Text: Hervey Allen and Thomas Ollive Mabbott, “Chapter 04,” Poe's Brother: The Poems of William Henry Leonard Poe (1926), pp. 49-74


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[page 49:]

Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, Dreams, as published in Tamerlane:

DREAMS

OH! that my young life were a lasting dream!

My spirit not awak’ning, till the beam

Of an Eternity should bring the morrow.

Yes! tho’ that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,

’T were better than the cold reality

Of waking life, to him whose heart must be,

And hath been still, upon the lovely earth,

A chaos of deep passion, from his birth.

But should it be — that dream eternally

Continuing — as dreams have been to me

In my young boyhood — should it thus be giv’n,

’T were folly still to hope for higher Heav’n.

For I have revell’d when the sun was bright

I’ the summer sky, in dreams of living light,

And loveliness, — have left my very heart

Inclines of my imaginary apart

From mine own home, with beings that have been

Of mine own thought — what more could I have seen?

’T was once — and only once — and the wild hour

From my remembrance shall not pass — some power

Or spell had bound me — ‘t was the chilly wind

Came o’er me in the night, and left behind

Its image on my spirit — or the moon

Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon

Too coldly — or the stars — howe’er it was

That dream was as that night-wind — let it pass.

 

I have been happy, tho’ in a dream.

I have been happy — and I love the theme:

Dreams! in their vivid colouring of life

As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife

Of semblance with reality which brings

To the delirious eye, more lovely things

Of Paradise and Love — and all our own!

Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.

“Dreams” as printed by Edgar A. Poe in Tamerlane, on pages 26 and 27. Title was given, last ten lines on page 27. This text compared with original Tamerlane text. Reprinted here for comparison with stanzas on following page. [page 50:]

FOR THE NORTH AMERICAN.

Extract — “DREAMS.”

Oh! that my young life wore a lasting dream!

My spirit not awak’ning till the beam

Of an Eternity should bring the morrow —

Yes! tho’ that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,

’Twere better than the cold reality

Of waking life to him whose heart shall be,

And hath been still upon the lovely earth

A chaos of deep passion from his birth —

 

But should it be (that dream) eternally

Continuing — as dreams have been to me

In my young boyhood — should it thus be given

’Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven!

For I have revell’d when the sun was bright

In the summer sky, in dreams of living light

And loveliness — have left my very heart

In climes of mine imagining — apart

From mine own home — with beings that have been

Of mine own thought — w hat more could I have seen

 

’Twas once — and only once (and the wild hour

From my remembering shall not pass) some power

Or spell had bound me — ‘twas the chilly wind

Came o’er me in the night and left behind

Its image on my spirit — or the moon

Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon

Too coldly — or the stars — however it was —

That dream was as that night-wind — let it pass —

 

I have been happy — tho’ but in a dream

I have been happy — and I love the theme.

Dreams in their vivid colouring of life —

As in that Electing — shadowy — misty strife

Of semblance with reality, which brings

To the delirious eye more lovely things

Of Paradise and Love (and all our

Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.

W. H. P.

This version of the poem, although over the signature of “W. H. P.” seems to be carefully distinguished as an “Extract”. It will be seen by comparing this with the version from the original Tamerlane volume of 1827 that the ugly misprints have been corrected, and some readings changed. This was probably done at Edgar’s request, as most of the changes are retained, and a few more made in Edgar’s own autograph copy of the poem of about 1828, among the “Wilmer MSS” in the Pierpont Morgan Library. That final version of the poem is given on a following page, so that the reader may observe the characteristic gradual minute revision. [page 51:]

The version of 1828

DREAMS

Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!

My spirit not awak’ning till the beam

Of an Eternity should bring the morrow:

Yes! tho’ that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,

Twere better than the dull reality

Of waking life to him whose heart shall be,

And hath been ever, on the chilly earth,

A chaos of deep passion from his birth!

But should it be — that dream eternally

Continuing — as dreams have been to me

In my young boyhood — should it thus be given,

’Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven!

For I have revell’d, when the sun was bright

In the summer sky; in dreamy fields of light,

And left unheedingly my very heart

In climes of mine imagining — apart

From mine own home, with beings that have been

Of mine own thought — what more could I have seen?

’Twas once and only once and the wild hour

From my remembrance shall not pass — some power

Or spell had bound me — ‘twas the chilly wind

Came o’er me in the night and left behind

Its image on my spirit, or the moon

Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon

Too coldly — or the stars — howe’er it was

That dream was as that night wind — let it pass.

I have been happy — tho’ but in a dream

I have been happy — and I love the theme —

Dreams! in their vivid colouring of life —

As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife

Of semblance with reality which brings

To the delirious eye more lovely things

Of Paradise and Love — and all our own!

Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.

The final text of the poem, from Edgar’s autograph copy, among the Wilmer MSS, (circa 1828) in the Pierpont Morgan Library, here printed by permission. Note that most of the variants of the North American from the Tamerlane text are retained, which suggests they were due to Edgar himself. [page 53:]

THE PIRATE

THE PIRATE was published by William Henry Poe on pages 189 and 190 of the North American for Saturday, November 27, 1827, Vol. I, No. 24. By that date Edgar Poe had been in garrison at Fort Moultrie, Charleston, S. C., for about three weeks, sufficient time for him to have communicated with his brother Henry in Baltimore.

This story simply continues the Elmira incident previously treated in Tamerlane, and adapts it to the new environment at Charleston. The heroine is given the name of Rose, that of the Poes’ sister. The hero is given the name of Edgar, and Edgar-Leonard, the names of the two Poe brothers. Leonard was William Henry Leonard Poe’s third name. The appearance of Edgar Poe is well described in the young pirate captain. Henry Poe had been to sea, pirates were then common in southern waters — and the rest is romantic fiction. The calendar seems to preclude the possibility of Henry Poe’s having called at Charleston in November, for he had been contributing to the North American in Baltimore for some time previous.(1)

The disclaimer in the opening note that W. H. P. originated the story, and some of the sentences suggest that Edgar may have written the tale at least in part. The Byronic quotation — from near the beginning [page 54:] of Canto IV of Don Juan — is near two lines Poe elsewhere quoted and echoed. In any case the significance of this tale to the biography of Poe should not be underrated. [page 55:]

To the Editor of the North American.

On my last voyage to the West Indies, a friend whom I met after a long reparation, related to me the following adventure and as it appeared singular and romantic, I made a memorandum of it, and I now transcribe it from my “log book” for your use, which you are at liberty to do with as you may deem proper. Yours,

W. H. P.

——

THE PIRATE.

I went to the Havana in the summer of 182 — , on business, and having settled it to my satisfaction, engaged my passage in a vessel bound to New York — We had been but a few hours on the voyage when I felt that weariness and pain which indicates the approach of the yellow fever. I continued to grow worse, and to add to my distress, the vessel began to roll violently and sea-sickness with all its horrors came upon me — I would have sacrificed every thing for a quiet place, in which to die, as I felt that this was all I could wish for. Overcome at length with weakness, and completely exhausted, I fell asleep, from which I was awakened by a confused noise. I at first believed it was merely imagination, but as it became louder, I felt convinced that what I heard was a reality. At length the cabin door opened, and several persons descended. Our captain approached my birth and told me the vessel had been captured by pirates, and that we were now standing in for the land. I heard the first part of his speech with an apathy which my illness only can account for; — but the very name of land seemed to operate like a charm upon me. A young man now approached and told me to be under no apprehension, as no personal injury was intended, and that every care should be bestowed upon me. He inquired the nature and state of my disease, and brought me a cordial, which considerably relived me. In a short time we were at anchor, and I was told our vessel world be detained for a day or two and after a few articles had been taken out, permitted to proceed on her voyage. The same person subsequently entered, and observed that I could be much better attended on shore, where I would be relieved from the bustle and confusion of the vessel. To this I cheerfully assented, and in the afternoon I was placed in a boat and carried to a hut near the beach; — here I was treated kindly, and every attention paid me. I had been three days on shore when the young man [page 56:] (whom I now discovered to be captain of the corsair) arrived, and told me our vessel would sail in an hour and if I wished to proceed in her I was at liberty to do so, although he remarked, in my present state it would no doubt cost me my life: — and that if I would trust to him, and could bear the detention of a month or so, he would convey me to some part of Cuba, from whence I could easily procure a passage home. Believing a removal in my present state would be almost certain death, added to a strong desire to know more of a man who appeared so different from what I had heard of men engaged in the profession with which he was connected, made me assent to his proposal. In about a week I was decidedly convalescent, and I felt really grateful for the kindness of the youthful outlaw. One evening on entering my room he expressed himself gratified to see me so much recovered, as he was to sail in the morning for the other side of the islands, and it was his wish that should accompany him, as it was likely he would fall in with some vessel bound to the United States, and I could thus get home — the next morning we were underweigh.

It was near midnight when I was awakened by a deep groan in the cabin in which I slept — I raised my head and perceived the captain grin on a small but beautiful dagger, which he was holding to the light as if to see more plainly — before him on the table, as well as I could judge, lay a miniature-he was in tears, and appeared much affected — In a few moments he placed them in hi; desk and went on dock. l mused elute time on the singularity of this man, who seemed fitted for a situation better than that of a piratical captain; — he was rather small in his person, hatippli formed — had been handsome, I should think, but sorrow seemed to have set her seal upon his brow; his hair exhibited the marts of premature old age, although he could not be more than twenty-three.

The next night I determined to watch and see if he would again leek at the dagger — he at length came down, and after sitting same time in a contemplative posture, opened the desk and again the dagger met my eye — Curiosity could bear it no longer — “What a singularly beautiful dirk, I exclaimed — he started as if he had been shot, but suddenly recovering himself, said, with a look which seemed as if he would react, my very thoughts, “Why did you make that remark?” I felt abashed, but he immediately added, “Since you appear anxious to know my history, I will tell it you. Do you see that,” he exclaimed, as he moved the light hearer and paced the dagger before me — “blood,” I answered, sickening at [page 57:] the sight — “Ay, blood! — blood! to save one drop of which I would give an this miserable body contains — and yet,” added he, wildly, “‘twas I that shed it!” — He buried his face he his hands and groaned deeply — in a few moments he became more composed, and began his story.

“The events of my boyhood I pass over — suffers it to say, lost my parents at an early age, and was left to the care of a relation. I received a good question, and knew sorrow but by name until I had attained ray eighteenth year. I then began a new existence — I was in love — Yes! if ever a man loved passionately — intensely, — I did. I was singular, romantic in my ideas, and Rosalie was equally so. I will pass over the few happy hours of our affection — they would be tedious, and I would not wish to bring them to my mind too forcibly — she promised me her hand, and declared that name but myself should ever possess it — Oh! my friend, you are youth but beware bow you entrust your heart and happiness into the keeping of a woman! — it is this that has brought me to what I am — a wretched outcast — a murderer! — a broken-hearted. desperate being’.” —— The perspiration stood in large drops on his forehead — after a remise of a moment he continued:

“I was too much restricted by poverty to marry — but I believed that I possessed talents which would place me beyond the reach of its effects — I accordingly embraced an offer from a friend to engage in a trading voyage to the West Indies, and as my health was delicate, my friends considered the climate would restore my frame to its usual vigour. I bade a farewell to home and to Rosalie — that kiss! — that farewell kiss, was our last.

We were detained nearly a year trading to different ports, and altho’ I had written home every opportunity, had never received an answer. It was with such feelings of rapturous joy which language is incapable of defining, that I saw our vessel fast approaching my native land — a thousand endearing recollections rushed on my mind — the thought that my, Rosalie was false, had never entered my brain — I would have blushed if it had done so.

It was night when our boat landed roe at the wheel; and I flew with a beating heart towards her dwelling.

I forgot to mention the dagger — I purchased it with some other trinkets on account of he beauty, and had that day carelessly put it in my waistcoat pocket

There were lights in the front of the house and I heard music — I visited to see her alone, and went to the garden gate — [page 58:] every thing reminded me of hee blissful hours I had passed — I walked towards the servants’ houses, intending to get one or them to carry a message to Rose. The first one I met had often carried letters between us — but she did not recognize me, until I spoke, when she exclaimed, “O Lord! Master is it you! — Miss Rose is to be married in half an hour!” — burst into tears. I have often since been surprised at my own firmness, for I listened calmly to her tale! — ‘twas short — a wealthy suitor had been proposed and was accepted. I asked if she could not procure me an interview — that, she said was impossible, but if I would stand in the passage might see her as she passed to the room. Thither I went, and as there was only a small lamp burning, I could not easily be discovered — I heard her laughing and talking gaily in her dressing room — strange feelings came over me — a thousand lights seemed to dance before my eyes — a difficulty of breathing, and a confused sensation of pain oppressed me — when I came to myself I was leaning against the wall, and my hand convulsively grasping the dagger.

The door opened, and Rosalie with several others, came into the passage — I waited until she watt nearly opposite to use, when I let fall the cloak with which I had concealed my face, and exclaimed “do you know me! — I am Edgar Leonard!” — She shrieked at the mention, and I buried say dagger in her bosom!”’ ——

He paused — his counter/Parsee was livid, and he bit his lip till the blood spouted on tee table before him — Alter a few moments he became more composed, and hastily swallowing a glass of wine, proceeded.

“I remember nothing afterwards until I found myself in the street — my hand felt stiff, and when I held it up in the moonlight, I discovered that it was blood — the truth flashed across my bewildered mind — ‘twas Rosalie’s life-blood! the dagger, too, looked dim — that too was stained with the blood of her, for whom, but one short hour previous to the fatal disclosure of her inconstancy, every drop in my own voices should have freely flowed! — I knew not bow I got there, but I was in the boat, and I remember telling the men to land me on the opposite shore. I wished to fly, if possible, front thought. and embarked under a feigned name in a vessel for Colombia. in. tending to join the Patriots. On our passage we were captured by this vessel, and as I was now an outcast from society, I gladly joined them, and at the death of their captain I was chosen the commander.

I am weary of life, yet, although a murderer, I cannot commit [page 59:] suicide. I have courted death, but it shuns me — so true it is, that

“Life’s strange principle will longest lie

Deepest in those who wish the meet to die.”

You have now beard the history of my ill-fated life — but I base something more with you” — with this, he opened a chest and drew thence a bag of gold — “Take this,” said he, — “it may benefit you — me it never can — and yet,” he bitterly added, that at one time, perhaps, would have made me the happiest of mortals in the possession of any” — He stopped short — and suddenly clasping his heeds to his forehead, he reeled and sunk senseless on the floor, ere I could recover from the bewildering maze which had seized upon my faculties. — He slowly recovered, and, when he seemed somewhat composed, I endeavored to persuade him to renounce his present mode of life, and again return to the bosom of civilized society — “Never!” exclaimed he, with a vehemence which made me shrink back with terror — “Never shall my outlawed foot pollute the soil of my much injured country — some speedy vengeance may here close my hated existence — but to bear in retirement those stings of remorse with which my guilt-stricken conscience is afflicted, would be worse than a thousand deaths on the ocean, where every nerve would be firmly strung in the conflict.” His firmness awed me into silence, and I felt no inclination to renew my endeavors to avert him from his purpose.

In a few days we fell in with a vessel bound to Charleston, in which I obtained a passage, and, after bidding an affectionate farewell to the youthful commander of the pirate, to whose attention and kindness I was mainly indebted for my restoration to health, we kept on our course homeward, and his little barque was soon beyond the reach of our observant. When the last glimpse was extinct, (and until then I stood motionless on the deck,) I retired to the cabin, where I found that not only my baggage had been safely and carefully delivered through his orders, but that the gold which I had intentionally left in the cabin of the corsair, was also placed in the hands of the captain, to be delivered to me.

After a pleasant run of five days we reached our destined port, and it being the sabbath day on which we landed, my first duty was fulfilled in repairing to the church and offering up my grateful acknowledgements for the signal display of the finger of providence in my behalf, — and in which a prayer for the unfortunate pirate was not forgotten.” [page 60:]

[ORIGINAL.]

A FRAGMENT.

WELL! I have determined — lightly it may be — hut when there is nothing to live for — nothing that the heart craves anxiously and devotedly, life is but a kind of prison house from which we would be freed.

I feel even at this moment a something of impatience to know what death is — end although I am now writing the very last words this band will ever trace — yet even the outward show — the trifles of the world beguile me —

The ink is not good-1 have stirred it — ‘tie better now, and I have mended my pen — ‘tis disagreeable, even if it is our very last letter, to write with a bad pen — a blot! — I must erase it — this when an hour will finish my existence! — an existence of wretchedness — one of weary, bitter disappointment.

I feel as if hungry, and suddenly a sumptuous feast before me — surfeiting myself — revelling in my thoughts — indulging in what I have been afraid to think of — I have but a short hour to live, and the ticking of the clock before me, seems a laughing spectator of my death — I wish it had life — it would not then be so gay — nay, it might be a partner of my melancholy.

Pshaw! this pen — surely my hand must have trembled when I made it — I have held it up to the light — Heavens! my hand does tremble — No! tis only the flickering of the Lamp.

It will — at least it may he asked, why I have done this they may say I was insane — the body which is earthed cannot feel their taunts, and the soul cares not.

I have a strange wish even at this time — it is that some maiden would plant flowers on my grave — which my mortality would add life to.

When there is no hope — no cheering prospect to brighten, oe land to mark the bewildered seaman’s way — why inn try death?

“And come it slow or come it fast,

I is but death that comes at last.”

There are many who would rather linger in a life of wretchedness, disappointment — and other causes which bright many a youthful heart, arid make ruin and desolation in the warmest feelings — yes! even the lip must smile and the eye be gay — although when night brings us to our couch at; [page 61:] unconsciously wish it was for the last time.

Such is man — such is mankind! — I have still one half hour to live — one half hour! — yet I look around me as if it was the journey of a day, and not an eternal adieu! — Why should I live? Delighting in one object, and she

“The fairest flower that glittered on a stem

To wither at my grasp.”

No more —— the pistol — I have loaded it — the balls are new — quite bright — they will soon be in any heart — Incomprehensible death — what art thou?

I have put the pistol to my bosom — it snapped. — I had forgotten to prime it — I must do it —

In the act of doing so it went off and I awoke and found myself rolling on the floor, having fallen from my bed in the agitation of a most strange and singular inures.

W. H. P.

FOR NORTH AMERICAN.

Despair! despair! — oh what art thou?

I wish to know thee now —

Art in this blue seas wave

That fain woad lave

The tow’ring mountain’s base,

Yet can only chase

The ocean’s sands away?

Or art thou in the childish cry

That mourns for yon bright moon on high?

Or art thou (when the wilding sea

Is raging fierce, tempestuously)

In the seaman’s heart

When rowed to part

From all his soul holds dear,

With nought to leave but one sad tear? —

Or art thou when bright swords are flashing

And gay and glorious souls are dashing,

In vain to save a hero’s life?

Who falls — but ‘tis in honor’s strife —

Or art thou with the lover?

When Hope itself is over —

——— What shriek is there?

It is Despair —

That wildly, — madly cries, “I’m there.”    W. H. P.

[page 63:]

RECOLLECTIONS

THIS story, obviously a fiction of Henry’s own imagining, again uses, as its principal character, the romantic figure of his runaway brother. It is not unlikely that we have here the origin of Edgar’s obviously apocryphal narrative, related to Mrs. Shew, sometime during the summer of 1847, of a mythical adventure in Spain, for which see the chapter entitled The Universe and Mrs. Shew in Israfel. This is an example of how Edgar upon different occasions incorporated the “recollections” of Henry into his autobiographical legend. [page 64:]

[ORIGINAL.]

RECOLLECTIONS.

In travelling some years since in Spain it happened that I arrived early in the, morning at the small yet beautiful and romantic village of De V— A—, situated immediately on the coast. I had seen the ocean in its wildest anger, and in its soft and soul-subduing calmness — but I had never seen any thing half so beautiful as the enchanting scene which now met my delighted eyes. On the right, towering mountains here and there decked with a small patch of green that indicated the industry of the owner of the small hut which peeped almost with a conscious bashfulness through the luxuriant vines — blushing in their fulness that their beauty claimed no richer lord: — and on the other side the blue waters of the classic: Mediterranean, rolling gently in as if totally unconscious of its own wild and terrific power,

”Slumbering as a giant in his strength.”

To heighten the scene several urchins with the dark black eyes and brilliant colored dresses peculiar to Spain, were linking in the Sun as if they wished, to take advantage of the sleeping waters — Envious lot! — where is the being that does not look back to those days,

”When peace had o’er power.”

I almost wished, isolated as I felt myself, to pass my days here — but I had a brother whose absence from his friends for several years, on account of a slight ,misunderstanding. had. induced me, at the request of a loved parent whose eyes had been recently closed in death, to visit this east in search of him, to use my endeavors to persuade him to return to his home. With this duty before me, I had employed no inconsiderable portion of try time in its performance, and however reluctant I might feel to leave this interesting spot, duty required that I should stay no longer than to make the necessary enquiries.

After seeing my mules accommodated, and having dined rather sumptuously, taking a Spanish inn with its fare into consideration, (although not without thinking of Gill Blas and his ragouts) I strolled out on the beach — After walking a considerable distance, musing on the almost romantic cause of ray travels, and the slight chance I had of succeeding, I seated myself in a recess in the rocks to enjoy more leisure.), the beauties that surrounded me. [page 66:]

I had learnt that Leonard, my brother, had been seen in some part of Spain leading a wild and reckless life — indeed, it was believed that he had commanded a corsair or smuggler, on the coast, but as it was merely a report, the fact could not be sufficiently established for my entire belief.

It was now dark, and the heavy clouds that flitted hastily before the moon foretold that the sea lately so calm and beautiful, would soon be agitated by a storm; the hollow moaning of the surf as it rolled heavily in and broke more fiercely, confirmed it. Dreading to be exposed to the weather, and feeling it time to return, I prepared to do so, when I perceived a boat swiftly approaching the shore — startled at this in so retired a situation, I again concealed myself in the recess, after having cast an anxious and hurried look to a vessel at anchor within the breakers, and not more than half a mile distant. It was evident the boat belonged to her, and I could not help thinking it was some mad infatuation or egregious folly, that could induce a man to anchor in such a situation, particularly as there was now every sign of a tempest which needed cot the experienced eye of a seaman to confirm.

I had not long observed their motions before a young man landed from the-boat, and after speaking to one of the men, ran hastily up the mountains. I marked his course, but the darkness at the moment prevented my seeing whether he took the road to the village, or the, one on the left which led to a nunnery.

Although wishing to return home, I felt almost afraid to expose myself to the seamen — so dreadful were the tales related by my landlord, of the desecrate acts of the Spanish smugglers, and you may be assured appearances were not in favor of those men — every one of them was armed, and as the moon gleamed on their long knives, I was fully convinced it was much safer to be in-my hiding place than to run any risk.

One of the men, a tall, herculean fellow, seemed to pace the sands with a great deal of impatience, and as I was but a short distance off, I could distinctly hear all he said.

“Another “fool’s errand,” exclaimed he — “but the game will be up this time I’m thinking — those northeasters, when they do blow, blow it out.”

“Yes, indeed!” answered another — “these Levanters are Curious winds — I remember one dark night off Alicant, in the Sophia” —

“Silence! and mind your boat,” said the first — do you want her to thump her bottom out. — Beach her, boy! beach her!” At the instant he spoke, a flash, followed by a report from the ship appeared to add to his impatience. [page 67:]

“Ay, there must be something now! for our love-sick captain left word if there was any danger, to fire — and old Truly is not the boy to be frightened with trifles — Another gun! and a light at the mast head! exclaimed the irritated seaman, as the signals were made which he mentioned — “Heavens! ‘tis too much, to risk as fine a vessel as ever floated, and as gallant a crew as ever manned a ship, for the sake of a. woman.’

“Ay! you may well say that,” replied the seaman Who had first interrupted him — “these women are fearful things — it fact I have almost a kind of disliking to our captain’s long weather cloak — it puts one so much in mind of a petticoat.”

“Up oars, boys!” shouted the coxwain — the captain and a lady” —

The moon which had been apparently struggling to throw a little light, was now totally obscured, and I had no opportunity of discovering anything more than what I had overheard, — that the captain was accompanied by a lady.

They were all now in the boat which dashed gallantly off in the direction of the vessel, and I soon heard the seamen Weighing, anchor., ..Curiosity chained me to the spot — to save the vessel seemed almost impossible, as the wind had now increased to a gale, and blew directly on shore — she would have to beat out, and the least mismanagement would send her on the reef, where the foam in the occasional light of the moon shone with a terrific whiteness.

At length the sails were spread — and I could perceive her stretching across between4he breakers, and I now began to entertain some hope; — they had one more tack to make ere she would clear the shoals; and as she stood gallantly on the very edge of them, I muttered a fervent prayer for their safety. I could hear even amid the noise of the winds and waves the. hoarse voice which called the men to their stations — my heart felt as if ‘twas freezing; — it was now, or never! Gracious heaven! — she missed says, and in a moment was in the breakers, hardly to be distinguished from the mass of foam that surrounded her! —

The next day many of the bodies drifted on shore, among them that of a lady who had eloped from the convent the evening preceding. I looked for some time for her companion, and at last discovered him — but when I brushed the sand from his brow, what was my horror on discovering the countenance of my long-sought Brother! W. H. P. [page 68:]

[ORIGINAL]

LINES, written extempore on a tombstone with a pencil — 1827.

There is a something in this holy place

That winds itself around the wearied — tired heart —

So still — nought save the moaning wind

As it rushes thro’ the wild and rankling grass —

(Flourishing green with the bloom of youth —

Luxuriant with the loveliness of life:)

Waking the thoughts which Wander

To another and-a better world ——

And this I gaze upon is Beauty’s grave!

Can the charms that circled in this fairy form

Die forever? — Must the soul that spoke in eyes

Which shone as light’ning from the summer skies,

Moulder in the dust? Must it sleep on

As if the grave would never ope again? ‘

If there is no Eternity — why shrink?

Why languish here? — when Death would be a blank —

An end forever! — ‘Tis this reason,

This innate fear of what is reasonable! —

Can’st gaze on that bright heaven

And say, “there is no Eternity!” — the dumb language

Of those peopled stars — the rustling of the summer wind

Speak to the doubting ear — Believe!    W. H. P.

[page 69:]

[ORIGINAL.]

ON SEEING A LADY SLEEPING.

Dream’st thou of love?

Are tunny thoughts now playing o’er thy brain?

Or is it wilder’d with at anguish’d pain? —

Are other worlds now living in thy breast

Where Hope lies still as if she fain would rest,

And Care is flying, in the distance seen

With wildest eye, and sad despairing mien —

As if now jealous of the smile that plays

Upon those lips — like thoughts of other days

Crossing the mind with sad- and mournful sweetness —

With smiling sighs — sighs for their transient fleetness —.

— Or is a thought of madness In thy heart?

Of disappointment — madness — and the smart,

Of wounded love! around thee stealing,

With all its wildness — bitterness of feeling,

That wears the soul — as if it lov’d to be

Banquetting, on youthful hearts in madden’d-ecstacy? W. H. P.

[ORIGINAL.]

WATERS OF LIFE.

There are thoughts so wild in our childhood’s tours,

That they charm the soul in its early dreaming —

We gaze and we clasp life’s with’ring flowers

While joy in our eye is gladly beaming.

 

Ah little we rock while life’s tide is flowing,

In laughing waves that will break at last,

That all those fond hopes which are fair and glowing,

Will languish and die when our youth is past.

 

Yes! gaily we sport on life’s sunny sea,

With our oars of Hope in the waters plashing —

And gaily is flying life’s brilliant spray

As thro’ the waters we’re madly dashing.

 

The waters of Life! are they gently stealing,

Or do they come in their sternest power?

Wild’ring the soul with the wildest feeling,

Wearing the heart in its sadden’d hour.    W. H. P.’

[page 71:]

 

 

 

POEMS FROM THE Saturday Evening Post

 

READERS of this popular American periodical may be interested to learn that recently we have discovered that Poe’s brother was also a contributor to the Saturday Evening Post of Philadelphia. The two poems given below appear in the issues of January 20 and February 3, 1827, respectively. The first is signed with the familiar initials W. H. P., the second has as signature W. A. P., but there is no reason to doubt a mere misprint in the latter case. No other writings appear in the paper at this period which seem to be connected with him. The discovery, however, suggests that other newspapers and magazines of the day might yield more writings of the adventurous sailor. But we may add that some of the Baltimore weeklies like the Saturday Herald, most likely to have printed such writings, seem not to be preserved, except in a few scattered issues.

The file of the Post consulted is in the Ridgeway Avenue branch of the Library Company of Philadelphia. Early copies of the Saturday Evening Post, then a folio newspaper, are extremely rare. [page 72:]

JACOB’S DREAM

Inspir’d by faith’s illuming ray

To seek a home unknown,

Pensive the Patriarch trod his way,

Trusting in God alone.

 

Full many a wishful look he cast,

The wide, wide world around,

As on in solitude he passed,

Absorb’d in thought profound.

 

Dim night anon its curtain drew,

Soft slumber lent repose

When straight a figured scale in view,

With awful grandeur rose:

 

Then he beheld an angel throng

Strew’d o’er the glittering line,

That up and downward pass’d along

On embassies divine.

 

While yet the mystic pencil wrought

The visionary scene,

The soul new kindling fervours caught —

A glow of joy serene:

 

Though sunk in deep oblivion’s rest,

Each outward sense enchained,

There sprang an Eden in his breast —

Divine communion reigned.

 

Ah! why distrustful mortals, why

Renounce celestial care?

The arm that wields yon orbs on high

Sustains each atom here!

 

Sooner shall fail the mother’s heart

Towards the infant son;

Sooner the floods their course depart,

And to their fountains run — [page 73:]

 

Than the blest streams of heav’nly love

In constant tides to flow,

From their enchantless source above,

To cherish man below!

 

The sun may set in lasting night,

The changeful moon decay —

And every brilliant star of light,

Fall from its sphere away!

 

Yet form’d on virtue’s lofty scale

From height to height to soar,

And o’er the grave and death prevail

When time shall be no more.

 

Still shall the soul’s essential fire

(Spark of the world of mind),

Burn on unquenched, when these expire,

And leave no trace behind.

 

While measuring out life’s little span

Of sorrows, crosses, joys,

Dispensed in mercy all to man —

And speaking wisdom’s voice.

 

His Maker’s Omnipresent pow’r

And watchful providence,

Are round him every live-long hour,

A succor and defence!

 

The meek and “contrite heart” he sways

And makes his temple there;

Attunes its trembling chords to praise,

And gratitude, and prayer.

 

He bids each boisterous tumult cease,

While hope high-winged o’er Time

Like Noah’s dove in search of peace,

Soars to a happier clime. [page 74:]

PSALM 139TH

Lord! thou hast searched and scanned me through,

My inmost soul hast open thrown;

Naked I stand before thy yiew —

Each thought far off to thee is known.

 

My daily paths thou art among —

Around me, where I lay my head;

Thou know’st each word upon my tongue,

And spiest through all the walks I tread.

 

Filled with abasement and amaze —

Trembling before thee low I bend;

Such knowledge, such mysterious ways

I cannot reach, nor comprehend.

 

Where from thy presence shall I fly?

And whither from thy spirit go;

If I ascend to heaven on high —

Or make my bed in hell below,

 

Of if I take the wings of morn,

And dwell amid the utmost sea;

Thou still art there! no distant bourne —

From thy right hand shall set me free!

 

If of the darkness I should say,

‘Twill surely veil me — lo! the night,

Pierced by the all-pervading ray —

Around me shines with radiant light.

 

Alike to thee, night’s sable veil,

And the full day’s meridian blaze;

Thou source of light that ne’er shall fail,

And life that knows no end of days!

 

Thee will I praise — for thou hast joined

Thus fearfully my wondrous frame;

Thy marvellous works, Eternal mind!

All good, thy glorious power proclaim.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 53:]

1.  Edgar Poe sailed from Boston Harbor on October 30, 1827, under military orders to take up garrison duty with his regiment, the First U. S. Artillery, at Fort Moultrie, Charleston Harbor, Sullivan’s Island, S. C.



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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 04)