Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. James H. Whitty), “Notes and Variorum Text (Part 03),” The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1911, pp. 320-322


[[The following notes were added in 1917:]

[page 320:]


Text, Graham’s Magazine, December, 1845.

In Mrs. Frances Sargent Osgood’s own copy of Graham’s Magazine for December, 1845, she marked these Stanzas to herself, and added Poe’s name to the signed initial “P.”

The romance between Mrs. Osgood and Poe had then been going on steadily for some months. There were also other previous references to each other in Graham’s Magazine and the Broadway Journal. About the time this poem was written there had arisen some misunderstanding, or Mrs. Osgood’s family had interceded in the matter. These lines followed Mrs. Osgood’s verses addressed to Poe called “Israfel” in the November Broadway Journal and may have been intended as Poe’s answer.


Text, Graham’s Magazine, October, 1845.

In an old leather-bound copy of Graham’s Magazine for the years 1845-46, once owned by Mrs. Frances Sargent Osgood, she marked this poem signed “ P, “ as by Poe. The markings of her own writings in the same volume show that the lines were an impromptu reply of Poe’s to some words of hers in a story published in the August, 1845, number of Graham’s Magazine, called “Ida Grey.”

The text and additional markings of Mrs. Osgood to this tale make it read like an idealized account of her first meeting with Poe as written in a letter to R. W. Griswold. Her hero, like Poe, “has grey eyes of singular earnestness; manners coldly courteous; with depth to the tone of his voice. His lightning intellect was irresistible.” And like Poe he had a wife. In one passage she wrote: “He bids me tell him that I love him, as proudly as if he had a right, an unquestionable, an undoubted, a divine right to demand my love. Ah! With what grand and simple eloquence he writes! “

From this it might be taken that Poe’s letters to Mrs. Osgood were equally as interesting and eloquent as those he wrote to Mrs. Whitman and to “Annie.”

In some way R. W. Griswold had obtained possession of this volume of Mrs. Osgood’s and no doubt the matters made him the more anxious to secure the letters of Mrs. Osgood written to Poe. Mrs. Clemm wrote Mr. Ingram, Poe’s English biographer, that Griswold had made her a [page 321:] liberal offer of money for the letters of Mrs. Osgood, but fearing that poverty might force her to give them up, as well as others her “Eddie” had entrusted to her care, she finally destroyed them.

This story of “Ida Grey,” with its close references to Poe’s romance with Mrs. Osgood, must have been talked about by Poe’s contemporaries at the time. While the Mrs. Whitman romance was going on later, as Poe’s published letters to Mrs. Whitman show, his “pestilential literary women friends” kept busy sending Mrs. Whitman stories detrimental to Poe’s character, while she in turn almost swamped Poe with interrogatories. Among Mrs. Whitman’s inquiries to Poe was something about this story of “Ida Grey.” It may be recalled that Poe is alleged to have first written to Mrs. Whitman under the assumed name of “Edward S. T. Grey.” In reply to Mrs. Whitman’s inquiry, Poe merely stated, “Mrs. O.’s ‘Ida Grey’ is in Graham’s for August — ‘45.”


Text, Poe MS.

A facsimile of this poem entirely in Poe’s handwriting is preserved, but the original manuscript seems to be lost. The poem was discovered among the Ellis & Allan papers in the Library of Congress at Washington among a number of other Poe documents. It was written by Poe Just after his return from college in 1827, and at a time when his love disappointments with Miss Royster were most keenly felt. This is Poe’s earliest known manuscript verse.


Text, Poe MS.

This couplet in faint pencil in Poe’s autograph was discovered in the New York Public Library in October, 1914. It is written on the back of an original holograph manuscript of Poe’s poem “Eulalie.” It was laid in a leatherette-bound copy book used as an autograph album about the period of 1845 to 1850. It is written on light bluish tinted writing paper common to the period in which it was produced, and like Poe used during the latter part of his life. There is pasted on the lower right-hand corner of the poem “Eulalie,” on a strip of white paper, “Respt. Yr. Ob. St. Edgar A. Poe”; evidently taken from one of Poe’s letters. It is a conjecture that the lines were written in the year 1845, although they may [page 322:] date after the death of Poe’s wife in 1847. The couplet is printed in the New York Public Library Bulletin for December, 1914, Vol. XVIII. No. 12.


Text, Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843.

The verses appear in a sketch of Poe’s life published in the Philadelphia Saturday Museum, March 4, 1843, with many other well-known and fully authenticated poems by Poe.

Joe Locke was an inspector of tactics, and an ex officio officer of the barracks, at the West Point Academy while Poe was there in 1830-31. The principal duty of Inspector Locke was to report any violations of instructions. It is said by Poe’s contemporaries that No. 28, South Barracks, where Poe sojourned with two other cadets, gave Locke plenty to report.

Poe was hopeful that this lampoon would earn his dismissal, but it was overlooked. The lines eluded the observation of Poe’s earlier editors of his poems, but appeared among the “Notes” in the revised Life of Poe by Professor G. E. Woodberry. A cadet who roomed with Poe at West Point has also published one verse erroneously of the poem from memory in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine for November, 1867. This was copied into the Virginia Poe, Vol. I.







[S:0 - JHW11, 1911] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Notes and Variorum Text (Part 03) (ed. J. H. Whitty, 1911)