Text: Edgar Allan Poe to John Neal — October - November 1829 (LTR-021)


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I am young — not yet twenty — am a poet — if deep worship of all beauty can make me one — and wish to be so in the common meaning of the word. I would give the world to embody one half the ideas afloat in my imagination (By the way, do you remember, or did you ever read the exclamation of Shelley about Shakspeare “What a number of ideas must have been afloat befor such an author could arise!”). I appeal to you as a man that loves the same beauty which I adore — the beauty of the natural blue sky and the sunshiny earth — there can be no tie more strong than that of brother for brother — it is not so much that they love one another as that they both love the same parent — their affections are always running in the same direction — the same channel and cannot help mingling. I am and have been from my childhood, an idler. It cannot therefore be said that

‘I left a calling for this idle trade

‘A duty broke — a father disobeyed —

for I have no father — nor mother.

I am about to publish a volume of “Poems” — the greater part written before I was fifteen. Speaking about ‘Heaven’, the Editor of the Yankee says, He might write a beautiful, if not a magnificent poem — (the very first words of encouragement I ever remember to have heard). I am very certain that, as yet I have not written either — but that I can, I will take >>my<< oath — if they will give me time.

The poems to be published are ‘Al Aaraaf’ “Tamerlane, one about four, the other about three hundred lines, with smaller pieces. Al Aaraaf has some good poetry and much extravagance which I have not had time to throw away”

Al Aaraaf is a tale of another world — the Star discovered by Tycho Brahe, which appeared and disappeared so suddenly — or rather it is no tale at all. I will insert an exctract about the palace of its presiding Deity, in which you will see that I have supposed many of the lost sculptures of our world to have flown (in Spirit) to the star Al Aaraaf — a delicate place more suited to their divinity.

[[Here appear several excerpts from Poe's poems.]]





[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to J. Neal (LTR021/RCL047)