Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. T. O. Mabbott), “Motto for the Gold-Bug,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. I: Poems (1969), p. 329 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 329, continued:]


The lines given below appear in all versions of “The Gold-Bug,” which was written in 1842.

Poe ascribes the verses to a comedy of 1761 by Arthur Murphy, All in the Wrong, in which nothing at all similar is to be found. However, as I pointed out in Notes & Queries, February 1953, in another comedy, The Dramatist (1789) by Frederick Reynolds, a character named Floriville, who has visited Italy and never forgets it, says (IV, ii): “I’m afraid you’ve been bitten by a tarantula ... the symptoms are wonderfully alarming, —— There is a blazing fury in your eye — a wild emotion in your countenance.” In his review of Robinson Crusoe in the Southern Literary Messenger for January 1836, Poe quoted inaccurately a speech of the character Vapid from the same scene of that play. It seems clear that this motto for “The Gold-Bug” is an amplification in verse of Reynolds’ prose similar to the free rendering found in the motto to “William Wilson.” The bite of the large spider was believed to be cured by dancing.


(A) Philadelphia Dollar Newspaper, June 21, 1843; (B) Tales (1845), page 1; (C) Works (1850), I, 52. Text B is used; there are no variants.





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