Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. B. R. Pollin), “Pinakidia,” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan PoeVol. II: The Brevities (1985), pp. 55-106 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 55, continued:]

Pinakidia 81

Attrogs, a fruit common in Palestine, is supposed to have been “the forbidden.” It has a rough rind, and resembles a citron or lemon.


Note: Poe’s source is unknown. He seems to be referring to the widespread view of the “etrog” or “citron” which is carried and shaken in the synagogue service of the Tabernacle, although it is not named in the Old Testament. Certainly the Hebrew of Genesis 3.1-6 does not give the word for the fruit of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” [page 56:] which is forbidden to be eaten by Adam and Eve. For the association with the apple (“tappuach”) see Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 1.175. For a fuller treatment of the misconception engendered by the pictures of Renaissance artists, see H. N. and A. L. Moldenke, Plants of the Bible (Waltham, Mass., 1952), pp. 185-87, 286. Contrary to A. Pratt, Plants and Trees of Scriptures (1851), pp. 268, 299, the Moldenkes regard the rough rind, acidity, and hardness as ruling it out for consideration. Poe’s changing the word into a non-Hebraic form makes one suspect his knowledge of the language (cf. M 115 for his dependence upon Anthon’s advice).

Pinakidia 82

The following quaint sentence is found in Saint Evremond. “I own I do not envy him, when I consider that there are in the next world such people as Minos, Rhadamanthus, and Eacus.”


Note: Poe’s source for this is unknown, nor does it appear in the four volumes of Oeuvres en prose or in two of the letters of Charles de Marguetel de Saint-Denis de Saint-Evremond (1614-1703), skilled army officer, wit, philosopher, literary critic, and stylist, living in France, Holland, and England. The indices of René Ternois to his works yield no trace of this remark, which must have been derived from the large body of spurious material in 17th and 18th century collections ascribed to Saint-Evremond (this material by courtesy of Alfred M. Silvia of Waynesburg College). The three names are of the judges of the shades in Hades: Minos being son of Zeus and Europa and king of Crete; Rhadamanthus, his renowned brother; and Eacus (or Aeacus), son of Zeus and Aegina and king of the Myrmidons.

Pinakidia 83

The standard of Judas Maccabæus displayed the words “Mi camoca baelim Jehovah” — Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the Gods? This being afterwards intimated by the first letter of each word, in the manner of the S. P. Q. R., gave rise to the surname Maccabæus — for the initials in Hebrew form “Maccabi.”


Note: This is an abridgment of a para. footnote in Horatio (Horace) Smith’s best-selling novel of Poe’s day, Zillah, a Tale of the Holy City (London, 1828; New York, 1829), which was the basis for Poe’s “A Tale of Jerusalem,” rather in the manner of than a satire of Smith’s novel [page 57:] (TOM 41-42). The passage, in ch. 4, para. 1 (N. Y. ed., 1.40) includes the Bible locus: Exodus 15.11. Poe admired Smith as “perhaps, the most erudite of all the English novelists” (TOM 42; see also Pollin, PN, 1970, 3.8-10), but Smith’s acceptance of the acrostic explanation of the name “Maccabee” showed a lack of scholarship and acumen (see En. Brit. 17.197).

Pinakidia 84

Josephus, with Saint Paul and others, supposed man to be compounded of body, soul, and spirit. The distinction between soul and spirit is an essential point in ancient philosophy.


Note: Poe’s source is unknown. The St. Paul ref. is to 1 Thessalonians 5.23: “I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless. ... ” Flavius Josephus (37- 95? A. D.), Jewish historian and military commander, later a Roman citizen patronized by the Emperors, left three major works: Contra Apionem, The Jewish Antiquities (in 20 books), and The Jewish War. In the last we read: “All of us ... have mortal bodies ... but the soul lives forever, immortal. ... They who depart this life in accordance with the law of nature and repay the loan which they received from God win eternal renown ... their souls, remaining spotless and obedient, are allotted the most holy places in heaven, whence, in the revolution of the ages, they return to find in chaste bodies a new habitation” (Loeb Library tr. by H. Thackeray, 9 vols., Bk. 3, sentences 372 ff. in vol. 2). See also Contra Apionem on the view in Jewish law of soul and body (2.203). In the 8/39 BGM, 5.105, is a five-para. anonymous essay “An Opinion on Dreams” using this tripartite division, but though it may not be really by H. B. Wallace, I cannot agree with G. E. Hatvary that it may be by Poe (PS, 1981, 14.21-22). Poe conventionally used the spirit (mind)-soul-body division in several of his tales and occasionally in criticism, but with no real conviction, in my opinion.

Pinakidia 85

Lord Lyttelton acknowledged the authorship of two dialogues, in the first of which the personages were the Savior and Socrates, in the second, king David and Cæsar Borgia.


Note: Baron George Lyttelton, which was misspelled in the text, (1709-73), political figure, varied literateur, and member of Pope’s circle, published his twenty-eight Lucian-inspired Dialogues of the Dead in [page 58:] 1760 (later augmented to 32), of which the last three of the twenty-eight (in the first series) were authored by his friend Elizabeth Montagu. However, neither these nor any of the others matches the two in Poe’s article. Poe’s source is unknown and its validity is questionable.

Pinakidia 86

Dante gives the name of sonnet to his little canzone or ode beginning

O voi the per la via d‘Amor passate.


Note: This is in the seventh section of Dante’s La Vita Nuova (composed between 1292-94), a combination of prose and poetry freely designated, as Poe says (see Pin 87, end of note for the rise of the Italian sonnet). This line begins an irregular “sonnet” with two quatrains and two sestets, as in section 8. Charles Eliot Norton translates: “O ye who turn your steps along Love’s way,” in The New Life (Boston, 1867), p.10. Dante himself suggests its origin in “O vos omnes qui transitis per viam, attendite et videte, si est dolor sicut dolor meus” in the Lamentations of Jeremiah 1.12 (All ye that pass by. Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow.) In the 8/35 SLM ,1.716, Poe had editorially inserted this piece of “Literary Intelligence” (uncollected): “The Canzoniere of Dante has been translated by C. Lyell with absolute fidelity, and of course with correspondent awkwardness.”

Pinakidia 87

Boileau is mistaken in saying that Petrarch, ‘qui est regarde comme le pere du sonnet’ borrowed it from the French or Provençal writers. The Italian sonnet can be traced back as far as the year 1200. Petrarch was not born until 1304.


Note: Poe’s immediate source is not known. The quoted words are actually those of Claude Brossette (1671-1743), editor of Oeuvres de Boileau, commenting on L‘Art Poétque, 2.82-86: “On dit a ce propos, qu‘en jour ce Dieu bizarre / Voulant pousser à bout tous les Rimeurs François, / Inventa du Sonnet les rigoureuses loix; / Voulut, qu‘en deux Quatrains de mesure pareille, / La Rime avec deux sons frappat huit fois l‘oreille” (ed. used: Paris, 1772, 5 vols, specifically 2.272). Included are the extensive “Remarques” by Boileau, in verse, which is also the [page 59:] subject of Brossette’s prose comment; this contains the ref. to Petrarch and to the Provençal trouveres as the real inventors of the sonnet: “Ces trouverres allolent par toutes les Provinces / Sonner, chanter, danser leurs Rimes chez les Princes. / Des Grecs et des Romains cet Art renouvellé / Aux François les premiers ainsi fut révélé: / A leur exemple prit le bien disait Pétrarque / De leurs graves Sonnets l‘ancienne remarque: / ....  . . / Tant que l‘Italien est estime l‘auteur / De ce dont le François est premier inventeur.” Poe, or rather his source, was correct, for the sonnet can be traced back to 1200, (100 years before Petrarch’s birth) with the works of Giacomo da Lentino (fl. 1215-33), Pierro delle Vigne (see Pin 8), and Guittone d‘Arezzo (1230-94), as the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry (article: “Sonnet”) indicates. Despite this article, Poe used the sonnet form himself for only four poems: “To Science,” “Silence,” “To Zante,” and “To My Mother.”

Pinakidia 88

The learned Menage has this epitaph on Sannazarius

Ci git, dont l‘esprit fut si beau,

Sannazar, ce pooee habile,

Qui par ses vers divins approche de Virgile,

Plus encore que par son tombeau.


Note: The source of this primarily is the Ménagiana ou les bons mots et remarques critiques, historiques, morales et d‘Hudition, de Monsieur Ménage, recueillies par ses Amis (1695, Paris; new ed. of 1729 used), 4.225. Gilles Ménage (1613-92) was a French scholar, critic, and poet of great contemporary influence. Poe may have dipped into his entertaining work for a Latin phrase (see TOM 917n6) and for Pin 30 (q.v.). Here Ménage is discussing the great pleasure brought him by the verses of Jacopo Sannazzaro (1456-1530), influential humanist and poet, especially via his prototypal pastoral romance L‘Arcadia. Ménage gives the Latin epitaph by Pietro Bembo on the tomb, which is near that of Virgil. He feels obliged to rival Bembo in his tribute and gives the lines quoted by Poe: “Here lies Sannazar, that skilful poet, whose talent was so fine and who approached Virgil more through his divine verses than the closeness of his tomb.” [page 60:]

Pinakidia 89

The two reprehensible lines in Pope’s Eloisa,

Not Cæsar’s empress would I deign to prove;

No — make me mistress to the man I love,

are to be found in the original letters of Eloisa — at least the thought.


Note: Poe derived this from Disraeli’s Curiosities of Literature, article on “Abelard and Eloisa” (1835 ed., 1.120-23; 1865 ed., 1.2;2-16, specifically 215-16). It is almost the same, save that Poe adds “at least the thought” very sensibly. The lines are from Pope’s “Eloisa to Abelard” (88-89). Adolphus William Ward (Globe ed. of Pope’s Poetical Works) points out in his headnote that Pope probably used Rawlinson’s edition of the lovers’ letters (1717) and he cites Hallam’s charge of Pope’s injustice to Eloisa in making her motive in refusing to marry Abelard “an abstract predilection for the name of mistress above that of wife” rather than a wish not to interfere with his career. From another part of Disraeli’s article Poe probably derived an idea for “Monos and Una” (according to TOM 619n26).

Pinakidia 90

Mercier, in “L‘an deux mille quatre cent quarante” seriously maintains the doctrines of the Metempsychosis, and I. D‘Israeli says there is no system so simple, and so little repugnant to the understanding.


Note: This is closely adapted by Poe from the first para. of Disraeli’s CL, article on “Metempsychosis” (1824 ed., 1.336; 1835, 1.160; 1865, 1.268). Since Poe probably owes this and another use of Mercier’s ideas to CL, citation might be useful for Poe’s peculiar emphasis: “If we except the belief of a future remuneration beyond this life ... there is no system so simple, and so little repugnant to our understanding, as that of the metempsychosis. ... The present age ... has revived every kind of fanciful theory. Mercier in ... seriously maintains the present one.” Louis Sebastien Mercier (1740-1814) was primarily a dramatist (of 60 plays), hostile to the contemporary philosophes and the belief in progress and decrying the influence of Boileau and Racine. His fantasy L‘An 2440 (1770) was an important step in the development of the tale of the future, including Poe’s view of the year 2848 in “Mellonta Tauta.” Poe compared the tale “Three Hundred Years Hence” in Camperdown, reviewed in the 7136 SLM (H 9.71), to Mercier’s book, “the unaccredited parent of a great many similar things.” He also alludes to it by title, in M 59, as a [page 61:] beneficially “suggestive” book. Yet there is no real evidence that he dipped into the work itself. Chapter 19, “Le Temple” (pp. 108-122 in the 1772 London ed.) deals with the transmigration of souls, departing for other planets or stars in their elevation. How serious can Mercier be in a novel whose hero awakens after a seven-century sleep and whose notes satirize the 18th century? Poe’s copy for the 1850 printing of “Metzengerstein” added Pin 90, slightly changed, as a note to the motto (TOM 2.18, 2.300).

Pinakidia 91

One of the best epigrams affixed to the statue of Pasquin was the following upon Paul III,

Ut canerent data multa olim sunt vatibus æra

Ut taceam quantum to mihi, Paule, dabis?


Note: Poe derives this from Disraeli’s CL, article on “Pasquin and Marforio” (1835 ed., 1.174-76; 1865,1.287-90), but he too freely infers the quotation to have been affixed on the statue, as was earlier the case with all the squibs on the papal government and prominent persons. The genre did receive its name from a newly exhumed, somewhat mutilated Roman statue named after a notoriously satiric Pasquino (CL: tailor; En. Brit. 20.885: cobbler or schoolmaster), but Disraeli is giving seven specimens taken from Pasquillorum Tomi Duo or Two volumes of Pasquinades — in verse and prose (Basel, 1544), this being the last. Poe omits Disraeli’s translation: “Heretofore money was given to poets that they might sing: how much will you give me, Paul, to be silent?” This, the second of two epigrams on the pope, is preceded thus: “The following, on Paul III., are singular conceptions.” In “Rue Morgue” Poe speaks of the cobbler, ambitious to be an actor, as having been “notoriously Pasquinaded for his pains” (TOM 534).

Pinakidia 92

Milton in Paradise Lost, has this passage,

——— when the scourge

Inexorably, and the torturing hour

Call us to penance. [page 62:]

Gray, in his Ode to Adversity, has

Thou tamer of the human breast

Whose iron scourge, and torturing hour

The bad affright.


Note: Poe takes this from Disraeli’s CL, article” “Poetical Imitations and Similarities” (1824 ed., 2.471-501; 1835, 2.81-97; 1865, 2.260-79, specifically, 262), but fails to complete the line: “The bad affright, afflict the best.” Disraeli is citing the “Ode” (sometimes called “Hymn to Adversity,” 11. 2-4) and the source in Paradise Lost, 2.90-93, in a defense of the image by Wakefield against Gray. Poe might have added two more obvious borrowings by Gray in this first stanza, from Paradise Lost: “adamantine chains” and “pangs unfelt before” (1.48 and 2.703), both pointed out by John Bradshaw, editor of the Poetical Works (N. Y., Burt, n. d.), p. 292.

Pinakidia 93

Gray tells us that the image of his bard, where

Loose his beard, and hoary hair

Streamed like a meteor to the troubled air

was taken from a picture by Raphael: yet the beard of Hudibras is also likened to a meteor,

This hairy meteor did denounce

The fall of sceptres and of crowns.


Note: Poe derives this from Disraeli’s CL, the same article as provided him with Pin 92 (q.v.), specifically, 2.263-64 of the 1865 ed. He abridges the original, which contains “a picture of the Supreme Being by Raphael.” Disraeli includes an interesting discussion of the link between the burlesque (of Samuel Butler’s Hudibras) and the sublime in Gray. For Poe’s interest in Butler’s satire, see Pin 94, 108, and MM 64, 139, 195, 227. John Mitford’s edition of Gray’s work (Oxford: Talboys and Wheeler, 1814; rep. of 1825 used), 1.48, expands on the sources including a close parallel in Paradise Lost, 1.535, which Disraeli (2.265) prides himself (in 1824) on having first detected. The lines are 1.2, 56 in “The Bard” and 1.1.247-48 in Hudibras. [page 63:]

Pinakidia 94

The lines

For he that fights and runs away

May live to fight another day,

But he that is in battle slain,

Will never rise to fight again

are not to be found, as is thought, in Hudibras. Butler’s verses ran thus;

For he that flies may fight again,

Which he can never do that’s slain.

The former are in a volume of ‘Poems’ by Sir John Mennes, reign of Charles II. The original idea is in Demosthenes: Ανηρ ο φευγων και παλιν μαχησεται.


Note: The quatrain, given first, is actually by James Ray in A Complete History of the Rebellion (York, 1749), p. 54 (with “He that fights” in line 1 and “May turn and fight” in line 2). This was repeated in The Art of Poetry on a New Plan (1762), 2.147, which has been thought to be revised by Goldsmith, although these lines are not included in editions of his works. Poe’s version is the same except for these: “who fight,” “who is,” and “can never.” The material on the Hudibras couplet, save for the Mennes ref., is taken entirely from the annotation by Zachary Grey, in his 1744 edition of Hudibras (frequently reprinted in the 18th and 19th centuries), 3.3.243-44. Grey traces it to one of the Monosticha of Menander, preserved in The Attic Nights, 3.282, of Aulus Gellius. Poe repeats this “learning” for humorous effect in the 11/38 “Blackwoods Article” (TOM 346) and Mabbott, being unaware of Grey’s note, traces it to Francis Bacon’s Apophthegmata no. 169 (TOM 361 n38). Butler’s text is the same as Poe’s save for “For those that fly” at the beginning. From another source Poe derived the widespread misconception about Sir John Mennes (or Mennis) (1599-1671), compiler of Facetiae, Musarum Deliciae or, The Muses Recreation (London, 1656; 2 eds.). Neither the quatrain nor the couplet can be found in the poem “Upon Sir John Suckling’s most warlike preparations for the Scotish Warre,” as Poe seems to think. The widespread view that the couplet is there is owed to Mr. Cunningham and Dr. Rimbault, according to John Camden Hotten, editor of the 1874 (London) edition in notes on this poem (1.96, line 5); he lists numerous articles in Notes and Queries on this crux and indicates the inclusion of the ballad in Bishop Percy’s Reliques (where the couplet is not to be found). A brief discussion is to be found also in W. S. Walsh, Hand-book of Literary Curiosities (Phila., 1893), pp. 239-40. For the wide prevalence of the idea, often expressed in similar language, see a full section on “Discretion: They that fight and run away,” in Stevenson, Home Book of Quotations (10th ed.), pp. 456-57. [page 64:]

Pinakidia 95

“Semel insanivimus omnes” is not from Horace but from Mantuanus, an Italian. In a work entitled “De honesto amore” is this line,

Id commune malum, semel insanivimus omnes.


Note: Poe derived this from the text and note by Edmond Malone (6th ed.) to Boswell’s Life of Dr. Johnson (London, 1823), 4.150-51: “When I once talked to him of some of the sayings which every body repeats, but nobody knows where to find ... he told me that he was once offered ten guineas to point out from whence Semel ... was taken. He could not do it; but many years afterwards met with it by chance in Johannes Baptista Mantuanus.” (footnote): “ ... in the First Eclogue of Mantuanus, DE HONESTO AMORE, etc.” King, Classical and Foreign Quotations (London, 1904), p. 123, translates 1.118: “It is a common complaint, we have all been mad once.” The author’s real name was Giovan Battista Spagnoli (14481516), humanist and poet, whose ten vigorous Virgilian eclogues of 1498 were imitated in England by Alexander Barclay (1514). See Birkbeck Hill’s note to the passage with evidence of the Eclogues as being widely taught as classical in the English schools, popularizing the line (O.U.P., 1934), 4.182. For an earlier use of Boswell’s Life of Dr. Johnson see Pin 3.

Pinakidia 96

Dryden in ‘Absalom and Achitopel’ has these lines,

David for him his tuneful harp had strung

And heaven had wanted one immortal song.

Pope in his Epistle to Arbuthnot has

Friend of my life which did not you prolong

The world had wanted many an idle song.


Note: Poe derives this from Disraeli’s CL (see Pin 92; this being 2.268 in the 1865 ed., “Poetical Imitations”). Concerning Dryden’s lines (196-97) Disraeli mentions the Earl of Shaftesbury as subject; he also adds “This verse was ringing in the ear of Pope, when with equal modesty and felicity he adopted it in addressing his friend Dr. Arbuthnot” (in lines 27-28). [page 65:]

Pinakidia 97

Tickell’s lines

While the charmed reader with thy thought complies

And views thy Rosamond with Henry’s eyes,

are evidently borrowed from those of Boileau,

En vain contre ‘Le Cid’ un ministre se ligue;

Tout Paris pour Chimene a les yeux de Rodrigue.


Note: This too comes from Disraeli’s CL, “Poetical Imitations” (see Pin 92), specifically, 2.270 (in 1865 ed.). This is repeated by Poe as part of M 92 and also M 139A. The first is from Thomas Tickell’s Epistles: “to Mr. Addison, on his Opera of Rosamond” (11. 53, 55); the second from Boileau’s Satires: No. IX, 231-32. In his article “Cardinal Richelieu” Disraeli translates the same couplet thus: “To oppose the Cid, in vain the statesman tries; / All Paris, for Chimene, has Roderick’s eyes” (1865 ed., 1.207), and he offers a full explanation of how Richelieu’s political allegory Europe, as a play, failed to rival Corneille’s Cid.

Pinakidia 98

The expressions ‘nemorumque noctem’ occurring in one of Gray’s Latin odes, has been repeatedly found fault with — yet Virgil has ‘media nimborum in nocte.’


Note: Poe’s source has not been found for his comment on Gray’s “Alcaic Ode” (no. 18 of the “Latin poems”), subtitled “Written in the album of the Grande Chartreuse, in Dauphiny, August, 1741”: “ ... son antes / Inter aquas, nemorumque noctem” (among the sounding torrents and the night [or gloom] of the groves). Poe’s allusion to fault-finding is not borne out by editions of Gray’s works, which rather cite similar usages for “noctem” as in the Poetical Works (London, 1853), 1.199, in Seneca and Dryden. The phrase of Virgil’s Georgics, 1.328, “in the midst of a night of storms,” is scarcely a parallel.

Pinakidia 99

Selden observes of Henry VIII, that he was a king with a pope in his belly. [page 66:]


Note: The intermediary source whence Poe derived this is unknown. John Selden (1584-1654), English jurist, legal antiquary, and oriental scholar, wrote numerous and varied works in English and Latin, but is generally renowned for his Table Talk (1689). This statement is to be found in An Historical and Political Discourse of the Laws and Government of England, from the First Times to the End of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth. ... Collected from some MS. Notes of John Selden by Nathaniel Bacon (quarto ed., 1649; folio, 1682; rep. 1688-89; 4th ed., 1739). In the “Second Part,” which is separately paged, although in the same vol., concerning Henry VIII is this conclusion to a description: “A King that feared nothing, but the falling of the Heavens; ... a King with a Pope in his belly; having the Temporal Sword in his hand, and the Spiritual Sword at his command, of a merciless savage nature, but a word and a blow, without regard even of his bosom companions” (p. 125).

Pinakidia 100

In the ‘Nubes’ of Aristophanes, there are several Greek verses in rhyme.


Note: Poe’s statement, of unknown source, is fully treated in M 147 note g, in terms of contemporary and modern viewpoints. See also Pin 77.

Pinakidia 101

Of the ten tragedies which are attributed to Seneca, (the only Roman tragedies extant,) nine are on Greek subjects.


Note: This comes from A. W. Schlegel’s Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature, Lecture 15, used for Pin 5 (q.v.). Poe adapts a long passage (pp. 210-211) which discusses the one tragedy by Seneca not based on Greek material — the Octavia. The other nine are the Hercules, Troades, Phoenissae, Medea, Phaedra, Oedipus, Agamemnon, Thyestes, and Hercules Oetaeus.

Pinakidia 102

Ariosto says of one of his heroes, that, in the heat of combat, not [page 67:] perceiving that he was a dead man, he continued to fight valiantly, dead as he was.

Il pover’ huomo the non s‘en era accorto,

Andava combattendo, ed era morto.


Note: This is the first of a series of at least fourteen borrowings by Poe from Father Dominique Bouhours, whom he mentions in the Intro. of Pin as “Balzac, the author of ‘La Maniere de bien Penser,“’ first published in 1687. Poe probably used one of the many French editions, although it was translated into English in The Art of Criticism (1705) and, very freely adapted, in The Arts of Logick and Rhetorick (London, 1728). Since Poe seems unaware of the real author and Bouhours is named in the second English ed., I disqualify that volume as his source. Edgar C. Knowlton, Jr. first signalized “Poe’s Debt to Father Bouhours,” PN, 1971, 4.27-29. He omits only Pin 108 as derived (nos. 102-114), q.v. below. My text is the new edition of Paris, 1743, of 525 pages.

This comes from Bien Penser, pp. 16-17, with its faulty ascription to Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso (2.24.60). Poe repeats this item in his 11/38 “Blackwood Article” which TOM annotates thus (361n32): John Hoole, in the preface to his 18th century English version, “traces the couplet to faulty recollection of lines in [Francesco] Berni’s version of Boiardo’s Orlando Innamorato” (Bk. 2, Canto 24). He says: Orlando’s “wonderful stroke / Sever‘d with such art the Pagan foe / (That) the fierce knight, with vigour yet unbroke, / Fought on, though dead, unconscious of the stroke.” Gilles Ménage’s correction of this in 2.3 is discussed also by de la Monnoye, editor of the 2nd edition of Ménagiana (Amsterdam, 1713 and 1716), 4.3. Knowlton believes that Poe’s filling out the ampersand in line 2 as “ed” shows a knowledge of Italian usage, to be expected from his authenticated study at the University of Virginia.

Pinakidia 103

The author of ‘La Maniere de bién Penser’ speaks of a French divine who, to prove that young persons sometimes die before old ones, cited the text, ‘Praecucurrit citius Petro Johannes et venit primus ad monumentum.’


Note: This is almost verbatim from Bouhours’ La Manière de Bien Penser, Dialogue I (1771 ed.), p. 57. The included quotation is from St. John 20.4: “So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulcher.” [page 68:]

Pinakidia 104

There is no passage among all the writings of antiquity more sublime than these lines of Silius Italicus. The words are addressed to a young man of Capua, who proposed to assassinate Hannibal at a banquet.

Fallis to mensas inter quod credis inermem,

Tot bellis qua?sita viro, tot caedibus armat

Majestas eterna ducem: si admoveris ora

Cannas et Trebiam ante oculos, Trasymenaque busta,

Et Pauli stare ingentem miraberis umbram.


Note: The source is Bouhours’ Bien Penser, Second Dialogue (ed. of 1771, p. 87). The first sentence in Poe’s article is his own, but adapted from a ref. to the poet’s “noble manner.” The second is also a short adaptation of Bouhours’ next passage which really translates the poetic lines. Silius Italicus (26-101 A. D.) was noted as consul, art collector, a Stoic in views and in his death through self-starvation, and a follower of Virgil in his long historical epic, Punica, on the Second Punic War. Poe’s laudation is surely unjustified; he used the passage also in “Rationale of Verse” (H 14.214), without the praise. The English version by J. D. Duff (Loeb Classics, 1933), 2.127 (for XI, 342-46 of the epic) is this: “If you think that he sits unarmed at table, you are wrong. His armor is the immortal glory he has gained by constant warfare and hecatombs of victims slain. If you come close to him, you will marvel to see before you Cannae and the Trebia, the dead of Lake Trasimene and the mighty shade of Paulus.” (The first word, “Fallis,” is corrected to “Fallit” in the “Rationale of Verse” Poe deriving it from Bouhours.) He introduced his own (or the compositor’s) errors in “coedibus” for “caedibus”; “Trebium” for “Trebiam”; and “ingentum” for “ingentem.”

Pinakidia 105

Giace l‘alta Cartago: a pena i segni

De l‘alte sui ruine il lido serba:

Muoino le cittA, muoino i regni;

Copre i fasti e le pompe arena et herba:

E l‘huom d‘esser mortal per the si sdegni.

These lines of Tasso are a curious specimen of literary robbery — being made up entirely of passages from Lucan and Sulpicius. Lucan says of Troy

Jam tota teguntur

Pergama dumetis: etiam perire ruinae:

and Sulpicius in a letter to Cicero says of Megara, Ægina, Corinth, &c — “Hem! [page 69:] nos homunculi indignamur si quis nostrum interiit, quorum vita brevior esse debet, cum uno loco tot oppidorum cadavera projecta jaceant.”


Note: This is pieced together, almost verbatim, from phrases and quoted excerpts in Bouhours’ Bien Penser, Second Dialogue (1771 ed., pp. 102-103). The material is used again in M 138. A literal French translation of the Gerusalemme Liberata (15.20 1-5) excerpt is given in Bouhours’ text as part of the dialogue. In the adaptation into English of 1728, published as The Arts of Logick and Rhetorick, a translation from the volume by Edward Fairfax is given: “Great Carthage now, in Ashes low cloth lye, / Her Ruins poor, the herbs in height scant pass; / So Cities fall, so.perish Kingdoms high, / Their Pride and Pomp lye hid in Sand and Grass: / Then why should mortal Man repine to Dye / Whose Life is Air, Breath, Wind, and Body Glass!” (the last line being added solely for completeness). For Lucan’s Pharsalia excerpt (9.968-69), the adapter uses Nicholas Rowe’s much expanded version of Lucan (1718): “Now blasted Mossy Trunks with Branches sear, / Brambles and Weeds, a loathsome Forrest rear; / All rude, all waste, and desolate ‘tis laid, / And even the ruin‘d Ruins are decay‘d.” The full first line is “lam lasso radice tenent, ac tota teguntur”; a more literal reading would be: “And the worn-out roots clutch the temples of the gods, and Pergama is covered over with thorn-brakes; the very ruins have been destroyed” (Loeb Library tr.). Poe follows the incorrect “perire” in some editions of Bouhours for “periere” (not the 1687 Lyons and 1705 Amsterdam editions). The excerpt from the letter of Sulpicius to Cicero (Familiares, 4.5, of March 45 B. C.) reads thus: “Bah, should we little men object if some of us die, whose life should be shorter, when in one place the bodies of so many cities lie prone” (Loeb Library tr.).

Pinakidia 106

An epigram upon the subject of François de Bassompiere being released from the Bastille upon the death of Richelieu, is a strange mixture of lofty thought and puerile conceit.

Enfin dans farriere — saison

La fortune d‘Armand s‘accorde avec la mienne:

France, je sors de ma prison

Quand son Ame sort de la sienne.

The line, “France, je sors de ma prison,” is the anagram of François de Bassompière.


Note: This comes from the Second Dialogue of Father Bouhours’ Bien Penser (1771 ed.), pp. 140-41, which reads as follows in The Arts of [page 70:] Logick and Rhetorick (1728), p. 131: “The Excellence of an Epigram often consists only in joyning the figurative and Proper Senses together, as in that which was made on the Marechal de Bassompierre’s coming out of the Bastille, after the Death of Cardinal Richelieu. The Marechal speaks.

En fin dans I‘arriere Saison etc.

At Last, tho’ late,

Mine agrees with Armand’s Fate.

I leave my Prison, France, His Soul leaves His.

The Word Prison, as it relates to the Marechal, is in the proper Sense, and in the Figurative, as it relates to the Cardinal. The following Remark is unworthy Pere Bouhours’s Penetration, that the Word France there wants but one Letter to be the Anagram of Bassompierre, whose Name was Francis, which, says he, renders the Epigram the more agreeable, but I think the more trifling, and more like a Pun.”

The one letter missing is “n“, although by failing to use the old spelling for Bassompierre, Poe’s printing deprives it of an “r” as well; the ‘J” is taken for a needed “i” of course. This quatrain was the product of Pierre Menard (1606-1701), the dear friend and lawyer of Bassompierre (1579-1646), who spent twelve years in the Bastille at the behest of Armand Jean du Plessis, Duc de Richelieu (1585-1642). Poe consistently scorned Richelieu for his pride and cruelty, q.v. in Pin 109, Pin 128, and in “Bon-Bon” (TOM 93, 95n17); see also a garbled reference in Bulwer’s play Richelieu (H 15.269-70).

Pinakidia 107

The epigrams of the Greek Anthology are characterized more by näiveté than point. They are for the most part insipid.


Note: In this article, taken from Bouhours’ Bien Penser (1771 ed., p.156), Second Dialogue, Poe slightly misread the original: “Elle consiste, cette na├»veté, dans je ne sais quel air simple et ingénu, mais spirituel et raisonnable ... et la plupart des epigrammes de l‘Anthologie ont ce caractere: s‘il ne s‘y trouve rien qui pique le gout, il s‘y trouve pourtant quelque chose qui le chatouille; et on peut dire ... elles ne sont pas insipides.” The closeness of the translation of 1728 to the original helps to prove that Poe used the French text: “Naivety consists in I know not what simple and ingenuous Air, which has in it something witty and reasonable. ... The greatest Part of the Epigrams of the Anthologie are of this kind ... there are few of them insipid” (p. 145). Here I have respelled Poe’s erroneous “náiveté” in Poe’s style, i.e., with the dieresis on the first of the two sounded vowels — a custom contrary to all conventions, [page 71:] but consistent in Poe’s publications (see the discussion in my Intro.).

Pinakidia 108

Longinus calls pompous and inflated thoughts, “reveries of Jupiter” — insomnia Jovis.


Note: Poe derived this from Bouhours’ Bien Penser, Third Dialogue (1771 ed., p. 309): “Longin ... nomme ces sortes de pensees vaines et fastueuses, les reveries de Jupiter” (gloss: “Jovis insomnia” Sect. 7 [for Longinus]). Proof again that Poe did not use the 1728 English translation is this sentence: “Longinus calls those vain and puffy Thoughts, the Jovis insomnia, Dreams of Jupiter” (p. 236). See “A Blackwood Article” (TOM 345, 353, 361n37) for Poe’s amusing travesty of the quotation in 1838 (now misattributed), and also see Knowlton’s full treatment (p. 28).

Pinakidia 109

A French writer of celebrity dedicated a book to Richelieu in terms of the most blasphemous flattery. But being disappointed in his expectations, he suppressed all his praises in a second edition, and re-dedicated his volume “a Jésus Christ.”


Note: This comes from Bouhours’ Bien Penser, Third Dialogue, (1771 ed., pp. 276-77), with a considerable condensation, since Bouhours gives the fulsome dedication. Moreover, he does not say that he was “disappointed in his expectations” although the implication is clear. Poe must have derived this item also from a secondary source, namely, Disraeli’s CL, article “Dedications,” to judge from the wording (1824, 2.76-83; 1835,1.283-86; 1865,1.438): “French flattery even exceeded itself. ... I suspect that even the following one is not the most blasphemous he received” etc. See Pin 106 for Poe’s dislike of the Cardinal.

Pinakidia 110

The following inscription intended for the Louvre, possesses both simplicity and dignity: [page 72:]

Pande fores populis, sublimis Lupara: non est

Terrarum imperio dignior ulla domus.


Note: This comes from the Third Dialogue of Bouhours’ Bien Penser (1771 ed., p. 285). The speakers are discussing the epigrams composed for the new buildings of the Louvre, this being the second evaluated. The 1728 English version offers this: “Open thy gates, grand Louvre, to the People. / Of the World’s Empire: There’s no House so worthy” (p. 252). This was repeated in the 12/48 SLM, 14.760, without change from this text. It is listed and included hereafter as Supplementary Pinakidia 46.

Pinakidia 111

Under a fine painting of St. Bruno in solitude, some Italian wrote these words, “Egli e vivo, e parlarebbe se non osservasse la regola del silenzio.” Malherbe has taken the hint in his epigram upon a picture of Saint Catherine.


Note: This is taken by Poe from the Third Dialogue in Bouhours’ Bien Penser (1771 ed., 305-06). The 1728 version in English translates it thus: “He is alive, and wou‘d speak, if it was not against the Rule of Silence.” (p. 282). In the first 4/1842 printing of “Life in Death” (later “The Oval Portrait”) Poe used the Italian inscription as a motto — on which TOM writes a full, informative note (TOM 666) concerning St. Bruno, founder of the Carthusian order of silent monks; and also Poe’s use of “speaking image” in “The Spectacles” (TOM 918n22). He comments on the lack of relation of Malherbe’s verses to this text, since he does not know of Bouhours’ being the original text. The epigram on St. Catherine (see François de Malherbe [1555-1628], Poésies, no. lxxviii) is in Bouhours: “L‘art aussi — bien que la nature / Eut fait plaindre cette peinture: / Mais il a voulu figurer / Qu‘aux tourmens dont la cause est belle, / La gloire d‘une ame fidelle / Est de souffrir sans murmurer.”

Pinakidia 112

A fine sample of galimatias is to be found in an epigram of Miguel de Cervantes:

Van muerte tan escondida,

Que no to sienta venir;

Porque el plazer del morir

No me torne a dar la vida. [page 73:]


Note: This is taken, much abridged, from Bouhours’ Bien Penser, Third Dialogue (1771 ed., p. 352). The speakers are discussing the hypersubtlety of a quatrain by Tasso and cite this stanza from the Quijote as another specimen. One thinks it nonsense, but the other feels it does not approach “galimatias” but is rather “pithy and incisive.” The word “galimatias” dates from the 16th century, means “confused talk, meaningless language, nonsense,” and is of uncertain origin (but seems to be of French usage first; see OED). In Book II, ch. 38 of Don Quijote, “Historia de la Dolorida,” Cervantes introduces this quatrain with no indication of its being by Juan Escrivá, 15th century Valencian poet, most noted for these lines, much imitated and mentioned by later writers, including Calderon and Lope de Vega. Cervantes assumed that his readers knew them. The better and more primitive reading of Escriva’s lines (2 and 3) is: “ ... sienta conmigo, — / Porque el gozo de contigo — “. For discussion see Don Quijote, ed. Don Diego Clemencin (Madrid: Castillas, 1947), pp. 1745 — 46. The 1728 English version thus translates: “Come quickly, Death, at my Request; / But do not Notice of it give, / For fear I should be so much pleas‘d / To die, as when thou‘rt come, to live” (p, 349). More literally: “Come death, so hidden, that I do not sense you coming, so that the pleasure of dying does not return me to life.” Poe made good use of this quatrain in his 11/38 “How to Write a Blackwood Article” (TOM 344 and n31) and, for a parody, in the pendant, “A Predicament” (354 and n46). Poe’s translation is “Come quickly O death! but be sure and don‘t let me see you coming, lest the pleasure I shall feel at your appearance should unfortunately bring me back again to life.” Uniformly in Pin 112 and all versions of the tale, Poe gives “van” (they come) for “ven” (imperative form) — without any sanction in the Spanish, or in Bouhours.

Pinakidia 113

Quintilian mentions a pedant who taught obscurity, and who was wont to say to his scholars, “This is excellent — I do not understand it myself.”


Note: This is taken directly from Bouhours’ Bien Penser, Fourth Dialogue (1771 ed., p. 381). A marginal ref. is given to Quintilian’s Institutio Oratoria, 8.2.18. There, we can discover, Quintilian ascribes the instance to a lost letter of Livy. Poe used this again in the “Appendix of Autographs” (for Emerson) in the 1/42 Graham’s (H 15.260), and also in M Intro. (para. 8) of 11/44. [page 74:]

Pinakidia 114

An Italian metaphysician, to disprove that greatness of mind is proportioned to the size of the skull, argues thus: “Non sano, the la mente è it centro del capo; ed it centro non cresce per la grandezza del circolo.”


Note: This is taken directly from Bouhours’ Bien Penser, Fourth Dialogue (1771 ed., p. 388). The speakers are discussing, as an example of obscurity, the tendency of the soul toward despair, but avow themselves confused. It is a “galimatias” says one, like the thought of an Italian against those who measure the greatness of the spirit by the largeness of the head. “The understanding is the center of the head, and the center does not grow by the size of the circle” (translating Bouhours’ French translation of the Italian). Knowlton omits this from his list of Bouhour’s contributions.

Pinakidia 115

A horse is often seen on ancient sepulchral monuments. Caylus quotes a passage from Passeri, “de animae transvectione,” implying that the horse designates the passage of the soul to Elysium.


Note: Poe’s immediate source is unknown. The material comes from Anne Claude Philippe de Caylus (1692-1765), Recueil d‘Antiquites egyptiennes, etrusques, grecques, romaines et gauloises (Paris, 1752-55, 7 vols; this being an edition of 1764, vol. 6). The relevant text accompanies a picture on p. 181 (Planche 51, no. 1). The reader sees a Greek funerary vase, probably a tomb ornament, with two figures, one seated and one leading a horse — a cenotaph, Caylus suggests. He thinks that the man’s horse, shown, is intended for the passage of the soul to the Elysian fields, for the reason that one often sees horses thus represented on tombs. He also speculates as to whether the seated figure could be one of the judges of Hell. At the side is the note: See “Passeri, Dissertation de anim. transvectione,” a ref. to Jean Baptiste (or Gianbattista) Passeri (1694-1780). Oddly, the works of Passeri, listed in the great national library catalogues (British Museum, L.C., NYPL, et al.) do not show this work, but the Osseroazioni del ... Passeri (Venice, 1757), consulted in Paris, on p. xiv, has his ref. to his own dissertation, titled “Transvectione animarum.” Poe used this again for M 57 with an added humorous touch. [page 75:]

Pinakidia 116

The Satyre Ménippée of the French is, in prose, the exact counterpart of Hudibras in rhyme.


Note: This comes from Disraeli’s Curiosities of Literature, article “Prediction” (1835 ed., 3.252; 1865 ed., 4.165): “Compare the history of ‘The League’ in France with that of our own civil wars. ... A satirical royalist of those times has commemorated the motives, the incidents, and the personages in the ’Satire Ménippée, de la Vertu du Catholicon d‘Espagne;’ and this famous ’Satire Menippee’ is a perfect Hudibras in prose!” The pamphlet of 1594 was directed against the Ligue, a Catholic federation founded by the Duke of Guise in 1576 to defend the Catholic religion against the Calvinists and place the Guise faction in power. The principal authors were Pierre Pithou, N. Rapin, J. Passerat, and Leroy. Using a trifle more of the text of Disraeli, Poe repeats this item for M 64, q.v.

Pinakidia 117

A remarkable instance of concord of sound and sense is to be seen in the following stanza by M. Anton. Flaminius:

Ast amans chars? thalamum puellæ

Deserit flens, et tibi verba dicit

Aspera amplexu tenerae cupito a —

— vulsus amicæ.


Note: Poe’s source for this is unknown and, from the form of the name given, one suspects that he was unaware of its true origin, for the poet was Marcantonio Flaminio, Italian Renaissance humanist (1498?-1550), i. e., Marcus Antonius Flaminius, whose great poem, “Hymnus in Auroram” or “Hymn to Aurora” (lines 41-44 in the excerpt) was published in 1529 (also No. 5 in Carmina illustrium poetarum, Florence, 1552). Flaminius was replying to an invitation with a verse epistle based on a conceit from Virgil and St. Jerome. It reads: “But the lover weeps as he abandons the couch / Of his beloved girl, and he curses you bitterly / As he is wrenched from the soft embrace / Of the mistress he longed for” (see Carol Maddison, Marcantonio Flaminio, London, 1965, pp. 57-58). With a varied intro. this is used in M 65. [page 76:]

Pinakidia 118

Voltaire’s ignorance of antiquity is laughable. In his Essay on Tragedy, prefixed to Brutus, he actually boasts of having introduced the Roman senate on the stage in red mantles. “The Greeks,” as he asserts, “font paraitre leurs acteurs (tragic) sur des especes d‘échasses, le visage couvert d‘un masque qui exprime la douleur d‘un côté et la joye de 1‘autre!” The only circumstance upon which he could possibly have founded such an accusation is, that in the new comedy masks were worn with one eyebrow drawn up and the other down, to denote a busy-body or inquisitive meddler.


Note: Poe follows the scornful attitude of A. W. Schlegel and the text of his Lectures on Dramatic Art here (tr., 1833 ed.). His first sentence is his own, but the second and third are almost verbatim from a ref. by Schlegel to Voltaire’s prefaces to Brutus and to Semiramis (p. 60): A summarizing statement later is given in a footnote by Schlegel (p. 196) while the text of the same page furnishes the last sentence. It is Poe, not Schlegel, who spells “la joye” in that archaic fashion. Incidentally, Voltaire does not “boast” of his innovation, but says: “Pour moi, f avoue que ce n‘a pas été sans quelque crainte quej‘ai introduit sur la scène française le senat de Rome, en robes rouges, allant aux opinions” (Pref. to Brutus, Oeuvres Complètes, 1877, 2.321). This means, simply, “For myself, I confess that it is not without some fear that I have introduced onto the French stage the Roman senate in red robes, going to their deliberations.” Poe uses this also in M 137. See the Index for other refs. to Voltaire’s views and theatrical practices.

Pinakidia 119

Several ancient tragedies, viz: Eumenides, Philoctetes, and Œdipus at Colonos, besides many pieces of Euripides, have a happy and enlivening termination.


Note: This is taken, almost verbatim, from Lecture V of A. W. Schlegel’s Lectures on Dramatic Art (1833 ed. of the tr., p. 67) with “cheerful” changed to “enlivening” and “Coloneus” correctly changed to “at Colonos.” [page 77:]

Pinakidia 120

The only historical tragedies by Grecian authors were The Capture Of Miletus by Phrymcus and the Persians of Æschylus.


Note: This is virtually identical with a sentence in A. W. Schlegel’s Lectures on Dramatic Art (1833 ed. of the tr., p. 71).

Pinakidia 121

The foundation of all the erroneous opinions on the subject of the old Greek comedy (Voltaire’s opinion particularly) may be found in the comparison between Aristophanes and Menander, in Plutarch.


Note: This is closely drawn from a footnote in A. W. Schlegel’s Lectures on Dramatic Art (1833 ed. of the English tr.), p. 145. Poe tries to clarify Schlegel’s ambiguity about whether it was Voltaire or Plutarch who led astray later French critics by using a parenthesis for a complete sentence on Voltaire. He is probably referring to a lost dialogue in Plutarch’s Moralia, comparing the qualities of Aristophanes and Menander of which we have a mere summary (see Loeb Classical Library, Moralia, vol. 10, pp. 462-73, ed. of Harold North Fowler).

Pinakidia 122

Schlegel says justly, that Harlequin and Pulcinello descend in a direct line from the buffoons of the ancient Romans. On Greek vases are seen also dresses like theirs — long breeches and waistcoats with arms, articles worn by neither Greeks nor Romans except upon the stage. At present Zanni is one of the names of Harlequin, and Sannio in the Latin farces was a buffoon who had a shaven head, and a dress patched together of all colors.


Note: Poe slightly condenses, with few changes in the wording, a passage in A. W. Schlegel’s Lectures on Dramatic Art (1833 ed. of the English tr.), p. 203. Some of this material can also be found in Disraeli’s CL, article on “The Pantomimical Characters” (1865 ed., 2.294 especially), but Schlegel is clearly his source. [page 78:]

Pinakidia 123

In Racine’s Bérénice Antiochus says to the queen

——— Je me suis to cinq ans

Madame, et vais encore me taire plus long tems,

and to give a direct proof of his intention, recites immediately no less than fifty verses in a breath.


Note: This is taken almost verbatim from A. W. Schlegel’s Lectures on Dramatic Art (1833 ed. of English tr.), p. 269. Poe changes “long-tems” to “long tems” (printed by Harrison as “longtems). The French reads: “I have been silent for five years, Madame, and still shall I be silent longer” (Bérénice, 1.4.75-76).

Pinakidia 124

In Voltaire’s scruples about unity of place he has committed a thousand blunders. In the Mort de Cæsar the scene is in the Capitol, but the people seem not to know their precise situation. On one occasion Cæsar exclaims, “Courons an Capitole!”


Note: Here Poe follows closely a passage from A. W. Schlegel’s Lectures on Dramatic Art (1833 ed. of English tr.), p. 298, which needs to be quoted: “The inconsistencies which here arise from the attempt to observe the unity of place, are obvious to the least discerning eye. The scene is laid in the Capitol; but the conspiracy is hatched in the clear light of day, and Caesar the while goes in and out among them. But the persons, themselves, do not seem to know rightly where they are; for Caesar on one occasion exclaims, ‘Courons au Capitole!“’ Poe, who objurgates Voltaire, intensifies the first sentence. In the second he renders ambiguous the “persons,” that is, the characters, as though they are the “plebs.” In fact, Voltaire ascribes these words to Cassius (II, iv): “Let us no longer weigh considerations but run to the Capitole; it is there that he oppresses us and that we must immolate him.” Percy G. Adams in MLN of 4/1952, 57.273-75, exonerates Voltaire, who knew the word Capitol to refer to the Capitoline Hill or to the Temple of Jupiter called Capitolium (where the refusal of the crown took place). Hence, the conspirators could be on the hill and yet rush to the temple. This is used also in M 120. Poe oddly makes a partial revision of Voltaire’s title (“César” to “Cæsar”), on the basis of Schlegel’s “Cæsar” in the discussion, producing the hybrid title that has been retained. [page 79:]

Pinakidia 125

Denis de Sallo’s “Journal des Sçavans,” in 1665 may be considered as the origin of Literary Journals or Reviews.


Note: This was taken by Poe from Disraeli’s CL, article “Literary Journals” (1835 ed., 1.9-14; 1865, 1.60-66, specifically, 61-62): “The origin of literary journals was the happy project of Denis de Sallo, a counsellor in the parliament of Paris. In 1665 appeared his Journal des Sçavans.” A little earlier in the 1835 “Autography” Poe had used part of this ref. for the imaginary letter from Anthon (TOM 283 and 290n on “Letter XXXII).”

Pinakidia 126

Sous ce tombeau git Le Sage abattu

Par le ciseau de la Parque importune,

S‘il ne fut pas ami de la fortune

Il fut toujours ami de la vertu,

was Le Sage’s epitaph.


Note: This came from Disraeli’s CL, article “Poverty of the Learned” (1835 ed., 1.24-28; 1865, 1.81-87, specifically, 86-87), with the author’s name spelled in Poe’s fashion. Alain René Lesage (1668-1747), French novelist and dramatist, was familiar to Poe for his masterpiece, the picaresque novel Gil Blas, and probably for his novel Le Diable boiteux (1707). Often comparing the former with Robinson Crusoe as picaresque in genre, Poe speaks of the work in his Paul Ulric critique of 2/36 (H 8.196), his 4/41 Night and Morning rev. (H 10.120) and 11/43 Wyandotté rev. (H 11.209) and, indirectly, through a line in “Angel of the Odd” (TOM 1111n10). Le Diable botteux may enter into “Never Bet the Devil” (TOM 634n19) and his Asmodeus into “Man Used Up” (TOM 376). The verses here mean: “Under this tomb lies Lesage, struck down by the scythe of importunate Fate; If he was not the friend of fortune, at least he was always the friend of virtue.” It may be read in the works of Lesage (London, 1822), p. xxvi, also in the Oeuvres, edited by Prosper Portevin (Paris: Didot, 1857), Lviii — both without authorship of the epitaph. In the word “git” Poe followed Disraeli, who omitted all accents from these verses, but “git” requires a circumflex; hence, Poe’s text has been corrected. We have also corrected Disraeli — Poe’s “Le Sage” to “Lesage” in the Index, but not in this text. [page 80:]

Pinakidia 127

These lines although extremely French are forcible,

Et comme un jeune coeur est bientot enflamme

Il me vit, il m‘aima, je le vis, je 1‘aimai.


Note: This comes from a section of CL (in earlier editions only) called “Fine Thoughts” in the 3rd ed. of 1793 (1.90), “Some Fine Thoughts” in the 5th ed. of 1807 (1.115), and “Some Ingenious Thoughts” (1.126) in the 1824 ed.: “A French poet has admirably expressed the instantaneous sympathy of two lovers. A princess is relating to her confidante the birth of her passion; and says [couplet given].” Disraeli translates the poetry thus: “Soon is the youthful heart by passion mov‘d: / He saw, and lov‘d me — him I saw, and lov‘d.” It is Poe, not Disraeli, who comments disparagingly.

Pinakidia 128

On Cardinal Richelieu, Benserade made the following epitaph:

Cy gist — ouy gist par la mort bleu

Le Cardinal de Richelieu,

Et ce qui cause won ennuy

Ma pension avec lui.


Note: This is taken from Disraeli’s CL, the article on “Patrons” (1824 ed., pp. 145-46; 1835, p. 68; 1865, p. 142), in which is given an anecdote about the excessive flattery of Cardinal Mazarin rendered by Isaac de Benserade (1613 — 91), dramatist and society poet. Disraeli first comments that Benserade was pensioned by Mazarin as a reward and then remarks: “On Cardinal Richelieu, another of his patrons, he gratefully made this epitaph ... ” He translates it thus: “Here lies, egad, ‘tis very true, / The illustrious Cardinal Richelieu: / My grief is genuine — void of whim! / Alas! my pension lies with him!” Curiously, Octave Uzanne, in the preface to the 1895 ed. of Benserade’s works mentions the epitaph (p. xii) which is not included in his writings. See Pin 106, 110 for other refs. [page 81:]

Pinakidia 129

The Jesuits called Crébillon ‘Puer ingeniosus, sed insignis nebulo.’


Note: This can be found in the 4th edition of Disraeli’s The Literary Character (London: H. Colburn, 1828, 2 vols.), 1.53-54, ch. 4, “Of Natural Genius” although not in some of the later editions, it having been “edited out.” Disraeli is discussing the Jesuits as masters of the art of education, and remarks: “They studied the characteristics of their pupils” and “described the elder Crebillon [as] puer ingeniosus sed insignis nebulo, ‘a shrewd boy but a great rascal.‘” Poe, on other occasions, referred to Prosper Jolyot de Crébillon (1674-1762) who wrote nine tragedies, often highly melodramatic, enjoyed the court favor, incurred Voltaire’s enmity, and was a member of the French Academy. The anecdote given by Disraeli is also to be found in the Crébillon article in the Biographie Universelle of 1813 (10.206). For Poe’s refs. see the motto of “Four Beasts” (TOM 119), a ref. in “Murders” (TOM 570n14) and in “Purloined Letter” (TOM 997n27) and in a rev. (H 10.206). This item is repeated in M 24.

Pinakidia 130

Dr. E. Young published “A true Estimate of Human Life, Part I,” dedicated to Queen Anne, and describing the shades of existence. The second part, however, which should have contained the lights never appeared.


Note: The author of the pamphlet was Edward Young (16831765), celebrated writer of the play The Revenge, of the satires entitled The Universal Passion, and, above all, The Complaint, or Night Thoughts (1742-45). Having taken orders, he became rector of Welwyn in 1730. This sixty-four page pamphlet of 1728 was entitled A Vindication of Providence: or, a True Estimate of Human Life in which the Passions are considered in a New Light. Presented ... soon after the late King’s Death. Poe misrepresents the content, purposing to show that “Happiness is an Universal Gift of God” dependent upon the “Communication of our Affections with him.” He promises to explicate how to “love God” in the “following Discourse” which never came out. At the end of “Premature Burial” (TOM 969) he strongly reprehends “grave yard poetry” such as that by Young, whom he often mentioned elsewhere (see Pin 39 and PD 100 for loci). [page 82:]

Pinakidia 131

The “Batrachomyomachia,” is nothing more than a burlesque poem, much in the manner of Aristophanes, and doubtfully attributed to Homer. Philip Melancthon however, wrote a commentary to prove the poet’s object was to excite a hatred for tumults and sedition. Pierre La Seine going a step farther, thinks the intention was to recommend to young men temperance in eating and drinking.


Note: This item and also Pin 142 were incorporated by Poe into the 1845 printing of “Never Bet the Devil,” almost unchanged. This portion comes almost verbatim from H. N. Coleridge’s Introductions, as TOM 632n2 (from Palmer Holt’s AL, 1962, 34.26) points out. None of Poe’s material comes from other sources. Pierre La Seine (Pietro Lasena) presented this in his Homeri Nepenthes, seu, de abolendo luau (Lyons, 1624), which was cited by Johann Fabricius (1668-1736), in his Biblotheca Graeca (Bk. 2, ch. 2, section 3), whence Coleridge derived it. Perhaps the note to the heading of The Dunciad (Book IV) concerning Homer’s doubtful work, reinforced Poe’s notice of part of Coleridge’s observation.

Pinakidia 132

“Amare et sapere vix Deo conceditur,” is not Seneca’s as generally supposed.


Note: This terse saying is translated by H. P. Jones, Dictionary of Foreign Phrases and Classical Quotations (1958 rep.) thus: “To love and to be wise at the same time is scarcely possible, even for a god.” It is now ascribed to the Mimi et Aliorum Sententiae of Publilius Syrus, a manumitted slave from Antioch in Rome in the first century B. C., who was a clever mime and improviser, praised by the elder Seneca for his expressiveness and quoted by Aulus Gellius. It is difficult to disengage truly original sayings by Publilius from accretions with Senecan ideas. Many of the approximately 700 are contradictory; the texts vary in the different collections. In the 1727 Leyden edition this is number 19. (See Oxford Classical Dictionary, p. 899.) It was formerly ascribed to Decimus Laberius (c. 115-43 B. C.), who competed with Publilius Syrus in presenting the short often ribald scenes from daily life called the “mimi” in Rome. This article by Poe is elaborated in M 90 by being combined with others. [page 83:]

Pinakidia 133

The heathen poets are mentioned three times in the New Testament. Aratus in the seventeenth chapter of Acts — Menander in the fifteenth chapter of I Corinthians — also Epimenides.


Note: Poe’s source is unknown. This item is “repeated” in the SLM of 11148, p. 671, probably through Poe’s agency. For the first (not by name) see Acts 17.28: “As certain also of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also his offspring.“’ This comes from the Phaenomena by the Greek didactic poet Aratus of Soli — his invocation to Zeus, q.v. in J. Martin, ed., Phaenomena: text, commentary and translation (Florence, 1954), 1.154. In I Corinthians 15.33: we find: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners,” approximating a fragment from the Thais of Menander: “Evil communications corrupt good character.” (See Pin 138 for this.) Epimenides, religious teacher of Crete, about 500 B. C., is inferred from Titus 1.12: “One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.” A Theogony and a Cretica are assigned to him (OCD p. 399).

Pinakidia 134

“Semper sub Sextis perdita Roma fuit,”

was a line written during the pontificate of Alexander VI. Sextus Tarquinius provoked by his tyranny the expulsion of the kings of Rome. Urban VI began the great schism of the West. Alexander VI astonished the world by the enormity of his crimes, and Pius VI did not falsify the saying.


Note: While Poe’s immediate source is unknown, the elements of Poe’s article can be found in a passage in a work which Poe cites in the Pin Intro. (q.v.) by Albert Henri de Sallengre, namely, Memoires de lit terature et d‘histoire (The Hague, 1715-17, 2 vols.), 2.209. It can be translated thus: “The epigram against Alexander VI is well known. He was said to have sold Jesus Christ, the altars, and the keys of St. Peter, but he seized him with just title, having bought him by counting out good coins.

Vendit Alexander claves, altaria, Christum, / Emerat ille prius, vendere jure potest. / De vitio in vitium, de flamma crescit in ignem I Roma, sub Hispano deperit imperio. / Sextus Tarquinius, sextus Nero, sextus iste, / Semper sub Sextis perdita Roma fuit.” The epigram may be translated thus: “Alexander sold the keys, altars, Christ. Since he had bought him earlier, he could justly sell him. Rome developed from one [page 84:] vice into another, from one conflagration into another and declined under the power of the Spaniard. Tarquinius the Sixth, Nero the Sixth, the very sixth one — always under the sixth ones did Rome find itself lost.” The Spaniard was Alexander VI, or Rodrigo Lanzol y Borgia (Pope 1492-1503), father of Cesare and Lucrezia and prototype of the corrupt Renaissance Popes. It was the rape of Lucrezia by Tarquinius Sextus that led to the overthrow by Junius Brutus, according to legend. Urban VI (1318-89), after his election in 1378, provoked the cardinals into revoking it in favor of Clement VII, who installed himself at Avignon, thus beginning the Great Schism which lasted fifty years. Plus VI, who figures in Pin 147 for his extravagance and apparent callousness to the hardships of the populace, suffered from the stresses of the revolutionary period (1717-1799; pope from 1775), from his attempts to revive the splendor of the past and from his removal by the French, although Poe’s comparison with Alexander VI is forced. Clearly Poe has added this flourish to Sallengre’s text.

Pinakidia 135

A letter was once addressed from Rome “Alla sua Excellenza Seromfidevi,” in London. It caused much perplexity at the Post-office and British Museum, and after foiling the acumen of a minister of state, was found to be intended for Sir Humphry Davy.


Note: Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829), unquestionably England’s greatest chemist, devoted to the “cause of humanity” as in his invention of the miners’ lamp, had much ambition to achieve fame (Enc. Brit., 7.873). There is some evidence that before 8/36 Poe had read Researches, Chemical and Philosophical (1800), which Poe used later for his tale of “Von Kempelen” (see DP 177-82, 282n37), in which gold-making by chemical means is important — perhaps inspired by a note on Davy in Disraeli’s CL article on “Alchymy.” In the 12/30/45 BJ Poe was also to include an uncollected rev. of a book connected with “Uncle Davy.” Certainly the acclaim and honors tendered Sir Humphry by British officialdom and the public affirm the point of this humorous anecdote, which appears in none of the biographical accounts surveyed. Harrison, in his edition of the Pinakidia, erroneously inserts a confusing “much” before the word “foiling.”

Pinakidia 136

The vulgar Christian era is the invention of Dionysius Exiguus. [page 85:]


Note: This item, its source unknown, was repeated in the 11/48 SLM (14.681) as filler, probably at Poe’s suggestion (SP 41). Dionysius “the little” (i. e. “exiguus”) was a monk at Rome (b. in Scythia, fl. 6th c.), who introduced the annunciation of the birth of Christ into his Cyclus paschalis as the start of modern chronology, thus establishing the Christian or Dionysian era. He placed the birth as too late by several years.

[[A possible source is the “Introduction” of A Short History of the Church of Christ, by Rev. John Fry (London, 1825). Footnote 3 on page 5 states: “The vulgar Christian era was invented by Dionysius Exiguus, a Roman abbot, who flourished in the reign of Justinian, A. D. 532; it was not in frequent use in the West till about the year 730, nor fully established by public authority till 1431. — See Dr. Hale’s Chronology.” — JAS]]

Pinakidia 137

The book of Judith was originally written in Chaldee, and thence translated into Latin by St. Jerom. There are several particulars in our English version which are not to be found in St. Jerom’s, and which seem to be those readings which he professes to omit as vicious corruptions.


Note: The book of Judith enjoys canonical status in the Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox churches, but the book of Esther, concerned with the important Persian court and an event in the Jewish calendar, is given that status in the Hebrew sacred writings. Modern scholarship agrees that “Judith” was composed in Hebrew, a version now lost. Bethulia, then inhabited by the Samaritans, used “Chaldee,” to be sure, but “we now know that the language of that area was ... the language of the South-Western Arameans ... immediate neighbors of the Jews” (Enc. Brit., 5.805). St. Jerome’s Latin translation was from a text now lost and differing from the Greek translation (see Interpreter’s Bible, 1952, 1.402; Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 1962, 2.1025).

Pinakidia 138

The proverb, “Evil communications corrupt good manners,” which is found in Corinthians, is a quotation, intended as such, from Euripides.


Note: This spells out part of Pin 133, from 1 Corinthians 15.33, which ascribes the quotation to Menander. Poe seems here to be following Disraeli’s CL, the article on “Philosophy of Proverbs” (1865 ed., 3.358), which speaks of the “proverbial style,” used occasionally in Greek drama, of St. Paul’s quoted line which is a fragment of Menander (the Greek being given), and of the use by Jesus of proverbs. But Disraeli speaks only of Menander or the possibility that this is a “popular adage.” Stevenson, Home Book of Quotations, p. 1258, gives the standard source, namely, Menander’s Thais, Frag. 2, followed by Euripides, Frag. 962, [page 86:] evidence of an older confusion about the origin of St. Paul’s ref. to which Poe makes allusion here. He may well have acquired it from Milton, Preface to Samson Agonistes: “The Apostle Paul himself thought it not unworthy to insert a verse of Euripides into the text of Holy Scripture, 1 Cor. 15.33.” Two different Latin phrases for citations ascribing it to Euripides (“prava consortia” and “congressus mall”) are given by F. G. Wagner in Fragmenta Euripidis: Perditorum Tragicorum Omnium (Paris, 1878, pp. 847-848), in the section called “Incertae Fabulae.”

Pinakidia 139

Varro reckons three epochs: the first from the beginning of the world to the first flood, which he calls uncertain; the second from the flood to the first Olympiad, fabulous; the third from the first Olympiad to his own time, historical.


Note: This is a severe abridgment of a passage in Baron Jacob Bielfeld’s Universal Erudition, article on “Ancient History” (3.5.13; W. Hooper’s London 1770 tr., 3.105). The ref. is to Marcus Terentius Varro (116-27), called by the OCD, “the greatest scholar among the Romans,” whose writings covered nearly every field then known and are almost all lost. This seems to be part of Antiquitatum rerum humanarum et divinarum libri XLI, perhaps as reported by commentators or excerpted by contemporary and medieval compilers, Bielfeld being silent about the locus.

Pinakidia 140

Politian, the poet and scholar, was an admirer of Alessandra Scala, and addressed to her this extempore:

To teach me that in hapless suit

I do but waste my hours,

Cold maid, whene‘er I ask for fruit,

Thou givest me naught but flowers.


Note: Angelo Ambrogini (1454 — 94), known as Politianus (that is, Politian) or Poliziano from his birthplace of Montepulciano in Tuscany, even as a boy displayed his extraordinary creative, and critical powers in the classics, humanities, and modern languages and quickly assumed the role of preceptor and guide for the family and brilliant artistic circle at the court of Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence. He was ungainly, even grotesque in appearance, never married and had “tainted morals” (CL, 1865 ed., 2.137), demonstrated precisely through his Greek Epigrams, [page 87:] from which Poe’s specimen comes, as J. Addington Symonds indicates (Enc. Brit., 21. 983-84). Poe’s interest in the writer was considerable; witness his naming his characters Alessandra (“cold maid”) and Politian in his unfinished 1835 play of sixteenth century Rome (TOM, Poems 241-98; see notes, 288-89). TOM correctly deems this “epigram” (No. 32) in the Epigrammi Greci to be a source for the imagery of “To One in Paradise” (“All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers).” This poem, published first in “The Visionary” (early title of “Assignation”) had appeared in the 1/34 Lady’s Book, where Poe connects it with Politian’s lyrical drama of Orfeo (obviously unseen by Poe who writes here of its “impurity” in TOM 162). Politian’s Greek epigram can be read in the Italian as translated by Anthos Arclizzioni (Florence, 1951; Greek, p. 22; Italian, p. 58): “alla stessa [to the same] / A me the desidero frutti / to invece dami solo fiori e foglie: / significando the invano mi travaglio.” The English translation provided by Poe has not been traced, and there is the slight chance that it should be added to the canon as Poe’s own — a view tangentially rejected by TOM (Poems, nn. to 11. 5-6). Poe seemed unaware that the Greek Epigrams, dating from Politian’s youth but published after his death did not redound to his moral credit, according to the Rev. W. Parr Greswell, Memoirs of Angelus Politianus (London, 1801), p. 45. Alessandra, addressee of Nos. 31-33 (hence “alla stessa”) replied very competently in a Greek epigram (pp. 79-81), but she married his rival, the scholar Michael Marullo, whom she survived until 1506 (see TOM, Poems 288). The other Greek Epigrams addressed to her are given in Italian by Natalino Sapegno, Commento alle Rime del Poliziano (Rome, 1948) with the view that it was basically conventional literary homage. (p. 290).

Pinakidia 141

In the Latin version of Herodotus, the lowest of the towers forming the temple of Belus, is said to be a furlong thick and a furlong high; and some writers concluding each of the eight to be as high, make the whole one mile in height. In the Greek text, however, the lowest tower is merely said to be a furlong through — nothing is said of its height. Strabo makes the temple a furlong altogether in altitude.


Note: Poe’s source for this is unknown. The interest for him and his readers stems from the identification of the tower of Baal (or Bel, in Greek Belos or [Latin] Belus, accepted as equivalent to Zeus or Jupiter) with the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11.1-9), q.v. in James Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (Edinburgh, 1898), 1.212-13 and 4.792-93. The text of Herodotus clearly describes a Babylonian or Assyrian ziggurat or step-pyramid, [page 88:] obviously the basis for the Tower of Babel (see Enc. Judaica, 4.22-26). Poe’s ref. is this (I, ch. 181): “In the center of ... [the sacred enclosure of Zeus Belus, i. e. Bal or Baal, the greatest of the Assyrian gods — footnote] a solid tower has been built of one furlong’s length and breadth; a second tower rises from this, and from it yet another, till at last there are eight” (Loeb Cl. Lib., Eng. tr. by A. D. Godley,1.225). The “furlong” is about 220 yards or one-eighth of a mile and roughly approximates the “stadion” measure of Strabo, below. Strabo, historian and geographer (64/3 B. C. - 21 A. D.) in his Geography gives the following description of the Tower of Belus: “It was a quadrangular pyramid of baked brick, not only being a stadium in height, but also having sides a stadium in length” (Loeb Cl. Lib., tr. by H. L. Jones, 17.1.5). The “stadium” was equal to about 600 Greek or Roman feet or one-eighth of a mile. In general, Poe or his source accurately uses and interprets the two descriptions. For Herodotus, see Pin 62 for a second-hand ref.; and for Strabo see M 155, para. 4, Poems 107n18 (by Poe), and rev. of 10/37 in H10.14.

Pinakidia 142

Jacobus Hugo was of opinion that by the Harpies Homer intended the Dutch; by Euenis, John Calvin; by Antinous, Martin Luther; and by the Lotophagi, Protestants in general.


Note: This article is an abridgment of a passage in H. N. Coleridge’s Introductions (1834, pp. 198-99), reading thus: “Jacobus Hugo was of opinion that Homer under divine influence prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem under that of Troy; the life, miracles, and passion of our Saviour, and the history of the Church under the Emperors, in the Iliad. He thinks Homer secretly meant the Dutch by the Harpies, John Calvin by Euenus, Martin Luther by Antinous and Lades, and the Lutherans generally by the Lotophagi. Fabric. lib. ii. c. 6. s. 15.” Palmer C. Holt, AL, 1962, 34.21-22, carefully explains why Poe dropped “Lades” and inserted the incorrect “Euenis” for “Euenus” (alternate for “Evenus”), father of Marpessa who was carried off by Was causing Evenus o throw himself into the river thenceforth named after him. Holt inerestingly [[interestingly]] indicates in Coleridge’s 3rd edition of 1846 the suppression of both these italicized names and the same change, from Lutherans to Protestants, as in Poe. Combining it with Pin 131 (q.v.) Poe included the present article in his revised “Never Bet the Devil” for the purpose of deprecating the use of allegory or didacticism in fiction. In TOM 632n2 we note that Coleridge was citing the Vera historia Romana (Roma, 1655) by Jacques Hughes (Jacobus Hugo). For a similar expression of Poe’s [page 89:] views on allegory see his 1/36 SLM rev. of Lieber’s Reminiscences (para. 2) (H 8.163-64).

Pinakidia 143

“Impune quæ libet facere id est esse regem,” is a definition of a king to be found in Sallust.


Note: The source of this quotation is probably Charles Anthon’s edition of Sallust’s Jugurthine War, and Conspiracy of Catiline (6th ed., N.Y.: Harper and Bros., 1836), which was reviewed by Poe in the 4/36 SLM (2.393-94; uncol. by H). These are the only two works, completely extant, of Gaius Sallustius Crispus (86-35 B. C.), Roman political figure and governor of Numidia, friend of Caesar, and, finally, historian. Poe must have derived this terse remark from Anthon’s Latin text. It reads: “To do with impunity whatever one fancies is to be a king” (31.204-205) in the Loeb Cl. Lib, tr. J. C. Rolfe, The War with Jugurtha. Poe applied his knowledge of Sallust in other ways: see H 9.266-67; his “Autography” sketch of Anthon (H 15.180); M 60 (which incorporates Pin 143) and M 188, used for derision of Emerson and Carlyle (q.v. in Pollin, PS, 1970, 3.38).

Pinakidia 144

The first collection of the Iliad was by Pisistratus, or some of the Pisistratidæ. There were, after this, innumerable editions — but Aristarchus in the reign of Ptolemy Philometer, B. C. 150, published from a collection of all the copies then existing, a new edition, the text of which has finally prevailed.


Note: This represents Poe’s abridgment of two passages in H. N. Coleridge’s Introductions concerning the role of Pisistratus or Peisistratus (605?-527), benevolent tyrant of Athens, and his sons in recording, defining, and establishing the epics of Homer, but Poe seems to have slightly misunderstood the text. Coleridge first said: “Pisistratus, with the help of a large body of the most celebrated poets of his age made a regular collection of the different Rhapsodies which passed under Homer’s name.” (1830 ed., pp. 48-49). In Pin 22 Poe had already made ref. to this widespread notion about the origin of the epics in short rhapsodies, lyrics, etc. Coleridge resumes the topic a bit later with “There were, however, many editions ... of the Iliad after this primary one by the Pisistratidae” (pp. 54-55) following this with the information about [page 90:] Aristarchus, used by Poe. Poe’s “some of the Pisistratidae” misinterprets the word, here referring to sons of Pisistratus, specifically Hippias and Hipparchus, the latter of whom shared the father’s extensive and intense literary taste. Most classical dictionaries give him credit for preserving the epic texts (see Enc. Brit., 21.60, but see 13.633 for the modern doubts on the subject). Aristarchus of Samothrace (fl. 156 B. C.), an Alexandrian grammarian and critic, is so credited in literary history. Poe misjudged the spirit and role of Peisistratus, called “tyrant” although moderate and social-minded in his rule in Athens, for he includes him with Nero and Caligula in his list of the “Soul-less” in “Bon-Bon” in the 8135 SLM (TOM 112).

Pinakidia 145

Some one after the manner of Santeuil, composed the following quatrain for the gates of the market to be erected on the site of the famous Jacobin Club at Paris,

Impia tortorum longos hic turba furores

Sanguinis innocui, non satiata, aluit.

Sospite nunc patria, fracto nunc funeris antro,

Mors ubi lira fuit, vita salusque patent.


Note: This quatrain, of unknown origin, was used by Poe as the motto for the 5/17/45 BJ printing of his “Pit and Pendulum” (of 842). It may be translated thus: “Here the wicked mob, unappeased, long cherished a hatred of innocent blood. Now that the fatherland is saved, and the cave of death demolished; where grim death has been, life and health appear” (TOM 697). He indicates that Baudelaire inserted a footnote to his 1857 translation, stating that the Market-place of St. Honore, erected there, never had gates or an inscription, but wondering whether there was a sketch or a plan for it (see Oeuvres Complètes, ed. J. Crépet, 1933, 7.117). The source, in Poe, is obscure: Régis Messac, Influences françaises Bans l‘oeuvre d‘Edgar Poe, 1929, p. 23n4, refers its source to Disraeli (probably the CL), no doubt following the lead of Woodberry, Works, 1896; edition of 1914, 4.352-53, but gives neither page nor publication year. I have surveyed dozens of different editions, early and late and published not only in England but also in Paris and the U. S. A. (in English, French, and Spanish), without finding this article (likewise, Crépet, p. 406). The works of Jean Baptiste de Santeuil (or Santeul) (1630-97) certainly provide models; e.g., Santoliana, ed. J. A. T. Dinouart, “inscriptions for fountains and other places in Paris,” pp. 297-315; also his Opera Poetica (Paris, 1695), containing many Latin poems on gardens, fountains, mansions, and statues. Poe showed interest in [page 91:] this sort of thing, in Pin 78, 79, 91, and 128. His detestation of the “mob” is also shown in MM 226-227, q.v. for other loci.

Pinakidia 146

A version of the Psalms was published in 1642 by William Slatyer, of which this is a specimen:

The righteous shall his sorrow scan

And laugh at him, and say ‘Behold!

What hath become of this here man

That on his riches was so bold.’


Note: This is taken from William Slatyer (or Slater) (1587-1647), fellow of Oxford and minister at various churches, reprimanded for his Psalmes or Songs of Zion (1630), author of elegies on Anne of Denmark, a history of Great Britain in Latin and English Verse (1621) and of Psalms with tunes (1642). Either Poe or his source has rewritten Slayer’s version of Psalm 52 a bit, which reads as follows in the original volume (p. 17): “The righteous shall see [God’s punishment], and feare, / and laugh at him, and say, behold, / What is become of this man here, / that on his riches was so bold?” This is a version of verses 6-7 (“stanza 3”): “The righteous also shall see, and fear, and shall laugh at him: / lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; / but trusted in the abundance of his riches, / and strengthened himself in his wickedness.” In his 3/43 Graham’s rev. of Thomas Ward’s Passaic, a Group of Poems, Poe cites this quatrain along with Parker’s psalm, of Pin. 171 (q.v.) thus to deprecate one of Ward’s poems: “Nor do we regard any portion of it (so far as rhythm is concerned) as at all comparable to some of the better ditties of William Slater, Here” etc. (H 11.166).

Pinakidia 147

At the bottom of an obelisk which Pius VI was erecting at great expense near the entrance of the Quirinal Palace in 1783, while the people were suffering for bread, were found written these words,

Signore, di a questa pietra the divenga pane.

Lord, command that these stones be made bread.


Note: See Pin 134 for the addition of this Pope, not very relevantly, to the list of infamous “Sixths.” Giovanni Angelo Braschi (1717-1799) became Pope Pius VI in 1775 and early tried to institute liberal rule and reform, but retreated from this position as the French Revolution [page 92:] developed. His attempts to revive papal splendor in the interests of art and public works led to numerous pasquinades utilizing his omnipresent inscription “munificentia Pii VI” (once showing a sketched minute loaf of bread), but he did establish the Vatican museum. This lampoon depends upon Matthew 4.3: “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” The Quirinal Palace, named after the hill of its situation, was built for the Popes in the 16th century, and after 1870 was occupied by the king and from 1946 by the president.

Pinakidia 148

Constantine Koliades wrote a book to prove that Homer and Ulysses were one and the same — but Joshua Barnes attributes the authorship of the Iliad to Solomon.


Note: The second part of this item became the substance of M 62. Poe took this, almost verbatim, from H. N. Coleridge’s Introductions (1830 ed.), p. 61 note. Coleridge did not explain that Koliades was the pseudonym of Jean Baptiste Lechevalier (1752-1836) in his Ulysse-Homère, on, Du véritable auteur de l‘Iliade et de l‘Odyssée (Paris, 1829), 102 pages. Bentley’s note to the “Book IV” heading of the Dunciad jocosely alludes to Joshua Barnes’ attribution of the Iliad to Solomon. Barnes (1654-1712), Greek scholar and antiquary, published his edition of Homer in 1710. Poe may have derived part of his idea for this article from Disraeli’s Calamities of Authors (mentioned in Intro. to Pin, para. 2): “To be enabled to publish his Homer at an enormous charge, [Barnes] wrote a poem, the design of which was to prove that Solomon was the author of the Iliad” (N. Y. ed., 1812; 1.222).

Pinakidia 149

In 1. xviii. 192, of the Iliad, Achilles says none of the armor of the chieftains will fit him except the shield of Ajax: how then did his own armor fit Patroclus?


Note: Poe derives this, almost verbatim, from H. N. Coleridge’s Introductions (1830 ed., p. 82n), referring to the statement of Achilles: “Nor do I know of another whose glorious armour I could wear / unless it were the great shield of Telamonian Aias [Ajax]” (18.192-93; tr. of R. Lattimore, Univ. of Chicago Press ed.). In Book 16 Patroclus puts on the glorious armor of the withdrawn Achilles, which helps him to be triumphant until he succumbs to Hector, aided by Apollo. “Hector of [page 93:] the shining helm has taken his armour” (18.21) and “has stripped away that gigantic armour, a wonder to look on / and splendid, which the gods gave Peleus, a glorious present” (18.83-84). Noting this sort of discrepancy pleased Poe, famous for his credible details.

Pinakidia 150

In the reign of Edward VI, Dr. Christopher Tye turned the Acts of the Apostles into rhyme. They begin thus,

In the former epistle to thee

Dear friend Theophilus

I have written the veritie

Of the Lord Christ Jesus.


Note: Poe’s source for this is unknown; it corresponds to the considerable interest in the subject of new metrical versions of other texts shown in Pin 146, 171, 172. Christopher Tye (1497? - 1572), master of the Ely choir boys, Doctor of Music from Cambridge, and minister at several towns, published Actes of the Apostles (1553), which, altered, have become well known hymn tunes, such as “Winchester.” Poe has altered the spelling and one word (treatyse) of the text: “In the foremer treatyse to thee / Dere frend Theophilus: / I have written the verite, / Of the Lorde Christ Jesus” (courtesy of Stuart Inman, Music Library, British Museum). This is a version of Acts 1.1: “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.”

[[A possible source is The Literary Remains of the Late Henry Neele (London: Smith, Elder and Co, 1829), reviewed in the Monthly Review (London) for January 1829, with that review being reprinted in the Museum of Foreign Literature and Science (Philadelphia, PA), vol. 14, no. 4, April 1829, pp. 372-378. In the first edition of the book, the lines cited appear on p. 207; in the American edition, printed in New York by J. & J. Harper in 1829, the lines appear on p. 139, but they also appear in the review, on p. 377. — JAS]]

Pinakidia 151

Empedocles professed the system of four elements, and added thereto two principles which he called ‘principium amicitiæ and principium contentionis.’ What are these but attraction and repulsion?


Note: Poe here once again dips into the Elements of Universal Erudition of Baron Jacob Bielfeld, as in Pin 6 and 139, for a resumption of the nineteen (in toto) borrowings in Pin that demonstrate his admiration for the erudition and terseness of the text (probably the English translation by W. Hooper except for the French of Pin 154). This one is especially important in seeming to point toward some of his ideas in Eureka, but the absence of Empedocles’ name from the rest of Poe’s works should warn us against assuming Poe’s direct knowledge or absorption of Empedocles’ doctrines (see my objections, in PS, 1980,13.8-9, [page 94:] to P. C. Page’s thesis [ignoring Bielfeld] in PS,1978,11.21 — 26). Poe’s source text lies in Bk. 1, ch. 48, section 4 (Hooper’s London ed., 1770, 1.408):

The Greeks, men of a subtile and inquisitive genius, went further [than the Egyptians and Hebrews in physics] and sometimes guessed right enough, though very rarely. Empedocles, for example, who is ranked by some among the Pythagoreans, professed the system of the four elements in nature, and added thereto two principles which he called principium amicitiae and principium contentionis. The first, according to him, is the cause of the coalition of beings and the second, that of their recession or separation. Was not this derived from the same origin as the celebrated system of the attraction and repulsion of bodies?

Bielfeld’s (but not Poe’s) source was probably the Latin or Greek text of Diogenes Laertius’ Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Book 8. For a good summary of the life and ideas of Empedocles (c.493 - c.433 B. C.), philosopher, scientist, poet, orator, statesman and mystagogue, see OCD, p. 382.

Pinakidia 152

The Count Bielfeld’s definition of poetry is ‘L‘art d‘exprimer les pensées par la fiction.’ The German terms Dichtkunst, the art of fiction, and Dichten to feign, which are used for Poetry, and to make verses, are in full accordance with his definition.


Note: This comes, almost verbatim (but abridged) from both the French and the English texts of Jacob Bielfeld, Erudition, “Versification,” 2.6.5 (English 1870 ed., 2.193-194). It is used by Poe so often, piecemeal, for quotation and germ-ideas as to need quotation: “But what is poetry? ... Poetry is the art of making verses, of lines or periods that are in rhyme or metre. ... A more noble and more rational idea ... that poetry is the art of expressing our thoughts by fiction. The German terms [Note: Dichtkunst, the art of fiction, and Dichten, to make fictions, signify poetry, making of verses.] by which we render the word poetry, and the art of making it, correspond exactly with this definition; while the Greek verb, ποιησις [poieo], and the substantive ποιεο [poiesis], the first of which signifies to make and the other a work. ...

Poe’s ref. to “poetry” and the substantive or “poiesis” in his 12/1/35 letter to Beverley Tucker (Letters 77) is an early trace of Bielfeld’s passage. He uses the full Bielfeld text (with deprecation) in M 152 and, earlier, in his 4/42 Graham’s rev. of Longfellow’s Ballads (H 11.74). [page 95:]

Pinakidia 153

The Germans have epic poems composed in metre of sixteen and seventeen syllables.


Note: This comes from Jacob Bielfeld’s Universal Erudition “Versification,” 2.7.20 (W. Hooper’s 1770 English tr., 2.283): “On the other hand we have in Germany epic poems whose verses are still longer than the Alexandrine, even some of 16 or 17 syllables, which they call iambics of eight feet.”

Pinakidia 154

The following Vaudeville is one of the drollest of its kind:

Quand un bon vin meuble mon estomac

Je suis plus savant que Balzac —

Plus sage que Pibrac.

Mon bras seul faisant l‘attaque

De la nation Cossaque

La mettroit an sac.

De Charon je passerois le lac

En dormant dans son bac.

J‘irois an fier Eac

Sans que mon coeur fit tic ni tac

Presenter du tabac.


Note: This comes from the original French version (either Leiden, 1767, or Berlin, 1768) of Jacob Bielfeld’s Les premiers traits de l‘érudition universelle, article on “Versification” (2.7.29). This is the first stanza of the “vaudeville” furnished as an example by Bielfeld. The William Hooper translation (London, 1770) prints only the second stanza, omitting this one entirely; hence, we are fairly certain that for this item at least, Poe consulted a French original version. Poe used this poem as the motto of his reprint of “Bon-Bon” in the 4/19/45 BJ (1.243) to replace the motto from Voltaire, used earlier. TOM, in his notes on the tale, translates it thus: “When a good wine fills my stomach, I am more learned than Balzac, wiser than Pibrac; my lone arm attacking the Cossack nation would plunder it; I would cross Charon’s lake sleeping in his bark; would go to proud Aeacus, without my heart going pit-a-pat, to offer him some snuff” (p.114 n. to the motto). Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac (1597-1654), masterly stylist as essayist and letter-writer, is cited by Poe as the author of Dominique Bouhours’ La Manière de bien penser in Pin Intro. (para. 2) and M 46, and for a quoted phrase in Poe’s rev. of Elizabeth Barrett’s Drama of Exile in the 1/4/45 BJ (H 12.11). The Lord of Pibrac was Guy [page 96:] du Faur (1529-84), distinguished as judge, orator, diplomat, and poet (especially for his four-line gnomic works). Aeacus, legendary king of Aegina, was one of the judges in Hades, to which souls were borne by the boatman Charon.

Hooker’s translation of Bielfeld’s introduction to his quoted vaudeville helps to describe the genre: “There are no fixed rules for the mechanical composition or structure of the Vaudeville. Every kind of verse may here be used, as they may be sung to every kind of tune. There are immense collections of them. The following is the first stanza of a Vaudeville, remarkable for difficult rhymes” [sic for the second stanza]. Poe probably knew Disraeli’s CL article on “Songs of Trades, or Songs for the People” which discussed this form (1824 ed., 3.46-60; 1865 ed., 2.321-22): “These ... were originally invented by a fuller of Vau de Vire, or the valley by the river Vire, and were sung by his men as they spread their cloths ... composed on some incident or adventure of the day ... known as Vaudevilles.” More recently this folk origin has been disputed, and the form has been ascribed to Oliver Basselin, of the 15th century, whose songs were collected by Jean Le Houx, a lawyer of Vire, to whom some also give the honor of authorship (see Albert S. Cook, The Art of Poetry, [New York, 1926], p. 278).

In the 3/27/44 tale of “The Spectacles” (TOM 898) Poe introduces a sung “gay vaudeville” about Ninon de 1‘Enclos, which is either composed or quoted by Poe (only two lines, largely of her repeated name, are given); no attempt has been made to trace it.

Pinakidia 155

On ancient monuments are often found the letters A. E. R. A. meaning Annus erat Regni Augusti. The ignorance of copyists may probably have formed of these letters the single word ÆRA. Would it not be a better derivation than the Latin ÆS?


Note: Bielfeld’s Universal Erudition in the Hooper 1770 translation is the source of this item (“Chronology,” 3.3.36 [3.62]). The phrasing shows that Poe took it from the English, not the French original (e.g., “pent-être” becomes “probably” in Hooper). It is odd that earlier Bielfeld had given a more accurate, widely accepted explanation of “era” (that is, “aera”): “The word era comes from the Latin aes because the Romans marked their years with a kind of small brass nail” (2.49). [page 97:]

Pinakidia 156

The work of John Albert Fabricius, the Hamburg professor, entitled Bibliotheca Graeca, in which his sole object is to render an account of the Greek authors extant, occupies fourteen thick volumes in quarto.


Note: This is a slight abridgment of Bielfeld, Universal Erudition, “Knowledge of Authors” (3.27.1) in the 1770 English Hooper translation (3.427-28): “Whoever has read the work of John Albert Fabricius, doctor in theology, and professor at Hamburg, intitled Bibliotheca Graeca, in fourteen quarto volumes, which contains an account of such Greek authors only as have come down to us. ... ” Indirectly Poe had already used this opus of Fabricius in Pin 142, which contains material borrowed from H. N. Coleridge, whose note on Homer (p. 89) is attributed to Fabricius, 2.6.15 (given by P. Holt, p. 21n26, as 4th ed.; Hamburg, 1790).

Pinakidia 157

The usual derivation of the word Metaphysics is not to be sustained. Metaphysicam is tortured into meaning super physicam, and the science is supposed to take its name from its superiority to physics. The truth is, that Aristotle’s treatise on Morals is next in succession to his Book of Physics, and this order he considers the rational order of study. His Ethics consequently commence with the words Μετα τα φυσικα, &c. from which the word Metaphysics.


Note: Poe incorporated this into M 38, para. 8. He took it from Bielfeld’s Universal Erudition, 1.47.1, in the Hooper 1770 translation (1.388): “It was by accident that the title of metaphysics was given to that part of philosophy which considers the nature of immaterial beings and spirits. Aristotle, after treating on physics, begins his next book, in which he pretends to elevate the mind above all corporeal objects. ... He begins, I say, this book with the Greek words μετα τα φυσικα (meta physicam, post physicam, that is, after physics). ... His disciples ... have formed, of these two, one word; and by combining the preposition meta with the substantive physica, they have composed the word metaphysics.” Poe shows traces of this in Eureka, as in para. 3 and 23 (H 16.185, 197).

Pinakidia 158

The commentators upon Mr. Beckford’s Vathek say that the locusts derive their name from having been so called by the first English settlers [page 98:] in America. The word comes evidently from loco usto, the havoc they made wherever they passed leaving the appearance of a place desolated by fire.


Note: Poe showed sufficient familiarity with William Beckford’s exotic romance Vathek to warrant his deriving this item almost as stipulated. These include a humorous ref. in “Bargain Lost” (TOM 89), a ref. to William Beckford’s fantastic Fonthill Abbey in “Arnheim” (1278, 1284n 19), and, especially, a plot ref. in M 251, repeated from “Premature Burial” (972n20); probably also the Eblis allusion in Tamerlane (Poems 52). Vathek, written in French, was translated for the author into English by the Rev. Samuel Henley, and appeared in 1786 with notes before the 1787 French original version. For the third English edition of 1816 Beckford revised many of Henley’s notes. This one (note 3), preserved in a later reprint (OUP 1870 ed.), p. 44, says of the locusts: “They were so called from loco usto [the place having been burned] because the havoc they made wherever they passed left behind the appearance of a place devastated by fire.” Henley (1740-1815), professor of Moral philosophy at Williamsburg, later assistant-master at Harrow and then principal of East India College, should have been less gullible about locust, from old French “locuste” from Latin “locusta,” root also of “lobster.” Johnson’s Dictionary and other authorities of the age give it correctly.

Pinakidia 159

M. Patru was convinced that in all his prose writings no sentence or part of a sentence could be found so cadenced as to form a verse. A friend, however immediately pointed out to him the words in his ‘Plaidoyers’

Septième plaidoyer pour unjeune Allemand.


Note: This comes from Bielfeld’s Universal Erudition, “Eloquence,” 2.4.18 (Hooper’s English version of 1770, 2.166-67). The full text of the source includes an idea which may have germinated fruitfully in Poe’s later writings, especially on poetry, as in MM 147, 179, 191 (q.v.): “There is a natural taste in mankind which makes them sensible of numbers and cadence. The late M. Patru wagered with a friend, that he did not find a single verse in all his prose writings: his friend took down the book of his admirable pleadings, opened it, and read the following title of one of his orations,” etc., as in Poe’s text. Olivier Patru (1604-81) was a celebrated lawyer, stylist, and member of the Academy, who had begun a long awaited French rhetoric. His Plaidoyers (1670) went into many editions. [page 99:]

Pinakidia 160

Despréaux speaking of the caesura in French versification, asserts,

Que toujours dans nos vers — le sens coupant les mots,

Suspende 1‘hemistiche — en marquant le repos.

M. Despréaux seems to have forgotten that hemistich is a composite Greek word signifying a demi-line, and that consequently his own admired verses have no meaning at all.


Note: This is taken from Bielfeld’s Universal Erudition, Hooper’s tr. (1770), 2.275, article on “Versification,” 2.7.13. The subject is from Nicholas Boileau (M. Despreaux), L‘Art Poétique, first appearing in Oeuvres diverses of 1674, Chant 1,11. 105-106 (Oeuvres Complètes, Gallimard 1966 ed.), p. 159. All the texts preserve two words from Boileau’s that are changed, probably unconsciously, by Poe: “vos vers” for “nos vers” and “en marque” for “en marquant.” Hooper reads thus:

“M. Despreaux says, speaking of the caesura in French verse, Que.. . repos. / For ever let the sense — the words in half divide, / Suspend the hemestic — a pause distinct provide. [end of quotation] It will be easily perceived that these lines, which have been so much admired prove nothing; or rather that they prove the contrary of what is intended, if we reflect on what has just now been remarked concerning the caesura, and if we consider that hemestic [sic] is a Greek word, which signifies half a verse. What is then, according to this idea, a sense that cuts the words? A caesura that suspends the demi-verse, or demi-line? The word suspend appears here at once improper and ambiguous.”

Poe’s awareness of Boileau’s great reputation appears in his refs. in Pin 87, 97 (repeated in MM 92 and 139) and FS 37.

Pinakidia 161

Every one is acquainted with the excellent commencement of the Annals of Tacitus. From this, principally he has acquired his reputation for concision. It is singular that no notice has ever been taken of the extreme prolixity of their conclusion.


Note: This comes from Bielfeld’s Universal Erudition, in Hooper’s translation (1770), 3.75, article on “History,” 3.4.4: “Every one can repeat those excellent lines with which Tacitus begins his annals, and when they shall remark the concision he there observes ... the prolixity with which [page 100:] he concludes, they will be convinced that our observation is just [that ,the best writers of history are faulty in this respect’].” Concerning Poe’s equivocal attitude toward Cornelius Tacitus and the loci of numerous refs. see Pin 50.

Pinakidia 162

There is a dissertation upon Hebrew, or Samaritan medals by Pere Soucier, in which he proves the existence of Hebrew money struck by the Jews upon the model of the coins current before the captivity. All the Hebrew medals, however, bearing a head of Moses or of Christ, are manifestly forgeries.


Note: This comes from Bielfeld’s Universal Erudition, article on “Medals and Coins,” 3.11. 10, Hooper’s translation 2.251: “Father Soucier has written a dissertation on Hebrew or Samaritan medals, where he accurately distinguishes the true from the false ... and shows that they were real Hebrew coins struck by the Jews after the models of the ancient monies, and that they were current before the captivity of Babylon. All the medals, however, that we see with the head of Moses and Jesus Christ are manifestly false.” Kuno Schumann, Poe Werke IV (Olten, 1973), p. 964, note, identifies this as Etienne Soucier, S. J., Diss. sur les Médailles de Pythodoris, de Polémon, etc. (1736). TOM observes (in a private note) that he dated his coins too early; no Jewish coinage before Simon Maccabaeus was struck or rather the right was probably not exercised before the time of his successor. “Medal” formerly meant an old coin no longer current. From the same article (next small section) of Bielfeld’s book Poe derived “learned” information to use in “William Wilson” (TOM 430, 449n6) and in his Graham’s 3/42 rev. of Brougham’s Writings. Pin 168 continues the subject. See also M 180 para. 3.

Pinakidia 163

There is a book by a Jesuit, Père Labbe, entitled La Bibliothèque des Bibliothèques. It is a catalogue of all authors in all nations who have written catalogues of books.


Note: This comes from Bielfeld’s Universal Erudition, “Knowledge of Authors,” 3.27.6, Hooper tr., 3.433: “F. Labbe, a Jesuit, has composed a bibliothèque of bibliothèques, which contains merely a catalogue of ... the authors of all nations who have made catalogues of books.” This is a ref. to Pere Philippe (not “F.”) Labbe (1607), whose book Bibliotheca bibliothecarum [page 101:] was reëdited with addition: Paris, 1664; elsewhere — 1672,1678, 1682.

Pinakidia 164

Lucretius, lib. v, 93, 96, has the words,

—— terras ——

Una dies dabit exitio.

Ovid the lines,

Carmine sublimis tunc sunt peritura Lucreti

Exitio terras cum dabit una dies.


Note: Poe’s source for the comparison is unknown — perhaps a school-text gloss. The two lines of De Rerum Natura by Titus Lucretius Carus (99-50 B. C.) are thus rendered by William Ellery Leonard: “Before all else, the seas, the lands, the sky: / .... / Three frames so vast, a single day shall give / Unto annihilation!” (Everyman ed., 1921, p. 190). Ovid’s Amores, 1.15.23-24, cleverly incorporates Lucretius’ phrase, rather blunting the point of Poe’s “collation”: “The verses of the sublime Lucretius will perish only / Then when a single day shall give the earth to doom.” (Loeb Classical Library tr.). Poe repeats these two items in M 139A. His interest in Lucretius is seen in his name “Mr. De Rerum Natura” in “The Folio Club” tales’ Introduction (TOM 205), and in his false attribution of a line (really from Virgil’s Georgics) in the joint review of the Poets and Poetry of America of 1/43 in the Saturday Museum (H 11.233). Poe’s knowledge of Publius Ovidius Naso (43 B. C. - 17 A. D.) appears in “Bon-Bon” (TOM 117-17), “Philosophy of Furniture” (503n1), “Murders” (571n22), and possibly “Mellonta Tauta” (1306nl5), as well as in the 1843 rev. (see for Lucretius above, 11.233).

Pinakidia 165

Albert in his Hebrew Dictionary, pretends to discover in each word, in its root, in its letters, and in the manner of pronouncing them, the reason of its signification. Loescher in his treatise De causis Linguæ Hebrææ, carries the matter even farther.


Note: Poe derives this from Bielfeld’s Universal Erudition, “Oriental Languages,” 3.19.4, in Hooper’s English tr. 3.331. The sentence preceding the one used, almost verbatim, by Poe helps to explain Bielfeld’s [page 102:] making the statement: “We shall believe with them [the theologians] that the Hebrew was the first language in the world, and that it was delivered from God himself; for these learned doctors tell us that the Almighty taught it Adam as soon as the Lord created him, that he might be able to converse with God. Albertus, in his Hebrew Dictionary, finds in each word, in each root, in its letters, and the manner of pronouncing it, the signification of that word.” etc. The first “doctor” is Paul Martin Albert (1666-1729), author of Hebraeo-Latino-biblicum (Budapest, 1704),1259 pages, with an Intro. of only 4 or 5 pages. The other is Valentin Ernst Loescher (1674-1749), author of De cavsis lingvae ebraeae libri III (Frankfurt and Leipsig, 1706), 496 pages. It was Hooper (and Bielfeld) rather than Poe who modernized the spelling and lettering. The subject of man’s first tongue is pursued in M 142.

Pinakidia 166

In judges is this expression, ‘And he smote them hip and thigh with a great slaughter.’ The phrase ‘to smite hip and thigh’ arises from these words. No meaning, however, can be attached to them as they stand — but the original will admit of a different signification, viz: ‘He smote them with his leg on the thigh,’ and alludes to the wrestling matches which were common in the east. In this sense the phrase exactly answers to the ‘crus femori impingere,’ and the σκελιξειν or αποσκελξειν of the ancients.


Note: Poe here alludes to the puzzling passage in judges 15.8, which he gives correctly. James Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (1899), 2.388, supports the wrestling origin, offering our “catch one or have one on the hip,” as in Shakespeare. C. F. Burney, The Book of Judges (London, 1918), pp. 369-70, expands this interpretation for the Hebrew as well as the translation from the Septuagint, citing the pugilist expression “cross-buttock” and other instances. Further explication of the anatomy involved in fighting is given by Robert G. Boling in The Anchor Bible (1975), pp. 334-335, and another explanation by A. Cohn, in Soncino Books of the Bible (London, 1950), p. 275, concerning the position of a falling or fallen victim when fleeing. Poe’s correspondence is not accurate; “to thrust the foot at or against the thigh” does not match his Greek words, which come from a root for “rib.” The Greek lexicon fails to give the second form at all; it is rather “hupo-” instead of “apo-” as the derived and common form from the first word. [page 103:]

Pinakidia 167

It is a remarkable fact, that during the whole period of the middle ages, the Germans lived in utter ignorance of the art of writing.


Note: Poe derives this from Bielfeld’s Universal Erudition, article on “Modern History,” 3.7.19 (Hooper tr., 3.171-72): “It is a matter well worthy of remark, that during all the middle ages the Germans remained ignorant of the art of writing, and that Charlemagne was the first who taught them the use of letters. All therefore that has been written of the Germans during the middle age was ... after the eighth century.” By omitting the second sentence, Poe extends the period of German illiteracy greatly. This later became part of M 181.

Pinakidia 168

The silver shekel of the Hebrews has on its face the rod of Aaron with the inscription, Jeruschalaim Hakkedoucha, Jerusalem the Holy, and on the reverse a cup with the words Chekel Ischrael, money of Israel.


Note: This is almost verbatim from Bielfeld’s Universal Erudition, 3.9.10, in Hooper’s translation (3.251-52). In the 2136 SLM article on “Palaestine” derived largely from Rees’s Cyclopaedia (see J. O. Bailey, AL, 411941,13.44-58), Poe explains the name of the capital as meaning “the possession of the inheritance of peace” (H 14.5). Poe uses the old spelling and this explanation in the text of “A Tale of Jerusalem” in the 1832 first version (TOM 43); he satirically features the silver shekels throughout the tale. Dating these coins was once the crux of Hebrew numismatics, and Bielfeld seems to have erred in his description. The detailed tables and illustrations of all known shekels in A. Reifenberg’s two volumes: Ancient Jewish Coins (Jerusalem, 1947) and Israel’s History in Coins (London, 1953) support the wording on both sides of the full shekel, in silver, but not the illustration. Aaron’s rod was never shown; perhaps the three pomegranates on a stem was misinterpreted as a rod, although this seems unlikely. The “cup” is a ritual chalice, reminding us that these coins were intended for use in payment of Temple dues (Israel’s History, p. 13). They were struck for five separate years during the First Revolt against Rome (66-73 A. D.) and the inscription about Jerusalem was an affirmation about political aspirations. Poe treated the subject, also, in Pin 162. [page 104:]

Pinakidia 169

The Masoretical punctuation is a kind of critique upon the Hebrew text invented by the Jewish teachers to prevent its alteration. The first original being lost, recourse was had to the Masora as an infallible method of fixing the text. The verses, words, and even letters are there counted, and all their variations recorded.


Note: This comes, almost verbatim, from Bielfeld’s Universal Erudition, “Theology,” 1.3.5, Hooper’s English translation, 1.35:

“The Massoret is a kind of critic on the Hebrew text, that the ancient Jewish doctors invented, in order to prevent any alteration* ... as the true original has been either lost or altered. The Jews have had recourse to this rule, which they have judged infallible, and which they call the Massora, to fix the reading of the Hebrew text.” [*They there count the verses, the words, and the letters of the text, and have marked all their diversities.]

Poe shows his keen interest in the general field by turning to the subject of Pin 73, derived from the Montgomery Lectures. Bielfeld was essentially correct according to the Enc. Brit., 13.171 (“Hebrew Literature”): the name Masorah (Massorah) is derived from masar “to hand on” or “tradition” or else a word meaning “fetter.” It is a critical apparatus designed to guard against the corruptions of copyists and to enhance the sanctity of the text, which it fixed in the pronunciation and reading of the 7th century.

Pinakidia 170

Among the Hebrew text[s] of the Old Testament are mingled a few passages of Chaldaic. All the characters as we have them now, are properly speaking Chaldaic.


Note: This comes from Bielfeld’s Universal Erudition, “Of Sacred Criticism,” 1.4.4, in Hooper’s tr. (1.46): “The Old Testament was wrote in Hebrew, except a small number of passages where the dialect is Chaldean. The form of the letters or characters, as we now have them, are also properly Chaldean; whereas, before the Babylonish captivity, the Samaritan character was probably used.” Poe shows a widespread confusion (fostered by St. Jerome in the Vulgate) over the name and nature of the languages used for the Old Testament. Chaldee (or Chaldaic), used in the books of Ezra and Daniel, is closely allied to Aramaic, the large language group surrounding ancient Palestine to the North. (Enc. [page 105:] Brit. 5.805), and was often erroneously used for it. After the Babylonian captivity Hebrew was scarcely a popular tongue in Palestine and the Old Testament demonstrates this (Enc. Brit., 24.622-23). Bielfeld himself states the danger of confusion in a sense in another passage, 1.3.9 (Hooper tr., 1.37-38): “The Chaldee seems to be indispensible, after the study of the Hebrew and Rabbinic, this is properly no more than a particular dialect of the Hebrew language. ... As during their long captivity in Babylon, they had forgot the Hebrew, and only retained the Chaldean language, it became necessary to explain the prophets in that language ... [hence] the Chaldean paraphrase.” See Pin 137 for the subject; also SP 26.

Pinakidia 171

A version of the Psalms in 1564, by Archbishop Parker, has the following —

Who sticketh to God in stable trust

As Sion’s mount he stands full just

Which moveth no whit, nor yet can reel,

But standeth for ever as stiff as steel.


Note: Matthew Parker (1504-75), great reformer, opponent of the Puritans, powerful in political and church affairs (Archbishop of Canterbury), produced The whole Psalter translated into English Metre (1564). Poe’s transcription is not entirely accurate: “Who stickth to God: in stable truste, / As Sion mount: they stand full juste, / Which moveth no whit nor yet can reel, / But standth for aye: as stiffe as stele. Then trust him wele.” (p. 374). This is the beginning of Psalm 125: “They that trust in the Lord shall be as mount Zion, / which cannot be removed, / but abideth for ever.” Poe used this also in his 3/43 rev. of the poetry of “Flaccus” (Th. Ward) (H 11.167). See also Pin 146, 172 on “psalms.”

Pinakidia 172

A part of the 137th Psalm runs thus: ‘If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,’ which has been thus paraphrased in a version of the Psalms, [page 106:]

If I forget thee ever

Then let me prosper never,

But let it cause

My tongue and jaws

To cling and cleave together.


Note: Poe’s source is unknown. In his first quotation he is slightly free, for it should read: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, / let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, / let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth” (5-6). This last article continues Poe’s interest in new versions of the Psalms, as in Pin 146 and 171. A curious repetition or use of this article occurs in the magazine of a friend of Poe seven years later: Sargent’s New Monthly Magazine, 1843, Vol. I, No. 6, pp. 254-59, “Attic Nights.” “By the Author of ‘My First Article“’ — that is, “Samuel Samson, Esq.” (which is in I, no. 2, pp. 71-74). A discussion in an attic (hence the title, which plays upon Aulus Gellius’ title) involves Comet, Salient, Careless, and Stanley. Careless speaks about the style used for “doing” psalms into verse by certain “poor but pious poets” before Bacon. He cites the five lines of Poe’s article. Poe knew Epes Sargent (1813-80) and speaks about his short-lived magazine in his detailed and generally favorable Literati sketch of 1846 (H 15.91-93). One wonders whether Poe had anything to do with the material in “Samuel Samson’s” two articles. Later the first of them entered considerably into “Thingum Bob” (TOM 1125). See Pin 146, 171 for more on this subject.







[S:0 - BRP2B, 1985] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (B. R. Pollin) (Pinakidia)