Edgar Allan Poe — “Sonnet — To Science”


Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “Sonnet — To Science” — reading copy


Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “[Untitled]” — late 1828 - early 1829, no original manuscript or fragments are known to exist (but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02). (Although almost certainly composed along with “Al Aaraaf,” for which it served as a kind of preface, this poem does not appear to have accompanied the manuscript of that poem, which Poe sent out to several people. The manuscript has never been described, but based on the other suviving pages of the Wilmer collection, it was written on off-white sheets of paper, using dark brown ink and a careful script. As a short poem, it was presumably written on a single sheet or scrap of paper, although possibly as part of a larger manuscript collection. For longer poems, Poe often used a series of separate pages, with odd pages numbered in the upper right corner and even ones in the upper left corner. At this point, Poe had not yet adopted the style of printing in imitation of type, nor the practice of connecting pages by using wax to form a roll.)
  • Text-02 — “Sonnet” — before September 11, 1830
    • Text-02a — “Sonnet” — September 11, 1830 — (speculated fair copy manuscript sent for publication to the Saturday Evening Post)
    • Text-02b — “Sonnet” — September 11, 1830 — Saturday Evening Post — (Mabbott text B) (Although printed at a later date, this version of the poem presumably reflects an earlier draft. This text has several small differences from that of ATMP, unique to this version. It may be that Poe sent the manuscript to these publishers, and that it shows a slightly earlier text, with Poe having made some additional changes in ATMP during the typesetting and proofing process. Had these changes reflected Poe's preferences they would presumably have been carried forward into the 1831 POEMS. It is also possible that some differences may be the result of the typesetter misreading the manuscript. Thus, it may be that this text actually represents a solightly earlier state than the date of publication would suggest. In giving some of his own biography in Our Press Gang, 1860, Lambert A. Wilmer, Poe's friend in his Baltimore days, says that he worked as an editor of the Saturday Evening Post, employed by Samuel Atkinson, sometime before his association with the Baltimore Saturday Visiter. The Saturday Evening Post was founded in 1821, at was under the sole control of Atkinson beginning in 1828. The Baltimore Saturday Visiter was established in 1832, and allowing for some time in Washington, DC, noted in Wilmer's biography, he was probably on the staff of the Saturday Evening Post about the time this version of the poem was published there.)
  • Text-03 — “[Untitled]” — late 1829
    • Text-03a — “[Untitled]” — late 1829 — (speculated manuscript changes made by Poe to the proof-sheets during the typesetting process for ATMP. If we accept the text printed in the Saturday Evening Post in 1830 as reflecting the earlier form, differences between that text and what was printed in ATMP strongly suggest that Poe continued to make some changes during the process of typesetting and proofing. These proof-pages have not themselves survived, but the texts are presumably reflected in Text-04.)
    • Text-03b — “[Untitled]” — 1829 — ATMP — (Mabbott text A)
    • Text-03c — “[Untitled]” — 1831 — POEMS — (Mabbott text D) (This text essentially reprints the poem from ATMP.)
    • Text-03d — “Sonnet” — May 1836 — Southern Literary Messenger — (Mabbott text E) (This text essentially reprints the text from POEMS as “fountain flood” is not hyphenated and there is no comma between “Albeit” and “he,” the only differences from the ATMP text.)
  • Text-04 — “[Untitled]” — before June 1841
    • Text-04a — “[Untitled]” — before June 1841 — (obvious, but still speculated, manuscript of “The Island of the Fay” prepared for Graham's Magazine and with several minor changes for the poem. This manuscript has not survived, but is presumably reflected in Text-08.)
    • Text-04b — “[Untitled]” — June 1841 — Graham's  (included in “The Island of the Fay”) — (Mabbott text F)
  • Text-05 — “Sonnet — To Science” — before February 1843
    • Text-05a — “Sonnet — To Science” — before February 1843 — (speculated copy of the Southern Literary Messenger prepared for Saturday Museum and with several minor changes, including a title. This copy has not survived, but is presumably reflected in Text-10.)
    • Text-05b — “Sonnet — To Science” — February 25 - March 4, 1843 — Saturday Museum — (Mabbott text G) (Poe sent two copies of this article to J. R. Lowell, one on October 19, 1843 and a second on May 28, 1844. In both cases, he appears to have done so for the purpose of providing Lowell with some biographical material to use for his article on Poe for Graham's Magazine. There is no indication that any of the poems in these copies had modifications made by Poe.)
    • Text-05e — “Sonnet — To Science” — August 2, 1845 — Broadway Journal — (Mabbott text H) (This text is essentially reprinted from the Saturday Museum.)
    • Text-05f — “Sonnet — To Science” — 1845 — RAOP — (Mabbott text J)  (This is Mabbott's copy-text) (This text is essentially reprinted from the Broadway Journal.) (For Griswold's 1850 reprinting of this text, see the entry below, under reprints.)



  • Sonnet” — October 1830 — Casket — reprinted from Text-03  (Mabbott text C)
  • [Untitled]” — May 1831 —Casket  (This poem is quoted, along with two others, from Poe's 1831 volume of Poems. According to Mabbott, Poems, 1:542, the brief introductory note is presumably by Poe's friend Lambert A. Wilmer. Although the identical note appears in the Saturday Evening Post for May 21, 1831, only the poem “To Helen” is reprinted there, not the other two items, although “Sonnet to Science” had been printed in the Post several months earlier.)
  • “[Untitled]” — July 8, 1831 —Morning Courier and New-York Enquirer  (This poem is quoted, along with two others, from Poe's 1831 volume of Poems. It is interesting that these are the same three poems as reprinted by the Casket for May 1831.)
  • “Sonnet” — August 11, 1836 — Macon Georgia Telegraph (Macon, GA), vol. X, bno. 59, p. 1, col. 5 (acknowledge as being from the SLM and “By Edgar A. Poe.”)
  • Sonnet — To Science” — 1850 — WORKS — Griswold reprints Text-12  (Mabbott text K)
  • Sonnet to Science” — 1850 — Thomas Powell, The Living Writers of America, New York: Stringer and Townsend, 1850, p. 119 (apparently reprinted from the Saturday Museum)
  • “Sonnet — To Science” — August 2, 1865 — Houston Tri-Weekly Telegraph (p. 6) — (This item is noted by George Monteiro, “Fugitive Reprints,” E. A. Poe Review, Fall 2010, p. 161.)
  • Sonnet — To Science” — 1875 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol 3: Poems and Essays, ed. J. H. Ingram, Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black (3:53)
  • “To Science” — 1888 — The Complete Poetical Works and Essays on Poetry of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. John H. Ingram, London and New York: Frederick Warne & Co. (p. 72)
  • “To Science” — 1889 — American Sonnets, ed. William Sharp, London, Walter Scott (p. 177)
  • “To Science” — May 3, 1902 — New York Times (New York, NY), vol. LL, no. 16,325, p. 28, col. 2 (printed as part of a letter to the editor, signed “Constance” and bearing the title “The Poet of Science,” in reply to an article of the same name in a previous issue.)
  • “Science” — May 19, 1909 — Bellingham Herald (Bellingham, Washington), vol. 18, no. 44, p. 4, col. 1 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allen [[Allan]] Poe”)
  • “To Science” — February 25, 1911 — Buffalo Enquirer (Buffalo, NY), vol. 67, no. 176, p. 4, col. 2 (acknowledged as by “Edgar Allan Poe”)
  • “To Science” — October 25, 1936 — Fresno Bee and Republican (Fresno, CA), vol. 29, no. 5023, p. 38, bottom of col. 8 (printed as part of a section of “Poetry Old And New.”)


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • To Science” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 10: Poems, ed. E. C. Stedman and G. E. Woodberry, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (10:106, and p. 216)
  • Sonnet — To Science” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 7: Poems, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (10:22, and 10:156-157)
  • Sonnet — To Science” — 1911 — The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. J. H. Whitty, Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co. (p. 98, and pp. 265-266)
  • Sonnet — To Science” — 1917 — The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Killis Campbell, Boston: Ginn and Company (pp. 33-34, and pp. 169-170)
  • “Sonnet — To Science” — 1965 — The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Floyd Stovall, Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia (p. 24, and pp. 187-188)
  • Sonnet — To Science” — 1969 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 1: Poems, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (1:90-92)
  • “Sonnet — To Science” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America) (p. 38) (reprints Text-09)


Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:

  • [Sonnet]” — Comparative Text (Saturday Evening Post and ATMP)


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “Sonnet — A la Science” — dated 2009, but available in late 2008 — Poèmes d‘Edgar Allan Poe, Paris: Publibook (translation by Jean Hautepierre)



  • Campbell, Killis, “Miscellaneous Notes on Poe,” Modern Language Notes, March 1913, 28:65-69
  • 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.
  • Hoffman, Daniel, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, Poe, New York: Doubleday and Co., 1972, pp. 49-51 (also pp. 251 and 280)
  • Holt, Palmer C., “Notes on Poe's ‘To Science,’ ‘To Helen,’ and ‘Ulalume’,” Bulletin of the New York Public Library, November 1959, 63:568-570
  • Jackson, David K., “A Typographical Error in the B Version of Poe's ‘Sonnet — To Science’,” Poe Newsletter, June 1970, 3:21
  • Kearns, Christopher, “Poe's Peering Eyes of Science,” Edgar Allan Poe Review, Fall 2002, 3:73-77
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, “A Few Notes on Poe,” Modern Language Notes, June 1920, 35:372-374
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., “[Introduction and notes to ‘Sonnet — To Science’],”The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vol 1 Poems), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969, 1:90-92.
  • McGann, Jerome, The Poet Edgar Allan Poe: Alien Angel, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2014, pp. 170-171
  • Monteiro, George, “Edgar Allan Poe and the New Knowledge,” Southern Literary Journal, Spring 1972, 4:34-40
  • Phillips, Elizabeth, “The Poems: 1824-1835,” A Companion to Poe Studies, ed. Eric W. Carlson, Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996, p. 74 (a brief but cogent entry on “Sonnet — To Science”)
  • Sloan, David E. E., “Gothic Romanticism and Rational Empiricism in Poe's ‘Berenice’,” American Transcendental Quarterly (Summer 1973), 19:19-26
  • Voss, James, “Poetry and Mythic Thought: A Structural Approach to the Love Sonnet and to Poe's ‘Sonnet — To Science’,” Edda: Nordisk Tidssirift for Litteratvrforsining 1978, 271-292


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