Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “To Elizabeth” (Text-01), “E. Herring” manuscript, about 1833


To Elizabeth

Would'st thou be loved? then let thy heart

From its present pathway part not —

Be every thing which now thou art

And nothing which thou art not:

So with the world thy gentle ways,

And unassuming beauty

Shall be a constant theme of praise,

And love — a duty.

E A P.



Elizabeth was Elizabeth Rebecca Herring, Poe's cousin. This poem was written in her album by Poe, probably about 1833. When J. H. Whitty first printed this version of the poem in 1918, he gave the first line of the second stanza as “So with the world thy gentle way,” omitting the “s” from “ways.” This error remains in the subsequent edition, but has been corrected here. The singular form of the word is not only ungrammatical but ruins the rhyme with “praise.” Whitty also prints the title in all capital letters, but this has been assumed here as a convention for that edition and not likely to be a reflection of what Poe actually wrote.


[S:0 - MS, about 1833 (Whitty, 1917)] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - To Elizabeth (Text-01)