Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. James H. Whitty), “Notes Mainly on Changes,” The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1911, pp. 323-329


[page 323, unnumbered:]



Sources of the text for E. A. Poe's poems, page 183 [[215]]. After Griswold's 1850 edition of Poe's poems should follow Griswold's “Gift Leaves of American Poetry.” 1849.

The Raven, page 224. The “Raven” first appeared in the Evening Mirror of January 29, 1845. This form of the poem was carried over into the Weekly Mirror of February 8, 1845, as it is shown by the error in both issues, in the tenth stanza of the poem. In the fifth line the word “he” is repeated.

To One in Paradise, page 252. A holograph manuscript of Poe's, and signed “Edgar Allan Poe,” of this poem has been discovered within the past year. It has the heading “To One Departed,” which was used once before by Poe to his poem “To F——,” published in Graham's Magazine for March, 1842. There are only three stanzas, the third stanza as left by Poe in his 1845 revision being cut out. It closely follows the earlier versions of the poem and was probably written prior to 1845. There are a few punctuation changes, and in the last line “eternal streams” is changed to “Elysian streams.” The history of the manuscript is not fully traced.

Eulalie — A Song, page 254. A manuscript of this poem in the auto* graph of Poe was discovered in the New York Public Library in October, 1914. It was laid loose in an autograph album, a part of the collection of R. L. Stuart presented to the library in 1892. It is written on a light bluish tinted paper similar to writing paper used by Poe. On the lower right-hand corner of the poem is pasted “Respt. Yr. Ob. St. Edgar A. Poe”; the salutation and signature of Poe, evidently extracted from a Poe letter. There is written on the back of the manuscript in faint pencil an original couplet by Poe. The poem and lines it is conjectured were written in 1845, although they may date later, or after the death of his wife in 1847. A fac-simile of the poem appears in the New York Public Library Bulletin for December, 1914, Vol. XVIII, No. 12.

To F——s S. O——d, page 254. The original manuscript to these [page 324:] verses as first written by Poe have been discovered since the issue of the first edition of this volume. When Miss Herring was married she exchanged albums with a girl friend. Both albums had in them poetry written by Poe. The album of Miss Herring with Poe's verse has been found, but that of her friend, with other Poe matters Miss Herring was known to hold, has so far eluded vigilant search. The lines are entirely in Poe's autograph and were written in the album of his cousin Elizabeth Herring, at Baltimore some time between the years 1832-34. They are signed “E A P.” and read as follows: —


Would'st thou be loved? then let thy heart

From its present pathway part not —

Be everything which now thou art

And nothing which thou art not:

So with the world thy gentle way [[ways]],

And unassuming beauty

Shall be a constant theme of praise,

And love — a duty.

The Haunted Palace, page 257. This poem was printed by R. W. Griswold in his “Gift Leaves of American Poetry.” New York, 1849. The last revised manuscript made by Poe of this poem was sent to Griswold by Poe prior to his death, but it arrived too late, or for some unknown reason Griswold printed and followed the earlier versions of the poem. In the Aristidean for October, 1845, is a review of Poe's Tales. The editor, T. D. English, was ill about this time, and it is stated that Poe with a few other friends made up several issues of the magazine. One of the numbers is in the library of a book collector marked in pencil with the names of the contributors of the articles. This handwriting closely approximates Poe's. If Poe did not write the review in the October Aristidean, he must surely have inspired many facts therein stated. In the mention of “The Haunted Palace,” it is said, “This was originally sent to O’Sullivan, of the Democratic Review, and by him rejected, because he found it impossible to comprehend it.”

Scenes from “Politian,” page 258. The following fragment from the first scene of Act II. of “Politian,” was with the original manuscript. [page 325:]

Duke. Why do you laugh?

Casliglione. Indeed

I hardly know myself. Stay! Was it not

On yesterday we were speaking of the Earl?

Of the Earl Politian? Yes! it was yesterday.

Alessandra, you and I, you must remember!

We were walking in the garden.

Duke. Perfectly.

I do remember it what of it what then?

Cas. O nothing nothing at all.

Duke. Nothing at all!

It is most singular that you should laugh

At nothing at all!

Cas. Most singular singular!

Duke. Look you, Castiglione, be so kind

As to tell me, sir, at once what ‘t is you mean.

What are you talking of?

Cas. Was it not so?

We differed in opinion touching him.

Duke. Him! Whom?

Cas. Why, sir, the Earl Politian.

Duke. The Earl of Leicester! Yes! is it he you mean?

We differed, indeed. If I now recollect

The words you used were that the Earl you knew

Was neither learned nor mirthful.

Cas. Ha! Ha! now did I?

Duke. That did you, sir, and well I knew at the time

You were wrong, it being not the character

Of the Earl whom all the world allows to be

A most hilarious man. Be not, my son,

Too positive again.

Cas. ’T is singular!

Most singular! I could not think it possible

So little time could so alter one!

To say the truth about an hour ago,

As I was walking with the Count San Ozzo,

All arm in arm, we met this very man

The Earl he, with his friend Baldazzar,

Having just arrived in Rome. Ha! Ha! he is altered!

Such an account he gave me of his journey! [page 326:]

’T would have made you die with laughter such tales he told

Of his caprices and his merry freaks

Along the road such oddity such humor

Such wit such whim such flashes of wild merriment

Set off too in such full relief by the grave

Demeanour of his friend who, to speak the truth,

Was gravity itself

Duke. Did I not tell you?

Cas. You did and yet ’t is strange! but true as strange.

How much I was mistaken! I always thought

The Earl a gloomy man.

Duke. So, so, you see!

Be not too positive. Whom have we here?

It cannot be the Earl?

Cas. The Earl! Oh no!

’T is not the Earl but yet it is and leaning

Upon his friend Baldazzar. Ah! welcome, sir!

(Enter Politian and Baldassar.)

My lord, a second welcome let me give you

To Rome his Grace the Duke of Broglio.

Father! this is the Earl Politian, Earl

Of Leicester in Great Britain. (Politian bows haughtily.) That, his friend Baldazzar, Duke of Surrey. The Earl has letters, So please you, for Your Grace.

Duke. Ha! ha! Most welcome

To Rome and to our palace, Earl Politian!

And you, most noble Duke! I am glad to see you!

I knew your father well, my Lord Politian.

Castiglione! call your cousin hither,

And let me make the noble Earl acquainted

With your betrothed. You come, sir, at a time

Most seasonable. The wedding —

Politian. Touching those letters, sir,

Your son made mention of your son, is he not? —

Touching those letters, sir, I wot not of them.

If such there be, my friend Baldazzar here —

Baldazzar! ah! my friend Baldazzar here

Will hand them to Your Grace. I would retire.

Duke. Retire! So soon?

Cas. What ho! Benito! Rupert! [page 327:]

His lordship's chambers — show his lordship to them!

His lordship is unwell.

(Enter Beniio.)

Ben. This way, my lord! (Exit, followed by Politian.)

Duke. Retire! Unwell!

Bal. So please you, sir, I fear me

’T is as you say — his lordship is unwell.

The damp air of the evening — the fatigue

Of a long journey — the — indeed I had better

Follow his lordship. He must be unwell.

I will return anon.

Duke. Return anon!

Now this is strange! Castiglione!

This way, my son, I wish to speak with thee.

You surely were mistaken in what you said

Of the Earl, mirthful, indeed! which of us said

Politian was a melancholy man? (Exeunt.)

In the tale called “William Wilson” Poe mentions the “palazzo of the Neapolitan Duke Di Briglio.” In the letter of J. P. Kennedy to T. W. White dated April 13, 1835, mention is made of Poe at work on a tragedy, which was probably “Politian.” In Poe's miscellanies called “Pinakidia” he says: “Politian, the poet and scholar, was an admirer of ‘Alessandria Scala.’ ” In this drama Poe has one of his characters named “Alessandria.”

The manuscript of the soliloquy spoken by “Politian” alone in the Coli seum, which ended the drama, has recently come to light. It was ab stracted from the other manuscript of the drama by Mrs. Lewis, and with a manuscript by Poe of one of her own poems presented by her to an autograph collector many years ago. It will be noted that Poe's verses on “The Coliseum” were evidently made up from this soliloquy which reads in part as follows: —

“Gaunt vestibules, and phantom-peopled aisles,

I feel ye now! I feel ye in your strength!

spells more sure than e’er Judean king

Taught in the gardens of Gethsemane!

O spells more potent than the rapt Chaldee

Ever drew down from out the quiet stars!

She comes not and the moon is high in Heaven!

Here where the hero fell a column falls,

Here where the mimic eagle glared in gold [page 328:]

A secret vigil holds the swarthy bat,

Here where the dames of Rome their yellow hair

Waved to the wind, now wave the reed and thistle;

Here where on ivory couch the Caesar sate

On bed of moss lies gloating the foul adder;

Here where on golden throne the monarch lolled

Glides spectre-like into his marble home,

Lit by the wan light of the horned moon,

The swift and silent lizard of the stones.”

A Valentine, page 270. This poem also appeared in the New York Evening Mirror for February 21, 1846. It closely follows the Griswold manuscript version with the exception of “All” in the third line from the last instead of “Ah.”

For Annie, page 272. The author's last copy published of this poem was sent to the Home Journal by Poe, and appeared April 28, 1849. The introductory note in the Home Journal has never been reproduced until now. It was headed “Odd Poem,” and continued — “The following exquisite specimen of the private property in words has been sent us by a friend, and we are glad to be able to add it to the scrap-book of singularities in literature which so many of our fair readers, doubtless, have upon the table. Poe certainly has that gift of nature, which an abstract man should be most proud of — a type of mind different from all others without being less truthful in its perceptions for that difference; and though (to use two long words) this kind of idiosyncrasy is necessarily idiopathic, and, from want of sympathy, cannot be largely popular, it is as valuable as rarity in anything else, and to be admired by connoisseurs proportionately. Money (to tell a useless truth) could not be better laid out for the honor of this period of American literature — neither by the government, by a society, nor by an individual — than in giving Edgar Poe a competent annuity, on condition that he should never write except upon impulse, never dilute his thoughts for the magazines, and never publish anything till it had been written a year. And this because the threatening dropsy of our country's literature is in copying the Gregariousness which prevails in everything else, while Mr. Poe is not only peculiar in himself, but unsusceptible of imitation. We have Bulwers by hundreds, Mrs. Hemanses by thousands, Byrons common as shirt-collars, every kind of writer ‘by the lot,’ and less of individualesque genius than any other country in the world. This extends to other things as well. Horace Greeley is a national jewel (we think) from being humbly yet fearlessly individualesque in politics and conduct. What is [page 329:] commonly understood by eccentricity is but a trashy copy of what we mean. The reader's mind will easily pick out instances of the true individualesque, in every walk of life, and, as a mere suggestion, we here leave it — proceeding to give Mr. Poe's verses: ‘FOR ANNIE.’ ”

Tamerlane, page 279. In Poe's letter to Mrs. S. H. Whitman, dated October 18, 1848, he quoted the following: “I will erect,”! said, “a prouder throne than any on which mere monarch ever sat; and on this throne she — she shall be my queen.” This idea is found in these lines, stanzas XI and XII.

Al Aaraaf, page 298. In connection with Poe's first note to this poem on “Tycho Brahe.” His interest in the Swedish astronomer is further shown by a note in the Broadway Journal, vol. 2, No. 19, under the heading of “News of Tycho Brahe.”

In a letter to John Neal dated December 29, 1829, Poe wrote: “I think the best lines for sound are these in Al Aaraaf,

There Nature speaks and even ideal things

Flap shadowy sounds from visionary wings.”

Romance, page 300. In a letter to John Neal dated December 39, 1829, Poe wrote: “But the best thing [in every respect] is the small piece headed ‘Preface.’ I am certain these lines have never been surpassed [Lines 3539, 1829, quoted] ‘It is well to think well of one's self’ so says some body.”

An Enigma, page 319. This appeared anonymously in the Philadelphia Casket for May, 1827, and the supposition is that it was among other poetry sent out by Poe before he left Richmond in March, 1827. It constitutes the earliest known published verse of Poe's.




In the first note, the page number cited is from the 1911 edition, which Whitty neglected to adjust to account for the pagination changes made to the 1917 edition.



[S:0 - JHW11, 1911] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Notes Mainly on Changes (ed. J. H. Whitty, 1911)