Text: Thomas Ollive Mabbott, “Parody on Drake,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. I: Poems (1969), pp. 301-302 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 301:]


This is found in a critical article headed “Drake-Halleck” in the Southern Literary Messenger, April 1836 (2:326-336). Poe complains that the imagination of Joseph Rodman Drake's Culprit Fay has been overrated, and cites (p. 330) a passage from stanza xxv of the poem:

He put his acorn helmet on;

It was plumed of the silk of the thistle down:

The corslet plate that guarded his breast

Was once the wild bee's golden vest;

His cloak of a thousand mingled dyes,

Was formed of the wings of butterflies;

His shield was the shell of a lady-bug queen,

Studs of gold on a ground of green;

And the quivering lance which he brandished bright

Was the sting of a wasp he had slain in fight.

Poe offers to “accoutre” a fairy as well himself. His parody follows. In view of the technically incorrect use of a “beam from a maiden's eye” as a “lance,” I cannot think that Poe did as well as Drake on this occasion, but the little impromptu verses contain the phrase “velvet violet,” which was to reappear in “The Raven.” Earlier editors of Poe's poetry have not collected this parody.


(A) Southern Literary Messenger, April 1836 (2:331), in “Drake-Halleck”; (B) Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Harrison (1902), VIII, 294.

The text followed is A.

[page 302, continued:]


7-8  Sidrophel derivatively means a star lover, and is the name of a human astrologer in Butler's Hudibras. Lexicographers record no other usage, but Dr. Mairé Weir Kaye of the staff of G. & C. Merriam Company writes that Poe must mean the paper nautilus or argonaut (Argonauta argo) of the Mediterranean. Its shell is like a crescent in profile; the animal is given to navigation on the surface at night, and so should love the stars. Poe alludes to it in “The 1002nd Tale of Scheherazade.”





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