Text: Edgar Allan Poe (?), “Four Hundred Miles of Grasshoppers” (A), from The Evening Mirror (New York), January 23, 1845, vol. 1, no. 92, p. 2, col. 3


[page 2, column 3:]

FOUR HUNDRED MILES OF GRASSHOPPERS! — The Journal of Commerce says that Captain Hager, of the bark Marcella, has brought home a preserved grasshopper, of the size of a man’s thumb, as a specimen of an immense field through which he sailed for five days. He fell in with the field, off the Western Islands, and the presumption was, that they were blown off from Africa. The water was heavily crusted with them; the grasshoppers filling the surface to the depth of some inches, and extending in the course of the bark for four hundred miles.

A “difficult” story to put faith in at first sight — but not at all more wonderful than the well-authenticated flocks of pigeons numbering 3 or 4, and sometimes 7 or 8 millions of millions. This is the age of belief — when men must believe — in contradistinction from the age gone by, which was the age of unbelief. In these two eras, as regards credulity and incredulity, the rabble and the savans have exchanged places, or opinions. Then philosophy consisted, for the most part in scepticism — now the converse.



This item was attributed to Poe by T. O. Mabbott. Mabbott’s notes at the University of Iowa say “Sure . . . ref. To credulity etc. Alex Mess. [[Alexander’s Weekly Messenger]] Dec. 18, 1839, Marg. [[Marginalia]] Pigeons — 1002nd Tale [[The Thousand-and-second Tale of Schererezade]].” The attribution is repeated in Mabbott’s edition of Poe’s Poems, 1969, 1:378.


[S:0 - NYEM, 1845] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Criticism - Four Hundred Miles of Grasshoppers (E. A. Poe ?, 1845)