Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. T. O. Mabbott), “To Marie Louise Shew,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. I: Poems (1969), pp. 399-401 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 399, continued:]


Marie Louise Shew was the daughter of a physician, Dr. Lowrey Barney, of Hendersonville, Jefferson County, New York. She had married and had moved to New York City, where she lived in two pleasant homes in Greenwich Village. She was deeply religious and given to good works. During the last illness of Virginia Poe, Mrs. Mary Gove, one of Poe's Literati, introduced her to the poet's family, and she went to Fordham every other day to nurse first the dying wife and then the husband, who became desperately ill after Virginia died. Mrs. Shew was little interested in literature, but for her Poe wrote three poems and probably planned a fourth.

“To M. L. S——” was written soon after the death of Virginia [page 400:] Poe, and in time to be given to Mrs. Shew on Valentine's Day, 1847.

The piece was first published in the Home Journal with an introductory note, presumably by Willis: “The following seems said over a hand clasped in the speaker's two. It is by Edgar A. Poe, and is evidently the pouring out of a very deep feeling of gratitude.”


(A) Poe's manuscript, dated February 14, 1847, now in the Henry E. Huntington Library; (B) Home Journal, March 13, 1847; (C) Works (1850), II, 111.

The text given here is C. No file of the Home Journal for 1847 is at present accessible; the publisher's file has been for many years in storage. I did see it myself nearly forty years ago at the office of Town and Country, the periodical's successor, and I am sure that the text (B) is verbally exactly like the Griswold text (C) here adopted.

[page 401:]


Title:  To Mrs. M. L. S. (A)

2  thine / thy (A)

9  Lying / Laying them (A); arisen / risen (A)

14  resembles / approaches (A)

[page 401, continued:]


3-4  There is a similar locution in “The 1002nd Tale of Scheherazade”: “... the sun was entirely blotted out from the heavens, and it became darker than the darkest midnight.”

6-7  In his last letter to Mrs. Shew, circa June 1848, Poe credits her with renewing his “hopes and faith in God ... and in humanity” (transcript by M. L. S. Houghton, sent to Ingram April 3, 1875; see Ingram List, no. 213).

7-12  Compare lines in the third stanza of “To a Face Beloved,” by N. P. Willis: “A lamp is lit in woman's eye / That souls, else lost on earth, remember angels by.”

10  The quotation is from Genesis 1:3, but the manuscript version seems also to allude to the child's prayer from the New England Primer, beginning “Now I lay me down to sleep.”



Although TOM was unable to examine a copy of the Home Journal for 1847, his assumption that it matched the Griswold printing was correct. The only differences between the Home Journal and Griswold's printing are that the Home Journal text is signed “E. A. P.” and uses single rather than double quotation marks.


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