Text: Edgar Allan Poe, Notice of the 10th number of the Southern Literary Messenger, The Baltimore Republican and Commercial Advertiser, July 10, 1835


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SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER. — The tenth No. is received and sustains the already high reputation of the Periodical. Its contents, like those of No. 9, are entirely original, and, generally speaking, excellent. The Storm on the Prairies is a graphic sketch. Nos. 15 and 16 of Letters of a Sister are spirited and elegant even beyond the former Letters. In Lionel Granby we perceive a quiet strength which will enable the writer to do something better than he is at present doing. A cautious purity of style is not the least recommendation of these chapters. Oliver Oldschool has much humour, but is somewhat over zealous. We do not agree with the editor of the Messenger in his opinion of the Tale called the Sandfords. We think this little story exceedingly well told — although its commencement is irrelevant. The plot is simple but of great interest. We should never have suspected the piece to have been written by so young a person — for diffuseness and a want of simplicity are prevailing foibles of the young. We see no traces of either in the Sandfords. Chapter 2d, on English Poetry, is admirable. The writer has a fine feeling for the beauties of his subject, which is handled throughout in a novel and really masterly manner. Hans Phaal, a Tale, by Edgar A. Poe, is a capital burlesque upon balloonings, which has recently been carried to a ridiculous extent, without much prospect of profit to the persons engaged in it, or advantage to the community. The Sale by Nugator is graphically sketched, but its vulgarity of tone and language is especially to be censured. The Literary Notices are, as usual, excellent. We cannot too highly praise the Review of Bankcroft’s [Bancroft’s]History and that of Washington’s Writings. The Poetical Department is, in general, good. The Daughter’s Lullaby is truly beautiful, and we have no hesitation in saying that it far surpasses, the fine verses, in the same manner, by the lamented Mrs. Hemans. We do not, however, like the Old Parish Church, by Nugator. The hop, skip, and jump metre, whose grotesque air is heightened by means of double rhymes, is, to say the least, little in accordance with the solemnity of the subject. Some of the words are even misspelt, and not a few of the allusions are exceedingly low. The following verse is an exemplification of all three of these charges:

“E’en soldiers here beneath this roof

Have held their midnight orgies,

And without hath tramped the charger’s hoof

Till the grave well nigh disgorges.”

We repeat that the number, as a whole, is admirable. The Messenger improves rapidly, and bids fair to rival, if not to surpass the Knickerbocker itself.


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Notes:

This text is taken from a photocopy of the original article. This photocopy is from the T. O. Mabbott collection at the University of Iowa. (The page and column number are, unfortunately, not recorded, although it appears that the article occupies a single half-column.) It was not mentioned by Killis Campbell, “Gleanings in the Bibliography of Poe,” Modern Language Notes, XXXII, 1917, p 269 (item 3a). The text was first printed by David K. Jackson, “Four of Poe’s Critiques in the Baltimore Newspapers,”  Modern Language Notes, April 1935, pp. 253-254. Jackson’s transcription is extremely faithful.

The collection of Mabbott’s research materials held by the University of Iowa include a page with the following notes for this item:

The tenth number is for June 1835

“The Storm on the Prairies” is by David Dawson Mitchell

Lionel Granby is by Julia Putnam Henderson

Oliver Oldschool is James M. Garnett

“The Sale” is by Nugator (St. Leger Landon Carter)

The review of Bancroft is by N. Beverley Tucker — that of Sparks may be his or Heath’s.

For “My Daughter’s Lullaby” — no author has been suggested; its metrical form is that of “The Sunset Tree” by Mrs. Felicia Hemans, who had died April 20, 1835 in Dublin


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[S:1 - BRP, 1835] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Criticism - Notice of the Southern Literary Messenger (1835)