copy entitled


“Two gentle sounds made only to be murmured

By angels dreaming in the moon-lit ’ dew

That hangs like chains of pearl on Hermon Hill’

Have stirred from out the abysses of my heart

. . . . . . . . .

Bewildering fantasies-far richer visions

Than even the seraph harper, Israfel,

. . . . . . . . .

Would hope to utter. Ah, Marie Louise!

. . . . . . . . .

This standing motionless upon the golden

Threshold of the Wide-open gates of Dreams, [page 1264:]

Gazing, entranced, adown the gorgeous vista,

And thrilling as I see upon the right

. . . . . . . . .

Amid the clouds of glory: far away

To where the prospect terminates — thee only.”

The foregoing lines were among the last ones known that Poe’s muse moved him to write to this true friend, prior to the near parting of their ways. Thursday, March 30, 1848, dated this letter to her:

DEAR LOUISE, — You see . . . I am not yet off to Richmond . . , I have been detained by . . . unexpected and very important matters . . . I will explain . . . when I see you. What is the reason that you have not been [page 1265:] out? I believe the only reason is that you suspect I am really anxious to see you. When you see Mr. H. [E. A. Hopkins] — I wish you would say to him that I would take it as an especial favor if he would pay me a visit at Fordham next Sunday. I have something to communicate to him of the highest importance, and about which I need his advice. Won’t you get him to come — and come with him to show him the way?

Mr. Hopkins went out, as this record runs, and his advice was given on the book-issue of “Eureka,” which, as a “brilliant lecture,” he had heard; and he tried to persuade Poe to change its Pantheistic closing, but Hopkins soon found, “that was the dearest part” of it all to its writer. Of Poe and this discussion was noted: “For some time his tone and manner were very quiet, though slowly changing as we went on, until at last a look of scornful pride, worthy of Milton’s Satan, flashed over his pale delicate face and broad brow, and a strange thrill nerved and dilated for an instant his slight figure as he exclaimed, ‘My whole nature utterly revolts at the idea that there is any Being in the Universe superior to myself!’ The subject was dropped, . . , But that sentence, and the mode of its utterance, made an indelible impression.” Charged with lacking religious reverence as early as 1844, yet, in “Marginalia” of November, 1844, Poe stated “perfection of plot is unattainable in fact, — because Man is the constructor. The plots of God are perfect. The Universe is a plot of God.” That “God Almighty put something of Himself in all men” the study of Poe will reveal; also, that the supremacy of faith in this Divine spark, and not the conceit of any personal egoism, surely occasioned the poet’s utterance of that [page 1266:] startling sentence. This dominating belief was no more than that “the creative faculty is Divine Instinct, and Thought is omnipotent.” In his Universal Erudition, Baron de Biefield was as emphatically moved to state: “Pour savoir ce qu‘est Dieu, il faut être Dieu même.” It seems beyond question that Poe attached a figurative and not a literal meaning to the word “myself.” He was, however, hypersensitively touched by any attack on “Eureka”; and because the brilliant editor Charles F. Hoffman’s Literary World of July 29, 1848, gave “Eureka” — in book form — a misquoted review during Poe’s absence at Richmond, Va., on his return to Fordham, N. Y., he wrote his very definite estimate of this anonymous critic and his errors, September 20, 1848, to Mr. Hoffman. Of “Eureka,” the Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper, July 19, 1848, noted: “We have not read it, but intend to; and expect to find in it some brilliant thoughts, some truths; much eccentricity.” The November issue gave “The Raven.” Returning to Mr. E. A. Hopkins’ visit at Fordham Cottage, he concluded of Poe: “He was speaking of his near neighbors, the Jesuit Fathers at Fordham College, and praised them warmly: ‘They were highly-cultivated gentlemen and scholars,’ smoked, drank, and played cards like gentlemen, and never said a word about religion.”

To Henry B. Hirst, May 3, 1848, Poe wrote: “I am glad to hear that you are getting out ‘Endymion,’ of which you must know that I think highly — very highly — if I did fall asleep while hearing it read. I live at Fordham, Westchester Co. — 14 miles from the city by railroad. The cars leave from the City [page 1267:] Hall. Should you have any trouble about finding me, inquire at the office of the ‘Home Journal’ or ‘Union Magazine.“’ There seems to be no found record of Hirst being at Fordham.

Perhaps no manifestation of Mrs. Shew’s practical good sense concerning Poe’s disrupted nervous condition was of more real service to him than interesting [page 1268:] him in things outside of himself. On this score she asked him to aid her uncle, Hiram Barney, Esq., in selections of furnishings for the music-room and library of her new home, No. 51 West 10th Street, New York City. Mrs. Shew’s record of this incident was:(6) “I gave him carte blanche to furnish the music-room and library as he pleased. I had hung the pictures myself. . . . placing over the piano a large painting by Albano. Mr. Poe admired it for hours, . . . Mr. Poe was much pleased at my request, and my uncle said he had never seen him so cheerful and natural — ‘quite like other people.’ ” From this record it seems pleasant to think what Poe might have been in comfortable affluence during his mature years. Answering Mrs. Shew’s request Poe wrote:


MY DEAR FRIEND LOUISE, — Nothing for months has given me so much real pleasure as your note of last night. I have been engaged all day on some promised work, otherwise I should have replied immediately — as my heart inclined. . . . How kind of You to let me do even this small service for you, in return for the great debt I owe you! Louise! — my brightest, and most unselfish of all who ever loved me! . . . Louise — I give you great credit for taste in these things, and I know I can please you in the purchases. During my first call at your home [then No. 47 Bond Street] after my Virginia’s death, I noticed with so much pleasure the large painting over the piano, . . . a masterpiece, indeed; and I noticed . . . the scrolls instead of set figures of the drawing-room carpet — the soft effect of the window shades — . . . I was charmed to see the harp and piano uncovered. The pictures of Raphael and “The Cavalier” I shall never forget — their softness and beauty! The guitar with the blue ribbon, music stand, and antique [page 1269:] jars. I wondered that a little country maiden like you had developed so classic a taste and atmosphere. Please present my kind regards to your uncle, and say that I am at his service any — or every — day this week; and ask him, please, to specify time and place, —

Yours sincerely,


The foregoing letter seems a true reflex of Poe the man; his pure delight in attractive surroundings so pathetically different from those in his own home.

From Mrs. Shew’s grandson-in-law, Mr. Channcey L. C. Ditmars, New York, comes the statement that she was the daughter of Dr. Lowery Barney of Henderson, Jefferson Co., N. Y., and a niece of Hiram Barney, the famous New York lawyer, close friend of Chief Justice Chase, of United States Supreme Court, and Collector of the Port of New York during Lincoln’s administration. Mrs. Shew associated Poe, in judgment and taste, with this uncle for the selections in furnishings for the library and music-room of her new home, which then was S1 Tenth Street. The house, somewhat changed, and a few doors from Fifth Avenue, is still standing as No. 15 West Tenth Street, in rear range of the bells of the Church of the Ascension and those of Grace Church not far away. But Mr. Ditmars states very definitely that it was in the conservatory at the garden end of Mrs. Shew’s No. 47 Bond Street home — so graphically described by Poe — that he made the first draft of “The Bells” (the two verses), as suggested by her. And it seems that this conservatory under Time’s misrule still exists. About equidistant from this house, in 1848, [page 1270:] stood St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church — at the northeast corner of Lafayette Place and Great Jones Street, and the Bleeker Street Presbyterian Church, on the North side of Bleeker, opposite the end of Crosby Street and not far from the rear of Mrs. Shew’s Bond Street home. It was this close, clanging environment — both only a block distant — that made their “heavy iron bells” so disturbing to the poet’s then very nervous condition. Of Poe in that early summer, Mrs. Shew wrote: “One day he came in and said, ‘Marie Louise, I have to write a poem; I have no feeling, no sentiment, no inspiration.’ ” Mrs. Shew urged him to have [page 1271:] some tea, which was served in the conservatory, and through the open windows came the ringing clash of near-by Church bells. After their tea, Mrs. Shew said, “Here is a piece of paper”; Poe refused it, saying: “I so dislike the noise of bells to-night, I cannot write. I have no subject — I am exhausted.” His friend took up the pen, and, affecting his style, she wrote, “The Bells, by E. A, Poe,” and added, — “The Bells, the little silver Bells,” — then Poe finished the [page 1272:] stanza. Mrs. Shew further urged him by writing,” The heavy iron Bells ”; with which the poet completed the next stanza. Then he copied both and headed them with, “The Bells By Mrs. M. L. Shew,” and said that “it was her poem, as she had suggested so much of it.” Mrs. Shew continued: “My brother came in, and . . . took Mr. Poe to his own room. . . . My brother then went to tell Mrs. Clemm that her boy would stay in town and was well.” Mrs. Shew added that Poe “slept twelve hours; and the next morning he could hardly recall the last evening’s work. This showed that his mind was injured, and nearly gone out for want of food and disappointment. He had not been drinking, and had been only a few hours from home. Evidently his vitality was low, and he was nearly insane. While he slept we studied his pulse, and found the same symptoms which I had so often noticed before. I called in Dr. Francis (the old man was odd, but very skilful), who was one of our neighbors. His words were, ‘He has heart disease, and will die early in life.’ We did not waken him, but let him sleep. The day following, after he had breakfasted, I went down town with him and drove him home to Fordham in my carriage. He did not seem to realize that he had been ill, and wondered why ‘Madame Louise’ had been so good as to bring him home.” If “Madame Louise” could only have pulled out by the roots, from Poe’s weariness of mind, her prescription of matrimony for his case, her mission of benefactress to his few remaining years would have been ideal for him. On this score Mr. Whitty thinks: “Mrs. Shew’s advice to Poe, ‘to [page 1273:] marry a sensible woman,’ etc., was a hint to dampen his attentions towards herself. Poe could not stand too strong a friendship shown him by his women friends. Such sunk deep into his heart and made him romantically sentimental. It was his nature, he just could not help it. Mrs. Shew suspected this to be ‘falling in love’ with her and had she given in, it might have terminated as such, — but he dropped out in the end as she wished him to do.” Perhaps no phase of life so touchingly starts the sentiment of grateful affection as selfless devotion to acute nervous invalidism. Poe’s exhausted nervous force, depending upon Mrs. Shew’s strong sense and health-inspiring encouragement, probably involved natural consequences of their parting ways. But to one so lacking in physical strength as Poe then truly was, matrimonial suggestion at all proved little less than pernicious, and it seemed to hasten the break in their association, but never in their friendship; for he ever cherished a fervent gratitude for his friend of friends in his direst need. Mrs. Shew was truly such to him, and to Mrs. Clemm after his passing on. But relegated to conventional lines, Poe’s sensibilities were moved to writing his last known letter to her. Condensed, it (dated June, 1848) reads:

Can it be true, Louise, that you have the idea fixed in your mind to desert your unhappy and unfortunate friend and patient? You did not say so, . . . but for months I have known you were deserting me, not willingly, but none the less surely — my destiny — . . . Are you to vanish like all I love, or desire, from my darkened and “lost soul“? I have read over your letter again [page 1274:] and again, and cannot make it possible . . , that you wrote it in your right mind. . . . Such tender and true natures are ever loyal , . . but . . . Louise, you came . . . in your floating white robe — “Good morning, Edgar.” There was a touch of conventional coldness in your hurried manner, and your attitude as you opened the kitchen-door to find Muddie, [Mrs. Clemm’s pet name] is my last remembrance of you. There was love, hope and sorrow in your smile, instead of love, hope and courage, as ever before. . . . Was it not you who renewed my hopes and faith in God? . . . and in humanity? Louise, I heard your voice as you passed out of my sight . . . I heard you say with a sob, “Dear Muddie.” I heard you greet my Catarina, . . . only as a memory . . . nothing escaped my ear, . . . I heard you sob out your sense of duty to my mother, and I heard her reply “Yes, Loui — . . . yes” . . . Louise, it is well . . . you looked up with a tear in your dear eyes, and raised the window, and talked of the guava you had brought for my sore throat. Your instincts are better than a strong man’s reason for me — I trust they may be for yourself. . . . My heart never wronged you. I place you in my esteem — in all solemnity — beside the friend of my boyhood — the mother of my schoolfellow, of whom I told you . . . as the truest, tenderest of this world’s most womanly souls, and an angel to my forlorn and darkened nature. [Mrs. Jane Stith Stanard.] I will not say “lost soul” again, for your sake. I will try to overcome my grief for the sake of your unselfish care of me in the past, and in life or death, I am ever

Yours gratefully and devotedly,


This letter expression, with many like actions, unquestionably stands for fervent, sincere gratitude that is endearing; and, in a man charged with having none, also with being both “heartless and selfish.” Mrs. Shew believed herself the only person to whom Poe [page 1275:] called himself a “lost soul.” She continued: “Mr. Poe’s cat always left her cushion to rub my hand, and I had always to speak to it before it would retire to its place of rest again. He called her ‘Catarina’ — she seemed possessed. I was nervous and almost afraid of his wonderful cat. Mr. Poe would get up in the night to let her in or out of the house or room, and it would not eat when he was away.” Surely it seems Poe’s “Catarina,” or a predecessor, that purred her way into the review of Dickens’ “American Notes” in the December, 1842, issue of Blackwood’s Magazine.

As to Poe’s unstrung nervous condition about this time Mr. William Sartain was told by an old friend (a Mrs. Kelly) that Poe quarreled with her parents because they named her Victorine Adèle after a French aunt, instead of “Lavinia or Lenore.” He was very insistent, but soon forgot and was a frequent visitor at their home.

Concerning “The Bells,” Mr. Whitty(7) writes that F. W. Thomas’ “Recollections of Poe” stated that the germ of this poem was found very early in Poe’s career; that Thomas obtained Poe’s “Marginalia Book” he used when with the Southern Literary Messenger (this fact was affirmed by a statement made to Mr. Whitty by John W. Fergusson, then apprentice of the Messenger, who helped to eat Poe’s wedding cake) ; that this book was left at the Messenger office by Poe, who had owned it many years, when it went astray. And among the clippings in this book was one on “Bells,” from “Poulson’s Philadelphia American Daily Advertiser about the Autumn of 1833 when Poe [page 1276:] was engaged on same.” It is owned by Mr. Whitty. He notes that this item was again used in Burton’s Gentleman’s Magazine; that under the heading of “Varieties” it “reads: ‘Bells were first brought into use by St. Paulinus, Bishop of Nola (409) in the Campagna of Rome: hence a bell was called Nola or Campagna. At first they were called saints: hence coc-saint, or toc-sin, in process of time. But Pliny reports that many ages before his time bells were in use, and called Tintin-nabula; and Suetonius says that Augustine had one put at the gate of the Temple of Jupiter, to call the meeting of the people’. . . Poe told Thomas that the ‘Chimes’ by Dickens was his final inspiration to write . . . ‘The Bells.’ That story left a deep impression on his mind after reading a copy sent him . . . and he reprinted it entire into the Mirror . . . He said: ‘Thomas, that ghostly story with beleaguered phantoms and goblins — up, up. . . . higher, high, . . . higher up — ‘haunted me day and night.’ A bell never sounded in his ear but he heard those chimes . . .” Thomas added: “Many a time after the din and clamor of some bells had died away he would say to his wife Virginia and Mrs. Clemm — ‘I will have to do something to get those noisy creatures out of my way; they creep into my brain — confuse and disorder my ideas.’ ” Mr. Whitty continues, that while the subject haunted Poe, it only assumed shape in early 1848. An editorial note in the Union Magazine, suggesting a poem of twenty lines, caught Poe’s attention, for a short poem on “The Bells,” which was sent but never appeared. Rewritten it was sent to others, but was not accepted at his price. [page 1277:] Yet Poe’s faith in its value was unshaken. He told the Richmond editors, John R. Thompson and John M. Daniel, that it was his design “to express in language the exact sounds of bells to the ear.” Mrs. Shew-Houghton’s daughter, Mrs. William Wiley, wrote Mr. Whitty that her mother told her that Poe wrote “The Bells” at her home. When a little girl going to school Mrs. Wiley “was given some lessons on Poe, and her mother gave her the Poe-written lines to show her teacher.” These lines are still treasured by her family. Of “The Bells” Dr. Woodberry notes: “It may well be, that this is the poem that is referred to in Griswold’s ‘Poe Memoir’ as the subject on which he meant to write for the Boston Lyceum.” (October 16, 1845. Lecture Course occasion.)

In the December, 1849, issue of Sartain’s Union Magazine appeared: “‘The Bells’ . . . we published in our last number, has been very extensively copied. There is a curious piece of literary history connected with this poem which . . . illustrates the gradual development of an idea in the mind of a man of original genius. This poem came into our possession about a year since. It then consisted of eighteen lines! . . . About six months after this we received the poem enlarged and altered nearly to its present size and form; and about three months since, the author sent another alteration and enlargement, in which condition the poem was left at the time of his death.” Mr. Whitty writes, “it was early in 1848 when Poe sent his first draft to Sartain’s Magazine.” Several records show that Mr. Sartain willingly paid Poe fifteen dollars for each of the three versions of this poem — in all forty-five, [page 1278:] which was less than Longfellow and Lowell received for some poems then and earlier. But Poe has been charged with “selling three times” these verses, finally including over one hundred lines. Mr. William Sartain(8) notes of Sartain’s Magazine, November, 1849, issue of “The Bells”: “As first written it had only 18 lines and although accepted and paid for . . . publication was delayed some months, when Poe sent an enlarged version of the poem and received additional payment. Three months later he sent in another enlarged, version and received an additional sum — making a total of forty-five dollars.” Two authorities find similarities between the completed poem, and page 261 of Chateaubriand’s “Génie du Christianisme.”

Geo. Newell Lovejoy, Ann Arbor, Mich., locates the dazed, worn, weary writer of “The Bells” for one early November, 1848, night at Baltimore, Maryland. Turning from Editor John S. Hart’s account of this poem’s first print in November, 1849, Sartain’s issue to that of an old newspaper, Mr. Lovejoy notes that “a young lawyer [later Judge A. E. Giles] in Balt., was pondering late one evening before his cheery office fire when he was aroused by a loud knock at his street door. He told his colored servant — dozing on a chimney corner stool — to answer the door. Soon the boy returned, saying, that no one was there, but in the moonlight he saw a gentleman standing in the middle of the street all alone, who seemed talking to himself and waving his arms. The lawyer went to the door, opened it and saw, standing on the sidewalk, a stranger who at once turned towards him. On asking [page 1278:] if he had knocked, the reply was, — ‘Yes, sir, I trust you will pardon me disturbing you at so late an hour. I should not, — had not some thought come to me which I very much desired to put on paper. Observing your light I ventured to knock at your door where I might be allowed some paper on which to jot down what was in my mind’ — ‘Certainly, you are at liberty, walk in and make yourself at home,’ said the lawyer, who, followed by the stranger, placed writing materials before him when seated at the table . . . then, he said he would retire for the night but his guest was welcome to remain as long as he wished, the servant would attend to any of his farther needs, and saying ‘Good Night,’ the lawyer passed to his sleeping-room. The negro boy soon dropped to sleep on his bunk; while the stranger, quietly at the table, wrote on and on until he too, weary, laid down his pen and bowing his head over his folded arms on the table, fell into a deep slumber. The lawyer’s first thought on waking early the next morning was of his belated visitor. Hastily dressing, and opening his office door he was surprised to behold his guest of last night fast asleep. But awakened by his entrance, the stranger arose, profoundly apologized and remarked, that being greatly fatigued he had unwittingly fallen asleep, and extending his hand to the lawyer, turned to go. ‘But, you are leaving your writings,’ said his host, stepping to the table and taking from it several sheets of beautiful chirography. ‘Oh, no, sir,’ replied his guest, — ‘I left that for you as a token of your kindness to me. I have a copy of what I have written. Good morning.’ Upon examination, [page 1280:] this ‘token’ proved to be a lyric of power and beauty entitled ‘The Bells’ and its reader’s surprise was strangely moved to find it concluded with the name of Edgar Allan Poe.”

This utter exhaustion was the second congestion visitation of which Dr. Francis’ and Mrs Shew’s recent opinions agreed upon as to the first, that Poe had “heart trouble and would not live long.” But by her kindly meant suggestion, his attention was now most unfortunately led towards matrimonial ventures. Loneliness, after Mrs. Shew’s June retreat, no doubt turned Poe’s thoughts to Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman. This second daughter, of three, born to Nicholas and Anna Marsh Power, came to them Jan. 19, 1803. After birth of the youngest — Susan Anna, in 1813 — Nicholas Power sailed for the West Indies and was absent from home nineteen years. In 1816, the house, corner of Church and Benefit Streets, Providence, R. I., became the home of his wife and children. In 1828 his daughter, Sarah Helen, married John W. Whitman — a Boston lawyer of fine family — who died in 1833. Happily endowed with a brilliant mind and a magnetic presence Mrs. Whitman, as girl, wife and widow, came into touch with a wide circle of cultivated people; but from early years she cared less for school than for verse-making, reading novels and sharing social pleasures with her elder sister Rebecca.

By Miss Sarah S. Jacobs,(9) Providence, R. I., Mrs. Whitman was described as, “small,” dark, with “deepset” dreamy eyes that looked “above and beyond, but never at you. Her movements,” as “very rapid and she seemed to flutter like a bird, . . . Her spell was on [page 1281:] you from the moment she appeared (and she generally kept you waiting a little),” . . . The transcendentalism that caught in its grasp some of the finest of New England’s intellectual forces between 1830 and 1850, led Mrs. Whitman to the investigation of spiritualism, which left its influence over her entire later life. In 1829, her first printed poem, signed “Helen” — her favorite name — appeared in Mrs. Sarah J. Hale’s Ladies’ Magazine. For many years Mrs. Whitman’s Benefit Street home was the center of social and literary Providence, R. I.; and among her friends were James Freeman Clark, Horace Greeley, — to whose [page 1282:] New York Tribune she sent papers on Spiritualism, — Anna Cora Mowatt, — the author-actress, who later lived in Richmond, Va., — Margaret Fuller, — who in 1838 was teaching school in Providence, — Miss Anne Charotte Lynch and Mrs. S. S. Osgood, at times, when her artist husband had various commissions in that city. With Mrs. Whitman’s frail health, “mysterious elusive,” and sympathetic qualities of character, with a “style all her own” in ways of silken draperies, her filmy scarfs, dainty slippers, and “a fan to shield her eyes from any glare,” this lady’s sway in her attractive home of subdued lights and lurking shadows was both fascinating and far-reaching. Her sufferings from heart trouble throughout much of her life caused no little anxiety to her family and friends; also in herself the habit of easing such attacks with ether, as Poe tried to ease his many heart troubles with stimulants. Of her remedy was said, “the odour of ether ever floated about her presence.” Giovanni Thompson’s unfinished oil-portrait of Mrs. Whitman, when thirty-five, hangs in Providence Athenæum; and Skinner’s fine engraving of it appears in these pages by reprint courtesy of Mrs. Henry R. Chace, of Providence, whose kindness also includes a reprint of Mrs. Whitman’s more favored oil portrait by John N. Arnold.

A personal friend’s pen-picture of Mrs. Whitman and her home(10) is: “Many . . . a Sunday evening have I passed in their pleasant parlor on Benefit St. . . . when my father [Gamaliel Dwight] was alive,” and “when Mrs. Whitman, with a close-fitting black silk waist, low neck and short sleeves . . . low slippers [page 1283:] and a long veil thrown over her head, brought apparently news from our dear ones in that spirit land.” But all in white stood Sarah Helen Whitman, one radiant moonlight July night, within the doorway of her Providence home, when first seen by Edgar Allan Poe, then in her city as a guest of Mr. and Mrs. S. S. Osgood, when the poet delivered his lecture on “The Raven and Other Poems” at the Old Lyceum there. Restless, near midnight, he wandered from the hotel, past her home, where later on Mrs. Whitman wrote: “I was not wandering ‘in a garden of roses,’ as Dr. Griswold has seen fit to describe me, but standing — in the open doorway — on that sultry [page 1284:] July evening when the poet saw me and ‘dreamed a dream’ about me which he afterwards crystallized into immortal verse.”

Dr. Harry L. Koopman, Librarian of John Hay Library, Providence, R. I., wrote: “The visitor who toils up the steep ascent of Church St., from North Main to Benefit, will look in vain on the narrow space between the Chapel of St. John’s and the rear of Mrs. Whitman’s house for ‘the garden enchanted’ by Poe’s pen, or pictured by Pickersgill in the English edition of Poe’s poems.” Of that beautiful garden — exploitation of Ellis & Allan, as agents of Mills’ Nursery, Philadelphia, flower seeds, on the northwest corner of 2nd and Franklin Streets, and the scene of the poet’s first-love dreams, Mr. Whitty writes: “I have little doubt it was this garden Poe had in mind when he wrote those lines to Mrs. Whitman, and not her back yard.”

When Jan. 29, 1845, Evening Mirror print of “The Raven,” with Willis’ glowing comments on it, brought Poe’s popularity to flood-tide of his life-time, it cannot be held that “his reputation was purely local” up to that date; for his “Arthur Gordon Pym” had seen seven years’ prior London reprint — in 1838 — also press print in 1841, as did his tales in 1845. And Paris had press translations of “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” entitled “L‘Orang-Otang,” soon after Graham’s April, 1841, issue of that story.

It appears that Miss Anne C. Lynch had several times asked of her friend, Mrs. Whitman, original literary tributes for the St. Valentine’s evenings at her 116 Waverley Place home. In response to her appeal, [page 1285:] “I wish to know if you will not help me,” — for Feb. 14, 1848, — Mrs. Whitman’s answer was a valentine, — “To Edgar Allan Poe.” It was preceded by:

“A Raven true as ever flapped his heavy wing against the window of the sick, and croaked, ‘Despair!’ ” — Young’s “Revenge.”

And most apt it was; for Poe was then fairly winged by his shattered nerves, heart troubles and Mrs. Shew’s prescription of matrimony. Because he had not failed on social friendship’s score with her until June, 1848, and no mention until that time seems of record concerning this turning to Mrs. Whitman in any special way, perhaps he found courage then to do so, in the last verse of this 1848 “Valentine,” which was:

“Then, Oh! Grim and Ghastly Raven!

Wilt thou to my heart and ear

Be a Raven true as ever

Flapped his wings and croaked ‘Despair‘?

Not a bird that roams the forest

Shall our lofty eyrie share.”

In her letter of thanks Miss Lynch wrote: “The verses are very happy. I am greatly indebted . . . Poe I have seen nothing of for more than a year past.” She described her party, and stated she hesitated to give the verses for public print because of a “deeply rooted prejudice against” Poe which she hoped he would overcome; Miss Lynch added: “I earnestly request you not to mention this because I have no quarrel with Poe, and admire his genius as much as any one can.” Mrs. Whitman noted: “Mr. Poe having lost favor with many of the Literati was not, . . . [page 1286:] among the invited guests on that evening as we had supposed he would Have been.” These last words indicate her intention that he should know of her “Valentine”; but she did not then know that Miss Lynch with Miss Fuller had demanded of Poe Mrs. Osgood’s letters at the instigation of Mrs. Ellet, who was then, by fair or other means, in full favor of the “Literati” lights. Yet her methods had been unveiled, in a measure by reason of losses, in her lead, made by Editor Fuller of The Mirror, and Doctors English and Griswold. All this makes very clear why Poe had not been seen “for a year” — during his bereavement, poverty and illness — by Miss Lynch and some others of the “literati” whom he served in — various ways. Miss Lynch, however, sent Mrs. Whitman’s anonymous MS. Valentine to Poe by Mrs. Osgood. She, after its print, wrote to Mrs. Whitman:(11) “I see by the Home Journal [March 28, 1848] your beautiful invocation has reached ‘The Raven’ in his eyrie and I suppose, ere this, he has swooped upon your little dove-cote in Providence. May Providence protect you if he has! for his croak is the most eloquent imaginable. He is in truth ‘a glorious devil, with large heart and brain.’ . . . I have a terrible racking cough which is killing me by inches, and there are not many inches left now.” It was not until May that Poe — perhaps realizing that Mrs. Skew was vanishing from his life — was of record as turning to Mrs. Whitman, by a letter that he wrote to Miss Anna Blackwell, of England, but spending the summer of 1848 at Providence, R. I.; and by her scholarly French, several early translations [page 1287:] of George Sand’s works found themselves in English. For some weeks of the prior summer, Miss Blackwell lived near Fordham Cottage, and discovered in Poe’s personality “a most agreeable and high-bred gentleman,” but utterly improvident and incapable of taking care of himself. In his letter to her is an apology for a three weeks’ delayed answer to her own; there were details as to her work; an offer of his services; inquiries of how it happened that she had fled to Providence, or, he wrote: “is this a Providential escape?” he added: “Do you know Mrs. Whitman? . . . I have seen her but once; Anne Lynch, . . . told me . . . about the romance of her character, . . . Her poetry is . . . instinct with genius. Can you not tell me something about her . . . and keep my secret . . . let no one know that I have asked you to do so? May I trust you? I can — and will.” Soon after the receipt of y this letter Miss Blackwell met Miss Maria J. McIntosh — then author of “Two Lives; or, to seem and to be,” etc. — at Mrs. Whitman’s home, one moonlight night. When their talk turned on Poe, Miss McIntosh said to Mrs. Whitman: “On such a night as this, one month ago [May] I met Mr. Poe for the first time, at the home of a gentleman in Ford ham and his whole talk was of you..” Perhaps it was inspired by her prior February “Valentine.” It is well to recall that Miss McIntosh was visiting Poe’s Fordham friend, Mrs. Mary Osborne, at whose home they first met. However, Miss McIntosh’s remark wrenched Poe’s “secret,” also his letter, from the easy keeping of Miss Blackwell. The late Mr. J. H. Ingram seemed to have been very sure that this lady [page 1288:] had no connection with the Poe-Whitman affair; but the poet’s letter to Miss Blackwell, and other items, stand against this view. Several records show that Poe’s first lines to Mrs. Whitman dated about June 10, 1848, some time after her prior February “Valentine.” Mr. Whitty believes Poe sent them to Editor Bayard Taylor of Sartain’s Union Magazine, with a June 15, 1848, letter in which was: “I would feel greatly indebted . . . if you could . . . look over the lines enclosed and let me know whether they will be accepted for ‘the Union,’ — if so what can you afford to pay for them and when they can appear.” These lines “To —— —— —— ” seem to be Poe’s belated answer of November, 1848, Union Magazine print, to Mrs. Whitman’s prior February “Valentine.” Some of Poe’s lines were:

“I saw thee once — once only — years ago:

It was a July midnight; and from out

A full-orbed moon, that, like thine own soul, soaring,

There fell a silvery-silken veil of light,

Upon the upturn‘d faces of a thousand

Roses that grew in an enchanted garden,

Where no wind dared to stir, unless on tip-toe —

And thou, a ghost, amid the entombing trees

Didst glide away. Only thine eyes remained.

They would not go — they never yet have gone.”

Mr. Whitty writes: “This was the long-ago Richmond Rose-garden, walled in from the winds, which [page 1289:] could only enter on ‘tip-toe,’ and fall into broken breezes upon the upturned faces of the roses beneath the protecting lindens of Poe’s time and first love.”

At Fordham Cottage, July 15, 1848, Poe wrote Mrs. Mary Osborne

I return, dear Madam, the volumes you were so kind as to lend me, which increases the respect and admiration [page 1290:] I have long been entertaining for the unknown author of “Praise and Principle.” . . . May I beg you to make my acknowledgments as warmly as possible, to Miss McIntosh, for sending the book . . . rendered doubly valuable by her autograph? Will you request for me also, her acceptance of “Eureka” . . . ? I have ventured to send a duplicate copy in the hope . . . Mrs. Osborne will honor me by receiving it as an expression of my sincere esteem and friendship.

Most truly and respectfully,


This letter seems to affirm Poe’s prior May meeting with Miss McIntosh at the home of Mrs. Osborne. However, for a time, Poe’s Providence romance rested on the writing of his “garden enchanted” lines, while he went to Lowell, Mass., to give his “Poetic Principle” Lecture July 10, 1848; which lecture, the late Mr. Ingram noted, was “Female Poets of America.” Among those chosen for special praise were Mrs. Osgood and Mrs. Whitman, although Poe had then no personal acquaintance with the latter. During this lecture engagement Poe first met the family of Mr. Charles Richmond, of Lowell, it later appears, at the home of Mrs. Locke and her husband who, with Mrs. Richmond, were relatives of Mrs. Osgood. Concerning Mr. and Mrs. Richmond, Mr. Whitty calls attention to “Landor’s Cottage,” of which he notes: “Poe left a written statement that this tale had something of ‘Annie’ [Mrs. Richmond] in it.” With interlinking of facts and fancies “Landor’s Cottage” covers Poe’s Fordham home and those of Annie, at Westford, Mass., and at Lowell. Of Mr. Richmond and “Annie” is quoted from Poe’s pen-picture [page 1291:] of their Westford home: “As no bell was discernible, I rapped with my stick against the door, which stood half open. Instantly a figure advanced to the threshold — that of a young woman about twenty-eight . . . slender . . . somewhat above the medium height . . . with a certain modest decision of step . . . indescribable; I said to myself, ‘Surely here I have found the perfection of natural . . . grace.’ The second impression . . . but by far more vivid . . . was that of enthusiasm. So intense an expression of romance, . . . or of unworldliness, as . . , gleamed from her deep-set eyes, had never so sunk into my heart of hearts before, . . . this peculiar expression . . . is . . . the sole spell, which rivets my interest in woman. . . . after all, what man truly loves in woman is, simply, her womanhood. The eyes of ‘Annie’ (I heard some one from the interior call her, ‘Annie darling!‘) were ‘spiritual gray‘; her hair, a light chestnut: . . . At her most courteous of invitations, I entered — passing into a tolerably wide vestibule . . . to my right . . . was a window . . . to the left, a door leading into the principal room; . . . opposite me was an open door . . . to . . . a small study having a bow-window to the north. . . . Passing into the parlor, I found myself with Mr. Landor. . . . He was civil, even cordial in his manner.” Poe noted the white ingrain carpet with its small, round green figures, snowy white window-curtains, French wall-paper, “all of great delicacy” — three exquisite Julien lithographs, one a divinely beautiful head, — then, the creamy white cane-seated settee, rocker and chairs, round table with books and “astral lamp”; and flowers, [page 1292:] from gorgeous to delicate, here and there. All these Poe dwelt upon as atmospheric details of a home that eased his heart’s hunger, and of which he added: “Nothing could be more rigorously simple” than “Landor’s Cottage,” as pictured by Poe.

Mrs. Richmond’s ten years younger sister — later Mrs. Sarah Heywood Trumbull(12) — was just eighteen and going to school when Poe lectured at Lowell in July, 1849. In her records of Poe and his lecture appeared: “For the longest time I thought no one could be a poet unless he looked like Poe. I have in mind a figure somewat [[somewhat]] below medium height, . . . but so perfectly proportioned, and . . . a noble head, so regally carried, that . . . he gave the impression of commanding stature. Those clear, sad eyes seemed to look from an eminence . . . while his conversational tone was so low and deep . . . one could . . . fancy it borne . . . from some distant height. I saw him first in Lowell, and heard him give a lecture on Poetry, illustrated by readings. . . . Everything was rendered with pure intonation and perfect enuncination, marked attention being paid to the rhythm. . . . I recall . . . the undulations of his smooth baritone voice as he recited the opening lines of Byron’s ‘Bride of Abydos,’ —

‘Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle

Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime;’

. . . I think he made no selections of a humorous character, . . . in his public or parlor readings. . . . He smiled but seldom, and never laughed, . . . His [page 1292:] manner was quiet and grave . . . later . . . I applied to him the line of Wordsworth’s sonnet on Milton:

‘Thy soul was like a star, and dwelt apart.’

I did not hear the conversation at Mrs. Richmond’s after the lecture when a few persons came in to meet him; but . . . my brother spoke with great enthusiasm of Mr. Poe’s demeanor and grace of conversation, saying, — ‘I have never seen it equalled.’ A lady in the company differed from Mr. Poe, and expressed her opinions very strongly. ‘His deference in listening was perfect, and his replies were models of respectful politeness.’ Of his great satirical power . . . If he used the polished weapon in conversation, it was so delicately and skilfully handled that only a quick eye would detect the gleam.”

A letter dated Cambridge, Mass., Dec. 18, 1915, obtained through Miss Harriet Rogers, North Billerica, Mass., from Mrs. Geo. P. Lawrence — Mr. Richmond’s niece — throws interesting, intimate light upon Poe’s association with her uncle’s family. In this letter is:

“I was born the year Poe died — 1849 — and was eight or nine when I went to Lowell, and at this time Aunt Annie Richmond, born in 1820, was nearly thirty we lived in the same town, or near it, ever afterwards. Her maiden name was Nancy Locke Heywood. She was a woman of strong character, very determined, with a vein of sentimentality and very enthusiastic about everything that especially interested her. All her life she was given to new fads. She was very fond of books, a most interesting letter-writer and owed something to heredity, although her parents dwelt on a small farm in Westford. [page 1294:] When I went to Lowell she was called ‘Nancy,’ by her relatives, though it was said that she had some new idea from Mr. Poe that’ Annie’ seemed better; but from the first she captured my childish admiration, so 1 was ready to gratify her when she asked me to try and say ‘Aunt Annie,’ instead of ‘Aunt Nanc.’ . . . However her relatives and friends finally learned to’ use’ Annie’ when addressing her. After her husband’s death, in 1873, she had the change legally made, although in his will it reads ’ Nancy.’ She used to entertain the poet at her [page 1295:] house — which was full of works of art, pictures, books, etc. . . . In those days he was so poor; and after his death she opened her home to Mrs. Clemm his mother-in-law. Mrs. Richmond’s husband and daughter — alike in temperament, being very different from hers — did not sympathize with her. Her sister was like her; though ten years younger their intimacy was far beyond that of sisters and was motherly with Mrs. Richmond. . . . I think it was late in 1880s that Aunt Sarah told me she had an offer, I think $300, for ‘The Bells’ MS. Horrified, I said, ‘You won’t sell it, will you?’ She replied quite defiantly, — ‘Why not? I shall not live much longer and Carrie [Mrs. Richmond’s daughter] does not care for things for which I care, she says she does not want them. So why not?’ Not very long after, it was sold for — I have an idea — $375. . . . About ‘For Annie,’ she did not tell me, because my tendencies are decided as to keeping things through generations. Aunt Annie was President, Vice-president, and director on all sorts of issues; she was driven to utilize her energies on outside work lacking temperamental home sympathy. Mr. Richmond was quiet, fond of his wife, devoted to making money, of which she had all she wanted; but he enjoyed sitting by himself evenings, reading his paper, then going to bed. He had an affectionate nature, adored his daughter, who had a cold nature; but he and Aunt Sarah were fond of each other. I cannot remember if Aunt Annie was good looking in early years; in later life she was fine looking, carried herself well; possessed charm, but could be bitter in denunciation if she felt herself wronged. . . . Her only grandchild died in 1888, when sixteen; she was broken-hearted and said no such sorrow had ever come to her.”

A spirit, kindred to Poe’s, floats through the foregoing letter. It shows how well “Annie” understood his passionate gratitude in warm brotherly affection, and intense sympathy when finely moved. [page 1296:]

In this same spirit N. P. Willis was moved to review “Eureka” in The Home Journal of Aug. 12, 1848.

The records that note Poe going to Richmond, Va., 1848, in pursuit of his Stylus venture, mention no dates as to his leaving Lowell or Fordham for this purpose beyond that on July 16, 1848, he went to Richmond on a lecture tour.

Through Secretary Ernest Spofford, of Pennsylvania Historical Society, come reminiscences of Poe by Mr. Henry Graham Ashmead of 419 E. Broad Street, Chester, Pennsylvania:

“My recollections of Edgar Allan Poe are those of a child of about eleven years, and confined to one occasion. At that time John Sartain, the famous magazine engraver, and Wm. H. Slonaker were personal friends and clients of my father and frequent visitors at our home. Both knew of my fondness for prints and the care with which I handled them; hence I was permitted to visit the magazine printing office and inspect, at will, folios of fine, imported steel prints from which selections were made from time to time for magazine reproduction. On one of these occasions, when noon hour arrived, a gentleman of distinguished bearing but somewhat seedily attired, who had been talking with Prof. John S. Hart, approached me and noticing the print I held in my hand delightfully explained its story. I thanked him and told him I must be going. He asked me where I lived; when I told him, he replied, ‘I am going that way and will walk with you, my lad.’ Together we walked up Chestnut St. to Sixth, then to Walnut, where we stopped a moment. I was charmed by the stranger’s delightful conversation and flattered, as a child would be, by his considerate attention. There we shook hands and parted, for I lived on Walnut St. opposite Washington Sq., on [page 1297:] the site of the present Curtis Publishing Building. That afternoon a lady, calling on my mother, chanced to remark she had seen me talking with a person evidently in needy circumstances from his attire. Mother inquired who I had been with; I could give no information, but that I had met him in the magazine office and his conversation had been exceedingly interesting, and Mr. Sartain could tell who he was. That very evening Mr. Sartain called and Mother asked him who the stranger was, and she was told that he was no less a personage than Edgar Allan Poe, conceded to be the most original of American poets and declared by the majority of European critics to be the greatest of American writers.”

With this attractive Philadelphia incident interlinking New York and Richmond, July, 1848, Mr. Whitty writes that no press notice of Poe’s arrival at, visit in, or departure from Richmond, Va., could be found: and he there “gave way to ‘temptations held out by the spirit of Southern conviviality.’ ” And equally probable is, that the double demon of heart and nervous depression trouble was then in hot pursuit of its unwitting victim. Poe’s condition rendered him physically unable to withstand any such tax, or such as the good-fellowship of the press imposes in any day. To ignore it, in those days, meant “eccentricity,” and isolation; to accept it meant, for Poe, the dissolution of his personality and purposes. On these scores Mr. Whitty mentions a call of this time Poe made on the sweetheart of his childhood, Miss Catherine Poitiaux, who was therefore not at home to him; also that his visit to his sister Rosalie and the Mackenzie family was brief ; and that most of his time was spent amongst press-men of Richmond. In 1860, [page 1298:] Mr. Thos. Dimmock, of St. Louis, was told by Editor John R. Thompson of the Southern Literary Messenger that, in the summer of 1848, when he went home to lunch one day, his mother said a stranger had called and left a message, that for a week a man, calling himself Poe, had been several days at a tavern in the lower section of the city; and his friends, if he had and,, ought to look after him. Mr. Thompson took a carriage and spent the afternoon in vain search, but left his card with Jacob Mull — this Rockett’s section tavern-keeper [page 1299:] — and told him to give it to Poe. One morning, some ten days later, a man whom he had never seen entered the office, asked if he was Mr. Thompson, and then said, “My name is Poe.” Having thus met him, Mr. Thompson looked with keen interest at his caller, of whom was noted : “He was unmistakably a gentleman of education and refinement with indescribable marks of genius in his face of marble whiteness. He was dressed with perfect neatness; but one could see signs of poverty in the well-worn clothes, though his manner gave no consciousness of the fact.” Neither alluded to Rockett’s incident, but Poe asked leave to have his letters directed to Mr. Thompson’s box. This favor was granted, also the use of a desk in his office, as he was told by Poe that he was engaged in the preparation of a new edition of his works. Mr. Thompson added the offer of a sleeping-room, next to his own, hoping thereby to control Poe’s welfare. Sometime prior to Mr. White’s attack of illness at the Astor House, New York, January, 1843, he moved his Richmond Literary Messenger office from 14th and Main Streets to the Museum Building, southeast corner Capitol Square and Franklin Streets, then owned by the state. It was a large structure of two stories and a cellar. Each floor had two long rectangular rooms, with smaller ones in front. The second floor was reached by an exterior stairway on Franklin Street. The Richmond Whig — edited by John H. Pleasants and A. H. Moseby — had all the first floor and one long room, for printing; on the second, Southern Literary Messenger had the other long room, for mailing and storing, also the two [page 1300:] smaller front rooms: one for hand press; and the other, for the editor and proprietor, had in it only tables, wooden chairs, small desk with pigeon-holes — probably Poe’s, now owned by Mr. Whitty — and a small iron safe. This room opened into the other two, and was where Poe spent much time when at Richmond during both summers of 1848 and 1849.

It appears that Mr. White, at times, had troubles with others than Poe;(13) for the expert who worked the special lever press at times gave his employers “terrible scares,” but “kindness and expediency prevented his dismissal.” Mr. White’s Messenger career began in August, 1834, and ended that month of 1843, when Editor Benjamin Blake Minor gave his first issue, Aug. 5, 1843.

Editor J. R. Thompson — from 1848 — mentioned Poe as an “irregular drinker,” in “the desire for stimulants seeming to seize him like an attack of madness which he was powerless to resist.” After a month of total abstinence, he would be “off” for a week — then “some morning he would take his seat at his desk without a word about his absence and no indication in his appearance of what he had been doing.” He probably — most of the time — did not know. Certainly not, when found by Thompson, — “in the Alhambra saloon, on a marble table declaiming ‘Eureka’ to a motley crowd.” Mr. Thompson definitely stated, so far as he knew, “Drink . . . was Poe’s only form of dissipation. His tastes in everything else were naturally refined. I never heard him use a word which could not have been spoken with propriety in the presence of ladies; he had the strongest dislike for [page 1301:] every sort of slang, spoken or written. As a converser I have never heard his equal except Macaulay. Poe’s conversation was like a soliloquy; he never seemed aware of a listener, or to need one. Usually he was very reticent. I never heard him laugh and do

not think I ever saw him smile. He was very careful, methodical in his writing for the press, using old-fashioned letter — paper cut into strips of equal size; when filled — it was rolled up, never folded. His penmanship was beautifully clear and distinct.” Mr. Thompson gave to Mr. Dimmock one of Poe’s MS. “Marginalia” slips which began with, — “One of the truest poets is Thomas Buchanan Read,” and ended with a quotation from Lowell. The foregoing 186o account that, at forty-five, Editor J. R. Thompson gave of Poe proves that comments on Mr. Thompson’s letter written eleven years earlier to E. H. N. Patterson, Oquawka, Ill., are in order. This letter noted Poe as unstrung by stimulants “for two weeks” in the lower section of the city, but the “day following” Poe had called on its writer. Thompson’s 1860 record was “three weeks.” Mr. Whitty states, — “it took Poe many clays to recover from excesses, and if ‘able to call on’ Thompson ‘the next day’ this would indicate the indulgence had been moderate.” This fact seemed verified to Mr. Whitty by the late Chas. M. Wallace, Richmond historian, who had seen Poe several times during this 1848 summer, knew he was drinking, but never saw him “unable to take care of himself.” In Mrs. Whitman’s own copy of “Edgar A. Poe and His Critics,” first, 1860 edition, owned by Mr. Wallace, he wrote on its first blank page: “The [page 1302:] first time I saw Poe he was in ‘Our Home,’ a restaurant kept by Charlie Thompson, with a chum — one Billy Anderson — then a large grocer. I was presented to the poet by Mr. D. Hammersley, subsequently one of the proprietors and beginners of ‘The Dispatch’ newspaper. Poe shook hands with me, saying, — ‘How de do, Mr. Wallace,’ then turned to drink with his friends. His language in his cups was not elegant. This interview occurred about the time of the composition of ‘Eureka,’ for I was told the poet spoke of it as his greatest work. It was to be a key to the mysteries of the invisible world. Had I not been so diffident I should have spoken to Poe of his . . . swimming ‘from Mayo’s Bridge to Warwick, seven miles.’ I had done the same, but was too shy to make it known. Poe possessed an intellect of the first order.” Sept. 18, 1875, Mr. Whitty’s noting of this incident is, that Mr. Wallace was summoned from his bed, late one night, by an editor friend, who took him to meet Poe — then famous — at a near resort and hear him recite “Eureka” before a few chosen Richmond Bohemians. Poe was among them, discussing current affairs. “His manner was nervous and countenance flushed,” but “he was not intoxicated.” Poe “bowed with dignity when introduced, and by request soon began his interesting discourse, lasting an hour.” Concerning Poe’s 1848 summer visit to Richmond Mr. Whitty notes an Oct. 17th letter of Editor John R. Thompson to P. P. Cooke, which stated that Poe was not then in Richmond but had been for “three weeks horribly drunk,” discoursing “Eureka” to “Bar-Room” audiences: that his [page 1303:] friends failed to set him straight for work and finally had “to reship him to New York.” Thompson mentioned that he was anxious for Poe to write something “for print, but his ‘lucid intervals’ were so brief and infrequent it was quite impossible.” The “Rationale of Verse” Thompson took more “as charity”; for though “exhibiting great acquaintance with the subject,” it was “too bizarre and too technical” for general readers. Thompson’s letter concluded with, “Poe is a singular fellow.” On this letter Mr. Whitty’s comments(14) are: “It is not thought that Thompson saw much of Poe on this visit, so this information about him must have been second hand,” and Mr. Whitty definitely adds, that Poe was sober enough, at this time, to write many columns of MS., some given away by Thompson — one, “a work of manual art,” being still in Richmond; besides his “Rationale of Verse,” a review of Mrs. Lewis’ poems for September, 1848, Southern Literary Messenger, also a last “Literati” paper on her that was sent to the Democratic Review. Truly Poe was “a singular fellow,” according to Thompson, to have written so much and so well when “horribly drunk” for those “three weeks,” and needed time for his recovery during this Richmond visit. It might be well to bear in mind that none of these known Poe MSS, betrays an unsteady head, or handwriting!

The following mention of Mrs. Osgood would indicate that Poe was in personal association with herself and family at this time.

Mrs Whitman’s February, 1848, Valentine, “To Edgar Allan Poe” — after he read it in the March [page 1304:] 28th Home Journal, or MS. sent to him by Miss Lynch through Mrs. Osgood — was answered by Poe tearing out of his printed poems the one “‘ho Helen,” Written years prior to Mrs. Stanard, and underscoring these words:

On desperate seas long wont to roam,”

In seeming warning he sent this poem, with no name, to Mrs. Whitman. June 10, 1848, Poe wrote his lines:

“I saw thee once — once only — years ago:

and sent them to Sartain’s Union Magazine. They did not appear until its November issue. They may have been sent, in manuscript form, to Mrs. Whitman, prior to November. Miss Caroline Ticknor states that Mrs. Whitman’s August answer to Poe’s verses, including “To Helen,”(15) torn from his poems, was a refrain from those lines with emphasis on the words “Beauty which is hope,” and seems, from a mature woman, encouragement at least. Some lines were:

“A low bewildering melody

Is murmuring in my ear

Tones such as in the twilight wood

The aspen thrills to hear

. . . . . . .

And gazing on night’s starry cope,

I dwell with “Beauty which is hope.”

Poe stated that these verses reached him September loth, 1848, at Richmond, but “Mrs. Whitman noted, ‘It was earlier,’ ”(16) writes Mr. Whitty very definitely. “And the records show Poe’s friends and foes kept themselves up to date in all that touched his personality, [page 1305:] inclusive of his love affairs.” Although they had not yet met, it appears that the Poe-Whitman romance was talked of ill literary and press circles and perchance mentioned by them both. However, Mr. Whitty notes that among those Poe met that summer of 1848, in Richmond, was Editor John M. Daniel, of the Examiner, and United States Minister to Turin in 1860; and from the first, that this acquaintance [page 1306:] had been far from free and easy. It appears that Mr. Daniel knew Mrs. Whitman’s family, and hearing of her 1848 Poe “Valentine” and what followed it, made disparaging remarks concerning both in this connection, and of these remarks the poet was promptly advised. This incident, with a small money difference between them, exasperated Poe into challenge action, that he sent Editor Daniel to duel issue. Prom several records, and essentially Mr. Whitty’s graphic account of this episode, it comes that Poe spent this 1848 Richmond summer mostly in company of press-writers and about their resorts. During much of this time, Poe and Editor Hugh Pleasants, of the Whig, kept “bachelor’s hall,” in the old stucco house still standing on Clay Street, between 9th and 10th streets. And there it was, with other knights of the quill, that Poe met “fire-eating” Editor John M. Daniel of the Richmond Examiner. They did not agree on literary scores, and prior-mentioned small-money item tightened their tangle, when Daniel touched on Poe’s intentions as to Mrs. Whitman, — and to a duel issue. Mr. Whitty states that Judge Robert W. Hughes, who wrote for the Examiner and knew Poe personally, well remembered this duel affair, and told the particulars. The poet’s press-men friends did not regard the matter as serious, but advised him that Daniel was “a dead shot.” Poe’s challenge, written on press-head paper, was taken to Daniel in his official “Lion’s den,” where he received it lightly. It was arranged that Poe was to call at Daniel’s office, as he would not meet him in the usual way but preferred to adjust affairs there and alone. When Poe entered and saw [page 1307:] Daniel, the former drew himself up and haughtily demanded why he had been sent for. Daniel was seated near a table on which were’ two very large old-fashioned pistols which Poe, on the alert, soon saw. Daniel quietly and coolly asked Poe to be seated and told him he did not care to have the matter get to the police, and suggested they settle the dispute between them then and there. They were alone, the room was large, and he pointed to the pistols ready for use. This strange request was tinged with something of the grotesque and Poe began to sober up. He asked some questions about their difficulty and was soon convinced matters were exaggerated. Then Poe told Daniel of the challenge Edward Coale Pinckney sent John Neal of the Boston Yankee, and how the young Maryland poet walked for a week before Neal’s office to meet him. As Daniel was interested, Poe said he hoped his listener would not turn their affair into ridicule in the next issue of the Examiner as did Neal in his Journal. Mutual friends not far away, secure in their belief bloodshed was not in order, “then broke in upon the scene. Differences were adjusted in a friendly way and Daniel asked Poe to finish his story of Pinckney, which ended by the recitation of his lines, ‘A Health,’ as Poe only could give them, —

‘I fill this cup to one made up of loveliness alone,’ ” etc.

Mr. Whitty concludes: “After this, they all repaired to a near-by popular resort, where there were more healths.” With clear logic Mr. Whitty insists Poe referred to this incident when writing Oct 1, 1848, to Mrs. Whitman that he was “about to enter [page 1308:] upon a course” that would have borne him far from her. These words are ascribed by others than Mr. Whitty to an alleged intention of Poe to marry Mrs. Shelton, whose record is, that she did not see the poet this 1848 summer, Burin; which he had little to do with social Richmond, then claiming Mrs. Shelton’s absence. Yet then and there Poe met with much of nerve wreckage by stimulants. However, he and Editor Daniel became close comrades, despite the latter bringing to print an item of unkind reference to any engagement of Poe and Mrs. Whitman. To her Daniel wrote so pleasingly of Poe after his death, that this letter is quoted in her “Edgar A. Poe and His Critics.” There it stands in curious contrast to the poet’s life-sketch so harshly given after his death — in Southern Literary Messenger — by Mr. Daniel. In his letter to Mrs. Whitman appeared of Poe: “His conversation was the very best we have ever listened to. . . . On literary subjects it was the essence of correct and profound criticism divested of all formal pedantries, . . . the kernel, clear of the shell, . . . if he spoke of individuals, his ideas ran upon their moral and intellectual qualities.” Concerning Poe, as a critic, Mrs. Whitman wrote: “His critiques were read with avidity; not that he convinced the judgment, but that people felt their ability and their courage. Right or wrong, he was terribly in earnest. Like De Quincey, he never supposed anything: he always knew.” From Thompson’s Nov. 9, 1849, letter, of prior mention, Poe, in the summer of 1848, fled the Rockett’s pursuit of himself — made by Thompson — to Mrs. Mackenzie’s country home, by walking the three miles distance. [page 1309:] There he was properly cared for, until able to call with her son on Mr. Thompson. Yet not — “the next day.” But the kindly meaning editor stated of Poe: “From that time until his death we were much together, and in constant correspondence.” Elsewhere ‘Thompson stated: “It was not until within two years of his death I met Mr. Poe, but often during that time. When in Richmond, he made the office of the Messenger a place of frequent resort. His conversation was always attractive, and at times very brilliant. Among modern authors his favorite was Tennyson; he delighted to recite from ‘The Princess’ the song ‘Tears, idle tears’ — and a fragment of which,

’. . . when unto dying eyes

The casement slowly grows a glimmering square,’

he pronounced ‘unsurpassed by any image in writing.’ ” Among other rare Poeana, Mr. J. H. Whitty owns “Van Park’s Defense of Edgar A. Poe,” written at the “solicitation of Rosalie Poe. The writer was present at the Mackenzie home in Richmond during Poe’s 1848 visit aid heard the poet make recitations there. If Poe had shown traces of dissipation Van Park would hardly have printed this strong defense; nor is it likely Poe would then have been reciting to the admiration of his numerous friends under such condition as J. R. Thompson’s letter indicated. Van Park was a vigorous writer on religious subjects and well known about Philadelphia . . . his arraignment of Griswold is scathing. Van Park’s defense is one of the rarest Poe items: only two copies are known, of which mine is one,” writes Mr. Whitty. [page 1310:]

The late Colonel John H. Montague, of 118 E. Franklin Street, Richmond, gave an account of one unique experience with Poe this Richmond summer. Of this episode was noted: “My recollections of Edgar Allan Poe — ten or twelve years my senior — are limited to three or four interviews. Mr. Hugh Pleasants — editor of The Whig — and Poe kept ‘bachelor hall’ in the stuccoed house standing on Clay St., bet. Ninth and Tenth Sts. . . . I recall one occasion; they had entertained friends at dinner, and in those days libations were copious. Happening to be passing the house about night-fall, and hearing a great noise from within, I went through the first entrance, and as the sounds came from above, I started up the stairway. I had not gone many steps before I saw Poe standing at the top landing, half-dressed, and with a gun in his hands which he was leveling at me. I was almost paralyzed with apprehension, but dared not turn and run back. Being very young and active, I dived under the gun and embracing him said: ‘Mr. Poe, can you give me a drink?’ The question and my expression touched his heart, and he replied: ‘Certainly, my boy, come in, we are glad to see you.’ On another occasion my old school-mate John R. Thompson, the poet, suggested a call on Mr. Poe — then a well-known contributor to the Southern Literary Messenger. He invited us in with politeness, and for a time his conversation was most brilliant and interesting. After a while he lapsed into a wild, unearthly and wonderful rhapsody, while his great eyes glared, scintillated, and he seemed to be talking more to a peopled atmosphere than to a brace of youngsters. . . . Since that time, becoming [page 1311:] a little more familiar with German literature, I have recognized the names of the spirits of the air evoked by Mr. Poe in his enthusiasm. [Possibly “Eureka” connections with Alexander von Humbolt’s [page 1312:] “Cosmos.” However, this incident seems definite proof as to Poe’s familiarity with German literature and that tongue, both challenged by Charles F. Briggs as to Poe in, “He knew not one word of German.”] Hugh Pleasants said: ‘Poe was a splendid fellow, but was over-stocked with the divine afflatus.’ ” From about July 16th, when Poe left New York, until his return near September 10, 1848, covered about eight weeks. Allowing days of to and fro transit then required; those of ;energetic work, of “many columns,” in “Rationale of Verse’ ”; the article on “Manual Art”; long press reviews of Mrs. Lewis’ poems; his own revisions, letters, etc. — the “three weeks horribly drunk” then credited to him, and from which attacks “it took Poe days to recover,” — all these demands on those “eight weeks” of his 1848 Richmond visit makes the statement of “three weeks horribly drunk” stand on the very uncertain feet of “hearsay information” as given by Editor John R. Thompson’s October 17, 1848, letter to Philip Pendleton Cooke. This is Mr. Whitty’s very definite, logical conclusion, and that such an excess was improbable to the extent of the need for Poe’s friends to “reship him to New York,” as was written by Thompson.

It is said that prior to Poe’s July departure from New York for Richmond, he, over the name of Edward S. T. Grey; and in a handwriting unlike “his own, sent a letter quest to Mrs. Whitman for her autograph. But Poe’s note was dated “New York, — Sept. 8, ‘48,” when he was supposed to be in Richmond. It read: [page 1313:]

DEAR MADAM, — Being engaged in making a collection of autographs of the most distinguished American authors, I am, of course, anxious to procure your own, and if you would so far honor me as to reply, however briefly to this note, I would take it as a very great favor.

Res‘y yr. mo. ob. st,



Mrs. Whitman stated that the next move in her Poe romance was made by herself, in her — prior mentioned — August lines emphazing [[emphasizing]] “Beauty which is Hope,”(17) which were noted by Poe as having reached him, at Richmond, “earlier” than “Sept. 10th,” was her record. These lines strongly indicate that Poe was thus induced to “reship” himself to New York, and probably reached that city about September 8, 1848, which dated that cautious Edward S. T. Grey request for Mrs. Whitman’s autograph.

Whatever of this romantic episode, Poe kept strenuously in mind his dream magazine ; and no doubt in its behalf had made — through Mrs. Osgood, Mrs. Locke and Mrs. Richmond — plans to lecture on “The Poetic Principle” that autumn both at Lowell, Mass., and in the Lyceum, at Providence, R. I. Mr. Whitty states(18) that the Richmond Whig, August 17, 1849, noted Poe’s Providence lecture as one of a course delivered at the Franklin Lyceum last fall. The course was opened by Daniel Webster, and started by Rufus Choate, Theodore Parker, Alonzo Potter (Bishop of Pennsylvania), Louis Agassiz, the French savant, and Edgar A. Poe. It appears that Poe’s audience, of more than “1600 persons,” was “the [page 1314:] largest of the season.” Ili this connection seems to follow the next definite step of his pending romance. Of the fire or more personal visits Poe paid to Mrs. Whitman, the first was made September 21, 1848,(19) when he presented to her the letter of introduction written by their mutual friend Miss M. J. McIntosh, at “New York, Sept. 13th, ‘48”; and in it was “This letter will be handed to you by Mr. Edgar A. Poe. He is already so well known to you that anything more than the announcement of his name would be an impertinence from me. I feel much obliged to Mr. Poe for permitting me thus to associate myself with an incident so agreeable to both of you, as I feel persuaded your first meeting will prove.”

The late Professor James A. Harrison was right, only to a degree, in this “new canto in the elegy of his [Poe] restless existence, accentuated in every stanza by pitiful and desperate episodes clue to broken resolutions.” But “broken” mostly by the results of a heritage of shattered nerves causing “broken” health, and heart troubles far more serious than that suffered by Mrs. Whitman. And she made no secret of easing her heart “trouble by ether,” just as Poe turned to stimulants for the same purpose — unconsciousness — relief from his congestion depression. Science asserts that it is beyond mortal power for those under like sway of Poe’s disintegration of nerve forces not to seek what they believe to be relief. Mrs. Whitman was forty-five years of age, Poe was thirty-nine. Of her mature knowledge, as to these sad, adverse conditions of Poe, given by Miss Lynch and eager, ready others, also of the facts that she was not unwilling to [page 1315:] appear in her own public print and open social connections with the poet, there are various instances of record. In a September, 1848, note from Miss Blackwell(20) was:

I regret . . . I did not have the pleasure of seeing you & Mr. Poe this morning, especially as I am . . . so far from well, that I do not think . . . I can avail myself of yr kind invitation for this evening.

With Compts to Mr. Poe I am yours truly,


On page 393 of “Poe: A Bibliographic Study,” by John W. Roberton [[Robertson]], M.D., it appears that Mrs. J. K. Barnet‘, an intimate friend of Mrs. Whitman, was also invited to meet Poe, during one of his visits to Providence, R. 1. Concerning a curious incident of this occasion Mrs. Barney wrote: “On one of [Poe’s] his visits to Providence, Mrs. Whitman invited a number of literary people to her home that they might have the opportunity of seeing Poe and listening to his wonderful converse. The guests were assembled — all distinguished people. . . . Poe and Mrs. Whitman sat across the room from each other. They were theorizing on the poetic principle. . . . All were drawn toward Poe, whose eyes ‘were gleaming and whose utterance was most eloquent. His eyes were fixed on Mrs. Whitman. After another time Poe stopped talking, keeping his eyes on Helen. Of a sudden the company perceived that Poe and Helen were greatly agitated. Simultaneously both arose from their chairs and walked toward the center of the room. Meeting, he held her in his arms, kissed her; then stood for a moment, then he led her to her seat. [page 1316:] There was a dead silence through all this strange proceeding,” in the presence of Mrs. Whitman’s friends, at her own home. And it may well be that this audience instance, with possible others, that never passed from Poe’s pen or lips, that later moved him to implore the “one word” from Helen — but never granted the living man — that his part of their engagement was sincere — of Bayard’s order, “Without fear and without reproach.” However, this occasion seems to have supplied Mrs. Whitman with all unusual way of announcing her engagement to Poe.

Impetuous from childhood in his friendships, loves and literary pursuits, Poe but followed the trend of his nature in this romance of his mature years. And perhaps the sixteen poetical tributes that Mrs. Whitman paid to his genius, her devotion during this episode, and later, with her 1860 defense of the poet in “Edgar A. Poe and His Critics,” might as well mark this incidental “romance” mutually and temperamentally ardent. It seems only fair that love letters, like love itself, should be given entire, and from both parties, or not at all. Because only a few fragments of Mrs. Whitman’s letters, as quoted in Poe’s own, are of print record, and by blurs, omissions, etc., that appear in his to her; also that one record is, some of these were destroyed — it seems almost impossible properly to comment on those in print without the bearings of the lacking ones on this situation. However, between the date of their first meeting, on September 21st, and Poe’s first letter to Mrs. Whitman, were about ten rather thrilling days, as his letter was dated October t, 1848. Of these days comes from [page 1317:] Mrs. Whitman: “He endeavored to persuade me that I could lift his life out of the torpor of despair which was enshrouding it, and give an inspiration to his genius of which it had as yet exhibited no token. But notwithstanding the eloquence with which he urged his wishes and hopes, I knew too well that I could not hope to exercise over him the power which he ascribed. I was, moreover, wholly dependent on my mother, and her life was bound up in mine. In parting . . . I told him that I would write him and tell him mach that I could not then say to him. It was in reply to this letter of mine that I received the first of his letters.” Dr. Harry L. Koopman, Librarian of John Hay Library, Providence, R. I., writes, that upon one of Poe’s five visits to Mrs. Whitman — her foregoing words would indicate it the first — “they took the beautiful walk to Swan Point Cemetery, which was then quite out in the country and relatively inaccessible. It was here, while they were standing over an unknown grave, that he proposed to her.” Mrs. Whitman too, as well as Poe, had gruesome tendencies, for the late Dr. James A. Harrison wrote:(21) At one time she wore constantly around her throat a black velvet ribbon pinned with a tiny coffin which a friend had carved for her, in some dark wood, and this funereal badge she seemed to prize above diamonds or pearls.” Of Poe’s proposal, Dr. Koopman continues: “She did not accept at once . . . she was six years older than he . . . her poor health . . . dependence on her mother and sister, and his uncertain character and fortunes, may well have made her pause. . . .” And unfortunately for both, her “No” [page 1318:] was not definite. Of this meeting Mrs. Whitman wrote in her Poe “Sonnet,” IV:

“We met beneath September’s gorgeous beams;

. . . . . . . . . .

We wandered thoughtfully o‘er golden meads

To a lone woodland, lit by starry flowers,

Where a wild, solitary pathway leads

Through mouldering sepulchers and cypress bowers.

A dreamy sadness filled the autumnal air; —

By a low, nameless grave I stood beside thee,

My heart according to thy murmured prayer

The full, sweet answers that my lips denied thee.”

Her letter statement of literal facts — of prior mention as preventing her immediate answer, with the above lines of echo reference, in his reply, by “During our walk in the cemetery,” etc. — reached him Saturday evening, September 30, 1848. At “FORDHAM, Sunday night, Oct. 1, 1848,” dated Poe’s first letter to Mrs. Whitman, who, it seems, had shown her verses on “April Nights” to him, and of which one, at least, was encouraging in:

“Oh! then, beloved, I think on thee,

And on that life, so strangely fair,

Ere yet one cloud of memory

Had gathered in Hope’s golden air.”(22)

Of “April Nights” Poe wrote: “the words of your poem were yet ringing in my ears: . . . but their very beauty was cruelty to me.” Certainly they were enough inviting to catch the phrensy of poetic passion in one of Poe’s shattered health and spirits, when wittingly or otherwise appealed to by man, or woman of Mrs. Whitman’s intellectual force, spirituality and sympathies. Poe continued on what Miss Lynch had [page 1319:] told him of Mrs. Whitman. And this began with blurred-out words, followed by her “ecentricities” and hinted sorrows, etc., which touched Poe as his own. He thought Miss Lynch described — in Mrs. Whitman — a happy wife. For this reason, when passing through Providence with Mrs. Osgood in 1845, Poe refused to go with her to Mrs. Whitman’s home, but saw her, in her own doorway. Poe added: “Judge, then, with what . . . joy I received in your well-known MS., the Valentine.” Then came, how he tore out from a copy of his poems, the verses “To Helen” written to Mrs. Stanard, he stated, “in my passionate boyhood to the first, purely ideal love of my soul.” And underscoring the words, “on desperate seas,” Poe noted sending them to Mrs. Whitman as a fitting reply to her “Valentine.” Poe’s “torn out” verses “To Helen” seem followed by his MS. lines,

“I saw thee once — once only — years ago.”

They were sent by Poe to Bayard Taylor June 15, 1848, for Union Magazine print; anonymous lines went in the poet’s script to Mrs. Whitman perhaps prior to that date. Poe’s first letter noted his interval of tortured waiting — “how long” — for her verses from which he quoted her words,

“I dwell with ‘Beauty which is Hope.’ ”

He wrote of her verses: “your MS. lines reached me in Richmond on the very clay in which I was about to depart on a tour and an enterprise which would have changed my very nature — fearfully altered my very soul — . . . and borne me ‘far, far away’ and [page 1320:] forever from you, sweet, sweet Helen, and from this divine dream of your Love.” “these foregoing words refer to the poet’s expected Richmond duel with Editor John M. Daniel. In Poe’s rhapsody of his first meeting Mrs. Whitman, was: “As you entered the room, pale, timid, hesitating, . . . I felt . . . the existence of spiritual influences altogether out . . . of reason. I saw that you were Helen — my Helen — the Helen of a thousand dreams.” He quoted from her letter : “‘You will, perhaps, attempt to convince me that my person is agreeable to you . . . but . . . I am so variable that I should . . . disappoint you . . . And . . . although my reverence for your intellect and my admiration of your genius make me feel like a child in your presence, you are not perhaps aware that I am . . . older than yourself. I fear . . . that if you had known it, you would not have felt for me as you do.’ ” In Poe’s reply was: “. . . is not this the best of all reasons for my loving you the more? . . . Has the soul age, Helen? Can immortality regard Time? . . . Alas! I too distinctly perceive, . . . that in no instance you have ever permitted yourself to say that you love me. You are aware, . . . that on my part there are insuperable reasons forbidding me to urge upon you my love. Were I not poor — had not my late errors and reckless excesses justly lowered me in the esteem of the good — . . . how proud I would be to persevere . . . to beseech you for your love.” To the four blurred lines quoted from his lady’s letter Poe answered: “may God forever shield you from the agony which these your words occasion me! . . . Think — oh, think for me, Helen, and for” — Here, Miss Charlotte [page 1321:] F. Dailey notes,” the remainder of this page is cut off.” On the next page Poe concluded with, “Write soon . . . not much. . . . Say to me those coveted words which would turn Earth into Hea — ” Mrs. Whitman’s friend, Miss Dailey, writes, “The rest of the page is missing.”

Mrs. Whitman stated that her answer to this letter gave Poe more explicitly her reasons for refusal and occasioned his second letter to her, which dated “October 18, 1848,” In this letter Poe promised, “never again” to ask her to become his wife. In his reply was “In pressing my last letter between your dear hands, there passed into your spirit a sense of the Love that glowed within those pages : you say . . . but, . . . did no shadow steal over you from the Sorrow within me? . . . I cannot write . . . the calm, cold language of a world which I loathe . . . in which I have no interest . . . my heart is broken. . . . Of what avail to me in my deadly grief, are your enthusiastic words of . . . admiration? . . . But . . . to have so wounded me as you have done with this terrible passage of your letter: “How often I have heard men and women say of you — ‘He has great intellectual power, but no principle — no moral sense’ . . . You will feel remorse . . . Helen, when I say to you that, until . . . those horrible words first met my eye, I would not have believed it possible that any such opinions could have existed at all: — but that they do exist breaks my heart in separating its forever. . . . “there is no oath . . . to me so sacred as that sworn by the all-divine love I bear you. — By this love, then, and by the God who reigns in Heaven, I swear to you that my soul is incapable [page 1322:] of dishonor — that with the exception of occasional follies and excesses which I bitterly lament, but to which I have been driven by intolerable sorrow, and which are hourly committed by others without attracting any notice whatever — I can call to mind no act of my life which would bring a blush to my cheek — or to yours. If I have erred at all, in this regard, it has yours. on the side of what the world would call Quixotic sense of the honorable — of the chivalrous. . . . It was for this species of luxury that, in early youth, I deliberately threw away from me a large fortune, rather than endure a trivial wrong. It was for this that at a later period I did violence to my own heart, and married, for another’s happiness, where I knew that no possibility of my own existed.” Mrs. Whitman wrote R. H. Stoddard of Poe:(23) “He did not say that he did not love his wife, but that he married her exclusively for her happiness. Assuredly he loved her and very dearly loved her.” At the time of his marriage, Poe was all but mentally unbalanced by the renewal of the scenes and social touches of his first love — in Richmond, Va. — and this was well known to Mrs. Clemm and Virginia when he turned to them at that time for his soul’s anchorage. Little Virginia, who worshipped “Eddie,” obtained from him the tenderest devotion one human heart could bestow upon another. And this he gave his fair young wife to the day of her death. However, Poe’s October 18th letter continued: “I must now speak . . . the truth or nothing . . . at one dark epoch of my late life, for the sake of one who, deceiving and betraying, still loved me much, I sacrificed what seemed in the [page 1323:] eyes of men my honor, rather than abandon what was in hers and my own. — But, alas! for nearly three years I have been ill, poor, living out of the world; and . . . I now painfully see, have afforded opportunity to my enemies — and especially to one, the most malignant and pertinacious of all friends [Miss Dailey notes the next line “entirely obliterated,” and this blurring probably covers the name of Mrs. Elizabeth F. Ellet] — to slander me, in private, without my knowledge, and thus with impunity. Although much . . . may . . . have been said to my discredit, . . . those few who, knowing me well,’ have been steadfastly my friends, permitted nothing to reach my ears — unless in one instance, where the malignity of the accuser hurried her beyond her usual caution, and thus the accusation was of such a character that I could appeal to a court of justice for redress. The tools . . . in this instance were Mr. Hiram Fuller, Mr. T. D. English. I replied to the charge fully, in a public newspaper — afterwards suing the ‘Mirror’ (in which the scandal appeared), obtaining a verdict and . . . an amount as, for the time, . . . to break up that journal. — And you ask me, why men so misjudge me — why I have enemies. . . . Let it suffice that I have had the audacity to remain poor that I might preserve my independence — . . . in letters, to a certain extent and in certain regards, I have been ‘successful’ — that I have been a critic — an unscrupulously honest and in many cases a bitter one — that I have . . . attacked — where I have attacked at all — those who have stood highest in power and influence . . . in literature or in society, I have [page 1324:] seldom refrained from expressing, . . . the pure contempt with which the pretensions of ignorance, arrogance, or hostility inspire me. And you who know all this — you ask me why I have enemies. . . . I Have a hundred friends for every . . . enemy — but has it never occurred to you that you do not live among my friends? Miss Lynch, Miss Fuller, Miss Blackwell, Mrs. Ellet — neither these nor any within their influence, are my friends.” And how faithfully Poe served all these in revisions, as well as reviews; he further noted as enemies, from his sharp criticisms, the Channing, Emerson and Hudson coteries, the Longfellow clique — not the poet — “one and all — the cabal of the ‘N. American Review’ — . . . My heart is heavy, Helen, for I see that your friends are not my own. . . . Towards you there is no room in my soul for any other sentiment than devotion — it is Fate only which I accuse.” Dr. Koopman writes: “In his last call, Poe had urged an immediate marriage to Mrs. Whitman, and their return to New York. And she, as one of other reasons for delay, showed him letters, and one, warning her against receiving his addresses. After reading it, some callers came and he arose to leave. Mrs. Whitman noticed by his expression as he held her hand that he was deeply moved, and to her words, ‘We shall see you this evening?’ he merely bowed, but sent her a note of farewell and added, that if they met again it would be as strangers.” But Poe’s letter continued: “So great was my fear that you were rich . . . that . . . I was relieved, . . . by you assurance that you were wholly dependent on your mother . . . that you were in ill [page 1325:] health . . . I had been led to fancy you ambitious: — perhaps the fancy arose from your lines [from her Poe-Valentine]

‘Not a bird that roams the forest

Shall our lofty eyrie share!’

but my very soul glowed with ambition for your sake, . . . I dwelt exultingly upon what I felt that I could accomplish in Letters and in Literary Influence . . . the widest and noblest field of human ambition.” Poe then pictured a dream cottage of his creative fancies in its setting, itself, its furnishings and art atmosphere with a “love that threw an unfailing glory over the whole! — Ah, Helen! my heart is, indeed, breaking and I must now put an end to these divine dreams. . . . That many persons, in your presence, have declared me wanting in honor, appeals . . , to an instinct of my nature . . . which I feel to be honor. . . . and forbids me . . . to insult you with my love . . . that you are comparatively rich [Poe had just heard] while I am poor, opens between us a gulf . . . alas! which the Sorrow and slander of the World has rendered forever impassable — by me.” Poe noted that he would forward criticisms; that he enclosed lines by Miss Fuller; and “The Domain of Arnheim” of which he wrote “expresses much of my soul.” Another item Poe sent Mrs. Whitman is mentioned by Mr. M. A. DeWolfe Howe, literary executor of Mrs. James T. Fields: “In the handwriting of Poe — a page, torn from the end of a letter, is pasted in a vol. of ‘Poetical Works of E. A, Poe’ (Sampson Low & Co., London, 1857). Under the inscription (written [page 1326:] by J. T. Fields) was, ‘given to me by Mrs. S. H. Whitman in 1865.’ This page reads:

‘EDGAR — Preserve the printed lines — I send the MS. — perhaps you may recognize it. As one of the “signs of the times,” I notice that Griswold has lately copied my “Raven” in his “Hartford Weekly Gazette.” I in close his editorial comments — so that you have quite a budget of inclosures.’ ”

Thomas O. Mabbott notes: “Mrs. Whitman kept a copy of these ‘comments.’ ”

The “1848 Hartford Directory notes R. W. [[White]] Griswold as ‘Editor of the Gazette, 11 Central St., Boards — 254 Main St.,’ ” which item comes from Mrs. Jennie E. Fitzpatrick of Boston. Poe’s letter continued: “It was about the 10th of Sept., [Mrs. Whitman noted “It was earlier”] I think, that your sweet MS. verses reached me in Richmond. I lectured in Lowell the 10th of July. Your first letter was received . . . at Fordham . . . Saturday, Sept. 30. I was in Providence . . . the Monday you mention. In the morning I revisited the cemetery — at 6 P.m. I left the city . . . for N. Y. . . . I had a sad foreboding. . . . In the seclusion of the cemetery you sat by my side — on the very spot where my arm first tremblingly encircled your waist.”

Several records locate Poe in Providence, soon after this letter-date, on his way to lecture at Lowell. During this wayside stay he is said to have told much of personal interest to Mrs. Whitman. She noted:(24) “One evening, just after dusk, I event into a room dimly lighted by a coal fire. In a corner of the room hung an unframed picture painted, on a very dark [page 1327:] background, . . . by Giovanni Thompson who married a sister of Mrs. Ritchie. As I entered the room Poe started up and said, ‘Helen, I have had such strange dreams since I have been sitting here that I can hardly believe myself awake! Your picture in this dim light looked so like the face of Robert Stanard that it startled me . . . he was the schoolmate of whom I have spoken to you, the son of Mrs. Helen Stanard whom I loved so well. I never noticed the resemblance before, but when you see him, as you one day will, you will see how strikingly this picture resembles him.’ ” (Mr, and Mrs. William G. Stanard, of Richmond, had a photograph especially made for these pages, of Robert C. Stanard’s daguerreotype taken about this time.)

It is of record, that on this visit, Poe urged Mrs. Whitman to “confide her happiness” and welfare to him, — to defer her decision a week; and, that she promised to write him “fully and definitely.” to Lowell, where he was to lecture on “The Poetic Principle.” For its print issue, Sartain was said to have paid Poe, later, $30, and it appeared in Sartain’s Magazine, October, 1850, one year after the poet’s death. However, owing to Presidential election excitement in 1848 autumn, Poe’s Lowell lecture was not a financial success. Of the poet’s stay there, Mrs. Richmond’s sister, Sarah Heywood, — when Mrs. Trumbull — wrote: “A few months later . . . [than prior July 10, 1848] Mr. Poe came out to our home in Westford. My recollections of that visit are fragmentary, but very vivid. During the day he strolled off by himself, ‘to look at the hills,’ he said. I remember standing in the low [page 1328:] porch with my sister, as we saw him returning, and as soon as he stepped from the dusty street on to the greensward which sloped from our door, he removed his hat, and came to us with uncovered head, his eyes [page 1329:] seeming larger and more luminous than ever with the exhilaration of his walk. I recall his patiently unwinding from a nail a piece of twine that had been carelessly twisted and knotted around it, and then hanging it back . . . in long straight loops. It was a half-unconscious by-play of that ingenious mind which deciphered cryptographs. . . . My memory photographs him again, sitting before an open wood [page 1330:] fire, in the early autumn evening, gazing intently into the glowing coal[s], holding the hand of a dear friend — ‘Annie’ — [Mrs. Richmond; and Poe did not then know that his need was for true friends, not sweethearts] while for a long time no one spoke, . . . the only sound was the ticking of the tall old clock in the corner of the room. (I wish I could tell you what he was thinking about during that rapt silence!) [Perhaps contrasting the quiet peace of Annie’s home and friendship with the turmoil of his love in [page 1331:] Helen’s.] Later in the evening he recited, before a little Reading Club, several of his own poems, . . . ‘The Shadows lay along Broadway’ [by N. P. Willis] (which he said was a special favorite with him), and one or two of Byron’s shorter poems. To me everything seemed perfect, . . . his voice and manner expressed the ‘Runic rhyme’ better than the ‘tintinnabulation of the Bells — bells — bells.’ That poem was then fresh from the author’s brain, and we had the privilege of hearing it before it was given to the world. [Dr. Woodberry states that Poe wrote the third draft of “The Bells” at Lowell, Mass., late May, 1848.] The next morning I was to go to school, and before I returned he would be gone. I went to say ‘ Good-bye’ to him, when, with that ample gracious courtesy of his which included even the rustic school-girl, he said, ‘I will walk with you.’ He accompanied me to the door, taking leave of me there in such a gentle, kingly manner, that the thought of it now brings tears to the eyes that then looked their last upon that finished scholar and winning, refined gentleman.” All this comes from Vol. II, “Life of Poe,” by J. H. Ingram. John Hogg, London, 1880.

To Mrs. Whitman’s indecisive note, Poe received at Lowell, he replied that he would be in Providence the next morning (November 2nd). With this note’s uncertainty added to the certainty of his lecture being a financial failure, no doubt hastened the progress of Poe’s nerve-exhaustion attack: which began at Lowell. Under his distressing, acute depression he was either driven to take a heavy close of laudanum, or this was an ugly dream-demon of his congested [page 1333:] brain condition which he thought exacted his return to Boston. Mr. Whitty notes of this incident: “I don’t believe a word of this laudanum episode. Poe wrote like this before. He dreamed it. In Philadelphia he dreamed he had been in prison a month.” However, turning to stimulants, or other relief perhaps, as usual made Poe very ill; but on partial recovery he found himself at Providence, where on the morning of Tuesday, November 7th, he called on Mrs. Whitman too early to be received. She sent him word that she would meet him at the Athenæun at 12 o’clock. Under double pressure of his attack and some remedy, Poe frankly wrote Mrs. Whitman that day: “I have no engagement, but am very ill — so much so that I must go home, if possible — but if you say ‘stay,’ I will try and do so. If you cannot see me — write me one word to say that you do love me and that, under all circumstances, you will be mine.” This and more of a brief note was sent Mrs. Whitman at her home, 76 Benefit Street. But Poe was unable to go to New York, and a Mr. MacFarland, who was very kind to the suffering poet throughout his torture of that night, and was deeply interested in him, induced Poe the next morning to go to Hartshorn’s daguerreotype office, 25 Westminster Street, where his daguerreotype was taken by S. W. Hartshorn. While this likeness was a fine one of Poe, the face shows him suffering from the blighting effects of nervous congestion, both in the original daguerreotype and Timothy Cole’s superfine engraving made from it. This likeness and another of Poe, given to Mrs. Whitman, seem described in her verses “The Portrait”;(25) two follow: [page 1334:]

“After long years I raised the folds concealing

That face, magnetic as the morning’s beam: —

While slumbering memory thrills at its revealing,

Like Memnon wakening from his marble dream.

“Again I saw the brow’s translucent pallor,

The dark hair floating o‘er it like a plume;

The sweet, imperious mouth, whose haughty valor

Defied all portents of impending doom.”

It is said Poe left Providence for New York with a conditional engagement to Mrs. Whitman and they both thought this and her other daguerreotype of him, taken Nov. 14, 1848, were his best likenesses.(26)

Dr. Koopman notes: “The late Wm. Coleman, the photographer to whom Mrs. Whitman gave one of her two daguerreotypes of Poe, once remarked: ‘ I well remember Poe . . . when in Providence. I can see him now, as plainly as I see you, standing in a doorway, corner of Westminster and Dorrance Sts. He was of medium height, straight, well-knit figure, and his dark hair thrown back from his face in straggling locks.“’ And with pathos it comes, that, during this brief engagement, one of those heavy dark locks was added to Mrs. Whitman’s precious Poe possessions — done up with touching tenderness in a rich, red silk square kept under lock and key of a bank-box, now owned by Mrs. Henry R. Chace of Providence. However, the narrative continued, from the daguerreotype gallery Poe, still under the sway of illness, went by himself to Mrs. Whitman’s home. He saw her mother, Mrs. Power, and in his delirium called upon her daughter to save him from some threatening doom. Mrs. Whitman noted: “It was long before I could [page 1335:] nerve myself to see him. My mother was so moved by his suffering that she urged me to soothe him by promising all he might require of me.” After Poe had been with Mrs. Power some hours, Mrs. Whitman’s entrance was hailed by him “as an angel sent to save him from perdition.” And, as liable to any one under typhus-stress, a piece of her muslin dress was left in his strong-fevered grasp when her mother asked Mrs. Whitman to go and have coffee made for hint. Finally he became more composed and Mrs. Power wisely sent for Dr. O. H. Oakie, who found symptoms of cerebral congestion and advised moving Poe to the home of Mr. William J. Pabodie, where the sick man was given kindest attention by that friend. Over this pathetic episode the gossips held high revels in distortions and lurid colorings of a too sad truth. After his recovery Poe urged immediate marriage with Mrs. Whitman, who must indeed have loved the man, as this incident and Dr. Oakie’s professional opinion as surely advised her, Poe was hopelessly shattered in health by his continuous misfortunes, for nothing less than love could have induced a woman of her force and years to have given even “a reluctant promise” to Poe, conditional on his “never again touching intoxicants,” and nothing but his doing this would cause her to withdraw her pledge. Strange it seems, that with all such disasters Poe himself realized no more than did his contemporaries that turning to stimulants was not owing to “tweak twill” — which disasters his will, of wonderful force, could have controlled — but to the progressive mental depression, producing this unconscious turn to stimulants, and [page 1336:] thus irresistible physical ruin of an impaired nerve heritage. But during this November gleam of light over their brief romance was au incident of which Dr. Koopman notes, that on one of Poe’s Providence visits within their engagement, he was taken by Mrs. Whitman to her favored haunt, The Athenæum, and tradition says their conversation because so animated that the librarian felt obliged to call their attention to the rules regarding quiet. While there, Mrs. Whitman asked Poe if he knew who wrote a very striking poem, “‘Ulalume,’ in Colton’s American Whig Review, November, 1847, issue. Poe, taking a pencil, surprised her by writing his name at the end of the poem-page of this library-copy.” It can still be seen in this carefully guarded Athemæum volume. Mrs. Whitman urged Poe to cancel the last stanza; but Mr. Whitty notes it always appeared in Poe’s prints of this [page 1337:] poem; although omitted from Dr. Griswold’s first issue of Poe’s “Poems,” this verse was restored to later editions. But Dr. Killis Campbell finds it was also omitted in the Providence Journal print.

One evening just before Poe left her for Fordham Mrs. Whitman noted that he said something to her about Arcturus which she promised to remember; also that she rashly gave him her word that nothing she heard to his discredit would induce her to withdraw her conditional promise to him; but soon after Poe left, adverse reports came to her mother which moved her in desperate opposition to marriage relations between Poe and her daughter. She, in the midst of her troubles, “chanced to look towards the western horizon and saw there Arcturus shining resplendently through an opening in the clouds.” And as all things seemed significant then, she noted: “An hour after midnight I wrote: [page 1338:]



‘Our stars look through the storm.’

Star of resplendent front! thy glorious eye

Shines on me still from out yon clouded sky, —

. . . . . . . .

Kindling within my soul a pure desire

To blend with thine its incandescent fire, —

To lose my very life in thine, and be

Soul of thy soul through all eternity.”

These are some of the lines. Only the hearts of men, wooden, bronze or marble, could fail to move in glowing mortal measure by such expression from a woman claiming their admiration and respect; yet Poe, forever true to his tryst with literature, critically noted, with apologies, a change that now appears in the fourth of these preceding lines. However, at 5 o’clock, November 14th, on the Long Island boat, Poe wrote Mrs. Whitman that it was made fast to the wharf and he would leave “New York at 7 for Fordham.” He added, “but for a strange shadow of coming evil, which haunts me, I should be happy.” In a “P.S.” Poe sent a grateful acknowledgment to Mr. William J. Pabodie for his kindness during writer’s illness in Providence: but his letter concluded with: “I have not dared to break my promise to you. And now, dearest Helen, be true to me.”

The late Mr. John H. Ingram truly wrote: “A spirit kindred to the poet’s is, . . . necessary to a thorough comprehension of the passionate gratitude, burning affection, and intense sympathy . . . Poe felt — for the time at least — for those who ‘sorrowed for [page 1340:] his fate,’ and sought to aid him as he passed by on his life’s journey. During the latter years . . . he appeared utterly unable to exist apart from the sympathy and encouragement of some . , . unselfish person to whom he could turn for advice.” Of this strong understanding and encouragement of selfless friends, surely the poet had desperate need in his “lonesome, later years.” And at this time he certainly found one, in Mrs. Charles Richmond of Lowell, Mass. Of his last, hideous, nerve-congestion attack approaching him there, and its later consequences, he wrote at “Fordham, Nov. 16, 1848,” to “Annie,” this friend:

Ah, Annie, . . . the last terrible fortnight . . . you have heard nothing from me. . . . How shall I explain . . the bitter . . . anguish which has tortured me since I left you? . . . you remember my expression of gloom — of a dreadful . . . foreboding of Ill . . . indeed it seemed to me that Death approached me even then . . . that I was involved in the shallow which went before him. . , , I remember nothing distinctly . . . until I found myself in Providence. I went to bed and ‘wept through a long, . . . night of Despair. When the day broke, I arose and endeavored to quiet my mind by a rapid wall: in the cold, keen air — but . . . the Demon tormented me still. Finally I procured two ounces of laudanum, and . . . took the cars back to Boston. When I arrived I wrote you . . . opened my whole heart . . . to you. . . . I told you how my struggles were more than I could bear . . . reminded you of that . . . promise . . . I exacted from you . . . that . . . you would come to me on my bed of death. . . . Having written this letter, I swallowed about half of the laudanum, and hurried to the Post Office. . . . But . . . before I reached the Post Office my reason was entirely gone, and the letter was never put in. . . . A friend was [page 1341:] at hand, who aided and . . . saved me, but it is only within the last three days that I have been able to remember what occurred in that dreary interval. . . . after the laudanum was rejected . . . I became calm, and . . . I was suffered to go back to Providence. .All this seems but the delirium of a congested brain, “cerebral congestion” as noted by Dr. O. H. Oakie] . . . It is not much that I ask, sweeet sister Annie — my mother and myself would take a small cottage — oh, so small — so very humble — I should be far away from the tumult of the world. . . . I would labor clay and night, and with industry, I could accomplish so much. . . . I could see some of your beloved family every day, and you often. . . . I am at home now with my clear mother, who is endeavoring to comfort me. . . . She . . . has written you, begging you to come on to Fordham. Ah, Annie, is it not possible? I am so ill . . . in body and mind, that I feel I cannot live . . . this fearful agitation, . . . if continued, will either destroy my life or drive me hopelessly mad. Farewell — here and hereafter —

Forever your own


In Mrs. Clemm’s enclosed note was:

MY DEAR ANNIE, — God has . . . returned my poor, darling Eddy to me. But how changed! I scarcely knew him. . . . And oh! — how near I was to losing him! But . . . God saved him. . . . I have read his letter to you, and have told him I think it very selfish, to wish you to come: for I know, . . . it would be inconvenient. . . . Eddy has told me of all your kindness to him. God bless you for it. . . . He raved all night about you, but is now more composed. [The truth is, Poe was so ill a man at this date and henceforth, that much of the time he scarce knew what he was about.] I too am very sick, but will do all I can to cheer and comfort him. . . . Have you heard anything of Mrs. L[ocke] since her tragic performance? [page 1342:] I never liked her, and said so from the first. Do tell me all about her. — Good-bye.

Seriously ill, bewildered in his love pursuit and perplexed on practical scores, Poe, in behalf of his continuously cherished Stylus, wrote at “New York, Nov. 20, 1848,” to Mr. Edward Valentine:

DEAR SIR, — After a long and bitter struggle with sickness, poverty and the thousand evils which attend them, I find myself at length in a position . . . to triumph over all difficulties, if I could but obtain . . . a very little pecuniary aid. In looking around me . . . I can think of no one, with the exception of yourself, whom I see the least prospect of interesting in my behalf. . . . I call to mind, . . . that, during my childhood, you were very kind to me, and, I believe, very fond of me. For this reason, and because I really do not know where else to turn for the assistance I so much need at this moment, I venture to throw myself upon your generosity and ask you to lend me $200. With this sum I should be able to take the first steps . . . to the establishment of a Magazine, for which I have . . . a good list of subscribers, and of which I send you a Prospectus. If for the sake of “auld lang syne” you will advance me the sum needed, there are no words which can express my gratitude.

Most sincerely yours,


This letter Poe sent to the Richmond young writer of verse, Miss Susan A. Talley, — later Mrs. Weiss, author of “Home Life of Poe,” — requesting her to forward it. November 29th, she wrote him that she would take pleasure in doing so, on Mr. Valentine’s return to Richmond, in a week or more: and that she lead little doubt of the success of this application, also [page 1343:] gave the assurance it would be made known only to Mr. Valentine.(27) “Wednesday :Morning, the 22d Nov.,” (as noted by Mrs. Whitman,) Poe wrote to her. He mentioned her Friday line, promising a long letter for Tuesday, then not received; and repeated his prior tone of anxiety in, “Still the Shadow of Evil haunts me, and although tranquil, I am unhappy.” He closed with the pleasure her remembrance gave to Mrs, Clemm. The next day Poe wrote to Mrs. Richmond’s sister, Sarah Heywood:

If there is any pity in your heart, . . . let me know why it is I do not hear from “Annie.” . . . I wrote her a long letter eight days ago, enclosing one from my mother, who wrote again on the 19th. . . . If I did not love your sister with the purest . . . love I would not dare confide in you. . . . Her silence fills my whole soul with terror. Can she have received my letter? . . . Do not fail to answer me at once. God bless you. . . . EDGAR.

As Poe’s letter to “Annie” mentioned his laudanumtaking, or dream, during his recent illness and other very personal items, these over his name must have caused the anxiety he expressed, in not hearing from her, by reason of that letter going astray. However, his sixth, to Mrs. Whitman, dated “Friday the 24th.” It noted that in a little more “than a fortnight” he would see her, and until then he would defer the mention of his wishes, hopes and “especially” fears. Because she said that all depended on his firmness, Poe added, “all is safe — for the terrible agony . . . known only to my God and to myself — seems to have passed my soul through fire and purified it from all that is weak.” [page 1344:] As to Mrs. Whitman’s being “tortured by reports” since ‘‘explained” to leer “entire satisfaction,” Poe wrote: “I will rest neither by night nor by day until I bring those who have slandered me into the light of day — until I expose them, and their motives. . . . I have the means and I will ruthlessly employ them. On one point let me caution you, . . . No sooner will Mrs. E. [llet] hear of my proposals to yourself, than she will set in operation every conceivable chicanery to frustrate me: — and, if you are not prepared for her arts, she will infallibly succeed — for her whole study, . . . has been the gratification of her malignity by such means as any other human being would rather die than adopt.” Poe noted that even Mrs. Osgood’s “acute intellect” on such scores was “completely blinded” for “a long time.” Poe gave details of her letter to himself — on a table in his home — being read by Mrs. Ellet when calling there; the consequences of this act, including her own letters to him being returned to her; because driven to madness, by her perfidy, he was stung into advising Mrs. Ellet’s attention to her own letters, instead of Mrs. Osgood’s, when Miss Fuller and Miss Lynch went to obtain those of Mrs. Osgood from Poe. Concerning Mrs. Ellet’s methods Poe added: “fly poor Virginia, who was continually tortured (although never deceived) by her anonymous letters, on her death-bed declared that Mrs. E. had been her murderer. I lave I not a right to hate this fiend and to caution you against her? You will now comprehend what I mean in saving that the only thing for which I found it impossible to forgive Mrs. O. was her reception of Mrs. E.” This lady held the lash for life over both [page 1345:] Virginia and Mrs. Osgood for their hilarity accidentally witnessed by Mrs. Ellet over her own love letter to Poe. And most unfairly to Poe, Mrs. Osgood, Virginia and Mrs. Clemm left this chance incident to the later telling — without names — of Elizabeth Oakes Smith. Poe never told it; but he had not included Mrs. Ellet in “Literati of New York,” although, as edited by Dr. Griswold, Poe’s critique, in later criticisms, noted Mrs. Ellet(28) as a long-time periodical writer; mentioned a tragedy, “Teresa Conterini,” as acted one night only; and her articles for most part — “although no doubt composed in good faith, have the disadvantage of looking as if hashed up for just so much money as they will bring.” He believed that the charge of plagiarism against her was “unfounded.” because he lacked “interest to investigate.” Poe’s closing words, “In person she is short and much inclined to embonpoint,” tactlessly rang the death-knell to his earthly peace, so far as Mrs. Ellet was concerned. But thus she appeared in the poet’s criticism as edited by Dr. Griswold. As both were impartially tortured by the lady it seems safe to believe that in this instance they fully agreed.

Rut aside from both, Mrs, Ellet(29) has been credited with selling “Mary Spears” — a story of Western life — to Putnam’s in 1853, and with slight changes this same tale was sold, as “Mary Nealy,” to Harper Brothers in 1868. Several records note as “more vindictive” than “idle talk,” the fiction that Poe borrowed money from Mrs. Ellet, and refused to pay it until forced to do so by her brother. One record notes this tale as a “perfidious invention.” [page 1346:]

Poe’s sixth letter to Mrs. Whitman, from the rounding out of his feminine foes, with apologies,(30) turned to praising her lines to “Arcturus” as “truly beautiful,” yet added of them critical details, and told her to take her vengeance on his next; he mentioned that she had his poem (“I saw thee once — once only — years ago:”) “about the first of June,” and Poe closed with remembrances to Mr. Pabodie and others. Mr. Whitty writes that Poe sent the manuscript of this poem to Mrs. Whitman, and she gave it to a medium, who told her that it never came back.

In Poe’s seventh letter — of “Sunday evening 26” — to Mrs. Whitman, he apologized for so much of himself in his prior letter. He inquired if he was right in his idea that she was ambitious, and thereof added: “Would it not be ‘glorious,’ darling, to establish, in America, the sole unquestionable aristocracy — that of intellect — to secure its supremacy — to lead and control it? All this I can do, Helen, and will — if you bid me — and aid me.” Perhaps Poe never more comprehensively expressed his life ambition. He concluded with, “I cannot be in Providence before the 13th [which dated his lecture there.] My kindest regards to Mr. Pabodie.” A first “P.S.” and autograph were given, as of prior noting, to Mr. James T. Fields by Mrs. ‘‘Whitman. A second “P.S.” requests return of various critical articles for Poe’s writing The Philosophy of Composition,” and closed with “Mrs. B’s [Poe meant Mrs. Osgood’s, or “B” was a misprint] ‘Ida Grey’ is in ‘Graham’s’ for August, 1845.”

At Fordham, “Dec. 4,‘48,” Poe wrote Mr. Pabodie: [page 1347:]

I seize the first opportunity , . . midst cares and vexations of all kinds, to write you . . . cordial thanks for your considerate and gentlemanly attentions to me while in Providence. I do hope . . . you will always think of me as one of the most obliged and most devoted of your friends. Please say to Mrs. NV., . . that I thank her for the “papers” and for her promptitude. Say also, that perhaps Mrs. Wright is right, but that I believe her wrong, and desire to be kindly remembered. The commands about “Poet,” have been attended to. Present my respects to Mrs. Allen and your father.

Truly yours always,


Poe’s usual signature was “Edgar A, Poe,” but his name in full appears in this letter, from life sketch of “Poe” by John A. Joyce.

December 8, 1848, Poe wrote his thanks to Willis for his November kind words, and for sending the American Review, in which appeared “Ulalume” without its writer’s name, as Poe did not then wish to be known as the author. He would be grateful if Willis would copy it in his Home Journal with the query as to who wrote it, providing, of course, if Willis thought the verses worth the reprint, of which Poe was not sure. One authority notes “Ulalume” as “almost an improvisation.” Dr. Killis Campbell suggests this title as taken from the Latin ululare — to wail: and calls attention to Professor F. L. Pattee’s noting “Ulalume” as Poe’s yearning for sympathy, or the understanding of himself by some true friend (from page 269 of “Poems of Poe,” Killis Campbell). One such friend during these distressing days was Mrs. Charles Richmond, of Lowell, and no wonder the poet turned [page 1348:] to her — “Annie” — for comfort in the vortex of his various disasters of this time. It was charged that Poe then went to Providence with the intention of breaking his engagement to Mrs. Whitman; because, during a prior brief call on Mrs. Mary E. Hewitt, she noted their parting words as, “‘Mr. Poe, are you going to Providence to be married?’ ‘I am going to deliver a lecture on Poetry,’ he replied. Then, after a pause and a look of great reserve, he added: ‘ That marriage may never take place.’ ” It seems to have definitely proved that this utterance of Poe was based upon the unalterable opposition of Mrs. Whitman’s family; and Mrs. Hewitt, indignant at the later misconstruction of this incident — in two or more letters — wrote of Poe’s innocent statement: “These were Mr. Poe’s words, and these were all.” However, as the strong persuasion of Mrs. Whitman’s mother and sister had failed of success, their opposition to her marriage took the firm, practical form of her own and her sister’s surrender of all their family properties to their mother. Of this decision, however, Poe had been fully informed and made a witting party to the transaction, whatever he may have thought of it or the persons therein concerned. No doubt he believed it cold-blooded to feel as this mother and sister did, when they had no faith in his ability to supply one of Mrs. Whitman’s sphere in life and frail health with what such would exact as necessities; and this shock — while not concerning Poe for himself — doubtless did give him an intense anxiety for his wife to be. This strain finally started on its trail his old enemy — nervous congestion depression. The contract by which Mrs. [page 1349:] Whitman and her sister released their family heritage estate to their mother, Anna Power, dated December 15, 1848. This document itemized all their properties and was duly signed by all parties concerned; including Poe, as approving it, the day of his arrival at Providence on or before December 22, 1848; and his signature was witnessed by William J. Pabodie. In narrative sequence Poe’s eighth letter to Mrs. Whitman, dated by him “Saturday, 2 P. M.,” and by her, “Dec. 17, 1848,” read, in brief:

MY OWN DEAREST HELEN — Your letters — to my mother and myself — have just been received, and I hasten to reply, . . . I cannot be in Providence until Wednesday morning; and as T must . . . get some sleep . . . I shall not see you until about 2 P. M. Keep up heart — for all will go well. My mother sends her dearest love and says she will return good for evil and treat you much better than your mother has treated me. Remember me to Mr. P. . . .

However Poe, full of his purpose — in dreams of earth by intellectual triumph — soon left Mrs. Clemm for Providence, where he arrived about December 21st. His request for the publication of the marriage banns was entrusted to Mr. Pabodie, but was never delivered, as will later appear. It read:

Will Dr. Crocker have the kindness to publish the banns of matrimony between Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman and myself, on Sunday and on Monday. When we have decided on the day of marriage we will inform you, and will thank you to perform the ceremony.

Respy. yr. Ob. St.







[S:0 - EAPTM, 1926] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - E. A. Poe: The Man (M. E. Phillips) (Section 07)