Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. T. O. Mabbott), “Poetry,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. I: Poems (1969), pp. 5-6 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 5, continued:]


This is from the earliest known manuscript of the poet, and the couplet is probably his earliest surviving composition. The leaf on which it was written was later used for “commercial calculations” by the thrifty John Allan, who was figuring out that he had some $30,000 “available for any emergency.”

The document was discovered by Hervey Allen among the Ellis and Allan papers at the Library of Congress, in the file for [page 6:] November 1824, and the verses were first published by Allen in his Israfel (1926), in which he also published a facsimile. From our reproduction facing page 582 below (among the descriptions of Poe's own collections in the list of sources), it will be seen that the poet was already calling himself Edgar A. Poe and that he was apparently planning to number his pieces as he did the “Minor Poems” in his volume of 1829.(1)

Frances Winwar, in The Haunted Palace (1959), p. 75, points out that the scrap “uncannily foreshadowed the mood of the first two lines of ‘The Raven,’ even to the use of the word ‘weary.’ ”

In printing the lines here I have corrected the spelling and punctuation. The sixth word — in the manuscript, an ampersand — has sometimes been read as “by.”


Last night, with many cares and toils oppress’d,

Weary, I laid me on a couch to rest —


[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 6:]

1  The leaf is now Item 130 in the E. A. Poe Volume, Ellis and Allan Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.



An index entry that points to his footnote suggests that Mabbott might have intended to include a reference to Killis Campbell's article “New Notes on Poe's Early Years” (Dial, vol. LX, February 17, 1916, pp. 143-146), which discusses the Ellis-Allan papers but does not mention these slight lines. (It is likely that the fact that Campbell did not notice the lines noted accounts for the omission from the note, perhaps as a late change, and the index entry remained in error.)


[S:1 - TOM1P, 1969] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions-The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (T. O. Mabbott) (Poetry)