Text: James H. Whitty, “Memoir,” The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, New York and Boston: Boughton Mifflin Co., 1911, pp. xix-lxxxvi


[page xix, unnumbered:]


EDGAR ALLAN POE was born at Boston, Massachusetts, January 19, 1809. This was the date entered for him in the matriculation book at the University of Virginia in 1826. Other evidence exists to establish the date as true, although Poe himself has given the year of his birth as both 1811 and 1813. His age as recorded at the United States War Department and at West Point Military Academy is also at variance with the accepted date of his birth.

The question of correct age did not seem to give Poe much concern. In Burton's Gentleman's Magazine for April, 1840, he wrote: “The infirmity of falsifying our age is at least as old as the time of Cicero, who, hearing one of his contemporaries attempting to make out that he was ten years younger than he really was, very drily remarked, ‘Then, at the time you and I were at school together, you were not born.’ ”

Poe also called himself both a “Bostonian” and a “Virginian.” His mother, Elizabeth Arnold, arrived at Boston early in 1796, accompanied by her mother, an actress from the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden. Mrs. Arnold soon afterwards married a Mr. Tubbs, but their history is unknown. The daughter followed a theatrical career, and Carr's Musical Repository for 1800 published, among the popular songs of the day — “Tink a Tink,” and “Chica cho,” as sung by Miss Arnold in “Blue Beard.” She married C. D. Hopkins, an actor, about May, 1800. He died October 26, 1805, and [page xx:] shortly afterwards she married another member of her theatrical company named David Poe. He came from Baltimore, Maryland, where his family connections stood well. The first child, William Henry Leonard Poe, was probably born in 1807. He was afterwards taken in charge by his father's family at Baltimore. The Boston tax office shows that David Poe, actor, was assessed in May, 1809, with three hundred dollars, personal property, which represented at least double that amount. The Poe family left Boston in the fall of 1809, and joined the New York Company, playing with them until the end of the following season in July. In New York all definite traces of David Poe seem lost. Mrs. Poe joined her old company and appeared with them without her husband, at Richmond, Virginia, August 18, 1810. The notice in the Richmond Enquirer of that date announcing the play, “Castle Spectre,” has, — “Mrs. Poe as Angela (From the Theatre, New York).” She also took the part of “Maria” in the afterpiece called, “Of Age To-morrow.” All the names of the company were printed, but that of David Poe did not appear. A benefit was given Mrs. Poe September 21, when she sang and danced. The company left Richmond November 14, 1810. The fact that the company with Mrs. Poe were in Norfolk, Virginia, in December, and that she did not appear upon the stage, would indicate that her third child, Rosalie, was born there about that date. This event probably occurred at the Forrest Mansion, in that city, and has led to the supposition by some, that it was Edgar's birth, instead of his sister's.

E. A. Poe stated that his father died within a few weeks of his mother at Richmond, Virginia, which cannot be verified. Strong evidence to the contrary tends [page xxi:] to show that David Poe was dead, or had deserted his family, prior to Mrs. Poe's last visit to Richmond. F. W. Thomas in his manuscript Recollections of E. A. Poe states:(1) “I was intimate with Poe's brother in Baltimore during the year 1828. He was a slim, feeble young man, with dark inexpressive eyes, and his forehead had nothing like the expansion of his brother's. His manners were fastidious. We visited lady acquaintances together, and he wrote Byron poetry in albums, which had little originality. He recited in private and was proud of his oratorical powers. He often deplored the early death of his mother, but pretended not to know what had become of his father. I was told by a lawyer intimate with the family that his father had deserted his mother in New York. Both his parents had visited Baltimore when he was a child, and they sent money from Boston to pay for his support.”

Mrs. Poe went to Charleston, South Carolina, after leaving Norfolk, and the Courier of that city printed the following, April 28, 1811: “For the benefit of Mrs. Poe on Monday evening April 29th, will be presented, ‘The Wonder,’ or ‘A Woman Keeps a Secret’; after the play a comic pantomimical ballet called ‘Hurry Scurry, or the Devil among the Mechanics,’ to which will be added, the much admired entertainment called ‘The Highland Reel.’ ” Mrs. Poe and her company returned to Norfolk, Virginia, the following July. In a notice of Mrs. Poe's benefit, July 26, 1811, the Norfolk Herald printed a communication stating: “Misfortunes have pressed heavily upon Mrs. Poe, who has been left alone, the [page xxii:] support of herself and several young children.” This, printed under Mrs. Poe's own eye, while she was in Norfolk, strongly indicates that her husband had in some manner left the family. No record of his death can be found at Norfolk or Richmond.(1)

From Norfolk Mrs. Poe went to Richmond in August, 1811, and there she made her last appearance on the stage October 11. It is a coincidence that Poe also made his last public appearance in Richmond. A benefit for Mrs. Poe was repeated in Richmond, and an appeal for charity for her published in a daily paper. She died December 8, as recorded in the Richmond Enquirer, December 10; and a notice that her funeral would take place on Tuesday, December 10, appeared in the Richmond Virginia Patriot of that date. No record of her burial place has been found in Richmond. I have made careful search, and only find an entry of a burial by the city corresponding with the date of her death, in old St. John's Churchyard, but no name is given.

Edgar Poe was taken in charge by Mrs. John Allan, and his sister by Mrs. William MacKenzie, both Richmond families. Mrs. Allan's husband reluctantly acquiesced in the quasi-adoption of Edgar.(2) Although John Allan's financial affairs were not prosperous, the family lived in modest, but comfortable circumstances. It is said that Edgar was baptized December 11, 1811, [page xxiii:] but I am unable to find the church record. The family, with Edgar and a sister of Mrs. Allan's, Miss Ann Moore Valentine, went to London, England, in the summer of 1815. There Edgar was sent to the Academy of Rev. Dr. Bransby, in Stoke Newington, near London. This school is well portrayed by Poe in his story called “William Wilson.” F. W. Thomas states that Poe told him that his school days in London were sad, lonely and unhappy. In Burton's Gentleman's Magazine for April, 1840, Poe wrote: “Since the sad experience of my schoolboy days to this present writing, I have seen little to sustain the notion held by some folks, that schoolboys are the happiest of all mortals.” It has been stated that Poe visited the Allan relations in Scotland while abroad, which is not likely, from the fact that he wrote A. Ramsey, of Stonehaven, Scotland, December 30, 1846, asking about the Allans, but could give no definite information as to where they resided.

Allan's business affairs in London were unsuccessful, and after five years’ absence the family returned to Richmond, Virginia, in the summer of 1820. They settled down again to economical living, and Poe was sent to the school of J. H. Clarke. Allan wished to give him an education, but otherwise was cold and formal, while his wife was the reverse. Edgar was of an effeminate disposition, and although he indulged in boyish sports, preferred girls for playmates. In one of his early magazine notes he speaks of using roller skates in his boyhood, to show that they were not a more modern invention. He also had more than the usual boy's yearning for reading matter. Allan's library was scant, and he had peculiar notions of what Edgar [page xxiv:] should read. Mrs. Allan, a consistent member of the Episcopal Church, was mainly seeking to instill in his mind the fear of God.

Among the intimate church acquaintances of Mrs. Allan were the families of Chief Justice John Marshall and J. H. Strobia, both mentioned by Poe in later life. Edgar always accompanied Mrs. Allan to church meetings, and here was likely laid the foundation of his knowledge of the Bible and Christian religion. John Allan was not much of a church attendant, and rather a liberal thinker. The germ out of which Poe's later materialism evolved may have come from this source. There seems an autobiographical hint of this in his tale “The Domain of Arnheim,” which he has said contains “much of his soul.” Here he wrote: “Some peculiarities, either in his early education, or in the nature of his intellect, had tinged with what is termed materialism all his ethical speculations; and it was this bias, perhaps, which led him to believe that the most advantageous at least, if not the sole legitimate field for the poetic exercise, lies in the creation of novel moods of purely physical loveliness.” Mrs. Allan also had a godchild named Catherine Elizabeth Poitiaux, who was Poe's early playmate and child-love. At church Poe met the early companion of his boyhood, Ebenezer Burling, the son of a widowed mother, who lived in a house on Bank Street, in which Poe was afterwards married and resided with his wife and Mrs. Clemm.

There Poe also caught the first glimpse of his sweetheart, Sarah Elmira Royster, who was to inspire so much of his youthful verse. In early boyhood Burling and Poe were often together. When matters went [page xxv:] wrong at Allan's,(1) Edgar hastened to Burling's home, and spent the night there, in opposition to the Allans’ wishes. It was Burling who taught Poe to swim, and also engaged with him in other manly sports. Dr. Rawlings, who lived near Burling and attended him, said that he was rough in his manner and of a different disposition to Poe. He was fond of light literature, and most likely Poe derived some of his early ideas of adventure from him, and there obtained his reading matter on such subjects.

Poe's own statement of his first reading of “Robinson Crusoe,” in the Southern Literary Messenger for January, 1836, is interesting. He wrote: “How fondly do we recur in memory to those enchanted days of our boyhood when we first teamed to grow serious over Robinson Crusoe! — when we first found the spirit of wild adventure enkindling within us; as by the dim firelight, we labored out, line by line, the marvellous import of those pages, and hung breathless and trembling with eagerness over their absorbing — over their enchanting interest! Alas! the days of desolate islands are no more!”

These sad words, with the plaintive, “no more,” were written from a window with a view of his boyhood haunts, while adjoining was the old warehouse of Ellis & Allan, where he spent many hours of his youth. That he frequented this place early is shown by a power of attorney given by the firm November 17, 1823, which has Edgar Allan Poe as a witness.(2) It was in the spring of the year 1823 that John Allan inherited money from [page xxvi:] an uncle. And soon after this he surrounded his home with luxuries — purchased costly draperies, and, besides the foundation for a library, added works of art, including a marble bust of Mary Magdalen by Canova, and another of Dante. This sudden change in the mode of living must have had its effect upon Edgar's mind. Here might be found the germ for some tastes displayed in after years, — his minute descriptions of draperies and of furniture. About this same period another change took place in the family affairs tending to leave a greater impress upon the discerning mind of the boy Edgar. The marital relations of the Allans became unhappy. The reasons that caused the second Mrs. Allan to renounce her husband's will, May 26, 1834, began to trouble the first wife. John Allan stated in his will made April 17, 1832, and recorded at Richmond, Virginia, that he had confessed his fault, before marriage to his second wife.(1)

A letter of the second Mrs. Allan's, written to Colonel T. H. Ellis, is on record, very damaging to Poe. The Valentine Museum at Richmond, Virginia, has numerous unpublished letters, written by Poe to John Allan, with the latter's notations on them, which were read to a small select audience in Richmond, some years ago. The letters taken with the notations are said to [page xxvii:] give an impression that Poe was ungrateful to his patron. They also contain references to other people, which has hindered their early publication. They are said to date from 1825 to 1830, referring mainly to his college career, and represent Poe in a sincere, but sad mood.

All these circumstances, as well as the importance of showing the influences surrounding Poe's early bringing up, make it necessary for this memoir not to ignore the existing documents in the matters, which are also public records. With Mrs. Allan suspicious and jealous of her husband, the natural disposition of Poe was to side with her in family matters, which made Allan anxious to have him out of the way. The educational solution was the best that offered itself and the easiest to arrange with both Poe and Mrs. Allan. It was decided to send Edgar to the University of Virginia, but he seems to have been reluctant in going there. He had been making desperate love to Miss Royster, and his pleadings had not been in vain. The old colored servitor, who assisted Poe in getting away, has left a statement that Edgar and Mrs. Allan were sad at heart the day he left for the University, and on the way Poe intimated a desire to break away from Allan, and seek his own living. He intrusted the servant with a letter to be handed in person to Miss Royster, which was the last she was to see for some time. For with the ardent lover away her parents intercepted Poe's letters and soon substituted another suitor, to whom she was married. All his letters to Miss Royster were destroyed but one, and this the newly wedded found when it was too late. Without response to his letters, Poe felt that his first and only love had proven untrue to her vows to [page xxviii:] him. His relations with Allan were uncongenial and his money allowances rather meagre. In the company of gay companions he became reckless, indulged in liquor, played cards for money, and became involved in debt. He stood well in his studies at the University, but left at the end of the session, December 15, 1826, under a financial cloud, with lawyers trying to force Allan into paying his gambling debts.(1)

Upon Poe's return to Richmond, Mrs. Allan greeted him with oldtime endearments, which her husband resented. He made Poe feel in the way, and put him to work in his firm's counting-house. Here Poe chewed the cud of bitter discontent. He first wrote a letter to The Mills Nursery of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with whom the Allan firm had dealings, asking for employment. That firm sent the letter to Allan, and the matter ended in a war of warm words. Poe, with a determined will, had made up his mind to leave Richmond. Besides the discontent at home, he had learned of the deceit shown in his love affair with Miss Royster, and is reported to have upbraided her parents after his return. There is also a current story that Mrs. Shelton, formerly Miss Royster, created a scene in her household after finding out that Poe's letters had been kept from her. In a matter-of-fact story written by Poe early in 1835 he mentioned that after leaving college he went down to his guardian's country place, and also dipped into the study of the law. He also made a reference to “E—— P——, who swam from Mayo's Bridge to Warwick wharf some years ago.” This swimming feat has been frequently mentioned.

In a letter to a Richmond editor in May, 1835, Poe [page xxix:] wrote: “The writer seems to compare my swim with that of Lord Byron, whereas there can be no comparison between them. Any swimmer ‘in the falls’ in my days, would have swum the Hellespont, and thought nothing of the matter. I swam from Ludlarn's wharf to Warwick (six miles), in a hot June sun, against one of the strongest tides ever known in the river. It would have been a feat comparatively easy to swim twenty miles in still water. I would not think much of attempting to swim the British Channel from Dover to Calais.”

The Allans had a country place in Goochland County, Virginia, called “The Lower Byrd Plantations,” which Poe may have visited at some time. But he did not linger long about Virginia. The supposition is that he concluded that London was his “Eldorado,” and that whatever literary dreams he had, were beginning to shape themselves. Judge Hughes had the statement from the owner of a vessel trading with Allan's firm that Poe had made an arrangement to work his way to England in his vessel. Allan is said to have been fully aware of this. However, when the time came for Poe to tell his designs to Mrs. Allan, she went into hysterics and would not allow the subject to be mentioned again. Through her entreaty the vessel owner was seen by Allan and the plans abandoned. But it seems that Poe meant to carry out his adventure at all hazards. He is said to have talked the matter over with his companion, Burling, who became enthusiastic and consented to join him in the trip abroad. Burling had become addicted to drink, and a favorite resort of his was an inn kept by Mrs. E. C. Richardson. They both quietly arranged to work their way in a vessel bound for England. The old colored servant, who knew the [page xxx:] secret, told Judge Hughes that he wanted to tell Mrs. Allan, but fear kept him from it. He carried a small bundle of Poe's personal effects from his room to Mrs. Richardson's. Poe and Burling afterwards went there in a hack, spending the night, and leaving early the next morning for the vessel, lying at the dock. During his short stay in Richmond Poe paid some attention to a young lady stopping with Mrs. Juliet J. Drew. The colored servant remembered carrying notes to her there but did not recall her name. After sobering up, Burling deserted at the first stopping point the vessel reached and returned to Richmond. Mrs. Allan had frequent fainting spells after Poe left, and when she learned from Burling that he had gone abroad, she was for weeks inconsolable. She tried to have her husband take steps to have him return, but he never seemed to trouble himself again in the matter. Mrs. Allan wrote Poe two letters, begging him to return and absolving him from all blame in the Allan family matters. Poe's wife guarded these letters with jealous care during her life. When she was about to die she asked that they be read to her. Eliza White, daughter of the founder of the Southern Literary Messenger, remembered the incident, and her impression was that the letters had been sent to Poe abroad. She recalled the matter more readily, because she had seen the letters some years previously in Richmond, where Poe's wife had shown them to her family. Mrs. Smith, formerly Miss Herring, Poe's Baltimore cousin and early love, who was about the Poe house at the time Virginia died, told Miss White afterwards that she had the letters.(1) [page xxxi:]

While it is generally admitted that Poe left Richmond in a sailing vessel, it is disputed that he ever reached England. An argument is that the time, from January to May 26, was insufficient for the events. Poe came over from London seven years previously in thirty-eight days, and the Florida had a later record of a trip in twenty-five days. If the ocean trips had consumed two months’ time there would still have been over two months for further events. The time to me seems ample. Burling, who left Richmond in the vessel with Poe, told Dr. George W. Rawlings that their destination was England. Judge Hughes is the authority that Burling also informed Mrs. Allan that Poe had gone abroad. Miss Eliza White was of the opinion that the two letters written to Poe by Mrs. Allan were sent to him abroad. Miss Ann Valentine has stated that Poe corresponded with Mrs. Allan while he was in Europe. The second Mrs. Allan has stated in her letter to Colonel T. H. Ellis that Poe's letters were scarce and dated from St. Petersburg, Russia. They may have had other European dates, and being probably familiar with Poe's own legend of his visit to Russia, she was in error.

F. W. Thomas states: “Henry Poe visited his brother in Richmond twice, the last time in 1825. He said Edgar had quarrelled with Mr. Allan after coming from college, about the small allowance of money he was receiving, and left him. He worked his own passage abroad in a vessel, reaching the metropolis of England [page xxxii:] after a rough voyage. There he met with disappointment in finding employment, and his funds being low proceeded to Paris, still hoping to find work. What money he had left was taken from him, with the exception of a sum sufficient to pay his passage back to London. Thus left without money and without friends he hurried back to England, where he took passage in a vessel for America, bound for a New England port.”

Wherever he sailed in these days, he afterwards displayed in his writings considerable nautical knowledge, and like Camoëns, the poet, he also held on to his manuscript verses, through all his vicissitudes. He met with C. F. S. Thomas in Boston, who published them in his first volume of poems, — “Tamerlane, By A Bostonian. Boston, 1827.” The book could not have brought him any money, and only found slight notice. Poe determined to try the army, and enlisted May 26, 1827, at Boston under the name of Edgar A. Perry. He was assigned to Charleston, South Carolina, and one year later transferred to Fortress Monroe, Virginia, where he was appointed Sergeant Major.(1) While at Fortress Monroe, Poe was identified by a relative of Mrs. Allan, who communicated the fact to her. She was ill, and pleaded to see Edgar again. She interested her husband in aiding Poe to secure a discharge. In doing this, however, Allan made sure that Poe was to enter West Point and that he would not trouble him again. [page xxxiii:] Mrs. Allan died February 28, 1829 which made a change in Poe's future dreams. In one of the many sadly written letters in the Valentine Museum, Richmond, he refers to his foster mother in the most affectionate terms, and intimates that matters would have taken a different course if she had lived.

While awaiting entry to West Point, Poe still carried his manuscript verses and had begun to revise them. His mind seemed bent on a literary career. After his discharge from the army he went to Baltimore in 1829, and there published his second volume of poems, — “Al Araaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems.” When editing them he sent a notice with some of his verses to the 1’Yankee of Boston. He presented his cousin, Elizabeth Herring of Baltimore, with a copy of these poems, which he afterwards used to make the revision of his 1845 edition. He entered West Point in July, 1830, and while there spent a part of his time in again revising his poems. He sent his fourth known publication, “Sonnet — To Science,” in October to the Philadelphia Casket. He tired of soldier life and obtained his dismissal in March, 1831, by giving offense against discipline. A letter written by him to the Superintendent is on file at the Academy, dated March 10, 1831, asking for a certificate of his standing in his class, and intimating an intention of joining the Polish army. Shortly afterwards he published his third volume of poems, which was not a financial success. He visited Baltimore, and May 6, 1831, wrote a letter to W. Gwynn asking employment.

F. W. Thomas says: “I removed to the country in 1829 and lost sight of Poe's brother. In 1831 I emigrated to Cincinnati, and for some years afterwards [page xxxiv:] travelled through the West, along the Ohio and Mississippi. On one of these trips of pleasure from Pittsburg to New Orleans in a first-rate steamer, I made the acquaintance of an interesting character named James Tuhey, belonging to the steamer's crew. He possessed more than ordinary musical ability and was especially proficient with the flute. I would sit with him for hours in a quiet corner and listen to his sailor lore. He observed my manuscript as I was writing to a Cincinnati newspaper and wanted to know if I was writing poetry. I told him no. He replied that so much manuscript reminded him of a Baltimore acquaintance named Poe. I thought at once that he had reference to Henry Poe, but soon found that it was Edgar A. Poe he knew. I also learned that Tuhey lived at Fells Point in Baltimore, when I left there, and had only recently come out to the West. He was a native of Ireland. In Baltimore he had an acquaintance with a family named Cairnes. They were some connection of Poe's. At their house he often met Poe.

“Tuhey spoke of him as stopping alternately with one relative, and then another, but later on spending all his time with the widow, Mrs. Clemm. He wrote for the newspapers, but earned small pay. While living with the Cairnes, Poe made the acquaintance of Miss Deveraux, a dark-eyed beauty, whose parents came from Ireland. The family lived near the Cairnes residence and were intimate. They were often seen together and Poe wanted her to marry him at once. She was young and told her parents, who, with the Caimes, interfered and broke off the affair. Poe became despondent after this and went with Tuhey in a sailing vessel to the coast of Wexford, Ireland, and back. It was on this trip that [page xxxv:] Tuhey had seen Poe's manuscript, which mine had recalled to his memory. Before leaving Baltimore in 1834, Tuhey said that he often met Poe at a house on Caroline Street near Wilkes, Fells Point. There Poe would sit in silence for hours listening to sailor stories of the sea, the only interruption being now and then a tune from Tuhey's musical flute.”

The Richmond court records show that John Allan was putting his earthly affairs in order, and making his will April 17, 1832. The will was prepared by an able lawyer, but Allan was so fearful that the clauses troubling his conscience might not be carried out, that he rewrote and repeated them himself a second time in the will. It is also said that about this time he occasionally intimated a desire to see Poe, before he died. The supposition is that he had made promises to his first wife concerning Poe, which had not been fulfilled. Poe was in communication with Miss Valentine, sister of the first Mrs. Allan; also had messages from the old Allan servants, and in other ways kept informed of what was going on in the Allan household.

An old printer told me that he carried letters for Poe from Baltimore to Richmond prior to 1835. Poe had heard the rumor that Allan was ill and wanted to see him. He stated to Judge Hughes that with the understanding that Allan wished to see him, and a view of a possible reconciliation, he had gone to Richmond about June, 1832. He had no feeling against Mrs. Allan, and thought that all that was necessary was to go to the old home, and, in any event, find a cordial reception. Instead, he stated, Mrs. Allan refused him admittance, and hindered a meeting between himself and Mr. Allan. He returned to Baltimore without seeing [page xxxvi:] Allan. The Richmond court records, in the lawsuit to break the will of the second Mrs. Allan, say: “Mrs. Allan was a woman of vigorous intellect and will, remarkable for her self reliance — a woman with likes and dislikes — attachments and resentments — loves and hates — one so self reliant and high spirited that no one dared approach her with any testamentary suggestions.” John Allan died March 27, 1834. The terms of his will were not agreeable to his wife, and she rejected them. The second marriage of Allan took place October 5, 1830; Mrs. Allan died April 24, 1881.

Poe took up occasional newspaper work on his return to Baltimore. During these years he also wrote for New York and Philadelphia papers. The supposition is, that in New York he wrote for a newspaper with which Major Noah was associated. In Philadelphia he wrote for Poulson's American Daily Advertiser and the Sunday Mercury.

In Baltimore there were also days of love-making with his cousin Miss Herring. He read to her, and wrote verses in her album; and his wife Virginia, then a little girl, carried the love letters. The tales Poe sent to the Baltimore Saturday Morning Visitor [[Visiter ]], and his drama, “Politian,” were probably prepared during these years. One of them, “Morella,” was given by Poe in Baltimore to a neighbor, Mrs. Samuel F. Simmons. The manuscript had been in the possession of her daughter, living in Howard County, Maryland, for many years. It was recently sold by a New York book-auction house. The manuscript is written in the same style, and corresponds with the introduction to “The Tales of the Folio Club,” as reproduced in facsimile in Professor G. E. Woodberry's revised Life of Poe. This [page xxxvii:] tale, it is claimed, was written by Poe some time between 1832 and 1833 in Baltimore, while a frequent visitor at the Simmons house.

In October, 1833, Poe was awarded one hundred dollars for his prize tale, “MS. Found in a Bottle,” by the Baltimore Saturday Morning Visitor [[Visiter]]. His poem “The Coliseum” was well considered, but as he had received the largest prize, the next was given to J. H. Hewett [[Hewitt]], editor of the paper. It has been the supposition that Poe sent previous contributions to the Visitor [[Visiter]], but if such was the case, they appeared before the close of 1832, while L. A. Wilmer was editor. Hewett [[Hewitt]] states that he wrote an unfavorable criticism on Poe's 1829 volume in the Minerva, a Baltimore publication he edited, for which Poe assailed him on the street. They were not friendly while he edited the Visitor [[Visiter]], but afterwards met in Washington on good terms. Wilmer and Poe took long walks together and were intimate in Baltimore and afterwards in Philadelphia. Hewett [[Hewitt]] also seems to have been unfriendly with Wilmer, who, he says, “measured poetry as he would type, and judged its quality as a gauger would the proof of whiskey.”

Hewett [[Hewitt]] gives an intelligent description of Poe's appearance in the early days. He said that he knew Poe as “a thin, handsome, spare young man. He had a broad forehead, a large magnificent eye, dark brown and rather curly hair; well formed, about five feet seven in height. He dressed neatly in his palmy days — wore Byron collars and a black neckerchief, looking the poet all over. The expression of his face was thoughtful, melancholy, and rather stern. In disposition he was somewhat overbearing and spiteful. He often vented [page xxxviii:] his spleen on poor Dr. Loffin, who styled himself the ‘Milford Bard,’ and who outstripped Poe in the quantity of his poetry, if not the quality. I never saw him under the influence of drink or a narcotic but once, and cannot endorse such stories.”

The circumstances indicate that Poe was about the newspaper offices in Baltimore at this period and acquainted with the literary characters of the city. Among them was J. P. Kennedy, who introduced him to Carey & Lea of Philadelphia. They were given the first opportunity to publish Poe's tales, but declined them. The tale of “The Visionary,” which was among them, was afterwards published in Godey's Lady's Book for January, 1834. He contributed tales to the Southern Literary Messenger of Richmond, Virginia, early in 1835. His letters to the proprietor of that periodical show that he had sufficient influence with the Baltimore newspapers to have notices of the Messenger published which he wrote himself. In a notice of the Messenger in the Broadway Journal for March 22, 1845, Poe states: “At the beginning of the seventh month (1835), one of the present editors of the Broadway Journal made an arrangement to edit the Messenger, and by systematic exertion on the part of both publisher and editor the circulation was increased by the end of the subsequent year to nearly five thousand — a success quite unparalleled in the history of our five-dollar Magazines. After the secession of Mr. Poe, Mr. White took the editorial conduct upon his own shoulders and sustained it remarkably well.” Poe made another attempt to have his tales published by Harper & Brothers in March, 1836.

On May 16, 1836, Poe was married at Richmond to [page xxxix:] his cousin Virginia Eliza Clemm, who was not quite fourteen years old, by Rev. A. Converse, a Presbyterian minister. A previous marriage license was obtained in Baltimore September 22, 1835. His marriage bond is recorded in Richmond. The contributions of Poe to the Southern Literary Messenger show that he was an industrious editor, although at the start occasionally over-indulging in drink. J. W. Fergusson, an apprentice on the Messenger, who lived to a ripe old age, and who was afterwards one of the proprietors, has left with me his written recollections of Poe. He says that “like others in his day Poe was addicted to periodical sprees, but they did not interfere to any extent with his writings.” Mr. Fergusson, who visited the residence of T. W. White, also Mrs. Bernard, a daughter of White's, both in a position to know, stated that they never knew of any flirtation between Poe and Eliza White, as has been intimated. They were never more than friends. This has also been confirmed by Mrs. Clemm.

In the December, 1835, Messenger, Poe in a notice of Chief Justice Marshall, whom he met in the early days at church with Mrs. Allan, spoke of him as: “Our great and lamented countryman, fellow-townsman, neighbor, and friend — for by all these names did a fortuitous conjuncture of circumstances, including his own kind and prideless heart, entitle us to call him.” While Poe labored at the editorial desk of the Messenger, White the proprietor travelled about Virginia for subscriptions. The list of subscribers increased, but likewise the expense account. Poe was ambitious, and thought that he was entitled to more salary, or a proprietary interest in the journal, but White did not feel inclined to offer either. Poe was also becoming very solicitous [page xl:] for the publication of his tales, and anxious to be nearer the larger publication houses.

After the Harpers returned the manuscript of his tales he began a correspondence with Saunders & Otey of New York.(1) They read his manuscript and seemed disposed to become his publishers here and in England, but at the moment could not take upon themselves to decide for their paternal house abroad. They were also anxious to have the finished manuscript of the tales in order to send out by the next packet. Poe sent his friend Edward W. Johnson of the South Carolina College, who was in New York, to see the firm. His letter of October 4, 1836, stated that he had informed the firm “that the writing of the tales in their final form had yet made too little progress to render so speedy a transmission of the copy possible, and that as the months of November and December are the most advantageous in European publication they had better send back the MS. in their hands, which may be found important in the rapid finishing of the work. This the firm promised to do at once through Smith the bookseller, or the regular mode of convevance.” Johnson advised Poe to send back the finished MS. with all possible expedition, in time for one of the earliest packets. This matter is important as showing that at so late a date Poe's tales in hand were far from being considered finished or complete.

At this time Poe was in correspondence with Dr. F. L. Hawks, who held out some prospects for employment on the New York Review, to which Poe afterwards made one contribution.(2) [page xli:]

Poe seceded from the Messenger in January, 1837, and went to New York. Here the financial panic of the time changed his plans. The family were compelled to take boarders, and Poe eked out a living doing literary hack work. In the American Monthly Magazine for June, 1837, he published the tale “Mystification,” as “Von Jung, the Mystific.” He completed his tale, begun in the Messenger, the “Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym,” which the Harpers published in July, 1838, but it brought him no financial help. He had made the acquaintance of an English writer of juvenile books, James Pedder, who interested himself in his welfare and arranged for the family to go to Philadelphia. Pedder edited the Farmer's Cabinet of Philadelphia, in the making up of which Poe is thought to have rendered some assistance. It is stated that the family resided with the Pedders for a brief period. That Poe felt grateful to them is evident from the fact that one of the first copies of his Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque from the press of Lea & Blanchard, Philadelphia, 1840, was given to the “Misses Pedders with his grateful acknowledgments.” The volumes were recently sold at a book-auction sale. It is also stated that Pedder arranged with Poe to get out The Conchologist's First Book; or, a System of Testaceous Malacology, published by Haswell, Barrington & Haswell, Philadelphia, 1839. It was charged that this was largely a reprint of Captain Thomas Brown's Conchology, which Poe denied. A second edition, with a new preface, additions, and alterations, was issued by Poe in 1840, and a third, without his name on the title-page, in 1845. In his criticisms in the Messenger Poe shows early knowledge on this subject. The Baltimore Museum [page xlii:] for September, 1838, contained “Ligeia,” followed by “How to Write a Blackwood Article (The Signora Psyche Zenobia)” and “A Predicament (The Scythe of Time),” in December; “Literary Small Talk,” in January and February, and the poem “The Haunted Palace” in April. The Baltimore Book for 1839 printed “Siope (Silence).” “The Devil in the Belfry” appeared in the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Chronicle and Mirror of the Times, May 8. He had also contributed one short article to the Pittsburg Literary Examiner and Western Monthly Review.

In July, 1839, Poe began to edit Burton's Gentleman's Magazine, and to this magazine he contributed many of his writings, including “The Journal of Julius Rodman.” He made numerous compilations of various articles, Field sports, and published “The Philosophy of Furniture.” As was his habit in making up “Marginalia” for the Messenger, he arranged matter here under the heading:

“O M N I A N A.

Every thing by starts, but nothing long.


various; that the mind

Of desultory man, studious of change,

And pleased with novelty, may be indulged.


His correspondence with Dr. J. E. Snodgrass while editing the magazine gives an intimate view of his life for this period. The Philadelphia Saturday Evening Chronicle and Mirror of the Times, June 13, 1840, announced that Poe would publish, the following January, a new magazine, — The Penn Magazine. His illness was mentioned as the reason for the postponement of this publication until March, 1841. [page xliii:]

In the December Casket Poe published “The Man of the Crowd.” The Saturday Evening Post, February 20, 1841, announced that on account of the disturbance in money matters The Penn Magazine would not be published, but that Poe would assume the editorial chair of Graham's Magazine, which he did in April. He however continued to cherish hopes of getting out his Penn Magazine, which he considered “only scotched, not killed.” He gave much earnest work to Graham's, and contributed to the magazine some of his best writings. He wrote on the subject of cryptography, which attracted attention, and began to show his analytical powers. In a letter from F. W. Thomas in May, 1841, some possibilities of a government position at a good salary, with leisure for literary labors, was hinted to Poe. The idea haunted him for several years, but nothing ever materialized.

In August, 1841, Poe made a proposition to Lea & Blanchard to publish a second edition of his tales of 1840, which they rejected. Poe resigned from Graham's Magazine in May, 1842, and was succeeded by R. W. Griswold.

F. W. Thomas states: “I met Poe in Philadelphia during September, 1842. He lived in a rural home on the outskirts of the city. His house was small, but comfortable inside for one of the kind. The rooms looked neat and orderly, but everything about the place wore an air of pecuniary want. Although I arrived late in the morning Mrs. Clemm, Poe's mother-in-law, was busy preparing for his breakfast. My presence possibly caused some confusion, but I noticed that there was delay and evident difficulty in procuring the meal. His wife entertained me. Her manners were [page xliv:] agreeable and graceful. She had well formed, regular features, with the most expressive and intelligent eyes I ever beheld. Her pale complexion, the deep lines in her face and a consumptive cough made me regard her as the victim for an early grave. She and her mother showed much concern about Eddie, as they called Poe, and were anxious to have him secure work. I afterwards learned from Poe that he had been to New York in search of employment and had also made effort to get out an edition of his tales, but was unsuccessful.

“When Poe appeared his dark hair hung carelessly over his high forehead, and his dress was a little slovenly. He met me cordially, but was reserved, and complained of feeling unwell. His pathetic tenderness and loving manners towards his wife greatly impressed me. I was not long in observing with deep regret that he had fallen again into habits of intemperance. I ventured to remonstrate with him. He admitted yielding to temptation to drink while in New York and turned the subject off by telling an amusing dialogue of Lucian, the Greek writer. We visited the city together and had an engagement for the following day. I left him sober, but he did not keep the engagement and wrote me that he was ill.”

There are more pleasant reminiscences of his home life in Philadelphia recorded than this. While he edited Graham's Magazine the family exercised a simple hospitality. They entertained guests, had sufficient means to live upon, and Poe was temperate in his habits. His wife ruptured a blood vessel later on; he gave up his position, and has told in his letters how during this period he had recourse to drink to drown his sorrows. [page xlv:] Poe had several interviews with Charles Dickens in Philadelphia, and at this time corresponded with Thomas Holley Chivers, James Russell Lowell, and John Tomlin.

After the turn of 1843, Poe became closely associated with the Philadelphia Saturday Museum. In this paper he published a severe criticism on Griswold's Poets and Poetry of America, for which it is said Griswold never forgave him. F. W. Thomas states: “Poe kept up a continuous warfare upon Griswold in the Museum, poking fun at him, and alluding to him as Mr. Driswold of Graham's Magazine, in childish humor.”

In a letter to Lowell in March, 1843, Poe stated that he was not editing the Museum, although an announcement was prematurely trade to that effect. This has never been clearly understood, as no file of the Museum can be found. F. W. Thomas states that the Museum announced: “We have secured at a high salary the services of E. A. Poe, Esq., a gentleman whose high and versatile abilities have always spoken for themselves, and who after the first of May will aid us in the editorial conduct of the journal.” In a letter written to Thomas by Poe, February 25, 1843, it is stated that a copy of the Museum containing his Biography was also forwarded. As the only copy of this Biography known, presumed to have been Poe's own, and made up of pasted clippings, is of March 4, 1843, it has puzzled Poe's editors to understand how Poe sent a copy of the paper of a week earlier, as the letter indicated.

Mr. Thomas states that the biography of Poe in the Museum had a second edition, which that paper announced as follows: “The Spirit of the Times of Friday says, ‘The Saturday Museum of this week contains a very [page xlvi:] fair likeness of our friend Edgar A. Poe, Esq., with a full account of his truly eventful life. We look upon Mr. Poe as one of the most powerful, chaste, and erudite writers of the day, and it gives us pleasure to see him placed through the public press in his proper position before the world.”

“We are glad to hear so good a paper as the Times speak thus highly of Mr. Poe, not only from the justice which it renders that powerful writer, but because we have been so fortunate as to secure his services as associate editor of the Saturday Museum, where we intend it shall be placed beyond the reach of competition. So great was the interest excited by the biography and poems of Mr. Poe published in the Museum of last week, that to supply those who were disappointed in obtaining copies we shall be at the expense of an extra edition, which will be printed with corrections and additions. Of this extra we shall publish an edition on fine white paper. It will be ready for delivery at the office Saturday morning.”

In a later Museum sent to Thomas by Poe it was stated under the heading, “Quick Perception”: “We have published in the biographical sketch of Mr. Poe some evidences of the wonderful power which his mind possesses in deciphering the most complicated and difficult questions. We have another striking instance of the exercise of this power. The Spirit of the Times copied the following puzzle a few days since. A Nice Puzzle. The Baltimore Sun gives the following oddity and asks for its solution. [Here follows an array of mixed words and letters.] The moment it met our eye happening to be in company with Mr. Poe we pointed out the article, when he immediately gave us the solution.” [page xlvii:]

The prospectus of the Stylus, another magazine, was issued through the columns of the Museum. With a view of securing subscribers to the magazine, and with some hopes of hearing something further about the government position, Poe went to Washington in March, 1843. F. W. Thomas states: “Poe sent me the notes for the Museum biography, but I evaded writing them. I told him afterwards that I knew more of his history than he had sent me. He was amused, and laughed the matter off by confessing that the story was intended to help the magazine project. I was confined to my room by sickness when Poe came to Washington early in 1843. He was sober when I saw him, but afterward in the company of old friends he drank to excess. My physician attended him for several days, and he suffered much from his indiscretion.” Poe wrote a letter March 16, 1843, that he arrived home in Philadelphia “in safety and sober.” In June he won the hundred-dollar prize with his tale “The Gold-Bug” from the Dollar Newspaper. He asked Griswold to send him five dollars and to come to see him June 11, as stated in Griswold's memoir. With a view of raising funds he contemplated the publication of his tales in serial form, but only one number was issued.

This was published about the last of August, 1843, — “The Prose Romances of Edgar A. Poe. No. 1. The Murders of the Rue Morgue and The Man that was Used Up, 1843. Philadelphia: George B. Zieber & Co.” Poe sent a notice of this to a New York magazine early in September, with the latter tale included. It was about this time that he made an attempt upon the lecture platform, which proved a failure. After Griswold withdrew from Graham's Poe began to contribute to the [page xlviii:] critical department. He had a review of “Orion” in the March, 1844, number, and after that had a correspondence with the author R. H. Horne, to whom he sent his tale “The Spectacles” with a view of publication in England.

Poe went to New York early in April, 1844. On his arrival he wrote to Mrs. Clemm a letter dated “April 7, (just after breakfast),” which shows interesting characteristics of his domestic life. In this letter he mentions the “Duane” Southern Literary Messengers. He used them in preparing his tales of 1840. I found the volumes some years ago in an old Boston second-hand book-shop. His “Balloon Hoax” appeared in the New York Sun April 13, 1844. He corresponded with Lowell in May regarding the writing of his biography for Graham's. In June he wrote a letter to Charles Anthon asking his influence to induce the Harpers to publish his tales in five volumes. This matter was delayed until the fall, and Anthon replied that he was unable to assist him. The Columbian Magazine for August had a paper by Poe on “Mesmeric Revelation.” Shortly afterwards he was engaged as an assistant by N. P. Willis, who was converting the New Mirror into a daily, the Evening Mirror. He had been contributing to Godey's, Graham's, and the Southern Literary Messenger and Democratic Review.

“The Raven” first appeared in the Evening Mirror of January 29, 1845. F. W. Thomas says: “Poe stated that ‘The Raven’ was written in a day. The idea of having it appear anonymously was a whim of his, like Coleridge's publication of his ‘Raven.’ He afterwards thought it a mistake, and conceived the idea of having it introduced in Willis's paper with his name. Poe read all the older English poets with fondness, and his name [page xlix:] of Quarles merely had reference in his mind to the old English poet.” It has been stated that “The Raven” was printed from advance sheets of the American Whig Review, which may have been the case, but in such an event Poe handled the proof and made corrections. The two publications show a number of deviations. On May 4, 1845, Poe wrote F. W. Thomas that “The Raven” was copied into the Broadway Journal by Briggs, his associate, before he joined the paper. Poe had some idea of having his poems published by Clarke of London, which were to be introduced by Griswold. He made an announcement in the Mirror of February 15, 1845, that the poems would shortly appear in the series, with other American poets. The sketch of Poe written by Lowell, with a portrait, appeared in the February Graham's Magazine. On February 28 Poe lectured in New York on the subject of “American Poetry.” He resigned from the Mirror March 8, and in the issue of that journal for the same date appeared the answer to Poe's Longfellow criticisms signed, “Outis.” On this date C. F. Briggs also wrote in a letter that Poe was his assistant on the Broadway Journal. The Southern Literary Messenger for April, 1845, announced: “Literary Criticisms: E. A. Poe, Esq. We have engaged the services of Mr. Poe; who will contribute monthly a critique raisonnée of the most important forthcoming works in this Country and in Europe.” Poe had contributed “The Raven” in a revised form to the Messenger in March. B. B. Minor, editor of the Messenger, stated to me that he had an arrangement with John Biscoe, publisher of the Broadway Journal, to take subscriptions in New York; that there had been some dispute about the amount due Poe by the Messenger, and [page l:] Biscoe paid Poe without authority, never making the Messenger any returns. Poe did not contribute to the Messenger again until J. R. Thompson became editor.

The Mirror of July 19, 1845, gave seven entire pages to an event in New York City, which must have been considered of importance, in which Poe figured prominently. He had at some time previously had a disagreement with H. T. Tuckerman, but they met again on this occasion and renewed their friendship.(1) It was the commencement exercises of Rutgers Female Institute, which took place July 11, when the Rutgers Street Church was crowded. The committee on the composition of the First Department consisted of Edgar A. Poe, Chairman, W. D. Snodgrass, and Henry T. Tuckerman. The first award in poetry was given to a poem, of a little over one hundred lines, beginning, —

“Deep in a glade by trees o’erhung.”

This poem was afterwards read to the audience by Poe. On the stage with Poe were Professor Tellkampf, Professor Lewis, Professor Elias Loomis, Dr. J. W. Francis, and other men of eminence. His “Tales” (By Edgar A. Poe. New York: Wiley & Putnam. 1845) were published the latter part of June.

In the Broadway Journal of October 11, in answer to some comments by Willis regarding the Tales, Poe replied “that he was not preparing another edition for England; that his ‘Tales’ had been reproduced in England — long ago, but he had nothing to do with the reproduction; that if he was to issue another edition, [page li:] instead of ‘Tales’ he would style them ‘The Gold-Bug and Other Tales.’ ” Poe's habit of apologizing for errors committed was not confined to his letters. In the Broadway Journal for August 30, 1845, he wrote: “We thank the New-York correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette for the gentlemanly tone of his reply to some late pettish comments of our own. We saw only a portion of one of his letters. Had we seen more, we should at once, through the precision and purity of his style, have recognized a friend.” R. H. Stoddard, one of Poe's later biographers, sent a poem, “The Grecian Flute,” to the Broadway Journal. In the issue of July 26, Poe stated: “We fear we have mislaid the poem,” and August 2: “We doubt the originality of ‘The Grecian Flute’ for the reason that it is too good at some points to be so bad at others. Unless the author can reassure us we decline it.” This is not in full accord with statements of the affair afterwards published by Stoddard, who also failed to tell that on another occasion he wrote to Poe for his autograph. On October 16, Poe read his boyish poem, “Al Aaraaf,” before the Boston Lyceum, which incident provoked much comment and criticism at the time.

In the Broadway Journal Poe revised and published most of his tales and poems. His romantic acquaintance with Mrs. Frances Sargent Osgood began while he edited this journal. He had eulogized her in his New York lecture and sent her by Willis a copy of “The Raven,” with a desire for her opinion and a personal introduction. A few days after this he called at the Astor House with Willis to meet her. In a letter written to Griswold she said: “I shall never forget the morning when I was summoned to the drawing room by Mr. Willis to receive him. With his proud and beautiful [page lii:] head erect, his dark eyes flashing with the electric light of feeling and of thought, a peculiar, an inimitable blending of sweetness and hauteur in his manner, he greeted me, calmly, gravely, almost coldly, yet with so marked an earnestness that I could not help being deeply impressed by it. From that moment until his death we were friends; although we met only during the first year of our acquaintance.”

Previous biographies of Poe state that Mrs. Osgood sent some lines in the character of “Israfel” addressed to Poe, which appeared in the Broadway Journal April 5, 1845, to which he responded, April 26, with his lines “To F——,” and signed “E.” The “Israfel” verses by Mrs. Osgood did not appear in the Broadway Journal until November 29. In that journal's issue of April 5 is printed a poem, “The Rivulet's Dream” (From the German of Somebody), signed Kate Carol, preceded by a Poe note stating: “We might guess who is the fair author of the following lines, which have been sent us in a MS., evidently disguised — but we are not satisfied with guessing and would give the world to know.” In the following week's issue appeared a poem signed by Mrs. Osgood, — “Love's Reply,” concluding “write from your heart to me.” The wording of this poem, as well as the style of “The Rivulet's Dream,” indicates that Mrs. Osgood wrote both poems. Poe published, April 26, his lines “To F——,” signed “E.,” conjecturally to Mrs. Osgood. In the Editorial Miscellany of the same number Poe printed “Impromptu. To Kate Carol.”

“When from your gems of thought I turn

To those pure orbs, your heart to learn,

I scarce know what to prize most high —

The bright i-dea, or bright dear-eye.” [page liii:]

On May 31 is published a poem, “Lenore,” signed “Clarice,” which Poe attributed to Mrs. Osgood December 13. This was followed by a signed poem by Mrs. Osgood, August 30, “Slander,” referring to the “breaking oi somebody's heart.” She sent another poem, September 6, “Echo Song,” commencing, —

“I know a noble heart that beats

For one it loves how ‘wildly well!’ ”

It was to this that Poe evidently responded. September 13, with his short lines “To F——,” afterwards addressed in his poems of 1845 “To F——s S. O—d.” She wrote again November 22, with lines beginning, —

“O! they never can know that heart of thine,

Who dare accuse thee of flirtation.”

The following week's issue contained her “Israfel” verses. Her contributions after this take a more serious turn. On December 13 she has “A Shipwreck,” followed in the next by some scolding verses commencing, —

“Though friends had warned me all the while,

And blamed my willing blindness,

I did not once mistrust your smiles,

Or doubt your tones of kindness.


“ I sought you not — you came to me —

With words of friendly greeting:

Alas! how different now I see

That ill-starred moment's meeting.”

These were her last verses in the Broadway Journal, but she sent some lines to the Metropolitan about Poe in January, 1849, and published others, in her volume of poems, prior to her death.

The Broadway Journal also contains contributions [page liv:] from Anne C. Lynch, Mary E. Hewett [[Hewitt]], Mary L. Lawson, and Elizabeth Fries Ellet.

Poe afterwards met Mrs. Osgood at the weekly receptions of Anne Charlotte Lynch in Waverley Place, and his lines “A Valentine” were addressed to her. She has intimated that her influence over Poe was for his good, and that she corresponded with him at his wife's request. Mrs. E. F. Ellet while visiting the Poe home saw one of these letters couched in rather endearing terms. She consulted with Mrs. Osgood and some of her friends, and a committee of Margaret Fuller and one other was deputized to recall all her letters. Poe was surprised when they called and stated their errand, and in the flush of excitement remarked that “Mrs. Ellet should look after her own letters,” which only added fuel to the flame of scandal. Mrs. Ellet's brother demanded her letters from Poe, who in the mean time had left them at her door. Mrs. Osgood was on her deathbed when she wrote Griswold: “I think no one could know him — no one has known him personally — certainly no woman — without feeling the same interest. I can sincerely say that, although I have frequently heard of aberrations on his part from ‘the straight and narrow path,’ I have never seen him otherwise than gentle, generous, well bred, and fastidiously refined. To a sensitive and delicately-nurtured woman there was a peculiar and irresistible charm in the chivalric, graceful, and almost tender reverence with which he invariably approached all women who won his respect. It was this that first commanded and always retained my regard for him.”

From October, when Poe borrowed fifty dollars from Horace Greeley on a promissory note, with which to [page lv:] purchase the full control of the Broadway Journal, he had a hard struggle to sustain the paper. He was harassed for ready funds, and compelled to discontinue December 26, 1845. About this time his volume of poems, The Raven and Other Poems, was issued. During the latter part of this year he also worked getting out books, among them The Literary Emporium and the third edition of his Conchologist's First Book. At the turn of the year 1846, Poe had little in sight to cheer him, except his literary reputation. The publication of “The Raven,” his connection with the Broadway Journal, followed by the publication of the two volumes of his writings, had made him much sought after in certain social and literary circles of New York. He was for a time a literary lion. At an earlier period in his career he wrote in the Messenger how he arrived at a “Lionship,” by his attention to “Nosology.” Then his experiences were published as “Some Passages in the Life of a Lion.” He had not forgotten this, and being in need of funds, as one of his recent biographers has facetiously implied, he began to “make copy out of his friends.” “The Literati of New York” was published in Godey's Lady's Book from May to October, attracting much attention and comment. In the introduction Poe stated: “My design is, in giving my unbiased opinion of the literati (male and female) of New York, to give at the same time very closely, if not with absolute accuracy, that of conversational society in literary circles. It must be expected, of course, that, in innumerable particulars, I shall differ from the voice, that is to say, what appears to be the voice, of the public; but this is a matter of no consequence whatever.” The papers numbered thirty-eight and were [page lvi:] thought to complete the series. Another number not mentioned by Poe's editors appeared in the Democratic Review for August, 1848, on S. Anna Lewis. The criticisms made while the papers were being published in Godey's apparently caused Poe to be cautious. An examination of the original manuscript he sent to Godey's shows that he made many changes in his proofs. In some instances entire pages are erased and omitted from the printed text. The passages struck out have mainly an irreligious tone.

An installment of “Marginalia” printed in the Democratic Review for July, 1846, has also been overlooked by most of Poe's editors. This deals with a French translation of Lady Morgan's Letters on Italy; Decline of the Dranza; The Alphadelphia Tocsin; Simms's Areytos; Goethe's Sorrows of Werther, and Cranch's poems. In view of the discussion as to Poe's knowledge of German, it is of interest that in his notice of the Sorrows of Werther, he said: “The title is mistranslated: — Lieden does not mean Sorrows, but Sufferings.”(1)

While Poe sent occasional contributions to other magazines, his main source of revenue at this period was Godey's. The number of drafts drawn on Godey's by Poe, which now turn up as autographic mementoes of the poet, indicate that he drew his pay punctually. In Griswold's volume of The Literati, 1850, appears an interesting Poe notice of Henry B. Hirst. It contains lines quoted from both “Lenore” and “Ulalume.” The text of this has eluded search until recently, when the manuscript was called to my attention among the papers of the late E. C. Stedman. It had been sent to Graham's Magazine, but was not published. [page lvii:]

Miss Sarah F. Miller, long a resident of the Bronx, New York, gives the following recollections of the Poe family at this time:

“One of the most cherished memories of my earliest childhood is the recollection of having often seen Edgar Allan Poe. When I was a little girl we lived in a house facing Turtle Bay, on the East River, near the present 47th Street. Among our nearest neighbors was a charming family trio consisting of Mr. Poe, his wife Virginia, and his mother-in-law, Mrs. Clemm. Poor Virginia Poe was very ill at the time, and I never saw her leave her home.

“Poe and Mrs. Clemm would very frequently call on us. He would also run over every little while to ask my father to lend him our rowboat, and then how he would enjoy himself pulling at the oars over to the little islands just south of Blackwell's Island, for his afternoon swim.

“Mrs. Clemm and my mother soon became the best of friends, and she found mother a sympathetic listener to all her sad tales of poverty and want. I would often see her shedding tears as she talked. In the midst of this friendship they came and told us they were going to move to a distant place called Fordham, where they had rented a little cottage, feeling sure the pure country air would do Mrs. Poe a world of good.”

It was very late in the spring when Poe and his family retired to the cottage at Fordham. Mrs. Gove-Nichols wrote to the Sixpenny Magazine, February, 1863, of a visit made to Poe about this time, as follows: —

“We found him, and his wife, and his wife's mother — who was his aunt — living in a little cottage at the top of a hill. There was an acre or two of greensward, [page lviii:] fenced in about the house, as smooth as velvet and as clean as the best kept carpet. There were some grand old cherry trees in the yard, that threw a massive shade around them. The house had three rooms — a kitchen, a sitting-room, and a bed-chamber over the sitting-room. There was a piazza in front of the house. The sitting-room was laid out with check matting; four chairs, a light stand and a hanging book-shelf completed the furniture. On the book-shelf there lay a volume of Poe's poems. He took it down, wrote my name in it, and gave it to me.”

Poe appears to have kept a supply of his poems of 1845 on hand, and made many presentation copies. They have frequently turned up at book-auction sales and in other ways since his death. He presented Mrs. Shew with one at Fordham, which was sold by a London bookseller some years ago. This was said to have slight changes made in the text by Poe, which is an error. Poe tore out a leaf from a volume of the poems to send Mrs. Whitman the early poem of “Helen,” and also presented her with a volume which is now in a New York private library. He also sent a copy of his poems to Miss Elizabeth Barrett Barrett (afterwards Mrs. Browning), who wrote him a letter in April, 1846, in which she stated: “Your ‘Raven’ has produced a sensation, a ‘fit horror,’ here in England. Some of my friends are taken by the fear of it and some by the music. I hear of persons haunted by the ‘Nevermore,’ and one acquaintance of mine who has the misfortune of possessing a ‘bust of Pallas’ never can bear to look at it in the twilight. I think you will like to be told that our great poet Mr. Browning, the author of ‘Paracelsus’ and the ‘Bells and Pomegranates,’ was struck much [page lix:] by the rhythm of that poem. Then there is a tale of yours, which is going the rounds of the newspapers, about mesmerism, throwing us all into ‘most admired disorder,’ and dreadful doubts as to whether ‘it can be true,’ as the children say of ghost stories. The certain thing in the tale in question is the power of the writer, and the faculty he has of making horrible improbabilities seem near and familiar.” Very many associations of the poet cling around the Fordham cottage. Although he struggled here with poverty, and both he and his wife were ill, the quiet retreat gave him much pleasure. He was in communication in August with P. P. Cooke about his biography, which appeared in the Southern Literary Messenger for January, 1848. It was styled “Edgar A. Poe. An estimate of his literary merits. By P. P. Cooke,” and stated: “The following paper is a sequel to Mr. Lowell's memoir (so called) of ‘Mr. Poe, published two or three years since in Graham's Magazine. Mr. P. edited the Messenger for several years, and the pages of that Magazine would seem therefore a proper place for the few hurried observations which I have made upon his writings and genius.” The article was largely a review of the “Raven,” the “Valdemar Case,” “Ligeia,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” and “Lenore.” The concluding remarks, probably inspired by Poe, were as follows: “As regards Wiley & Putnam's tales — I think the book in some respects does him injustice. It contains twelve tales out of more than seventy; and it is made up almost wholly of what may be called his analytic tales. This is not representing the author's mind in its various phases. A reader gathering his knowledge of Mr. Poe from this Wiley & Putnam issue would perceive nothing [page lx:] of the diversity and variety for which his writings are in fact remarkable. Only the publication of all his stories, at one issue, in one book, would show this diversity in their full force; but much more might have been done to represent his mind by a judicious and not wholly one-toned selection.”

Poe was also in correspondence at this time with William Gilmore Simms and Hawthorne. His letters show his great solicitude for his wife, who was slowly dying. It was while the Literati Papers were running that Poe made some facetious remarks about the poet, Thomas Dunn English, referring to him as Thomas Done Brown. English retaliated in a newspaper article. Poe replied and finally brought suit for damages, and on February 17, 1847, recovered damages of $225.(1) It was Poe's intention eventually to publish his Literati Papers; and the original memoranda for the prospectus of the Living Writers of America, entirely in his autograph, were in the library of the late Bishop Hurst, which was dispersed at auction in March, 1905. They were written on four pages of folio paper and on four pages of smaller size, with many alterations and erasures by Poe. The title on the first page was: “The Living Writers of America. Some Honest Opinions about their Literary Merits, with Occasional Words of Personality. By Edgar A. Poe. With Notices of the Author by James Russell Lowell & P. P. Cooke.” He commenced with a reference to the Godey publications, and said the publisher was badgered into giving [page lxi:] it up. He speaks of the English attack and says: “Success induced me to extend the plan . . . discard petty animosities — it will be seen that where through petulance or neglect, or underestimate of the impression the papers were to make, I have done injustice, I have not scrupled to repair the wrong, even at the expense of consistency. . . . Political sectional animosities . . . result a depreciation of Southern and Western talent, which upon the whole is greater, more vivid, fresher, than that of the North, less conventional, less conservative — want of centralisation gives birth to a peculiar cliquism whose separate penchants render it nearly impossible to get at the truth — Instance the Humanity clique — to which belong Emerson, Lowell, Hawthorne, Godwin, Fuller, Mrs. Child, Whittier — and who judge all literature in accordance with its hobby.” There is much of the matter personal and about his literary work: also notes on prominent literary characters of his day, with trenchant criticisms.

In some correspondence with E. A. Duyckinck in November, 1845, Poe mentions his American Parnassus, and the supposition is that he had made a work along this same line at that time, or this may have been the same work revised. Mrs. Gove, who visited the Poe family in October, found them in destitute circumstances, and with a view of rendering aid introduced Mrs. M. L. Shew. Some notice of the family's condition was published in the newspapers, and a contribution of sixty dollars was raised. Poe wrote an open letter December 30, 1846, endeavoring to modify the humiliating publications. With the turn of the year 1847 his wife began to sink. Mrs. Shew had proven the ministering angel to the household. She was in constant [page lxii:] attendance, and Poe in his gratitude wrote her a number of letters. He also wrote her two poems. Mrs. William Wiley, a daughter of Mrs. Shew now residing at Long Island, remembers many pleasant reminiscences of Poe told her by her mother. It was at her house that he wrote an early draft of the “Bells,” the manuscript of which, it is claimed, Mrs. Shew sent to England, with other material as a loan. This was afterwards sold, but is now in this country. When Mrs. Wiley was a schoolgirl and was given some lessons on Poe by her teacher, her mother gave her this manuscript to show to her teacher.

Poe's wife died January 30, 1847. She was buried at Fordham, but her remains were afterwards reinterred in the same plot with Poe at Baltimore. After his wife's death Poe was very ill, which was mentioned by Cooke in the Messenger for January, 1848. He was cared for by Mrs. Clemm and Mrs. Shew, while other friends raised funds for his support. After some months Poe began to recover, and Mrs. Shew, having other important engagements, took leave of the family and advised Poe to marry a “sensible woman.” When he was able to go about again, he spent some time planning his prose poem — “Eureka.” In the March Home Journal it was announced that Poe would soon publish The Authors of America, in Prose and Verse, but nothing more was heard of this. It was probably his American Parnassus, which was finally changed to the Living Writers of America. His poem “UIalume” was published at the close of the year. In the early part of 1848 he had some correspondence looking towards the revival of his scheme of publishing the Stylus. He delivered a lecture in the hall of the Society [page lxiii:] Library, New York, in February, on the “Cosmogony of the Universe.” His volume Eureka was published in New York in the summer. His own copy of this was also in the Bishop Hurst library sale. This volume was sent after Poe's death by a relative to Griswold, who wrote his name and the remark that it was “Poe's private copy” on the first end paper. It is marked throughout with penciled additions and alterations. A note in Poe's hand on the last leaf has caused some comment. It reads: “The pain of the consideration that we shall lose our identity, ceases at once when we further reflect that the process, as above described, is, neither more nor less than that of the absorption, by each individual intelligence, of all other intelligences (that is, of the Universe) into its own. That God may be all in all, each must become God.” Poe embodied some of his ideas in Eureka in an article in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine for August, 1839, which is headed “An opinion on Dreams.” This stated: “Various opinions have been hazarded concerning dreams — whether they have any connection with the invisible and eternal world or not; and it appears to me, the reason why nothing like a definite conclusion has yet been arrived at, is from the circumstance of the arguers never making any distinction between Mind and soul, always speaking of them as one and the same. I believe man to be in himself a Trinity, viz. Mind, Body, and Soul; and thus with dreams, some induced by the mind, and some by the soul. Those connected with the mind, I think proceed partly from supernatural and partly from natural causes; those of the soul I believe are of the immaterial world alone.” The remainder of the article endeavors to show how the soul's dream and [page lxiv:] that of the mind are distinguishable; and whether sometimes, or often, they are not both at the same moment bearing their part in the nocturnal vision. It was early in 1848 when Poe wrote the first draft of the “Bells,” which he sent to Sartain's Union Magazine, but it did not find publication. He also contributed “Marginalia” and “Fifty Suggestions” to Graham's, and a “Sonnet” to the Union Magazine.

In July Poe went to Lowell and lectured on the “Poetic Principle.” There he made the acquaintance of the Richmond family. Mrs. Richmond was “his Annie.” His descriptions in “Landor's Cottage” are said to correspond with his first visit to the Richmond home, and in writing this story he is presumed to have had the Richmond cottage in mind: in fact, he has left a written statement that the tale has something of “Annie” in it. In the light of Poe's later love affairs this is interesting. He says: “As no bell was discernible, I rapped with my stick against the door, which stood half open. Instantly a figure advanced to the threshold — that of a young woman about twenty-eight years of age — slender, or rather slight, and somewhat above the medium height. As she approached, with a certain modest decision of step altogether indescribable, I said to myself, ‘surely here I have found the perfection of natural, in contradiction from artificial grace.’ The second impression which she made on me, but by far the more vivid of the two, was that of enthusiasm. So intense an expression of Romance, perhaps I should call it, or of unworldliness, as that which gleamed from her deep-set eyes, had never so sunk into my heart of hearts before. I know not how it is, but this peculiar expression of the eye, wreathing [page lxv:] itself occasionally into the lips, is the most powerful, if not absolutely the sole spell, which rivets my interest in woman. ‘Romance,’ provided my readers fully comprehend what I would here imply by the word ‘romance,’ and ‘womanliness’ seem to me convertible terms: and, after all, what man truly loves in woman is, simply, her womanhood. The eyes of Annie (I heard some one from the interior call her ‘Annie, darling!’) were ‘spiritual gray’; her hair, a light chestnut: this is all I had time to observe of her.” It was only a few months afterwards when he published his lines “To ——,” giving another romantic description of his first meeting with Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman, — “His Helen of a thousand dreams.”

In July Poe went to Richmond, Virginia, on a lecture tour. It is singular that no newspaper notice of his arrival, his departure, nor mention of this visit can be found in that city. As he wrote to Snodgrass of the earlier days in Richmond, he gave way again “to the temptations held out by the spirit of Southern conviviality.” This was Poe's failing, for whenever he listened to the voice of the tempter, he usually succumbed — a glass of wine or cider causing a protracted spree. His visit to the MacKenzie family, where his sister Rosalie resided, was brief, and he spent most of his time among the newspaper fraternity. His early child-love, Miss Poitiaux, has stated that he was refused admittance at her home when he called on this visit, because of his condition. In a letter of John R. Thompson to Patterson, dated November 9, 1849, in reply to inquiries concerning Poe, he wrote “that his acquaintance began in the Spring of 1848. That he had heard of Poe being on a debauch [page lxvi:] in the lower section of the city for two weeks. The day following Poe called on him.” After such a spree as Thompson's letter indicates Poe suffered dreadfully, and it usually took him many days to recover. If, as Thompson states, he was able to call on him in so short a time afterwards, Poe was hardly drinking at his worst, but moderately. This is verified by a statement made to me by the late Charles M. Wallace, Richmond's historian, who had an accurate memory. He saw Poe during this visit several times and knew he was drinking, but never saw him unable to take care of himself. Late one night Mr. Wallace was called out of bed by Richmond's best known newspaper editor in that day, who took him to meet the then famous poet at a nearby resort and hear him declaim “Eureka” and “The Raven,” before a select assemblage of Richmond Bohemians. When he arrived Poe was standing among the assemblage discussing matters of the day. His manners were nervous and his countenance was flushed, but he was not drunk. Mr. Wallace was introduced to Poe, who bowed in a dignified way, and in a few moments by request began his discourse, which lasted for about an hour, and was entertaining. It is not thought that Thompson saw much of Poe on this visit, and his information about Poe's habits possibly came second hand. I have another unpublished letter of Thompson's to P. P. Cooke, dated October 17, 1848, in which he states:(1) “Poe is not in Richmond. He remained here about three weeks, horribly drunk, and discoursing ‘Eureka’ to the audiences of Bar Rooms. His friends tried to get him sober and set him to work, but to no effect, and were compelled [page lxvii:] at last to reship him to New York. I was very anxious for him to write something for me, while he remained here, but his ‘lucid intervals’ were so brief and infrequent that it was quite impossible. ‘The Rationale of Verse’ I took, more as an act of charity than anything else, for though exhibiting great acquaintance with the subject, it is altogether too bizarre, and too technical for the general reader. Poe is a singular fellow.”

Poe's work during this period shows that he was sober long enough to write many columns of matter. Some of his manuscript, given away by Thompson, is still in Richmond. — “a work of manual art.” Besides “The Rationale of Verse” and a review of Mrs. Lewis's poems, in the Messenger, he also sent a new “Literati” paper on Mrs. Lewis to the Democratic Review. He is not thought to have seen Mrs. Shelton, his early love, on this visit. His love affairs were never much of a secret. In her letter to Griswold about Poe in 1850, Mrs. Osgood wrote: “Mrs. Ellet asked an introduction to him and followed him everywhere, Miss Lynch begged me to bring him there and called upon him at his lodgings, Mrs. Whitman besieged him with valentines and letters long before he wrote or took any notice of her, and all the others wrote poetry and letters to him.” Very much has been written about Poe's relations with women, and his letters and lore affairs have been closely investigated, but many incidents hinted at in this letter of Mrs. Osgood, which might put some matters in a different light, have been lost sight of. Mrs. Lewis, who was anxious for public recognition and advertisement of her poems, also followed him about, and he had an intimate acquaintance with her. He asked her to write his life when he died. Mrs. [page lxviii:] Clemm wrote her letters in the latter days, and after Poe's death went to live with her. Her husband wrote Miss S. S. Rice of Baltimore a letter October 11, 1875, which I am permitted to use. He said: “I have resided and practised my profession of the law in Brooklyn for about thirty years. Shortly after I moved here, in 1845, Mr. Poe and I became personal friends. His last residence, and where I visited him oftenest, was in a beautifully secluded cottage at Fordham, fourteen miles above New York. It was there that I often saw his dear wife during her last illness, and attended her funeral. It was from there that he and his ‘dear Muddie’ (Mrs. Clemm) often visited me at my house, frequently, and at my urgent solicitation, remaining many days. When he finally departed on his last trip south, the kissing and handshaking were at my front door. He was hopeful; we were sad: and tears gushed in torrents as he kissed his dear ‘Muddie’ and my wife ‘good-bye.’ Alas, it proved, as Mrs. Clemm feared, a final adieu. I offered Mrs. Clemm a home in my family, where she resided until 1858, when she removed to Baltimore to lay her ashes by the side of her ‘darling Eddie.’ Mr. Poe was one of the most affectionate, kind-hearted men I ever knew. I never witnessed so much tender affection and devotion as existed in that family of three persons. I have spent weeks in the closest intimacy with him, and never saw him under the slightest influence of any stimulants whatever. In my presence he was the polished gentleman, the profound scholar, the true critic, and the inspired oracular poet — dreamy and spiritual, lofty, but sad. His biographers have not done his virtues or his genius justice; and, to produce a startling effect by [page lxix:] contrast, have magnified his errors and attributed to him faults that he never had.”

With so many devoted lady admirers as Poe had when he was in Richmond on his first visit, his movements were closely watched. While the “Whitman romance” had just started, still it was talked about in literary circles and mentioned by Poe himself in Richmond. Among the literary characters he met with there was John M. Daniel of the Examiner. They did not get along together, and bad feelings existed between them from the start. Daniel had an acquaintance with Mrs. Whitman's family, and, hearing about Poe's attentions, made disparaging remarks, which came to Poe's ears. This with some other dispute about a debt infuriated Poe, who sent a challenge to Daniel to fight a duel.(1) The affair was well remembered by Judge Hughes. The newspaper men arranged to have Poe meet Daniel alone in the Examiner office, but the matter was settled without any recourse to arms. Daniel afterwards published an unkind allusion to the reported engagement of Poe and Mrs. Whitman, but became one of his most intimate friends. And yet when Poe died he wrote in the Messenger a rather harsh account of his life. Later still he wrote a pleasant and favorable letter about Poe to Mrs. Whitman, which she quoted in her publication, Edgar Poe and His Critics.

After Poe's return home he traveled between New York, Lowell, and Providence, lecturing on the “Poetic Principle.” In the Richmond Whig of August 17, 1849, probably inspired by Poe, it was stated: “This lecture [page lxx:] on the Poetic Principle is one of the course delivered before the Providence Lyceum last fall, the other lecturers being Rufus Choate, Theodore Parker, Alonzo Potter (Bishop of Pennsylvania), Louis Agassiz, the French savant, and Daniel Webster, who opened the course. Mr. Poe had the largest audience of the season, more than 1600 persons.” In another notice in this paper Poe gave some mention of the publication of his tales in France, showing a knowledge of the publications.

Among other incidents in the life of Poe, much has been written about his love entanglements with Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman. He was to marry her in December. She is said to have heard that Poe was drinking again, and when he called she drenched her handkerchief with ether and threw herself on a sofa, hoping to lose consciousness. She remembered his last words and that she told him that she “loved him.” After this Mrs. Whitman mentioned that she playfully sent some verses about him — “Stanzas for Music” — to the Metropolitan Magazine for February, 1849. She always would have it that Poe construed these lines as an olive branch, and in return wrote “Annabel Lee.” Poe during his last visit to Richmond stated to Judge Hughes that Mrs. Whitman had made repeated efforts towards a reconciliation, which he refused. It seems evident that he paid no attention to her lines in the Metropolitan, for Mrs. Whitman again sent other verses to the Southern Literary Messenger, where she knew they would come under his eye. So that Poe might not regard them as old stock, she dated them “Isle of Rhodes, March, 1849.” They appeared in the June number of the Messenger, beginning, — [page lxxi:]

“I bade thee stay. Too well I knew

The fault was mine, mine only.”

Mrs. Whitman forgot to mention these lines in after life, and possibly lived in hopes that they had been forgotten, but she took pains to revise them for the later publication of her poems.

After Poe's death Mrs. Whitman made a fetish of his memory. She gave out portions of his letters written to her, and a fragment of a facsimile. After her own death there appeared The Last Letters of Edgar Allan Poe to Sarah Helen Whitman. The matter in the volume appeared in the Century Magazine for January, 1909, as “New Light on a Romantic Episode.” It was claimed that the letters now appeared without “omissions, garbling or diversion.” A comparison with that text and the fragment of the facsimile shows a slight difference in at least one of the letters. There are also some deviations between the marriage and another contract as given in the book and magazine.

After parting with Mrs. Whitman Poe drew closer to “Annie,” as his letters show. He also seemed hopeful and made preparations for more active literary labors. In an unpublished letter dated Fordham, Saturday, January 20 (1849), he wrote the American Whig Review:(1) “May I trouble you to hand the accompanying brief article to Mr. Whelpley and see if he can give me $10 for it? About four years ago, I think, I wrote a paper on ‘The American Drama’ for your review. It was printed anonymously — my name not given in the index. The criticism referred chiefly to Willis's ‘Tortesa’ and Longfellow's ‘Spanish Student.’ Could you procure me the number containing it?” [page lxxii:]

His later correspondence shows that the article sent in this communication was “Critics and Criticism,” which was not accepted, and he sent it to Graham's, where it did not find publication until after his death. His income does not appear to have been sufficient for his needs, and he had to resort to his former habit of borrowing, as evidenced by a sixty days’ note given by him for sixty-seven dollars, February 3, 1849, to Isaac Cooper, brother of the novelist. In this same month he wrote in a letter to F. W. Thomas: “Right glad am I to find you once more in a true position — ‘in the field of letters.’ Depend upon it after all, Thomas, literature is the most noble of professions. In fact, it is about the only one fit for a man. For my own part there is no seducing me from the path. I shall be a littérateur, at least, all my life; nor would I abandon the hopes which still lead me on for all the gold in California.” He had also remarked to a friend, “One Richard, whom you know is himself again.” He sent a review of Griswold's Female Poets of America to the Messenger for February, which has been overlooked by previous biographers. In the March number he wrote his criticism on Lowell's A Fable for Critics. He wrote for Godey's, and had also become a regular contributor to the Boston Flag of Our Union. His contributions there have never been known with any degree of certainty until now. He contributed: March 3, “A Valentine”; March 17, “Hop Frog”; March 31, “A Dream within a Dream”; April 14, “Von Kempelen and his Discovery”; April 21, “Eldorado”; April 28, “For Annie”; May 12, “Xing a Paragrab”; June 9, “Landor's Cottage,” and July 7, “Sonnet — To my Mother.” These were mentioned as by Edgar A. Poe, a regular contributor. [page lxxiii:]

In May Poe's hopes for the publication of his Stylus were revived by finding a partner in E. H. Patterson. It was with the object of securing subscriptions for this that he started South in June. At Philadelphia he met with his old companions again, with the usual result that he was in the end desperately ill. His friend John Sartain and others took care of him, and he finally arrived in Richmond, Saturday, July 14, 1849. He stopped at the old Swan Tavern, where Dr. George W. Rawlings, the physician who was with his early companion Burling when he died of cholera, attended him.

Dr. Rawlings, who lived in a small frame house on Broad Street adjoining the Swan Tavern, stated that in his delirium Poe drew a pistol and tried to shoot him. Burling, before his death about 1832, lived around the corner from Dr. Rawlings on Ninth Street. When Poe recovered he joined a temperance society. A reference to this from the Philadelphia Bulletin was copied in the Richmond Whig in September, while Poe was in Richmond. The same paper about this time copied a favorable notice from the Cincinnati Atlas, referring to Poe's visit to Richmond and his lecture. A lengthy review of Mrs. Osgood's poems, written by Poe, appeared in the August Messenger. He delivered his first lecture August 17 in the Exchange concert rooms. His subject was the “Poetic Principle.” The Whig had a favorable notice, and urged him to repeat the lecture. Poe has written in his letters of this lecture, and mentioned that all the press notices were favorable except one written by Daniel, whom he had once challenged. This notice, inaccessible until now, is of interest, and appeared in the Examiner of August 21, as follows: — [page lxxiv:]

“Poe's subject was the ‘Poetic Principle,’ and he treated it with all the acuteness and imagination that we had expected from him. We were glad to hear the lecturer explode what he properly pronounced to be the poetic ‘heresy of modern times,’ to wit: that poetry should have a purpose, an end to accomplish beyond that of ministering to our sense of the beautiful. We have in these days poets of humanity and poets of universal suffrage, poets whose mission it is to break down corn laws and poets to build up workhouses. The idea infects half the criticism and all the poetry of this utilitarian country. But no idea can be more false, as we have elementary faculties in our minds whose end is to reason, others to perceive colors and forms, and others to construct, and as argument. painting, and mechanics are the products of those faculties and are only intended for them; as we have nerves to be pleased with perfumes; others with gay colors and others with the contact of soft bodies — so have we an elementary faculty for perceiving beauty with ends of its own and means of its own — Poetry is the product of this faculty, and of no other; it is addressed to the sense of the beautiful and to no other sense. It is ever injured when subjected to the criterion of other faculties, and was never intended to fulfill any other objects than those peculiar to the organ of the mind from which it received its birth. Mr. Poe made good his distinction with a great deal of acuteness and in a very clever manner. His various pieces of criticism upon the popular poets of the country were for the most part just, and were very entertaining. But we were disappointed in Mr. Poe's recitations. We had heard a good deal of his manner, but it does not answer our [page lxxv:] wants. His voice is soft and distinct, but neither clear nor sonorous. He does not make rhyme effective; he reads all verse like blank verse; and yet he gives it a sing song of his own more monotonous than any versification. On the two last syllables of every sentence he invariably falls a fifth. He did not make his own ‘Raven’ an effective piece of reading. At this we would not be surprised were any other than the author its reader. The chief charm perhaps of that extraordinary composition is the strange and subtle music of the versification. As in Mr. Longfellow's rhythm we can hear it with our mind's ear while we read it ourselves, but no human organs are sufficiently delicate to weave it into articulate sounds. For this reason we are not surprised at ordinary failures in reading these pieces. But we anticipated some peculiar charm in their utterances by the lips of him who created the verse, and in this case we were disappointed. A large audience was in attendance. Indeed the concert room was completely filled. Mr. Poe commenced his career in this city, and those who had not seen him since the days of his obscurity of course felt no little curiosity to behold so famous a townsman. Mr. Poe is a small thin man, slightly formed, keen visaged, with dark complexion, dark hair, and we believe dark eyes. His face is not an ordinary one. The forehead is well developed and the nose somewhat more prominent than usual. Mr. Poe is a man of very decided genius. Indeed we know of no other writer in the United States who has half the chance to be remembered in the history of literature. But his reputation will rest on a very small minority of his compositions. Among all his poems there are only two pieces which are not execrably bad, — [page lxxvi:] ‘The Raven’ and ‘Dream-Land.’ The majority of his prose compositions are the children of want and dyspepsia, of the printer's devils and the blue devils — had he possessed the power of applying his creative faculty, — as have the Miltons, the Shakespeares, and all the other demiurgi, — he would have been a great man. But there is not one trace of that power in any of his compositions that we have read; and if rumor is to be credited his career has been that of the Marlowes, the Jonsons, the Dekkers, and the Websters, the old dramatists and translunary rowdies of the Elizabethan age. Had Mr. Poe possessed talent in the place of genius, he might have been a popular and money-making author. He would have written a great many more good things than he has; but his title to immortality would not and could not be surer than it is — For the few things that the author has written which are at all tolerable are coins stamped with the unmistakable die. They are of themselves, sui generis, unlike any diagrams in Time's kaleidoscope, either past, present, or to come — and gleam with the diamond hues of Eternity.”

Poe afterwards called to see Daniel to disabuse his mind of the unfavorable portions of this criticism. He succeeded in so far as to effect an arrangement to become an associate with Daniel on the Examiner newspaper. It was arranged that he was to do the book reviewing and other literary work. He was also to revise and republish his writings, especially his poems, and the principal poems were to be published in the Examiner. He was shown a desk by Daniel and asked to commence work. This was Daniel's way, and it was also his habit not to say much in his paper about his [page lxxvii:] associates. He always liked Daniel to be kept fully in the foreground. The connection of Poe, however, was talked about in newspaper circles and well understood at the time.

The venerable Bishop O. P. Fitzgerald writes: —

“I was in Richmond in 1849, and remember Mr. Poe, with his white linen coat and trousers, black velvet vest, and broad Panama hat. He was the most notable figure among the group of specialists that gathered around John M. Daniel, editor of the Richmond Examiner. Daniel was an electric battery, fully charged, whose touches shocked the staid and lofty-minded leaders in Virginia Politics. There was about him that indefinable charm that draws men of genius towards one another, though differing in the quality and measure of their endowment. There was Robert W. Hughes, with his strong judicial brain, just starting on his path of distinction. There was Patrick Henry Aylett, a descendant of the great orator, and a rising young lawyer. There was Arthur Petticolas, who had an ├Žsthetic touch that gave his dissertations on Art a special charm and value. The Examiner under Daniel was a free lance: it made things lively for all sorts of readers.

“Mr. Poe naturally found his way thereto as literary editor. He had already attained celebrity as a writer whose prose and poetry were unlike those of all other persons. The reading public was watching him expectantly, looking for greater things. There was about him something that drew especial notice. His face was one of the saddest ever seen. His step was gentle, his voice soft, yet clear; his presence altogether winning. Though unlike in most particulars, Poe and Daniel affiliated in [page lxxviii:] dealing with a world in which sin and folly on the one hand provoked their wrath and scorn, and on the other appealed to their pity and helpfulness.

“That Mr. Poe was battling with tragic threatenings at this time, now seems pretty clear. The literary public of Richmond knew enough of him to elicit a profound interest in his behalf. They wished to express their good will and invited him to deliver a lecture. The whole transaction was unique and gave a touch of the Old South. The lecture was delivered, and by special request the lecturer then and there recited his own poem, ‘The Raven,’ the remembrance of which is a pleasure to one of his hearers — unto this day.”

Judge Hughes and others of the Examiner have also told of his work done in that office. He sent many of his best known poems revised into the composing room, where they were typeset for future use, but only “The Raven” and” Dream-Land” appeared. The others, however, were preserved in proof sheets and used by F. W. Thomas, who was afterwards connected with the Richmond Enquirer as literary editor, to prepare a new edition of Poe's poems. These are now published for the first time.

After his first lecture Poe went to Norfolk, Virginia. Miss Susan Ingram in the New York Herald of February 19, 1905, tells of meeting him with a Virginia party at Old Point Comfort, Sunday, September 9. She said: —

“That Sunday evening in early September at Old Point stands out like a lovely picture. I cannot describe it fitly. There was more in it than may be expressed in mere words. There were several of us girls, all friends, and all of us knew Mr. Poe. I can see just how we looked, sitting about there in our white dresses. There [page lxxix:] was a young collegian, too, who was my particular friend. He is gone long years since, and all the others in that little group have passed away except Sister and myself.

“Mr. Poe sat there in that quiet way of his which made you feel his presence. After a while my aunt, who was nearer his age, said: ‘This seems to be just the time and place for poetry, Mr. Poe.’ And it was. We all felt it. The old Hygeia stood some distance from the water, but with nothing between it and the ocean. It was moonlight, and the light shone over everything with that undimmed light that it has in the South. There were many persons on the long verandas that surrounded the hotel, but they seemed remote and far away. Our little party was absolutely cut off from everything except that lovely view of the water shining in the moonlight, and its gentle music borne to us on the soft breeze. Poe felt the influence. How could a poet help it? And when we seconded the request that he recite for us he agreed readily. He recited ‘The Raven,’ ‘Annabel Lee,’ and last of all ‘Ulalume,’ with the last stanza of which he remarked that he feared it might not be intelligible to us, as it was scarcely clear to himself, and for that reason it had not been published (sic). The next day he sent a copy of the poem with a letter.

“We went from Old Point Comfort to our home near Norfolk, and he called on us there, and again I had the pleasure of talking with him. Although I was only a slip of a girl and he what then seemed to me quite an old man, and a great literary one at that, we got on together beautifully. He was one of the most courteous gentlemen I have ever seen, and that gave a great [page lxxx:] charm to his manner. None of his pictures that I have ever seen look like the picture of Poe that I keep in my memory. Of course they look like him, so that any one seeing them could have recognized him from them, but there was something in his face that is in none of them. Perhaps it was in the eyes, perhaps in the mouth. I do not know, but any one who ever met him would understand what I mean.

“There were no indications of dissipation apparent when we saw Poe in Virginia at that time. I think he had not been drinking for a long time. If I had not heard or read what had been said about his intemperance I should never have had any idea of it from what I saw in Poe. To me he seemed a good man, as well as a charming one, very sensitive and very high-minded.

“I remember one little incident that illustrates how loyal he was to the memory of those who had been kind to him. I was fond of orris root, and always had the odor of it about my clothes. One day when we were walking together he spoke of it. ‘I like it, too,’ he said. ‘Do you know what it makes me think of? My adopted mother. Whenever the bureau drawers in her room were opened there came from them a whiff of orris root, and ever since when I smell it I go back to the time when I was a little boy, and it brings back thoughts of my mother.’ ”

Poe lectured in the Norfolk Academy on the “Poetic Principle” Friday, September 14, and it was noticed in the American Beacon of that city. He returned to Richmond, where he lectured again on the same subject September 24, which was his last public appearance. During this visit Poe made many social calls, often in [page lxxxi:] the company of his sister Rosalie, who still resided in Richmond. He visited the Bernards, relatives of White of the Messenger; the Strobias, who were old church friends of the first Mrs. Allan as well as the Poitiaux family. His child-love Miss Poitiaux was alive, and she has left her statement of this last visit. She published some lines on the death of Poe in Richmond in August, 1852, with the following introduction: —

“The writer of these lines was in early life a playmate of the unfortunate Edgar A. Poe, and the god-daughter of the lady by whom he was adopted. He even then gave promise of the talent which has since made his name one long to be remembered as a writer — I will not say unequaled, but not surpassed by any poet of his time. Some few weeks preceding his sorrowful demise he visited our city and read before the public his ‘Raven,’ and others of his own and Hood's beautiful verses. I was at that time too unwell to venture out and did not hear him, but a few days afterwards he called on me. His unfortunate propensity had made us refuse to see him on a former occasion, but this time he unexpectedly entered the room in which I was sitting, saying as I rose to meet him: ‘Old friend, you see I would not be denied.’ He only stayed a few minutes, but in that short time left an impression on my memory which has never since been effaced. He was to be married in a few weeks to a lady of our city, and as he stood upon the steps bidding me farewell, I asked, alluding to his marriage, when I should see him again. It was no fancy, but a strange reality, that a gray shadow such as I had never seen before, save on the face of the dying. passed across his as, gazing gravely in mine, he answered slowly: ‘In the words of my Raven, perhaps — nevermore,’ [page lxxxii:] and in a moment he had gone. In a few weeks I heard the tidings of his death.”

Poe also made a visit to his dear friend, as he called Eliza Lambert, the sister of General Lambert, once Mayor of Richmond and a near relation of the Strobias. There were other friends of his early days there, and, as he wrote in one of his last letters to Mrs. Clemm, he remained until one o’clock in the morning, talking of the olden times. He also visited the family of W. A. R. Nye, connected with the Whig, who were friends of long standing. Much more of his time was spent with Mrs. Shelton, his early love, to whom he was again engaged to be married. She was seen with him at church and at his lectures, and he wrote to Mrs. Clemm that all was in readiness for the marriage. In the same letter he showed distress of mind about “Annie” and wished to be near her. Mrs. Shelton has left her recollections of Poe, which are supposed to be in the Valentine Museum, Richmond. They are not thought to differ materially from her other statements. She gave a pleasing description of Poe in his youthful days calling to see her in company with Burling, and how he met and begged her to marry him in 1849. He visited her the night before he left Richmond for Baltimore, when he complained of feeling ill. Richmond's oldest bookdealer, J. W. Randolph, remembered Poe. He told me that in those days he had Sanxey's old book-stand. Poe was a good customer of Sanxey's in olden times. He had been coming in quietly and looking about Randolph's shop, and now and then buying a magazine. “Look here,” he said one day; “it makes me sad to come in here and not see Sanxey. When did he die?” Randolph explained that Sanxey was not dead, but [page lxxxiii:] had sold out. Poe went to hunt him up, and returning to the store a few days afterwards, told of a pleasant meeting with his former old book friend.

In order to wind up his affairs before his marriage, arranged for October 17, he made preparations to visit the North. He had a commission to edit a volume of poems in Philadelphia, and told Daniel that he would publish his own writings while away. After leaving Mrs. Shelton's on the evening of September 26, he went to Sadler's restaurant, where he met J. M. Blakey and other friends. Both Sadler and Blakey told Judge Hughes that they remembered meeting Poe at the restaurant that night, and did not think that he was drinking. They were quite certain that he was sober when they saw him last, and talking of going North. He left for Baltimore and Philadelphia early the following morning. As he steamed down the James River thoughts of his former journey more than twenty-two years before must have dashed across his memory, as well as the many other strange vicissitudes through which he had passed since his boyhood scrims in the same waters.

He had been wandering about Baltimore for some days when he was found, Wednesday, October 3, in an unconscious condition, near Ryan's Fourth Ward Polls. He was taken to the Washington Hospital, where he died October 7, 1849.

A notice of Poe's death was printed in the Richmond Whig of October 9, as follows: “It is with profound grief that we give place this morning to the painful intelligence which will be read below. The sad announcement was received in yesterday's evening mail. When we reflect that it was but the other day that the [page lxxxiv:] deceased was delighting our citizens with a lecture as beautiful as his own genius was powerful and erratic — that he was walking in our streets in the vigor of manhood and mingling with acquaintances in the sociability of friendship — we would fain believe that it was untrue. The news of the death of Mr. Poe will fall with a heavy and crushing weight upon one in this city who is related to him by the tender tie of sister; and who can hardly have any previous knowledge of his illness; whilst it will be read with profound regret by all who appreciate generous qualities or admire genius. In the beautiful language of his own ‘Lenore,’ let there be a requiem for the dead — in that he died so young.”

Poe was buried in the churchyard of the Westminster Church at Baltimore. Rev. W. T. D. Clemm read the services of the Methodist Episcopal Church. There were but few friends and relatives present at the sad rites. After his death, “Annabel Lee” was published in the New York Tribune, and Sartain's Union Magazine for November contained “‘The Bells.” The Messenger for December contained “To my Mother”; Graham's, January, 1850, “Critics and Criticism”; followed in October by the “Poetic Principle,” published in Sartain's Union Magazine. In the Examiner of October 26, Daniel announced: “Edgar Poe's complete works are to be published under the supervision of Willis and Lowell and under the auspices of Rufus Griswold. O! what a triumvirate.” The November Messenger published a notice of Poe's death, in which the following letter to Thompson from H. W. Longfellow was given: —

“What a melancholy death is that of Mr. Poe — a man so richly endowed with genius! I never knew him personally, but have always entertained a high appreciation [page lxxxv:] of his powers as a prose writer and a poet. His prose is remarkably vigorous, direct and yet affluent; and his verse has a peculiar charm of melody, an atmosphere of true poetry about it, which is very winning. The harshness of his criticisms I have never attributed to anything but the irritation of a sensitive nature, chafed by some indefinite sense of wrong.”

Mrs. Clemm died in Baltimore at the Church Home, February 16, 1871. This was the same building in which Poe died. She was buried beside Poe. Rosalie Poe also became a subject for charity, and entered the Epiphany Church Home, Washington, where she died in July, 1874, at the age of sixty-four, which places her birth in 1810.

All that was mortal of Poe rested in a neglected grave in an obscure corner of the Baltimore Churchyard until November 17, 1875, when a monument was erected. I was present at the services of dedication, and remember that it was a raw, chilly, and bleak November day. Among those present who had known him best were J. H. Hewett [[Hewitt]], and his old schoolmaster, Professor Clarke; also Drs. Brooks and Snodgrass. A number of letters and poems were read. Among those who sent tributes were Mallarmé, Swinburne, Hayne, Fawcett, Winter, John Neal, Mrs. Whitman, Saxe, Bryant, Longfellow, Tennyson, Whittier, Lowell, Aldrich, and Holmes. Swinburne wrote: “Widely as the fame of Poe has already spread, and deeply as it is already rooted in Europe, it is even now growing wider and striking deeper as time advances; the surest presage that Time, the eternal enemy of small and shallow reputations, will prove in this case also the constant and trusty friend and keeper of a poet's full-grown fame.” [page lxxxvi:]

The following warm tribute was from O. W. Holmes: “No one, surely, needs a mausoleum less than the poet.

‘His monument shall be his gentle verse,

which eyes not yet created shall o’erread;

And tongues to be, his being shall rehearse

When all the breathers of this world are dead.’

Yet we would not leave him without a stone to mark the spot where the hands that ‘waked to ecstasy the living lyre’ were laid in dust. He that can confer an immortality which will outlast bronze and granite deserves this poor tribute, not for his sake so much as ours. The hearts of all who reverence the inspiration of genius, who can look tenderly upon the infirmities too often attending it, who can feel for its misfortunes, will sympathize with you as you gather around the resting-place of all that was mortal of Edgar Allan Poe, and raise the stone inscribed with one of the few names which will outlive the graven record meant to perpetuate its remembrance.”


[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page xxi:]

1  All statements from F. W. Thomas are from the same source.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page xxii:]

1  The statements by Poe himself, and his biographers, that David Poe died in Richmond, also the recent claim as to Norfolk, Virginia, have no foundation of fact.

2  This, with other direct early information concerning Poe and the Allan family, is derived from Judge R. W. Hughes, Dabney Dandridge, a colored servant of the Allans, and other old Richmond residents. (The Allans also had another old servant named “Jim.”)

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page xxv:]

1  Mrs. Clemm said this was not infrequent.

2  This with his name in an early school book in my possession are his earliest known autographs.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page xxvi:]

1  He also left several legacies to provide for the maintenance of the results of this fault. The Richmond court records with the original entry of this will were destroyed by fire. It was also recorded is another court, but was not accessible to Poe's previous biographers. I have a copy of the will, as well as the full proceedings of the lengthy legal contest made to break the will of the second Mrs. Alan, which was finally decided by the Supreme Court.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page xxviii:]

1  The attorneys’ letters are still preserved in Richmond.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page xxx, running to the bottom of page xxxi:]

1  I have made repeated efforts to locate the papers of Mrs. Smith, who died about 1887, but her nearest relative could give [page xxxi:] me no information. Some poetry written by Poe to Miss Herring, also a copy of his early poems presented to her, were sold some years since. It is likely that the original possessor of this material holds these letters.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page xxxii:]

1  A peculiar fact connected with his army career was an appointment at Charleston, May 1, 1828, as “artificer.” The office called for “military mechanics,” of some kind, which Poe was never known to possess. The records do not show what duties he performed, or whether he actually displayed mechanical skill in any way.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page xl:]

1  MS. from Poe's Southern Literary Messenger desk.

2  I have copies of the Southern Literary Messenger from the Hawks library with the address in Poe's autograph.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page l:]

1  Mentioned in a letter of Charles Fenno Hoffman to Griswold, July 11, 1845: Passages from the Correspondence and other Papers of R. W. Griswold (Cambridge, Mass., 1898), p. 186.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page lvi:]

1  Poe's spelling of “Leiden” is incorrect. He also has “Werter” for Werther.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page lx:]

1  An unpublished letter written by Poe to J. M. Fields, editor of the St. Louis Reveille, dated June 15, 1846, giving an account of the English matter in the New York Mirror was among the papers of the late E. C. Stedman.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page lxvi:]

1  John R. Thompson to P. P. Cooke, MS.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page lxix:]

1  The Life of Edgar Allan Poe. By George E. Woodberry. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston and New York 1909. Vol. ii, p. 443, reprints a full account.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page lxxi:]

1  Poe to John Priestly, Proprietor, MS.





[S:1 - CPEAP, 1911] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - A Poe Bookshelf - Memoir (ed. J. H. Whitty, 1911)