Text: James H. Whitty, “Poems in the Chase Volume,” The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1911, pp. 169-170


[page 169, unnumbered:]




AMONG other poems attributed to Poe are those published in the “Miscellaneous Selections And Original Pieces In Prose And Verse. By Elizabeth Chase. Published For The Editor By E. J. Cole. Richard J. Metchett [[Matchett]] Printer. 1821.”

This volume printed at Baltimore contains “Monody On The Death Of General Joseph Sterett By A Very Young Gentleman Of Baltimore” and is signed “Edgar”; also twenty other pieces by the same hand — “A Dream”; “To Sorrow”; “Twilight ”; “A Lily ”; “To Despondency,” etc. A note to one states that they were composed by a youth of eighteen. The volume is often sold at the book-auction houses and by book dealers, where the following note is met with as an advertisement: “These poems have been attributed to Edgar Allan Poe, and the age given as ‘eighteen’ is possibly a fiction to disguise the extreme youth of the poet. Poe at this period was writing verse, though still at school, for it is related that about this time Mr. Allan showed a manuscript of poems written by him to the young ladies of Richmond. Though as yet no evidence has been brought forward to prove conclusively that these poems were the production of Poe, still upon a closer examination of them, and particularly after a comparison of them with the ‘Fugitive Pieces’ (written in 1821) and published with Tamerlane in 1827, it is difficult to believe otherwise than that they were by the same [page 170:] hand. The decided preference in the choice of doleful and melancholy themes, the frequent employment of imagery drawn from the beauties of nature — the heavens, flowers, etc., and the occasional reiteration of liquid sounds and alliterative combinations in the versification here exhibited, it seems, all tend to strengthen this belief.”

A study and investigation of these poems leads to the belief that they were probably written by an early Baltimore literary character whose last name was “Edgar.” His family connections have been met with, but they could not give definite information. In efforts to trace the poems other similar poetry written about the same period was found by Baltimore poets. Here are some lines signed E. A. S., perhaps as Poesque as any in the Chase volume: —

“What clouds my brow, O, ask me not,

It brings upon my mind, my care worn lot,

It tells me of the many joys I ‘ve lost;

While on life's ocean tempest toss’d.”

F. W. Thomas was studying law in Baltimore about 1821 and a close associate of Poe's brother William Henry Leonard Poe, who also resided in that city. He made no mention of these poems in his Recollections of E. A. Poe. If Poe had been about Baltimore in 1821 and especially publishing poetry Thomas would likely have had some knowledge of it.







[S:0 - JHW11, 1911] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems in the Chase Volume (ed. J. H. Whitty, 1911)