Text: Mary E. Phillips, “Section 06, Part II,” Edgar Allan Poe: The Man (1926), pp. 984-1096


[page 984:]

[[SECTION VI, continued]]

[[LATER LIFE IN NEW YORK CITY, 1844-1848, continued]]

March 8, 1845, was of marked importance to Poe. It dated the transfer of the Outis article in full, from. the March 1st Evening Mirror or to the Broadway Journal, in which was also the first section of Poe’s reply, The Journal’s issue of March 8 bore Poe’s own name in this realization of his long-time cherished ambition of proprietary interest in a magazine. The Broadway Journal was begun Jan. 4, 1845, by John Bisco, with. Charles F. Briggs, known from his Knickerbocker papers, “Trippings of Tom Pepper,” and “Adventures of Harry Franco” by the latter name. Later described by Poe, Mr. Briggs was “the originator of the late ‘ Broadway Journal’ . . . about five feet six inches in height, somewhat slightly framed. with a sharp, thin face, narrow and low forehead, pert-looking nose, mouth rather pleasant . . . eyes . . . gray and small, . . . occasionally brilliant. In dress he is apt to affect the artist, . . . He is a member of the Art Union. He walks with a quick, nervous step. His address is [page 985:] quite good, . . . His conversation has . . . the merit of humour, but he has a perfect mania for contradiction, . . . He . . . is . . . very apt to irritate and annoy. . . . He has, apparently, traveled; pretends to a knowledge of French (of which he is profoundly ignorant), . . . He is married, goes little into society, and seems about forty years of age.”(46) Dr. Griswold’s edition of this text is, in some items, of adverse — to Poe — marked difference in its reading. “He undoubtedly had Poe MS.,” notes Mr. Whitty.

March 8, 1845, the Broadway Journal gave Poe as associate editor with Harry S. Watson, musical editor; Charles F. Briggs, “writer of light literature,” from Nantucket, and John Bisco, a shrewd Yankee from Worcester, as publisher. Because Poe and his associates were divided in their literary views the three agreed that each should be free to express his independent opinions — which freedom on Poe’s part was indulged by his “Outis” controversy on plagiarism.

The late Professor Harrison(47) voted plagiarism thin ice easily broken to engulf critics and criticized alike. To this he added, that undoubtedly cultured readers of Longfellow are continually teased by haunting reminiscences of things seen and heard and read before; also that study, teaching and translating then., gave Longfellow free access to many tongues, and the student of “The Golden Legend” or “Keramos” feels “Der Arm Heinrich,” the Schiller background shimmering through the woven gold — as the verbal Gobelins is being tested by a touch beyond mortal power to avoid. Simms, in “Beauchamp”; Charles Feuno Hoffman, in “Greyslaer” and Poe, in “Politian,” [page 986:] all drew from the well-known murder of Sharp, Solicitor-General of Kentucky, by Beauchamp. Concerning this occurrence Poe wrote: “The facts of this remarkable tragedy as arranged by circumstances, would put to shame the skill of the most consummate artist.” Of “Politian” Professor Harrison noted that it “is indeed a delicate idealization of this tragedy, never sufficiently appreciated by the critics.” But Poe later put himself on record by, “a plagiarism even if distinctly proved by no means necessarily involves any moral delinquency.”

One item of a contemporary press-estimate of the Broadway Journal, Poe’s pen-part in it and its promise, appeared in Jan. 11, 1845, date of New York Weekly News, which noted it, “a bright spirited affair. Its style has the sharpness of a steel blade. Its cuts are deep and clear. It appears to aim at, that uncommon article, common sense. It will be original, brilliant, witty, satirical, if it only adheres to this and the truth. Introduction is well written in good old Swiftian manner; remarks on English and American authors are well put . . . Miss Barrett (rather painfully) — to the question by Mr. Poe with his usual critical acumen and force of style. The Journal is novel and inviting.”

“January 16, 1840,” dated a letter to Briggs from Lowell, who wrote: “I received this morning the two numbers of your ‘Broadway Journal,’ & am in haste to tell you how much I like it. . . . The article upon Miss Barrett is extremly [[extremely]] well written, I suppose by Poe. It is a good telling article. . . . From a paragraph I saw yesterday in the ‘Tribune’ I find that Poe has been at me in the ‘Mirror.’ He has at least [page 987:] the chief element of a critic — a disregard of persons. He will be a very valuable contributor to you.” While March 8, 1845, Broadway Journal bore Poe’s name as “associate editor,“’ which he was by one third ownership, literary and editorial rights, a letter of that date to Lowell from Mr. Briggs noted: “Poe is only assistant to me,” and he would in no way change the writer’s order of affairs; that he needed aid; and authority of Poe’s name made expedient its appearance as “associate editor”: Mr. Watson’s command of musical interests was of value and himself voted “a thorough good fellow”; also, Poe had left the Mirror, as “Willis was too Willisy” for former. Notwithstanding this dicta, Poe’s 1841 “Autography” noted very frankly of Willis this to him well-known record: “We know of no American writer who has . . . greater versatility of . . . high talent; . . . and none who has more narrowly missed placing himself at the head of our letters.” Poe realized to the utmost that “Willis was a power not to be ignored in the development of American letters” of his time. To Lowell, Mr. Briggs further confided, that Poe was riding his hobby “Plagiarism” to death, the best way to end it; that Wiley & Putnam were to issue a new edition of his tales, and everybody was “raven-mad” about his last poems; that his lecture had gained him some “waspish foes who will do him more good than harm.” March 16th, Mr. Briggs again unbosomed himself to Lowell; repeated his “plagiarism” comments on Poe, who was taxed with an unfair critique of Briggs’ good friend James Aldrich; and Briggs noted “Outis,” of Boston, defense of Longfellow and Aldrich attacks by Poe, but [page 988:] the writer thought it would end as begun “in smoke.” Italics are not in the original, but emphasize “Out’s” as the hoax by Poe, within range of Briggs’ knowledge, who shrewdly continued, “it will do us . . . good by calling attention to our paper.” This seems a willingness to profit by Poe’s “attacks” and wits, but the letter concluded, “Poe is a much better fellow than you have any idea of, . . . ’ The journal’ gains strength every day.” March 19th, another letter went to Lowell from Mr. Briggs, who desired Poe’s services on account of his reviewing reputation, which allowed him certain profits of the paper. Briggs liked not this plan, but Poe’s experience won it. Ills “fol-de-rol plagiarism” was not approved, but replies it provoked helped the paper; and was added: “you are too sensitive in regard to Longfellow; I . . . do not see that he has said anything offensive about him. . . . Poe has . . . a very high admiration for Longfellow, and so he will say before he has done.” Briggs continued: that formerly he did not care for Poe, but love for Lowell and faith in his sketch of Poe — in February, 1845 Graham’s Magazine — had changed the writer’s opinion, sustained by personal acquaintance, notwithstanding some lies told about him by the Rev. Mr. Griswold, of Philadelphia. Briggs suggested that there some foul whisperings may have reached Lowell’s ears as to Poe, whose sharp manner had made him many enemies. “But you will think better of him when you meet him.” Longfellow was beloved by Lowell, whose coolness to Poe began with this so-called “Longfellow War.” Concerning this Poe-Out’s farce-conflict as to Longfellow, Professor Woodberry ably and aptly scores up Poe’s [page 989:] sincere and entire strictures by, — “Longfellow was a plagiarist, a didactic poet, and a writer of hexameters.’(48) John Lothrop Motley also regretted Longfellow’s “chosen hexameters for ‘Evangeline“’ issued 1847; and Josiah Quincy noted to Longfellow the difficulties of hexameter verse in “Morituri Salutamus” printed in 1874.

As to Poe’s own methods, Edwin Markham writes: “Poe stood for ‘art for art’s sake,’ he set his face inflexibly against the heresy of the ’ Didactic.’ He would not have it, — that the ultimate object of poetry is truth — every poem should preach a moral.” But above these shadows of slights and thrusts, from Longfellow’s hither consciousness came of Poe, after his death, these shining words: “The harshness of his criticisms I have never attributed to anything but irritation of a sensitive nature, chafed by some indefinite sense of wrong.” Nor could Longfellow be lured into any other than considerate expression of Poe after his death, as is in evidence by a Sept. 28, 1850, Longfellow letter to Dr. Griswold, in which appeared:

SIR, — I think you must be mistaken in saying that I “showed you a series of papers” in reference to “The Haunted Palace,” and “The beleaguered City” for 1 do not remember that I ever had such papers . . . nor that Mr. Poe ever accused me of taking my poem from his. I do remember showing you two letters from him to me (dated May & June, 1841) proving the different tone he assumed towards me in private and in public. Nothing is said in these letters about the point now at issue; and these are the only ones I ever received from him. . . .” The beleaguered City was written . . . nineteenth of September, 1839. . . . It was first published [page 990:] in the “Southern Literary Messenger,” November, 1839. . . , I do not believe Mr. Poe ever saw it ‘til it was published; for he was not then, . . . connected with the Messenger, and could not have had this manuscript in his hands, . . . When Mr. Poe’s poem was written, and first published, I do not know. . . . [Dr. Griswold well knew of its American Museum, April, 1839, untitled print was proved, when he, in discussion with Poe, charged him with the theft, at Duyckinck’s home, one Saturday night.] It . . . never occurred to me that there was any resemblance between the two; . . . I do not see any sufficient ground to justify a charge of plagiarism on either side, though you and Mr. Poe seem to think otherwise, . . . If you should resume this subject in print, . . . I wish you . . . to leave me entirely out of it. I dislike all controversy and violent discussion; and never have taken part in any, and never intend to do so.

I remain Your Obt. Svt.


The foregoing letter indicates items had been suggestively requested for adverse scoring of Poe. While “The Haunted Palace” was in print six months prior to “The Beleaguered City,” Poe, himself, never claimed there was more similarity than that both poems treated of “a disordered mind.” And thus they both stand forever as a strange, strong coincidence only, that the two poets, so wide apart in so many ways, should have been obsessed by the same idea about the same time. W. C. Brownell notes “The Haunted Palace” as, “an indisputable masterpiece.”

With a Platonic return to Poe’s Society Library Lecture, Feb. 28, 1845, the warmth of his comments on poetic effusions of popular Mrs. S. S. Osgood balanced unevenly with later disregard for another fair-faced writer, and thus brewed trouble to come for [page 991:] all concerned. The late R. H. Stoddard, who knew them all, wrote: “Mrs. Osgood was a paragon. For, loved of all men who knew her, she was hated by no woman [but one] who ever felt the charm of her presence. Poe was enamored of her, felt or fancied he was, which with him was the same thing.”(49)

Mr. James H. Whitty has “recently made a discovery of lines unquestionably sent to Poe by Mrs. Osgood. She was also interested in him, as records show, by this early anonymous poem and suggestions that his wife could have no objection to her friendship, and chided him for his cold manner towards her. I have the poem, which is acknowledged in her 1850 edition of verses.” Mr. Whitty adds, “that their friendship was requested by Virginia.” Mrs. Osgood’s lines on page 403-404 of the 1850 issue of her “Poems” seem to cover Mr. Whitty’s notings on this subject in their first, sixth and ninth verses, —

“Perhaps you think it right and just,

Since you are bound by nearer ties,

To greet me with that careless tone,

With those serene and silent eyes.

. . . . . . .

“The fair, fond girl, who at your side

Within your soul’s dear light doth live,

Could Hardly have the heart to chide

The ray that Friendship well might give.

. . . . . . .

“But if you deem it right and just,

Bless‘d as you are in your glad lot,

To greet me with that heartless tone,

So let it be! I blame you not.” [page 992:]

Mr. Stoddard continued of Poe and Mrs. Osgood: “He concealed her name in all effusion of twenty lines and he reviewed her in his glowing fashion, and no one disputed the accuracy of his verdict in her case. But Poe had a rival in her affections in Dr. [R. W.] Griswold, whom she transformed, for the moment, into an impassioned poet.” It transpires that Mr. Stoddard had a copy of Leigh Hunt’s “Poems,” that Dr. Griswold had given to Mrs. Osgood, in which copy appeared in his dim, pencil script these lines:

“Would I were anything that thou lost love,

A flower, a bird, a wavelet or a gem.”

Frances Sargent Osgood was a daughter of Joseph Locke, a Boston merchant living at Hinghain, Mass. A. A. Locke, the popular journalist, was her brother, and Mrs. E. D. Harrington, writer of prose and verse, her younger sister. During her early girlhood Frances Locke’s poetical efforts were encouraged by proud parents and printed in Mrs. Child’s Juvenile Miscellany. In 1834 Miss Frances met Samuel S. Osgood, then twenty-six, and prior date pupil of the Royal Academy, London. His adventures by sea and land caught her interest while he was painting her portrait. Later he sought her heart and claimed her hand. Soon after marriage they went to London, where ‘Mr. Osgood painted portraits of Lord Lyndhurst, the poets Rogers, Campbell, Mrs. Norton, and others of note. By virtue of such prestige Mrs. Osgood’s verses and personal charm captured their periodical appearance, also the issue of her tiny books “Casket of Fate” and “A Wreath of Wild Flowers from New England,” in [page 993:] 1839. Early in 1840 Mr. and Mrs. Osgood returned to Boston, where, in 1841, she issued “The Poetry of Flowers and Flowers of Poetry.” At Philadelphia, in 1847, “The Floral Offering” went to print. Much of womanly attraction went into her poems and thus caught Poe’s fancy to meet their writer; and for this purpose eras sought the aid of N. P. Willis, who with ]us wife lived at the Astor House. Of this March, 1845, interview Mrs. Osgood wrote: “My first meeting with the poet was at the Astor House. A few days previous, Mr. Willis handed me, at the table d‘hˆte, that strange and thrilling poem ‘The Raven,’ saying . . . the author wanted my opinion of it. Its effect upon me was so singular, like . . . ‘weird unearthly music,’ that it was with . . . almost dread I heard he desired an introduction. Yet I could not refuse without seeming ungrateful, because I had just heard of his enthusiastic, [page 994:] partial eulogy of my writings in his lecture on ‘American Literature.’ ” And from a Mr. William M. Gillespie letter(50) is learned that Mrs. Osgood was in all readiness to go to this lecture but the friend who was to call for her failed to do so; of Poe she continued: “I shall never forget the morning . . . I was summoned to the drawing room by Mr. Willis to receive him. With his proud and beautiful head erect, his dark eyes flashing with the electric light of feeling and thought, a peculiar, an inimitable blending of sweetness and hauteur in his expression and manner, he greeted me calmly, gravely, almost coldly: yet with so marked an earnestness . . . I could not help being deeply impressed. . . . From that moment until his death we were friends.” But only this and never more with normal Poe, and never more than an ardent Platonic friendship with either, notwithstanding the “poet became Mentor of her Sapphic Lyre — while she as warmly commended his brilliant literary productions and gave him good counsel and wise, touching his own troubles, griefs,” and anxieties. Concerning Mrs. Osgood’s poems Poe noted their “defects, negative,” and one “looked in vain” for violations of grammar — lapses in composition, but he found “an exquisite instinct of the pure — the delicate and the graceful — ” that give “charm inexpressible to everything from her pen.” Of Mrs. Osgood herself, Poe wrote, that in character she was ardent and sensitive; a worshiper of beauty; universally admired, respected and beloved. In person about medium height, slender; complexion pale; hair black and glossy; eyes, clear, luminous grey, large, with great capacity for expression. “In no respect [page 996:] can she be termed beautiful; . . . but . . . ‘Is it really possible that she is not so?’ is very frequently asked by those who most intimately know her.” As to Mr. Osgood, Poe added, that her husband’s merits as an artist had already introduced her into distinguished society, and the publication of her poems had evidently a favorable effect on his fortunes. Perhaps now and here it may be well to bear in mind that those who fail to take Samuel Stillman Osgood into all accounts with his wife’s, venture the making of loose reckonings. As a gentleman whose force of character obtained aristocratic recognition in social, literary and artistic London during a day when Americans were there held in “provincial” regard, S. S. Osgood was not only persona grata in choice circles of the Old ‘‘World but equally attractive to the scholarship of the New World. To his wife he was ever her “noble husband” — as Poe well knew — and Osgood, [page 997:] the friend, paid his compliments to the poet in the portrait of Edgar Allan Poe, now owned by the New York Historical Society. It is significant that this portrait was owned by the artist until it was, by his order, turned over to Poe’s literary executor — Dr. R. W. Griswold — by his request, Sept. 7, 180. Concerning Mr. and Mrs. Osgood and this portrait, Mrs. M. E. Porter, Portland, Me., niece of Mr. Osgood, wrote, March, 1915: “My uncle and aunt’s married relations were exceedingly congenial, and had there existed any unpleasantness which would naturally arise from undue association of my aunt’s name with that of Edgar A. Poe we should certainly have heard of same. Both my uncle and his much beloved wife were held in highest esteem by the entire Osgood family. I denounce the report as a base fabrication given out by some envious person. I know well that there never would have existed a portrait of the poet from my uncle’s brush had there not been a kindly feeling between them.” Cold facts suggest what everybody knew far better than Poe, in his brain congestion of delirium, that his unfortunate and all but unconscious calls on Mrs. Osgood at Boston, and Albany — the latter so graphically described by the Rev. Henry T. Harrington, Mrs. Osgood’s brother-in-law — must also have been as fully known to Mr. Osgood, whose picture does not present its original as a man over-willing to condone real offense. It seems logical to conclude that both himself and wife were one in their understanding of Poe’s physical disability to withstand the influence of stimulants; and in connection with “an age of unbridled indulgence in the flowing [page 999:] bowl,” not inclined to leave a Launcelot brave “or a Galahad pure.” Poe’s double struggle with impaired nervous force and social beverages of his day was an appeal to good hearts for moral aid, but to the other sort presented off-guard occasions for many an uncanny assault. “Want of deference to social usages” seems to outline the utmost limits of offenses charged to normal Poe, in his association with lovely Mrs. Osgood, charmer of all men, — “from splenetic Dr. Thomas Dunn English to stoical Greeley” — women and children, including her own sweet Lily and May, then ten and five years of age. Modern science affirms that those who are under depression of nerve-exhaustion aggravated by stimulants are utterly unconscious of their acts and words; and at such a time, in no ways could Edgar Allan Poe be held responsible for either.

The March 15, 1845, issue of the Broadway Journal gave Poe’s brief “satirical” pieces concerning national failures. Thomas Ollive Mabbott notes that Poe’s review, in, that issue, of Park Benjamin’s poem “Infatuation,” headed “Satirical Poems,” deals with the “failure of Americans to write successful satire.” In the March 29 date appears an “unsigned attack on those who desired the annexation of Mexico.” Some authorities credit this article to C. F. Briggs. But from Poe’s Southern Literary Messenger earliest days he was a student of and writer on national issues. On these lines and those of bread and butter needs, Poe was giving some grotesque touches on “there is nothing new under the sun,” in “Some Words with a Mummy”; suggested, it is said, by Robert M. Bird’s “Sheppard Lee” of 1836, Philadelphia print. Poe’s 1845 [page 1000:] farce went to the outside issue of the April American Whig Review to obtain money for bare subsistence. Poe’s hero, Count Allamistakeo, one resuscitated Egyptian Mummy, was told of the glorious rule of American democracy in universal suffrage and no king. Allamistakeo answered, that thirteen Egyptian provinces once determined to be free, assembled their wise men, constructed a constitution and managed well for a while — but ended with joining fifteen or twenty more other states in “most odious despotism” under a “usurping tyrant” whose name to the best of the Count’s recollection was — Mob. As seer and prophet, in “Marginalia,” Poe seems to have touched the political keynote of present times by “the character assumed, in general, by modern ‘Reform is, simply that of Opposition.’ ” Concerning Poe’s grasp of his subjects, William Hand Browne aptly wrote: “There are two faculties he possessed in more singular perfection than the poetic faculty, — first and least, the power of expressing his thoughts, however involved, subtle, or profound, with such precision, such lucidity, and withal with such simplicity, that we hardly know where to look for its equal. This probably had origin in his second gift: the keen, clear, swift, analytical power of his thought, combined — which is a rarity — with a vast comprehensive grasp of generalities.” Astute statesmanship of any land or time could claim no more effective intellectual force than this estimate covers.

The demands for critical, editorial and other duties for the earliest issues of the Broadway Journal left Poe time for little else. But daily sustenance for his family and self required his revisions of “The Valley of [page 1001:] Nis” of 1831, into “The Valley of unrest” of 1845. “The City of Sin” for the Southern Literary Messenger of 1836 became “The City in the Sea” for the April, 1845, American Whig Review. Of the latter poem, Edwin Markham wrote: “The wizardry of Poe is in his ‘City in the Sea,’ the most rare, most mysterious of all such ethereal structures, . . . in the dim still western sea is the throned palace of Death, where are gathered in long night-times disembodied souls. . . . The gloomy light of lurid waters upon the lofty, pallid walls fretted with garlands of careen stone — garlands of ‘viol, violet and vine’ — is builded up with curious care that sends upon the mind the sense of the delicate austerities of the Parthenon.” Some lines of “City in the Sea” are:

“But light from out the lurid sea . . .

Gleams up the pinnacles far and free — . . .

Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers

Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers — . . .

Whose wreathed friezes intertwine

The viol, the violet and the vine. . . .

So blend the torrents and shadows there

That all seem pendulous in air.”

Mr. Markham continues of Poe’s lyric: “The music of the opening stanza is sonorous metal, blowing martial sounds, which in the last stanza are retarded and melted to echo sense in the slotiv settling and sinking of the lost and lamentable City.”

Alexander Taylor Crane, New Jersey, born 1829, later farmer near Blenco, Iowa, wrote:(51) “In 1845 I obtained a position on the Broadway Journal just started in New York. I was office boy, and later had [page 1002:] charge of mailing papers. The Journal never had a large circulation and half of it was mail. . . . Poe treated me like a son. He was one of the finest, truest, most knightly gentlemen I have ever known. Newspaper offices were not large in those days. . . . Poe’s was in Clinton Hall, on Beekman Street, near Broadway, and I used to see him every day. He came at 9 A.M.,stayed, working steadily, until 3 or 4 P.M. He was quiet about the office but uniformly kind and courteous to every one. He was my boyish idol, just as his memory is the pride and glory of my declining years. He was honest, generous and kind, could not have been anything but a gentle, lovable man, a thousand times to be pitied but never condemned. After a while the paper got on so poorly his other editors drew out, and with Poe alone, the printing was done at a job office. I was not well as a boy. One hot day, when busy preparing mail, I fainted. When I came to, I was lying on the counter and Poe was working over me, putting water on my face. When I felt better he sent me home in a carriage, and told me he would send out the papers himself. This kindness with his gentle greetings when he came to the office in the mornings, his inquiries and encouragements, made me love and trust my editor.” So much for “self-seeking, hard-hearted” Poe. Mr. Crane continued: “Poe’s writings inspired me. I wanted to be able to write as he did; as a boy of fourteen I used to try poetry . . . one little temperance poem . . . I showed to Poe: he read it and one change Poe made, . . .” and “told office boy Taylor ‘it was needed for meter’ . . . also told him to have it printed in ‘The Youth’s Cabinet.’ ” Mr. Crane added: “I [page 1002:] never saw any evidence when with him of his being addicted to drink, . . . as some claimed. He was of a highly sensitive type. . . , I only saw him under the influence of liquor once. He had given a lecture — ‘Poets and Poetry of America,’ which had been well received. He was urged to repeat it and finally decided to do so. It was a wild, stormy night of wind, rain and sleet and scarcely a dozen people were in the audience. Poe came on the platform, and explained, because of this, the lecture would not be given and the money would be refunded at the door. He had given me a ticket. . . . I was anxious to hear him, But I could see, . . . he was more disappointed than I. The next morning he came to the office on the arm of a friend and was slightly under the influence of wine. During the short life of the paper Poe worked faithfully . . . industriously, to make a success, but the Journal was too high-toned to succeed.” Concerning “The Raven” Mr. Crane added:(52) “One afternoon, Poe came into the office, bringing Murdock, a great actor, and one of the finest elocutionists of that day. There were a half dozen of us in the room. Poe called us together and drawing the MS. of ‘The Raven’ from his pocket, gave it to Murdock and it was read to us. I was entranced, charmed, hearing such a poem read in that manner. It had already appeared in The Journal, which wasn’t appreciated and did not survive very long. And that was the end of my acquaintance with Poe. After Poe published ‘The Raven’ Willis and others wrote parodies on it, but were never able to kill it.” Concerning Harriet Winslow’s “Parody on ‘The Raven“’ one record is, that these eight verses [page 1004:] were among Poe’s post-mortem papers handed over to Dr. Griswold, who — prior to his death, in 1857 — was said “to have told his friends that Poe not only wrote but composed the parody.” It is described as “written on pieces of blue paper pasted together in a long strip as was Poe’s wont.” Bangs’ April, 1896, “Catalogue” notes: “There is no doubt, in spite of the clear statement on MS. ‘By Harriet Winslow,’ that the parody was original with Poe.” It begins with:



Author of ‘To the Unsatisfied’

Why thus longing, thus for ever sighing,

For the far off, unattained and dim.

Italics are not in the original lines (that first appeared anonymously, under the title of “Why Thus Longing?” in Longfellow’s 1844 print of “The Waif ”), but these two lines intensely reflect Poe’s mind, ever haunted by withheld literary recognition. Because the first two lines bear shining contrast to the others of 1844 print, Longfellow’s pen may have “touched up” their high lights. Under the title of “To the Author of ‘The Raven“’ only, this parody is found “in Graham’s Magazine, April, 1848,” writes Thomas O. Mabbott. From Mr. Victor H. Paltsits it comes that Miss Harriet Winslow was born June 30, 1819, in Portland, Me., and June, 1848, married Charles List, of Philadelphia. Miss Winslow wrote “Why Thus Longing?” in Longfellow’s 1844“Waif” issue. and some verses entitled “Morning and Night.” [page 1005:] None of her lines would indicate the ability to write this “Parody on ‘The Raven“’ credited to her name in Poe’s handwriting, without the “touching up,” hinted by a Poe authority, “often bestowed on young ladies’ ” budding efforts. It seems that Poe’s pen applied the “touching up” to this parody and probably rechristened Miss Winslow’s “Why Thus Longing?” Of 1844, as “To the Unsatisfied” as his pen traced it to her authorship in this “Parody on ‘The Raven.’ ” It was too carelessly written, according to Poe’s codes, for him to place his own name beneath the eight verses, aside from the fact he was not likely to care to parody his own poem in public print over his own name. In any case, whoever wrote this “Parody on ‘The Raven,“’ it may stand, in his script, for the many written on Poe’s poem at various times.

Because Duyckinck’s “Cyclopedia of American Literature,” page 689, Vol. II, gives “To the Unsatisfied,” with two verses added to its original eight, by “Harriet Winslow, since married to Mr. Charles List,” of Philadelphia, one might infer that Miss Winslow counted Longfellow and Duyckinck her friends and probably met Poe when at Duyckinck’s home; and later at Philadelphia, where Poe was in 1848; and there they both perhaps trailed this parody into Graham’s April, 1848, print, as a ghost of a Poe-hoax.

In April, 1845, Southern Literary Messenger appeared beneath:


. . . Under the . . . multiplication of books, it needs an Argus to watch and guard the press. To [page 1006:] enable the Messenger to discharge its part, 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.” Mr. Whitty notes that Dr. B. B. Minor, editor of the Messenger, had arranged with publisher John Bisco of Broadway Journal to take subscriptions for the Messenger and, as there existed some differences as to Poe’s dues from it, Mr. Bisco, without authority, paid Poe from returns, and he sent nothing more to the Messenger until Jno. R. Thompson became editor the autumn of 1847. Mr. Whitty notes that “on page 449 [of Mrs. Osgood’s “Poems,” issued in 1850,] appeared ‘A Careless Rill was Dreaming,’ . . . the same, as ‘The Rivulet’s Dream,’ was in April 5, 1845, Broadway journal noted as ‘ (From the German . . . ),’ signed Kate Carol and preceded by a Poe note stating: ‘We might guess who is the fair author of the following lines, which have been sent its in a MS., evidently disguised — but we are not satisfied with guessing and would give the world to know.’ ”

Poe Broadway Journal of April 5 paid tribute also to another brilliant woman in continuing the prior March mention of Mrs. Mowatt’s comedy “Fashion,” of which she sent Poe the MS. with a note. Of her “Fashion” Mrs. Mowatt later wrote: “Critics well disposed; though Edgar Allan Poe, one of the sternest of them, said ‘it resembled “School for Scandal,” to which some of its admirers had likened it. . . . as the shell resembles the living locust,’ . . . [this Was a] kindly good-natured satire that did not intend to wound, even when most pointed.” It is of record(53) as to sprightly [page 1007:] “Fashion,” that Poe attended ten performances before he could decide to write a favorable comment. As usual, a shadow-noting follows, that this theatre — Park — backed on a tavern; a most convenient lounging place between acts. Ten attendances for Poe’s conscientious writing, for one generous tavern indulgence, would have utterly disabled this critic for the other nine devotions to “Fashion.” The April 12th Broadway Journal brought short comments on the attempted revival of Sophocles’ “Antigone,” by lack of fitting appliances in a little New York theatre: but Poe gave high praise to Mendelssohn’s wedding his music to that Greek drama. Of Manager Dinneford’s curt retort, Poe noted, April 19th, of “Achilles’ Wrath . . . In fact, . . . we can trace the gradations of his wrath in the number and impressiveness of his underscoring. The SIRS!! . . . are exceedingly bitter; and in THE RAVEN, which has five black lines beneath it, each one blacker than the preceding, we can only consider ourselves as devoted to the Infernal Gods.” In this April 5th number “Human Magnetism” shared Poe’s efforts with “Anastatic Printing,” a brief idosyncratic article; and the April 12th issue gave his” Street Paving” essay, which scientists of today say “indicates Poe was fairly well informed on at least one branch of engineering.”(54) His scholarship carried the subject into the misty past far beyond the Latins, and his closing, scored modern defects of New York highways. Dr. Smith’s “invaluable” “Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities” obtained Poe’s highest commendation in this issue.

The April 12th Broadway Journal also gave [page 1008:] “Love’s Reply” verses over Mrs. Osgood’s own name: they concluded with, “write from your heart to me.” Mr. Whitty states(55) recent records prove she also wrote “ ‘The Rivulet’s Dream,’ signed ‘Kate Carol’ ”; and in “Editorial Miscellany” of the April 26th Broadway Journal “Poe printed his ‘Impromptu,’ to ‘Kate Carol.’ ” Its four lines were:

“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.”

In this April 26th number again appeared Poe’s thrice-printed lines to fair ones, and this time entitled To F —— ,” and signed “E.”

April 19, 1845, Poe noted, in pencil, his thanks to Dr. Griswold and added revision details of his own writings for Dr. Griswold’s “Prose Writers.” Constant revisions of his own works always claimed their quota of Poe’s time. The May 3rd issue of Broadway Journal gave the second printing of his “Three Sundays in a Week,” also the second of his “Philosophy of Furniture.” The latter’s keynote was, harmonizing of effects. Foregoing records of Poe’s incessant labors with meagre financial returns seem fully to answer one why some of his old print revisions event to Broadway Journal while now and then fresh productions were sent to other periodicals, for ready money to keep his own soul and body together and meet daily family needs. Another important reason was, Poe’s sending thus his Broadway Journal best prints to the London Critic to obtain British rcognition [[recognition]] withheld by Blackwood’s. [page 1009:]

During May, 1845, Poe and family moved from 15 Amity Street to 195 East Broadway. There they occupied the third-story back rooms of a rich merchant’s old-time house that, in Poe’s time, afforded respectable shelter to tenants of small means.

In a May 4, 1845, Poe letter is:(56)

MY DEAR THOMAS, — In the hope that you have not quite given me up, as gone to Texas, . . . I . . . write you a few words. . . . For the last three or four months I have been working 14 or 15 hours a day-hard at it all the time — . . . whenever I took pen in hand . . . I found that I was neglecting something that would be attended to. I never knew what it was to be a slave before. And yet, Thomas, I have made no money. I am as poor now as ever I was in my life — except in hope, which is by no means bankable. I have taken a 3d pecuniary interest in the “Broadway Journal,” and for everything I have written for it have been, . . . so much out of pocket. In the end, . . . it will pay me well — at least the prospects are good. Say to Dow . . . that there never has been a chance for my repaying him, without putting myself to greater inconvenience than he . . . would have wished to subject me. . . . Nor am I able to pay him now. The Devil himself was never so poor. Say to Dow. . . . I am sorry he has taken to dunning, . . . it is a diabolical practice, . . . unworthy “a gentleman & a scholar to say nothing of the Editor of the “Madisonian.” I wonder how he would like me to write him a series of letters — say one a week — giving . . . literary gossip of New York — or something of more general character . . . for whatever he could . . . give me. [This is how Poe tried to pay his debts.] If he agrees . . . ask him to state the length & character of the letters — how often — and how much he can give me. Remember me kindly to him & tell him . . . I am going to mail him the “Broadway Journal,” . . . & hope he will honor me with an exchange. My dear Thomas, I hope you will never [page 1010:] imagine, from any seeming neglect . . . that I have forgotton [[forgotten]] our old friendship. There is no one in the world I would rather see at this moment than yourself; and many are the long talks we have about you and yours. Virginia and Mrs. Clemm beg to be remembered . . . in the kindest terms. . . .

I send you an early . . : “B. Journal” containing my “Raven” . . . copied by Briggs, my associate, before I joined the paper. “The Raven” has had a great “run,” Thomas — but I wrote it for the express purpose of running — just as I did the “Gold Bug,” you know. The bird beat the bug, though, all hollow. . . .

Most sincerely your friend,


On this letter Thomas noted: our mutual friend Jesse E. Dow,” as “author of . . . ‘ Ironsides on a Leashore,“’ that he “had been in office and was removed, and no doubt . . . was in pressing need of the money . . . he was possessed of the noblest qualities of head and heart. . . . It was delightful to hear the two talk together and to see how Poe would start at some of Dow’s ‘strange notions’ as he called them.”

May 12, 1845, Thomas wrote Poe: “‘That kind of a chap is Briggs your associate? Is he . . . clever . . . I have heard that he was. . . . I wish, Poe, I could see you. . . . Did I inform you, . . . I had quit wine, . . . friends prophesy that if I hold on I shall be in the pulpit yet.” Mr. Whitty writes: “I believe Thomas did get into the pulpit for a while.”

May 14th, Poe wrote Thomas: “Willis is well and going to England next month.” No doubt his absence was keenly felt by Poe.

May 17th Broadway Journal gave Poe’s review of S. C. Hall’s “Old English Poetry — The Book of [page 1011:] Gems,” of which “The Ancient Mariner,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, claimed the reviewer’s glowing tribute: and this was in violent contrast to his caustic comments on efforts of William W. Lord’s “Poems,” as literature, in May 24th Broadway Journal.

But touched with exquisite pathos are Dr. Woodberry’s words of Poe, in “the late bringing of the laurel to him who first sent the dark green leaf across the sea to Tennyson and Mrs. Browning and among ourselves brought it to Hawthorne and Lowell in their obscure years.”

May 17, 1845, dated a letter to Poe from R H. Horne, at London. It noted delays of mutual letters; his return from the Rhine Provinces; his thanks for all attentions, and added that because Poe’s letter-criticism of :Miss Barrett’s “Poems” “is brighter” than that of Broadway Journal, Poe’s letter was sent to her and returned with a note. Its torn-off half page was (confidentially) enclosed to Poe. Miss Barrett thought “a work should be judged by its merits chiefly — since faults, . . . are certain to be found in all works, but the highest merits only in a few.” She had read “The Raven” and “says,” Mr. Horne added: “I mean ‘writes’ [“there is fine lyrical melody in it”] . . . for . . . I have never seen her to this day. Nor have I been nearer to doing so, than talking with her father and sister. Horne stated that his opinion of “The Raven” was the same as Miss Barrett’s : and since his return he had neither seen nor heard from Tennyson. With other works, for Poe’s acceptance, Horne sent “Orion” for possible American issue; also a poem was offered for the [page 1012:] Broadway Journal. In Miss Barrett’s May 12, 1845, fragment letter, written at 50 Wimpole Street, London, to Horne, was:

Your friend Mr. Poe, is a speaker of strong words “in both kinds.” But I hope you will assure him . . . that I am grateful for his reviews, and in no complaining Humour at all. As to the “Raven,” , . . There is certainly a power — but its does not appear . . . the natural expression of a sane intellect to whatever mood;

. The rhythm acts excellently upon the imagination, and the “nevermore” has a solemn chime with it. . . . The “pokerishness” (just gods! what Mohawk English!) might be found fatal. . . . Besides, — just because I have been criticised, I would not criticise . . . there is an uncommon force and effect in the poem. . . . I love the Americans, and think they deserve your “Orion.” A noble and cordial people, for all their “pokerishness” — save the mark! . . . But Mr. Poe, who attributes the “Œdipus Coloneus” to Æschylus (vide review on me), sits somewhat loosely, probably, on his classics.

Yours truly ever,

E. B. B.

That same day Miss Barrett sent a second letter to Mr. Horne, my which was: “But I am uncomfortable about my message to Mr. Poe, lest it should not be grateful enough. . . . Will you tell him, what is quite the truth, — that, . . . he has dealt with me most generously, and that I thank him for his candour as for a part of his kindness. Will you tell him also that he has given my father pleasure, which is giving it to me, more than twice. Also, the review is very ably written, — and the reviewer has so obviously & thoroughly read my poems, as to be a wonder among critics. Will you tell Mr. Poe this, . . . dear Mr. Horne.” After criticising [page 1013:] the details of Miss Barrett’s poems foe’s review concluded with, “she has surpassed all her poetical contemporaries of either sex (with a single exception),” which was Tennyson.

The May 31st Broadway Journal gave Mrs. Child’s “Philothea” review by Poe in kindly expression: also “Lenore” verses over the pen-name of “Clarice” that Poe’s December 13th issue attributed to Mrs. Osgood. Mr. Whitty notes, “This poem occurs on page 136 of her New York, 1846, edition of ‘Poems.’ ”

Under stress of work, with many a fretted and anxious day until the last of May, Poe made some turns towards stimulants. Pathetically he was within such sway with nerve depression and irritation when near the last days, that Lowell — then some months on the staff of the Pennsylvania Freeman, Philadelphia, and thence passing through New York to Boston — called on Poe at 195 East Broadway. Poe’s nerve troubles seemed fatefully in malicious possession of him whenever he most keenly desired to be at his best, and this was his wish in meeting Lowell, who, unfortunately seeing Poe in such disguise of his better self, many years later wrote, that he had only seen(57) Poe once; that he was small; his complexion pallid; his head fine, very broad at the temples, “receding sharply from the brows”; his eyes dark and fine; his manner, “rather formal, even pompous.” Mr. Lowell had the impression his host was a bit “soggy” with the drop too much but “not tipsy.”

But deep is the note of anguish, ringing true to facts, throughout Mrs. Clemm’s letter to Lowell written the spring after Poe’s death, March 9, 1850, at [page 1014:] Lowell, Mass.; for in it appeared : “I low . . . I wish I could see you! how quickly I could remove your wrong impression of my darling Eddie! The day you saw him . . . he was not himself.” Mrs. Clemm asked Lowell if he recalled that she never left the room, and added: “Oh, if you only knew his bitter sorrow when I told him how unlike himself he was while you were there, you would have pitied him! he always felt . . . anxious to possess your approbation.” Mrs. Clemm concluded, that if Poe spoke unkindly of Lowell — as asserted — that it was when Poe knew not what he was saying. To Dr. Thomas Chivers, who came to New York to issue “The Lost Pleiad and Other Poems,” also to investigate The Stylus venture, Poe said of Lowell : “He called to see me the other day. . . . I was very much disappointed in his appearance as an intellectual man. He was not half the noble-looking person I expected to see.”(58) But when Chivers depreciated Lowell’s literary ability it was strongly defended by Poe. Professor Woodberry notes that it was this time of Poe’s strictures that he first met Dr. Chivers in Nassau Street, probably walking from the Journal office in Clinton Hall to his roofage, 195 East Broadway. When Chivers joined him they came upon Editor Lewis Gaylord Clark, of the Knickerbocker, whom Poe, not himself, “threatened to attack; but Clark, seeing how matters stood, bowed himself out of the way.” Poe was ill; no “pretense,” as Dr. Chivers thought, to avoid a poem delivery, but as a real and desperate fact that small measures of stimulants on any accounts usually put Poe to bed, ill. And there he was when Dr. Chivers kindly, the third day afterwards, [page 1015:] called, with a “hired carriage and took him out to ride.” Dr. Chivers found Poe’s voice as mellow “as Apollo’s Lute”; that his “hands were slender, . . . tapering gently” down to the finger-tips, delicately soft and white. You could judge “of his nobility by his hands.” Few know Dr. Chivers offered a life of Poe, in “which he was worshipped as an incarnation of genius,” to Ticknor, Oct. 27, 1852. However, the Doctor’s fourth call found Poe up, dressed and going to the Journal office to publish a notice of dissolved partnership between himself and Mr. Briggs, but Poe was persuaded to drop it. Yet still tinder sway of nervous irritation he was said to have requested Chivers’ confidence as to Mrs. Clemm and Virginia in borrowing $10, and the fact that he was obliged to go to Providence, as some lady had written him to come on; but he would re turn the next day, which he did. Mr. Osgood appears to have been in Providence, executing portrait commissions, about this time, and it seems probable that Mrs. Osgood wrote Poe to make use of that artist’s interval of leisure for a sitting. During some of Dr. Chivers’ several calls at 195 East Broadway, he had lemonade with Poe, his wife and Mrs Clemm. Once, Virginia was attacked by a severe paroxysm of coughing. To Chivers’ consumption query, Poe quickly replied, that Dr. Mitchell,(59) also a poet, of Philadelphia, said she had bronchitis. When she left the room with Mrs. Clemm, The Stylus was talked over by Poe and his friend. On Virginia’s return with her bonnet on she said, “My dear, I am going with mother to take a walk.” Poe cautioned her not to go too far, as she knew Dr. Mitchell said too much exercise was not [page 1016:] good for her. After she left, the two friends talked of The Stylus, literature, the poets. Of Tennyson, Poe said: “I consider him the greatest poet that ever lived.”

The late Richard Henry Stoddard also had a glimpse of Poe’s roofage at 195 East Broadway, in their first meeting. Concerning it Mr. Stoddard wrote, that [page 1017:] when he was a young man he “wrote verse and thought it poetry.” He mentioned his “Ode to a Grecian Flute,” adding he was “fresh from reading treats” and much admired his “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” Young Stoddard sent his “‘Ode’ to the Broadway Journal office with a note to Edgar A. Poe, Esq., and waited with fear and trembling,” but waited so long, he was moved to call at that office in quest of his lines, and on Mr. Poe, who was not in. Inquiry as to where he lived, brought his 195 East Broadway address. There Stoddard knocked at the door and was shown to Poe’s third floor rooms, where he was received “very kindly.” He told his errand, and was promised his Ode’s print the next week. Mr. Stoddard noted of Poe and Virginia: “I was struck with his poetic manner, and the elegance of his appearance. He was slight and pale, . . . with large luminous eyes, and was dressed in black. When I quitted the room I could not but see his wife, who was lying on a bed apparently asleep. . . . ‘Poor lady,’ I thought, ‘she is dying of consumption.’ I was sad on her account, . . . glad upon my own; for had I not seen a real live author, the great Edgar Allan Poe, and was not my Ode to be published at once in ‘his paper?” The next number was bought by Stoddard, but, writes Mr. Whitty, “In the July 26th issue, appeared: ‘We fear we have mislaid the poem,’ and in the August 2nd Broadway Journal was: ‘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 assure us we decline it.‘‘’ Mr. Whitty adds, that this is not in full accord with [page 1018:] later statements of the affair printed by Stoddard, who also failed to tell that at Philadelphia, Nov. 6, 1840, he wrote Poe for his autograph, which was sent beneath a MS. copy of “To Zante.” But Stoddard, then twenty — in 1845 — both surprised and indignant, made his way to the Journal’s office; failed to find Poe, and walked about in double heat of mind and sun for an hour; then returned to learn that Poe was in the rear office, sitting on a chair, asleep. When awakened, Stoddard said to him: “Mr. Poe, I have called to assure you of the authenticity of ‘The Ode to a Grecian Flute.’ ” Poe declared, Stoddard added, that he never wrote it and threatened to chastise him unless he left at once, which he did. Of Poe, Mr. Stoddard had later glimpses. Of the last one he noted: “The last time . . . was in the afternoon of a dreary autumn day. A heavy shower had come up suddenly, and he was standing under an awning. I had an umbrella, and my impulse was to share it with him on his way home, but something — certainly not unkindness — withheld me. I went on and left him there in the rain, pale, shivering, miserable, . . . There I see him, and always shall, — poor, penniless, but proud, reliant, dominant. May the gods forgive me! I never can forgive myself.”

But ill or well, Poe’s urgent family needs allowed him no idle pen. It gave to the June, 1845, Democratic Review what an English critic recently called “the finest of prose poems,” in “The Power of Words.” This inspiration seems illuminated by P. Kincheler Baker’s rare etching ( from a Poe daguerreotype), owned by Mr. Oliver R. Barrett of Chicago. It [page 1020:] is a colloquy of poetic suggestion on the spiritual power of words between two disembodied souls in their flight through infinite vistas of air. In this profound, psychological idealism of relativity appeared: “We moved our hands, . . . when we were dwellers on the earth, and, in so doing, we gave . . . impulse to every particle of the earth’s air, which thenceforward, and for ever, was actuated by the one movement of the hand.” Through vibrant space, Poe’s floating spirit called to, “my Oinos, freely and without fear. Come! we will leave to the left the loud harmony of the Pleiades, and swoop outward from the throne into the starry meadows beyond Orion, where, for pansies and violets, and heart’s-ease, are the beds of the triplicate and triple-tinted suns.” The force of their discussion held that happiness dwelt in the acquiring of knowledge, rather than in its possession. But of less serious trend came from Poe’s pen, of infinite variety, a review of a magazine article of “Peter Snook,” who was much admired by the reviewer, who left the reader guessing as to Peter’s identity, which was discovered by Mr. Oliver R. Barrett, Chicago, Ill., to be James F. Dalton, noted by Poe as “one of the best English journalists,” in June 7, 1845, Broadway Journal. On some scores this review seemed a commentary on “The Magazine” article by Mr. Duyckinck. The Broadway Journal of June 21st gave Poe’s brief but classic review of “Plato Contra Atheos,” etc., by Dr. Lewis, of New York University.

As No. 2 of their American Library series, Wiley & Putnam, in late June, 1845, issued “Tales,” by “Edgar A. Poe.” The selections were made by their [page 1021:] literary adviser, Evert A. Duyckinck, Esq., and did not meet Poe’s full approval, for the reason, notes Dr. Woodberry, that they did not cover the “universality of his genius and versatility of his talents.” Poe’s own opinion was: “Those selected are not my best, nor do they fairly represent me in any respect.” Elsewhere he stated that his tales had been written in view of their collected form issue, and therein preserved, “as far as a certain point, a certain unity of design.” Dr. Lewis Chase notes that the London Critic, Aug. 9, 1845, included this issue of Poe’s “Tales” in their “List of New Books”; and Sept. 6th the Critic review noted the “Gold Bug,” “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “Purloined Letter” and “The Black Cat,” interesting, “from strangeness. Mr. Poe could not possibly send forth a book without some mark of his genius. He is a deep thinker.”

Thomas O. Mabbott notes: “‘Diddling Considered as one of the Exact Sciences,’ a humorous article on methods of petty cheats, had this text:

‘Hey diddle diddle

The cat and the fiddle’

It was reprinted, from Philadelphia Saturday Courier, Oct. 14, 1843, in Broadway Journal, Sept. 13, 1845.”

Poe’s “Tales” had late June, 1845, simultaneous London and New York print by Wiley & Putnam. Concerning that of Mr. Wiley, in a letter of the poet proverbial, Martin F. Tupper, to Mr. Putnam(60) was: “Shall we make EDGAR POE famous by a notice in the Literary Gazette?” Mr. Putnam added: “These tales have a weird kind of fascination which made me curiously [page 1022:] interested in the author. . . . Another incident enhanced this interest. At our London office we had received, about 1840, a volume called The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym, of Nantucket, which, in a long title-page, purported to describe sundry veritable voyages, ending with one in which the author had reached the eighty-fourth parallel of southern latitude. The late Mr. Daniel Appleton was sitting in my office in Paternoster Row. ‘Here is an American contributor to geographical science,’ I said to him. ‘This man has reached a higher altitude than any European navigator. Let us reprint this for the benefit of Mr. Bull.’ He assented and took half share in the venture. The grave . . . title, and . . . narrative, misled many . . . critics . . . and whole columns of these new ‘discoveries,’ including the hieroglyphics! on the rocks, were copied by many English . . . papers as sober, historical truth. . . . it was certainly ingenious and skilful.” Another record is, that Mr. Putnam had issued “Arthur Gordon Pym” in London, without having entirely read the MS., which was supposititions [[suppositions??]] of a Nantucket sailor who, with his ship, was finally drawn into a whirling vortex that Poe located at the Pole. The story ended, according to Mr. Putnam, with some such words as “We are going down, down, down.” As there was no record of the MS. coming up, English critics were puzzled as to how it reached Nantucket and thence London; therefore passed sharp comments on the “methods of Yankee publishers.” By these this earliest known print-hoax of several later ones — Poe’s “Pym” became widely popular, and ever since has stood on its own merits by its many later reprints. [page 1023:]

Aside from Poe-writings for the Broadway Journal, from March entry, his service of “12 to 15 hours per day,” on all scores, to late June, indicates no slack efforts by him for its success — whatever as to the effects entailed by business good fellowship, social or other indulgence in stimulants to patch up nervous forces; but results were not satisfactory to Mr. Briggs, who, also being flesh, must have had of flaws a few. June 29, 1845, he wrote Lowell that plans — it seems, unknown to Poe — were then underway with a new publisher, for the Journal, who was to give it “a fresh start,” and writer was to haul down Poe’s name, as he had lately fallen into old habits and it was feared he would injure himself beyond mending. Writer was first taken with Poe’s seeming independence, learning “in his criticisms, but they were so verbal and purely selfish” that he lost writer’s “sympathy.” Condescending — Mr. Briggs! but De Quincey declared, “the delight found in purely technical excellence as legitimate a pleasure as any found in literature.” But Lowell’s prior, personal call on Poe, levied against him, as such incidents will, with those who know not, and could not be expected to understand, inherited nerve wreckage overworked, as the true cause of Poe’s inability to withstand stimulants. He, himself, did not fully understand this fact, hence his acceptance of the world’s verdict of “weak will” that created the depth of his humiliation and his conscience stories. In Graham’s July, 1845, issue appeared Poe’s “Imp of the Perverse,” which was more than a progressive psychological treatment of conscience conflicts; for with irresistible truth it pictures Poe’s own infirmity and the [page 1024:] arch-fiend hurling him from the heights of every success he had worked for — and all but won — in sight. It was Poe who “became blind, deaf and giddy“with mortal congestion “when struck upon the back” by this, his “Imp of the Perverse“! It was Poe who fell “in a swoon” from the same cause, and returning consciousness revealed to the poet’s proud spirit the relentless chain of consequences of which he wrote. However, Mr. Briggs’ July 16th letter to Lowell disclosed more than Poe-troubles of its writer, in stating the reasons for the Journal’s non-issue. It seems Briggs made plans with a Mr. Homans and agreed to buy the interest of Bisco, who, on closing, exacted more than a prior offer, and so persisting, caused Briggs — who, without Bisco’s consent, could not put a new name on the paper — to “let it go a week,” intending a later double number. Undoubtedly Bisco confided Briggs’ sub rosy plans, as to Mr. Homans, to Poe, which confidence moved him to action explained as follows: From Mr. V. H. Paltsits comes an Oct. 9, 1919, New York Times clipping over the initials “F. S.,” who states: “I have the agreement in Poe’s handwriting, dated July 14, 1845, in which John Bisco was to publish the paper at his own cost and expense and to have one half ‘nett’ profits of publication, and Edgar A. Poe is ‘to be sole Editor and furnish matter from week to week uninterfered with by any party whatever,’ and to receive for such editorial conduct one-half entire profits over and above all reasonable costs and charges of publication, etc. John Bisco, speaking of Poe, Willis and Morris, gave an idea that the eating place they patronized mostly, was in Fulton [page 1025:] Street, near Dutch.” But, according to Mr. Briggs, Bisco fell into evil hands; and Poe into a spree and thought himself ill-treated, by “reason of loans” from Briggs; but, Poe persuaded Bisco to carry on the Journal, which was “allowed,” as it gave legal claim on him to Briggs, — who knew not how “the affair will terminate.” He further noted that Mrs. Clemm told him, Poe was tipsy the day Lowell called — that he acted strangely; but writer perceived nothing of it the next morning. Yet recently he was thus prevented from appearing before societies of New York University: still, writer thought that, for eighteen months, until the last three, Poe had not indulged, but in latter interval had been, at times, taken home in a wretched condition, for which Briggs Was sorry, as “Poe had good points but was badly made up. But Briggs noted Poe’s learning “superficial,” that he talked “dactyls and spondees with surprising glibness”; and that “names of metres being caviare to nine men out of ten,” he gained “a reputation for education at a very cheap rate.” Briggs’ all in all tangle of diverse statements is too involved on personal scores for need of comments; but another later record was, that “Mr. Briggs had cause for feeling against Poe” — yet, curiously, Briggs added of Poe’s ability this opinion: “He was a genius. As a writer, he was like an opal — all the more beautiful and full of play of color by reason of refracted light from internal strains and fractures they directed and controlled his mind in chosen fields with unapproachable power. His fame will grow and endure.” If Poe himself, as well as his contemporaries, could have had just a common-sense understanding [page 1026:] that those “internal strains and fractures” were prenatal with his own hard-driven treatment of a maimed nervous force, he might have escaped much conscience misery. But Aug. 1, 1815, Briggs repeated his Poe-Bisco woes to Lowell, to whom was stated, that neither did anything without the writer’s consent. Briggs added new details that gave him such disgust that he let both alone, and hoped to get his “money back from Bisco.” Aug. 8th, Lowell cheered Briggs with: “I am glad to hear the conduct of Poe and Bisco about B. J. was not so bad as I feared.” Three weeks later Briggs wrote Lowell again as to Poe’s delinquencies, by an unhandsome allusion in the “B. J.” to the writer, who gave no occasion for it, but to lend his critic money for board to save him from being turned into the street; and Poe’s “ill habits,” that were noted, were literal truth, for he was then troubled with congestion touches of heart and brain that soon became beyond cure. But, in another sense, August 21st, went to Lowell from Briggs these words, that Poe did “not read Wordsworth” and knew “nothing about him.” After floundering about several as ludicrous statements, Briggs concluded: “The last conversation I had with Poe he used all his power of eloquence in persuading me to join him in The Stylus.” If Briggs and Bisco each spent twelve or more hours a day, as Poe dill, otherwise in its interest in their parts of the financial and mechanical welfare of The Broadway Journal, it seems curious that Briggs had surplus money to lend Poe — who was mentioned as not having enough to pay modest “board “ — when each of the three should have had one third money interest [page 1027:] returns from the Journal venture. This suggests the query if its business phase was as well managed as its editorial affairs. A very small piece of silver would pay for enough liquid indulgence to place Poe out of commission for any command of its editorial chair, which was well held, as Broadway Journal prints prove, until it perished.

Concerning the conclusion of these bickerings Charles Fenno Hoffman facetiously wrote Dr. Griswold,(61) July 11th, “The Broadway Journal stopped for a week to let Briggs step ashore with his luggage, & they are now getting up steam to drive ahead under Captains Poe & Watson.”

Aug. 21st found Lowell in full sympathy with his friend Mr. Briggs in his differences with Poe, who, Lowell feared, was totally lacking in that part of the moral man called “character.” He felt he had gained Poe’s ill-will by serving him. The very human reason given for this unnatural thrust was, that Poe overhastily accused Lowell of plagiarism in a late issue of the Broadway Journal. The point bore on Poe’s misquoting from Wordsworth’s “Song Sung at Brougham Castle.” In these lines Poe gave it:

“Armor rustling on the walls,

On the blood of Clifford calls.”

Wordsworth italicized the word “rusting,” not “rustling,” as misquoted by Poe, and this error moved Briggs to write Lowell that Poe did “not read Wordsworth” and knew “nothing about him.” Lowell, being mortal, was indignant, and wrote Briggs that the “so-called sculptor,” Brackett, had really inquired of [page 1028:] Carter how much Lowell was paid by Poe for his life-sketch in Graham’s. It transpires that Poe, in his turn, carried his troubles to Willis; for in his letter from No. 9 Park Place he wrote:

I need not say that I would gladly do that, . . . to serve you, but it would be put down at once to . . . bad taste. Why reply directly to Mr. Briggs? If you want a shuttle-cock squib to fall to the ground, never battledore it straight back. Mr. B’s attacks on me I never saw, & never shall see. . . . A reply from me would make the man. So will yours, if you exalt him into your mate by contending on equal terms, . . . attack him on some other subject, & as an anonymous writer whose name is not worth giving. . . . But come & see me, & we‘ll talk it over.

Yours in haste but very sincerely


This letter reveals Briggs made anonymous attacks on Willis as well as on Poe.

Perhaps editorial and critical duties during these exciting days exacted so much of Poe’s time and strength that he was forced to print many of his old tales and poems in the Journal while bread and butter demands sent “Eulalie,” “A Song,” to its first print in the July, 1845, number of the American Whig Review. One original MS. of it was found by the keeper of MSS., New York Public Library, Victor Hugo Paltsits, Esq., between the leaves of an old-time album. Mr. Paltsits notes: “Poe’s youthful wife was already suffering from consumption. She was his ‘fair and gentle Eulalie’ whose radiant eyes cheered and stimulated his ambitions midst disappointments without end within their ‘world of moan.’ ” On the reverse of this [page 1029:] MS. Mr. Paltsits discovered in Poe’s dimmed pencil-writing this couplet:

“Deep in the [[sic]] earth my love is lying

And I must weep alone.”

In the Judy 12th Broadway Journal appeared Poe’s long, favorable review of Henry B. Hirst’s “The Coming of this Mammoth — Funeral of Time,” etc. Of the author Poe noted: “He has composed some very commendable poems. His imagination is vigorous, bold, and at the same time delicate,” etc. It is well to bear in mind this favorable review was given the work of Hirst after he had, in 1844, called Poe “a damned liar” in connection with the lost volume of Duane’s set of the Southern Literary Messenger. However, Mr. Whitty notes that Poe’s influence obtained the Messenger’s print-issue from 1843 to 1845, for poems by this author’s sister, Anna Marie Hirst — later in life a beautiful gifted woman, yet at this earlier time she was but three years old, which would make impossible her writing verses credited to her by Editor B. B. Minor of the Messenger and Poe. Miss Lina Saxe, of Philadelphia., daughter of Anna Marie Hirst, wrote, June, 1918, that her uncle, H. B. Hirst, was very fond of this little sister and undoubtedly wrote the lines himself and made Poe believe they were written by her — to please their mother. Mr. William Sartain states: “Hirst had some resemblance to Shakespeare which, cultivated, gave Hirst a notable aspect.”

In “The Drama,” of Poe’s July 19th Journal, he gave critical attention to Mrs. Anna Cora Mowatt, as [page 1030:] an actress. Poe wrote, as of prior noting: “There is no cant more contemptible than that which habitually decries the theatrical profession. . . . The theatre is ennobled by its high facilities for the development of genius. . . . The actor of talent is poor at heart, indeed, if he do not look with contempt upon the mediocrity even of a king. The writer of this article is himself the son of an actress — has invariably made it his boast — and no earl was ever prouder of his earldom than he of the descent from a woman, who, although well-born, hesitated not to consecrate to the drama her brief career of genius and of beauty.” Poe followed this with a [page 1031:] glowing pen-picture of brilliant Mrs. Mowatt, who repeatedly claimed his critical attention in print, and for several plays in the July issue the Broadway Journal. This number also gave his estimate of “Poems, Essays,” etc.. by Rev. Ralph Hoyt, whose “Chaunt of Life” begins,

“Slow droop the eyelids of the drowsy day.”

Because of Poe’s caustic comments on Henry T. Tuckerman, editor of “Boston Miscellany,” and his refusal of the “Tell-Tale Heart,” which Lowell was glad to get for his first number of The Pioneer, there existed some feeling between Tuckerman and Poe, both of whom were united at least against fashion plates appearing in literary periodicals. But it comes from Mr. Whitty that The Mirror of July 19, 1845, devoted seven pages to an occasion where Poe and Mr. Tuckerman met and renewed good will, in the commencement exercises of Rutgers Female Institute, July 19, 1845, when Rutgers Street Church was crowded. The Committee on Composition were Edgar A. Poe, Chairman : W. D. Snodgrass and Henry T. Tuckerman, who later wrote the “Life of John P. Kennedy,” Poe’s good friend. The first award was given to a poem of one hundred lines, of which the first was —

“Deep in the glade with trees o’erhung,”

which “was afterwards read to the audience by Poe.” Concerning this occasion Charles Fenno Hoffman wrote Dr. Griswold : “Poe & Tuckerman met for the first time last night. — & how? They . . . repaired to [page 1032:] Rutgers Institute, where they sat alone together as a committee upon young ladies’ compositions. Odd, isn’t it, that the women — who divide so many — should bring these two together!”

In July 19, 1845, Broadway Journal Poe wrote: [page 1033:] “The injustice done in America to the magnificent genius of Tennyson is one of the worst sins for which the country has to answer. . . . The poetry of Tennyson is, . . . replete with magnificent pictures, flushed with finest lines of language . . .”

Poe sent his “Marginalia,” numbers three and four, to Godey’s Lady’s Book for August and September, 1845, and his essay on “The American Drama” went to the August issue of American Whig Review. For August 2nd date of Broadway Journal he gave a review of “The Lost Pleiad; and Other Poems,” by his friend Dr. Thomas Holley Chivers. Of the man and his work Poe noted: “This volume is the honest, fervent utterance of an exquisitely sensitive heart which has suffered much and long . . . the thesis . . . is death of beloved friends.” Poe was gratefully stronger in personal than in literary appreciation. This date Journal again mentioned Mrs. Mowatt as the writer of “The Fortune Hunter,” etc.; also her appearance in several plays was noted in Poe’s article on “The Drama.”

In the Aug. 8, 1845, Poe-reply to the prior letter of his Baltimore cousin, Neilson Poe, was the “sincere pleasure” it gave Edgar, who noted Mrs. Clemm had not the item asked for, and he mentioned his own thanks for the kind interest expressed for his welfare. Poe added: “We all speak frequently of yourself and family and regret we have seen and known so little of each other. Virginia, . . . is pained at separation from her sisters. She has been and is still in precarious health.” Poe mentioned the Philadelphia cause of her illness and his fear that she never would be well; that [page 1034:] Clemm was quite well and both sent kind remembrances: he regretted not seeing Neilson when last in Baltimore, but hoped to do so when Virginia and writer might be there next fall. He requested his cousin to say to Mr. Herring’s family, “eve are anxious to hear from them.” Poe concluded: ‘‘I rejoice that you prosper at all points. . . . The ‘B Journal’ flourishes — but in January I shall establish a magazine. Very cordially yours, Edgar A. Poe.” This, with other letters of Poe family from time to time, sustains the fact that the poet’s relatives were truly and, at times, substantially interested in his welfare. Turning from this touch of family life Poe dated a less personal letter to Thomas W. Field, “New York, August 9th, ‘45,” and in it wrote: “It is nearly a month since I received from you a note requesting. an interview, — but by some inadvertence I placed it . . . among . . . answered letters.’ This wily account for my seeming discourtesy . . . I . . . now say . . . I shall be happy to see you, . . . at my residence, 195 East Broadway. You will generally find me at home in the morning before 10.” This note but affirms the fact that normal Poe was never less than courteous, and locates him from prior “May.”

In Broadway Journal of August 9, Poe’s review of “Prose and Verse,” by Thomas Hood, noted: “His true province . . . is a kind of borderland between Fancy and Fantasy — but in this region he reigns supreme.” “Bridge of Sighs” and “the ‘wild ‘Ode to Melancholy“’ are so indited. In this date Journal Poe also noted C. E. Lester’s translation of “Ettore F‘ieramosca, or the Challenge of Barletta” — voted [page 1035:] by “Italian and British critics as the best romance of its language.” In this Broadway Journal issue was a Poe quotation, from the New York Express connection with the Cincinnati Gazette, by which the Broadway Journal editorial indicated press gossip was caused by the “flare up” differences of its editors, its nonappearance for a week or two, also a mixture of sharp and flattering comments on its criticisims [[criticisms]]; for all of which offenders were “thanked and would be thanked at the same time to stick to the truth‘‘; inquiry was made as to the meaning of “flare up.” Mr. Whiny notes, “Poe’s apologies were not all in his letters,” citing from August 30th Broadway Journal this instance: “We thank the New York correspondent of the Cincinnati Gazette for the gentlemanly tone of his reply to some later pettish comments of our own. We saw only a portion of one of his letters. Had we seen more, we should at once, through precision of his style, have recognized a friend.”

The Aug. 16th Broadway Journal gave reprint of Poe’s “Catholic Hymn” from “Morella”; a review of Graham’s for August : also a review of “Characters of Shakespeare”(62) by William Hazlitt. Of Hazlitt was noted, “With his hackneyed theme he has done wonders, and those wonders well.” In August 23rd Broadway Journal Poe reviewed the “Poetical Writings of Elizabeth Oakes Smith.” Poe once noted “The Sinless Child” an undoubted “novelty in almost any locality,” and its composition “original” but “forced,” vet that many of the sonnets were “beautiful.” That Poe and Virginia came into personal interesting touch with Mrs. Smith is of later [page 1036:] mention. This August 16th date of his Broadway Journal(63) continued his review on Hood’s “Prose and Verse.” Of “The Song of the Shirt” Poe wrote that it was “a composition as only Hood could have conceived, or written, . . . but . . . has scarcely a claim to the title of poem.” But “The Bridge of Sighs” was “a poem of the loftiest order, . . . the finest . . . written by Hood.” In strong contrast, this date Journal also included Willis’ “Dashes at Life with a Free Pencil,” which claimed Poe’s warm, friendly praise of its absent writer’s manly, “brilliant and versatile abilities,” and about whom “there is no particle of pretense.” In August 30, 1845, Broadway Journal Poe urged, that “quizzical Letters, ‘Copyright and Copywrong,’ should be read by all true friends, and fair enemies of International Copyright. The strong points . . . were never more forcibly, if ever more ludicrously, put. . . . Had Hood only written ‘The Haunted House’ it would have sufficed to render him immortal.” This date Journal brought to book “The Indicator and Companion” by Leigh limit, of whom Poe noted: “Hunt has written many agreeable papers, but no great ones . . . ‘Feast of the Poets’ is . . . his best composition.” From Mr. Whitty comes, that this August 30th Journal gave Mrs. Osgood’s “Slander,” which referred to “breaking of somebody’s heart,” and no doubt was inspired by hungry gossips; but the September 6, 1845, Broadway Journal gave her “Echo Song,” of which the first two lines were:

“I know a noble heart that beats

For one it loves how ‘wildly well‘!” [page 1037:]

These verses, under the title of their first line, are on page 464 in Dr. Griswold’s edited 1850 edition of Mrs. Osgood’s “Poems,” which she warmly inscribed to him, as “his attached friend”; but her “Preface” observed of this issue, that “it embraced some pieces which my mature taste would have rejected, . . . while others are omitted which I would more willingly have had inserted.” Mrs. Osgood also wrote glowing lines to Dr. Griswold — one an ingenious acrostic with her name letters interwoven in its letters by numbered sequence from left to right, and likewise his name from right to left. Mrs. Osgood was nearer to Poe in the far, far country than to Dr. Griswold when his Memoir of Poe came to its unfortunate print issue; but her death-bed letter to its editor will obtain later mention. In 1845, her “Echo Song” invited Poe’s glowing lines “To F —— ,” of their third title and printing, and at this time they were in Sept. 13th date of the Broadway Journal. While gossips were busy, probably fair play caused Mrs. Osgood to send Nov. 22nd Journal issue her lines on page 364 of her 1850 “Poems,” which lines begin:

“Oh! they never can know that heart of thine

Who dare accuse thee of flirtation!”

It is well to bear in mind that prints from Margaret Fuller, Anne C. Lynch, Mary E. Hewitt, Mary L. Lawson and Elizabeth F. Ellet also appeared in the Broadway Journal.

Curiously enough among the various Poe reviews in Sept. 6, 1845, Broadway Journal should coincidentally appear one on Sir Christopher North’s [page 1038:] “Genius and Character of Burns,” and another on “Saul, a Mystery,” by the Rev. Arthur Cleveland Coxe, then twenty-seven; but in 1865 he was the second Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Western New York. It strangely transpires that the autocrat of Blackwood’s credited its November, 1847, print of “American Copyright” (so full of the strongest Poesque expressions, some being noted in narrative dates, on a subject which obsessed Poe from his Southern Literary Messenger days) to the “Rev. Cleveland Coxe,” writes one Poe overseas authority. Hope long deferred on open recognition of the “secret” acceptance recorded by Poe Sept. 11, 1839, no doubt moved him to write of Professor Wilson: “How little he owes to intellectual preeminence and how much to the mere overbearing impetuosity of his opinions, would be a singular subject for speculation. . . . Of one who instructs we demand, . . . a certain knowledge of the principles which regulate the instruction. Professor Wilson’s capability is limited to a keen appreciation of the beautiful and a fastidious sense of the deformed. . . . He is no analyst. . . . He persuades . . . bewilders . . . . overwhelms . . . even argues — but there has been no period at which he ever demonstrated anything beyond his own . . . incapacity for demonstration.” Yet this biographer of Burns was voted “one of the most gifted and remarkable men of his day,” by his arch-critic, Edgar A. Poe.

The Hon. R. M. Hogg notes, that on page 177, Vol. II, of Mrs. Oliphant’s “WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS,” starts some pathetic reading as to the autocratic, editorial Blackwood’s methods of treating the [page 1039:] lost, straying, or used? MSS. of some “poor devil authors,” in the “no answer” style to their repeated, bitter and rather heart-breaking letters. Some were lost for sixty years. Poe’s may have disappeared forever. Of this arbitrary editorial delinquency Mrs. Oliphant [page 1040:] wrote: “If I may hint a fault, this is one of the particulars in which the house of Blackwood was not perfect.”

In “The Maclise Portrait Gallery,” William Bates begins his pen-picture of “John Wilson” — Christopher North, Blackwood’s “Cock of the walk” — with “the story of the circumforaneous tradesman who stole his besoms ready-made.” Linked to this idea follows an epigram by “old Townsend — vicar of Kingston-on-the-Sea, celibate, misogynist and old crony of Wordsworth and Southey — when some burglars made a nocturnal raid on his parsonage:

‘They came and prigg‘d my linen, my stockings and my store,

But they couldn’t prig my sermons for they were prigg‘d before!’ ”

Handsome John Wilson was born at Paisley — noted for its shawls — May 19, 1785. He obtained his early learning at the University of Glasgow. Thence he went to Oxford. There he graduated, a B.A. in 1807, and an M.A. in 1808, having gained “the Newdigate prize for poetry in the teeth of three thousand competitors, and the reputation of being the best boxer, the highest leaper, the most ardent cocker and fastest runner among his fellow students,” all of which appealed to Poe. In a mercantile venture young Wilson lost most of his £40,000 heritage. In 1814 he went to Edinburgh, was called to the bar, but never practiced. In January, 1817, was started Blackwood’s Magazine. With its unjust, unreasoning abuse of the Hunt-Hazlitt “Cockney School,” also in its self-glorification under Professor Wilson, Lockhart and Maginn, [page 1041:] Blackwood’s soon became known as “the “Blackwood’s.” After it was left by Lockhart and Dr. Maginn, in 1830, Sir Christopher North gave Blackwood’s the high critical and literary standing it so long maintained and which claimed Poe’s ardent admiration. The touching pathos of Professor Wilson’s life lay in the loss of his beautiful wife, who died in 1837. He never recovered from this shock. In 1854 Christopher North died at Edinburgh in the sixty-ninth year of his age.

In the Sept. 6th Journal Poe noted that the Rev. Arthur Cleveland Coxe had “written some very beautiful poems,” but his “Saul, a Mystery,” a dramatic poem, was “an unconscionably long one.” Poe then stated he had not time to read it. In Southern Literary Messenger, May, 1849, “Marginalia” Poe wrote of “Saul, a Mystery”: “I have read ‘Said,’ and agree with the epigrammatist, that it ‘will do’ . . . for trunk paper. The author is right in calling it ‘A Mystery‘: . . . a most unfathomable mystery it is . . . it was really a mystery how I ever did get to the end — which I fancied . . . somebody had cut off, in a fit of ill-will to the critics.” At this time Poe was locked in the jaws of his “Imp of the Perverse,” nervous congestion, yet meaning all he wrote on literary scores, but he keenly appreciated the clever “epigrammatist’s” retort on the two critics of “Said,” by this quotation: “The Reverend Arthur Coxe’s ‘Said, a Mystery,’ having been condemned in no measured terms by Poe, of ‘The Broadway Journal,’ and Green, of ‘The Emporium,’ a writer in the ‘Hartford Columbian’ retorts as follows: [page 1042:]

‘An entertaining history,

Entitled “Saul, A Mystery,”

Has recently been published by the Reverend Arthur Coxe.

The poem is dramatic,

And the wit of it is attic,

And its teachings are emphatic of doctrines orthodox.

‘But Mr. Poe, the poet,

Declares he cannot go it —

That the book is very stupid, or something of that sort;

And Green of the Empori-

Um, tells a kindred story,

And “swears like any tory” that it is n’t worth a groat.

‘But maugre all their croaking

Of the “raven” — and the joking

Of the verdant little fellow of the used to be review

The PEOPLE, in derision

Of their impudent decision,

Have declared without division, that the “Mystery” will do.”

Because Poe himself “thoroughly” delighted in the “cleverness” of this jeu d‘esprit all its lines are given. He also noted them in the May, 1849, Southern Literary Messenger “Marginalia.” Poe’s “Diddling Considered as one of the Exact Sciences” was in the Sept. 13th Broadway Journal. In this Poe-script farce, on petty cheatings of times, Mr. Thomas O. Mabbott notes, that “Poe has something not kindly to say of Daniel O‘Connell, who became unpopular with Southerners because of his abolitionist’s sentiments.” Poe strongly identified himself with the South, by writing, “I am a Virginian,” etc. Of Philip J. Bailey’s [page 1043:] poem “Festus” Poe briefly noted its design “as the demonstration of the necessity of Evil,”

To Dr. Appleton Morgan, New York City, Mr. John De Galleford wrote: “I am drawn to you by your defense of Edgar A. Poe. I love him though I met him but once, September, 1845. I was sitting on a pile, watching our bark moored to it. A quiet gentleman came up and asked questions in regard to my seafaring life. He was so lovable in his conversation that I never forgot him. He could not have been a drinking man for his looks did not show it. On telling him I was a run-a-way boy from Kentucky he took a scrap of paper from his pocket . . . took notes, telling me he could make a nice story of what I told him. I took him aboard the bark and showed him a pet monkey I had brought from Natal. He ate a piece of biscuit, drank some cold coffee and told me he would come and see me again and get acquainted with my Captain. . . . I am an old man, seventy-three, but I can remember word for word all that passed.” So much from Chattanooga, Tenn., for Poe!

At Oaky Grove, Ga., Sept 9, 1845, Dr. Chivers wrote Poe as having his August 29th letter-query as to the puzzling delay of promised money. Chivers noted the cause; asked the favor of a Wall Street errand; mentioned press praise of his own poems, and of Poe, by his review of them, and added, “You say you have not touched a drop of the ashes of Hell since I left New York. That’s a man. For God’s sake, but more for your own, never touch another another drop.” Chivers sent best wishes to Poe’s wife and Mrs. Clemm: his love to Bisco and Colton; noted eating the finest [page 1044:] of watermelons and closed with, “God bless you.” Chivers’ character and letters were of curious mixtures. His “ashes of Hell” meant intoxicants.

To Mr. Evert A. Duyckinck, Poe wrote, Sept. 10, 1845, as to his having a “very few” of his best poems, not printed in volume form, and if they would not fill a book, that “Dramatic Scenes” from the Southern Literary Messenger could be added. Of Mr. Duyckinck. himself, Poe wrote as one of the most influential of New York littérateurs, and he had done a great deal for American letters; Poe also noted Mr. Duyckinck’s editing and projection of “Wiley & Putnam’s Library of Choice Reading,” which included many valuable foreign works. Poe wrote: “Mr. Duyckinck has shyly acquired . . . fame and . . . admirers under the nom de plume of ‘Felix Merry.“’ His “style is remarkable for . . . unusual blending of purity and ease . . . originality, force and independence. ‘ Felix Merry,’ . . . with Mr. Cornelius Mathews; was one of the editors and originators of ’ Arcturus,’ . . . the very best magazine in many respects ever published in the United States. . . . Mr. Duyckinck writes . . . for ‘The Democratic Review,’ . . . and other periodicals. In character he is remarkable, distinguished for the bonhomie of his manner, his simplicity, . . . his active beneficence, his hatred of wrong done even to any enemy, and especially for an almost Quixotic fidelity to his friends.”

In Mr. Duyckinck’s review(64) of Dr. Griswold’s first edition of Poe’s works was: “Poe was strictly impersonal. He lived entirely apart from the solidities and realities of life; thought, wrote and dealt solely in [page 1045:] abstractions . . . this gives their peculiar feature to his writings. He is therefore a greater favorite with scholars than with the people.”

The late Miss Catherine N. Duyckinck, by a Sun clipping and otherwise, has thrown interesting light on “Poe, at Duyckinck’s Saturday Evenings,” in their home, No. 20 Clinton Place, New York City. The brothers, Evert A. and George L. Duyckinck — one bashful, the other a bachelor — did not entertain ladies. They were sons of an early New York publisher, and the first to employ the Harpers’ press. Title-page imprints exist of “Duyckinck & Long and J. & J. Harper.” The Duyckincks’ choice library was in the basement of their home. Evert was an able critic; both had good incomes. With others they founded the [page 1046:] monthly Arcturus and Literary World, which attracted to their “Saturday Nights” home and foreign intellectual lights of those days. Among these personalities “were Cooper; the Danas — father and son; Emerson; Longfellow; Lowell, witty, sententious Dr. Francis; R. W. Griswold, ‘Mefisto‘; Wm. Allan Butler, ‘the magnetic‘; and occasionally, Edgar Allan Poe, ‘the saturnine‘.” To the cheer and warmth of their glowing coal fire were added “sips of current literature alternating with those of that generous punch which Duyckinck the younger ‘knew so well how to brew.’ ” Poe gave high praise to their Arcturus and Literary World, also as editor of the rival Broadway Journal, had been courteous and high-minded in friendly collision, and was then at the zenith of his fame but close on to his coming misfortunes. Knowing his infirmity and having personal fondness for and sympathy with him, the Duyckinck punch was less potent, and the poet’s glass less often filled than those of other guests on Poe nights there. On their shelves were volumes of Southern Literary Messenger; of Graham’s “Al Aaraaf”; “Tamerlane,” Hatch & Dunning, Baltimore, 1829; Elam Bliss, New York, 1831, edition of Poe’s “Poems”; “Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque”; “The Raven” by Quarles, in the American Whig Review; and its Evening Mirror print over Poe’s own name. At Duyckinck’s Salon, Poe said of “The Raven Never mind! I got as much for the verses as Milton got for his ‘Paradise Lost‘.” As Poe was then the literary idol of the hour at home, and his fame dawning in France and England, no one dreamed of missing a Poe night at Duyckinck’s [page 1047:] “Saturday Evenings.” Here came Lowell especially to meet Poe, who, though not yet forty, looked elderly, and his sad, lustrous eyes claimed marked attention when he walked along Broadway. His face was pale, beautiful, intellectual. Dr. Francis thought there was an element of madness in him by inheritance and so he became a prey to morbid thoughts. All who met Poe in this Clinton Place Salon agreed that “his conversation was at times almost super-mortal in its eloquence” and “his imagery seemed drawn from worlds that only the vision of diseased genius could penetrate. He modulated his voice with great skill, so that he fairly enchained attention. Listeners appeared to appreciate that he held imbedded in his brain some con, trolling sorrow.”

One evening “a warm discussion arose between him and Rufus Wilmot Griswold — always an unpleasant and ex cathedra Sir Orwall.” It was at first an implication that Poe had plagiarized “The Haunted Palace” both from Tennyson’s “Deserted House” and Longfellow’s “Beleaguered City.” Poe’s “wonderful memory, however, over-hauled dates and proved his poem ante-dated” the other prints, etc. The discussion “won Poe a bitter foe — that after his sad end, instigated most unfair attacks on his memory.” These burning words indicate what a glorious opportunity Dr. Griswold pathetically missed for himself and for Poe. Yet perhaps no one of Poe’s many biographers has paid so brilliant a tribute to his conversational powers as has Dr. Griswold in: “His conversation was at times almost supra-mortal in its eloquence. His voice was modulated with astonishing skill, and his [page 1048:] large and variably expressive eyes looked repose, or shot fiery tumult into theirs who listened, while his own face glowed or was changeless in pallor, as his imagination quickened his blood, or drew it back frozen to his heart. His imagery was from worlds which no mortal can see but with the vision of genius. Suddenly starting from a proposition exactly and sharply defined, in terms of utmost simplicity and clearness, he rejected customary . . . logic, and in a crystalline process of accretion, built up his ocular demonstrations in forms of gloomiest and ghostliest grandeur, or, in those of the most airy and delicious beauty, so minutely, so distinctly, yet so rapidly, that the attention . . . yielded him was chained till it stood among his wonderful creations — till he himself dissolved the spell, and brought his hearers back to common . . . existence,” etc.

In the Sept. 27th Broadway Journal was Poe’s review of Dr. Griswold’s “Prose Works of John Milton with Biographical Introduction.” Poe noted: “Dr. Griswold deserves the thanks of his countrymen for what he has done here.” Of Milton, Poe wrote: “no man has ever surpassed, if, . . . ever equalled, the author of ‘Areopagitica’ in purity . . . force . . . copiousness . . . majesty . . . or, . . . gorgeous magnificence of style.” Poe commented on omission of “The Christian Doctrine” in close touch with its author and his editor, and concluded of Dr. Griswold’s volumes, that “no one, pretending to even ordinary scholarship, can afford to do without them.”

In the Oct. 4th Broadway Journal Poe paid attention to William Gilmore Simms’ collection of tales “The [page 1049:] Wigwam and the Cabin,” which he voted “the most American of American books.” Of the author was added: “Mr. Simms has exercised . . . remarkable influence upon the literature of his country . . . especially . . . its Southern regions.”

In referring to William A. Jones’ attacks on lack of humor in American authors, also stating “the French have no humor,” Poe’s forceful comment was: “Let him pray Heaven that in Hades he fall not into the clutches of Moliere, of Rabelais, of Voltaire!” In the Oct. 11th Broadway Journal review of Amanda M. Edmond’s “Broken Vow and Other Poems,” Poe looked in vain “for one spark of poetic fire.” In the same issue, as to Charles J. Ingersoll’s “Historical Sketch of the War of 1812,” was, “It is rather a series of vivid pictures, . . . than an historical Sketch of it”; Poe’s code demanded exact titles.

With editorial duties, reviews and aside money-writings for other periodicals of prior mention, also his consumptive wife’s distressing cough giving neither of them but little rest, bore down upon Poe’s nervous tension with special weight about this time, and in a way described by his “Angel of the Odd,” already quoted, when the hero through various incidents finds himself hanging to a floating balloon by his right hand and his left arm hopelessly broken. This condition seems a true reflex of Poe ’s physical and mental states when he, as third choice, was invited to give an original poem before a Boston Lyceum audience, Oct. 16th, 184;. In this connection Mr. Whitty calls attention to “A Remembrance of Edgar Allan Poe,” signed “C.” — N. W. Coffin, corresponding secretary [page 1050:] of Boston Lyceum — in Boston Journal, Dec. 5, 1868. Some of its interesting items are, that in the good old days when the Lyceum was young, popular, and lectures growing in favor, the sudden advent of the “Mercantile Library Association” of young Bostonians spurred the Lyceum efforts in obtaining Mr. Emerson’s six lectures on “Representative Men,” essays of “crystalline brilliancy.” Both organizations had an introductory address and poem at the opening of each course. Previously used items were out of the question, and to find an able man to write an address on no special subject for exciting expectation and able critics was no easy task. As to the poem, that required skilful Parnassian flight which was likely to cast the hazardous writer into some wayside ditch. While the subject of orator-poet held its depressing sway over the Lyceum mentors by regrets from eminent men of letters, Minister Cushing to China returned to the United States. He was fresh, and fair prey for Lyceum Lec ture toils, and gave an admirable lecture on China. But for the poet, requests began at the top, of those times; but Longfellow with grace and reckless disregard for $50 declined. Hoping to get Lowell for less, the thrifty committee were surprised when he refused that amount. So Poe, then at the apex of his popularity, was formally invited; and in due time his letter of acceptance, in a clear, round hand, was received. Mr. Stoddard noted that Poe accepted “with the intention of writing a poem before the evening for delivery came, but his mind refused to honor the draft . . . [then] presented upon it.” And in this dilemma he sought the assistance of his friend Mrs. Osgood. Dr. Griswold [page 1051:] stated of this Poe incident: “When he accepted the invitation of the Lyceum he intended to write an original poem, upon a subject which he said haunted his imagination for years”; another record noted this subject as “The Bells.” But cares and illness delayed Poe’s poem-writing until a week before the lecture date, when he wrote Mrs. Osgood: “You compose with such facility . . . you can easily furnish me, . . . soon enough, a poem that shall equal my reputation. For the love of God I beseech you to help me in this extremity.” Mrs. Osgood wrote him kindly, that she would try, but, being an invalid, failed. The fragment of what she tried to write, Dr. Griswold noted as “Lulin; or the Diamond Fay,” page 89 in her last edition of “Poems.” It reveals the desperate illness of its writer and valid reasons for Poe’s further venture on “desperate seas” of this occasion, with his MS. of “Al Aaraaf” and classic structure, but printed in his “West Point, 1831, Poems.” However, Mr. Coffin continued, that near the opening date Poe was written to again. The evening and Pavilion Hotel were noted as to the time and place of meeting him for the presentation to his audience. Meanwhile the Lyceum Lecture Course had been widely advertised with “Poe’s name . . . in big capitals as poet of the occasion,” which resulted in the city literati being “on the qui vive for his appearance.” As to the Lyceum Lecture being widely advertised with “Poe’s name . . . in big capitals,” this statement must have covered handbills, fences or the theatre bulletin-board; certainly it was not in the Boston press of near lecture dates. Excepting one, the October Boston papers gave but from [page 1052:] about five to nine lines in small, editorial type announcements, and mostly of Mr. Cushing, and finished with a line or more of Poe, as close research of Boston press dates covering this incident reveals. But “C” — Mr. Coffin — continued, that at six o’clock on the opening night the committee called at the Pavilion Hotel, and inquired if Mr. Poe had arrived, when the clerk, pointing to a gentleman on a settee across the room, said, “There he sits.” Turning, sure enough, there was the author of “The Raven,” to whom they introduced themselves. Knowing he was not always master in his own kingdom, the scrutiny was both “close and wise,” for after some talk it led to a discovery [page 1054:] by his saying, “Come into my room and I will get my MS. and go with you.” They followed, and sat on his bed while he unstrapped the trunk, but he soon said, “I am afraid I have left it.” Jumping up excitedly his callers exclaimed: “Goodness gracious, Mr. Poe, it can’t be!” With utter hopelessness, he replied: “It is indeed so, Sir.” On the floor beside him, both callers carefully went through the “abundant wardrobe,” they thought, for one night’s stay, but they could not take into account Poe’s call for aid en route at Mrs. Osgood’s — but in vain. However, “thinking the MS. might be in the trunk-top and drawing therefrom an extra pair of boots, the MS. appeared after the loss of half an hour. Taking Poe by the arm the Lyceum circuit was made between dusk and lamp-light and the poet reached the Odeon desk “in best possible condition.” The Odeon was one of several later names given Old Federal Street Theatre, upon which stage Poe’s parents played so often and the last time during the late spring of 1809. Mr. “C.” noted, that the audience was excellent — in 1845 — and received Mr. Cushing’s address as it was deserved. On rising, Mr. Poe was greeted with “hearty applause” elicited by his interesting personality and literary reputation, including “The Raven,” then in everybody’s mind. With good voice and clear articulation he began reading, as a preface to his poem, a long, critical essay on lyric poetry which, it is said, wearied and disappointed his hearers, eager for the “poem” which, the record runs, “was not a whit better,” but, being clear and comprehensible, was favored more than its mystical, involved preface; but with reciting [page 1055:] “fifty lines all interest was lost” by those Solons of “Modern Athens” in subjects whose MSS., scholars’ and collectors’ estimates now claim, are worth more than their weight in gold. Then the Lyceum Managers were embarrassed, and the economical member was seen to fidget in his seat. Fortunately, when Poe concluded, a good diplomatic friend suggested his repeating “‘The Raven’ — which he did well.” As to Poe’s perplexing verses of “Al Aaraaf” read on this occasion, a lad, then in his audience — the late Col. Thos. W. Higginson — said: “They produce no distinct impression until Poe began the maiden’s song . . . his tones had been softening to a finer melody . . . and when he came to, —

‘Ligeia! Ligeia!

My beautiful one!

Whose harshest idea

Will to melody run,’

his voice seemed attenuated to the finest golden thread; the audience became hushed, and, as it were, breathless; there seemed no life in the hall but his; and every syllable was accentuated with such delicacy, and sustained with such sweetness, as I have never heard equalled by other lips. . . . When the lyric ended, it was like the ceasing of the gypsy’s chant in Browning’s ‘Flight of the Duchess‘; I remember nothing more, except in walking back to Cambridge my comrades and I felt that we had been under the spell of some wizard. Indeed I feel much the same, in retrospect, to this day.” So was Higginson, the cultured scholar, charmed for life by the genius of a man for whom he had but passing admiration. When Poe with his [page 1056:] $50 was well on his way home to New York, the son of General R. M. Saunders, of North Carolina, gave Mr. “C.” a copy of Poe’s 1831, West Point Ed. of “Poems.” And it seemed needful for Lieut. Saunders to point out “Al Aaraaf,” one of these poems, as that recited by Poe to his Boston Lyceum audience. This needed revelation brought fairly, perhaps, the charge of “unfairness” on the part of Poe, who was expected to write a special poem for this event. The truth was, Poe, utterly worn out, was unable to meet the demand for special work, and in desperate need of money was trapped thereby into giving text of prior use, as happened with Lowell forty years or more later. But with far better excuse was Poe’s precedent in failure, of original material, made. Editor Eugene Field noted,(65) “Forty years after . . . an eminent Bostonian, invited to deliver a new and original address before a Chicago audience (the occasion being Washington’s Birthday), accepted the invitation and recited a lecture which he had written and delivered some years previously for the instruction and edification of the students of a Scotch University! In other words, Professor James Russell Lowell played upon Chicago, in 1887, a trick similar to that played by Edgar A. Poe upon Boston,” — Oct. 16, 1845.

Poe’s real misfortune was baiting issues in his Broadway Journal with some Boston papers. This act marked an incident that otherwise might have been sooner forgotten. However, the charge of “childishness,” as to Poe, seems equally merited by some Boston press notices of this Lyceum incident. Of it, the Boston Daily Evening Traveler gave one-half column, [page 1057:] of which the last paragraph was of Poe, wherein was, the audience “seemed to have had enough of the poetry” and “could not be detained.” The Boston Journal, Oct. 17, 1845, pointedly noted that Mr. Gushing stated that the United States had achieved her political, but not her intellectual independence. The writer of this notice did not stay to hear Poe’s poem. The Boston Daily Mail, Oct. 18, 1845, stated: “The Transcript thinks Mr. Cushing’s . . . Address before the Lyceum . . . was ‘a slim affair written, . . . for popular effect, and . . . one long laudation of U. States at the expense of Great Britain.” There was no mention of Poe, but plenty of “Negro serenaders, the circus, balls,” etc. The Boston Transcript, Oct. 17, 1845, demolished “Al Aaraaf” and its writer as “A Failure” with “a suspension of interest, merely, until the next lecture by Henry Norman Hudson” (on Shakespeare), whose good points Poe named “a happy talent for the fanciful . . . unexpected” and his bad points “legion.” In Saturday, Oct. 18, 1845, Transcript, in one half-column, all Poe’s productions were stated to be “replete with the same kind of life as a watch,” and were mentioned his apologetic lecture preface, his plagiarism hobby and himself as a critic. In the October 29th issue was noted Poe’s “quizz” on “Bostonians.” And to “THAT POEM “was added, that Boston thought its writer — as the Broadway poet — like the immortal Barbello, of Rome, should be “‘crowned with a cabbage in the Capitol.’ See Roscoe, Leo X. Let all sprouting poets lay the story to heart.” These editorial lines — about twenty-two, written by Henry Norman Hudson, screened by Miss [page 1058:] Walter’s Transcript — were in “Reply” to Poe’s Broadway Journal reference to his “childish effort [early writing of “Al Aaraaf”] for the amusement of Bostonians.” It seems that Miss Walter with some friends left the Odeon, during Poe’s recital of “Al Aaraaf”; but “THAT POEM” was pardoned as “a juvenile” effort by this lady’s Transcript. Perhaps this scoring, and the “cabbage” coronation (suggested by Mr. Hudson) of the writer of “Al Aaraaf,” moved Poe in November 22nd Broadway Journal to an irritated expression of “Frogpondians” (as he named “Bostonians”), with this special mention of Miss Walter: She defends our poem on the ground of its being ‘juvenile,’ and we think the more of her defence because she herself has been juvenile so long as to be a judge of juvenility . . . we . . . forgive her. . . . You are . . . delightful . . . and your heart is in the right place — would to Heaven that we could always say the same thing of your wig!” Poe, however goaded, seldom descended to personalities; but pushed to such points, he became Voltairian in returning double-edged thrusts with telling aims at his tormentors. It transpires that Mr. Hudson’s summary of Poe’s “wicked” words inspired a November 24, 1845, letter from H. N. Hudson to Mr. Evert A. Duyckinck, one of Poe’s best friends. Some items of this letter are:(66)

MY DEAR SIR: I write you this at the suggestion of some of Mr. Poe’s friends in this city, who are shocked . . . at his late remarks on Miss Walter. I do not recollect ever to have seen anything so mean, and dirty and wicked, as his last paper. Miss Walter is one of [page 1059:] the most respectable young ladies in Boston; and her paper . . . is, indeed, the family newspaper of the city.

Here Mr. Hudson saddled his hearsay designation of Poe’s course, in the comment of “perfectly damnable,” on one of his best “friends” in Boston, Mr. Edwin Percy Whipple, and concluded as to Poe, with this revelation:

As for remarks on Mr. Poe in the Transcript, the most offensive of them were not written by Miss Walter, but by myself. The truth is, I . . . think, that Mr. Poe’s conduct here, whatever . . . its merit as a hoax, was utterly beneath the dignity of a gentleman: a disgrace to the name of literature. . . .


It would be interesting to know why Mr. Hudson seemed so willing for his Lecture’s mention in the Transcript’s notings of Poe, and unwilling to place those “most offensive” remarks of him over the name of “H. N. Hudson” in that paper. Evidently this fantastic, cavalier letter-tilting — on stab in the dark order — was wisely relegated beyond Broadway Journal’s reach of this gentleman’s lectures, and into Mr. Duyckinck’s hoped for Literary World notice. Mr. T. O. Mabbott aptly states his doubts as to Poe ever having seen this letter-curiosity from H. N. Hudson, because “Poe’s relations with Whipple were friendly.” The sum total of Poe’s sins of this Boston episode is in easy reach of readers in about all editions of his printed works. Scorings of his “Al Aaraaf,” as “a miserable production,” and all his “rhyme and prose” termed “hoax,” continued in the Transcript issues of Oct. 30, 31, Nov. 4, and 13, in battledore and [page 1060:] shuttlecock order with his Broadway Journal prints. As men can neither whine nor weep for the world’s sympathy, Poe took the turn tactless genius suggested — for this lapse most keenly felt in his failure of writing a special poem — by bravado expression of “Boston and Bostonians”(67) appearing in the Nov. 1st and 22nd, 1845, dates of Broadway Journal. This article concluded: “Over a bottle of champagne, that night, we confessed to . . . Cushing, Whipple, [Henry Norman] Hudson, Fields and a few . . . natives who swear not altogether by the frog-pond . . . the soft impeachment of the hoax, Et hinc illae irae, [which Mr. F. H. Chase suggests as from Horace’s “Hinc illae lacrimae,” Epistle, I, 1, 99, and translates, “Hence these tears,” Poe’s irae meaning “those outburst of auger.” Thomas O. Mabbott adds: “Poe also had in mind a Virgilian phrase Tantaene animis celestibits irac? and mixed the two.”] We should have waited a couple of days.” However, two Boston papers did her own intellectuality and Poe some justice. In the Oct. 17th issue of the Advertiser and Patriot was: “The Odeon was . . . crowded last evening on . . . the opening of the Lyceum’s . . . lectures. . . . Mr. Cushing’s address was . . . a contrast of American and English systems of politics resulting strongly in the advantage of our country. Mr. Edgar A. Poe followed Mr. Cushing. In a few remarks . . . he explained his view of the province of poetry, as his excuse for not delivering a didactic poem. After other apologies for the insufficiency of his performance he announced its subject, ‘The Star of Tycho Brahe,’ . . . the ‘Messenger Star of the Deity.’ . . . [page 1061:]

‘Away from Heaven’s eternity, but far, oh far from hell !’

By request Mr. Poe then recited his poem ‘The Raven.’ ”

In the Boston Courier, Oct. 18, 1845, was this editorial:

[For the Courier]


On Thursday evening Mr. Poe delivered his poem before the Boston Lyceum, to (what we should have conceived, from first appearance) a highly intelligent and respectable audience. He prefaced it with twenty minutes of introductory prose, showing that there existed no such thing as didactic poetry, . . . all real poetry must proceed and emanate directly from truth, dictated by pure taste. The poem, called “The Messenger Star,” was an elegant and classical production, based on the right principles, containing the essence of true poetry mingled with a gorgeous imagination, exquiste [[exquisite]] painting, every charm of metre, and a graceful delivery, . , . The delicious word-painting of some of its scenes brought vividly to our recollection beats’ “Eve of St. Agnes,” and parts of “Paradise Lost.”

That it was not appreciated by the audience, was very evident, by their uneasiness and continual exits in numbers at a time. Common courtesy, we should think, would have suggested . . . the politeness of hearing it through, though it . . . proved Heathen Greek to them; after, too, the author had expressed his doubts of his ability, in preparing a poem for a Boston audience. That it was inappropriate to the occasion, we take the liberty to deny.

. . If we are to have a poem why not have the true thing, recognized as such, . . . written for people that can appreciate . . . [poems] as well as individuals who cannot distinguish between the true and the false.

We hope Mr. Poe will publish his poem, and give an opportunity for those that were not present, to read and admire it. [page 1062:]

So stood Editor Joseph T. Buckingham, who had seen Poe’s brilliant mother, for her son Oct. 18, 1845. Evidently the Courier editor judged this poem from hearing the author recite it; as urging its print would indicate no issue of it being read by him nor his having any personal acquaintance with Poe. But the stubborn fact of its unknown print of fourteen years to this able and well-known editor forcefully reveals how Bostonians had effectually blanked literary recognition to the living Edgar Allan Poe. In sequence of this statement, one October, 1845, Transcript date noted from Louisville Journal on Poe-Boston incident: “How he is catching it,” — Poe calling it “a hoax,” and the Boston Transcript naming Poe’s prose and verse as such, in ten lines. Thus pathetically vanished Poe’s prospects for literary recognition in Boston — his native city — aside from such rare souls as Longfellow, Holmes and young Higginson. Among editors of other localities noting this incident, came this far cry from Joseph M. Field, of the St. Louis Reveille: “The Broadway Journal is edited and owned solely by Mr. Edgar A. Poe. If he had as much tact as talent, he would make success for half a dozen papers.”

Oct. 24, 1845, seemed of special significance to Poe on several scores, but most important was his becoming sole owner of the Broadway Journal by reason of Mr. Bisco making over his interest for a note of $50 from Poe, endorsed by Horace Greeley — a one-time writer on political topics for Poe’s Journal, writes Professor Woodberry; and also, that when due, “the note was paid by Greeley.” His comments, [page 1063:] of more forceful wit than feeling, on this fact were:(68)

A gushing youth once wrote me to this effect:

DEAR SIR: Among your literary treasures, you have doubtless preserved several autographs of our country’s late lamented poet, Edgar A, Poe. If so, and you can spare one, please inclose it to me, and receive thanks of yours truly.

I promptly responded, as follows:

DEAR SIR: Among my literary treasures there happens to be exactly one autograph of our country’s late lamented poet, Edgar A. Poe. It is his note of hand for fifty dollars, with my indorsement across the back. It cost me exactly $50.75 (including protest), and you may have it for half that amount.

Yours respectfully,

That autograph, I regret to say, remains on my hands, and is still for sale at first cost, despite the lapse of time and depreciation of currency.

Today Mr. Greeley might have obtained its face value several times over. In over 600 pages of “Recollections of a Busy Life,” this Poe-incident seems the only mention Mr. Greeley made of Edgar Allan Poe, the peerless littérateur of their time.

Mr. P. F. Madigan, New York City, curiously turns to light a Poe-Greeley note dated

NEW YORK, October 24, 1845. Sixty days after date I promise to pay Edgar A, Poe, or his order, Fifty dollars for value received.


62 Nassau Street, Corner Spruce.

$50. = Oct. 24- Dec. 26. [page 1063:]

Across the reverse of this note was: “Pay to Bearer, Edgar A. Poe. David Harriot (endorsed by Poe).” Mr. Madigan, Sept. 28, 1915, noted, “David Harriot befriended Poe”; Mr. Madigan added, that this note was given years ago by Greeley’s sister — widow of John F. Cleveland, long time treasurer of the New York Tribune — to Frances Walker, from whom it was bought by Mr. Madigan.

This note seems to show that even Greeley did not pay promptly for Poe’s productions. [page 1065:]

Poe’s dream of owning a periodical had at last come true; but with no capital other than his wits to carry on this literary venture, his appeals were fervent and many in its behalf. With this hope in mind, Oct 26, 1845, he wrote

MY DEAR GRISWOLD, — Will you aid me at a pinch . . . one of the greatest . . . conceivable? . . . After a prodigious deal of maneuvering, [in which Poe but followed, yet outwitted Briggs] I have succeeded in getting the “Broadway Journal” entirely within my own control. It will he a fortune to me if I can hold it — and I can . . . easily with a very trifling aid from my friends. May I count you as one? Lend me $50, and you shall never have cause to regret it.

Truly yours,


The same day Poe wrote

MY DEAR MR. KENNEDY: When you were in New York, I made . . . endeavors to meet you, but . . . was forced to go to Boston. I stand much in need of your aid.

Poe repeated his appeal made to Dr. Griswold for the Broadway Journal, and concluded with a request for “a small loan — say $50” to be “punctually” returned “in three months.” In Mr. Kennedy’s December 1st reply was:

DEAR POE: I was in Virginia when your letter came, . . , which will account for my delay in acknowledging it. I take great pleasure in hearing of your success . . . and am an attentive reader of what comes from your pen. You have acquired a very honorable reputation in letters, but nothing less than I predicted at the time of our first acquaintance. When in New York, a month ago, I called at your “Broadway Journal” establishment in the hope [page 1066:] of meeting you, but was told you were just setting out for Providence, . . . [en route to Boston for poem aid, Mrs. Osgood was unable to supply.] I trust you turn the “Journal” to a good account. It would have given me pleasure to assist you in this enterprise . . . but that f could not do. Good wishes are . . . all the capital I have for such speculations. I hear of you very often, . . . I perceive you have some enenues, it may gratify you to know that you also have a good array of friends. When it falls in your way to visit Baltimore both Mrs. Kennedy and myself would be much pleased to receive you on our old terms of familiar acquaintance and regard. Very truly yours,


In the Oct. 25, 1845, Broadway Journal Poe reviewed “Songs of Our Land and Other Poems” by Mrs. Mary R. Hewitt, whom his “Literati” noted as “known entirely through her contributions to our periodical literature.” In her work was found “a keen sense of poetic excellences. In character she is sincere, fervent, benevolent, . . . in manner. . . . gentle,” — and in person, she was “tall, slender, with black hair and large gray eyes.” Prior May, Poe and Virginia had personally met Mrs. Hewitt of later touches in their lives. This date Journal also gave Poe’s commendation of “Alice Ray” by Mrs. Sarah J. Hale; he noted that she had “been long distinguished as one of the purest and most vigorous writers in America . . . in poetry and prose ”; his details closed with “the poem is truly beautiful.” Poe’s versatility placed in this issue “The Fine Arts” mention of “La Sortie du Bain”; and this noting of it — “human figures disfigure a landscape” — gives a reflex of his views on scenic art. Part I of “Boston and Bostonians” claimed [page 1067:] space in the November 1st issue of Broadway Journal. Concerning his review of Mrs. Hewitt’s work, Nov. loth she wrote him:

DEAR MR. POE: Permit me to tell you how much your very, very kind and encouraging notice of my volume has gratified me. The Broadway Journal was the Scylla and Charybdis of my fear. . . . judge then of the measure and duality of my delight on finding I had passed the strait in safety!

It seems Mrs. S. J. Hale, who had discovered Poe’s mental force when her son was with him at West Point, had also pleasantly written Poe, for in his October 26, 1845, reply was: “I have been a week absent from the city, and . . . overwhelmed with business since my return — may I beg you . . . to pardon my seeming discourtesy in not sooner thanking you for your sweet poem; and . . . high honor you confer on me in your proposed volume? Command me, my Dear Madam, in all things,” etc.

For November, 1845, Godey’s Poe reviewed Cornelius Mathews’ “Big Abel and the Little Manhattan.” It was voted “an emblematical romance of homely life . . . original in conception, conduct and tone” — of which nine out of ten readers will fail to find “the meaning.” November Graham’s claimed Poe’s tale, “The System of Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether,” noted by one scholarly critic as “an absurd mad-house grotesque.” But the writer of “Poe the Humorist”(69) calls this tale “so unique in conception that it will live as long as ‘The Jumping Frog.’ On that story alone Poe’s reputation as a humorist must stand secure.” [page 1068:]

On the first November, 1845, issue of Broadway Journal Poe’s name appeared as “sole editor and proprietor.” In sequence followed, that talented Dr. Griswold seemed to present as many facets of character, apparently, as did the rarer genius of Poe, whose request for his Journal moved Griswold to open his heart and purse to this venture, as appeared in Poe’s Nov. 1, 1845, letter to:

MY DEAR GRISWOLD: Thank you for the $25. And since you will allow me to draw upon you for the other half . . . if . . . needed . . . I am just as grateful as if it were all in hand, — for my friends here have acted [page 1069:] generously by me. Don’t have any more doubts of my success. I am, . . . preparing an article about you for the B. J., in which I do you justice — which is all you can ask of any one.

Ever yours truly,


From mid-summer, 1845, roofage at 195 East Broadway, Poe and his little family removed to 85 Amity Street, not far from Washington Square, for autumn and winter. There, weary and anxious, he wrote:

MY DEAR MR. DUYCKINCK, — For the first time during two months I find myself . . . dreadfully sick and depressed, but still myself. I seem to have just awakened from some horrible dream, in which all was confusion, and suffering — relieved only by the constant sense of your kindness, and that of one or two other considerate friends. I really believe that I have been mad — but indeed I have had abundant reason to be so. I have made tip my mind to a step which will preserve me, for the future, from . . . the troubles which have beset me. . . . I have need of the most active exertion to extricate myself from the embarrassments into which I have . . . fallen — and my object in writing you . . . is, (once again) to beg your aid. . . . I find that what I said . . . about the prospects of the B. J. is strictly correct. The most trifling immediate relief would put it on an excellent footing. . . . I want . . . time . . . to look about me; and I think that it is in your power to afford me this.

This congestion depression attack dated its start prior to the Poe-Boston episode; and by his own telling, as totally unfitted him for writing a special poem for that occasion as it did for making any rational decision concerning his going there. But being [page 1070:] haunted by money needs, for his family and the Journal, this dipped the balance. Exact by habit, Poe noted to Mr. Duyckinck these business accounts: Drawn first $30 from Mr. Wiley, then $10 from Mr. Duyckinck, then $50 on account of “Parnassus”; $20 when he went to Boston, finally $25; in all $135. Wiley owed Poe $75, — admitting 1500 tales were sold at 8 cents per copy-making $120; due, in all, $195. Cash deducted, left $60 balance to Poe. Mr. W. was to settle in February. Poe continued:

So dreadfully am I pressed, that I would willingly take even the $60 actually due (in lieu of all farther demand), than wait until February: — but I am sure that you will do the best that you can. Please send your answer to 85 Amity St. and believe me — with most sincere friendship and ardent gratitude



That same Thursday morning, Nov. 13th, Poe again wrote Mr. Duyckinck:

I am, dreadfully unwell, and fear that I shall be very seriously ill. Some matters of domestic affliction have also happened which deprive me of what little energy I have left — and I have resolved to give up the B. Journal and retire to the country for six months, or . . . a year, as the sole means of recruiting my health and spirits.

Poe inquired if Mr. D. or Mr. Mathews might not give him a trifle for his paper — or, if not, he ventured a request of $50 advance on “American Parnassus” which he would furnish as soon as possible, and asked Mr. D. kindly to reply by bearer. Mr. Duyckinck’s answer seems unknown, but Nov. 15th, Poe made a second appeal to Dr. Chivers for the Broadway [page 1071:] Journal, and noted there was only $140 — balance due to Jan. 1, 1846. And desperately he again,

Nov. 3001, wrote his relative, George Poe, Jr.:

Since . . . you declined aiding me with the loan of $50, I have . . . struggled against a thousand difficulties, and have succeeded, . . . in attaining a position in the world of Letters, of which, . . . I have no reason to be ashamed. I feel that I have exerted myself to the utmost — and because I believe that you will appreciate my efforts to elevate the family name — I now appeal to you once more for aid. . . . I send you . . . “The Broadway Journal,” of which, hitherto, I have been merely editor, and one third proprietor. I have lately purchased the whole paper — and, if I can retain it, it will be a fortune to me . . . but I have exhausted all my resources in the purchase. . . . The loan of $200. would put me above all difficulty. I refrain from saying any more. . .”

This letter is cut off after a few more words.

Critical were the issues Dec. 1, 1845, in Poe’s affairs that moved him to write Fitz-Greene Halleck:(70) “On the part of one or two persons . . . much embittered against me, there is a deliberate attempt now being made to involve me in ruin, by destroying The Broadway Journal. I could easily frustrate them, but for total want of money, and of . . . time to procure it: . . . In this emergency — without leisure to think whether I am acting improperly — I venture to appeal to you. The sum is $100. If you could loan me for three months any portion of it, I will not be ungrateful,” Mr. Halleck generously sent this money, which Poe was never able to return. Probably Halleck bore in mind prior July 25th note from Dr. Griswold in which appeared — “I employed Mr. [page 1072:] Edgar A. Poe to write an essay on your poetry and a sketch on your history. I have just read his MS., and I think your friends will be gratified with the article,” which had appeared in Graham’s of September, 1843.

Nov. 29, 1845, Broadway Journal was of marked Poe interest in several of its points. In pleasing contrast with Poe’s “embittered” foes, were Mrs. Osgood’s Nov. 22nd Broadway Journal lilies of prior noting by these two:

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

Who dare accuse thee of flirtation!” —

and they were followed, in Nov. 29th issue. by others most appreciative of her poetic mentor. Several of latter date were:

“I cannot tell the world how thrills my heart

To every touch that flies thy lyre along; . . .

But this I know — in thine enchanted slumbers,

Heaven’s poet, Israfel, — with mistrel fire —

Taught the music on his own sweet numbers

And tuned — to chord with his — thy glorious lyre!”

But the “bright idea, or bright dear eye.” of Poe’s April 26th “Impromptu,” did not blind his literary vision of William W. Turner’s translation of Professor yon Raumer’s “America and the American People,” which was commended for “candor. . . . desire for truth, freedom from prejudice, comprehensiveness and masterly breadth of generalization.” Poe noted the foreigner’s gleanings from Mr. Griswold’s “Poets and Poetry” the “largest” but not the “best” book of its kind; and, was added, that the translator failed to credit Mr. Kirkland and “the accomplished Mrs. Ellet” for aid values received. In this date Journal [page 1073:] Poe voted Victor Hugo’s “Notre Dame” “a work of high genius controlled by consummate art.” Also, of Tennyson, as a poet, appeared that he was “the greatest that ever lived.”

In the Dec. 13th Broadway Journal was Poe’s review of Mrs. Osgood’s “Wreath of Wild blowers from New England,” of which the reviewer stated that some efforts were “graceful pleasantries — but no more,” and in others there was an “indescribable . . . grace, . . . this charm of charms — so magical . . . so irresistible — Mrs. Osgood preeminently excels. . . . It is this rod of the enchanter which throws open to her the road to all hearts.” In this date of the Broadway Journal appeared “A Shipwreck,” called on page 399 of her 1850 “Poems,” “I Launched a Bark,” by Mrs. Osgood. But busy-bodies were under way brewing mischief from these open-field press pleasantries between these two good friends, and to a degree that Mrs. Osgood sent to the Dec. 10th Broadway Journal some verses,(71) of which one was:

“Though friends had warn‘d me all the while,

And blamed my willing blindness,

I did not once mistrust your smile,

Or doubt your tones of kindness.”

Both friends were quite willing all the world and his wife should have public press access to these poetical expressions of mutual appreciation ; but the previous November found dames’ gossip led by “the accomplished Mrs. Ellet” — Poe noted in his 29th November issue — jealously on the watch with whispered warnings concerning these prints, and Mrs. Osgood dismayed, as appeared in these last verses to the Broadway [page 1074:] Journal, Dec. 20, 1845, so near its pathetic end. Mr. Whitty calls them “scolding verses,” noting others that were not, which went to January, 1849, Metropolitan, and concerned Poe. Also others were written of him just prior to her death, May, 1850, and were in that date edition of her “Poems.”

Returning to the narrative date, Dec. 13th, Broadway Journal, its editor therein scored H. N. Hudson’s “Lecture on ‘ Lear,’ ” for negative good points and “bad points . . . legion,” and thereby, innocently perhaps, evened the balance with Mr. Hudson’s “most offensive” Transcript prints, and letter as to Poe-Boston October episode — to Mr. Duyckinck. In this Dec. 13th date Journal, Poe also gave some sharp comments on The Harbinger, edited by “The Brook Farm Phalanx,” for plucking his poems, including “The Raven,” bare, of but scant favor; and fearing their writer courted that power Tennyson pictured in, —

“A glorious devil, large in heart and brain,

That did love beauty only, (beauty seen

In all varieties of mould and mind,)”

Poe quoted this Harbinger critique on himself and closed his “Brook Farm Phalanx” review with: “We do trust that, in future, ‘The Snook Farm Phalanx’ will never have any opinion of us at all.”

Poe offered to apologize if he had offended, provided he was given that chance at his office, 304 Broadway. But records show that Hawthorne, too, made quite as caustic comments concerning this same Brook Farm company of transcendentalists. However, more than likely during Poe’s depression spell, of the October fiasco at Boston, still unbroken in November, he was [page 1075:] brooding over “The Facts in the Valdemar Case” which Professor Woodberry thinks a tale “which, for mere physical disgust and foul horror, has no rival in literature.” Another record is: “If Poe used the horrible to shadow forth the deeper meaning of things, then his tales may be judged by the artistic nature of his conceptions and the skill with which these conceptions are bodied forth.” This tale appeared in the American Whig Review, December, 1845.

It was copied far and wide, and created, in the line of “Mesmeric Revelations,” much home and foreign discussion.(72) Some of it was carried on by Dr. Robert H. Collyer, the well-known Boston mesmerist, as contributor to The Zoist. It also claimed scientific attention in the London weekly, Popular Record of Modern Science, and the Morning Post of that city. Concerning the excitement created by what Poe called his “Valdemar Case hoax,” Miss Barrett, later Mrs. Browning, noted as a tale of his “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.’ . . . The certain thing in the tale . . . is the power of the writer, and the faculty he has of making horrible improbabilities seem rear and familiar.”

Late in 1845, Wiley & Putnam issued “The Raven and Other Poems” — a slender, paper-covered tome of less than 100 pages wherein was “Eulalie,” — MS. found loose in an autograph album of R. L. Stuart, Collector, by Mr. Victor Hugo Paltsits, New York City Library, Keeper of MSS. — Mr. Paltsits notes the issue price of 1845 “Poems” as “thirty-one [page 1076:] cents, yielding scant returns to Poe, but selling now for several hundred dollars per copy.” Poe’s “Preface” noted, “These trifles” were rescued from many improvements made “going the rounds of the press.” He added, “I am naturally anxious that if what I have written is to circulate at all, it should circulate as I wrote it.” Concerning poetry appeared: “With me poetry has not been a purpose, but a passion; and the passions should be held in reverence; they must not — they cannot at will be excited, with an eye to paltry [page 1077:] compensations, or the more paltry commendations, of mankind.”

These thirty poems Poe dedicated









E. A. P.

In Miss Barrett’s letter, from S. Wimpole Street, London, April, 1846, concerning her copy of “The Raven and Others Poems,” was:

Receiving a book from you seems to authorize . . . me . . . to express what I have felt long before — my sense of the high honor you have done me in . . , your country and of mine, of the dedication of your poems. . . . I thank you . . . for this vivid writing, this power which is felt! Your “Raven” has produced a sensation, a “fit of horror,” here in England. Some . . . friends are taken by the fear of it and some by the music. I hear of persons haunted by the “Nevermore,” and one acquaintance . . . who has . . . a “bust of Pallas” never can bear to look at it in the twilight. I think you will like to be told our great poet, Mr. Browning, the author of “Paracelsus,” and the “Bells and Pomegranates,” was struck much by the rhythm of that poem. . . , And now will you permit me, dear Mr. Poe, as one who though a stranger is grateful to you, and has the right of esteeming you though unseen by your eyes — will you permit me to remain

Very truly yours always,


Notwithstanding Poe’s heroic efforts to obtain financial aid for his Broadway Journal, and the generosity of some friends, a blight fell upon its life in lack of ready money, and despite the odds of advertisements ill its favor, and a fair future in sight. Therefore Christmas-tide, that brings happiness to so many, that of December, 1845, brought mostly woe to Poe in the illness of his wife, himself, and the passing on of his long cherished periodical. One gleam of light came to Poe from Phillips, Maine, in a letter dated there Dec. 21, 1845, and written by George W. Eveleth,(73) who described himself as “a poor devil student of Medicine,” that could not do much for Poe’s literary periodical enterprise in a pecuniary way. But of his works, Eveleth then wrote the “Publisher of the Broadway Journal”: “I like them in spite of all the damning they get from his rivals in the walk of literature, and will still continue to like them in spite of these things.” After the Jan. 3, 1846, last issue of the Broadway Journal, on Jan. 5th Eveleth sent Poe a subscription for it, and wrote him: “I send you the enclosed three dollars as my share of encouragement at present.” Eveleth promised all possible local influence for Poe’s Journal; but it was now no more. Poe returned this subscription of letter mention by Eveleth, of later noting.

In the last issue, Jan. 3, 1846, of the Broadway Journal appeared Poe’s “Valedictory”:(74)

Unexpected engagements demanding my whole attention, and the objects being fulfilled so far as regards myself personally, for which the Broadway Journal was established, I now, as its editor, bid farewell — as cordially [page 1079:] to foes as to friends. Mr. Thomas H. Lane is authorized to collect all money due the journal.


So perished one of the fairest dreams of the poet’s life. And thus, full of pride in his written words, Poe stood under these flying colors, with his back to the wall, facing his adversities.

The Critic — first a weekly, then a fortnightly, then a monthly — began November, 1843. No London paper gave so much space to United States Literature. The “List of new books ” — Aug. 9, 1845, issue — noted “The Gold Bug” as “interesting from strangeness,” “Murders in the Rue Morgue,” “Purloined Letter” and “Black Cat”; and added: “Mr. Poe could not possibly send forth a book without some marks of his genius. He is a deep thinker.”

In “Poe and The Critic,” [of London] by Dr. Lewis Chase, it appears that the issue of May 17, 1845, noted itself indebted to the editor of the recently established Broadway Journal for its file of papers; that “excellent taste and high principles preside over its management.” Of international copyright “the loftiest principles are avowed; essays on art are singularly thoughtful; the . . . criticisms are distinguished for the largeness and liberality of their views. The column of original poetry is of better class than the columns ‘given’ to rhymes in English journals. We shall . . . notify the most interesting contents of each fresh arrival.” In The Critic, No. VI, was “The Raven,” also printed in the June 28, issue of Birmingham Journal, noted “from the pen of Edgar Allan Poe.” These [page 1080:] facts seem strongly to point Poe’s purpose in placing reprints of his best writings in the Broadway Journal for thus carrying them across the sea as another appeal, and seemingly a forceful one, for foreign literary recognition. In The Critic’s summary of the Broadway Journal’s contents, perhaps no finer epitaph could have been written of a paper Poe’s pen immortalized.

From “Reminiscences of Edgar Allan Poe,” by Thomas Dunn English,(75) comes, that in late November, 1845, Poe found the circulation of the Broadway Journal decreasing. He had no money or business capacity. He came to English’s office, 304 Broadway, laid the case before him, and asked for advice and assistance. Mr. Thomas H. Lane, in the Custom House, and thrifty, had some little capital. English advised him to go in with Poe, thinking if be could keep sober the venture might succeed. Lane consented. From Mr. Dallett Fuguet, relative of Thomas H. Lane, comes, through Thomas O. Mabbott, that Lane’s “Notes” state that he first met Poe in the early forties at the 6th Street — near Chestnut — office of Henry B. Hirst, a young, sort of Bohemian, Philadelphia lawyer, who drew around him other Bohemians there. In Lane’s “Notes” was: “One afternoon I found Mr. Poe in a moderately excited mood there, restlessly moving about, reciting poetry of others and commenting upon it, — sometimes with marked severity and, a few cases, with strong words of commendation. One poet, a Virginian, [Philip Pendleton Cooke] he gave unreserved praise and recited with unusual power ‘Florence Vane.“’ Mr. Lane’s “Notes” show, “his impulse was to raise his voice in deprecation of the [page 1081:] iteration as to Poe’s main failing.” Concerning the Poe-Lane Broadway Journal connection, Dec. 3rd, an agreement drawn up by Poe was witnessed by George H. Colton and George Smith. It transferred one-half interest to Lane, exacting editorial work of Poe. The Dec. 6, 1845, issue stated that the Journal office was removed “from Clinton Hall, Beekman St., to 304 Broadway, Cor. of Duane St.” It transpired that Lane’s room there adjoined that of English, with open doors between. They lodged there and had one servant. The Dec. 13th Broadway Journal stated that Lane was the only one besides Poe to collect its moneys and do its business. Dec. 20th, Poe, undermined by his nervous break and stimulants, left material, lacking 1 1/2, columns, for No. 25. Mr. Lane, failing several days to rescue Poe, decided to close the Broadway Journal with the next number; obtained his withdrawal card for this purpose; asked English for copy for two articles to fill the gap; and with a break of two weeks, No. 26 appeared, Jan. 3, 1846, as the last of Broadway Journal. It was edited by Poe, aided by his foreman-printer, William Baxter, and Mr. Lane, who in 1896 lived at Elizabeth, New Jersey, and had the Poe contract mentioned. This copy-filling aid no doubt claimed the courtesy of Dr. English’s remembrance of his own prior-autumn illness, when lacking columns of a few issues of his Aristidean were likewise supplied by his friends, among whom was Poe; and it is thought one of his articles was in part a review of his own tales. Mr. Whitty’s(76) notes a September, 1845, number of the Aristidean (“Magazine of Reviews, Politics and Light [page 1082:] Literature, and devoted to the Democratic Party”) copy in a collector’s library “was so marked in ink on the index page. Initial only was given to editor English, but contributors’ names were pencil-marked, which handwriting closely approximated Poe’s.” It is well to bear in mind this periodical as well as Poe’s Broadway Journal but followed many others, and soon, in “going the way of all flesh.” In its No. IX Poe’s pen appeared in “Our Book Shelves.” But disheartened on foreign scores of open literary recognition so long desired from his much admired critic — Sir Christopher North — this nerve-wracking period of Poe moved him to print in his last Broadway Journal issue, Jan. 3, 1846:(77)

“I thought Kit ‘North a bore — in 1824,

I find the thought alive — in 1845.”

January, 1846, found Poe floating on the high seas of uncertainties, by reason of his Nemesis inherited and growing nerve wreckage, and he now grasped everything in sight for life salvage of himself and family. To The Opal of 1845 was given “A Chapter of Suggestions,” which was a bird’s-eye view of glittering generalities pertaining to the human product and its vitalizing principle, the soul. And with all his Broadway Journal upheaval Poe, at 85 Amity Street, Jan. 3, 1846, had force of mind enough to answer Mr. Charles E. Percival’s cipher-quest definitely, and to the effect that it was “an illegitimate cryptograph” evasive with “key” solution; but aside from the key, Poe revealed that it covered “the three first verses of the second chapter of St. John.” [page 1083:]

Jan. 8, 1846, Poe wrote to Mr. Duyckinck that for particular reasons he was anxious to have another volume of his “Tales” issued before March 1st; he inquired if Mr. Wiley would give him $50 in full for copyright of collection sent, containing “Ligeia”; noted it as “undoubtedly the best story I have written,” for the reason, “the loftiest kind is that of the imagination”; he asked for an early answer by note to 85 Amity St. There, Jan. 16th, he with heroic pathos wrote Mrs. Sarah J. Hale: “Immediately on receipt of ‘Ormond Grosvenor’ I gave it . . . careful reading — I had . . . seen it in the Lady’s Book , . . and became confirmed in my first impression of its remarkable vigor and dramatization. . . . The Broadway Journal had fulfilled its testimony [[destiny]]. I am now making arrangements for the establishment of a magazine which offers a wide field for literary ambition. . . . The first No. may not appear until January, 1847. Broadway Journal “testimony“was undoubtedly to carry Poe’s best writings into overseas recognition. No doubt “getting up of books” was also floating in Poe’s mind for some time. Mr. Whitty notes, the idea referred to compiling books, such as “The Conchologist’s First Book” at Philadelphia, in 1830, and he thinks Poe learned to do this under Mr. White at Richmond; also that Poe did considerable of such work at odd times for his daily needs. No doubt Poe was impressed by learning, through the Richmond press, of the Jan. 7, 1846, death of Martha Burling, widow of Thomas Burling and mother of Ebenezer Burling, who died in 1832 of cholera — Poe’s boyhood friend of the later days of unrest in the [page 1084:] Allan home; thence Edgar fled many times to the modest roofage of Mrs. Burling’s 11th St. cottage.

Concerning the Poe and Mrs. Osgood public print episode, the Hecate-led gossips decreed that Mrs. Osgood had covered his case by her story “Ida Grey,” in Graham’s August, 1845, issue. To this phase Mr. Whitty notes in the New York Sun, Nov. 21, 1915, that in her Graham’s copy of December, 1845, Mrs. Osgood marked Poe’s “Divine Right of Kings” lines as written for her, and added his name to the initial “P.” Mr. Whitty states, that these lines followed her “Israfel” verses in the November Broadway Journal, and may have been his answer, as it was marked “an impromptu reply.” The hero of her “Ida Grey” story resembled Poe in “grey eyes” of “singular earnestness”; manners “coldly courteous.” His lightning intellect was irresistible. “He bids me tell him that I love him, as proudly as if he had the right, an unquestionable right to demand my love. Ah! With what grand simple eloquence he writes!” All seems well When married heroes and their souls’ delights can keep to open courts of public prints, that all who run may read. And in this instance, with special reference to Mr. Osgood, and read by him with understanding, that would have adjourned this harpy’s court in quick order: had he felt occasions demanded its issue he would have given it instantly.

As literary executor of Mrs. Osgood — as well as of Poe — this copy of Graham’s that she marked, fell into Dr. Griswold’s hands. Mr. Whitty mentions that Mrs. Whitman made insistent inquiries of Poe as to this “Ida Grey” story, to which he merely wrote: [page 1085:] “Mrs. B.’s [Osgood’s] ‘Ida Grey’ is in Graham for August, ‘45.” (As appears in printed copies of Dr. J. A. Harrison and Miss Ticknor.) Poe and Virginia, in their two tiny back rooms of 85 Amity Street, Mrs, Osgood described by: “It was in his own simple yet poetical home that to me the character of Edgar Poe appeared in its most beautiful light. Playful, affectionate, witty, alternately docile and wayward as a petted child — for his young, gentle, idolized wife, and for all who came, he had, even in the midst of his most harassing literary duties, a kind word, a pleasant smile, a graceful and courteous attention. At his desk, beneath the romantic picture of his . . . lost Lenore, [which Mr. Whitty thinks was his own sketch of his first, lost love, Elmira Royster] he would sit, hour after hour,” and all but unconscious of Mrs. Osgood’s presence — “patient, assiduous and uncomplaining, tracing, in an exquisitely clear chirography, and with almost superhuman swiftness, the lightning thoughts — the ‘rare and radiant’ fancies — as they flashed through his wonderful . . . brain.” At this desk was also traced that tale of horrors “The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar,” called “one of the best examples of fiction having the semblance of truth,” and named by Poe a “hoax”; also “The Philosophy of Composition,” which, to some degree, was another Poe hoax — from his ever plentiful supply of such — as well as a literary trap for critics; and “The Literati of New York,” which “incensed or incensed many authors of Poe’s day,” wrote Dr. Theodore F. Wolf. Mrs. Osgood continued: “I recollect one morning, towards the close of his residence in this city, when he seemed [page 1086:] unusually gay and light-hearted, Virginia, his sweet wife, had written me a pressing invitation to come to them; and I, who never could resist her affectionate summons, and enjoyed his society far more in his own home than elsewhere, hastened to Amity Street. I found him . . . completing . . , ‘The Literati of New York.’ ‘ See,’ said he, displaying in laughing triumph several little rolls of narrow paper (he always wrote thus for the press), ‘I am going to show you, by the difference in length of these, the different degrees of estimation in which I hold all you literary people. In each of these, one of you is rolled up and . . . discussed. Come, Virginia, help me!’ And one by one they unfolded them. At last they came to one which seemed interminable. Virginia laughingly ran to one corner of the room with one end, and her husband to the opposite, with the other. ‘And whose lengthened sweetness long drawn out is that?’ said I. ‘Hear her!’ he cried, ‘just as if her little vain heart did n’t tell her it’s herself.’ ” Mrs. Osgood elsewhere noted of Poe: “But it was in his conversation and letters far more than in his poetry and prose writings that his genius was most gloriously revealed. His letters were divinely beautiful, and for hours I have listened to him, entranced by strains of such pure and almost celestial eloquence as I have never read or heard elsewhere.” The blighted promise of his Journal and other disasters of those harrowing months brought upon Poe, with renewed force, his fell depression with its turn to stimulants, and in sequence, Mrs. Osgood added: “During that year while traveling for my health, I maintained a correspondence with Mr. Poe in accordance [page 1087:] with the earnest entreaties of his wife, who imagined that my influence over him had a restraining and beneficial effect. It had, as far as this, — having solemnly promised me to give up the use of stimulants, he so firmly respected his promise and me as never once, during our whole acquaintance, to appear in my presence when in the slightest degree affected by them.” This statement seems convincing that Poe was overpowered by nervous congestion and not stimulants when calling on Mrs. Osgood at Albany, of later mention, and more than likely never knew what happened until advised on his recovery at Fordham Cot tage. Mrs. Osgood added: “Of the charming love and confidence that existed between his wife and himself, always delightfully apparent to me, in spite of the many little poetical episodes in which the impassioned romance of his temperament impelled him to indulge; . . . I cannot speak too earnestly, too warmly.” It transpires that these various little episodes were mutual, and equally ardent between Mrs. Osgood and others. As to Virginia, few seem to take into consideration that by reason that both she and Mrs. Osgood were under the full sway of incurable consumption, this double fact, well known to them and Poe, also to Mr. Osgood, created a quadruple bond of sympathy between the four most nearly concerned; the four knew of Poe’s own depression spells which covered his trips to Providence, Boston, Lowell, and Albany where Mrs. Osgood stated she went for her health — and once to avoid Poe. As to his letters she did and did not answer, it is a merciful dispensation that all but one of these letters seem lost to hypercritical readers. [page 1088:]

This Poe letter, pencil-noted to Mrs. S. S. Osgood, is owned by the University of Texas, Austin. It is quoted by the courtesy of Professor Killis Campbell of that Institution. Without date, its contents marks the early Broadway Journal period.

MY DEAR MADAM: Through some inadvertence at the office of the B. Journal, I failed to receive your kind and altogether delightful note this morning.

Thank you a thousand times for your sweet poem, and for the valued words of flattery that accompanied it. Business, of late, has made of me so great a slave that I shall not be able to spend an evening with you until Thursday next.

Dr. Campbell adds: “The signature is torn away, but the handwriting is plainly Poe’s.”

As to Rev. Henry F. Harrington’s (Mrs. Osgood’s New Bedford, Mass., brother-in-law)(78) record of Poe’s Albany venture, etc., it seems fair to say that death prevented but one side of that story being stated; also to add that this story did not appeal to Mr. E. C. Stedman — a man of the world and eminent in letters. Of this phase of Poe the roan with no uncertain pen Mr. Stedman wrote:(79) “He was no libertine. Woman was to him the impersonation of celestial beauty, . . . There is not an unchaste suggestion in the whole . . . of his writings, . . . His works are almost too spiritual.” But of more logical significance is, that not the slightest adverse reference to Poe by Mr. Osgood has ever been found in any connection; but a record does exist of action, on his part, taken to silence the fabricator of slanders on the score of his wife and Poe. Undoubtedly Mr. and Mrs. Osgood again were one [page 1089:] in realizing in any such episode Poe was indeed an unconscious actor by reason of his unhinged nerves; and when under such pressure he was in no ways responsible had he broken the laws of God and man alike. This view could entirely cover the Albany charges made by Reverend H. F. Harrington so far as Poe was concerned. Mr. Whitty aptly notes, that “if Harrington’s account of Mrs. Osgood’s assertion that Poe insulted her be true, what of her later writing, that Poe was an ‘absolute chevalier sans peur et sans reproche‘; in his association with ladies, a fastidious gentleman with the virtuous and worthy of her sex.” Rev. C. C. Burr, of Philadelphia, wrote of Poe:(80) “All who knew him well bear this testimony, that he was, in private life, as gentle and refined as a woman, with a heart as tender and affectionate as a child.” Concerning Reverend Harrington’s citation of “the happy home destroyed,” he noted as a story “heard from a friend ”; various records point to this idle tale as a fabrication of his friend, Mrs. E. F. Ellet. But far from proved, it seems covered by Mrs. Osgood’s comments of those women who “called . . . at his lodgings, besieged” Poe “with letters” and “at times when he was not himself.” Yet any woman with a “happy home” — in her husband and children — who turns to its destruction, the force is, any attractive enough man; and in this instance Poe — not himself — might have been the first that chance presented, and but one of other individuals.

When the Death Angel was hovering very near, Mrs. Osgood “called for pillows to support her,” when writing to Dr. Griswold of Poe. “For the [page 1090:] few unwomanly and slander-loving gossips who have injured him and themselves only, by repeating his ravings when in such moods they have accepted his society, I have only to vouchsafe my wonder and pity. They cannot surely harm the true and pure, who, reverencing his genius and pitying his misfortunes. . . . endeavored by their timely kindness and sympathy to soothe his sad career.” But on the “Albany venture,” June, 1846, no doubt Poe’s return to consciousness brought so keen an anguish that he, as well as Mrs. Osgood, was convinced of the wisdom — not of a break in their friendship but in their personal association — of a year and some months — and lax only in ignoring a few social conventionalities, perhaps, to some slight degree. But the shrine of Poe — normal — was poesy, first and last! He said, “Poetry is opposed to vice on account of its deformity, its hideousness, its disproportion.” Of Poe and his works, J. Hanney, London, Wrote: “His poems are as pure as wild flowers, as was every line he ever wrote ‘chaste and pure,’ . . . and no evidence stands that his life was not a reflex of these works,” and their writer Swinburne called a “strong and delicate genius.”

To Graham’s for April, 1846, Poe sent “The Philosophy of Composition,” which included what he is said to have called “a hoax” in the analysis of “The Raven’s” construction. Concerning this view The Nation, Dec. 22, 1910, notes: “‘Philosophy of Composition,’ 1846, purports to explain the genesis of ‘The Raven.’ . . . It seems to have been in part a delicate hoax, written in the spirit of Defoe and Swift.” Edwin Markham writes: “In ‘Philosophy of [page 1091:] Composition,’ Poe does not tell us where he found the music, the fire, the shaping imagination.” And is added: The Raven’ is not a thing of receipt, but a creation of true phrenzy, that carries a cry of the heart. It stands secure in its dark immortality.” So poets decree! and this comedy construction of “The Raven “must remain as Poe called it — “a hoax,” and it added but another to many that scholars rarely credit to its writer, Charles Dickens’ name begins Poe’s essay on literary construction with the mechanism of “Barnaby Rudge.” Elsewhere Poe noted of Dickens’ art: “One of the most forcible things ever written is a short story of his, . . . ‘The Black Veil‘; a strangely pathetic and richly imaginative production, replete with loftiest tragic power.” The rule and goal of Poe’s code for short stories are best stated by himself “A skilful literary artist has constructed a tale. If Arise, he has not fashioned his thoughts to accommodate his incidents; but having conceived, . . . a certain unique or single effect to be wrought out, he then invents such incidents — he then combines such events as may best aid him in establishing this preconceived effect. If his very initial sentence tend not to the outbringing of this effect, he has failed in his first step. In the whole composition there should be no word written, of which the tendency, . . . is not to the one preestablished design. And by such means, with care and skill, a picture is at length painted which leaves in the mind of him who contemplates it with a kindred art, a sense of the fullest satisfaction. The idea of the tale has been presented unblemished, because undisturbed; and this is an end unattainable by the novel.” [page 1092:] Concerning this method Professor Woodberry notes “In Poe’s best tales, it is this ideal absolutely realized that has made them immortal.” Longfellow also agreed with Poe as to the length of verse and tales, by: “A story or poem should neither be too short nor too long; it should satisfy not satiate. Real estate on Mount Parnassus should be sold by the foot not by the acre.”

April 3, 1846, George W. Eveleth wrote Poe, that the editor of the Philadelphia Saturday Post, ever alert in heaping odium on the poet, “speaking of plagiarisms (another kind of swindling) said ‘Mr. Poe, late of the Broadway Journal,’ so by this I suppose you are not connected with the paper now. Well, am I . . . to receive my money back . . . ? It is not the money . . . I care about so much, although three dollars is something to lose. I was in hopes . . . I had . . . the opportunity of becoming a permanent subscriber to a publication conducted by my favorite, Edgar A. Poe, Esq.” Later on, Eveleth became intensely interested in Poe’s projected venture of The Stylus.

But with all this prior-to-April periodical work off his hands, Poe had in mind a lecture trip to Baltimore, where he was taken ill. All these items have place now and here for clearer understanding of what follows in narrative order of dates.

Mr. Whitty(81) calls attention to the foreword in the Flag of Our Union, March 3, 1849, concerning “A Valentine To ———,” written for and read at Miss Lynch’s Valentine party, Saturday evening, Feb. 14, 1846. “At a Valentine Soirée, in New York, the following enigmatical lines were received among others, [page 1093:] and read aloud to the company. The verses were inclosed in an envelope, addressed ‘To Her Whose Name Is Written Within.’ As no lady present could so read the riddle as to find her name, the Valentine remains unclaimed. Can our readers discover for whom it was intended? . . . Should there be no solution . . . of the above, we will give the key next week.” In the March 10th issue was: “To transcribe the address of the Valentine, in our last paper, from . . . Edgar A. Poe, read the first letter of the first line in connection with the second letter of second line, . . . and so on to the end. The name of our contributor, Frances Sargent Osgood, will appear.” This Valentine was also in Feb. 21st Evening Mirror.

With anxiety for his wife, shattered in his own health and hopes by wreckage of the Broadway Journal, Poe had been — beyond his consciousness — unfitted for fresh literary efforts for some time. These facts and present money needs likely induced him to send the prior Journal’s reviews to Godey’s — whose cash payments, Mr. Whitty notes, were in evidence as “many” about this time, as transpires through search for Poe autographs. His review of William Gilmore Simms’ “The Wigwam and the Cabin” went to the January, 1846, issue of The Lady’s Book. Poe noted the title as a generic phrase to designate a series of tales. “The life of the planter, squatter, Indian, negro, bold and hardy pioneer, and vigorous yeoman are mostly drawn from living portraits.” In this Godey’s number was also Poe’s prior Oct. 25th review of Mrs. Hewitt’s “Poems.”

Through Sidney V. Lowell, Esq., Brooklyn, N. Y., [page 1094:] from his friend, the late Hon. John Schumaker, eminent in legal and political life of his day, comes of Poe, this trying winter of 1845 and 1846, that Mr. Schumaker was a dinner guest with Poe, another poet, and Henry Ward Beecher, then a young man attracting much attention. Their host was John Anderson, a well-known tobacconist of that time. His dinner was served at the United States Hotel — which, on Fulton, ran from Water to Pearl Streets. Its unusual height — six or seven stories — was crowned by a square cupola from which to observe vessels coming into and departing from port, and the hotel was patronized by leading sea captains, then a more influential class than now. Mr. Anderson, as man and host, was of peculiar personal charm, and naturally a prime favorite with high and low. Mr. Schumaker met Poe when not himself and noted him from that viewpoint, — that he and the other poet had a dispute at the table, which grew to action argument. It was after the Wiley & Putnam issue of The Gold Bug and Other Tales,” also a print of “The Raven,” for, was added: “Poe was the talk of the town.” The leading bookstore was on Broadway below Fulton. After the dinner guests departed, ‘Mr. Schumaker observed Poe looking quite intently into this window, and when he had passed on, the former went there to see what had therein claimed interest from the poet, and found it was an opened copy of his own story, “The Gold Bug.” Mr. Lowell said, there was a local tradition that “poor Poe used to walk” the fourteen miles “to Fordham, not infrequently, from lack of the necessary stage fare,” then twenty-five cents. [page 1095:]

From the late Professor Harrison and other sources comes a Jan. 7, 1845, letter, etc., with a more pleasing record of Poe at a Saturday Night Soirée of Miss Lynch during these days. Its writer stated: “I meet Mr. Poe very often at the receptions. He is the observed of all observers. His stories are thought wonderful, and to hear him repeat ‘The Raven,’ which he does very quietly, is an event in one’s life. People think there is something uncanny about him and the strangest stories are told, and, . . . believed, about his mesmeric experiences, at the mention of which he always smiles. His smile is captivating! . . . Every one wants to know him; but only a few seem to get well acquainted with him.” At these Soirees, Virginia, too, went with her now famous husband: she was voted, “sweet, winning and attractive in her simple, homemade gowns.” Concerning the poet, his wife and his anxious days, in a Friday evening note from 11liss Lynch was:

I thank you for your very kind notice of my poems, no less than for your . . . friendly note. . . . But I am exceedingly pained at the desponding tone in which you write. Life is too short & there is too much to be clone in it, to give one time to despair. Exorcise that devil . . .  as speedily as possible. . . . At all events come over and see me tomorrow evening (Saturday) & we will talk the matter over . . . “the whirling gulf of phantasy & flame.” . . . Give my very kindest regards to Mrs. Poe. . . . I hope she will be able to come with you. . . . I shall take the Tales with me & read them in the country. Many thanks for them.

Very truly yours,



[[Section 6, part III]]






[S:0 - EAPTM, 1926] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - E. A. Poe: The Man (M. E. Phillips) (Section 06)