Text: Mary E. Phillips, “Section 07, Part II,” Edgar Allan Poe: The Man (1926), pp. 1350-1511


[page 1350:]

[[SECTION VII, continued]]

[[LAST YEARS AND DEATH, 1848-1849, continued]]

The poet then wrote Mrs. Clemm:

MY OWN DEAR MOTHER — We shall be married on Monday, and will be at Fordham on Tuesday, in the first train.

As of prior mention, Poe went to Providence to lecture, Mr. Pabodie wrote, on “American Poetry.” Mr. Whitty notes it “The Poetic Principle,” the fifth of its Franklin Lyceum Course, opened by Daniel Webster. Poe’s audience was recorded “the largest of the season.”

From Mr. Stephen H. Arnold, Dr. Harry L. Koopman gives an incident of Poe in Providence when his relations with Mrs. Whitman were happiest. “It was when Poe was giving a reading at Howard Hall and after he had read ‘The Raven’ . . . and other selections in his best manner, Mrs. Whitman was seated directly in front of him, and my mother, my sister Rebecca and I, were a little way off, at the side — on his right — where we could observe both him and Mrs. Whitman and get every change of expression. This had been very interesting, but became intensely so when, in closing, he recited Edward C. Pinckney’s lines” of “A Health,” which begins with

“‘I fill this cup, to one made up of loveliness alone’

and all the while Poe was looking down into her eves. You can imagine the emphasis he gave, and how dramatic it was. I can never forget it.” Dr. Koopman adds: “Mrs. Whitman was ever loyal to Poe’s memory.”

William Jewett Pabodie, born about 1815, at Providence, R. I., was admitted to the bar m 1837. Instinctively he indulged in verse-writing, and his [page 1351:] appreciation of this gift in others doubtless was the magnetic attraction that made him the mutual, good friend he was, to Edgar A. Poe and Sarah Helen Whitman. Tradition dimly credits more ardent motives than admiration for Mrs. Whitman to Mr. Pabodie, some [page 1352:] twelve or more years her junior. but his lawyer’s matter-of-fact insight throughout the whole situation, in close connection with its individual human units, would indicate that Mr. Pabodie’s practical view of it was, that it held no permanent happiness for any concerned, and the principal parties least of all. This seems a very definite, sincere and selfless conclusion, on known scores of his actions during its disturbing period and after the poet’s death; also, in special connection with Dr. R. W. Griswold’s Tribune Memoir of Poe, written the day after the poet’s death over the signature of “Ludwig.” Mr. Pabodie’s June, 1852, letters to the New York Tribune and to Dr. Griswold — concerned his mis-statments [[mis-statements]] as to the Poe-Whitman affair in his “Ludwig” article on Poe, which appeared in October 9, 1849, New York Tribune. These mis-statements Dr. Griswold perpetuated in his “Memoir” of the poet, which began the “Literati” volume of “Poe’s Works,” as edited by Dr, Griswold. These mis-statements were widely copied by home and foreign periodicals (Westminster Review, Tait’s Magazine and Fraser’s). Pabodie’s letter, of June 2, 1852, to the Tribune noted: “Mr. Poe was frequently my guest during his stay in Providence. In his several visits to the city I was with him daily. I was acquainted with the circumstances of his engagement, and with the causes which led to its dissolution. I am authorized to say, not only from my personal knowledge but also from the statements of all who were conversant with the affair, that there exists not a shadow of foundation for the stories above alluded to.” These “stories” — Poe’s alleged intention of breaking the engagement, [page 1353:] and, on “the evening before the bridal” — committed “such outrages” at her (Mrs. Whitman’s) house “as made necessary a summons of the police.” These and other like adverse statements as to Poe, the man, honeycombed by genuine praise of his literary genius, appeared throughout Dr. Griswold’s “Memoir” of the poet attached to all its writer’s editions of “Poe’s Works.” Mr. Pabodie added: “Mr. Poe’s friends have no desire to palliate his faults, nor to conceal the fact of his intemperance. . . . With the single exception of this fault, . . . his conduct, during the period of my acquaintance with him, was invariably that of a man of honor and a gentleman; . . . We understand that Dr. Griswold has expressed his sincere regret that these unfounded reports should have been sanctioned by his authority: and we doubt not, if he possesses that fairness of character and uprightness of intention which we have ascribed to him, that he will do what lies in his power to remove an undeserved stigma from the memory of the departed.”

To Mr. Pabodie’s Tribune letter, of June and, Dr. Griswold answered personally, June 8, 1852: “I have never expressed any such regrets as you write of, and I cannot permit any statement in my memoir of Poe to be contradicted, by a reputable person, unless it is shown to be wrong . . . unless you explain your letter to ‘The Tribune’ in another for publication there, you will compel me to place before the public such documents as will be infinitely painful to Mrs. Whitman and all others concerned.” Dr. Griswold quoted Mrs. Hewitt’s noting of Poe’s last call on her, of prior mention, and perverted her exact words thus: “The person [page 1354:] to whom he disclosed his intention [this word was absolute perversion] to break off the match was Mrs. H ——— t. He was already engaged to another party.” Mrs. Hewitt reported Poe’s exact words were: “That marriage may never take place.” And they were based on his known opposition of Mrs. Whitman’s family to it at that time. The reference to Poe’s engagement then, “to another party,” concerned his first love — the widow Shelton — whom Poe had not met, she asserted, during his 1848 summer visit at Richmond, as she was then absent from that city. However, in the June 11th answer to Dr. Griswold’s foregoing letter, Mr. Pabodie stated details of convincing force as to Poe’s closing clays with Mrs. Whitman at Providence. Mr. Pabodie enclosed an excerpt of Poe’s words from a letter Mrs. Hewitt wrote Mrs. Whitman; noted that the alleged “outrages” or “summons of police” never took place, and Poe’s intention to break the engagement was “equally unfounded.” And was added of Poe, “I know . . . he repeatedly urged her to an immediate marriage. At the time of his interview [with Mrs. Hewitt] . . . circumstances existed which threatened to postpone the marriage . . . if not altogether to prevent it. . . . He left New York for Providence, on the afternoon of his interview with Mrs. H. [ewitt] . . . at the solicitation of the Providence Lyceum; and on the evening of his arrival, delivered his lecture on American Poetry before an audience of some two thousand persons. During his stay he . . . succeeded in . . . obtaining Mrs. W.’s consent to an immediate marriage. He stopped at the Earl House, where he became acquainted with a set of somewhat dissolute [page 1355:] young men, who often invited him to drink with them. We all know that he sometimes yielded . . . and on the third or fourth evening after his lecture, he came up to Mrs. Whitman’s in a state of partial intoxication. I was myself present . . , and do most solemnly affirm that there was no noise, no disturbance, no ‘outrage,’ neither was there any ‘call for the police.’ Mr. Poe said but little. This was . . . the evening referred to in your memoir, for it was the only evening in which he was intoxicated during his last visit to this city; . . , The next morning Mr. Poe . . . expressed the most profound contrition and regret, and was profuse in his promises of amendment. He was still urgently anxious that the marriage should take place before he left the city. That very morning he wrote a note to Dr. Crocker, requesting him to publish the intended marriage at the earliest opportunity, and entrusted this note to me, with the request that I should deliver it in person. You will perceive, . . . I did not write unadvisedly . . . in ‘The Tribune.’ . . . in . . . regard to Poe’s intoxication . . . above alluded to, . . . it was as purely accidental and unpremediated [[unpremeditated]] as any similar act of his life. By what species of logic any one should infer that, in this particular instance, it was the result of a malicious purpose and deliberate design, I have never been able to conceive. The facts of the case, and his subsequent conduct, prove beyond a doubt that he bad no such design.” To this letter of Mr. Pabodie, no known answer was made by Dr. Griswold. Concerning his mis-statements of this Providence episode, in August, 1873, Mrs. Whitman wrote:

“No such scene as that described by Dr. Griswold [page 1356:] ever transpired in my presence. No one, certainly no woman, who had the slightest acquaintance with Edgar Poe, could have credited the store for an instant. He was essentially and instinctively a gentleman, utterly incapable, even in moments of excitement and delirium, of such an outrage as Dr. Griswold has ascribed to him. . . . During . . . the autumn of 1848, I once saw him after one of those nights of wild excitement, before reason had fully recovered its throne. Yet even then, in those frenzied moments when the doors of the mind’s ‘Haunted Palace’ were left all unguarded, his words were the words of a princely intellect overwrought, and of a heart only too sensitive and too finely strung.”

Other records aver that great pressure was brought upon Mrs. Whitman, on the afternoon of Poe’s morning apologies, to break the engagement; also, that Mr. Pabodie was, by a hint, so advised when he and Poe called at her home that evening. Convinced that he had lost the power of resisting stimulants, Mrs. Whitman, unnerved by protestations and worry, gathered up the letters and papers he had entrusted to her care, put them in Poe’s hands; then without a word of explanation she placed a hankerchief [[handkerchief]] drenched in ether to her face, threw herself on a sofa and soon fell into a state of semi-consciousness. Poe knelt beside her, entreating her for “one word, but one word,” and to “reconsider.” Asking him what she could say, his reply was, “Say that you love me, Helen!” Her answer, “I love you,” were her last words to Edgar Allan Poe. He could not ease the break of his heart or health by ether, or his remedy, stimulants, to escape the plain statement [page 1357:] of Mrs. Power’s views of himself that followed, and ended by reminding him that the New York train left in an hour. One wonders if the lady realized — in her wisdom of breaking up this marriage of two invalids, which wisdom seems to have dawned upon Poe later — that had it not been for the 1848 Valentine “To Edgar [page 1358:] Allan Poe” and other ardent lines written in her own home for his reading, that the poet would never have darkened her doors. However, he then turned to his friend, saying, “Mr. Pabodie, you hear how I am insulted,” then taking his arm they left the house together; and perhaps both were convinced then and there that its atmosphere was not conducive to happiness on many accounts. Mr. Pabodie went to the railroad station that night with Poe, who took the Stonington train for — New York City. Surely, it was this “atmosphere” of emphatic family opposition that obsessed Poe’s words, — “That marriage may never take place” — to Mrs. Hewitt, just prior to this last visit to Providence. In her October 2, 1850, letter to Mrs. Whitman appears: “As Mr. Poe arose to leave he said, ‘I am going to Providence this afternoon.’ ‘I hear you are about to be married,’ I replied. He stood with the knob of the parlour door in his hand, and as I said this drew himself up with a look of great reserve and replied, ‘That marriage will never take place.’ ‘ But,’ I persisted, ‘ it is said you are already published.’ Still standing like a statue, with a most rigid face he repeated, ‘It will never take place.’ These were his words and this was all. He bade me good morning on the instant and I never saw him more. Mr. Griswold came in the afternoon, and in reply to my, ‘Mr. Poe was here this morning,’ said he has gone to be married, I think.’ In answer I repeated what Mr. Poe had said. A few days later Mr. Griswold main called and asking me if I remembered what I had told him, gave me the story of the ‘police.’ All this I had forgotten when to my great surprise I [page 1359:] saw it related in the volume where it has caused you so much pain. . . . I made a point of seeing Mr. Griswold yesterday and showing him your letter. He seemed . . . troubled . . . and promised to write you immediately.” Dr. Griswold might have gained his stated impression from Mrs. Hewitt’s words, but after her call on him, he then could have explained with dignity; but he never retracted any of the many misstatements made in his “Memoir” of Edgar Allan Poe, the man.

Vastly different from Dr. Griswold’s “police story” was another Reverend gentleman’s record, after serving the poet throughout one of his later nerve-congestion spells, aggravated by stimulants, perhaps. Dr. C. Chauncey Burr(31) noted Poe: “A very gentle, thoughtful, scrupulously refined and modest kind of man. Such a man as has left a place quite unfilled now that he has gone. How came he then to be so abused, even when dead, and could not speak for himself.” But this broken engagement caused all sorts of wild stories, including the one mentioned as to breach of good faith, by Poe, so strenuously denied by Mr. Pabodie.

At Fordham Cottage, Thursday, December 28, 1848, Poe wrote a short letter to Mrs, Richmond:

ANNIE, — My own dear Mother will explain to you how it is that I cannot write to you in full — but I must write only a few words to let you see that I am well, . . . All is right! . . . I hope that I distinguished myself at the Lecture — I tried to do so, for your sake. There were 1800 people present, and such applause! I did so much better than I did at Lowell. . . . Give my dearest love to all.

EDDY. [page 1360:]

In this letter was mentioned one to “Annie” from Mrs. Clemm, and it was: “I feel so happy in all my troubles. Eddy is not to marry Mrs. W. How much will I have to tell you . . . the papers say he is . . . to lead to the altar, the talented, rich and beautiful Mrs. W. : . . I will tell you all in my next.” However lovely the lady, and especially when dominated by frail health and atmospheric antagonism of her family, it was very natural for Mrs. Clemm to feel relieved that her Virginia’s place in their cottage home had not been filled. Even far-reaching Editor Horace Greeley felt moved to interfere with Poe’s love projects; for when they reached ebb-safety tide, January, 1849, Mr. Greeley wrote Dr. Griswold: “Do you know Sarah Helen Whitman? Of course you have heard it rumored that she is to marry Poe. Well, she has seemed to me a good girl, and — you know what Poe is. Now I know a widow of doubtful age will marry almost any sort of a white man, but this seems to me a terrible conjunction. [As to perilous health of both parties it truly was.] Has Mrs. Whitman no friend within your knowledge that can . . . explain Poe to her? I never attempted this sort of thing but once, and the net product was two enemies, and a hastening of the marriage” (from page 249, “Griswold’s Correspondence”).

January 11, 1849, dated Mrs. Clemm’s next letter to “Annie,” and in it appeared: “The match is entirely broken off between Eddy and Mrs. Whitman. He has been at home three weeks and has not written to her once. . . . Dear Eddy is writing most industriously, and I have every hope that we will, in a short time, [page 1361:] surmount most of our difficulties. He writes from ten till four every clay. . . . Eddy wrote a tale [“Landor’s Cottage ”] . . , and in it bras a description of you with the name of the lady, ‘Darling Annie.’ . . . Did you see the lines to Eddy in . . . the Metropolitan? They are by Mrs. Osgood, and very beautiful. . . . Have you seen Lowell’s satire, and Mrs. Osgood’s letter about the lines? Something about Eddy in both.” It later transpires that Mrs. Osgood had her own ideas as to this Poe-Whitman episode. However, in Mrs. Clemm’s letter to “Annie” went one from the poet himself, in which was: “It seems . . . so long since I have written you that I feel condemned, . . . But no, you will never doubt me . . . will you? . . . O ‘Annie,’ in spite of so many worldly sorrows — in spite of all the trouble and misrepresentation. (so hard to bear) that Poverty has entailed on me for so long a time in spite of all this — I am so, so happy. . . . I need not tell you, Annie, how great a burden is taken off my heart by my rupture with Mrs. W.; for I have fully made tip my mind to break the engagement. . . . [Poe, still dazed, was writing this January 11th, after Mrs. Whitman broke the engagement “three weeks” prior, in December.] Nothing would have deterred me from the match but — what I tell you. . . . [“Poverty,” writes Mr. Whitty.] I am beginning to do very well about money as my spirits improve, . . . very soon, I hope, I shall be quite out of difficulty. You can’t think how industrious I am. I am resolved to get rich — to triumph. [Poe had been harshly but thoroughly awakened to the facts in this romance, that each party required too much from the other, to unite ineffective [page 1362:] forces that fail to obtain matrimonial happiness.] When you write tell me something about Bardwell. . . . [Poe’s Boston good Samaritan?] Oh, if I could only be of service to him in any way! Remember me to all — to your father and mother, and dear little Caddy, and Mr. R. and Mr. C. And now good-bye, sister ‘Annie!’ ”

Because the breaking of this engagement was unfavorably credited to Poe, he, restless under the burden of continuous adverse mis-statements, earnestly besought Mrs. Whitman, by letter, for the sake of those near and dear to him to send him a brief statement denying the wild rumors of their separation. In this letter, of various print records, Poe wrote:

“Heaven knows that I would shrink from wounding or grieving you. I blame no one but your mother. Mr. Pabodie will tell you all. May Heaven shield you from all ill. No amount of provocation shall induce me to speak ill of you, even in my own defense. If to shield myself from calumny, however underserved, or however unendurable, I find need of . . . explanations that might condemn or pain you, most solemnly do I assure you that I will patiently endure such calumny, rather than avail myself of any such means of refuting it. [This plain statement would indicate that they both were aware that facts did exist of which “explanation” might “condemn and pain” her.] You will see, then, that so far I am at your mercy — but in making you such assurances, have I not a right to ask of you some forbearance in return? . . . That you have in any way countenanced this pitiable falsehood, I do not and cannot believe — [the breaking of their [page 1363:] engagement by him] some person, equally your enemy and mine, has been its author — but what I beg of you is, to write me at once a few lines in explanation — you know, of course, that either by reference to Mr. Pabodie or . . . I can disprove the facts stated in the most satisfactory manner — but there can be no need of disproving what I feel confident was never asserted by you — your simple disavowal is all that I wish. You will, of course, write me immediately on receipt of this. . . . Let my letters and acts speak for themselves. It has been my intention to say simply that our marriage was postponed . . . on account of your ill-health. Have you really said or done anything which can preclude our placing the rupture on such footing? If not, I shall persist in the statement and thus this unhappy matter will die quietly away.” Concerning Poe’s foregoing pathetic plea for plain justice, Mrs. Whitman noted: “His letter I did not dare to answer.” It would be interesting to know just why she could not have sent a brief, formal “simple disavowal” as to the “false statements” made of Poe by others, and not sanctioned by herself, and thus far eased his mental strain. Her failure to do this seems strange, for silence might involve the impossibility — for some reason or other — on her part of so doing. Perhaps this withholding of mental ease, to Poe the living man, grew into Mrs. Whitman’s energetic and effective defense of the poet, after his death. In any case these “false statements flew to Poe’s friends Mr. and Mrs. Charles Richmond at Lowell, Mass. — probably through Mrs. Osgood’s relative and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Locke of that city, Mrs. Osgood’s maiden name was [page 1364:] Locke, and Mrs. Richmond was born Nancy Locke Heywood. Through Mrs. Osgood, no doubt Poe obtained his lecture audiences at Lowell, where he met the family of Mr. Richmond at Mrs. Locke’s home. Poe’s preference for the Richmonds grew with time, and shaping events, into a sin of ingratitude, according to Mrs. Locke; and from her point of view not easily balanced after her bestowal of lines and money in answer to Willis’ 1846, Home Journal, appeal for the poet’s family-necessities. However, this lady’s tactics, from early 1849, as to Poe, closely followed the vindictive maneuvres of Mrs. E. F. Ellet. Therefore, in narrative order, Poe, not relying on his own discretion as to this quest of a “simple disavowal” of the “false statements” to be sent him by Mrs. Whitman, but trusting entirely to the proved friendship of Mrs. Richmond and family, enclosed to her, about January 23, 1849, his letter-quest of Mrs. Whitman. Of the slanders touching himself Poe wrote: “Faithful Annie! How shall I ever be grateful enough to God for giving me, in all my adversity, so true, so beautiful a friend! I felt deeply wounded by the cruel statements of your letter — and yet I had anticipated nearly all. . . . From the bottom of my heart I forgive her all, and would forgive her even more. Some portions of your letter I do not fully understand. If the reference is to my having violated my promise to you, I simply say, Annie, that I have not, . . . The reports . . . may have arisen . . . from what I did, in Providence, on that terrible day . . . Oh — I shudder even to think of it. That . . . her friends will speak ill of me is an inevitable evil — I must bear it. In fact . . . I . . . do [page 1365:] not care so much as I did for the opinions of a world in which I see . . . that to act generously is to be considered as designing, and that to be poor is to be a villain. I must get rich — rich. Then all will go well — but until then I must submit to be abused. I deeply regret that Mr. R[ichmond] should think ill of me. If you can, disabuse him . . . act for me as you think best. I put my honor, . . . implicitly in your hands; but I would rather not confide my purposes, in that one regard, to any one but your dear sister. I enclose you a letter for Mrs. Whitman. Read it — show it only to those in whom you have faith, and then seal it with wax and mail it from Boston. . . . When her answer comes I will send it to you: that will convince you of the truth. If she refuse to answer I will write to Mr. Crocker . . . if you know his exact name and address send it to me. . . . [Poe’s request, for Mr. Crocker to publish the marriage banns, entrusted to Mr. Pabodie, was never delivered by him, and the alleged intention of Poe to break the engagement must have been the “abuse” to which he referred.] But as long as you and yours love me, what need I care for this cruel, unjust, calculating world?” Poe noted his “Rationale of Verse” as in October and November Southern Literary Messenger issues, and himself as “so busy, now,” and feeling so full of life and energy. “Engagements to write are pouring in upon me every day.” Two came from Boston, and yesterday “an article” on “Critics and Criticism” went to the American Review. “About Critics and Criticism” appeared in Graham’s January, 1850, issue, after Poe’s death. It began with a critic comparatively unknown to our day, [page 1366:] of whom Poe wrote: “Our most analytic, if not altogether our best critic (fir. Whipple perhaps excepted), is Mr. William A. Jones, author of ’ The Analyst.’ How he would write elaborate criticism I cannot say; but his summary judgments of authors are, in general, discriminate and profound. In fact, his papers on Emerson and Macaulay, published in ‘Arcturus,’ are better than merely ‘profound‘; if we take the word in its now desecrated sense; for they are at once pointed, lucid and just: — as summaries, . . . Mr. [Edwin Percy] Whipple has less analysis, and far less candor; as his depreciation of ‘ Jane Eyre’ will show; but he excels Mr. Jones in sensibility to Beauty, and is thus the better critic of Poetry. I find nothing finer in its way than his eulogy on Tennyson . . .” Not long ago “Landor’s Cottage” with “something of Annie in it” was sent to the Metropolitan. Fifty pages of “Marginalia” — five pages each month — were going to the Southern Literary Messenger. He noted his permanent engagements made with American magazines excepting Peterson’s National, but “including a Cincinnati magazine, called The Gentlemen’s. So you see that I have only to keep up my spirits to get out of all my pecuniary troubles. The least price I get is $5 per ‘Graham page.“’ Poe noted reading “Percy Ranthorpe,” by Mrs. Gove, with “deep interest” and “great consolation. It relates to the career of a literary man, and gives a just view of the true aims and the true dignity of the literary character. Read it for my sake. But of one thing rest assured, ‘Annie,’ — from this day forth I shun the pestilential society of literary women. They are a heartless unnatural, [page 1367:] venomous, dishonorable set, with no guiding principle but inordinate self-esteem. Mrs. Osgood is the only exception I know. . . . Kiss little Caddy for me, and remember me to Mr. R. and to all. I have had a most distressing headache for the last two weeks.” Poe’s closing words indicate that the reflex of his Providence disaster of shattered romance was now being felt by a stealthy approach of his old enemy nervous-congestion depression, notwithstanding the “energy” he mentioned to “Annie” as floating him out of difficulties. But as articles were seldom paid for until some months after printing, and Poe’s broken health began to make inroads on his working time, his purse “difficulties” were of a certain prolonged, chronic type.

January 18, 1849, Poe wrote to Editor John R. Thompson,(32) of Southern Literary Messenger: “Accept my thanks for the two Messengers containing Miss Talley’s ‘Genius.’ I am glad . . . that Griswold, although imperfectly, has done her justice in ‘Female Poets.’ Enclosed I send the opening chapter of ‘Marginalia,’ published three years ago in the ‘Democratic Review,’ . . . which I think well adapted to such a Magazine as yours. ‘Marginalia’ proved as popular as any papers by me. My object now is to propose that I continue papers in the ‘Messenger’ at 5 pages each month commencing March. . . . You might afford me as before, $2. per page . . . at a hint I can touch briefly any topic you suggest; . . . the interest of Southern letters in respect to Northern neglect or misrepresentation . . . sorely in need of touching. If you think well of proposal, I will [page 1368:] send first two numbers (10 pages) — on receipt of a letter from you. You can pay me at your convenience, as papers are published or otherwise.” Poe’s “P.S.” added : “I am to bestir myself in the world of letters more busily than for three or four years . . . and the connection with 2 weekly papers may enable me . . . to serve the ‘Messenger.’ ”

At Fordham, Saturday, January 20, 1849, Poe’s purse-pressures moved him to write to John Priestly, of American Whig Review (see page lxxi, “Complete Poems of Poe,” by James H. Whitty), as follows:

MY DEAR SIR, — May I trouble you to hand accompanying brief article to Mr. Whelpley and see if he can give me $10 for it. About four years ago . . . I wrote a paper on The American Drama for your Review. It was printed anonymously — my name was not in the index. The criticism referred to Willis’ “Tortesa” [1839] and Longfellow’s “Spanish Student” [1843 issue]. Could you procure me this number?

Truly your friend,


This letter seems to be one of the few signed by Poe’s full name. It would be interesting to know why he so signed it, at this time.

From 1843 to May, 1849, “Marginalia,” Poe had been calling Thomas Carlyle no “sweet and tender names.” While his scholarship was allowed, his “Hero Worship” was given by Poe, in 1846, rather caustic attention, that was well remembered by the author of “Sartor Resartns.” Carlyle, when addressed on a criticism of Poe’s poetry — in connection with that of Burns, by a mutual friend of Hon. R. M. Hogg, of Irvine,. Scotland, and Professor [page 1362:] Masson, of Edinburgh — “got into a furious rage and said: ‘Burns was both a great man and a great poet, but Poe was neither.’ ” Mr. Hogg adds: “Of course I do not agree with him.”

In Poe’s January 23, 1849, letter to Mrs. Richmond, he mentioned an article of his, of which he had forgotten the name, was advertised by Godey. It was “Mellonta Tauta” (or, a revised introduction to “Eureka,” Dr. Woodberry notes) and appeared in the February, 1849, issue of Godey’s Lady’s Book. It dated, “On Board Balloon ‘Skylark,’ April 1, 1848,” and was then, in all truth, a skylark hoax of Poe, after the style of the “MS. Found in a Bottle,” which was sent “To the Editor of the Lady’s Book” with the (briefed) following letter:

I have the honor of sending you, . . . an article which I hope you will be able to comprehend . . . more distinctly than I do . . . It is a translation by my friend Martin Van Buren Mavis (sometimes called the “Toughkeepsie Seer”), of an odd-looking MS. . .. form(], about a year ago, tightly corked up in a jug floating in the Mare Tenebrarum — a sea well described by the Nubian geographer, but seldom visited, nowadays, except by the transcendentalists and divers for crotchets. Truly yours,


In this delicious satire, “Mellonta Tauta.” Poe’s nimble wits leaped almost one hundred years from the stars — or sea of shadows — into the scientific realities of today. And in his (en)lightning transit was scored the world of scholars from the classics, “Jurmains’s . . . Vrinch . . . Inglitch . . . Kanawdians” (German, French, English and Canadians) [page 1370:] to the American Knickerbockers — little beloved by Poe but of his day. Probably this was Poe’s way of easing some of his various heart-aches. As to this jug-letter found floating in the “Mare Tenebrarum” and Poe’s “Universe” Lecture, his Maine friend, George W. Eveleth, wrote March 9, 1848, that the writer and the lecturer “don’t live more than a million miles apart, else the postage . . . would be too much to pay.” From Byron comes: “Cervantes smiled Spain’s chivalry away.” And Lowell follows with: “It is so much easier to caricature life from our own sickly conception of it, than to paint it in its noble simplicity.” Among the penalties the great of earth pay to Fame, is the endurance of public-print caricatures, or animadversions of pictorial and burlesque criticism. Poe and Longfellow were no exceptions to this rule. Under the fitting, and a seeming, mask of Motley Manners, Esq., some one, on page 20, of the January, 1849, issue of Holden’s Dollar Magazine, begins two pages of rhymed lines with broken spaces for F. O. C. Darley’s caricatures of the poets Byrant, Longfellow, Whittier, Poe and Willis. Mr. Manners’ lines are entitled:



Darley swathes Byrant as a Witch of Salem; Whittier appears as embracing a slave; Willis figures as a strutting dandy; reprint cuts of Darley’s Longfellow and Poe are given. Beneath that of Longfellow some of Motley Manners’ lines are: [page 1371:]

“Not for thy clipping of old rusty coins —

Thy head enriches what thy hand purloins;

Not for thy thought — webs cribbed from monkish looms —

They‘re better in thy tomes than in their tombs;

Thy alchemy has made much gold from lead —

So, ‘let the dead past bury’ all ‘its dead. ”

Beneath the cut of Poe appear, among others, these lines:

“With tomahawk upraised for deadly blow,

Behold our literary Mohawk, POE!

Sworn tyrant he o‘er all who sin in verse —

His own the standard, damns he all that’s worse;

. . . . . . . . .

Iambic Poe! of tyro bards the terror

Ego is he — the world his pocket-mirror!”

Unintentionally Manners’ five last words curiously affirm Poe universality. Emerson, Halleck, Lowell and others were not honored by Darley’s attention. [page 1372:]

February 17, 1849, George W. Eveleth, attending medical lectures at Brunswick, Me., wrote Poe:(33) “I think you are the Autobiographer of Holden’s Dollar Magazine — And I guess this same wobegone personage could now look in the glass [Motley Manners’ “Mirror for Authors”] and point out one Joe Bottom, Editor of his posthumous papers. Have you not some proprietary right in Holden’s?”

June 26, 1849, Poe wrote Eveleth:(34) “I do not comprehend you about my being the ‘autographer of Holden’s Magazine.’ I occasionally hear of that work, but have never seen a number of it.” So, evidently Poe had not seen then, or, Willis-wise, “would not see” this Motley Manners’ effusion, illuminated by his good friend Darley.

Doubtlessly Poe enjoyed, at this time, his quiet literary labors with devoted Mrs. Clemm, and occasional sympathetic letters from his fine-hearted friend “Annie,” at Lowell, to leaven the many others of various hard-hearted facts. At Fordham Cottage the poet passed his January days of 1819 into those of February, with now and then calls from friends, among whom was “Stella” — Mrs. S. D. Lewis. For her poems Poe’s literary attention was in demand, and fairly paid for, with $100, by Mr. Lewis. Poe’s Cottage home needs made Mrs. Clemm urgent for his dreaded service on these verses; also, at times, his being a reluctant attendant of “Stella’s” Brooklyn home receptions. Concerning Mr. and Mrs. S. D. Lewis and Poe, comes from Sidney V. Lowell, Esq., Brooklyn, N. Y,: “I knew Silvanus [[Sylvanus]] D. Lewis, whose wife was a friend of Poe, very well from 1856 to his [page 1373:] death in 1882. He lived in a three-story brick house, No. 125 Dean Street, Brooklyn. In the rear, the united pleasant gardens were filled with old-fashioned [page 1374:] flowers and grape arbors. Lewis was a lawyer in good practice, highly respected and admired by all who knew him; tradition as to Mrs. Lewis was — she was rather a blue-stocking wife than a housekeeper; that Lewis was very fond of her but she was not an especially helpful companion.” In S. D. Lewis’ reply, October 11, 1875, to Miss S. S. Rice’s Baltimore, Poe-Memorial invitation appeared: “I have resided and practiced my profession of the law in Brooklyn for about thirty years . . . in 1845, Mr. Poe and I became personal friends. His last residence, and where I visited him oftenest, was in a beautifully secluded cottage at Fordham, fourteen miles above New York . . . there . . . I often saw his dear wife during her last illness, and attended her funeral. It was from there . . . he and his ‘dear Muddie’ (Mrs. Clemm) often visited me at my house, [page 1375:] frequently, and at my urgent solicitation, remaining many days. When he finally departed on his last trip south, the kissing and hand-shaking were at my front door. He was hopeful; we were sad; and tears gushed in torrents as he kissed his ‘ dear Muddie’ and my wife ‘good-bye.’ Alas, it proved, as Mrs. Clemm feared, a final adieu . . . on the receipt of the sad news of his death, I offered Mrs. Clemm a home in my family, where she resided until 1858. . . . I hold many of her precious, loving, grateful letters to me . . . up to a few days before her death.” Mr. Gabriel Harrison wrote:(35) “I became acquainted with Mrs. Clemm at the home of S. D. Lewis, one of her best friends. Many a package of delicacies have I known him to send to her at Church Home, Baltimore. Holidays were always so remembered. When visiting Mrs. Clemm there, she took from her finger her own wedding-ring and that of Poe’s wife made into one and which he wore to the hour of his death, and presented it to me with his moustache scissors and pocket-comb.” The scissors were given to Mr. Chandos Felton, an ardent admirer of Poe, and the ring to the Long Island Historical Society, Brooklyn, N. Y., by Mr. Harrison. But Poe’s ring, described by Mr. Harrison as two “made into one” has proved one means of identifying a recently discovered oil portrait of the poet, at the United States Navy Yard, Charlestown, Mass. On the reverse of the frame of this life-size half figure appears: “Oil-Painting in frame. Person not known. From Attic of Building No. 34. Received from the General Storekeeper, Apr. 23, 1915.” Mr. Murdock Macaulay, U. S. N., Curator [page 1377:] of the Naval Museum, Charlestown, Mass., put this legend in place when this portrait came into his custody, and he became obsessed with the all but proved fact that this painting was a portrait of Edgar Allan Poe. While closest investigation fails to produce an atom of definite record concerning this canvas, the easy, careless poise of figure, the features, the books in left background, and above all else the ringtwomade into one” — which appears on the partially shown left hand, all these point to Poe, as painted after the style of S. S. Osgood’s brush and informally posed for the private ownership of himself and his wife. The portrait was seen by Samuel B. Doggett, Esq., who claimed its attention for these pages by permission of Commandant Albert Gleaves, Rear Admiral U. S. N. Poe probably had the two wedding-rings “made into one” after he won his lawsuit against the N. Y. Mirror, February 22, 1847, and with some of that money.

Mr. S. D. Lewis’ October 11, 1875, letter continued of Poe: “He was one of the most affectionate, kind-hearted men I ever knew. I never witnessed so much tender affection and devoted love as existed in that family of three persons. . . . I have spent weeks in the closest intimacy with Mr. Poe, and I never saw him drink a drop of liquor . . . in my life; and never saw him under the slightest influence of any stimulants whatever. He was, in truth, a most abstemious and exemplary man. But I learned from Mrs. Clemm that if, . . . he took a single glass, even of wine, . . . that he was no longer himself or responsible for his acts. His biographers . . . to produce [page 1378:] a startling effect by contrast, have magnified his errors and attributed to him faults which he never had. He was always in my presence the polished gentleman, the profound scholar, the true critic, and the inspired oracular poet-dreamy and spiritual, lofty, but sad.”

It seems most probable that Poe’s trip South in the interest of The Stylus was made possible to some generous degree by financial advances made to him by fine-hearted S. D. Lewis, — perhaps in consideration of the equally generous revisions and reviews that Poe gave, with more difficulty, in preparing Mrs. Lewis’ “Child of the Sea and Other Poems” for some measure of the print-praise he bestowed upon these verses. An example of Poe’s scoring “The Prisoner of Perote” by Mrs. Lewis was made of very definite print by the late J. H. Ingram, on page 420, Vol. I, of Albany Review;(36) also in “Complete Poems of Poe” by James H. Whitty.

When accused of taking a bribe for a favorable review of miserable poems, and thereby violating his literary conscience, Poe said:(37) “The author gave me a hundred dollars when my poor Virginia was dying, and we were starving, and required me to make a review of that book — What could I do?” Perhaps his own prior scoring and paying a debt shrived Poe’s soul for that enthusiastic review, in the September, 1848, Southern Literary Messenger, which concluded with: “If we err not greatly, ‘The Child of the Sea’ will confer immortality on its writer.” All the fame she obtained came from the touch of Poe’s pen — and association. To a friend expressing surprise at this over-estimate, Poe replied: “It is true, she is [page 1379:] really commonplace, but her husband was kind to me; I cannot point all arrow against any woman! Such expressions of opinions are necessarily modified by a thousand circumstances.” However Poe knew “The Forsaken” was fore-shadowed by Motherwell; that “Child of the Sea” was fathered by Byron’s “Corsair,” etc., yet money so willingly advanced to appease actual hunger suffered by his little household at times answered Mrs. Clemm’s plea to Poe when no other could reach him. But in this review Poe did well by making marked mention of “S. D. Lewis, . . . Counsellor-at-Law, absorbed in his profession and residing in Brooklyn.”

Of Brooklyn, N. Y., Poe wrote:(38) “I know few towns which inspire me with so great disgust and contempt. It huts me in mind of a city of silvered gingerbread. . . . It has some tolerable residences but the majority are several steps beyond the preposterous. . . . What can be more silly and piteously absurd than palaces of painted white pine, fifteen feet by twenty, and of such is the boasted city of villas.”

In early 1849, Poe wrote:(39)

DEAR GRISWOLD, — Your uniform kindness leads me to hope that you will attend to this little matter of Mrs. L——, to whom I truly think you have clone less than justice. . . . They lied to you, (if you told — what he says you told him,) upon the subject of my forgotten Lecture on the American Poets, and I take this opportunity to say . . . what I have always held in conversation about you, and what I believe to be entirely true, as far as it goes, is contained in my notice of your “Female Poets of America,” in the forthcoming “Southern Literary Messenger.” By glancing at what I have published [page 1380:] about you, (Aut. in Graham, 1841; Review in Pioneer, 1843; Notice in B. Journal, 1845; Letter in Int., 1847; and the Review of your Female Poets,) you will see that I . . . never hazarded . . . a disrespectful word of you, though there were, . . . in consequence of —— ’s false imputation of that beastly article to you, some absurd jokes at your expense in the Lecture at Philadelphia. Come up and see me; the cars pass within a few rods of the New York Hotel, where I have called two or three times without finding you in.

Yours truly,


Poe’s money needs must have been keen at this time of heavy work and slow pay; and consequently his demon of depression was in close pursuit of him. Mr. Whitty(40) mentions a “sixty days’ note given by him for sixty-seven dollars,(41) February 3, 1849, to Isaac Cooper, nephew of the novelist.”

From a February 21, 1905, letter written to Mr. and Mrs. George Wilson Smith, New York City, by “Pastor Emeritus Epher Whitaker,” of the “Church of Christ,” Southold, L. I., also “Historian and Poet,” comes a new item (dating about this time) of Poe. Of him Dr. Whitaker wrote: “A few months before Poe’s death, he lived and lectured for a week, in the Academy of Newark, Delaware, where I lived and taught from 1844 to September, 1849. Each day of this week I met him and heard him lecture on American Poetry. All the teachers and all the classes in the Academy were in the large schoolroom daily and heard him for an hour. He was always prompt when the Academy bell in the steeple rang the hour for his lecture. All heard him with attention and pleasure, even [page 1381:] the youngest of the pupils, boys of fourteen or fifteen years. He drew from memory nearly all the poems which he used as examples and illustrations. The only book which he used was the Rev. Rufus W. Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America. He did not wholly approve Griswold’s selections. He [Poe] recited with the utmost effectiveness several poems which the compiler had not selected for his book. He also indicated a few in the volume deemed by him utterly unworthy of a place among representations of American poetry.” Of Poe, the man, was added: “During that week he bore no mark of dissipation in bearing, in countenance or in speech. He appeared as a somewhat shy and reserved, but thoroughly courteous, gentleman.

“The picture of him in the Herald . . . presents the contour of his head and face perfectly, but it lacks the [page 1382:] gentle, sensitive, pensive and almost sad expression of his face . . . the eyes seem to be expressive of force and fire. They had no expression of this kind when I saw him. They had a contemplative and even shrinking expression. His appearance may have been in some measure due to guest-ship in the Academy at that time.” Poe was near to his attack of brain-congestion. Mrs. Smith obtained the daguerreotype picture of Dr. Eplier Whitaker about the time he knew Poe. Newark Academy (dating as Poe saw it) appears in these pages by reprint permission of Dr. Lyman P. Powell, and Department of Education of the Federal Government. [page 1383:]

Thursday, February 8, 1849, Poe again turned to tell of his life to “Dear Annie.” He mentioned Mrs. Clemm as “just going to town,” and his hope of her finding “a sweet letter” from Annie or Sarah. He notes himself as “so busy, ‘Annie,’ ever since I returned from Providence-six weeks ago. I have not suffered a day to pass without writing from a page to three pages. Yesterday, I wrote five, and the day before a poem, . . , I call it ‘The Bells.“’ It was probably a revision of these verses which he wished Annie and Sarah to see. Edwin Markham noted “The Bells” as “the finest example in our language of suggestive power of rhyme and of the echo of sound to sense.” Poe added to Annie that the “five pages,” of yesterday, were on “Hop-Frog!” and from “such a name” she would “never guess the subject (which is a terrible one) . . .” Poe founded this tale on Froissart’s tragedy of the “Masquerade of Charles VI of France, where several nobles were burned by accident. Poe thought out Hop-Frog’s part and his fearful revenge,” writes Thomas O. Mabbott. In the influence of drink upon “Hop-Frog,” Poe, unconsciously perhaps, but graphically, described his own physical disability to combat the influence of stimulants. But he advised “Annie” of its issue in a Boston weekly, The Flag of Our Union, as not a literary journal, but paid “about $5. a ‘Graham page.’ ” Poe noted: “I have got no answer yet from Mrs. Whitman. . . . My opinion is that her mother has intercepted the letter and will never give it to her. . . . Dear mother says she will write you a long letter in a clay or two, and tell you how good I am. She is in high spirits at my [page 1384:] prospects and our hopes of soon seeing ‘Annie.’ We have told our landlord that we will not take the house next year. Do not let Mr. R., . . . make arrangements for us . . . for, being poor, we are . . . slaves of circumstances. At all come and see you, . . . a week . . . events we will both . in the early spring. . . , Mother sends her dearest . . . love to you and Sarah and to all.”

St. Valentine’s Day, 1849, found the poet’s career — from prior year date — had passed from under that Saint’s sway on to that of St. John, far more satisfactory in beloved friendships. And thus Poe, at Fordham, was making a long, overdue reply to F. W. Thomas’ letter of prior November 27th. Under orders of “Forward,” it had been touring Poe, Post Offices after ever since; and its final arrival was warmly welcomed by the poet, who had heard of Thomas “now and then.” Most heartily Poe wrote:

MY DEAR FRIEND THOMAS, — . . . Right glad am I to find you once more in a true position — “in the field of letters.” Depend upon it after all, Thomas, literature is the most noble of professions. . . . For my own part there is no seducing me from the path. I shall be a littérature at least, all my life; nor would I abandon the hopes which still lead me on for all the gold in California. Talking of gold and of the temptations at present held out to “poor-devil authors,” did it ever strike you that all which is really valuable to a man of letters — to a poet in especial — is absolutely unpurchasable? Love, fame, the dominion of the intellect, the consciousness of power, the thrilling sense of beauty, the free air of Heaven, exercise of body & mind, with the physical and moral health which result — these and such as these are really [page 1385:] all that a poet cares for: . . . I have read the Prospectus of the ‘Chronicle’ and like it much — especially . . . where you tall. about letting go the finger of that conceited booby, the Last . . . by no means the East out of which came the wise men mentioned in Scripture! . . . I wish you would come down on the Frogpondians. [Bostonians, so named from the frog-pond of their Common.] They are getting worse and worse, and pretend not to he aware that there are any literary people out of Boston. . . . They are decidedly the most servile imitators of the English it is possible to conceive. , . . It would be the easiest thing in the world to use them up en masse. One really well-written satire would accomplish the business: but it must not be such a dish of skimmed milk-and-water as Lowell’s . . . “Fable for Critics,” I mean.

Poe’s skimmed “milk-and-water” words are found in some strong Poesque prints of Blackwood’s January, 1842, issue of Poe’s obsession, The Copyright Question.” Lowell’s “Fable for Critics” held Poe as “three-fifths genius and two-fifths fudge” — a generous measure of “genius” for any mortal, with its balance of human equipment in fudge. Privately, Poe but followed the lead of Hawthorne and Lowell as to Miss Fuller — “that detestable old maid” who once told Lowell that he was “’so wretched a poet as to be disgusting even to his best friends.’ This set him off in a tangent . . . so he took to writing satire against mankind in general with Margaret Fuller and her protégé, Cornelius Mathews, in particular.” It seems natural that Poe could not forget the Mrs. Ellet-inspired mission of the Misses Fuller and Lynch to Fordham Cottage for Mrs. Osgood’s letters to himself; and like Lowell, and even Longfellow, the quiet, was [page 1386:] privately personal on this score. Poe noted his review of Lowell’s “Fable” for the “S. L. Messenger” and his hope that “Thompson will print it. Lowell is a ranting abolitionist and deserves a good using up. It is a pity that he is a poet.” However Poe paid praise to Lowell’s poetical endowments, in clue time their friendship would have been wrecked on the reefs of politics, for Poe was a “Virginian“instinctively — as he elsewhere proclaimed. Poe had not yet seen Thomas’ Chronicle, but hoped to get one — “regularly”; and warned him that: “The rock on which most new enterprises, in the paper way, split, is namby-pamby-ism. It never did do & never will. No yea-nay journal ever succeeded — . . . . The fact is, Thomas, living buried in the country makes a man savage — wolfish. . . . You will be pleased to hear that I am in better health than I ever knew myself to be — full of energy and bent upon success.” Poe was having a short surcease from worry. He added that he might visit Thomas in Louisville; extended to him return, New York courtesies; noted Mrs. Clemm’s remembrances; and asked editorial mention for Mrs. Lewis as “a particular friend,” and one who deserved “all I have said of her.” Then, when Poe, served her, she did. February 16th, 1849, Poe wrote Mr. Duyckinck of an “Ulalume” press-print: “I send now the enclosed from the Providence ‘Daily Journal,’ . . . it will make everything straight.” Again from Providence to Lowell the gossips pursued Poe’s peace to the threshold of his friends the Richmond family, with results given in Poe’s Fordham, Sunday, February 19, 1849, letter to “Annie,” briefed as follows: [page 1387:]

MY SWEET FRIEND AND SISTER, — I write with a heavy heart, . . . for I must abandon my proposed visit . . . and God only knows when I shall see you, . . I have come to this determination to-day, after looking over some of your letters to me and my mother, . . You have not said it to me, but I . . . glean from what you have said, that Mr. R —— has permitted himself (perhaps without knowing it) to be influenced . . . by the malignant misrepresentations of Mr. and Mrs. [Locke.] Now, I frankly own to you, dear “Annie,” that I am proud, although I have never shown myself proud to you or yours, . . . You know that I quarrelled with the L —— s solely on your account and Mr. R’s. It was obviously my interest to keep in with them, and, moreover, they had rendered me some services which entitled them to my gratitude up to the time when I discovered they had been blazoning their favors to the world. Gratitude then, as well as interest, would have led me not to offend them; and the insults offered to me individually by Mrs. — were not sufficient to make me break with them. It was only when I heard them declare. . . that your husband was everything despicable . . . it was only when such insults were offered to you, whom I sincerely and most purely loved, and to Mr. R —— , whom I had every reason to like and respect, that I arose and left their house, and insured the unrelenting vengeance of that worst of all fiends, “a woman scorned.” Now, . . . I cannot help thinking it unkind in Mr. R —— , when I am absent and unable to defend myself, that he will persist in listening to what these people say to my discredit. . . , In the name of God, what else had I to anticipate in return for the offence which I offered Mrs. L —— ’s insane vanity and self-esteem, than that she would spend the rest of her days in . . . fabricating accusations where she could not find them ready-made? . . . but, . . . I certainly did not anticipate that any man in his senses would ever listen to accusations from so auspicious a source. . . . Not only must I not visit [page 1388:] you . . . but I must discontinue my letters, and you yours. I cannot and will not have it on my conscience, that I have interfered with the domestic happiness of the only being . . . whom I have loved at the same time with truth and with purity — I do not merely love you, “Annie” — I admire and respect you even more . . . As for any injuries — he falsehoods of these people can do me, make your mind easy about that . . . I have encountered such vengeance before, . . , for a far less holy purpose, than I feel the defence of your good name to be. I scorned Mrs. E[llet,] simply because she revolted me, and to this day she has never ceased her anonymous persecutions. . . . She has not deprived me of one friend who ever knew me and once trusted me. . . . When she ventured too far, I sued her at once (through her miserable tools), and recovered exemplary damages — as I will unquestionably do, forthwith, in the case of Mr. Locke,] if ever he shall muster courage to utter one single actionable word . . . . You will now have seen, dear Annie, how and why it is that my Mother and myself cannot visit you as we proposed. . . . It had been my design to ask you and Mr. R —— (or, perhaps, your parents) to board my Mother while I was absent at the South, and I intended to start after remaining with you a week, . . . I have taken the cottage at Fordham for another year. Time, clear Annie, will show all things. Be of good heart, I shall . . . bear in mind the two solemn promises I have made to you. . . .

Always your dear friend and brother,


Poe made a March request of Mrs. Richmond to write an inquiry of her Providence relatives as to who had there slandered him, as he wished to prove false what had thus been said. It appears that Mrs. Whitman(42) had been invited for a spring visit to Mrs. Locke’s Lowell home; and with a view, it was said, [page 1389:] of renewing her associations with Poe. During her May stay there, Mrs. Whitman began to realize this design of Mrs. Locke; and for this reason, of chance meeting, Mrs. Whitman wisely did not prolong her visit. In her later letters from Mrs. Locke, also in anonymous and other letters to Mrs. Whitman from Mrs. Locke, “were frequent allusions” to items of Poe who, she asserted, had deeply wronged her. This Lowell lady and her sister-harpy, Mrs. Ellet, like a brace of hats fluttered past the portals of life’s barrier itself in pursuit of the dead poet; and the dark marks of their besmirching wings — as their own — lie undetected, and at times unperceived, in many a page of biographical print concerning Edgar Allan [page 1390:] Poe, the man. Later, and of Poe at this time, Mrs. Whitman wrote: “My heart thrilled at the thought of seeing him again, but I could not accept her request. We passed each other on the road . . . as the two trains rushed past each other between Boston and Lowell.”

It appears that Mrs. Whitman — uneasy of mind in her ignoring Poe’s appeal for the frank “few words,” to which she knew he was entitled and deserved, in connection with reports of her speaking ill of him, or sanctioned this in others, were unfounded — felt that an indirect answer could be made when Editor Israel Post, of the new American Metropolitan Review,(43) which had been recommended by Poe, wrote her for a poem. From those she had in manuscript form, she sent verses then entitled “Stanzas for Music,” and later named “Our Island of Dreams.” Of these verses she thought Poe might interpret the last one as a response to his urgent letter quest for explanatory “few words.” The two last lines of these verses — which were sent for the February number, but obtained March print — were:

“When time shall the vapors of falsehood dispel,

He shall know if I loved him; but never how well.”

Their writer was fortunately consoled in her belief that Poe accepted these lines as a peace-offering, and they were answered by “veiled expression” in his lyric “Annabel Lee,” which several authorities assert was written some time prior to the printing of “Stanzas for Music.” To those verses, of Poe’s exquisite pathos, “Annabel Lee,” there were several fair claimants after the poet’s death. But Mrs. Osgood’s firm [page 1391:] dicta seems well-founded in: “This ballad was written to his Virginia. I believe she was the only woman whom he truly loved; . . . this is in evidence by the exquisite pathos of the little poem lately written . . . ‘Annabel Lee,’ of which she was the subject, and which is by far the most natural, simple, tender and touchingly beautiful of all his songs. I have heard it said that it was intended to illustrate a late love affair of the author; but they who believe this have, in their dullness, evidently misunderstood or missed the beautiful meaning latent in the most lovely of all its verses, where he says:

‘A wind blew out of a cloud, by night

Chilling my Annabel Lee;

So that her high-born kinsmen came

And bore her away from me,

. . . . . . . .

‘The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,

Went envying her and me: —

Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,

In this kingdom by the sea)

That the wind came out of the cloud, chilling

And killing my Annabel Lee.’

There seems a strange and almost profane disregard of the sacred purity and spiritual tenderness of this delicious ballad, in thus overlooking the allusion to the kindred angels and the heavenly Father of the lost and loved and unforgotten wife.” Edwin Markham believes, “‘Annabel Lee’ the simplest of Poe’s ballads — inspired by his lost Virginia — is full of little winds of melody and touches of ideal light. It [page 1392:] is a poetical version of his prose idyl ‘The Valley of Many-Colored Grass’ and forms the final page of his lyrical ritual of bereaved love.” Hon. R. M. Hogg, of Irvine, Scotland, queries if “Annabel Lee” was not tinged, at least, with Scottish folk-lore (which otherwise much impressed Poe, the boy) in the belief that to departing souls came the last one of the family placed in parish church-yard; and thence, as a dim light, it came for the waiting soul’s release. Then two lights were seen returning to God’s acre. Mr. Hogg thinks this idea of “kinsmen came and bore her away from me,” may have come from Poe’s familiarity with Scottish folk-lore.

March 3, 1849, the Boston Flag of Our Union issued Poe’s “Valentine,” sometime prior he wrote to Mrs. Osgood; his “Hop-Frog” appeared in this periodical, March 17th; and “A Dream within a Dream” was in its March 31st date.

At Fordham, March 8th, Poe wrote Mr. Duyckinck, inquiring if he had looked over the “Von Kempelen and his Discovery” article, left with his brother. Of its drift, thatpure gold can be made at will, and very readily, from lead, is connection with certain other substances, in kind and in proportions unknown,” Poe wrote: Of course, there is not one word of truth in it. . . . I had prepared the hoax for a Boston weekly called ‘The Flag.’ . . . my object in referring the article to you is simply to see if you could not . . . take it for the ‘World.’ If so, I am willing to take . . . $10 — or, . . . whatever you think you can afford.” Poe stated that its design was to act as a “check to the gold-fever” and thus “it [page 1393:] will create a stir to some purpose.” . . . Poe added that “the whole strength is laid out in verisimilitude.” He closed with: “I am very much obliged to you for your reprint of ’ Ulalume.“’ In a “P.S.” appeared: “If . . . you decline the quiz, please do not let out the secret.”

It is interesting to note that during the writing of this hoax, and by Poe’s January 23rd letter to Mrs. Richmond, in which appeared, “I must get rich — rich,” that his mind was then dwelling on what he lacked of the gold-power in this world; it is also interesting, in his mentioning Von Kempelen, as a fellow-sojourner for a week, about “six years [page 1394:] ago, at Earl’s Hotel, in Providence, R. I.” Six weeks prior Poe left that hotel. He added: “I presume that I conversed with him . . . three or four hours altogether.” Perhaps Von Kempelen was an 1849 California gold-seeking enthusiast, and one of the “wild set of young men” (mentioned by Mr. Pabodie in his letter to Dr. Griswold) who inspired Poe’s hoax-literary interest to a momentary forgetfulness of his conditional engagement-pledge to Mrs. Whitman, in the mild indulgence which broke it. But Von Kempelen also furnished material for Poe’s “Discovery” hoax-tale. In “Maelzel’s Chess-Player” Poe wrote: “The Automaton Chess-Player was invented in 1769 by Baron Kempelen, a nobleman of Presburg, Hungary,” etc., notes Thomas O. Mabbott. From this 1836 Southern Literary Messenger print Poe jumps his Kempelen mention to early 1849 Von Kempelen “Discovery.”

March 23rd dated Poe’s next letter to Mrs. Richmond, in which he inquired as to the “secrets” of her Westford home having any connection with himself. Poe added: “I am so happy in being able to afford Mr. R. proof of something in which he seemed to doubt me. You remember that Mr. and Mrs. Locke strenuously denied having spoken ill of you to me, and I said, ‘then it must remain a simple question of veracity between its, as I had . . . returned Mrs. L —— her letters (which were filled with abuse of you both), but, . . . my mother has some in her possession that will prove the truth of what I say.’ . . . when we came to look over these last, I found . . . they would not corroborate me. . . . Well! what do [page 1395:] you think? Mrs. L —— has again written my mother, and I enclose her letter. Read it! you will find it thoroughly corroborative of all 1 said. The verses to me which she alludes to, I have not seen. You will see that she admits . . . all that I accused her of. . . . I wish that you would write to your relation in Providence and ascertain for me who slandered me as you say — I wish to prove the falsity of what has been said . . . and . . . obtain . . . details upon which I can act. . . . .Will you do this? I enclose also some other lines ‘For Annie’ and will you let me know in what manner they impress you? . . . I think the lines . . . much the best I have ever written; but an author can seldom depend on his own estimate of his own works, so I wish to know what ‘Annie’ truly thinks of them — also your dear sister and Mr. C ——. Do not let the verses go out of your possession until you see them in print — as I have sold them to the publisher of the Flag. . . .” Poe inquired if “Annie” had received “Hop-Frog” print mailed to her: noted his regret that the Metropolitan had “stopped” and returned his “Landor’s Cottage” manuscript, and concluded with, “Remember me to all.” Poe’s earnest caution to “Annie,” as to the sale of his verses to The Flag of Our Union, seems very definite on the point that normal Poe was far more careful on such scores than he was credited with being by many of his adverse critics. Mr. Whitty writes that Poe sent Mrs. Richmond a portion of his poem, “A Dream within a Dream,” “headed, ‘For Annie.’ In his last revision he changed the title, ‘To —— ,’ and unquestionably addressed it to [page 1396:] ‘Annie.’ ” ‘Mr. Whitty adds, that Poe complained because The Flag mis-printed “For Annie,” and this induced him to send a corrected copy to the Home Journal — that “Poe might have had The Flag print first, even if both issues were due at once.” In April 28, 1849, Home Journal, Willis noted “For Annie” as an “Odd Poem,” and added: “The following exquisite specimen of private property in words has been sent us by a friend, . . . Poe certainly has . . . a type of mind different from all others . . . though . . . this . . . idiosyncracy is . . . idiopathic, and, from want of sympathy, cannot be largely popular, it is . . . valuable as [a] rarity. . . . Money . . . could not be better laid out for the honor of . . . American literature . . . than in giving Edgar Poe a competent annuity, on condition that he should never write, except upon impulse. . . . Mr. Poe is not only peculiar in himself, but unsusceptible of imitation . . . as a mere suggestion we . . . give Mr. Poe’s verses ‘For Annie.’ ”

But over-work and its print refusals were now of crowding pressure on Poe’s nerves, which again were beginning to resent such treatment in the return of his dreaded old enemy, nervous-congestion depression. Its sway seems sharply delineated in the poet’s after-death rhapsody of “For Annie,” of which two stanzas are:

“THANK Heaven! the crisis —

The danger is past,

And the lingering illness

Is over at last —

And the fever called ‘Living

Is conquered at last. [page 1397:]

“Sadly, I know

I am shorn of my strength,

And no muscle I move

As I lie at full length —

But no matter! — I feel

I am better at length.”

Thus pelted with his hard work returned, worry and coming illness, Poe’s last March days on earth passed into April’s : and perhaps into these that horror tale, “The [Death’s-headed] Sphinx,” again crept in its normal size 1/16 of an inch into Poe’s brain, which had magnified its hideousness to a “ship of the line” proportions. All this seems an unconscious reflex of his almost intolerable sufferings experienced in Fordham “cottage orné,” that this story located “on the banks of the Hudson,” and with his “relative” Mrs. Clemm. January, 1846, Arthur’s Magazine gave its first print.

The Flag of Our Union, April 14, 1849, printed Poe’s “Von Kempelen and his Discovery”; the April 1st date gave his “Eldorado,” which, in whimsical vagaries, seems attuned to the gold-seeking 1849 craze of the Von Kempelen hoax. On page 286 of Dr. Killis Campbell’s edition of “Poe’s Poems” appears, that “Eldorado” was a mythical city of “marvelous wealth and splendor,” located in one of the Guianas. Dr. C. Alphonso Smith believes that this poem exemplifies Poe’s “quest of the ideal.” However, in the Flag of April 28th were Poe’s lines “For Annie.” This advance print, so it seems, was sent to Willis, for at Fordham, April 20th, to him Poe wrote:

MY DEAR WILLIS: The poem which I enclose, and which I . . . hope you will like, . . . has been just published [page 1398:] in a paper for which sheer necessity compels me to write. . . . It pays well . . . but . . . whatever I send it I feel I am consigning to the tomb of the Capulets. The verses accompanying this, may I beg you to take out of the tomb, and bring them to light in the Home Journal? . . . I do not think it will be necessary to say “From the Flag,” . . . perhaps, “From a late —— paper” would do.

I have not forgotten how a “good word in season” from you made “The Raven,” and made “Ulalume” (which, by the way, people have done me the honor of attributing to you) — therefore I would ask you (if I dared), to say something on these lines, if they please you.

Kindly and promptly — as of prior noting — Willis answered by Home Journal issue of “For Annie,” as revised by Poe from the Flag printing. At this time Poe was so ill that his mentality was true to little else than literary effects, to which his faculties, until utter collapse, were as steadfast as the needle to the north. In this state Poe wrote to Dr. Griswold a long letter, in which appeared:

DEAR GRISWOLD, — I inclose perfect copies of the lines “For Annie” and “Annabel Lee,” in hopes that you may make room for them in your new edition.

Poe noted detail changes in “Lenore” and other verses. As to his sister’s age and his own, Poe, for no known reason then, but acute illness on his part, erroneously stated his birth date as December, 1813, when it was January 19, 1809; and Rosalie’s birth as January, 1811, when it was December 20, 1810. Poe mentioned his pleasure in Willis’ praise of “The Raven”; inclosed the notice, and asked the favor of [page 1399:] its reprint. In a “P.S.” Poe inquired of Dr. Griswold if he could not sell “Annabel Lee” for $50 before he needed it for book print. It is of record that Poe now realized that he had not long to live, and therefore he began to place his manuscripts and printings in order for final issue; and of special interest, on this score, was a confidential visit — of several hours — at this time made by Dr. Griswold at Fordham Cottage.

With characteristic courage, about this date Poe wrote his friend Mrs. Richmond:(44)

ANNIE, — You will see by this note that I am nearly, if not quite, well . . . my mother . . . is so anxious about me that she takes alarm often without cause. It is not so much ill that I have been as depressed in spirits — I cannot express to you how terribly I have been suffering, from gloom. . . . You know how cheerfully I wrote to you, not long ago, about my prospects — hopes — how I anticipated being soon out of difficulty. Well! . . . I have met one disappointment after another. The Columbian Magazine failed — then Post’s Union (taking . . . my principal dependence); then the Whig Review was forced to stop paying for contributions — then the Democratic . . . I was obliged to quarrel, . . . with; and then, to crown all, the “ —— —— ” [Flag, Mr. Whitty thinks] . . . has written a circular . . . pleading poverty and declining to receive any more articles . . . [the Flag paid Poe $10 per week, by the year] the S. L. Messenger, which owes me a good deal, cannot pay just yet, and, . . . . I am reduced to Sartain and Graham — both very precarious. No doubt, Annie, you attribute my “gloom” to these events — but you would be wrong. It is not in the power of any mere worldly considerations, to depress me. . . . No, my sadness is unaccountable, and this makes me the more sad. I am full of dark forebodings. Nothing cheers or comforts me. My life seems wasted — the future looks a dreary blank: [page 1400:] but I will struggle on and “hope against hope.” . . . What do you think? I have received a letter from Mrs. L —— , and such a letter! She . . . is . . . to publish a detailed account of all that occurred between us, under guise of romance, with fictitious names, &c., . . . that she will do justice to my motives, &c., . . . She writes to know if “I have any suggestions to make.” If I do not answer it in a fortnight, the book will go to press as it is — and, more . . . she is coming . . . to see me at Fordham. I have not replied — shall I? and what? The “friend” who sent the lines to the “H. J.” [Home Journal] was the friend who loves you best — myself. The Flag so misprinted them that I resolved to have a true copy. The Flag has two of my articles yet — “A Sonnet to my Mother,” and “Landor’s Cottage.” . . . I have written a ballad called “Annabel Lee,” which I will send you soon.

The playwright Bronson Howard, aboard The Queen, in Alaskan waters, June, 1893, pronounced Poe’s lines “To My Mother” to be “The best tribute to a Mother-in-law ever written.” By Poe’s “more than mother” were added to his pathetic letter, these still more pathetic words: “Thank you a thousand times for your letter — my clear ‘Annie.’ Do not believe Eddy, he has been very ill, but is now better. I thought he would die several times. God knows I wish we were both in our graves; it would, I am sure, be far better.” Fine, noble-hearted Mrs. Clemm, how she stood and withstood long years of weariness in battling for those so near and clear to her; and bereft of them she lost anchorage for her hopes and fears whereby her closing days were indeed desolate. Poe’s “Sonnet — To my Mother,” that unique tribute to a mother-in-law, written April, 1849, immortalized [page 1401:] her life’s selfless struggles, and appeared in July 7, 1849, issue of the Flag of Our Union.

September, 1835, J. B. Patterson(45) of Winchester, Va., settled at Oquawka, Ill. A year later, joined by his wife and son — Edward H. N. Patterson, a young man of literary taste and ability — the elder Patterson founded the weekly Oquawka Spectator. Prudently reared in all ways, and in constant touch with the best books and magazine literature, Edward H. N. Patterson came of age January, 1849. Then his father turned over to him the management of the Spectator and its job-printing office. Full of youthful confidence, he cherished the ambition of making a name in the world of letters. Among those who stood for conspicuous eminence in American literature of that time was Edgar Allan Poe, who, as a journalist, young Patterson had followed from Editor Poe’s Southern Literary Messenger days to the passing on of his Broadway Journal, with fascinated admiration for the poet’s genius. For Poe’s endless and varied adversities, Patterson felt and expressed an ardent sympathy. Thereby and then, he was moved, December, 1848, to make to Poe a letter-appeal to come West and join him in a new periodical venture. This letter, by the direction of Mr. Putnam, was addressed to Poe at Fordham ; and there, April, 1849, was written his reply, in which appeared:

No doubt you will be surprised to learn that your letter, dated Dec. 18, has only this moment reached me. I live at the village of Fordham, . . . as there is no Post Office at the place, I date always from New York, and get all my letters from the city Post-Office. . . . I . . . make you this [page 1402:] explanation, lest you may have been . . . fancying me discourteous in not replying to your . . . proposition. I deeply regret that 1 did not sooner receive it; and had it reached me in due season, I would have agreed to it unhesitatingly. In assuming “originality” as the “keystone of success” in such enterprises, you are . . . not only right, but, in yourself almost “original” — for there are none of our publishers who have the wit to perceive this vital truth. What the public seek in a Magazine is what they cannot elsewhere procure. . . . I do not think . . . a Magazine could succeed . . . under the . . . general plan . . . you have suggested; but your idea of duplicate publication, Past & West, strikes me forcibly. Experience. . . . on the topic, assures me that no cheap Magazine can ever again prosper in America. We must aim high — address the intellect — . . . and put the work at $5: — giving about 112 pp. . . . with occasional wood-engravings in the first style of art, . . . Such a Mag. would begin to pay after 1000 subscribers; and with 5000 would be a fortune. . . . I presume you know that during the second year . . . the “S. L. Messenger” rose from less than 1000 to 5000 subs., and that “Graham’s,” in 18 months after my joining it, went up from 5000 to 52,000. . . . The whole income from Graham’s . . . never went beyond 15,000$: . . . the proportional expenses of the $3 Mags. being . . . greater than those of the $5. . . . My plan, . . . would be to take a tour through the . . . West & South . . . lecturing as I went, to pay expenses . . . interest my personal friends (old College & West Point acquaintances . . . ) in the success of the enterprise. By these means, I would guarantee, in 3 months . . . to get 1000 subs. in advance, . . . nearly all pledged to pay on the issue of the first number. Under such circumstances, success would be certain. I have now about 200 names pledged . . . on the undertaking — which perhaps you are aware I have long had in contemplation — only awaiting a secure opportunity. If . . . your views on the subject . . . . accord in any degree with mine — I [page 1403:] will endeavor to pay you a visit at Oquawka, or meet you at any place . . . where we can tall: the matter over with deliberation. Please direct your reply simply to New York City.

In the memorandum of Patterson’s (lost letter) reply to Poe dated May 7, 1849, was:

Yours of April is before me, and I hasten to reply . . . (Your remarks, especially as they are strong) . . . have had their weight in convincing me that it would . . . be better to establish . . . a high-priced, and . . . high-toned periodical, . . the literary contents of which should be exclusively under your control. . . . Our literature is, , . . sadly deficient in the department of criticism. . , , I will leave to you the task of selecting an appropriate name, . . . Make out a list of subscribers and write a prospectus, and forward to me as soon as you can, so that I may at once commence operations. . . . I will visit New York . . . by the first of August, . . . to purchase suitable materials . . . and then consult with you. . . . Oquawka is . . . unimportant . . , but I think . . . would not injure . . . circulation of the Magazine. . . . Here I . . . do my work at a less outlay, . . . and enjoy every mail advantage that I could at St. Louis, being but 30 hours travel from that city, . . . I should expect you to be at one-half the cost of printing, say, 100 . . . copies sent to editors in payment of insertion of prospectus. . . . Let me hear from you immediately.

Prior to answering this letter Poe wrote Editor John R. Thompson(46) of the Southern Literary Messenger, May 10, 1849:

MY DEAR SIR: I forward some more of the “Marginalia” rather more piquant I hope, and altogether to my own liking, than what I sent before. I shall probably be [page 1404:] in Richmond about the 1st of June and will bring the Ms. “Raven” in obedience to your flattering request.

Truly yours,


At Fordham, May 17, 1849, Poe wrote to Mrs. S. D. Lewis(47) for her “Poems” review data:

MY DEAR FRIEND: I have not been well enough lately, to copy the lines “For Annie” but will copy them today. In regard to the other matter, depend upon me, as in ail respects you may, with implicit confidence. Please make a memorandum as explicit as possible — that I may know precisely what you wish.

Believe me yours ever,



To E. H. N. Patterson’s May 7th letter, Poe replied the following 23rd, that his delay was caused by deliberation over the proposed venture which, — “If we attempt it we must succeed — for. . . . as concerns myself . . . all my prospects . . . are involved in the project — but I shrink from making any attempt which may fail.” Poe noted his reason against the unimportant Oquawka issue: suggested that St. Louis and New York should be on the title-page, and mentioned an enclosure for it by, “Enclosed, you will find a title-page(48) designed by myself about a year ago: — your joining me will, of course, necessitate some modifications.” The original drawing was made in black ink, on pink-toned brown paper, and the vignette was clipped from the Prospectus of The Stylus Poe planned to issue with Thomas Cottrell Clarke, in 1843, and pasted on the title-page design sent to Patterson. Poe’s letter added that he was to go to Boston [page 1406:] and Lowell that date — May 23, 1849 — to remain a week, and thence to Richmond, Va., where he would await a reply which he requested should be sent to the care of “John R. Thompson, Ed of the ‘South. Lit. Messenger.’ ” If Patterson then favored the venture Poe would meet him at St. Louis, and they would return together to New York. In the meantime, Poe noted: “I will do what I can in Boston & Virginia — without involving your name in the enterprize until I hear from you. . . . I shall . . . meet the current expenses of the tour by lecturing as I proceed; but there is something required in the way of outfit; and as I am not overstocked with money (what poor-devil author is?) I must ask you to advance half the sum I need to begin with — about $100. Please, therefore, enclose $50 in your reply, which I will get at Richmond. If these arrangements suit you, you can announce the agreement, . . . & proceed as if all was signed and sealed.” Poe enclosed the Home Journal print of “For Annie,” also Willis’ letter-print of the poem with a request of reprints of both at Oquawka and St. Louis.

One can realize what real pleasure this wholesome, late-May, quiet visit to Lowell gave to Poe — so comfortably away from strife, struggles and sordid need for that all-too-brief week. Because his prior letter mentioned Boston to be of this trip, it seems likely Poe spent a little while of it there with friends of Mr. and Mrs. Osgood: but she was already in the grasp of the “cough that was killing” her, which it did within a year. Dr. Woodberry(49) states that Poe wrote his third draft of “The Bells” during this Lowell visit. [page 1407:]

Perhaps Poe never knew how mercifully his peace of mind escaped the snare of Mrs. Locke’s invitation to visit her, sent to Mrs. Whitman, whose good sense shortened her Lowell stay, when with intention she was advised by her hostess that Poe was on the way to visit the Richmond family. Of this incident Mrs. Whitman noted:(50) “We passed each other on the road. I did not know it until a letter from Mrs. Locke informed me of the fact.” After Poe’s death this lady told Mrs. Whitman that he spoke disrespectfully of her: Mrs. Locke later spent a night at Mrs. Whitman’s home and tried to levy more abuse on Poe, but such efforts were discouraged by her hostess. [page 1408:] But the hard fact that Mrs. Whitman gave no frank, or formal direct reply to Poe’s protest, that she had never spoken ill of him, and the reports of her doing so were false — “this is what he asked for and did not receive” — was so keenly felt by Poe that he rightly believed himself absolved from all concern in the affair save a gentleman’s loyalty to womanhood. On this score, he, no doubt, felt free to speak as Mr. Whitty notes: “Poe, during his last visit to Richmond, stated to judge Hughes, that Mrs. Whitman had made repeated efforts towards reconciliation, which he refused.” It appears that no attention was paid to her “Stanzas for Music, or Island of Dreams” — of Metropolitan March, 1849, printing; and, after the style of that day, she sent a poem entitled “Song” and dated “Isle of Rhodes, March, 1849,” to the June issue of Southern Literary Messenger, knowing that its prints never missed Poe’s scrutiny. It did not seem to reach the eyes of her friends who were Poe’s sharpest critics. Four lines of this “Song” were:

“I BADE thee stay. Too well I know

The fault was mine, — mine only:

I dared not think upon the past,

All desolate and lonely.”

In early June, 1849, Poe was again with Mrs. Clemm at Fordham Cottage, and again under sway of his increasing despondency. The poet seemed to realize that his hold on life was uncertain; and, on this account, Dr. Griswold was written to by Poe concerning the supervision of his collected works, for which Mr. Willis was to supply any needed biographical [page 1409:] notice. It is said that a warm letter of acceptance of this trust by Dr. Griswold was sent to Poe, when at Richmond, and there was seen by and read to Miss Susan Archer Talley — later Mrs. Weiss, author of “Home Life of Poe.” She was very naturally surprised when informed that Dr. Griswold stated that when he wrote his 1849, October 9th, Tribune article on Poe, signed “Ludwig,” as its writer he was “unaware” he was requested to be the poet’s literary executor; not until “ten days after his death,” wrote Dr. Griswold, in 1850 “Literati,” Vol. III, of his edited “Works of Poe.” As the poet died October 7, 1849, “ten days” would date Dr. Griswold’s self-mentioned literary-executor notice, October 17th; October 8th, Mrs. Clemm wrote Mr. Willis: “Ask Mr. [Griswold] to come as I must deliver a message to him from my poor Eddie.” As to Poe’s “Works,” October 13th Mrs. Clemm wrote Mrs. Richmond: “I have been waited on by several gentlemen and finally arranged with Mr. Griswold to bring them out.” This would date that he was advised, even by Mrs. Clemm, prior to October 13th, aside from his letter of acceptance of that trust, as recorded by Mrs. Weiss as received by Poe at Richmond.

Poe’s last known letter to his good friend “Annie” was dated “Fordham, June 16, 1849.” In it was:

You asked me to write before I started for Richmond, . . . perhaps, you thought me gone, and without having written to say “good-bye” — but indeed, Annie, I could not have done so. . . . I have been on the point of starting every day since I wrote. . . . I will not go until I hear from Thompson (of the S. L. Messenger), to whom [page 1410:] I wrote, . . . telling him to forward the letter from Oquawka, . . . The reason of the return of my draft on Graham’s Magazine, (which put me to such annoyance . . . while I was with you) was, that the articles I sent . . . did not come to hand. . . . I enclose you quite a budget of papers: the letter of Mrs. L —— to Muddy — Mrs. L —— ’s long MS. poem — the verses by the “Lynn Bard,” which you said you wished to see, and also some lines to me (or rather about me), by Mrs. Osgood, in which she imagines me writing to her. I send, too, another notice of “Eureka” from Greeley’s Tribune. . . . No news of Mrs. L yet. If she comes here I will refuse to see her. Remember me to your parents, Mr. R —— , &c. — And now Heaven forever bless you.


Poe added:

I enclose, also, an autograph of the Mr. Willis you are so much in love with. . . . My mother sends you her dearest, most devoted love.

Noting points in foregoing letter: The lines “about” Poe written by Mrs. Osgood, seem to have been the last verse of her “Love’s Reply.” Poe’s reference to the “Lynn Bard” makes interesting that Alonzo Lewis,(51) born 1794, was about forty-three years of age when he wrote these “verses” for Godey’s April, 1847, issue. Lewis, like Poe, found little congeniality among many of his associates. This fact, with a sincere admiration of Poe’s writings, led Lewis to the public print of this opinion in ten stanzas on Poe, of which the seventh is:

“There are hearts so cold they never may feel

The thrills which the harp’s fine strings reveal;

But while my life’s warm pulses flow,

I bless thy name and memory, Poe.” [page 1411:]

Because these verses were kept over two years by Poe (when pen-hounded by many writers) and then sent to Annie, a reprint of their author’s picture appears in these pages.

During June, 1849, Poe and Mrs. Clemm had much to do with Mr. and Mrs. S. D. Lewis. She wrote:(52)

“I saw much of Mr. Poe during the last year of his life . . . After the first call he frequently dined with us, and passed the evening in playing whist or in reading to me his last poem.” June 21st, Poe wrote Mrs. Lewis: “I have been . . . reading . . . your ‘Child of the Sea.’ When it appears in print . . . I shall endeavor to do it critical justice in full. . . . [This compliment was mixed, but measured truly Poe’s gratitude to Mr. Lewis for his generous consideration [page 1412:] when keenly needed.] I most heartily congratulate you upon having accomplished a work which will live,” — but only by the poet’s revisions, not mentioned by him, and in association with his name. In a June 28, 1849, Fordham letter, Poe wrote:(53)

DEAR GRISWOLD, — Since I have . . . critically examined your “Female Poets” it occurs to me that you have not quite done justice to . . . Mrs. Lewis; and if you could oblige me so far as to substitute for your . . . hurried notice, a . . . longer one . . . by myself (subject . . . to your emendations) I would reciprocate the favor when, where, and as you please. If you could agree to this, give me a hint to that effect, and the MS. is ready. I will leave it sealed with Mrs. L., who is unaware of my design — for I would rather she should consider herself indebted to you. . . . By calling on Mrs. L., and asking for a package . . . you can at any moment get it. I would not, of course, put you to any expense in this matter: all cost shall be promptly defrayed.

Truly yours,


As to Poe’s reviews of Mrs. Lewis’ poems, and his scanning of her “Isabelle, or the Broken Heart,” in August, 1848, Democratic Review, Thomas O. Mabbott, M.A., writes: “I found it, in going over Poe’s six reviews of Mrs. Lewis — she paying for their insertion where necessary. It was her knowledge that Griswold held the above letter from Poe, hinting of this, that made her apparently turn against Poe after his death.”

Dr. Griswold stated that this letter was his last one from Poe, also that he himself spent some hours at Fordham Cottage prior to the poet’s departure for [page 1413:] Richmond, Va.; but no mention was made of Poe’s letter, or spoken request for Dr. Griswold to act as the poet’s literary executor, or the answer, accepting that trust, which was read at Richmond by Poe to Miss S. A. Talley.

Of June 29th and 30th, 1849, Mrs. S. D. Lewis noted concerning Poe:(54) “The day before he left New York for Richmond, Mr. Poe came to dinner [with Mrs. Clemm] and stayed the night. He seemed very sad and retired early. On leaving the next morning he took my hand . . . and looking me in the face, said, ‘Dear Stella. . . . I have a presentiment that I shall never see you again. I must leave to-day for Richmond. If I never return, write my life. You can and will do me justice.“’ Poe’s memory escaped biographical action assured by Mrs. Lewis! Notwithstanding his own fearful depression it is said that Poe tried to encourage anxious Mrs. Clemm with visions of his promising success, saying: “Cheer up, darling mother, your Eddy will yet be a comfort to you. I now see my future before me.” Yet, Mrs. Clemm said that he “left in such wretched spirits. Before he left home he arranged all his papers, and told me what to do with them should he die. When we parted on the steamboat, although he was so dejected, he still tried to cheer me. ‘God bless you, my own darling mother,’ he said; ‘do not fear for Eddy! See how good I will be while I am away from you, and will come back to love and comfort you.“’ With these last words they parted for all time. It appears that Mrs. Clemm left Brooklyn the day after Poe started South. Of their parting and her own anxieties, [page 1414:] and of Mrs. Lewis, August 4, ‘1849, Mrs. Clemm wrote a friend: “Mrs. Lewis promised him to see me often and see that I did not suffer. For a whole fortnight I heard nothing from her. . . . At last I went there, and would you believe it, she had a letter from Eddie to me begging her for God’s sake to send it to me without a moment’s delay? It was inclosed in one to her of two lines, saying it was of vital importance that I should receive it immediately. If I had received it I should have gone on to Philadelphia if I had to have begged my way, and then how much misery my darling Eddie would have been saved. You will see in Eddy (sic) letter to me what he says of Mrs. Lewis. It is gratitude to her for what he thinks her kindness to his poor deserted Muddy. He would devotedly love any one that is kind to me. . . . She says she knows Eddy does not like her.” Her promises as to Mrs. Clemm no doubt moved Poe to kiss Mrs. Lewis good-bye in “parting on the steps” of their home, as was noted by Mr. Lewis.

It is of record that prior to leaving New York “one MS. copy” of Poe’s “Annabel Lee” was given by him to John W. Moore,(55) head book-keeper of the old printing house of Joseph Russell, 79 John Street. For years Moore had known Poe, who frequently called on him for small loans to “tide him over.” After one such call Poe said: “‘Moore, I may never be able to repay you, but take this; some day it may be valuable,’ and handed to him a copy of ‘Annabel Lee.“’ Mr. Moore presented it to a Canadian niece, and admirer of Poe; and in 1909 it was owned by Dr. V. B. Thorne, New York City.

Late March, 1849, Poe’s “P.S.,” to a letter he wrote Dr. Griswold, noted: “Considering my indebtedness to you, call you not sell to Graham or to Godey . . . ‘Annabel Lee,’ say for $50., and credit me with that sum? Either of them could print it before you will need it for your book.” In the Preface to Dr. Griswold’s “Memoir” of Poe, dated New York, September 2, 1850, appears: “I did not undertake to dispose of the poem of ‘Annabel Lee,’ but upon the death of the author quoted it in the notice [signed “Ludwig ”] in the ‘Tribune,’ and I was sorry to learn soon after, that it had been purchased and paid for by the proprietors of both ‘Sartain’s Magazine’ and ‘The Southern Literary Messenger.“’ While Dr. Griswold was truly entitled to his dues, the curious coincidence of his Poe-Ludwig article and “Annabel Lee” simultaneous prints in October 9, 1849, Tribune, seems a new and double way of paying old scores, with special reference to his charging Poe with the “double” sale of this poem. Sartain’s January, 1850, issue noted that the prior December number stated that they had another poem of Poe — supposed to be his last, as sent them a short time before his death — which would appear in the January, 1850, magazine; but their notice was scarce from the press before they saw this poem, “which we bought and paid for, going the rounds of the press in some way that might later be explained. As the poem was highly characteristic of the gifted, lamented author,” and their “copy differed from those already in print,” Sartain’s placed it in the January, 1850, number. From Mr. Whitty it comes that F. W. Thomas noted: “‘Poe [page 1416:] never was paid for this poem by Sartain’s Union Magazine.’ Their MS. copy — in J. P. Morgan’s New York City Library — is written on two sheets of ruled, blue glazed paper pasted together. On the back is written in Professor Hart’s hand, ‘$5 paid.’ This was the price paid by Sartain’s Union Magazine when it was accepted and published in 1850 (J. S. Hart, Editor).” As Poe died October, 7 1849, Editor Hart’s script seems disconcerting as to how he got that big “$5.” to Poe some six feet underground “in 1850,” and aside from the fact Poe had requested Dr. Griswold to ask $50. not $5., for these verses. Perhaps Greeley’s Tribune paid $50. to some one, but not to Poe, whose loans from Dr. Griswold, Mr. Moore, $5. from Editor Thompson, of The Messenger, as a loan, with the possible $5 from Sartain’s, were probably all their writer ever received for his “Annabel Lee” verses, as various MS. copy gifts of them could not be considered sales. After the poet’s death some of such copies were printed in November, 1849, Southern Literary Messenger, and other papers.

When Mrs. Clemm parted from Poe on the steamboat, in New York harbor, Saturday evening, June 30, 1849, he was, undoubtedly, far in the grasp of a nervous collapse; and from a few years prior, the strange thought of fear — that the normal man never knew — had become a growing symptom of his nervous-congestion attacks. In the delirium of one of these, on his arrival at Philadelphia, the poet called on his friend Mr. John Sartain at his home, 28 Sansom Street. [page 1417:]

Of Poe’s July 2, 1849, visit Mr. Sartains(56) noted “Early one Monday afternoon he suddenly entered my engraving-room, looking pale and haggard, with a wild and frightened expression in his eyes. I did not let him see that I noticed it, and shaking him cordially by the hand, invited him to be seated, when he began, ‘Mr. Sartain, I have come to you for a refuge and protection; will you let me stay with you? It is necessary to my safety that I he concealed for a time.’ I assured him that he was welcome, that in my house he would be . . . safe, and he could stay as long as he liked, but I asked him what was the matter. He said it would be difficult for me to believe what he had to tell, . . . I made him as comfortable as I could, . . . After he had had time to calm down a little, he told me that he had been on his way to New [page 1418:] York, but he had over-heard some men . . . a few seats back of him, plotting how they could kill him and then throw him off from the platform of the car . . . they spoke so low, that it would have been impossible for him to hear . . . had it not been that his sense of hearing was so . . . acute. They could not guess that he heard them, as he sat so quiet . . . but . . . at the Bordentown station he gave them the slip . . . and . . . returned to Philadelphia by the first train back, and hurried to me for refuge. [This unconscious to and fro railroad transit obsessed Poe on his last trip from Richmond to Baltimore, later on. He left Mrs. Clemm at New York, Saturday evening, June 3oth, and reached Mr. Sartain’s Philadelphia home the following Monday afternoon, about forty-eight hours afterwards, in a dazed condition of congestion.] I told him that it was my belief the whole scare was the creation of his own fancy, for what interest could those people have in taking his life, and at such risk to themselves? He said, ‘It was for revenge.’ ‘Revenge for what?’ said I. He answered, ‘Well, a woman trouble.“’ Evidently — with their Poe — returned letters that left him powerless — Mrs. Ellet and Mrs. Locke were the furies that haunted the poet’s over-taxed, wearied brain, now fluttering between being murdered and self-destruction delirium. For after a long silence Poe asked Mr. Sartain for a razor to shed his moustache to defy recognition. This was accomplished in the bath-room by Mr. Sartain with his scissors; and after tea, on Poe’s going out, Mr. Sartain asked him “Where?” The reply was: “To the Scuylkill.” Mr. Sartain said that he would [page 1419:] go with him, as “it would be pleasant in the moonlight later, . . . He complained that his feet hurt him, being chafed by his shoes, . . . So for ease and comfort he wore my slippers, . . . When we had reached . . . Ninth and Chestnut Streets we waited for an omnibus some minutes, . . . and among the many things he said was that he wished I would see to it after [page 1420:] his death that the portrait Osgood had painted of him should go to his mother (meaning Mrs. Clemm). I promised that as far as I could control it that should be done.” Mr. Sartain had this oil portrait of Poe until March 8, 1850, and made a fine plate engraving from it, but later returned the original to S. S. Osgood. Both artists pictured Poe as they knew him, with no guile in his face. Mr. Sartain continued of Poe: “After getting the omnibus we rode to its stopping-place, a little short of Fairmount, opposite a tavern on the north side of Callowhill Street, . . . a bright light shone out through the open door of the tavern, but beyond all was pitchy dark . . . into the darkness we walked. I . . . on his left side, . . . guided him . . . by a gentle pressure, until we reached the lofty flight of steep wooden steps which ascended almost to the top of the reservoir. There was a landing with seats, and we sat clown to rest. . . . There he told me his late experiences, or what he believed to be such, and the succession of images that his imagination created he expressed in a calm, deliberate, measured utterance as facts. These were as weird and fantastic as anything to be met with in his published writings.” Some of Poe’s flittering fancies were: “I was confined in a cell in Moyamensing Prison, and through my grated window was visible the battlemerited . . . tower. On the topmost stone of the parapet, between the embrasures, stood perched against the dark sky a young female brightly radiant, like silver clipped in light, either in herself or in her environment, so that the cross-bar shadows thrown from my window were distinct on the opposite wall. From [page 1421:] this position, . . . she addressed to me a series of questions. . . . Had I failed . . . to hear or to make pertinent answer, the consequences to me would have been something fearful; but . . . I passed safely through this ordeal, which was a snare to catch me.” This was but one of several bewildering and far more ugly dreams of Poe’s sadly tortured brain, and another of which involved the horrible mutilation of Mrs. Clemm. Mr. Sartain asked Poe how he came to be in Moyamensing Prison, and he said that he was “‘suspected of trying to pass a fifty-dollar counterfeit note.’ The truth is, he was there . . . for a few hours only — the drop too much. I learned later that when his turn came . . , before Mayor Gilpin, some one said, ‘Why, this is Poe, the poet.’ and he was dismissed without the customary fine.” Later Poe wrote to Mrs. Clemm that he was sent to prison for being “drunk” when he “was not drunk” — but ill. Mr. Sartain continued of Poe: “When he alluded to his mother, which was always with feelings of affectionate devotion, it was . . . Mrs. Clemm, his [page 1422:] mother-in-law. . . . I got him safe home, and gave him a bed on a sofa in the dining-room, while I slept alongside him on three chairs, without undressing. On the second morning he appeared . . . so much like his old self that I trusted him to go out alone. . . . After an hour or two he returned, and then told me he had come to the conclusion that what I said was true, that the whole thing had been a delusion and a scare created by his own excited imagination. He said his mind began to clear as he lay on the grass, his face buried in it . . . inhaling the sweet fragrance mingled with the odour of the earth . . . so the light gradually broke in upon Ills dazed mind, and [page 1423:] he saw that he had come out of a dream. Being now all right again, he was ready to depart. . . . He borrowed what was needful and I never saw him again.”

Another record is, that within this Philadelphia stay Poe was also cared for by two other friends, George Lippard and Rev. Charles Chauncey Burr.”(57) But all records point to the fact that Poe was still ill when he left Sartain’s care — July 4th — it seems for the “few hours’ ” prison experience, followed by the care of Burr and Lippard. The latter lived at “965 N. 6th Street, below Wager.” Lippard was then twenty-seven, and already a literary curiosity by [page 1424:] reason of his many, sermon-fiction assaults, for justice and morality, on historic, romantic and vice-phases of the Quaker City, that had, he wrote, “not a single throb of pity for the poor.” In Lippard’s “Herbert Tracey” was a letter from Poe, who probably came in touch with its author when he was assistant editor of Colonel John S. DuSolle’s Philadelphia Spirit of the Times. The critics’ sharp attacks on Lippard probably claimed Poe’s caustic defense letter; also the like valiant action of Rev. C. Chauncey Burr, and other warm friends. Of Poe himself, Burr wrote: “Poe’s genius was a blaze of glory in a period when American letters were emerging from the imitative and provincial state.”

Not hearing from Poe for ten days, and knowing he was far from well when he left her, Mrs. Clemm in distress of mind, July 9th, wrote to Mrs. Richmond:(58)

Eddy has been gone ten days, and I have not heard one word from him. Do you wonder that I am distracted? . . . Do you wonder that he has so little confidence in any one? . . . Eddy was obliged to go through Philadelphia, and how much I fear he has got into some trouble there ; he promised so sincerely to write thence. I ought to have heard last Monday, and now it is Monday again and not one word. . . . Oh, if any evil has befallen him, what can comfort me? The day after he left New York, I left Mrs. Lewis and started for home. I called on a rich friend who had made many promises, but never, never leave our situation. I frankly told her. . . . She proposed to me to leave Eddy, saying he might very well do for himself . . . what a cruel insult! No one to console and comfort him but me; no one to nurse him and take care of him when he is sick and helpless! Can I ever [page 1425:] forget that dear sweet face, so tranquil, so pale, and those dear eyes looking at me so sadly, while she said, “Darling, darling Muddy, you will console and take care of my poor Eddy — you will never, never leave him? Promise me, my dear Muddy, and then I can die in peace.” And I did promise. And when I meet her in heaven, I can say, “I have kept my promise, my darling.” . . . If Eddy gets to Richmond safely and can succeed . . . we will be relieved . . . but if he comes home in trouble and sick, I know not what is to become of us.

Two days prior, Poe, still dazed in mind and ill, dated his first letter to Mrs. Clemm, “Saturday, July 7th, New York,” instead of Philadelphia, where he wrote:

MY DEAR, DEAR MOTHER, — I have been so ill — have had the cholera, or spasms quite as bad, and can now hardly hold the pen. The very instant you get this come to me. The joy of seeing you will almost compensate for our sorrows. We can but die together. It is no use to reason with me now; I must die. I have no desire to live since I have done “Eureka.” . . . For your sake it would be sweet to live. . . . You have been all in all to me, darling, ever beloved mother, and dearest truest friend. I was never really insane except on occasions where my heart was touched. I have been taken to prison once since I have been here for getting drunk; but then I was not. It was about Virginia.

Of this time, the Rev. C. Chauncey Burr(59) noted of Poe: “Here we shall find traces [the poet’s letters to Mrs. Clemm] of an intense, sincere, fiery, loving heart, full of great extremes and wanderings, alas! but somehow, always returning to . . . affection and truth. His affection for Mrs. Clemm, the mother of his wife, and his tender and anxious solicitude for her [page 1426:] welfare, even in the midst of the most distracting pain and poverty, opens to our view the agonies of a heart overflowing with kindness, gratitude, and faith, yet cruelly dispossessed of every means of the blessing it would bestow.”

Friday, July 13, 1849, the poet left Philadelphia in time to take the night-boat from Baltimore, for Richmond, Va. Next day, on the boat near Richmond, he wrote Mrs. Clemm

The weather is awfully hot, and besides all this, I am so homesick I don’t know what to do. I never wanted to see any one half so bad as I want to see my own darling mother. It seems to me that I would make any sacrifice to hold you by the hand once more, and get you to cheer me up, for I am terribly depressed. I do not think that any circumstances will ever tempt me to leave you again. When I am with you I can bear anything, but when I am away from yon I am too miserable to live. [page 1427:]

Poe, still wretchedly ill, continued


Oh, my darling mother, it is now more than three weeks [it was just two,] since I saw you, and in all that time your poor Eddy has scarcely drawn a breath except of intense agony. Perhaps you are sick or gone from Fordham, in despair, or dead . . . if I but see you again, all the rest is nothing. I love you better than ten thousand lives — so much so that it is cruel in you to let me leave you: nothing but sorrow ever comes of it. Oh, Mother, I am so ill while I write — but I resolved that come what would, I would not sleep again without easing your dear heart as far as I could. My valise was lost for ten days. At last I found it at the depot in Philadelphia, but . . . they had opened it and stolen both lectures. Oh, Mother, think of the blow to me this evening, . . . these lectures . . . gone. All my object here is over unless I can recover them or rewrite one of them.

I am indebted for more than life itself to Burr. Never [page 1428:] forget him Mother while you live. When all failed me, he stood my friend, got me money, and saw me off in the cars for Richmond. I got here with two dollars over — of which I enclose you one. Oh God, my ‘Mother, shall we ever meet again? If possible, oh COME! My clothes are so horrible and I am so ill. . . . Write me instantly — Oh do not fail. God forever bless you.


Some better, but still ill, at Richmond, July 19th, Poe wrote to young Patterson at Oquawka, Illinois:

I left New-York six weeks ago [it was not quite three weeks] on my way to this place, but was arrested in Philadelphia, by the Cholera, from which I barely escaped with life. I have just arrived in Richmond — and your letter is only this moment received — or rather your two letters with inclosures ($50, etc.), I have not yet read them and write now merely to let you know that they are safe. In a few days — as soon as I gather a little strength — you shall hear from me again in full.

Truly yours ever,


That same day — Thursday — Poe also wrote to:

MY OWN BELOVED MOTHER, — You will see at once by the handwriting of this letter, that I am better — much better — in health and spirits. [Poe himself realized that his “handwriting” indexed his health conditions. And the existence of so many of his fine, firm scripts, of various dates, stand as adamantine proof that the poet was not an inebriate!] Oh if you only knew how your dear letter comforted me! It acted like magic. Most of my sufferings arose from that terrible idea . . . that you were dead. For more than ten days I was totally deranged, although I was not drinking one drop; [Italics are not in the original. Poe was under bondage of congestion-delirium, perhaps aggravated by sub-conscious [page 1429:] indulgence] and during this interval I imagined the most horrible calamities. All was halluciation [[hallucination]], arising from an attack . . . of mania-a-potu. May Heaven grant that it prove a warning to me for the rest of my days. If so I shall not regret . . . the horrible unspeakable torments I have endured.

To L[ippard] and to C[hauncey] B[urr] (and in some measure, also to Mr. Sartain) I am indebted for more than life. They remained with me (L and B) all day on Friday last, comforted me and aided me in coming to my senses. L saw G[raham,] who said everything kind of me, and sent me five dollars: and Peterson sent another five. B procured me a ticket as far as Baltimore and the passage from there to Richmond was seven dollars. I have not drank anything since Friday morning, and then only a little Port wine. If possible, dearest Mother, I will extricate myself from this difficulty for your dear, dear sake. So keep up heart . . . “the darkest hour is just before daylight” . . . my own beloved mother — all may yet go well. I will put forth all my energies. When I get my mind a little more composed, I will try to write something. Oh, give my dearest . . . love to Mrs. L[ewis.] Tell her that never . . . will I forget her kindness to my darling mother.

Poe could not have known how she neglected to forward his first letter to Mrs. Clemm and thus caused them both keenest disturbances.

One record is, that Poe, on arrival, put up at the American House, lower Richmond, because it was less expensive. Mr. Whitty states(60) that Poe stopped at the old Swan Tavern, where he was attended by “Dr. George W. Rawlings, the physician who was with” Poe’s friend “Burling, in 1832, when he died” of the cholera. Dr. Rawlings “lived in a small frame house on Broad Street adjoining” Swan Tavern on [page 1430:] the “N. W. corner of Broad and 9th Streets.” He “stated that in his delirium Poe drew a pistol and tried to shoot him.” All this proves Poe’s absolute irresponsibility under stress of nervous congestion, intensified or not by stimulants.

From a June 29, 1899, letter of Mr. William G. Glenn to Mr. Edward V. Valentine — kindly sent for Poe excerpts — comes of the poet’s 1849 Richmond Visit: “At the time of which I write the Sons of Temperance was a strong organization embracing . . . a number of prominent citizens. Mr. Poe . . . made his home at Swan Tavern, North side of Broad, between 8th and 9th Streets, . . . kept by Mr. Blakey. During his stay there Mr. Poe made the acquaintance of some members, . . . [he] was proposed for membership, elected and [in “July” is one record] initiated a member of Shockoe Hill Division, No. 54, Sons of Temperance. The building . . . now standing . . . a frame [page 1431:] one, on Broad Street, nearly opposite Brook Avenue . . . was put up by Mr. Kee Woodward . . . the lower floor he used for a carpenter shop, the room above was fitted up for our meeting room. I presided at that meeting and administered the obligation to the Candidate. It was early during the quarterly term.” From July 1st to September 30th, 1849, “Mr. Robert Briggs . . . member, conducted a Boot and Shoe Business on the north side of Broad. . . . below 4th, Street. My business . . . was opposite. Probably a month after joining, Mr. Poe left with Mr. Briggs a pair of boots for repairs. A few days later Mr. Briggs came to my place. . . . and mentioned the fact and added, what he thought was strange, . . . Bro. Poe . . . knocked him up about 4 o’clock that morning to get his boots, remarking that he was out walking and to get them then would save the trouble of another call.” Mr. Glenn concluded: “There had been no intimation that Mr. Poe had violated his pledge before leaving Richmond, . . . and in discussing the matter after his death, the consensus of opinion of the Sons of Temperance was that he had kept his pledge inviolate up to that time.”

Mr. Bunson, a Richmond gentleman of Baltimore birth, who knew Poe, and having much interest in his death, and also knowing Dr. Moran, went to the Baltimore hospital to see him. Mr. Bunson was told that Poe had “not been drinking when brought there, but was under the influence of a drug.” However, Poe(61) sent his printed slip of this temperance pledge, obtained on his initiation, to Mrs. Clemm the next day; and of this incident she wrote Mrs. Richmond, “The dark, dark clouds, I think, are [page 1432:]beginning to break. . . . God of His mercy grant he may keep this pledge.” In the “Dollar Newpaper [[Newspaper]], Philadelphia, September 19, ‘49, Mr. William J. McClellan found, ’ Edgar Poe has joined the Sons of Temperance at Shockoe, Va.’

Mr. Whitty notes a reference to this event from the Philadelphia Bulletin was copied in the September Richmond Whig, in which was also a favorable notice from the Cincinnati Atlas, of Poe’s visit to and lecture in Richmond. Mr. Whitty adds that a “long review of Mrs. Osgood’s ‘Poems’ appeared from Poe in August, 1849, Southern Literary Messenger.” Both he and she were relieved of heavy burdens of suffering, and were very still when August again came to this world. Not long before her passing on, Sunday, May 12, 1850, her last volume of verse was issued. Of its last poem, on Poe, the last stanza reads:

“Love’s silver lyre he played so well

Lies shattered on his tomb:

But still in air its music spell

Floats on through light and gloom;

And in the hearts where soft they fell

His words of beauty bloom

For evermore!”

At “Richmond, Aug. 7, ‘49,” Poe dated his next letter to E. H. N. Patterson. It noted his last letter as of “June 7,” and of reply-delay wrote:

The fault, Heaven knows, has not been mine. I have suffered worse than death — not so much from the Cholera as from its long-continued consequences in debility and congestion of the brain . . . I have . . . [page 1433:] however, been able to give your propositions full consideration — and I confess that I hesitate. “To fail” would be ruinous — at least to me; and a $3 Magazine . . . I could not undertake it con amore . . . I most bitterly lament the event which has detained me from St. Louis — for I cannot help thinking that, in a personal interview, I could have brought you over to my plans . . . if you think it possible that your views might be changed, I will still visit you at St. L. As yet, I am too feeble to travel. . . . It is not impossible, . . . that, with energy, the first number might yet be issued in January. I will, therefore, await, in Richmond, your answer to this.

Very cordially yours,


Young Patterson proved himself energetically devoted to Poe and their mutual venture, for in the Oquawka Spectator, September 5, 1849, appeared “Edgar A. Poe, the celebrated poet, is now lecturing in . . . Richmond, Va. His great erudition, added to his gigantic intellect and most felicitous command of language, cannot fail to render his lectures very popular,”

Patterson’s rely to Poe’s “Aug. 7, ‘48,” letter was dated “Oquawka, Ill., Aug. 21, 1849.” It cordially conceded about all of Poe’s propositions, and dated their St. Louis meeting for “the middle of October (say the 15th). . . .”

At Richmond, in 1849, Poe was welcomed by his old friends, and new ones of the press; he was with his sister Rosalie and the Mackenzie family at Duncan Lodge much of his time; also, in the homes of Robert Stanard, Dr. Robert G. Cabell, Robert M. Sully, and at Talavera, the country home of the Talleys. There, [page 1434:] the poet first met Miss Susan Archer Talley — later Mrs. Weiss, author of “Home Life of Poe“ — and with her family and herself, in this attractive home, he passed many hours of his convalescence. Various views of Poe-interest at “Talavera” appear in these pages as tributes to the poet’s genius paid by the present owner (of this home of Poe’s 1849 friends), Mr. C. F. Sauer.

And despite the closed doors of the Allan house, the second Mrs. Allan’s cousin, Mrs. Julia Mayo Cabell, began entertainments to which her friends were invited “to meet Mr. Poe.” He later came into personal touch with Mrs. Sarah Elmira Shelton, who, as Miss Royster, was the “lost Lenore” of his early youth. Since then, until 1849, no uttered words were passed between the poet and herself.

It is said, that “twice at least,” during this Richmond visit, Poe paid his heart’s devotions at the shrines of his beloved dead. To the silence of Shockoe Hill, where lay his first “Helen,” — then he placed a wreath upon the grave of Frances K. Allan, his deeply lamented foster-mother; and thence to Old St. John’s burying-ground ‘There rested “close to the Eastern wall” the fair young mother he scarcely knew; and diagonally across the church-yard green, beneath its great trees’ glancing shadows, was the last home of young Burling, comrade of Poe’s restless, uncertain youth after the age of fifteen. Just facing the rear of Old St. John’s domain, stood on Grace Street, between 24th and 25th Streets, the 1849 home of Poe’s early sweetheart, who was — since 1844 — the widow Shelton. It appears that — some [page 1435:] while — after Virginia’s death, John Mackenzie, at Richmond, wrote Poe that Mrs. Shelton often inquired for him: during his 1848 Richmond summer she was not in that city; but, during the summer of 1849, Mrs. Shelton invited him to her home and [page 1436:] treated him with special attention. Of Poe’s return to her then, Mrs. Shelton wrote:

“I was ready to go to church, when a servant entered and told me that a gentleman in the parlor wished to see me. I went down and was amazed at seeing Mr. Poe, but knew him instantly. He came up to me in the most enthusiastic manner and said, ‘O Elmira, is it you?’ . . . I then told him that I was going to church; I never let anything interfere with that, and that he must call again. . . . When he did call again he renewed his addresses. I laughed; he looked very serious, and said he was in earnest, and had been thinking about it for a long time. When I found out that he was quite serious, I became serious also, and told him that if he would not take a positive denial, he must give me time to consider. He answered, ‘A love that hesitated was not a love for him.’ . . . But he staved a long time, and was very pleasant and cheerful. He came to visit me frequently, and I went with him to the Exchange Concert Room, and heard him read.” Of their long-ago days Mrs. Shelton noted of Poe: “He was devoted to the first Mrs. Allan, and she to him. . . . I have seen his brother Henry, who was in the navy.” As to the poet and herself, they were reported to be engaged. One record is, that Poe never publicly admitted their engagement; and Mrs. Shelton stated, — “I was not engaged to him, but there was a partial understanding. . . . He was a gentleman in every sense of the word. He was one of the most fascinating and refined men I ever knew. I never saw him under the influence of wine.” From Swan Tavern to her [page 1437:] home was a long walk, which Poe broke on the way at the office of Dr. John Carter, 17 Broad Street. But usually Poe’s mornings were spent with his manuscripts in town. In the evenings he would ride out with some of the Mackenzies to their home. There, and at Talavera near by, as well as at Mrs. Shelton’s, the poet found good company and good cheer in plenty. He spoke of his projected Stylus to all his old Richmond friends: they promised to aid him and he seemed hopeful of success for this life-cherished dream. Dr. John Carter noted that Poe spent much time at the Duncan Lodge home of the Mackenzies. And when he requested a loan from Mrs. Mackenzie, [page 1438:] that she could not then make, she said, “Edgar, what do you think of giving a public recital of those poems? It would be a financial success.” It appears that press notice was given and tickets were printed for a reading at the large Concert-Room of Exchange Hotel. But owing to August absence of Richmond friends this reading was not a “financial success.” Dr. Carter “with Mrs. Julia Mayo Cabell and another friend arrived late and were surprised to find but nine persons there, including the usher and themselves, all made thirteen.” Poe appeared, “bowed, and resting his hand on the back of a chair, recited ‘The Raven’ and ’ Annabel Lee,’ then bowed and left the platform. Financial results, with tickets at 50 cents, were six dollars. Boyden, the proprietor of the hotel, would make no charge for the hall, lights and attendance. Comments were made on the ill-omened number ‘13.’ ” Excepting to Mrs. Mackenzie, Poe was said never to have referred to this Richmond reading failure.

Like all true love, Poe’s first and last heart-romance did not run smooth, for a busybody-friend of Mrs. Shelton advised her that Poe’s motives were mercenary. Of this rift in the lute she, in turn, advised him; and this story adds, that she stated her intention of placing her property beyond his command of it. A rupture followed, and the rumor was that Mrs. Shelton requested the return of her letters. This was agreed to by Poe, as an exchange for his own. But her consultation with the Mackenzie family seemed to renew the broken ties whatever they may have been with Poe’s “Lenore”; and whatever these differences [page 1439:] were, their “understanding” renewed, seemed to have been intact when Poe finally left Richmond. Some records claim that this property plan was Poe’s own suggestion. Some interesting facts come from pages 195-196 of “Poe’s Poems” edited by Dr. Killis Campbell. Alexander Barret Shelton was born 1808, and died July 12, 1844. In his will, filed August 5, 1844, in Henrico County clerk’s office, at Richmond. Va., his wife appears as executrix. Because the bond, this act required, was $100,000, the estate was estimated at $50,000. Among other items of this will was: “If my wife shall marry again then immediately upon the happening of that event I do hereby revoke and annul the appointment of her as my executrix.”

Because this dicta dates 1844, and Poe’s wife, Virginia, did not die until 1847, the poet, as Shelton’s matrimonial successor, could not have inspired this clause in his will. However, its existence, as a fact, would account for special business attention given by Mrs. Shelton on her marriage to any one, which act probably supplied a basis for gossip. Certainly it would suggest this lady (1810-1888) to have been still a very attractive woman at the age of thirty-four, when her husband thought of placing this restriction upon her.

While Mrs. Shew’s suggestion as to “marriage” being vital to Poe’s welfare may have influenced him, to some degree; yet this revewal of his first love tryst — which through all intervening years Edgar Poe, as littérature and man, held high in the inner shrine of his life’s expressions, and these continuously made — seems a conclusive romance; and for all time, with [page 1440:] special reference to the writing of his last Love-plaint in these lines of “Annabel Lee”

She was a child and I was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea,

But we loved with a love that was more than love —

I and my Annabel Lee —

With a love that the winged seraphs of Heaven

Coveted her and me.”

Because Edgar and Elmira were child-lovers together for some years after his return from Europe, when that relation was first fostered, and later ruthlessly ruptured by some of their elders — as of prior mention — Mr. Whitty’s logical comment on the “conclusive romance” is: “How quietly and naturally these long-ago ties were renewed!”

Concerning Poe’s later lecture, comes from Mr. Edward V. Valentine’s “Diary” material this Richmond Whig notice: “Edgar A. Poe will lecture on the ‘Poetic Principle’ with various recitations at the Exchange Concert Room on Friday evening next (the 17th August, 18 49) at 8 o’clock.” The Exchange Hotel was an imposing, three-stories and attic quadrangular structure, about a hollow court, fronting on three streets with a main entrance of Ionic columns on Franklin Street. Mr. Valentine’s brother, Professor William W. Valentine, wrote of Poe and this occasion, — “The pallor which overspread his face contrasted with the dark hair that fell on the summit of his forehead. His brow was fine and expressive; his eves dark and restless; in the mouth, firmness mingled with an element of scorn and discontent. His gait was firm and his figure erect . . . his manner, [page 1441:] nervous and emphatic. He was of fine address . . . cordial with friends . . . but rarely smiled from joy, to which he seemed a stranger . . . that might be attributed to the great struggle for self-control in which he seemed constantly engaged. There was little variation — much sadness in his voice — so completely in harmony with his history as to excite a deep interest in him both as a lecturer and a reader.”

In a Richmond, August 22, 1849, letter of John Esten Cooke to his brother — Philip P. Cooke, who added to Lowell’s “Sketch of Poe” was noted of his lecture at this time: “It was fine, particularly the recitations. He recited Pinckney’s ‘A Health!’ with electric effect, and among others (Hood’s ‘Fair Inez’ — which always had a pecular charm for him — and his ‘Take her up tenderly‘) . . . he gave us in my gem of gems, essence of essence of poetry, ‘The Days that are no More’ from ‘The Princess‘! I [page 1442:] never saw a person yet who read it without being maddened with its beauty. I‘ll tell you how Poe looks, what his lecture was like and all about him so you‘ll only write at once.”

As to the poet and his lecture, scholarly Dr. B. L, Gildersleeve wrote, June 17, 1915, that Poe was: “A great celebrity, in the eyes of Richmond people, he was observed wherever he went. In 1843, I read ‘The Gold Bug’ . . . being a native of Charlestown, and familiar with Sullivan’s Island, I was duly critical . . . and there were things in ‘The Raven’ to which I took exception in the Watchman and Observer — my father’s paper. . . . But I made concessions to his genius and through my friend Jno. R. Thompson, Editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, I procured Poe’s autograph, diligently sought since then and never found. I remember seeing him as he came out of his hotel on Broad Street . . . watched him as he walked, . . . towards the office of the Messenger . . . [then located on Capitol Square and Franklin Street] a noticeable man clad in black, the fashion of the times, closely buttoned up, erect, forward looking, something separate, in his whole bearing. I was to see ‘him again, for he gave a reading in the Exchange Hotel, where he recited his ‘Raven’ and other poems to a small audience — chiefly of women. . . . Pictures come between a man and his memories. . . . But I can hardly he mistaken as to some points of his face — a beautiful poetical face. The eyes fine. The forehead challenged special attention for its breadth and prominence. The month was feminine, and took away from the strength of [page 1443:] his countenance; but the whole effect was spiritual. He might have been the embodiment of his airiest fancies, in no wise the lost soul one sees in some artistic creations of him of today. His voice was pleasant. There was nothing dramatic about his recitation . . . like most poets he was sensitive to the music of his own verse; and that was the element he emphasized in his delivery.”

Thus Dr. Gildersleeve saw, thought and wrote of the “star that dwelt apart,” as — “separate.”

As to music, Poe wrote Lowell, “I am profoundly impressed by music.” The poet told a Richmond friend(62) “Music can make anything of me for the time being. It can lift me to Heaven or drag me to Hades.” During this Richmond visit, Poe once became so enthralled by the singing of church music that, oblivious of place and people he, with uplifted face, unconsciously moved towards the choir, — fixing upon it his dark, expressive eyes. “The cessation of the music alone awakened him from his ecstacy. He instantly resumed the air of cold hauteur — his manner — when with strangers.”

Some public prints,(63) on the music(64) of Poe’s poems are: “Arthur Bergh has felt and expressed that tragedy in modern harmonies which David Bispham uses in his recitation and acting of ‘The Raven’ — and of it Max Heinrich has made a fine dramatic setting for the voice and piano. ‘Eldorado’ many times has been set to music: in England, by Richard Mathew. In 1906, its setting, also that of ‘The Bells’ as a madrigal in five parts by Clarence Incas, was much sung by David Bispham. Joseph [page 1444:] Holbrooke, England, has to his credit the music of ‘ Annabel Lee,’ ‘ Ulalume,’ ‘The Red Masque,’ ‘The Raven,’ as orchestral poems, and ‘The Bells’ for chorus and orchestra.” In “1917 Nicolo A. Montani wrote for ‘The Bells,’ a cantata for women’s chorus, soprano and alto solos, with piano and orchestral accompaniment,” notes Mr. Thomas J. Homer, of Boston, Mass. There, Fraulein Matilde Rüdiger — rare artist in music — calls attention to a poem, written by the young, ultra-original, German, poet-composer Franz Schrecker, on “The Mask of the Red Death.” Thus, in Schrecker’s native tongue stands his poem, awaiting this master’s inspiration of music’s magic, in the swaying emotions of Poe’s super-mortal dancers of dreams.

Another Poe record on music is: “To be sure my acquaintance with eminent composers is quite limited; but I have never met one who did not stare and say ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ ‘hem!’ ‘ha! ’ ‘eh?’ when I mentioned the mechanism of the Sirene, or made allusions to oral vibrations at right angles.”

Mr. Whitty gives generous space to Editor John M. Daniel’s notice of Poe’s August 17, 1849, Lecture, in the Richmond Examiner of August 21st issue. Briefed from Mr. Whitty’s print-copy, it comes,(65) that Daniel was“glad to hear the lecturer explode . . . ‘the heresy of modern times’ that poetry should have a purpose . . . beyond ministering . . . to our sense of the beautiful.” Poe stated: “I would define . . . Poetry of words as Rhythmical Creation of Beauty. Its sole arbiter Taste. With Intellect or with Conscience it has only collateral relations. Unless incidentally, it has [page 1445:] no concern whatever either with Duty or Truth.” Editor Daniel continued: “But we were disappointed in Mr. Poe’s recitations. . . . He did not make his own ‘Maven’ an effective piece of reading.” Mrs. Shelton wrote: “When Edgar read ‘The Raven’ he became so wildly excited that he frightened me — when I remonstrated, he replied that he could not help it — that it set his brain on fire.” Thus Poe seemed measured two ways. Mr. Daniel concluded: “A large audience was in attendance . . . those who had not seen him [Poe] since the clays of his obscurity . . . felt no little curiosity to behold so famous a townsman. . . . Mr. Poe is a man of very decided genius. . . . Among all his poems there are only two pieces which are not execrably bad, — ‘The Raven’ and ‘Dreamland.’ The majority of his prose compositions are children of want and dyspepsia, of the printer’s devils and the blue devils. . . . For the few things . . , which are at all tolerable, are coins stamped with the unmistakable die. They are of themselves, sui geueris, unlike any diagrams in Time’s kaleidoscope, either past, present, or to come — and gleam with the diamond lines of Eternity.”(66)

Mr. Whitty adds that Poe called to see Daniel, to clear his mind on the score of his adverse comments; and that Poe obtained enough success to become Daniel’s associate, in book reviewing and other literary work on the Examiner, and, “in Daniel’s way — who liked himself fully in the foreground — Poe was shown a desk and asked to commence work.” Mr. Whitty concludes, that this connection was well understood and talked of in press-circles of that time. [page 1446:] As to Poe, the Richmond Examiner, and its Editor-in-chief, John M. Daniel, “who wrote political leaders that were logic and rhetoric on fire,” are several records. From Bishop O. P. Fitzgerald first comes of Poe : “I was in Richmond in 1849, and remember Mr. Poe, with his white linen coat and trousers, black velvet vest, and broad Panama hat.” He was: “A compact, well-set man . . . straight as an arrow, easy-gaited . . . his features were sad yet finely cut, shapely head, and eyes strangely magnetic. . . . He was distingué, . . . bearing the stamp of genius and charm of melancholy. . . . The bitter personalities of literary men . . . were owing to an evil fashion then prevalent. . . . Poe only differed from the rest in that he had a sharper thrust and surer aim. . . . Poe and Daniel were often together.” Of Editor Daniel, Bishop Fitzgerald added: “Daniel was an electric battery, fully charged, whose touches shocked the staid and lofty-minded leaders in Virginia politics. There was about him that indefinable charm that draws men of genius towards each other, though differing in quality and measure of their endowment.” The poet was also much with (later judge) Robert W. Hughes — of strong judicial brain — just starting on his path of distinction “by discussion, in good English, of economic questions of the Examiner’s staff.” Judge Hughes is much quoted, on Poe scores, by Mr, James H. Whitty, of its later editorial association. The Examiner under Daniel was called “a free lance,” in vitalizing current affairs for all readers. However from Judge Hughes Mr, Whitty learned that “Poe sent many of his revised best poems to the composing room where they [page 1447:] were typed for future use, but only ‘The Raven’ and ‘Dreamland’ had that press issue. The others were preserved in proofs, used by F. W. Thomas, later literary editor of the Richmond Examiner.” These revised proofs finally came to Mr. Whitty, as his reprints show in his “Complete Poems and Memoir of Edgar Allan Poe.”

As of prior mention young E. H. N. Patterson’s Oquawka,(67) August 21, 1849, letter to Poe indicated the writer’s interest in The Stylus venture was almost as intense as the poet’s. His August 7th letter with the good news of returning health had been received. Details of their new enterprise followed from Patterson and with all the important items conceded to Poe’s judgment, with New York and St. Louis joint July issue; and their business meeting was dated for October 15th, at St. Louis. This pact seemed to place Poe, for the first time in his life, upon a firm, practical, financial basis for the pursuit of his cherished magazine dream, The Stylus.

Between anxiety, want and bad news of Poe’s illness, inducing her own, Mrs. Clemm had been moved to write, August 27th, to Dr. Griswold, for “a small loan” until she could hear from Poe. She noted items of her own suffering and his illness; also that he was “better and . . . will soon be able to attend to business”: she stated that she had not means to go to the city but a letter directed to care of Poe, New York, would reach her. That this appeal obtained no answer seems in evidence by another made September 4th, 1849, in which was: “I have tried so long to see you without success, that I have taken the liberty of [page 1448:] addressing this note to you.” Mrs. Clemm stated that she had understood from Mrs. Lewis that Dr. Griswold had received the package left with her for him by Poe. And that she, herself, wished this review — of Mrs. Lewis — printed as it was written. On this score Mrs. Clemm pledged favorable review by Poe of Dr. Griswold’s books; of such reviews she wrote: “Not that . . . he will need any urging to advance your interest. I have just heard from him, he writes in fine spirits and says his prospects are excellent. . . . I will call Saturday at 10 o’clock.”

In the apex of Poe’s Richmond, 1849, popularity, it appears that he had enjoyed some very special attention from even younger eyes than those of the youthful scholar, Basil L. Gildersleeve: for when Mr. M. S. Valentine saw the poet passing their home and remarked, “There goes Edgar Poe!” in the presence of his small boy brother and future sculptor, the little lad shot out for the street, and with his chubby hands upon his bended knees, faced the poet with so studied a gaze that, — says Mr. Edward V. Valentine of today — “Poe noticed how I stared at him,” and no doubt enjoyed the tribute paid.

Of Poe, Dr. John F. Carter noted, that one evening the poet told Mrs. Mackenzie and Dr. George Watson, that on the previous day he had jumped a certain number of feet in three flying leaps. On their questioning his accuracy he repeated the performance to their satisfaction: and sporting magazines, foreign and domestic, revealed that Poe exceeded the best record jumping by a distance of eight and one half inches. “His figure, though rather slight, was compact, [page 1449:] muscular and perfectly proportioned; his movements were active and graceful. I frequently met him during his last visit to Richmond. I never saw him in the least under the influence of liquor. To me he appeared ever the pleasant, agreeable companion and the refined, polished gentleman. In face, form and expression Poe strongly resembled Edwin Booth.” [page 1450:]

The Players’ daguerreotype of Poe(68) is said to have been taken three weeks prior to his death, and to have been made by Pratt, at Richmond. He told Mr. Thomas Dimmock, that Poe promised to sit for [page 1451:] one but had not, until one September morning when standing at (Pratt’s) his door on Main Street, near 11th, Poe came along, and speaking, he was reminded of his promise. “Some excuse was made; but urged to ‘Come up stairs,’ he said that he was not dressed for it; and was answered, ‘I gladly take you just as [page 1452:] you are.’ He went up, that picture was taken and three weeks later he was dead in Baltimore.” Mr. Dimmock offered to buy the daguerreotype, but Pratt would not sell it, yet he would copy it, if desired. This had been done for a lady to whom Poe was engaged. “This copy after 40 years is as good as the original. The dress is more than careless, and the picture is not one Poe would give a lady,” stated Mr. Dimmock. But it gives Poe — as he then was — almost within the grasp of his coming congestion attack.

On Broad Street extended, stood Duncan Lodge [page 1453:] in spacious grounds not far from The Hermitage homestead of the Mayos, prior to 1820. A large brick structure surrounded by porches was the ample home of the Mackenzies, Duncan Lodge. One record is, that Poe, on his July, 1849, arrival at Richmond, Va., as he had but $2, went to the inexpensive American House in the lower part of the town; but later went to Swan ‘tavern, on Broad and 9th Streets, also of modest rates, to spare his purse, and to be nearer the Mackenzies’ home, where he spent much time. Poe, having already reviewed Miss Susan A. Talley’s poems in Dr. Griswold’s “Female Poets” issue, and exchanged letters with her, he and his sister Rosalie called on Miss Talley at her Talavera home not far from Duncan Lodge.(69) As the young writer entered the parlor Poe was seated near an open window, with one arm over the back of his chair, and quietly conversing. Her first impression was, that he appeared a refined, high-bred, chivalrous gentleman. As Mrs. S. A. Talley Weiss, she noted: “he rose on my entrance . . . other visitors being present, [he] stood with one hand . . . on the back of his chair awaiting my greeting. So dignified was his manner, so reserved his expression, that I experienced . . . recoil, until I turned to him and saw his eyes suddenly brighten as I offered my hand; a barrier seemed to melt between us, and I felt we were no longer strangers.” ‘twice during this Richmond visit Poe’s life was seriously endangered by being not “entirely himself,” as he expressed it. Mrs. Weiss continued: “And as ‘himself’ . . . In my . . . home and in society, — Poe was pre-eminently a [page 1454:] gentleman, . . . He rarely smiled and never laughed.” Towards strangers he was “dignified” and “reserved.” When pleased, the charm of his manner to his own sex was cordial; to ladies it was marked by chivalrous, respectful courtesy. He joined in humorous repartee but preferred to sit quietly, listen and observe. “Nothing escaped his keen observation. He had a way . . . of turning a slightly askance look upon some person who was not observing him, and, with a quiet, steady gaze, appear to be mentally taking the caliber of the unsuspecting subject.” Soon after meeting ‘Miss Talley, Poe told her: “I cannot express . . . the more than pleasure of finding myself so entirely understood,” by her. He added of Mrs. Osgood, “She is the only one of my friends who understands me.” Poe’s nervous-congestion malady seemed unknown to Miss Talley until a friend advised her, — “Mr. Poe was too unwell” to see them one evening. A day or two later a message by Rosalie requested some flowers, for which came from him a note in a tremulous hand; another followed inclosing a little, admired press-clipped poem. Pale and quiet he came the next day from his room at Swan Tavern, where he had been seriously ill and carefully attended by Mrs. Mackenzie and family. On the second and more serious relapse he was taken by Dr. Mackenzie and Dr. William Gibbon Carter to Duncan Lodge, where for some days his life was in danger, and of which he was told and warned. His reply was, that if people would not tempt him he would not fall. It was this time Poe was warned by his physicians “that another such attack [page 1456:] would prove fatal.” Dr. William Gibbon Carter told how, on this occasion, he had a long talk with Poe and he “expressed the most earnest desire” to escape “the thraldom” of stimulants and told of his continuous and unavailing struggles to do so. Moved to tears he finally and solemnly declared, “he would restrain himself — would withstand any temptation. He kept his word as long as he remained in Richmond,” Aside from social temptations, Poe, no more than others, understood his melancholia; attacks of depression were, from the first, of increasing force and to the extent of rendering him totally unconscious of his acts when, by habits of the times, he turned to what seemed relief nearest at hand. Under suspension of reason no one can control actions or be held accountable for them. Various records note Poe of these days sought sympathetic diversions among his warm Richmond friends, the Stanards, his schoolmate Robt. C. having married Miss Martha Pierce, a Kentucky woman of much force and social charm; Doctor Robert G., and his wife, Mrs. Julia Mayo Cabell — the second Mrs. Allan’s cousin; Mrs. Chevallie, also Robert M. Sully, his mother and sisters, were among others. Poe found special pleasure in his visits to the Sully family, where he enjoyed their pictures, flowers, delightful music and kindly touch of personal interest, most refreshing of all. March 11, 1918, Mr. Whitty wrote: “I am reliably informed Poe often visited the studio of Robert M. Sully. I think I recall the little building. The studio was in an upper room looking out on ‘Rain St. and up 9th. Opposite, was a marble-yard and I happen to have an [page 1457:] old photograph of same. At times Poe was contemplative and would often sit at the windows in a brown study. It was while in these moods Sully made his initial sketch of the poet, finally put into oils. Poe once remarked that the scenery across the way reminded him of a churchyard, and that is likely what attracted him. There were many tombstones and monuments and it surely did resemble a graveyard,” Mr. Whitty added that he had oral and written word of R. 117. Sully, Jim., that his father painted two portraits of Poe. “Oct., 1917,” Miss Julia Sully, Richmond, Va., wrote of her father R. M. Sully, Junior: “My father used to tell me he remembered being taken by his father for long walks in the country and around Richmond with Poe, and I always heard Poe wrote a story in which an oval portrait painted by my grandfather had a part.” Robert, nephew of the [page 1458:] master portraitist, Thomas Sully, — artist himself and school-fellow of Poe, — wrote of him: “He was one of the most warm-hearted, generous of men. In youth and prosperity, when admired and looked up to by all his companions, he invariably stood by me, and took my part. I was a dull boy and Edgar never grudged time nor pains in assisting me. It was Mr. Allan’s cruelty in casting him on the world a beggar, which ruined Poe. Some, who envied him, took advantage of his change of fortune to slight and insult him. He was sensitive and proud and felt the change keenly. This embittered him. By nature no one was less inclined to reserve or bitterness: as a boy he was frank and generous to a fault.” From Mr, Edward V. Valentine’s “Diary” comes an “Oct. 16th, 1849,” notice of a visitor to Robert M. Sully’s studio: “We saw . . . another portrait by Mr. S. which called up most melancholy reflections. It was a fancy portrait of Lenore, the ideal being in the works of Edgar A. Poe. This portrait was painted as a compliment to the Poet by Mr. S., who was an old friend, and the former expressed great pleasure, when the intention was announced to him. He did not live to see it completed. The portrait is of a beautiful woman — not ideal, but flesh and blood of the most charming description — giving the he direct to Byron’s famous line, ‘the beings of the mind are not of clay.“’

One cannot fail to wonder if, during this Richmond visit, Poe saw his “Aunt Nancy” — of the olden, other clays, and who outlived him by only a few months; for she too passed on, to Edgar and his foster-mother, January 29th, 1850. That this [page 1459:] “long ago” brought sadness to Poe is affirmed by the one occasion upon which Miss Talley saw him depressed.(70) It was when they were two of a party walking to the Hermitage — since 1816 the deserted home of the Mayo family, where as a child little Edgar had been a frequent visitor. As he and Miss Taller strolled about, they passed the mossy bench — “Lover’s Seat” — between two old trees. Of this spot Poe remarked, “There used to be white violets here.” And finding a few belated ones he carefully placed them “between the leaves” of his note-book. Within the forsaken home he passed from room to room in a reminiscent study, and instantly removed his hat on the threshold of the drawing-room, peopled only with the shades of the brilliant olden-time throngs, through which the ghost of his [page 1460:] own childhood moved as one of those quickening spirits. And there, seated in one of the deep, ivy-draped window s through which the evening sunlight crept over him and the tattered, mildewed paper of rose-garlands oil the walls, there fell from the poet’s lips Moore’s familiar lines beginning,

“I feel like one

Who treads alone

Some banquet-hall deserted.”

And, wrote Miss Talley, “he paused, with the first expression of sadness that I ever saw on his face.” Mr. Whitty locates this “Hermitage” home of the [page 1461:] Mayos, in Poe’s time, as in the grounds later occupied by Richmond College, and adds, “all this has been built over.” Mrs. Weiss records of “The Raven,” that Poe said, “he had never heard it correctly delivered by even the best readers.” At Talavera that very evening Poe recited it before a spellbound company. Of his recitation Mrs. Weiss wrote: “His impressive delivery held the company spellbound, but in the midst of it, I, happening to glance toward the open window . . . beheld a group of sable faces the whites of whose eyes shone in strong relief against the surrounding darkness. These were a number of our family servants, who having heard much talk about ‘Mr. Poe, the poet,’ and having but an imperfect idea of what a poet was, had requested permission of my brother to witness the recital. As the speaker became more impassioned and excited, more conspicuous grew the circle of white eves, until when . . . he turned suddenly toward the window, and, extending his arm, cried with awful vehemence:

‘Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!’

there was a sudden disappearance of the sable visages, a scuttling of feet and the gallery audience was gone.” Mrs. Weiss added, that the “final touch was given when at that moment Miss Poe, . . . sleepily entered the room, and with . . . drowsy deliberation seated herself on her brother’s knee. He had subsided from his excitement into a gloomy dspair [[dispair]], and . . . fixing his eyes upon his sister, he concluded:

‘And the raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting,’ etc. [page 1462:] The effect was irresistible; and as the final ‘nevermore, was solemnly uttered the half-suppressed titter of two very young persons in a corner was responded to by a general laugh. Poe remarked quietly that on his next . . . public lecture he would ‘take Rose along, to act the part of the raven, in which she seemed born to excel.’ . . . Speaking of his own writings Poe expressed his conviction that he had written his best poems, but that in prose he might vet surpass what he had already accomplished. He admitted that much which he had said in praise of certain writers was not the genuine expression of his opinions.”

An early September, 1849, letter — from which the first date-page is missing — that Poe wrote to Mrs. Clemm, reveals much of personal touch concerning its writer at this time. In this letter appeared “Everybody says that if I lecture again & put the tickets at 50 cts., I will clear $100. I never was received with so much enthusiasm. The papers have done nothing but praise me before the lecture & since. I inclose one of the notices — the only one in which the slightest word of disparagement appears. It was written by Daniel(71) — the man whom I challenged when I was here last year. I have been invited out a great deal — but could seldom go, on account of not having a dress-coat. To-night Rose & I are to spend the evening at Elmira’s. Last night I was at Poitiaux’s — the night before at Strobia’s, where I saw my dear friend Eliza Lambert (Gen. Lambert’s sister). She was ill in her bedroom, but insisted upon our coming up, & we stayed until nearly 1 o’clock. . . . I have received nothing but kindness since I [page 1463:] have been here, & could be quite happy but for my . . . anxiety about you. Since the report of my intended marriage the McKenzies have overwhelmed me with attentions. . . . And now, my own precious Muddy, the very moment I get a definite answer about everything, I will write . . . & tell you what to do. Elmira talks about visiting Fordham. . . . I do not know whether that would do . . . perhaps, it would be best for you to give up everything there & come on here in the Packet. Write immediately & give me your advice . . . for you know best. Could we be happier in Richmond or Lowell? . . . we could never be happy at Fordham . . . and, Muddy, I must be somewhere where I can see Annie, — Did Mrs. L[ewis] get the ‘Western Quarterly Review‘? Thompson is constantly urging me to write for the ‘Messenger,’ but I am so anxious that I cannot. — Mr. Loud, the husband of Mrs. St. Leon Loud, the poetess of Philadelphia, called on me the other day and offered me $100. to edit his wife’s poems. Of course, I accepted the offer. The whole labor will not occupy me 3 days. I am to have them ready by Christmas. — I have seen Bernard [Peter D. Bernard, son-in-law of Thomas W. White] often. Eliza is expected but has not come. — When I repeat my lecture here, I will go to Petersburg & :Norfolk. — A Mr. Taverner lectured here on Shakespeare, a few nights after me, and had 8 persons, including myself & the doorkeeper. — I think, . . . clear Muddy, it will be better for you to say that I am ill, . . . and break up at Fordham, so that you can come on here. . . . You know we could easily pay off what we owe at Fordham [page 1464:] & the place is a beautiful one — but I want to live near Annie. — And now, dear Muddy, there is one thing I wish you to pay particular attention to. I told Elmira, when I first came here, that I had one of the pencil-sketches of her, that I took a long ,while ago in Richmond; [according to Mrs. Osgood this was true] and I told her that I would write to you about it. So when you write, just copy the following words in your letter: ‘I have looked again for the pencil-sketch of Mrs. S. but cannot find it anywhere . . . and unless Eliza Mute has it, I do not know what has become of it. She was looking at it the last time I saw it. . . . [In some way Poe’s pencil sketch of Elmira finally reached her, as a portrait from it of her is now at The Edgar Allan Poe Shrine, at Richmond, Va.]’ I got a sneaking letter today from Chivers. — Do not tell me anything about Annie — I cannot bear to hear it now — unless you can tell me Mr. R. is dead. — I have got the wedding ring — and shall have no difficulty, I think, in getting a dress-coat. Wednesday Night . . . [letter torn away here, but closing words were] also the letter. Return the letter when you write.” These words seem to refer to Chivers’ letter. While much of Poe’s own missive seems touched with his coming depression delirium in the flighty instability of purpose and expression, Mr. Whitty believes that the “Lost Lenore” picture that Mrs. Osgood noted as seeing “above” Poe’s desk, was this pencil sketch of “Elmira” he mentioned in foregoing letter. Concerning the “sneaking” letter from Chivers — whom William Gilmore Simms named “The Wild Mazeppa of Letters” — Mr. Whitty(72) adds: [page 1465:] “Chivers was corresponding with Poe as early as the summer of 1840. Instead of deriving the name ‘ Rosalie’ from Poe’s sister, Chivers appears to have stolen it bodily from Philip P. Cooke’s well-known verses of that name, and it is questionable if he did not appropriate far more than the name. Chivers’ verses are in magazines of Poe’s day, but like many others, Chivers’ would have been forgotten had it not been for his connection with Poe.” Chivers’ “Rosalie,” and like items (known to Poe), also his continued silence as to The Stylus, probably account for his last letter being termed “sneaking” by Poe. Harshly by others, Chivers has been called “the idiot form of Poe.”

Of both writers an overseas record is:(73) “Poe’s ‘Israfel’ was issued 1831; Chivers’ ‘Israfelia,’ in 1857; ‘The Bells’ first-print was in 1849, Chivers’ ‘Marcia Funèbre, Requiem on the Death of Henry Clay,’ about the same time. One need only to compare them. Poe and Chivers knew each other. Chivers had a wonderful vocabulary — a sense of sound, meter; he had no sense of humor. . . . Poe perhaps borrowed names and words from Chivers.. . . Yet this is not theft . . . but [made] occasions to congratulate the world that Dr. Thomas Holley Chivers, of Georgia, ‘lived to supply Poe with unique words and effects which he otherwise might have found for himself‘; thus Chivers has place among the ‘select few whom the muses admit’ as servitors to the servitors elect at their shrines.”

To Dr. R. W. Griswold(74) September 20, 1850, Dr. Thomas Holley Chivers wrote: “On looking over [page 1466:] the late work of Mr. Poe I find that all his papers fell into your hands at his death. My object for writing is, to request you to inclose . . . all letters written by me to him and return them. . . . My reason is . . . many . . . were written for no other eyes than his, and I am not willing they should remain in hands unfriendly to me.” Dr. Griswold’s answer to foregoing letter does not appear. But March 28, 1851, dated Chivers’ reply, in which appeared:

“When I wrote you for letters handed you after the death of Edgar A. Poe, it was because I wanted them, and not to insult you. . . . Remarks I made were founded on what Poe told me. If Poe ever left any letter in which he speaks ill of me, the fault was his own . . . and he will have to answer to God for the injustice. He no doubt felt piqued when I accused him of having stolen his ‘Raven’ from ‘To Allegra Florence in Heaven,’ which you know he did — besides many other things. You are much mistaken if you think I indorse everything Poe did.”

The verses Chivers mentioned uvere written December 12, 1842, at Oaky Grove, Ga., on the loss of an infant daughter — between whom and Poe’s Lenore, of “The Raven,” will be found a world of difference, as also exists between the qualities in the literary effects of these two poems. Dr. Chivers’ “Life of Poe” — in which he was “worshipped as the incarnation of genius” — was written after he dated these letters to Dr. Griswold. Chivers’ “Poe” was “refused its print-issue by Mr, Ticknor, at Boston, [page 1467:] October 29, 1852.” At this point Dr. Thomas Holley Chivers drops out from this life narrative of Edgar Allan Poe. Concerning the personal touches in Poe’s dateless letter to Mrs. Clemm, it is well to bear in mind that, for various reasons, few private letters can withstand the limelight of public print; and this one but too sadly and surely indicates the poet’s brain congestion was already in stealthy pursuit of him. Certainly normal Poe never would have written such a letter of conflicting statements with any chance of print in view, — on a mental balance score, if on no other.

From the late Miss Susan V. C. Ingram, of New York City, who was dainty in her fine Old Virginia heritage of dignity and irresistible charm, came several incidents of intense interest, vitalized by her personal meeting with Edgar Allan Poe the man. It seems that Poe tivas due September 14, 1849, at Norfolk, Va., to give his lecture on “The Poetic Principle,” in the Academy there. In that city he was the guest of Miss Ingram’s cousin, Mrs. Susan Maxwell, whose rosy-cheeked, golden-haired daughter of sixteen drew into their Poe social evening a young admirer later known as Dr. Herbert M. Nash. He, over fifty years later, spoke of Mrs. Maxwell’s home as on Bermuda Street, a long-ago fashionable section of Norfolk; and of the strong impression made on his youthful mind by the attractive countenance, dignified yet cordial manner, the cadence of voice and pressure of the hand of Edgar Allan Poe. Thus young Nash first met “the distinguished visitor”; and with others listened to his interesting conversation, [page 1468:] and also heard him recite “The Bells,” “The Raven” and “Annabel Lee.” Professionally, Dr. Nash added of the poet’s impaired nerve attacks: “Poe at such times was the victim of abnormal psychology. There are conditions known as psycho-neurosis of exhaustion. during which period there is a more or less [page 1469:] complete paralysis of the will . . . victims of psychoneurosis had morbid, irresistible impulses.”

Undoubtedly at Mrs. Maxwell’s, Poe received his invitation to be one of the over-Sunday, September 9th, guests of his friends, Mr. and Mrs. D. French, at the Old Hygeia Hotel at Old Point Comfort. Mrs, French, a much older and beloved cousin of Miss Ingram, she described as “very beautiful, full of grace and a perfect hostess.” Her guests then included the poet, Miss Ingram, her sister, several of their girl friends, quite young — as social Virginia of those days brought out her fair daughters earlier in years than now — and a young collegian who was gifted with a thrilling power of song. Remembrance of Miss Ingram’s own words is: “Mr. Poe was one of my friends — my enthusiasms; he is that yet. He liked me, too — talked to me freely and seemed to like to have me talk to him. Above everything else, that [page 1470:] early September Sunday evening at Old Point Comfort stands indelibly, a lovely picture in my memory. The Old Hygeia stood some ways from the shore, but there was nothing between it and the broad ocean. Over the motion and music of its glittering waters fell the rich South-land moonlight, which also flooded the heavens and earth. There were many persons on the long verandah around the hotel, but they seemed remote — far away. Our little party was cut off from all, and everything except that lovely view of the water shining in the moonlight, and the soft swish of waves borne to us by breezes from the sea.” Speaking of her other friends Miss Ingram added: “All of us knew Mr. Poe — I can see just how we looked sitting about in our white dresses. Mr. Poe sat there in that quiet way of his which made you feel his presence.” And in the “young collegian,” a true lover was there, who sang out his soul’s devotion while touching the heart-strings of his guitar, and in such songs as, — [page 1471:]

“Come, sit a while beside me!

For I am sad at heart, —

The shadow of tomorrow

Is whispering we must part” —

and —

“I‘m dreaming, oh, I‘m dreaming” —

and the third was,

“Far, Far Away.”

Concerning this musical friend Miss Ingram said: “He was indeed a sweet singer who passed into the life Eternal in early manhood. We had been friends from childhood. I wish I had those songs — I have never heard them sung by another. They were lovely in music and, in the voice of this friend, unequalled! After a while my cousin, Mrs. French, said to the poet: ‘This is just the night for poetry as well as music, and now, Mr. Poe, will you recite one of your poems, and make this evening perfect?’ And it was. We all felt it. Poe himself felt its influence. How could a poet help it? He most graciously assented, and first gave us ‘Annabel Lee’ so near her ‘kingdom by the sea‘; then two or three of his short poems, When he said, ‘I fear I am monopolizing too much time.’ But we urged and begged for ‘just one more,’ and he conceded, saying, ‘I will give you “Ulalume” — and its last verse may be — unpublished — I do not know if yon will understand it, for I am not sure that I do.’ When he finished I, with all the enthusiasm of a schoolgirl, exclaimed, ‘I understand it, and it is more than lovely, — it is perfect!’ This spontaneous praise and appreciation pleased him, and [page 1472:] he then said his ‘Good Night.’ The next day to my surprise and delight he sent to me ‘Ulalume’ in his beautiful, clear hand-writing. The ten stanzas covered five large sheets of paper pasted together, end to end, in the neatest possible way; and with this MS. came a most gracious note, in which was written


‘I have transcribed “Ulalume” with much pleasure, Dear Miss Ingram — as I am sure I would do anything else at your bidding — but I fear you will find the verses scarcely more intelligible today in my manuscript than last night in my recitation. I would endeavor to explain to you what I . . . meant — or what I fancied I meant, by the poem, if it were not that I remembered Dr. Johnson’s bitter and rather just remarks about the folly of explaining what, if worth explanation, would explain itself. He has a happy witticism, too, about some book, which he calls “as obscure as an explanatory note.” Leaving “Ulalume” to its fate, therefore, and in good hands,

I am, yours truly,


‘‘Miss Ingram told Miss Thurston, at Mr. Morgan’s Library, that Poe had this note with the autographed “Ulalume” placed under her door. Miss Ingram continued: That clay my sister and I left Old Point, a few days earlier than the poet, to visit a cousin, Miss Maxwell, at Norfolk, where homes were homes then, and hers was on Bermuda Street.” One can fancy Poe’s pleasure in those few days of wholesome rest and loiterings, reminiscent of his Fortress Monroe soldiering-days about “Old Point”: and their ending, in early 1829, was tinged with sadness in the loss — irreparable to him — of his devoted foster-mother. [page 1473:] But of Norfolk, Miss Ingram continued: “The poet called on us there, and again I had the pleasure of talking with him. He was the most courteous gentleman I have ever seen. None of his pictures I have seen look like the Poe I keep in my memory — they look like him — but there was some thing in his face that is in none of them.” When the photo-print of Inman’s oil minature [[miniature]] of Poe was later sent to Miss Ingram, notwithstanding it was painted in 1831 and she saw him in 1849, she returned this photograph with these words: “This is a picture of our poet.” Her narrative ran on: “If I had not heard nor read about his intemperance I should never have had any idea of it from what I saw in Poe.” Another record was: “On meeting friends Poe’s face would brighten with pleasure, his features lost their worn look, and his reserve its coldness: to men he was cordial and to women he showed a deference that suggested reminiscences of chivalry.” ‘Miss Ingram concluded : “One little incident shows how loyal Poe was to the memory of those who loved him. I was fond of orris-root and always had its odor about my clothing. One day ,when we were walking together he said, — ‘I like it too. Do you know whom it makes me think of? My adopted mother. Whenever the bureau drawers, in her room were opened there came from them a whiff of orris-root, and ever since then, when I smell it, I go back to the time when I was a little boy, and it brings back thoughts of my mother.“’ As to her Poe MSS. Miss Ingram said: “I often regretted that I was prevailed upon to give them up. I feel even worse about the letter. Both [page 1474:] are in Mr, J. P. Morgan’s Library, which he courteously invited me to visit, and see again my long-ago treasures. But on finding the two beautifully bound in one volume, apart from all other works of Poe, I am glad to know they are so carefully preserved and twill be for years to come.”

It may not be known to casual readers that Poe was charged, it seems anonymously, by Henry B. Hirst, with plagiarizing from his “Endymion” for “Ulalume.” Poe compared the passages in question, and definitely demonstrated not only lack of resemblance, but further showed that he was much quoted, by Hirst making slightest alteration and using the worst grammar, Briefed, Poe wrote: “Mr. Henry B, Hirst of Philadelphia has, undoubtedly, some merit as a poet. His sense of beauty is keen, . . . Many a lecture, on literary topics, have I given Mr. H.; and I confess that, in general, he has adopted my advice so implicitly that his poems, upon the whole, are little more than our conversations done into verse. . . . Now my objection, . . . is not the larceny per se. I have always told Mr. Hirst that provided he stole my poetry in a respectable manner, he might steal as much of it as he thought proper. . . . But what I do object to is being robbed in bad grammar, . . . It is not that Mr. Hirst did this thing but that he has went and done it.” Such passages to and fro were of but the press phraseology current in that day; however, few know that Henry B. Hirst did honor to himself by a noble press-print in defense of Poe soon after his death and in quick response to the October 9, 1849, New York Tribune Poe-article [page 1475:] signed “Ludwig” and written by Dr, R. W. Griswold.

Returning to the narrative order of dates, the American Beacon, Norfolk, Va., gave several notices of Poe’s lecture there. Thursday, September 13, 1849, this paper noted: “Edgar Allan Poe will lecture on the ‘Poetic Principle’ (with various recitations), Friday night (the 14th) at 8 o’clock in the Lecture Room of the Academy. Tickets 50 cents, to be had at the door.” Referring to Poe, the Richmond Whig says, “We find the following of this gentleman . . . in an exchange paper: ‘A Paris correspondent of the London Literary Gazette noticed the increasing acquaintance of French journals with American literature. [page 1476:] . . . Perhaps also, the clever writer who signs himself “Old Nick,” [P. E. D. Forgues] deserves a word of gratitude from Americans. . . . he it was who made the name of Edgar Poe familiar here.’ ” Norfolk press issue of September 14th stated that Poe’s subject offered “a large field for the display of genius and literary acquirements for which this gentleman is distinguished”; September 17th date noted of Poe’s lecture, — “that the main proposition, discussed with great ingenuity that there could not be a long poem. . . . Milton’s ‘Paradise Lost’ and ‘The Iliad’ were collections of short poems. . . . In elucidation Mr. Poe recited, with fine effect, extracts from Longfellow, Bryant, Willis and Edward Pinckney who was said to be born too far South to be appreciated by the North American Quarterly Review. . . . Mr. Poe concluded with reciting, by request, The Raven.’ The audience seemed highly delighted with the intellectual repast laid before them.”

It is of several records(75) that Poe was handsomely entertained by the first families of Norfolk during his lecture time there. But Tuesday, September 18th, found him back in Richmond, where he wrote Mrs. Clemm his last known letter:(76)

MY OWN DARLING MUDDY, — On arriving here last night from Norfolk I received both your letters, including Mrs. Lewis’s. I cannot tell you the joy they gave me to learn at least that you are well & hopeful. May God forever bless you, my dear, dear Muddy —. Elmira [Mrs. Shelton] has just got home from the country. I spent last evening with her. I think she loves me more devotedly than any one I ever knew & I cannot help loving her in return. [So came about the rich renewal [page 1477:] of their early love dream when the world was young with them both.] Nothing is as yet definitely settled — and it will not do to hurry matters. I lectured at Norfolk on Monday [it was Friday, September 14th], & cleared enough to settle my bill here, at the Madison House with $2 over. I had a highly fashionable audience, but Norfolk is a small place & there were 2 exhibitions the same night. Next Monday [September 24th] I lecture again here & expect to have a large audience. On Tuesday I start for Phil’ to attend to Mrs. Loud’s poems — & possibly Thursday I may start for N. York. If I do I will go . . . to Mrs. Lewis’s & send for you. It will be better for me not to go to Fordham. . . . Write immediately in reply & direct to Phila, For fear I should not get the letter sign no name & address it to E. S. T. Grey, Esqre [All these flutterings of fears, fancies, and dates strongly indicate that Poe’s depression shadows were creeping over him.] If possible I will get married before I start — but there is no telling. . . . My poor, poor Muddy, I am still unable to send you even one dollar — but keep up heart — I hope that our troubles are nearly over. I saw John Peaty in Norfolk. God bless & protect you, my own darling Muddy. I showed your letter to Elmira and she says “it is such a darling precious letter that she loves you for it already.”

Your own,


. . . The papers here are praising me to death — and I have been received everywhere with enthusiasm. Be sure & preserve all the printed scraps I have sent you & keep up my file of the Lit. World.

To Mrs. Clemm, Saturday, September 22, 1849, Mrs. Shelton wrote:(77)

MY DEAR MRS. CLEMM, — You will no doubt be much surprised to receive a letter from one whom you have never seen, although I feel as if I were writing to one [page 1478:] whom I love very devotedly, and whom to know, is to love. . . . Mr. Poe has been very solicitous that I should write to you, and I do assure you, it is with . . . pleasure that I now do so. . . . I have just spent a very happy evening with your clear Edgar, and I know it will be gratifying to you to know that he is all that you could desire him to be, sober, temperate, moral, & much beloved. He showed me a letter of yours, in which you spoke affectionately of me, and for which I feel very much gratified & complimented. . . . Edgar speaks frequently & very affectionately of your daughter & his Virginia, for which I love him but the more. I have a very dear friend, . . . Virginia Poe. She is a lovely girl in character, tlio’ not as beautiful ill person as your beloved one. I remember seeing Edgar, & his lovely wife, very soon after they were married. . . . Edgar’s lecture a few weeks since, on the Poetic Principle, was very beautiful. He had quite a full, and very fashionable audience. He will repeat his lecture on Monday next, when I sincerely hope he may be patronized by a very large attendance. It is needless . . . for me to ask you to take good care of him when he is . . . again restored to your arms. “I trust a kind Providence” will protect him, and . . . that you will write to me, . . . It has struck 12 o’clock, and I am encroaching on the Sabbath, . . . “Good night, Dear Friend,” may Heaven bless you. . . . Thus prays your attached tho’ unknown friend.


As to Poe’s noting his being “received everywhere with enthusiasm,” Mr. Whitty states(78) that Poe made many social calls, and often with his sister Rosalie, during this 1849, Richmond summer. And among others he visited Mr. and Mrs. Peter D. Bernard, son-in-law and daughter of Mr. White of the Southern Literary Messenger. Poe called on the Strobias, old church friends of the first Mrs. Allan; [page 1479:] their near relative, and his dear friend Eliza Lambert, sister of General Lambert, once Mayor of Richmond; and the Poitiaux family. Mr. Whitty adds that Poe’s child-sweetheart, Miss Catherine E. Poitiaux, at Richmond, 1852, printed some lines on the poet’s death, stating that she was in early life a playmate of Edgar A. Poe and god-daughter of his adopted mother, the first Mrs. Allan. Miss Poitiaux recorded that even in their early play-days Poe gave promise of talent which later made his name long remembered as a writer unsurpassed by any of his time. She mentioned his last lecture in Richmond, and herself as too ill to hear it; and a few days later he called to see her, his unfortunate malady having occasioned her “not being at home” to him on his prior Richmond visit. This time Poe unexpectedly entered the room, saying, as she arose to greet him, “Old friend, you see I would not be denied.” Miss Poitiaux added that Poe’s call was brief, but its impression on her memory was indelible; that he “was to be married in a few weeks to a lady of our city; and as he stood upon the steps bidding me farewell, I asked, alluding to his marriage, when I should see him again. It was no fancy, but a strange reality, that a grey shadow such as I had never seen before, save on the face of the dying, passed across his face as, gazing gravely in mine, he answered slowly: ‘In the words of my Raven, perhaps — nevermore, and in a moment he had gone. In a few weeks I heard the tidings of his death.” Of social Poe, is added by Mr. Whitty: “He also visited the family of W. A. R. Nye, connected with the Whig, who were friends of [page 1480:] long standing.” In this connection Mrs. Clemm mentioned a July 23rd letter from Poe in which, “He writes he is better in health, and . . . in spirits. He is going from Richmond in a few days, to stay with a friend in the country, for a short time. A very dear friend in Richmond, Mrs. Nye, wrote to me last week, and promised me to make him stay at her house, and says she will take every care of him; she is a dear kind-hearted creature.”

Mr. Whitty gives(79) a pleasing temperamental incident of the poet in touch with Richmond’s oldest book-dealer, of Poe’s day, who was succeeded by J. W. Randolph, of whom Mr. Whitty notes: “He told me that in those days he had Sanxey’s old book-stand. Poe was a good customer of Sanxey in olden times. Poe had been coming in quietly looking about Randolph’s shop, and now and then buying a magazine. ‘Look here,’ he said one day; ‘it makes me sad to come in here and not see Sanxey. When did he die?’ Randolph explained that Sanxey was not dead, but had sold out. Poe went to hunt him up, and returning to the store a few days afterwards, told of a pleasant meeting with his former old book friend.”

In the Daily Times, Richmond, Va., Wednesday, September, 26, 1849, appeared: “Mr. Edgar A. Poe on Monday Evening repeated his interesting lecture on the ‘Poetic Principle,’ . . . He pronounced Tennyson the noblest of ail poets, ‘because his works are the most uniformly ethereal!’ We have seldom heard a voice of such melodious modulations as Mr. Poe’s . . . his recitations were exquisitely pleasing. He concluded the rich entertainment by repeating ‘The [page 1481:] Raven,’ . . . the audience seemed almost to hear the evil bird croaking his ‘Nevermore.’ ”

The Republican and General Advertiser noted the lecturer by “this talented and accomplished gentleman and poet” at Exchange Concert Room “lectured on Monday evening,” before a “large, attentive and appreciative audience,” etc.

But Poe’s friend, “fire-eating” Editor John M. Daniel,(80) in his Richmond Examiner of Tuesday, September 25, 1849, gave generous space to Poe, his lecture and a print of “the only correct copy of ‘The Raven.’ ” Of this poem appeared:

“In the last stanza is an image of settled despair and despondency, which throws a gleam of meaning and allegory over the entire poem. . . . ‘The Raven’ itself is a mere narrative of simple events. . . . Its great and wonderful merits consist in the strange, beautiful, and fantastic imagery and color with which the simple subject is clothed, the grave and supernatural tone with which it rolls on the ear, the extraordinary vividness of the word-painting, and the powerful but altogether indefinable appeal . . . made throughout to . . . ideality . . . Added to these is a versification indescribably sweet and wonderfully difficult. . . . These are great merits, and ‘The Raven’ is a gem of art. It is stamped with the image of true genius . . . in its happiest hour.”

Thus, in his editorial lion’s den, John M. Daniel, then hero of nine duels — the tenth, a not-to-be one, with Poe — dealt with the living writer of “The Raven.” As will later appear the dead poet was press-stabbed in the back by a Southern Literary Messenger record, [page 1482:] of which the pen’s weight dips the balance to the author, as John M. Daniel. But today’s master-touch, of the center, the circumference, and all between, of this poem’s deep significance lies in Edwin Alarkhani’s words, calling Poe’s “Raven” a “final threnody in memory of his lost Lenore, once the queenliest of the dead, [she] is there elected to live immortally young in his somber palace of song. The early Lenore is the first study of ‘The Raven’ thesis. Poe tried to balance the wings of his imagination with the weight of his intellect. ‘The Raven’ has gone into the languages of many nations as a requiem of imperial affliction, a poem that takes rank with the unworried and unearthly harmonies of ‘The Dead March of Saul.’ ” Ill this connection Poe himself recorded that the words “whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor,” or their idea, were taken from “Isaiah iii, 16,” of the daughters of Zion “making a tinkling with their feet.” Poe’s application was of spiritual mysticism, or super-natural significance.

The late Dr. James A. Harrison, of Virginia, stated that this late September, 1849, Poe lecture was in the nature of a benefit or testimonial. Bishop O. P. Fitzgerald added with grace and charm: “There was a touch of old Virginia in ‘the way it was done.” Both gentlemen stated that the tickets were “five dollars each” (other records say they were not) and “at that price three hundred persons were packed into the assembly rooms of the old Exchange Hotel,” also that “the evening netted the poet $1500, probably the largest sum he ever possessed.” In any event Poe’s periodical prospects in The Stylus venture [page 1483:] with E. H. N. Patterson, of Oquawka, Ill., loomed up bright before him in substantial financial security, for the first time in Ills life; and he was also to become literary editor of The Examiner. His personal comfort and that of Mrs. Clemm seemed happily secure in his near marriage, dated for October 17th, with Mrs. Shelton; and with these vital projects in view, Poe decided to go to New York to settle Ills affairs there, and elsewhere, and to bring Mrs. Clemm back with him to Richmond. His letter to Mrs. Clemm, of prior noting, stated that he was to edit Mrs. Loud’s poems for $100, and he planned to stop over at Philadelphia a day or two for this purpose. In Poe’s “Autography,” M. St. Leon Loud was credited with “imagination of no common order,” and elsewhere, as the poet’s sometime hostess. Mr. Whitty notes that Editor Daniel was told by Poe that he would issue his own writings while away.

There are several records that Poe spent the early evening at least, of Tuesday, September 27, 1849, at the home of Mrs. Talley. In her daughter’s account of this last visit was noted:(81) “He declined to enter the parlors, where a number of visitors were assembled, saying he preferred the more quiet sitting-room.” Poe mentioned his intention to return to Richmond to live, where, he said; “I shall begin to lead a new life,” and added that his last few weeks in Richmond with “old friends and new, were the happiest he had known for years. . . . On no occasion had I seen him so cheerful and hopeful as on this evening.” Another of the poet’s friends said that he loved to wander alone over the rock-riven islands [page 1484:] of the James, between Richmond and Manchester, and Poe spent hours roving about the river rapids, musing midst the wild, picturesque beauty of these scenes. Returning to Miss Talley’s narrative of Poe, appears: “In the course of the evening he showed me a letter just received from his ‘friend, Dr. Griswold,’ in reply to one but recently written by Poe, wherein the latter had requested Dr. Griswold in case of his sudden death to become his literary executor. In this reply Dr. Griswold accepted the proposal, expressing himself as much flattered thereby, and writing in terms of friendly warmth and interest. It will be observed that this incident is a contradiction of his statement that previous te Poe’s death he had no [page 1485:] intimation of the latter’s intention of appointing him his literary executor. [Without italics this incident, ignored, has for many, many years held in ghastly vitriolic light the memory of Edgar Allan Poe the man.] . . . He thanked my mother with graceful courtesy and warmth for her kindness and hospitality; . . . He was the last of the party to leave the house. We were standing on the portico, and after going a few steps he paused, turned, and again lifted his hat, in a last adieu. At the moment, a brilliant meteor appeared in the sky directly over his head and vanished in the east. We commented laughingly upon the incident, but remembered it sadly afterwards.” [page 1486:]

Poe must have been visiting the Talley family at that time, as the late Mrs. E. A. V. Gray — sister of Mr. Edward V. Valentine — recalled that she was there when Poe had just left the house, and Mrs. Talley said, “My hall lamp is broken.” And inquiry as to how it happened was answered by, “Carrying Mr. Poe’s trunk out,” upon which Miss Rosalie remarked, “You ought not to complain if your lamp was broken by the trunk of a poet.” Possibly slow transit of those days and ways from Talavera to Swan Tavern might account by its delayed arrival there beyond the time of the Baltimore boat’s departure, and thus, as it proved to be later, Poe’s trunk was left at Swan Tavern, in Richmond. As to Poe himself, Mrs. Weiss added: “Poe had made himself popular in Richmond. People had become interested in him, and his death cast a universal gloom over the city. His old friends and even those more recently formed . . . deeply regretted him . . . and in the picture presented us by Dr. Griswold, — half maniac, half demon, — I confess, I cannot recognize a trait of the gentle, grateful, warmhearted man whom I saw amid his friends, — his care-worn face all aglow with generous feeling in the kindness and appreciation to which he was so little accustomed. . . . On some future occasion I may speak further of Poe, and give some details which will clear up certain obscurities of his life. At present, there is one point connected with his history which . . . I cannot in justice pass over, because upon it has hung the darkest and most undeserved calumny which has overshadowed his name. I allude to the cause of the estrangement and separation [page 1487:] between himself and Mr. Allan . . . the affair was simply a ‘family quarrel, . . . not in the first instance the fault of Poe; that he received extreme provocation and insult, and . . . of all parties concerned, [page 1488:] . . . he was the least culpable and most wronged. Mr. Allan, . . . in the heat of sudden anger treated Poe with a severity which he afterward regretted. . . . But the saddest part of the story is, that long after this, Poe, who never cherished resentments, being informed that his former guardian was ill and had spoken kindly of, and expressed a wish to see him, went to Mr. Allan’s house, and there vainly sought an interview with him, — and that of this, the latter was never informed, but died without seeing him; . . .” All this came from several Richmond ladies to whom the events were well known.

To James H. Whitty, Esq., Richmond, Va., is due the supply of these most important missing links in this Poe-Allan controversy, already noted in the order of their occurrence; and which facts forcefully changed the main features of its prior accepted character in the “Memoir of Poe” by Dr. R. W. Griswold. Also is due, to the strenuous efforts of Mr. Whitty, Mr. William G. Stanard and other ardent admirers of the poet, the “Edgar Allan Poe Shrine” now in the heart of Richmond City and of later mention. Several records reveal that Poe spent the night of September 25, 1849, at Duncan Lodge, and sat late at his window, silent — “not inclined” for talk, said a friend. The next morning, he went with Doctors Mackenzie and Carter to the city, passing the day with them and others. Mr. Whitty very definitely states that Poe spent the early evening of September 26th with Mrs. Shelton. That late evening, Rosalie gave a note from her brother, inclosing his poem For Annie” to Miss Talley, who had much admired [page 1489:] it, and who was so soon to re-read its death-rhapsody with strange significance.

To Mrs. Clemm, October 11th, Mrs. Shelton(82) wrote of Poe: “He came up to my house on the evening of the 26th Sept. to take leave of me. He was very sad, and complained of being quite sick. I felt his pulse, and found he had considerable fever, and did not think . . . he would be able to start the next morning, (Thursday) . . . I felt so wretchedly about him all of that night, that I went up early the next morning to inquire. . . . when much to my regret, he had left in the boat for Baltimore. He expected . . . to have been with his ‘dear Muddy’ . . . Sunday . . . when he promised to write tome.” This evening, or earlier, Poe presented Mrs. Shelton with a tasteful, oval brooch. It inclosed a tiny lock of his hair, and was framed in spiral gold. On its reverse appeared E. A. P. to S. E. S. To her niece — J. W. Norris — it was given by Mrs. Shelton, with a mother-of-pearl purse, marked “S. P. R., E. A. P.” The second inital [[initial]] “P” should have been “E,” for Elmira, on a silver shield, of fanciful delicate design, which Edgar had given the first, lost love of his early youth. These two gifts bridged the abyss of the years between them, with, however, the last span of its ideality firmly resting in the Better Land. Mrs. Norris had a school of fifty or sixty pupils at Evergreen, Appomattox County, Virginia; and in 1895 she sold her Aunt’s Poe-brooch to build a school there for her scholars. Through this sale, both of these gifts from the poet came to Mr. Oliver R. Barrett, Chicago, Ill., the present owner, whose courtesy allows their print appearance in these [page 1490:] pages. Mr. Barrett writes: “During the lifetime of Mrs. Shelton, Mr. George W. Childs endeavored to buy this brooch from her, but she would never part with it.” Mrs. Shelton wore this brooch in her picture [page 1491:] given this Poe memorial by reprint permission of the late Dr, Jas. A. Harrison. (Page 396, Vol. II, “Life and Letters of E. A. Poe.”)

Concerning Mrs. Shelton, the late Edward M. Alfriend — well-known author, and later editor of the Southern Literary Messenger — wrote:

“Many who had known her in youth concurred in describing her as a beautiful girl. My father — the late Thomas Alfriend — was a constant visitor at her home. Mrs. Shelton said, over and over again Poe told her she was his ‘Lost Lenore’ of ‘The Raven, and inspired his ‘Annabel Lee’ [when known to Mr. Alfriend, Mrs. Shelton was beyond middle age; and it appears that Poe told Editor Daniel that she was his “Lost Lenore.”] She had a lovely, almost saintly face. Her eyes were deep blue, her hair dark brown [page 1492:] touched with grey, her nose thin and patrician, her forehead high and well-developed, her chin finely modeled, projecting and firm, and her cheeks were round and full. Her voice was very low, soft and sweet; her manners exquisitely refined; and intellectually, she was a woman of education and force of character. Her distinguishing qualities were gentleness and womanliness. She was just the woman in which such a perturbed spirit as that of Poe would have sought rest and found it.” Certainly this picture of Mrs. Shelton would give no indication of Poe and her as “growing apart” in their “many years of separation,” as he mentioned he thought must be, to Mr. Pabodie at Providence, in the autumn of 1848, when he had not seen her since their dramatic meeting in 1835. Of Poe, the litterateur and man, 11r. Alfriend continued: “Poe told my father, that of all the English poets he preferred Shelley. That Poe was especially fond of repeating Shelley’s ‘Lines to an Indian Air,’ which he thought ‘the most exquisite part of the very soul of passion’ : he believed that ‘ a long poem did not exist’ . . . ‘ Paradise Lost’ was a series of short poems . . . and that Milton’s great learning instead of helping him in composition, enslaved his mind and injured his work. ‘If, like Burns, he had trusted to spontaneity of his own genius, his work would have been greater.’ Poe had an idolatrous love of Shakespeare. He read and reread his plays: ‘ If all the dramatists of antiquity . . . were combined in one, they would not be found worthy to touch the hem of his garment.’ Poe said, that in ‘ King Lear,’ ‘ Shakespeare had taken fact after [page 1493:] fact, and incident after incident, from the story of Œdipus, as given by Sophocles.’ ” Mr. Alfriend Senior thought Poe himself, “intellectually, the most fascinating man” he ever knew — “a lovable, charming companion, but when dominated by stimulants he was exactly the reverse.” He had “deep fits of gloom”; and once when talking, — Poe suddenly turned to his friend, “with his lustrous eyes full of anguish and said, ‘I believe God gave me a spark of genius, but He quenched it in misery.’ In private conversation Poe was brilliant, at times erratic. Concerning an eccentric Richmond journalist Poe said,‘Brilliant, yes, but so erratic that you might as well attempt to make an astronomical observation suspended from the tail of a comet.’ [This seems a Poe flash-light thrown upon Editor John M. Daniel.] Poe was extremely fond of children, he would romp with them by the hour. Once he took in his arms a little . . . girl [of three years], with whom he had been playing, and with his great eyes beaming full of happiness, he [Poe] exclaimed, ‘I do not wonder that Christ said, “Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven!” Oh, that the human race could always in this world continue as pure and innocent as this little girl.’ He had also an intense love for music, . . . saying . . . ‘Poetry always finds its highest development in unison with music.’ The old bards illustrated forcefully Poe’s definition of Poetry, ‘The rhythmical creation of beauty.’ ”

One wonders into what personal touch, during Poe’s last days in Richmond, he came with his “Aunt Nancy.” He, himself, was soon to meet his beloved [page 1494:] foster-mother in the far country, where they both gave greeting to his Aunt Nancy, January 28, 1850.

On leaving Mrs. Shelton’s home (“with their marriage dated for October 17, 1849,” states Mr. Whitty) Poe, the evening of September 26th, stopped at Dr. John Carter’s office, 17th and Broad Streets, about half-past nine, where looking over the papers he sat talking and playing with the Doctor’s prized Malacca sword-cane for a while, leaving aside his own. Then abruptly rising Poe said: “I will step over to Sadler’s [restaurant] for a few moments,” and “so he left,” noted the Doctor; “having my cane still in his hand, I inferred he expected to return . . . and was surprised the next day to learn he had left for Baltimore, in the early morning boat.”

“Poe(83) had a late supper”; and (writes Mr. Whitty) at Sadler’s “he met J. M. Blakey and other friends. Both Sadler and Blakey told Judge Hughes that they remembered meeting Poe at the restaurant that night. . . . They were quite certain that he was sober when they saw him last, and talking of going North.” This was also the report of friends who went with him to the Baltimore boat which left Richmond at 4 A.M., Thursday, September 27, 1849. They noted him as “quite sober and cheerful to the last, remarking, as he took leave of them, that he would ‘soon be back in Richmond again.“’ These days it takes from twenty to twenty-four hours to make this boat trip from Richmond to Baltimore, and probably, in 1849, it would be about a forty-eight hour trip. On the 1849 travel-time Poe must have reached Baltimore early Saturday morning. There [page 1495:] are some four or more seemingly well-established facts concerning Poe’s leaving Richmond. The first of importance and significance is, that his old trouble of nervous congestion depression was at work (and without the aid of stimulants, as all records noted him “sober”) undermining his physical condition, as remarked by Miss Poitiaux in the “ashen grey color of his face”; Mrs. Shelton noted of Poe: “He was very sad, complained of being quite sick . . . had considerable fever.” From Mr. Alfriend came, “Poe had deep fits of gloom,” etc., notwithstanding his bright prospects of a happy and successful future. While the excitement of leaving gave him good cheer in parting from the friends who noted him “sober” yet, being so, he left his trunk — with all its important papers needed for this trip’s purposes — at Swan Tavern in Richmond. This act in itself would indicate that Poe was far from well, even what “well” then meant to him. It is wise to bear in mind that Poe’s congestion depression was progressive, to the extent of delirium, and total unconsciousness of acts and words. He left Richmond dressed as a gentleman, and sub-consciously impressed with the value of Dr. Carter’s cane — returned to its owner after Poe’s death — and seems never to have left his living, troubled care of it. However much or little, Poe did leave Richmond with ready money. In a word, perhaps no better-equipped victim was ever offered to hoodlum thievery or political escapades that obtained dominance during election times in many cities of those days, and were facts of swaying force of that date at Baltimore. There are dim stories that Poe pledged [page 1496:] a fair hostess of a Birthday Party; that he shared a social dinner and its wine with military friends of West Point; and much appears of Widow Meagher’s Oyster-place on the City front — Pratt Street, near Hollingsworth — as a haunt of Poe during his Baltimore days. There, it is said, he was named, by her good pleasure, “the Bard,” for rhyming her fancies into witty couplets in his favored nook behind the stand. Mr. William J. McClellan has followed the wavering transit of Mary — widow of Patrick [page 1497:] Meagher — about Baltimore from 1829, as a huxster, to 1835. Then her address falls in with that of John Meagher, carpenter-builder and possible son of thirty-nine years. He died “March, 1897, aged 87 years.” Because the Baltimore Sun, March 27th, funeral notice gave it at 527 Lafayette Avenue, and asked “Richmond, Va., and Washington, D. C., papers to copy,” it would be like Poe, during his Baltimore years, to look up Widow Meagher as known to him in the Richmond days of his boyhood. As the 1849 Baltimore Directory fails to locate her at the old stand, or otherwise, this fact seems to dispose of the fiction that Poe — consciously or sub-consciously — turned to her bar for the drop too much at that time, “as one of a party of four.” And leaving the place, “all were nabbed by political roughs on the outlook for voters to coop with drugged liquor in their den in the rear of the engine house on Calvert Street.” Poe’s fevered condition and approaching subconscious state when he left Richmond may have attracted the retentive attention of the light-fingered gentry who board boats, in all times, for prey, and therefore followed him up, after landing. As a fact, not long after docking of the boat, the early morning of Saturday, September 29th, it seems, Poe left the pier, at Pratt and Light Streets, to go and call at the home of his friend Dr, Nathan Covington Brooks. Poe, possibly half-consciously, realized that he needed the assistance of this friend at his home, 270 Lexington Avenue, some fifteen blocks from the wharf. Unfortunately Dr. Brooks was not at home, therefore Poe probably returned to Bradshaw’s Hotel — later [page 1498:] Maltby’s — between Light and Charles Streets on Pratt, and opposite the Depot of Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad Line, to await the departure of the Philadelphia train. Mr. William J. McClellan has ascertained that — at this date — the run of six hours from Baltimore was made twice dally: at 9 A.M. and 8 P.M. By reason of his failing — call on Dr. Brooks, Poe probably missed the Philadelphia 9 A.M. train. One or more notings give of Poe: “he was seen” going from Bradshaw’s Hotel to the Railroad Station across Pratt Street, and it must have been to board the Philadelphia 8 P.M., Saturday train. This accords with the plan Poe noted to Mrs. Clemm, that he was to revise — Mrs. St. Leon Loud’s poems in the Quaker City, which Poe would reach — in the “six hours’ run” from Saturday, 8 P.M., to 2 o’clock Sunday morning, September 30th. By kindness of Thomas Ollive Mabbott comes, through the grace of Mr. Dallett Fuguet, B.A., Upper Montclair, N. J., a new light on the two or more mystery days between Poe’s Baltimore arrival, Saturday, September 29, 1849, and when he was found there October 3rd, by the printer, Joseph W. Walker. From a copy of the autograph“Memo” by Thomas H. Lane — a cousin of Mr. Fuguet’s father — comes this glimpse of Poe’s last clays on earth. This “‘Memo” record came from a near relative of Mr. Lane. Her husband — and friend of Poe — ‘Mr. James P. Moss, of No. 70 South 4th Street, Philadelphia, and of ‘genial noble nature,’ had acquired the habit that was the bane of Poe’s existence. One morning about 4 o’clock, [Poe arrived at Philadelphia, if train was on time, about [page 1499:] 2 A.M., Sunday, September 30th] Mr. Moss with Poe came home not entirely free from effects of indulgence. [Illness, weariness of waiting and travel from Richmond, since September 27th, might easily produce a possible mistake as to this belief of Poe.] They were put to bed, and after they had slept off much of results [it would take Poe days to do this] of this record — the next morning [October 1st] Poe started, he declared, for Baltimore.” Poe’s total forgetfulness of his Philadelphia purpose of reviewing Mrs. Loud’s poems, and his — Monday, October 1st, return to Baltimore, would not indicate that he hadslept off “any possible indulgence. But here, at Poe’s declared start for Baltimore, this record halts at Philadelphia, where it concluded with: “In about a week the news of his death,” at Baltimore, “was received.” Poe probably reached Baltimore the early morning of Tuesday, October 2nd, and there, in dazed, sub-conscious condition the failure of his Philadelphia errand was realized to the extent of his making another start for that city. Aided, or not, by “the single indulgence,” of no date or place, — later noted by Judge Neilson Poe — the poet was found insensible in the baggage car of an “out-bound” train from Baltimore to Philadelphia. Probably the October 2nd, 8 P.M. train. When collecting tickets, the conductor, Captain George Rollins, found Poe, as above mentioned, insensible in the baggage car into which he may have strayed, when trying to board this outward train. Knowing that the poet had relatives in Baltimore, Captain Rollins transferred Poe, at Havre de Grace, to an inbound train for that city. [page 1500:] This transfer seems to have landed the bewildered man there late Tuesday night, and placed him at the small mercy of all the gruesome birds of prey in human form who then plied their nefarious arts of thieving, or drugging voters for repeaters, at polling-places, throughout that time wildly political-excited city. From Mr. A. J. Edmunds, Philadelphia, it comes that The Baltimore Stan, October 4, 1849, noted: “The Election, . . , was held yesterday throughout the State. . . . Robert M. McLane, the Democratic candidate, is elected to Congress . . . by a majority of 950 votes.” It is said that Poe was a Whig in politics. However, his cousin, Neilson Poe, November 1, 1849, wrote to Dr. R. W. Griswold of the poet: “The history of the last few days of his life is known to no one so well as to myself: . . . I trust . . . I can demonstrate . . . he passed, by a single indulgence, from a condition of perfect sobriety to one bordering on madness. . . . All this I will make the subject of a deliberate communication.” September 29, 1849, the day Poe landed at Baltimore, was wet and disagreeable: dazed and ill, on his arrival he sought Dr. Brooks, and failing to find him, Poe may have sought relief from the chill of weather, weariness and wandering wits in the “single indulgence,” at Bradshaw’s Hotel, then or on his October 2nd night-transfer return to Baltimore. As stimulants usually set Poe talking he then might have mentioned having money, and this may have occasioned his capture by political or other roughs about Railroad Stations and hotels at that time. Eight blocks east of Bradshaw’s Hotel was High Street; and the notorious Whig, Fourth Ward, Club was in [page 1501:] this locality. Mr. William J. McClellan notes that the 1849 Baltimore Directory gives, “Cornelius Ryan, Gunner’s Hall, 44 E. Lombard St.,” was in the “Fourth Ward, between High and Exeter Streets,” where the printer Walker found Poe on election night. There, and in their den in the rear of an engine house on Calvert Street, the members had their coops; and the victims were generously supplied with drugged liquor and little else. This, no doubt, soon obtained such deadly effect upon Poe’s shattered nerves that fear induced these outlaws — for their own safety — to put a secure short distance — “two blocks” — between themselves and this “victim,” as plucked by any common thieves. There, or near there, on some boards of the close-by-the-water lumber-yards, Poe, unconscious and delirious, was recognized in the late afternoon of October 3rd, by Joseph W. Walker, a Baltimore printer, who also knew the poet’s friend Dr. Snodgrass, who lived at 103 High Street, not far away. To Dr. J. Evans Snodgrass was written, in pencil, this note:

BALTIMORE CITY, October 3rd, 1849.

DEAR SIR, — There is a gentleman, rather the worse for the wear, at Ryan’s Fourth ward polls, who goes under the cognomen of Edgar A. Poe, and who appears in great distress. He says he is acquainted with you, and I assure you he is in need of immediate assistance. Yours in haste,



Printer Walker was later drowned, while swimming in Spring Gardens, notes Thomas Ollive Mabbott, M.A. But Walker’s letter to Dr. Snodgrass [page 1502:] called to his aid Mr. Henry Herring — Poe’s uncle by marriage — and totally unable to help himself, they placed him, delirious but still holding fast to Dr. Carter’s cane, in a carriage that took him to the then imposing Washington College Hospital — now Church Home — in its spacious grounds, corner of Broadway and Hampstead Street. There he was left at 5 o’clock, Wednesday, October 3rd, 1849. Thence, word was sent to the poet’s cousin, Neilson Poe, who [page 1503:] had changes of linen, etc., taken to the Hospital for Edgar’s use. His cousins Neilson Poe, the Misses Herring, Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Morton Smith — the Poet’s “Cousin Elizabeth” and her husband — all called to see him during this last illness. Mrs. George K. McGaw, of Baltimore, obtained a picture of Mrs. Smith, in her later years (by kindness of her daughter Mrs. John G. Haskins) to appear in these pages.

While the later several accounts of Dr, J. E. Snodgrass concerning this pathetic incident of Poe differ in various essentials, as do also the statements of the “Hospital” physician, John J. Moran, M.D., they both agree somewhat, in their description of Poe’s personal appearance when he was rescued from his few days’ fearful experiences, after his first arrival in Baltimore, Saturday, September 29th, whatever these experiences may have been. Their records agree in that Poe’s face was haggard; his hair unkempt; his eyes, all lustreless and vacant, were shaded by a rusty, almost brimless, ribbonless, palm-leaf hat. His thin, sleazy alpaca coat was ripped at several seams and soiled. His trousers were steel grey mixed cassinette, half-worn and badly fitting; he had neither vest nor neck-cloth, while his shirt was crumpled and sadly soiled; and on his feet were coarse heavy boots with no signs of ever being blacked. — Certainly this united double record of facts, when compared to Poe “being groomed as a gentleman” when he left Richmond, proves that the poet could not have fallen among his friends. Also this violent contrast, with no record of any money, that he did have to some amount, seems to definitely, prove that Poe had been victimized, and drugged by [page 1504:] political vampires, or common thieves of that time. On one point, Dr. Moran’s earliest known statement — made to the Reverend W. D. T. Clemm — coincides with that of Judge Neilson Poe, who repeatedly noted that the poet “never recovered consciousness.” That “he was unconscious or delirious the entire time,” in the hospital, but for “one short interval.” Later statements of Dr. Moran — even if true — seem but to include the delirious ravings of a man far too ill for responsible utterances, and on irresponsible scores it would be as idle to note such wild talk, as it would be to take down the unbalanced jargon of those stricken with typhoid “ravings.” The lines that Dr. Moran so fittingly credited to Poe’s mutterings during his delirium, and culled curiously enough from the poet’s dying “Tamerlane,” were:

“Father! I firmly do believe —

I know — for Death, who comes for me

From regions of the blest afar,

(Where there is nothing to deceive)

Hath left his iron gate ajar,

And rays of truth you cannot see

Are flashing thro’ Eternity.”

These words, written prior to the age of eighteen, heart borne throughout his life, and fluttering through the delirium of its closing chapter, prove the spiritual insight of Edgar Allan Poe. The poet’s faith seemed of rock anchorage in the belief that, “Immortal man has existed forever . . . and the Soul or mind of man is God, the divine Principle of all being.” This might seem the text covered by Poe’s “Eureka“!

At Baltimore, November 15, 1849, Dr. Moran answered [page 1505:] Mrs. Clemm’s prior 9th letter-quest of Poe, as follows:


November 15, ‘49.


My Dear Madam, — . . . Presuming you are already aware of the malady of which Mr. Poe died, I need only state concisely . . . his circumstances from his entrance until his decease. When brought to the hospital he was unconscious of his condition — who brought him or with whom he had been associating. He remained in this condition from five o’clock in the afternoon — the hour of his admission — until three next morning. This was on the 3d October. To this state succeeded tremor of the limbs, . . . delirium. . . . His face was pale and his whole person drenched in perspiration. We were unable to induce tranquillity before the second day. . . . Having left orders with the nurses to that effect, I was summoned to his bedside so soon as consciousness supervened, and questioned him in reference to his family, . . . etc. But his answers were incoherent and unsatisfactory. . . . Shortly after . . . Mr. Poe seemed to doze, and I left him for a . . . time. When I returned I found him in a violent delirium, . . . This state continued until Saturday evening (he was admitted on Wednesday) ; when he commenced calling for one “Reynolds,” which he did through the night until three on Sunday morning. [J. N. Reynolds was the author of “Address on the South Sea Exposition,” which gave Poe some ideas for his “A. Gordon Pym.”] At this time a very decided change began . . . Having become enfeebled from exertion, he became quiet and seemed to rest for a short time; then gently moving his head, he said, “Lord, help my poor soul!” and expired.

This, Madam, is as faithful an account as I am able to furnish from the Record of his case. . . .

Respectfully yours,

J. J. MORAN, Res. Phys. [page 1506:]

Dr. John J. Moran was Resident Physician of Washington College Hospital from 1847, and was then twenty-five years of age. This early letter-statement, when its events related were fresh in mind, seems the most trustworthy of all its writer made of Poe’s last days when thus the great silence fell over the man and poet for whom,

“The fever called ‘Living’

Was conquered at last.”

From Poe-material, once the property of Chevalier Reynolds — knighted by three kings — and now owned and values given these pages by Mr. William C. Barnes, of New York City, come a few items hearing light on Poe’s death. One is an 1889 letter-challenge [page 1507:] from the Rev, W. D. T. Clemm, cousin of Poe’s wife, Virginia, as to Dr. Moran’s several and different statements concerning this sad event. Of Poe this letter noted: “His end was a tragic one, super-induced by strong drink” This letter continued that on Poe’s death Dr. Moran immediately called on its writer at his parsonage — of St. Catherine’s Street M. E. Church — to arrange for the poet’s funeral. And at this time Dr. Moran made the statement that Poe died of delirium tremens, which “positively contradicts” (Rev. Mr. Clemm’s letter states) Dr. Moran’s views expressed later, and after he saw the Health Commissioner’s Report (probably made from personal examination of Hospital data of the case and the patient during Dr. Moran’s call on Rev. Mr. Clemm). In 1849, Dr. J. J. Moran — then twenty-seven years old — could well be mistaken on an unknown-to-him peculiar case of impaired nerve-heritage, that was doubtly [[doubtfully]] attacked by drugged liquor; he might also be unable to make a critically accurate diagnosis when the patient was hopelessly unconcious [[unconscious]] with intervals of delirium. While alcoholic symptoms only are not readily confounded with objective indications of opiate poisoning, an inexperienced, voting physician might mistake one for the other. Dr. Moran also made his “immediate” Sunday morning notification of Poe’s death to Dr. J. F. C. Hadel, Baltimore Commissioner of Health, who, in that office, must have been an abler man of far wider experience than Dr. Moran. And Dr. Hadel’s early, uninfluenced judgment, on personal and constant observations of death and the contingencies of that special [page 1508:] time and case, become of marked significance in his official returns upon it. Dr. Hadel’s press death-reports, printed in the October 8, 1849 (the day after Poe died), Baltimore Sun, read: “One from congestion of the brain,” — the other from “cerebral inflammation.” Later on, by “Neilson Poe and others, the first mentioned was definitely ascertained to be Dr. Hadel’s report on the death of the poet.” Robbed of his money, his own proper clothing, weary and desperately ill, also undoubtedly drugged, Poe, thinly clad, was left exposed upon boards, on the open pavement, the frosty night of October and, the “temperature being low owing to the near-by bay.” Professor John C. S. Monker, who also gave much time to the inmates of Washington College Hospital, carefully examined Poe’s case; and, in possession of all facts as to agents employed and symptoms presented — as noted down in the record book of the hospital — gave his opinion that Poe’s death was caused by “excessive nervous excitement from exposure followed by loss of nervous power,” and that the most appropriate name for his disease was “encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain.” With Poe’s several prior attacks of brain congestion, also, at least sympathetic heart-trouble, noted by an 1842, Philadelphia authority, Dr. John W. Francis in New York City and others, taken with his inability to withstand stimulants — most especially at this time — the “single glass” mentioned by his Cousin Neilson Poe, and undoubtedly taken in the poet’s sub-conscious, fevered condition — was sure to make him the prey of some sort of thieves, and seems as surely to measure the “debauch” verdict [page 1509:] so willingly, or otherwise, visited upon Poe’s last days and memory by those who would not, or could not, understand his physical conditions. And among the latter were the Rev. W. D. T. Clemm and one of the poet’s best friends, John P. Kennedy, Esq. But later, years of professional experience and closer study of Poe’s special case seem to have cleared Dr. Moran’s mind concerning the primal and victimizing causes of Poe’s death.

December 4, 1900, to the late Dr. James A. Harrison, William J. Glenn of 617 E, Leigh Street, Richmond, Va., wrote of Poe: “. . . he started to Baltimore . . . A few days later we heard of his death at a hospital in that city, and the statement was made and too busily circulated that his death was the result of a spree commenced as soon as he reached Baltimore. We of the temperance order to which he belonged exerted ourselves to get at the facts, and the consensus of opinion was that he had not been drinking, but had been drugged. A gentleman by the name of Benson, born in Baltimore in 1811, and living there until he was twenty-one years old, went to Baltimore, and, as he knew Poe and felt much interest in the manner of his death, went to the hospital at which he died, and had a talk with the doctor (an acquaintance), who told him that Poe had not been drinking when brought to the hospital, but was under the influence of a drug; he added that he suggested the use of stimulants, but that 1121. Poe positively declined taking any. Mr. Poe lived very quietly while here,” — in 1849, at Richmond, The fact that Dr. Moran did suggest stimulants to one of Poe’s hypersensitive, low [page 1510:] vitality seems firmly to establish that physician’s total misunderstanding of the poets case; and thus from his own professional inexperience, he at that time over-hastily stated to the Rev. Mr. Clemm that Poe died of “delirium tremens.”

Through her nephew — J. B. Green, University of Virginia — Dr. Moran’s wife later noted that Poe’s hospital entry was at “election time and the city was very disorderly.” Mrs. Moran mentioned his “stupor,” which she naturally “supposed was from drink.” She helped to nurse him, read to him the fourteenth chapter of St. John, eased his pillows, and left him. She added, “not long afterwards they brought me a message he was dead. I made his shroud and helped to prepare his body for burial.” The Rev. Mr. Clemm noted that he had full particulars of “Poe’s last days, and his last intelligent words, only one half dozen, were, ‘Lord, help my poor soul!’ ” Of the poet’s appearance in his mahogany casket was added: “He had a head of jet-black hair, which was tastefully adjusted in profuse locks above and around his expansive forehead. He looked placid and natural . . . and on his face was a fine expression of manly beauty. Oh, he deserved a better fate!”

The poet’s Cousin Neilson Poe and Mr. Henry Herring arranged for Poe’s simple funeral. The Baltimore American, of November 7, 1875, stated that the undertaker was Mr. Charles Suter; that the hearse and carriage were furnished by Neilson Poe, and the neat mahogany coffin came from Mr. Henry Herring. Poe’s burial occurred at four o’clock Monday afternoon, October 8, 1849. Sexton George W. Spence [page 1511:] noted of the weather: “It was a dark gloomy day, not raining but just kind of raw and threatening.” The poet was followed to his last earthly home, in Westminster Churchyard, corner of Fayette and Green Streets, Baltimore, by one carriage in which rode his cousin Neilson Poe, Z. Collins Lee — Poe’s University of Virginia classmate, — Edmund Morton Smith and his wife, Edgar’s “Cousin Elizabeth,” and the Rev. Mr. Clemm. The late Mr. Eugene L. Didier noted as present, besides those mentioned, Professor Joseph H. Clarke, Poe’s old friend and Richmond school-master, who stated that he “was at Edgar’s funeral,” and Dr. John Evans Snodgrass. After the Rev. Mr. Clemm had read the Methodist Episcopal burial service, the casket was lowered into its receiving-box and thus all that was mortal of Edgar Allan Poe was consigned to earth in the lot with his grandparents, General and Mrs. David Poe.






[S:0 - EAPTM, 1926] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - E. A. Poe: The Man (M. E. Phillips) (Section 07)