Edgar Allan Poe — “To Octavia”


This slight poem has been publicly known since 1941, and was accepted by Thomas Ollive Mabbott as a genuine composition by Poe. An anonymous Italian blogger, however, conclusively documented in 2011 that the poem is actually something Poe has borrowed from Horace Smith, and perhaps indirectly as the poem was printed as a song “To Miss A. E. Hall” in Baltimore in 1826. The manuscript of this poem was traditionally ascribed to Poe by the family that owned the album, and it does indeed resemble Poe’s hand about the period designated. Whatever the precise circumstances, Poe has merely adapted a poem by someone else; this item, therefore, has now been reclassified as rejected. For further details, see Enrico Brandoli, “Two Stanzas for Octavia” (listed in the bibliography, below).


Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “[To Octavia]” — about 1827 — manuscript — (Mabbott text A)  (This is Mabbott’s copy-text)



  • [To Octavia]” — 1941 — T. O. Mabbott, “Introduction,” Tamerlane and Other Poems, New York: Facsimile Text Society (p. xiv)


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • To Octavia” — 1969 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 1: Poems, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (1:16-17)
  • “To Octavia” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, ed. Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America) (pp. 23-24) (reprints the text from Mabbott, 1969)


Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:

  • None


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • None.



  • Brandoli, Enrico, “Two Stanzas for Octavia,” E. A. Poe Review, Vol. 15, no. 2, Autumn 2014, pp. 247-249.
  • Heartman, Charles F. and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, MS: The Book Farm, 1943.
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vol 1 Poems), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969.


[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - To Octavia