Text: Charles W. Kent (notes) Robert A. Stewart (variants) (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Notes to The Coliseum,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. VII: Poems (1902), pp. 191-192


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[page 191:]

THE COLISEUM.

Page 56.

THE BALTIMORE SATURDAY VISITER, 1835; SOUTHERN LITERARY MESSENGER, AUGUST, 1835; PHILADELPHIA SATURDAY EVENING POST, JUNE 12, 1841; PHILADELPHIA SATURDAY MUSEUM, MARCH 4, 1843; 1845; BROADWAY JOURNAL, II. 11.

Text, 1845.

Title in Southern Literary Messenger, The Coliseum A Prize Poem.

Variations of Southern Literary Messenger from the text.

Line 4 length — at (,) 5 and (, and) 7 and (, and) 11 Silence! (Silence). After 11 insert:

Gaunt vestibules I and phantom-peopled aisles!

12 now — (:) 12 strength — (!) 17 falls! (;) 19 bat! (:) 20 gilded (yellow) 21 Waved (Wav’d) 21 thistle I (:). After 21 insert:

Here, where on ivory couch the Cæsar sate,

On bed of moss lies gloating the foul adder:

22 lolled (loll’d) 23 , spectre-like, (o. c.) 24 hornéd (horned) 26 But stay — these (These crumbling) 26 ivy-clad (tottering) 26 arcades — (;) 27 plinths — (;) 27 sad (sad,) 27 blackened (blacken’d) 27 shafts — (;) 28 entablatures — (;) 28 crumbling (broken) 28 frieze — (;) 29 cornices — (;) 29 wreck — (;) 29 ruin — (;) 30 stones — (;) 30 alas! (! —) 31 famed, (great) 32 Hours (hours) 33 all — (, —) 33 Echoes (echoes) 33 me — (;) 33 all! (:) 34 sounds (sounds,) 34 forever (for ever) 36 melody (in old days) [omit quotation marks from ll. 34 to end except after glory l. 46] 36 Sun (sun) 37 — we [page 192:] (. We) 39 impotent (desolate) 40 gone — (;) 40 fame — (5) 41 renown — (j) 42 us — (;) 43 lie — (;) 44 upon, (o. c).

Variations of Broadway Journal from the text.

Line 7 altered (alter’d) 9 , gloom, (o. c.) 22 lolled (loll’d) 24 horned (horned) 27 blackened (blacken’d) 29 shattered (shatter’d) 31 famed (fam’d) 32 Hours (Hours,).

EDITORS NOTE.

The weary pilgrim drinks within his soul the grandeur, gloom, and glory of the Coliseum. Its charms are potent. The ruin is well-nigh complete, but the pallid stones are not impotent because associations clothe them in a robe of more than glory. This reflective description in blank verse would have received the second prize in The Baltimore Saturday Visiter if the “Manuscript Found in a Bottle” had not received the first.

In this poem is found the second reference to Jesus, the first having been omitted in the revised form of the poem in which it occurred, but the charms of this ruin have greater potency than the spells of the Judean King in Gethsemane. This poem supplements “To Helen.” It is probably based upon an indefinite and indistinct memory of childhood. Originally it formed part of the drama of “Politian” and was uttered as a monologue by one of the characters. In metrical structure it forms, with the second poem to “ Helen,” the poem “To —— ——” “To M. L. S.” and “Politian,” an interesting study in Poe’s manipulation of the rimeless iambic pentameter — blank verse.


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - JAHCW, 1902] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (J. A. Harrison) (Notes to The Coliseum)