Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. T. O. Mabbott), “Lines on Joe Locke,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. I: Poems (1969), pp. 150-151 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 150, continued:]


These untitled lines are the only specimen that survives of Poe’s humorous verses written at West Point. In the sketch of Poe by Henry B. Hirst, in the Philadelphia Saturday Museum of March 4, 1843 — an article that Poe surely saw before it was published — we are told that at the Military Academy Poe “amused himself ... Pasquinading the Professors. There was ... Joseph Locke, who had made himself especially obnoxious, through his pertinacity in reporting the pranks of the cadets ... Mr. Poe ... wrote a long lampoon against this Mr. Locke, of which the following are the only stanzas preserved.” That Poe really wrote them during his sojourn at West Point is corroborated by the probably inaccurate quotation of one of them from memory in the reminiscences of a fellow cadet, Thomas W. Gibson, in 1867. It is known from tradition that cadets who subscribed for Poe’s Poems of 1831 were disappointed in finding none of his local squibs in it.

Lieutenant Joseph Lorenzo Locke (1808-1864) was assistant instructor of military tactics at the academy, and his duty as [page 151:] Inspector, from 1829 to 1831, was to report infractions of rules. Miss Phillips, I, 371, gives his portrait and an account of his later life. He left the army, edited the Savannah Republican, and was a major in the Confederate Army when he died. Poe had probably known Locke first when the poet was an enlisted soldier, before encountering him at West Point.


(A) Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843; (B) Philadelphia Saturday Courier, October 20, 1849, in Hirst’s obituary of Poe; (C) Harper’s New Monthly Magazine for November 1867 (35:754), lines 5-8, in reminiscences by Gibson; (D) W. F. Gill, Life (1877), p. 53.

The text is A, from Hirst’s article in the Saturday Museum, because Poe undoubtedly approved it. Gill’s text is merely the first inclusion in a book and is based on the Saturday Museum.

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5  was / is (B); notable / very great (C)

8  But the / The (B, C); latter’s / latter (C)





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