Text: Hervey Allen and Thomas Ollive Mabbott, “Chapter 02,” Poe's Brother: The Poems of William Henry Leonard Poe (1926), pp. 37-41


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[page 37:]

 

 

THE POETRY OF WILLIAM HENRY LEONARD POE

 

TOGETHER WITH SOME PROSE

DEALING WITH HIS

BROTHER

EDGAR ALLAN POE

[page 38:]

[[blank page]]

[page 39:]

FOR THE NORTH AMERICAN.

ON THE DEATH OF MISS E. S. B.

DIED IN JUNE, 1827 — AGED EIGHTEEN YEARS.

The eye which once with sweetest beauty shone,

E’en like the star, that lights the summer even;

The smile that gladden’d, and the heart that won,

Are fled from us to their more kindred heaven.

And shall we mourn? May we then dare repine?

And wish thee longer in this world of woe!

Yon heaven was formed for souls as pure as thine —

Then why not smile, and bid thee go!

Perhaps in some soft hour — When all is bright,

And earth partake of beauty with the sky; —

When stars are shining with their purest light,

And all with thee is minstrelsy:

E’en In that hour — when hearts approach the throne

Of Him who smiles on innocence like thine,

Thoul’t pray for those who would like thee be gone,

Who languish here — and for thy brightness pine.

W. H. P. [page 40:]

 

FOR THE NORTH AMERICAN.

OH! GIVE THAT SMILE.

Air — Oh teach me hour from lore to fly.

Oh! give that smile — that smile again,

Tho’ e’en from thee I sever,

Thro’ years of joy, of care or pain,

I’ll ne’er forget — no — never!

Dear woman’s eye may oft be met,

And friendship’s voice may greet,

Yet still 1 never can forget,

The smile which beam’d so sweet.

Tho’ pleasure sparkle on my brow,

And glad this heart the while,

Yet even these — as e’en ‘tis now,

I’ll ne’er forget thy smile.

Ah! fare thee well! yet smile again,

Tho’ now from thee I sever, —

Thro’ years of care — of joy or pain.

I’ll ne’er forget — no — never!

W. H. P. [page 41:]

 

FOR THE NORTH AMERICAN.

In a pocket book I lately found three locks of hair, from which originated the following lines:

My Father’s! — I will bless it yet —

For thou hast given life to me:

Tho’ poor the boon — I’ll ne’er forget

The filial love I owe to thee:

My Mother’s, too! — then let me press

This gift of her I loved so well, —

For I have had thy last caress.

And heard thy long, thy last ‘farewell.

My Rosa’s! pain doth dim my eye,

When gazing on this pledge of thine —

Thou wer’t a dream — a falsity —

Alas! — ’tis wrong to call thee mine!

A Father! he hath loved indeed!

A mother! she bath blessed her son, —

But LOVE is like the pois’ning weed,

That taints the air it lives upon.

W. H. P.

This is of the most important contributions made by Henry Poe as it obviously refers to a pocketbook belonging to Mrs. David Poe which contained locks of hair of his father David, his mother Elizabeth Arnold Poe, and his sister Rosalie, probably Henry’s only inheritance from his parents.

The “importance” of this family poem lies in the fact that Henry in the last two stanzas quite patently hints that Rosalie was illegitimate, the child of love, and therefore only his half-sister, though he does not make clear whether his father’s or his mother’s. Compare this poem with John Allan’s letter to Henry Poe on page 21. Whether or not there was any truth in the charge it certainly disturbed the writer of the poem. It must be rembered [[remembered]] that in publishing his lines, Henry Poe did not intentionally air a family scandal in any case, since the readers of his own day, unacquainted with Allan’s letters, might be expectd [[expected]] with confidence to interpret the poem romantically.

 


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Notes:

None.

 

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[S:0 - WHP26, 1926] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - Poe's Brother: The Poems of William Henry Leonard Poe (H. Allen and T. O. Mabbott) (Chapter 02)