Text: Edgar Allan Poe to John Neal — December 29, 1829 (LTR-024)


[[Beginning of letter missing, and not recorded]]

. . . . [w]as intended — I mention this merely to assure [y]ou that the delay was none of mine, as [i]n all matters, however trivial, I dete[st it]. I now forward them —

I thank you, Sir, for the kind interest you [e]xpress for my worldly as well as poetical [w]elfare — a sermon of prosing would [h]ave met with much less attention —

You will see that I have made the alterations you suggest “ventur’d out” in place of peer-ed — [w]hich is, at best, inapplicable to a statue — [a]nd other corrections of the same kind — [there is] much, however (in metre) to be corrected — [b]ut I did not observe it till too late —

I wait anxiously for your notice of the book — I think the best lines for sound are these in Al Aaraaf.

There Nature speaks and even ideal things

Flap shadowy sounds from visionary wings.

But the best thing (in every other respect) is the small piece headed “Preface.”

I am certain that these lines have never been surpassed.

Of late, eternal Condor years

So shake the very air on high

With tumult as they thunder by

I hardly have had time for cares

Thro’ gazing on th’ unquiet sky

“It is well to think well of one's self” — so sings somebody —

You will do me justice however —      

I am D[ear] Sir,
Sincerely Yours,
Edgar A. Poe.



This letter was first published by George Woodberry in The Life of Edgar Allan Poe, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1909, I, p. 369, where he omits the first fragmentary paragraph and gives the signature as “Most truly yours, Edgar A. Poe.” John W. Ostrom restored text from the original letter and additional material from Neal's article on “Edgar A. Poe” in the Portland Daily Advertiser, April 26, 1850. Neal's article was also used to assign a date to the letter.]


[S:0 - MS, 18xx] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Letters - Poe to J. Neal (LTR024/RCL053)