Text: Dwight R. Thomas and David K. Jackson, “Chapter 09 [Part 02],” The Poe Log (1987), pp. 679-711


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~~ 1847 ~~

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[page 679, continued:]

[1847] JANUARY. NEW YORK. In its “Notices to Correspondents” the Columbian Magazine reports its acceptance of Poe’s sketch “The Domain of Arnheim.”

[1847] CA. JANUARY. FORDHAM. Sarah Anna Lewis becomes a frequent visitor to the Poe cottage: “I was in the habit of seeing Mr. Poe once or twice a month from Jan. 1847, to the 29th of June, 1849” (Mrs. Lewis to Eveleth, 6 November 1854, Miller [1977], pp. 199-200).

[1847] EARLY JANUARY? PHILADELPHIA. Louis A. Godey replies to George W. Eveleth’s letter written after 16 December 1846. He asks to be given Poe’s [page 680:] reason for discontinuing the “Literati” articles, explaining that he does not know it (Eveleth to Poe, 21 February).

[1847] EARLY JANUARY? PHILLIPS, MAINE. Eveleth replies to Godey. He quotes the reason Poe gave in his 15 December 1846 letter to him: “namely, ‘because people insisted on considering them [the articles] elaborate criticisms.’ ” Eveleth wonders why the Lady’s Book for January does not contain Poe’s critique of Hawthorne (Godey to Eveleth, 30 January; Eveleth to Poe, 21 February).

[1847] 5 JANUARY. EASTON, PENNSYLVANIA. The Easton Star reprints an appeal for Poe’s relief from a Philadelphia paper (Quinn, pp. 526-27).

[1847] 5 JANUARY. NEW YORK. The Evening Mirror reprints Miss Walter’s prescription for Poe’s reformation from the Boston Evening Transcript of 31 December 1846. Hiram Fuller comments: “We sincerely hope this good advice will be heeded. Mr. Poe, after libelling half the literary men in the country, commenced a libel suit against us for publishing as an advertisement an article which originally appeared in a morning paper in reply to one of his own coarse attacks. This suit was commenced after he had grossly abused us in a Philadelphia paper in one of the most scurrilous articles that we ever saw in print; and all this, too, after we had been paying him for some months a salary of $15 a week for assisting Morris and Willis, and two or three other ‘able bodied men,’ in the Herculean task of editing the Evening Mirror.”

[1847] BEFORE 8 JANUARY. In the Home Journal for 9 January, Nathaniel P. Willis publishes Poe’s 30 December 1846 letter to him, commenting: “What was the under-current of feeling in his [Poe’s] mind while it was written, can be easily understood by the few; but it carries enough on its surface to be sufficiently understood.”

In another column the Journal carries Evert A. Duyckinck’s article “An Author in Europe and America,” written in response to Poe’s 30 December 1846 letter to him. There is a curious contrast between Poe’s position at home, where he is attacked “by penny-a-liners,” and his reputation in Europe, “where distance suffers only the prominent features of his genius to be visible.” The favorable reception of his stories in England is a recognized fact. “The mystification of M. Valdemar was taken up by a mesmeric journal as a literal verity . . . . A London publisher has got it out, in pamphlet, under the title of ‘Mesmerism in Articulo Mortis,’ and a Scotchman in Stonehaven has recently paid a postage by steamer, in a letter to the author, to test the matter-of-factness of the affair.” Duyckinck [page 681:] quotes Miss Barrett’s April 1846 letter to Poe, which contains “a handsome compliment on this story.” Another tale, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” is now attracting attention in Paris: “It has been translated in the feuilletons, local personal allusion discovered and the American authorship denied. One of the journals says ‘if there turn out to be such an American author, it will prove that America has at least one novelist besides Mr. Cooper’ — and this, in France, is praise. The Revue des deux Mondes, in the meantime, has an elaborate review of the ‘Tales.’ ”

[1847] 8 JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. In the Spirit of the Times John S. Du Solle notices the Poe letter published in this week’s Home Journal: “If Mr. P. had not been gifted with considerable gall, he would have been devoured long ago by the host of enemies his genius has created.” Du Solle quotes with approval Poe’s statement that he has “a great deal to do” and has decided “not to die till it is done.”

[1847] AFTER 8? JANUARY WEST FARMS, NEW YORK? Poe mails the Home Journal for 9 January to George W. Eveleth in Phillips, Maine, and to Thomas Holley Chivers in Oaky Grove, Georgia (Eveleth and Chivers letters to Poe, 21 February).

[1847] 11 JANUARY. BROOKLYN. The Daily Eagle reprints “The Dove” by J. J. Martin, D.D., a religious poem inspired by “The Raven.” Walt Whitman provides a brief preface: “Although not possessing the artistic beauty of Mr. Poe’s celebrated ‘Raven,’ the following production, which we find in an exchange [paper], commends itself to every reader by its graceful spirit of Christianity. Mr. Poe’s piece was wild and mysterious; this is perhaps less poetic, but its influence . . . will be more apt to soften and ameliorate the heart” (Brasher, pp. 30-31; Mabbott [1969], 1:352).

[1847] 16 JANUARY. NEW YORK. William T. Porter’s Spirit of the Times publishes a translation of the 20 October 1846 article in L’Entre-Acte, reporting the charge of plagiarism brought against E. D. Forgues. In a footnote the translator repeats Poe’s assertions about the story’s French reception made in Graham’s Magazine for November 1846: “The tale referred to, about the Orang-Outang, is ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue.’ It appeared originally in ‘Graham’s Magazine’ for April, 1841; was copied immediately, or at all events noticed, and a digest given of it, in the ‘Charivari,’ and Sue, in his ‘Mysteries of Paris,’ has been largely indebted to it for the epistle of ‘Gringalêt et Coupe en Deux.’ Subsequently, the story was included in the volume of Poe’s Tales, published by Wiley & Putnam. There is an elaborate review of this book in the ‘Revue des Deux Mondes,’ and from this latter source [the [page 682:] Tales], probably, the French journals have, each and all, taken the story” (Pollin [1977], pp. 235-36).

[1847] 16 JANUARY. The satiric weekly Yankee Doodle comments: “We have been inexpressibly delighted with the considerate delicacy and forbearance with which the temporary misfortunes of a distinguished author [Poe] have been recently dragged before the public by the newspapers. Every mean-spirited cur, who dared not bark when his tormentor had strength, feeds fat his ancient grudge, now that he sees his enemy prostrate and powerless — with heart crushed and brain shattered by the sickness and suffering of those most dear to him in life.”

[1847] 16 JANUARY. Anne C. Lynch writes Sarah Helen Whitman in Providence, Rhode Island, asking her to contribute valentines in verse to be read at a “valentine party” next month. After describing the similar party she held last year, Miss Lynch names some of the persons she expects to attend this year: “if you will write you can select your victims from the list” (RPB-W; see also 14 and 21 FEBRUARY 1846).

[1847] AFTER 16 JANUARY. PROVIDENCE. Mrs. Whitman replies to Miss Lynch, agreeing to furnish valentines. She apparently asks whether she can address one to Poe, whom Miss Lynch failed to mention (Lynch to Whitman, 31 January).

[1847] 17 JANUARY. FORDHAM. Poe writes Charles Astor Bristed, a young, well-to-do New Yorker who contributes to George H. Colton’s American Review: “Permit me to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the ten dollars which you were so considerate and generous as to send me through Mr. Colton. I shall now cease to regard my difficulties as misfortune, since they have shown me that I possessed such friends” (L, 2:339-40).

[1847] 19 JANUARY. PHILLIPS, MAINE. George W. Eveleth replies to Poe’s 15 December 1846 letter:

Perusing your Tales, Poems, Criticisms etc. I set you down a man of mighty intellect, and possessed of a soul which might almost claim kindred with the disembodied spirits of heaven, but wanting somewhat — considerably perhaps — in heart, that principle in the human breast which constitutes it human — without which man would be a brute or a God — your letter came and I judged you differently. I could call you my friend as well as my favorite author . . . . I never hoped to be so favorably noticed by you, and had often feared that you would consider me too presuming for scribbling to you in the manner that I did. [page 683:]

Eveleth quotes the Philadelphia Saturday Evening Post, which has reported that Poe and his wife are desperately ill. He believes that the facts in this case have been exaggerated by a journal given to “misrepresentations” of Poe. Alluding to the editorial in the Post for 14 March 1846, Eveleth wonders how much of The Conchologist’s First Book was taken from the British volume: “did you copy it bodily, and put your name to it? If so, it was a ‘bold step’ . . . . But it seems strange to me that so daring a deed should have been kept thus secret” (Eveleth, pp. 9-12).

[1847] 20 JANUARY. Eveleth receives the Home Journal for 9 January, forwarded by Poe (Eveleth to Poe, 21 February).

[1847] 27 JANUARY. PARIS. La Démocratie pacifique publishes an able translation of “The Black Cat” by Isabelle Meunier. Since Poe’s story seems to illustrate principles contrary to those advocated by this socialist newspaper, the editors offer a brief explanation: “Le morceau que nous publions aujourd’hui est traduit d’un auteur fort connu au delà de 1’Atlantique et dont on commence à s’occuper en France. Nous donnons cette Nouvelle pour montrer à quels singuliers arguments sont réduits les derniers partisans du dogme de la perversité native” (Seylaz, p. 42).

[1847] 29 JANUARY. FORDHAM. Poe writes Marie Louise Shew: “My poor Virginia still lives, although failing fast and now suffering much pain. May God grant her life until she sees you and thanks you once again! Her bosom is full to overflowing — like my own — with a boundless — inexpressible gratitude to you. Lest she may never see you more — she bids me say that she sends you her sweetest kiss of love and will die blessing you[.] But come — oh come to-morrow!” Mrs. Clemm would like Mrs. Shew to stay overnight at the Poe cottage (L, 2:340; facsimile in Ingram, p. 323).

[1847] 29? JANUARY. Mary Starr, the early Baltimore friend of Poe and Virginia, visits them: “The day before Virginia died I found her in the parlor. I said to her, ‘Do you feel any better to-day?’ and sat down by the big arm-chair in which she was placed. Mr. Poe sat on the other side of her. I had my hand in hers, and she took it and placed it in Mr. Poe’s, saying, ‘Mary, be a friend to Eddie, and don’t forsake him; he always loved you — didn’t you, Eddie?’ We three were alone, Mrs. Clemm being in the kitchen” (Van Cleef, p. 639; Mary’s presence at Fordham confirmed by Mrs. Shew to J. H. Ingram, 23 January and 16 February 1875, Miller [1977], pp. 97, 103).

[1847] 30 JANUARY. NEW YORK. The Home Journal reprints this report from the Paris correspondent of Willmer and Smith’s European Times, a London paper: [page 684:]

The name of Mr. Edgar A. Poe the American novelist, has figured rather prominently of late before the law courts. A newspaper, which, for the sake of clearness, I will call No. 1 [Le Commerce], gave a feuilleton, in which one of Mr. Poe’s tales of a horrible murder in the United States was dressed up to suit the French palate; but no acknowledgement was made of the story being taken from Mr. Poe. Another newspaper, No. 2 [La Presse], stated that the said feuilleton was stolen from one previously published in another journal. This led to a squabble between the writer of feuilleton No. 1 [E. D. Forgues] and the editor of the newspaper No. 2 [M. de Girardin], that accused him of plagiary from newspaper No. 3 [La Quotidienne]. This squabble resulted in a process [law suit], in the course of which the feuilletoniste No. 1 proved that he had stolen it from Mr. Poe. It was proved, too, that No. 3 was himself an impudent plagiarist, for he had filched Mr. Poe’s tale without one word of acknowledgement; whilst, as to No. 2, he was forced to admit that not only had he never read Mr. Poe, but had never heard of him in his life. All this, it will be perceived, is anything but creditable to the three newspapers in question.

[1847] 30 JANUARY. PHILADELPHIA. Louis A. Godey replies to a letter from Eveleth: “ ‘Hawthorne’ by Poe will soon appear” (Eveleth to Poe, 27 July).

[1847] 30? JANUARY. FORDHAM. Mrs. Shew attends Virginia: “She called me to her bedside, took a picture of her husband from under her pillow kissed it and gave it to me. . . . She took from her portfolio a worn letter and showed it to her husband, he read it and weeping heavy tears gave it to me to read. It was a letter from Mr. Allan’s wife after his death. It expressed a desire to see him, acknowledged that she alone had been the cause of his adopted Father’s neglect” (Shew to Ingram, 28 March 1875, Miller [1977], p. 116).

[1847] 30 JANUARY. Virginia dies (obituary, 1 February).

[1847] 31 JANUARY. NEW YORK. Anne C. Lynch writes Sarah Helen Whitman in Providence, thanking her for agreeing to contribute to her valentine party. Replying to Mrs. Whitman’s inquiry, Miss Lynch apparently states that she has not seen Poe recently. She quotes someone in her circle who has visited Fordham:

Of Mr Poe & his wife she says. I saw him a few days ago for the first time in several months. He is living about 14 miles from town & has been ill for some time — his wife also has been dying of Consumption. Hearing that she wished to see me I went out but the cars returned so soon that they left me only a few moments there. I found Mrs Poe apparently in the last stages of Consumption & not expected to survive the day — he was well to all appearance. I have not heard from them since. They have been suffering from pecuniary distress as well as sickness (RPB-W). [page 685:]

[The bottom of the letter’s first sheet has been cut off, presumably by Mrs. Whitman. It seems likely that in the excised passages Miss Lynch discouraged her from addressing a valentine to Poe. The extant comments on Poe are given in their entirety.]

[1847] 31 JANUARY. PARIS. La Démocratie pacifique publishes Isabelle Meunier’s abridged translation of “The Murders in the Rue Morgue” (Seylaz, p. 43).

[1847] FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. The Illustrated Magazine contains Lawrence Labree’s editorial “What Is a National Literature Worth?” As long as American authors are doomed to poverty, there is little hope for literature: “Has not the fact been recently trumpeted through the papers that an unfortunate child of genius [Poe] was lying at the point of death in this city, without the means of making his last hours (if such should be the finale) comfortable; and that his wife was in scarcely better condition? Carried that no heartache to the thousands who have dwelt delighted over the inspirations of his genius? . . . Must we come to this inevitable conclusion, that a poor man has no right to be a literary one?”

[1847] CA. 1 FEBRUARY. FORDHAM. Marie Louise Shew makes arrangements for Virginia’s funeral: “I bought her coffin, her grave clothes, and Edgars mourning, except the little help Mary Star[r] gave me” (Shew to Ingram, 23 January 1875, Miller [1977], p. 97).

[According to Mary Gove, Mrs. Clemm described Mrs. Shew’s care of Virginia in these words: “She [Mrs. Shew] tendered her while she lived, as if she had been her dear sister, and when she was dead she dressed her for the grave in beautiful linen. If it had not been for her, my darling Virginia would have been laid in her grave in cotton” (Nichols [1863], p. 13).]

[1847] 1 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. The Daily Tribune and the New York Herald carry this notice in their obituary columns:

On Saturday, the 30th ult., of pulmonary consumption, in the 25th year of her age, VIRGINIA ELIZA, wife of EDGAR A. POE.

Her friends are invited to attend her funeral at Fordham, Westchester county, on Tuesday next, (to-morrow,) at 2 PM. The cars leave New-York for Fordham, from the City Hall, at 12 [P.]M. — returning at 4 P.M.

[1847] 1 FEBRUARY. The Superior Court convenes to hear Poe’s libel suit against Hiram Fuller and Augustus W. Clason, Jr., publishers of the Evening and Weekly Mirror. William H. Paine, counsel for the defense, moves that a commission be created to obtain a deposition from Thomas Dunn English, who is now a journalist in Washington. Justice Aaron H. Vanderpoel [page 686:] appoints as commissioners three residents of that city, John Ross Browne, John Lorimer Graham, Jr., and J. B. H. Smith, any or all of whom being authorized to examine English under oath. Further proceedings in the case are postponed until 15 February (Gravely, pp. 644-45; Moss [1970], pp. 160-62).

[1847] 1 FEBRUARY. BROOKLYN. In the Daily Eagle Walt Whitman notices the death of Poe’s wife, which “is mentioned in the New York prints.”

[1847] 2 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. The Morning Express, the Evening Express, and the Semi-Weekly Express carry this report: “DEATH OF MRS POE. — The death of Edgar A. Poe’s wife is recorded in the city papers. She died of pulmonary consumption, on Saturday of last week.”

[1847] 2 FEBRUARY. FORDHAM. In the afternoon Virginia is buried in the family vault of John Valentine, owner of the Poe cottage, in the graveyard of the Old Dutch Reformed Church (Phillips, 2:1204-05).

[Mary Starr recalled: “On the day of the funeral I remember meeting at the cottage Mrs. Ann S. Stephens, Mrs. Shew, N. P. Willis and his partner Morris, and some of the neighbors. It was very cold, and I did not go to the grave, but staid at the house” (Van Cleef, pp. 639-40). Other persons present included Valentine’s adopted daughter Mary, Sylvanus D. Lewis and presumably his wife Sarah Anna, and reputedly Poe’s first cousin Elizabeth Rebecca Herring (Phillips, 2:1202-03; Rice, p. 86). The funeral was almost certainly attended by Poe’s close friends among the New York literati, such as Evert A. Duyckinck, Mrs. Gove, Mrs. Hewitt, Freeman Hunt, and Cornelius Mathews.]

[1847] AFTER 2 FEBRUARY? Poe writes these two lines on a manuscript copy of his “Eulalie,” a poem celebrating a happy marriage: “Deep in earth my love is lying / And I must weep alone” (Mabbott [1969], 1:396).

[1847] 5 FEBRUARY. RICHMOND. The Richmond Whig reports the death of “Virginia E. Poe, wife of Edgar A. Poe, . . . at Fordham, Westchester county, New York.”

[1847] 6 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. In the Home Journal Morris and Willis notice Virginia’s death: “Mrs. Poe was an estimable woman and an excellent wife. Her loss is mourned by a numerous circle of friends.”

[1847] 6 FEBRUARY. The Literary World, a weekly edited by Evert A. Duyckinck, commences publication. [page 687:]

[1847] 8 FEBRUARY. Justice Vanderpoel approves the written questions to be put to Thomas Dunn English in Washington, six “interrogatories” prepared by the defense attorney William H. Paine and ten “cross-interrogatories” drawn up by Poe’s attorney Enoch L. Fancher (Moss [1970], pp. 162-65).

[1847] 11 FEBRUARY. WASHINGTON. English’s deposition under oath is taken by J. B. H. Smith, an attorney. Answering the fourth interrogatory, English explains his statement in the Evening Mirror of 23 June 1846 that Poe obtained money under false pretenses. In “the early part of October 1845” Poe borrowed $30 from him to be applied toward the purchase of the Broadway Journal, offering him an interest in this paper and promising to repay him from its profits. “Mr Poe not only never repaid me the money but never conveyed nor offered to convey to me an interest in said journal. This and the fact that I afterwards learned that the said journal was not a profitable investment constituted the false pretences.” Answering the seventh cross-interrogatory, English admits that he cannot produce Poe’s acknowledgment for the loan, having mislaid it since last June. To the fifth interrogatory he testifies:

The charge of forgery referred to was made against Mr Poe by a merchant in Broad street [Edward J. Thomas], whose name I forget. Mr Poe stated to me that this gentleman was jealous of him and of his visits to Mrs Frances S. Osgood, the writer, the wife of S. S. Osgood, the artist; that this gentleman was desirous of having criminal connection with Mrs Osgood; and that, supposing he, Mr Poe, to be a favored rival, he had cautioned Mrs Osgood against receiving his, Poe’s, visits, alleging to her that he, Poe, had been guilty of forgery upon his, Poe’s, uncle. . . I called on the gentleman, who would not on his own responsibility avow the truth of the charge nor would he retract . . . . On communicating these facts to Mr Poe, he asked my advice . . . . I told him that he had his alternative, as long as his adversary would not retract, either to fight or bring suit. The latter he preferred; &, as he said he had no money to fee a lawyer, I induced a friend of mine to take charge of his suit without a fee to oblige me. Mr Poe afterwards informed me that he had received an unsatisfactory apology from his adversary (Moss [1970], pp. 165-70).

[1847] 14 FEBRUARY. FORDHAM. Poe presents Marie Louise Shew with a valentine poem expressing his deep gratitude, “To M. L. S——” (Mabbott [1969], 1:399-401).

[1847] 14 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. Anne C. Lynch writes Sarah Helen Whitman in Providence: “The valentines you sent were admirable. They were nearly all read last night . . . . There were about 80 to 90 people here & the evening passed off delightfully” (RPB-W). [page 688:]

[1847] 15 FEBRUARY. English’s 11 February deposition is filed in Superior Court (Gravely, p. 651).

[1847] 16 FEBRUARY. Poe replies to George W. Eveleth’s 19 January letter, enclosing several newspaper announcements of Virginia’s death to avoid “writing on painful topics.” He has not previously heard “about the accusation of plagiarism” made by the Saturday Evening Post. The work in question is The Conchologist’s First Book: “I wrote it, in conjunction with Professor Thomas Wyatt, and Professor [Henry) McMurtrie of Ph[i]a — my name being put to the work, as best known and most likely to aid its circulation. I wrote the Preface and Introduction, and translated from Cuvier, the accounts of the animals etc. All school-books are necessarily made in a similar way.” The Post’s charge is an infamous falsehood: “I shall prosecute for it, as soon as I settle my accounts with the ‘Mirror’ ” (L, 2:343-44).

[1847] 17 FEBRUARY. In the Evening Mirror Hiram Fuller comments: “We are undergoing the luxury to-day of a trial for libel on Edgar A Poe, contained in a card of Thomas Dunn English.”

[1847] 17 FEBRUARY. Poe’s suit against Fuller and Augustus W. Clason, Jr., is tried before a twelve-man jury in Superior Court, Chief Justice Samuel Jones presiding. As evidence for the plaintiff, Enoch L. Fancher introduces the Evening Mirror of 23 June 1846 and the Weekly Mirror of 27 June 1846. English’s statements that Poe obtained money under false pretenses and that he committed forgery are read to the court. Edward J. Thomas testifies for the plaintiff, identifying himself as the merchant mentioned in English’s article. His 5 July 1845 letter to Poe, retracting all imputation of forgery, is introduced and read. Thomas and two other witnesses, Freeman Hunt and Mordecai Manuel Noah, testify that Poe is of good character. The defense is conducted by Clason, who moves for dismissal on the ground that it has not been demonstrated that he is a proprietor of the Mirror. In rebuttal Fancher testifies that Clason told him privately that he owns the paper and that Fuller is merely a nominal proprietor. The motion being denied, Clason introduces English’s deposition, which he reads to the court. After closing arguments by Fancher and Clason, the jury returns a verdict in Poe’s favor, awarding $225 damages and six cents costs (“Rough Minutes” of trial in Moss [1970], pp. 174-75; summary in morning papers, 18 February).

[Gravely, p. 654, pointed out that the award of six cents for costs indicated “that the jury considered the plaintiff to be entitled to the expenses [page 689:] that he had incurred, over and above what he had been awarded for damages.”)

[1847] 18 FEBRUARY. In the morning the Daily Tribune, the Morning Express, and the Sun publish an identical summary of the trial, written by a court reporter. The summary quotes English’s accusations in the Mirror and his testimony in his deposition. “Mr. English, in that deposition, also stated that ‘the general character of said Poe is that of a notorious liar, a common drunkard, and of one utterly lost to all the obligations of honor.’ ” Mr. Thomas, “the merchant named,” testified that Poe called upon him in relation to the charge of forgery: “witness immediately sought out the person who told him, that person denied that he had ever made any such charge about Mr. Poe, and I supposed, said the witness, that I had misunderstood him. . . . This witness, also Judge Noah, and Mr. Freeman Hunt, testified as to the character of Mr. Poe. — Never heard anything against him except that he is occasionally addicted to intoxication.” Chief Justice Jones charged the jurors to decide “whether the publications were true or not, or if there is mitigation in relation to them as to the character of Mr. P.”; they “returned a verdict for plaintiff of $225.” Poe was represented by Mr. Fancher, who “stated that Mr. P. has recently buried his wife, and his own health was such as to prevent him being present.”

[1847] 18 FEBRUARY. In the Evening Mirror Hiram Fuller describes the trial, which had its origin in Godey’s Lady’s Book: “Mr. Poe published sundry unliterary articles on literary men, including in the latter category Mr. Thomas Dunn English. Although the sketch of Mr. E. was a mere scratch, still the latter, being quite as sharp a marksman with the quill as the former, determined to give a shot for a shot, and selected as his revolver the Evening Mirror. Mr. Poe’s attack was a mere snapping of a percussion cap, compared to Mr. English’s fusee, and as he found the pen fight an unequal one, he resorted to a libel suit.” English’s deposition, read at yesterday’s trial, confirms “all his charges.” Fuller quotes English’s characterization of Poe as a liar and drunkard. “Judge Noah and Mr. Freeman Hunt also testified that Mr. Poe was addicted to intoxication, and notwithstanding this, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff of two hundred and twenty five dollars, and costs!” Before the trial Mr. Fancher “offered to settle the suit by the payment of $100 — thus proving that even he . . . was by no means confident of the justice of his cause.”

In another editorial, headed “Law and Libel,” Fuller defends his decision to publish English’s card: “it was brought to us printed in a morning paper [the Telegraph], and we were assured that it was to be published in every newspaper in the city on the day that it appeared in the Mirror, and that every word it contained was true.” Fuller offered Poe “the free use” of the [page 690:] Mirror’s columns to refute “the charges contained in the ‘card,’ an offer which he at the time accepted, but was probably advised differently by counsel, who hoped to find something worth picking from this ‘bone of contention.’ ”

[1847] 19 FEBRUARY. The Daily Tribune comments:

GENIUS AND THE LAW OF LIBEL. — Mr. Edgar A. Poe, well known as a Poet, having of course more wit than wisdom, and we think making no pretensions to exemplary faultlessness in morals, still less to the scrupulous fulfillment of his pecuniary engagements, wrote for Godey’s Lady’s Book a series of Literary Portraits of New-York notables, both of the major and minor order. — They were plain, sincere, free, off-hand criticisms — seldom flattering, sometimes savagely otherwise. Of this latter class was an account of Mr. Thomas Dunn English, which seemed to us impelled by personal spite. To this bitching Mr. English very naturally replied, charging Mr. Poe with gross pecuniary delinquency and personal dishonesty, and the Evening Mirror was so good-natured as to give him a hearing. Mr. English is a disbeliever in Capital Punishment, but you would hardly have suspected the fact from the tenor of this retort acidulous upon Poe. Mr. E therefore threw away the goose-quill, (though the columns of the Mirror were impartially tendered him for a rejoinder,) and most commendably refrained from catching up instead the horse-whip or the pistol; but he did something equally mistaken and silly, if not equally wicked, in suing — not his self-roused castigator, but the harmless publisher, for a libel! The case came to trial on Wednesday, and the Jury condemned the Mirror to pay Mr. P. $225 damages and six cents costs. — This was all wrong; $25 would have been a liberal estimate of damages, all things considered, including the severe provocation; and this should have been rendered, not against the Mirror, but against English, if, upon a fair comparison of the two articles, it appeared that Mr. P. had got more than he gave. . . .

[1847] 19 FEBRUARY. In the Evening Mirror Fuller sarcastically inquires: “WHAT HAS BECOME OF THE FUNDS? — We know of three several persons — an old lady, a Christian minister, and a benevolent editor, who have during the past winter been about soliciting money for the support of poor Poe. In a recent communication to N. P. Willis, Poe declares that he has never been in want of pecuniary assistance, and in case he had, he knew of a hundred persons to whom he could apply with confidence for aid. We again ask, with some emphasis, what has become of the funds?”

[1847] 19 FEBRUARY. PHILADELPHIA. In the Spirit of the Times John S. Du Solle reports that Poe “has just recovered in New York $225 and costs in an action for libel . . . . We regret to see Mr. Poe bring libel suits against authors, for with all his consummate ability he is not himself apt to speak mincingly of other writers.” [page 691:]

[1847] 19 FEBRUARY. SPRINGFIELD, OHIO. The Philosophian Society of Wittenberg College elects Poe to honorary membership (L, 2:523).

[1847] 21 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. Poe writes Horace Greeley, editor of the Daily Tribune, in Washington, enclosing this paper’s 19 February editorial: “When I first saw it I did not know you were in Washington and yet I said to myself — ‘this misrepresentation is not the work of Horace Greeley’.” In Godey’s Poe published “a literary criticism” on English, who retaliated by publicly accusing him of two criminal offenses. A court of law has established Poe’s innocence of “these foul accusations”; he now wishes to clear himself from two falsehoods circulated by the Tribune. Although Poe owes Greeley money, he knows that this editor would never accuse him of being unscrupulous in fulfilling his financial obligations: “The charge is horribly false — I have a hundred times left myself destitute of bread for myself and family that I might discharge debts.” Poe also did not “throw away the quill”; instead he wrote a reply to English which appeared in the Philadelphia Spirit of the Times. “The ‘columns of the Mirror’ were tendered to me — with a proviso that I should forego a suit and omit this passage and that passage, to suit the purposes of Mr Fuller.” The Tribune’s editorial does Poe “a vital injury,” because it bears Greeley’s reputation for “truth and love of justice.” He asks Greeley to disavow it (L, 2:344-46).

[1847] 21 FEBRUARY. LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS. Mrs. Jane Ermina Locke writes Poe, expressing sympathy and admiration (Poe’s reply, 10 March).

[1847] 21 FEBRUARY PHILLIPS, MAINE. George W. Eveleth replies to Poe’s 16 February letter. Before receiving it he had seen a notice of Virginia’s death in a Boston newspaper: “You will believe me when I say that I deeply sympathise with you in your loss.” On 20 January, the day after he mailed his last letter, Eveleth received the Home Journal for 9 January, containing Poe’s letter to Willis and Duyckinck’s article on Poe’s reputation in Europe. He is forwarding the Saturday Evening Post for 14 March 1846, which accuses Poe of plagiarizing The Conchologist’s First Book. “Will you inform me what is the substance of English’s letter published in the ‘Mirror,’ and when the affair is to be settled?” Eveleth wonders why Poe’s critique of Hawthorne has not appeared in Godey’s Lady’s Book; he describes several letters he exchanged with Louis A. Godey regarding the discontinuance of Poe’s “Literati” articles (Eveleth, pp. 13-14).

[1847] 21 FEBRUARY. WASHINGTON, GEORGIA. Thomas Holley Chivers writes Poe: “I received the paper [Home Journal for 9 January], containing your letter and the notice of your writings, some time ago. I was delighted with your letter — that is, with the idea that you had got well again . . . . [page 692:] If you will come to the South to live, I will take care of you as long as you live — although, if ever there was a perfect mystery on earth, you are one — and one of the most mysterious.” Some time ago he sent Poe “The Return from the Dead,” a manuscript tale: “Well, I wish you to look over it, and correct any error you may see in it, and envelope it, as at first, and direct it to Frederick W. Bartlett, Esqr., Atlanta, Ga.” Chivers’ friend Bartlett edits the Atlanta Luminary, a newspaper: “I will notice your poems in the next No. I have spoken to him of you, and he likes you” (Chivers [1957], pp. 69-71; facsimile in Damon, after p. 234).

[1847] AFTER 21 FEBRUARY. Chivers has Duyckinck’s article “An Author in Europe and America” reprinted in the Atlanta Enterprise, asking the paper’s editor Dr. William Henry Fonerden to send Poe this issue (Chivers to Poe, 4 April).

[1847] 22 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. J. Oakley, clerk of Superior Court, enters the verdict in Poe’s libel suit in the Judgment Record. The plaintiff has been awarded $225 for damages “and also the sum of One Hundred and One Dollars, and forty-two cents, for his said costs and charges . . . which said damages, costs and charges in the whole amount to Three Hundred and twenty-six Dollars and forty-eight cents” (Gravely, p. 654; also in Moss [1970], pp. 173-74).

[1847] 24 FEBRUARY. SPRINGFIELD, OHIO. J. F. Reinman and J. H. Walker of Wittenberg College write Poe that he has been elected an honorary member of the Philosophian Society (Poe’s reply, 11 March).

[1847] 24 FEBRUARY. CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow writes these verses in his journal: “In Hexameter sings serenely a Harvard Professor, / In Pentameter him damns censorious Poe” (Phillips, 2:1220).

[1847] 25 FEBRUARY. NEW YORK. Hiram Fuller writes Louis A. Godey in Philadelphia, discussing Poe’s suit against the Evening Mirror (cited catalog of American Autograph Shop, Merion Station, Pa. [April 1942], p. 111).

[1847] 27 FEBRUARY. The Weekly Mirror carries an installment of its new serial, Charles F. Briggs’s satiric novel The Trippings of Tom Pepper. Briggs describes a fictitious soiree at the home of “Lizzy Gilson,” a character based on Anne C. Lynch and Elizabeth F. Ellet; he introduces Poe as “the celebrated critic, Austin Wicks,” who is accompanied by “Mr. Ferocious” [Cornelius Mathews] and “Tibbings” [Evert A. Duyckinck]: [page 693:]

Mr. Wicks [Poe] entered the room like an automaton just set a going; he was a small man, with a very pale, small face, which terminated at a narrow point in the place of a chin; the shape of the lower part of his face gave to his head the appearance of a balloon, and as he had but little hair, his forehead had an intellectual appearance, but in that part of it which phrenologists appropriate for the home of the moral sentiments, it was quite flat . . . . Pauline was excessively amused at the monstrously absurd air of superiority with which this little creature carried himself, and was vexed with her sister Lizzy for receiving him with such marked respect. But the truth was, he had praised some of Lizzys verses, and had talked to her about spondees and dactyls until she thought him a miracle of learning. . . . Mr. Ferocious, and his follower, Mr. Tibbings, listened with open-mouthed admiration to Wicks, and declared he was the most profound critic of the age.

When refreshments are served, Wicks takes a glass of wine, becomes intoxicated, then abusive, and finally has to be escorted home. Briggs now introduces a distorted account of last year’s controversy over Mrs. Ellet’s letters. In this episode Wicks exhibits a letter from Lizzy “as an evidence that she had made improper advances to him.” Being threatened by one of her male relatives, he persuades “a good natured physician to give him a certificate to the effect that he was of unsound mind, and not responsible for his actions.” The installment is reprinted in the Evening Mirror, 4-5 March.

[1847] 27 FEBRUARY. In the Evening Mirror Hiram Fuller comments: “ ‘B.’ [Briggs?] wishes to know why we do not publish the whole of the testimony in Poe’s libel suit. We answer, because it involves a good deal of delicate matter, and introduces the names of several literary ladies, for whom we have too much respect to publish their names in the connection in which they unfortunately appear.”

[1847] LATE FEBRUARY? FORDHAM. Mrs. Clemm writes Marie Louise Shew in New York:

I write to say that the medicines arrived the next train after you left today, and a kind friend brought them up to us, that same hour — The cooling application was very grateful to my poor Eddie’s head, and the flowers were lovely, not “frozen” as you feared they would be. I very much fear this illness will be a serious one. The fever came on at the same time today as you said and I am giving the “sedative mixture”. He did not rouse to talk to Mr. C. [H. D. Chapin] as he would naturally do to so kind a friend — Eddie made me promise to write you a note about the wine (which I neglected to tell you about this morning.) He desires me to return the last box of wine you sent my sweet Virginia, (there being some left of the first package, which I will put away for any emergency) — The wine was a great blessing to us while she needed it, and by its cheering and tonic influence we were enabled to keep her a few days longer with us. [page 694:]

Mrs. Clemm expects Mrs. Shew to return “in an early train” tomorrow morning: “Eddie says you promised Virginia to come every other day, for a long time, or until he was able to go to work again. I hope and believe you will not fail him” (Miller [1977], pp. 23-24).

[1847] CA. MARCH. NEW YORK. Mrs. Shew takes Poe in a closed carriage to Dr. Valentine Mott of the New York University School of Medicine. She recalls: “I made my Diagnosis and went to the great Dr. Mott with it. I told him that at best when he was well Mr. Poe’s pulse beat only ten regular beats after which it suspended or intermitted (as Doctors say). I decided that in his best health, he had leasion [lesion] on one side of the brain, and as he could not bear stimulants or tonics, without producing insanity, I did not feel much hope, that he could be raised up from a brain fever, brought on by extreme suffering of mind and body . . . sedatives even had to be administered with caution” (Shew to J. H. Ingram, 23 January 1875, Miller [1977], pp. 92-94).

[1847] MARCH. The Columbian Magazine contains Poe’s sketch “The Domain of Arnheim,” an expansion of “The Landscape Garden.”

[1847] MARCH. The Democratic Review, now edited by Thomas Prentice Kettell, criticizes Wiley and Putnam’s “Library of American Books.” It would be better for the national literature if these publishers were to refrain from issuing an American series, “rather than put forth such imperfect efforts as those of Simms, Poe, Matthews [sic], Headl[e]y, and last and worst, [George B.] Cheever. . . . there is not one of these writers whose books really do honor to our letters.”

[1847] 3 MARCH. SAINT LOUIS. The Daily Reveille reports that Poe “has recovered in New York $225 and costs in an action for libel against the proprietors of the Evening Mirror” (Moss [1968], p. 21).

[1847] 3 MARCH. PHILADELPHIA. Carey & Hart publish Rufus W. Griswold’s The Prose Writers of America; the anthology contains “The Fall of the House of Usher,” reprinted from Poe’s Tales (1845). In a prefatory essay on American literature, Griswold reproduces his critique of Poe’s fiction originally published in the Washington National Intelligencer on 30 August 1845. The biographical sketch preceding “Usher,” based on that in The Poets and Poetry of America (1842), has been expanded to cover Poe’s career through 1845. Here Griswold briefly evaluates Poe’s achievements in three genres:

It is as a writer of tales that Mr. Poe has most reputation . . . A subtle power of analysis is his distinguishing characteristic, and the minuteness of detail and [page 695:] refinement of reasoning which he frequently displays in the anatomy of mystery give to his most improbable inventions a wonderful reality. . . . The analytical subtlety and the singular skill shown in the management of revolting and terrible circumstances in The Murders of the Rue Morgue produced a deep impression, and made this story perhaps the most popular that Mr. Poe has written. An equal degree of intellectual acuteness marks The Gold Bug and The Purloined Letter, which are more pleasing and scarcely less interesting. The Fall of the House of Usher is characterized by a sombre beauty of style, and is an instance of the power with which he paints a disease of the mind.

Griswold shares Poe’s regret, expressed in the preface to The Raven and other Poems, that events have prevented him from making a “serious effort” in poetry: “The Raven is imaginative and spiritual . . . . This and many of the minor pieces are pervaded by a touching sadness, and they are all more or less indicative of his habits of dreamy speculation.” Poe leaves much to be desired as a critic: “His chief skill lies in the dissection of sentences.”

[1847] 3 MARCH. In his diary Griswold records that his anthology was “published today” (Griswold [1898], p. 223).

[1847] 10 MARCH. FORDHAM. Poe replies to a 21 February letter from Mrs. Jane Ermina Locke of Lowell, Massachusetts, which he has “only this moment” received. He explains his tardiness in acknowledging her poem “An Invocation for Suffering Genius,” inspired by last December’s newspaper reports of his illness and poverty: “Your beautiful lines appeared at a time when I was indeed very ill, and might never have seen them but f[or th]e kindness of Mr Willis who enclosed them to me.” Poe had feared that if Mrs. Locke should see his letter to Willis in the Home Journal for 9 January, she would regret having written this poem: “my first impulse was to write you and assure you even at the risk of doing so too warmly of the sweet emotion made up of respect and gratitude alone with which, my heart was filled to overflowing. While I was hesitating, however, in regard to the propriety of this step — I w[as o]verwhelmed by a sorrow so poignant as to deprive me for several weeks of all power of thought or action.” Her letter, now lying before him, convinces him that he should not have hesitated to address her: “believe me, dear Mrs Locke, that I am alreading [already] ceasing to regard those difficulties as misfortune which have led me to even this partial correspondence” (L, 2:346-48; facsimile in Phillips, 2:1215-19).

[1847] 11 MARCH. Although Poe is “still quite sick and overwhelmed with business,” he takes “a few moments” to reply to Eveleth’s 21 February letter. Because of “law technicalities” the editorial in the Saturday Evening Post accusing him of plagiarizing The Conchologist’s First Book is not actionable; [page 696:] he nonetheless will make this paper retract “by some means.” Poe’s suit against the Evening Mirror has ended with a verdict in his favor. He encloses his 10 July 1846 “Reply to Mr. English,” which will enable Eveleth to understand the nature of English’s slanders: “The vagabond, at the period of the suit’s coming on, ran off to Washington for fear of being criminally prosecuted.” Poe does not know why his article on Hawthorne has not appeared in Godey’s Lady’s Book; he has “no business to ask about it,” since Godey paid for it upon acceptance (L, 2:348-49).

[1847] 11 MARCH. Poe replies to a 24 February letter from J. F. Reinman and J. H. Walker of Springfield, Ohio, notifying him that he has been elected an honorary member of the Philosophian Society of Wittenberg College: “May I now beg you to express to your society my grateful acceptance and appreciation of the honor they have conferred on me?” (L, 2:349-50).

[1847] 13 MARCH. NEW YORK. In the Home Journal Morris and Willis publish “To M. L. S——,” Poe’s poetic tribute to Mrs. Shew, with this introduction: “The following seems said over a hand clasped in the speaker’s two. It is by Edgar A. Poe, and is evidently the pouring out of a very deep feeling of gratitude.”

[1847] 15 MARCH. Edward J. Thomas writes Mrs. Osgood in Philadelphia:

You know the result of Poe’s suit vs Fuller. It went as I thought it would for I always believed the article a libel in reality. I had strong apprehension that your name would come out under English’s affidavit [sic] in a way I would not like for I believed Poe had told him things (when they were friends) that English would sweare to; but they left the names blank in reading his testimony so that a “Mrs —” and “a merchant in Broad St” were all the Jury knew, except on the latter point which I made clear by swearing on the stand that I was “the merchant in Broad St”. I got fifty cents as a witness for which sum I swore that Poe frequently “got drunk” and that was all I could afford to sweare to for fifty cents.

Poor Poe — he has lost his wife — his home — may the folly of the past make him contrite for the future — may he live to be what he can be if he has but the will. He is now alone & his good or his evil will not so much afflict others (MB-G).

[1847] 20 MARCH. The Home Journal reports: “EDGAR A. POE is preparing for the press a series of ‘The Authors of America’ — in prose and verse.”

[1847] 21 MARCH. The Sunday Dispatch reports: “The Philadelphia Galaxy promises another action growing out of Mr. Poe’s suit against the Mirror, in which several literary ladies will figure” (Moss [1970], pp. 204-05).

[1847] 24 MARCH. In the Evening Mirror Hiram Fuller copies this unfounded report from the Dispatch, commenting: “We shouldn’t wonder. Mr. Poe [page 697:] and his lawyer having made so good a speculation by their infamous prosecution of the Mirror, will very naturally be tempted to try their hand upon some other victim.”

[1847] 28 MARCH. FORDHAM. Poe writes his attorney Enoch L. Fancher: “Mrs. Maria Clemm is hereby authorized to receive the amount of damages lately awarded in my suit, conducted by yourself, against the proprietors of the New-York Evening Mirror, and to give a receipt for the same” (L, 2:716).

[1847] CA. APRIL. Poe composes a poem “The Beloved Physician” for Mrs. Shew. Learning that he has been offered $20 for it, she purchases it for $25 to prevent its publication: “every body would know, who it was [addressed to], and it was so very personal and complimentary I dreaded the ordeal” (Mrs. Shew to J. H. Ingram, 23 January 1875, Miller [1977], pp. 92-94; Mabbott [1969], 1:401-04).

[1847] APRIL. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s Lady’s Book contains a ten-stanza panegyric “To Edgar A. Poe” by “The Lynn Bard” [Alonzo Lewis of Lynn, Massachusetts]:

I read thy “Song of the Raven,” Poe:

The thrilling notes of its magic flow

Sunk into my heart, like the summer rain

In the thirsty earth, till it glowed again.

 

When I read the first lines of that wondrous song,

That doth to a brighter world belong,

I said — no poet of Freedom’s land

On the summit of such a height can stand. . . .

 

Another verse, and I seemed to stand

On the verge of limitless Fairy Land,

While spirits were passing to and fro,

And the earth lay far and dark below. . . .

 

Could I have my choice of the treasured lore

Of classic land, I would give more

The author of that strange song to be,

Than of volumes of unread casuistry. . . .

 

A thousand brilliant years may flit,

And still that classic bird will sit,

As he sat in the golden days of yore,

On the bust of Pallas above the door.

[1847] 4 APRIL. WASHINGTON, GEORGIA. Thomas Holley Chivers writes Poe, who has not replied to his 21 February letter: “Are you in the Cave of [page 698:] Trophonius, or where, that I cannot get the mere scratch of a pen from you?” Chivers has had “the Home-Journal-Article” reprinted in the Atlanta Enterprise: “You will see a Poem on you in the next No . . . which will show you what I think of you. I wrote you to send ‘The Return from the Dead,’ to Bartlette of the Luminary; but if you have not sent it to him, send it to Dr Wm Henry Fonerden, of the ‘Atlanta Enterprise’ . . . . I have made you an ocean of friends since I saw you last.” Chivers plans to arrive in New York on 1 May: “if you don’t write to me before then, you may expect to be passed in the street without ever being recognized by me” (Chivers [1957], pp. 71-73).

[1847] 14 APRIL. STONEHAVEN, SCOTLAND. Arch Ramsay replies to Poe’s 30 December 1846 letter. He has been unable to identify any persons “of the name of Allan” who might be related to Poe: “There are a good number of the name here & hereabout, & I have made enquiry at all of them I could find but none of them appear to be connected with the families or place you mention.” As a believer in mesmerism, Ramsay regrets that Poe could not give a more conclusive answer to his 30 November 1846 letter: “The Pamphlet on Valdemar is published in your name as the sole conductor & operator in the case so that I thought you could at once affirm or deny it, but from the tenor of your letter to me this appears not to be the fact” (W, 17:284-85).

[1847] BEFORE MAY. NEW YORK. Poe visits Mrs. Marie Louise Shew’s home at 47 Bond Street, near Washington Square (Poe to Shew, May).

[1847] MAY SATURDAY NIGHT. Mrs. Shew writes Poe, inviting him to select furnishings for the new house of her uncle, the attorney Hiram Barney, at 51 Tenth Street, west of Fifth Avenue (Poe’s reply; see also Ingram, p. 361, and Phillips, 2:1267-69).

[1847] MAY SUNDAY NIGHT. FORDHAM. Poe replies to Mrs. Shew: “Nothing for months, has given me so much real pleasure, as your note of last night. I have been engaged all day on some promised work — otherwise I should have replied immediately as my heart inclined. . . . How kind of you to let me do even this small service for you, in return for the great debt I owe you. . . . I know I can please you in the purchases.” When Poe first visited Marie Louise Shew’s home, he was immediately impressed by its decoration: “I wondered that a little country maiden like you had developed so classic a taste & atmosphere. Please present my kind regards to your uncle & say that I am at his service any or every day this week” (L, 2:350-51).

[1847] MAY? Poe writes Hiram Barney (cited L, 2:617). [page 699:]

The Poe cottage at Fordham [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 699, middle]
 
The Poe cottage at Fordham

[1847] 8 MAY. NEW YORK. In the Literary World the publishers announce that Charles Fenno Hoffman has become the weekly’s editor, replacing Evert A. Duyckinck.

[1847] BEFORE 29 MAY. PHILADELPHIA. Carey & Hart publish the eighth edition of Rufus W. Griswold’s The Poets and Poetry of America, now significantly revised and enlarged for the first time since it appeared in 1842. The volume contains two new selections from Poe, “The Raven” and “The Conqueror Worm,” as well as the three poems included in the original edition (“The Coliseum,” “The Haunted Palace,” and “The Sleeper”).

[1847] 29 MAY. NEW YORK. The Literary World carries an advertisement for Griswold’s anthology.

[1847] CA. JUNE. FORDHAM. Some of Poe’s friends and admirers spend the day at his cottage; the party includes Professor Cotesworth P. Bronson, a lecturer on elocution, and his daughter Mary Elizabeth, then only a schoolgirl. Mary describes the occasion, recalling that she had expected Poe to be “grave and melancholy”:

We saw Mr. Poe walking in his yard, and most agreeably was I surprised to see a very handsome and elegant-appearing gentleman, who welcomed us with a [page 700:] quiet, cordial, and graceful politeness that ill accorded with my imaginary sombre poet. I dare say I looked the surprise I felt, for I saw an amused look on his face as I raised my eyes a second time, to be assured that his were the handsomest hazel eyes I ever saw. . . .

Mrs. Clem[m] — Poe’s mother-in-law — whose face bore the traces of many sorrows, but who was always refined and ladylike, met us on the veranda. I noticed, in speaking to Mr. Poe, she always called him Eddie; and in her voice and actions showed all a mother’s love. . . . They kept no servant, but the house was a model of neatness and order; the parlor floor was covered with matting, and was simply furnished. A round table, with writing materials, some magazines, a few books, light chairs, and a pretty French print of a young girl hanging on the wall completed the furniture of the room. . . .

After dinner, we all walked along the banks of the Bronx, Mr. Poe pointing out his favorite ramble, where he was seldom interrupted, saying he liked it even on a rainy day. Tired with the walk, we sat under the trees, and while the gentlemen criticized the new books of the day and their authors, the ladies listened in admiring silence for the most part. Mr. Poe spoke much and well of the science of composition, more particularly of his own style — of “The Raven” — mentioning that he had recently written an article for one of the magazines on this subject. As a critic, I thought him severe to himself as well as others of whom he spoke . . . .

Among a number of other authoresses mentioned by Mr. Poe, was the name of Mrs. Osgood. Her poetry was characterized as sometimes careless, but always graceful and natural . . . . In one of the pauses of this pleasant talk, one of the ladies placed on the head of the poet an oak-leaf wreath; and as he stood beneath the tree, half in the shade, the sun’s rays glancing through the dark-green leaves, and lighting up his broad white forehead, with a pleasant, gratified smile on his face, my memory recalls a charming picture of the poet, then in his best days (Mary’s 1860 reminiscence, Laverty [1948], pp. 165-66).

[1847] JUNE OR LATER. NEW YORK. Poe and Mrs. Clemm visit Professor Bronson and his daughter. Accompanied by Bronson, Poe goes “to the daguerreian’s,” where he sits for a daguerreotype (Mary’s reminiscence, pp. 166-67).

[The daguerreotype taken at this sitting may have been the one formerly owned by the playwright Augustin Daly, which was sold at auction in 1903, but is now unlocated (information supplied by Michael J. Deas, from his forthcoming book on Poe portraiture; cf. carte de visite used as frontispiece in Allen).]

[1847] 5 JUNE. The Literary World reviews Thomas Dunn English’s 1844, or, The Power of the “S.F,” now issued as a book bearing the author’s name. The novel “attracted no little attention when published as a feuilleton in the New York Mirror, and its present cheap form is probably destined to still more general circulation.” [page 701:]

[1847] 7 JUNE. Poe visits the office of the Evening Mirror, corner of Nassau and Ann Streets. In the afternoon the paper carries Hiram Fuller’s reaction:

PRENEZ GARDE, CHRONY — We regret to learn that the bold, clever, and rather reckless editor of the Boston Chronotype has been sued for a libel. He had better apologize and compromise at once. We speak from experience — having now before our eyes a document (which we intend to frame and hang up in our sanctum as a perpetual caution) showing the utter folly of trusting for justice to the law . . . . The interesting document we allude to certifies that we have paid to Edgar A. Poe and his attorney, E. L. Fancher, the sum of three hundred and fifty-three dollars . . . .

Since writing the above we have had a striking demonstration of the truth of our remarks: the poor wretch [Poe] who succeeded by aid of the law and a sharp attorney in filching our money, staggered into our publishing office this morning, clad in a decent suit of black, which had doubtless been purchased by the money so infamously obtained, and behaved himself in so indecent a manner that we were compelled to send for a posse of the police to take him away.

The last that we heard him say, as they took him up Nassau street, was something about home, and we suppose that he wanted to go to his friend [Willis] of the Home Journal, who a short time since proposed founding an Asylum for used-up authors. Poor wretch! We looked upon him with sincere pity, and forgave him all the wrong he had done us, only reserving our wrath for the instruments which give such people power to inflict injury upon innocent victims.

[1847] 24 JUNE. Evert A. Duyckinck writes in his diary: “With Mathews, visited Poe at Fordham whom the wondrous Mrs Clem[m] has domiciliated in a neat cottage near a rock overlooking the pretty valley with its St John’s College of Jesuits, contiguous hill and forest, the Sound and the blue distance of Long Island. The purity of the air, delicious. At night the whole agreeable impression of the afternoon reversed by dreams, into which it might have been supposed Poe had put an infusion of his Mons Valdemar with the green tea, the probable cause of them. All the evil I had ever heard of him took bodily shape in a series of most malignant scenes” (Yannella, p. 223).

[Many years later Cornelius Mathews described this occasion in a letter to J. C. Derby: “There was quite a little party gathered to take tea with Poe and his mother-in-law and aunt, Mrs. Clemm. When we were summoned into the supper-room we found to the open-eyed wonder of the company, the floor laid with a brand-new rag carpet, an ample table, sumptuous with delicacies, and Mrs. Clemm at the head of the table, decanting, from a new silver-plated urn, amber coffee, which glowed as it fell in the light of the setting sun. All this was in strong contravention of Poe’s proclaimed abject poverty, unless observers had brought to mind that the equipage represented in part of the proceeds of a libel suit collected by the poet in the previous week from Hiram Fuller, editor of the Evening Mirror” (Derby, pp. 588-89).] [page 702:]

[1847] 30 JUNE. Rufus W. Griswold writes in his diary: “In the street today met Poe, who was extremely civil” (Griswold [1898], p. 230).

[1847] JULY. The Union Magazine, edited by Mrs. Caroline M. Kirkland, commences publication.

[1847] EARLY JULY. PHILLIPS, MAINE. George W. Eveleth replies to a letter from George H. Colton, editor of the American Review. Eveleth would be willing to subscribe to Colton’s monthly, except that in the near future he expects to subscribe to a magazine conducted by Poe. He inquires why Poe’s essay “The Rationale of Verse” has not appeared in the Review (Colton to Eveleth, 24 July; Eveleth to Poe, 27 July 1847 and 11 January 1848).

[1847] 3 JULY. PARIS. La Démocratie pacifique publishes “Fragment d’Eiros et Charmion,” a translation of Poe’s tale by Isabelle Meunier (Seylaz, p. 43).

[1847] 24 JULY. NEW YORK. Colton replies to Eveleth: “As to Poe’s Journal — supposing you take my Review at $4, a year, till his appears; — candidly I do not at all believe you will see a Magazine from him this four years — a mere literary Maga. cannot live — I understand the matter perfectly . . . . Mr. Poe’s MS was so long I could not publish it” (Eveleth to Poe, 11 January 1848).

[1847] 27 JULY. PHILLIPS, MAINE. Eveleth answers Poe’s 11 March letter. He explains that he delayed his reply in the hope of being able to discuss Poe’s critique of Hawthorne and his “Rationale of Verse,” but neither article has been published. On 30 January Louis A. Godey wrote Eveleth that the notice of Hawthorne would soon appear in the Lady’s Book: “his ‘soon’ seems to embrace quite a period of time.” Colton wrote him “about three weeks since,” but failed to mention “The Rationale of Verse.” Although Poe’s “Reply to Mr. English” needed to be severe, it is not altogether in good taste: “In some instances you have come down too nearly on a level with English himself. . . . You laid yourself liable to be laughed at by answering in such a spirit, more than you would have done if you had kept calm . . . . do you think proper to hint to me what the ‘terrible evil’ is which caused those ‘irregularities so profoundly lamented’?” Eveleth inquires about Poe’s forthcoming magazine, the Stylus (Eveleth, pp. 14-16).

[1847] AFTER 27 JULY. Eveleth receives Colton’s 24 July letter. Questioning the reason given for “the non-appearance” of “The Rationale of Verse,” Eveleth writes him, reminding him of the space accorded a critique of Joel T. Headley’s Washington and his Generals in his May number, “which article contained 17 pages, the principal part extract” (Eveleth to Poe, 11 January 1848). [page 703:]

[1847] 31 JULY. NEW YORK. The Literary World notices the book publication of Charles F. Briggs’s Trippings of Tom Pepper: “meditating over the author’s life-like sketches of character, we could not help, despite the disclaimer of all personalities in his preface, questioning whether his means of giving such verisimilitude was perfectly fair and above-board; whether, in fact, his book was not a gallery of portraits of well-known living people.”

[1847] LATE JULY? WASHINGTON. Poe visits the capital, where he sees his friend Frederick William Thomas as well as Charles Eames, former editor of the New World (suggested by Poe to Thomas, 14 February 1849).

[1847] LATE JULY? VIRGINIA, NEAR WASHINGTON. Poe attends the commencement of the Episcopal High School: “In the year 1847, while the final exercises were going on out under the trees, Edgar Allan Poe was seen standing near the rostrum. He had come out to the school from Alexandria with a party of friends. But when he was discovered he was at once the object of universal attention and obligingly went forward and recited ‘The Raven’, to the delight of all who were present” (Goodwin, 2:420).

[1847] LATE JULY. PHILADELPHIA. Poe takes lodgings in William Arbuckle’s Western Hotel, 288 High (or Market) Street. He calls on Louis A. Godey and on Robert T. Conrad, who is now sharing the editorial duties of Graham’s Magazine with George R. Graham. Later he sees Graham himself, who is just leaving for the summer resort at Cape May, New Jersey (Godey to Eveleth, 6 August; Poe to Conrad, 10 and 31 August).

[1847] 6 AUGUST. Godey replies to a letter from Eveleth, who asked him to publish Poe’s critique of Hawthorne in the Lady’s Book: “I assure you that ‘Hawthorne’ has been in the printer’s hands for three months — your letter acted as a hint, and I have sent to the office, commanding its insertion in either the Oct. or Nov. number — Mr. Poe has been on here — but it were better for his fame to have staid away. I don’t like to say much about him — he called on me quite sober — but I have heard from him elsewhere, when he was not so” (Eveleth to Poe, 11 January 1848).

[1847] 10 AUGUST. NEW YORK. Poe writes Robert T. Conrad:

Permit me to thank you, in the first place, very sincerely, for your considerate kindness to me while in Philadelphia. Without your aid, at the precise moment and in the precise manner in which you rendered it, it is more than probable that I should not now be alive to write you this letter. Finding myself exceedingly ill — so much so that I had no hope except in getting home immediately — I made several attempts to see Mr Graham and at last saw him for a few minutes just as [page 704:] he was about returning to Cape May. He was very friendly — more so than I have ever known him, and requested me to write continuously for the Mag. As you were not present, however, and it was uncertain when I could see you, I obtained an advance of $10 from Mr G. in order that I might return home at once.

Poe hopes that Conrad can give him a prompt decision on the two articles he left at Graham’s Magazine: “Should you take both, it will render me, just now, the most important service. I owe Mr G. about $50. The articles, at the old price ($4 per page) will come to $90 — so that, if you write me that they are accepted, I propose to draw on Mr G. for $40 — thus squaring our account” (L, 2:351-52).

[One of the articles was probably “The Rationale of Verse.” On 4 January 1848 Poe wrote Eveleth that he “sold it to ‘Graham’ at a round advance on Colton’s price.”]

[1847] 17 AUGUST. Williamson & Burns, publishers of the Weekly Universe, reply to a letter from Eveleth, who inquired about Poe’s drinking habits and his proposed Stylus:

Edgar A. Poe, in the estimation of the editors of the “Universe,” holds a high rank, regarded either as an elegant tale-writer, a poet, or a critic. He will be more fairly judged after his death than during his life. His habits have been shockingly irregular, but what amendment they have undergone within the past six months we cannot say, for Mr. Poe, during that time, has been in the country — we know him personally — he is a gentleman — a man of fine taste and of warm impulses, with a generous heart. The little eccentricities of his character are never offensive except when he is drunk. We do not hear that he has any enterprise of the description intimated by you, in hand. A Magazine conducted as he is capable of conducting a Magazine, could hardly fail of success (Eveleth to Poe, 11 January 1848).

[1847] 31 AUGUST. Poe writes Conrad, who has not replied to his 10 August letter: “I can only suppose that my letter has not reached you — or, at all events, that, in the press of other business, you have forgotten it and me.” He repeats his request for a prompt answer “about the two articles” (L, 2:352).

[1847] SEPTEMBER. Returning to New York after an absence, Professor Cotesworth P. Bronson and his daughter Mary Elizabeth see Poe and Mrs. Clemm again. Mary recalls Mrs. Clemm as “looking very anxious,” but speaking “hopefully of what Eddie could do if he only could obtain some regular employment worthy of his abilities.” Professor Bronson asks Poe to compose a poem for him, which he could recite when lecturing on elocution (Laverty [1948], p. 167). [page 705:]

[1847] 4 SEPTEMBER. BUFFALO, NEW YORK. The Western Literary Messenger reports: “Edwin Forrest offers a liberal opportunity for the production of something worthy of American literature . . . proposing to give the sum of three thousand dollars for the best original tragedy, in five acts, the production of an American Citizen; or in case no good acting play should be produced, one thousand dollars for the best tragedy sent in” (Chivers [1957], p. 75).

[1847] 9 SEPTEMBER. NEW YORK. Evert A. Duyckinck writes in his diary: “Forrest’s offer of $3000 for a new tragedy to suit him, or $1000 for the best sent in, if he does not act it will probably consume a great deal of paper by the American Poets. Poe to day in town wonder struck wanting to know if there was really such an offer” (Yannella, p. 236).

[1847] 23-24 SEPTEMBER. PARIS. La Démocratie pacifcque publishes Poe’s “Une descente au Maelstrom,” translated by Isabelle Meunier, in two installments (Seylaz, p. 43).

[1847] CA. OCTOBER. FORDHAM. Miss Anna Blackwell boards at the Poe cottage.

[In her Edgar Poe and his Critics (1860), pp. 30-32, Sarah Helen Whitman gave an account of the cottage related to her by an unnamed English authoress: “It was at the time bordered by a flower-garden, whose clumps of rare dahlias and brilliant beds of fall flowers showed, in the careful culture bestowed upon them, the fine floral taste of the inmates. . . . He [Poe] had some rare tropical birds in cages, which he cherished and petted with assiduous care. . . . A favourite cat, too, enjoyed his friendly patronage, and often when he was engaged in composition it seated itself on his shoulder, purring as in complacent approval of the work proceeding under its supervision.” In her 17 April 1874 letter to J. H. Ingram, Mrs. Whitman identified her informant as Anna Blackwell: “She was in very delicate health at the time, & a friend of hers [Mary Gove] who chanced to know Mrs. Clemm prevailed upon that lady to receive her as a boarder for a few weeks” (Miller [1979], p. 124; see also pp. 162, 234-35, 246, 255).]

[1847] CA. OCTOBER. NEW YORK. Mary Elizabeth Bronson encounters Mrs. Clemm, who tells her “that Mr. Poe had written a beautiful poem — better than anything before” (Laverty [1948], p. 167).

first page of manuscript for Ulalume [thumbnail]

[Illustration on page 706]
 
“Ulalume”

[1847] CA. OCTOBER. FORDHAM. Poe writes Professor Cotesworth P. Bronson in New York: “I wish to ascertain if the poem which, at your suggestion, I have written, is of the len[g]th, the character &c you desire: — if not I will write another and dispose of this one to Mrs Kirkland. Cannot Miss [page 707:] Bronson and yourself, pay us a visit at Fordham — say this afternoon or tomorrow?” (Mabbott [1969], 1:412; see also Moldenhauer [1973], pp. 64-65).

[1847] CA. OCTOBER. NEW YORK. Professor Bronson is unable to visit Fordham; Poe therefore delivers the poem to his home. Bronson being out, his daughter Mary Elizabeth receives the manuscript from Poe: “I asked if I might read it. He not only assented, but opened the roll, which consisted of leaves of paper wafered neatly together, and I noticed then and afterward that the writing was beautifully distinct and regular, almost like engraving. It was the ‘Ballad of Ulalume.’ He made one or two remarks in regard to the ideas intended to be embodied, answering my questions while he read it to me, and expressing his own entire satisfaction with it” (Laverty [1948], pp. 167-68).

[1847] CA. OCTOBER. Poe submits “Ulalume” to Mrs. Caroline M. Kirkland, editor of the Union Magazine. She asks the rising poet Richard Henry Stoddard to read the poem. “After complying with her request, he told her, he could not understand it.” She returns it to Poe (Derby, p. 597).

[1847] 15 OCTOBER. George H. Colton replies to Eveleth’s letter of inquiry: “I hope Mr. Poe has done drinking — I don’t think he has drank any thing this long time. He is living in a quiet way out in the beautiful county of Westchester” (Eveleth to Poe, 11 January 1848).

[1847] CA. NOVEMBER. FORDHAM. Mary Gove visits the Poe cottage, accompanied by several other literati. She recalls:

We strolled away into the woods, and had a very cheerful time, till some one proposed a game at leaping. I think it must have been Poe, as he was expert in the exercise. Two or three gentlemen agreed to leap with him, and though one of them was tall, and had been a hunter in times past, Poe still distanced them all. But alas! his gaiters, long worn and carefully kept, were both burst in the grand leap that made him victor. . . . I pitied Poe more now. I was certain he had no other shoes, boots, or gaiters. Who amongst us could offer him money to buy a new pair? . . . When we reached the cottage, I think all felt that we must not go in, to see the shoeless unfortunate sitting or standing in our midst. . . . The poor old mother looked at his feet, with a dismay that I shall never forget.

Mrs. Gove tells Mrs. Clemm “the cause of the mishap”; they then have a private conversation in the kitchen. Mrs. Clemm asks her to persuade George H. Colton to purchase “Ulalume” for the American Review: “If he will only take the poem, Eddie can have a pair of shoes. He [Colton] has it — I carried it [to him] last week, and Eddie says it is his best. You will speak to him about it, won’t you?” Mrs. Gove readily consents, although [page 708:] she has reservations that she does not express to Mrs. Clemm: “We had already read the poem in conclave, and Heaven forgive us, we could not make head or tail to it. It might as well have been in any of the lost languages, for any meaning we could extract from its melodious numbers. I remember saying that I believed it was only a hoax that Poe was passing off for poetry, to see how far his name would go in imposing upon people” (Nichols [1863], pp. 9-11).

[1847] CA. NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. Colton accepts “Ulalume,” paying for it immediately. The purchase price is sufficient for “a pair of gaiters, and twelve shillings over” (Nichols [1863], p. 11).

[1847] NOVEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. Godey’s Lady’s Book contains Poe’s critique “Tale-Writing — Nathaniel Hawthorne.”

[1847] NOVEMBER. EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND. Blackwood’s Magazine contains a nineteen-page critique of Wiley and Putnam’s “Library of American Books.” After briefly dismissing Cornelius Mathews’ Big Abel and the Little Manhattan as “heinous trash;” the reviewer condemns the “superfluous and futile” pleas for “Americanism in Literature” voiced in William Gilmore Simms’s Views and Reviews and Margaret Fuller’s Papers on Literature and Art. He regards Hawthorne as a serious writer of high merit, devoting some five pages to Mosses from an Old Manse. Poe is accorded equal space, though the verdict on his Tales seems less favorable:

No one can read these tales, then close the volume, as he may with a thousand other tales, and straightway forget what manner of book he has been reading. Commonplace is the last epithet that can be applied to them. They are strange — powerful — more strange than pleasing . . . . In fine, one is not sorry to have read these tales; one has no desire to read them twice.

They are not framed according to the usual manner of stories. On each occasion, it is something quite other than the mere story that the author has in view, and which has impelled him to write. In one, he is desirous of illustrating La Place’s doctrine of probabilities as applied to human events. In another he displays his acumen in unravelling or in constructing a tangled chain of circumstantial evidence. In a third (“The Black Cat”) he appears at first to aim at rivalling the fantastic horrors of Hoffman, but you soon observe that the wild and horrible invention in which he deals, is strictly in the service of an abstract idea which it is there to illustrate. His analytic observation has led him, he thinks, to detect in men’s minds an absolute spirit of “perversity,” prompting them to do the very opposite of what reason and mankind pronounce to be right, simply because they do pronounce it to be right. The punishment of this sort of diabolic spirit of perversity, he brings about by a train of circumstances as hideous, incongruous, and absurd, as the sentiment itself.

There is, in the usual sense of the word, no passion in these tales, neither is [page 709:] there any attempt made at dramatic dialogue. . . . The style, too, has nothing peculiarly commendable; and when the embellishments of metaphor and illustration are attempted, they are awkward, strained, infelicitous. But the tales rivet the attention. There is a marvellous skill in putting together the close array of facts and of details which make up the narrative . . . . In one of his papers he describes the Mahlström, or what he chooses to imagine the Mahlström may be, and by dint of this careful and De Foe-like painting, the horrid whirlpool is so placed before the mind, that we feel as if we had seen, and been down into it.

[1847] 12 NOVEMBER. NEW YORK. Writing in the office of the Home Journal, Nathaniel P. Willis replies to a communication from Poe: “I could not find time possibly to go to the concert, but why did you not send the paragraph yourself. You knew of course that it would go in.” Not long ago Willis received a letter from Rosalie Poe in Richmond, inquiring about her brother’s whereabouts: “supposing you had mov’d, I could not inform her. You seem as neglectful of your sister as I am of mine, but private letters are ‘the last ounce that breaks the camel’s back’ of a literary man” (MB-G; dating demonstrated by Reece [1954], p. 82).

[1847] 23 NOVEMBER. PHILLIPS, MAINE. George W. Eveleth writes Evert A. Duyckinck in New York. He praises Duyckinck’s article on Poe in the Home Journal for 9 January:

I thank you for this kindly speaking of my favorite one while “pestered and annoyed by those miserable penny-a-liners.”

Where is Mr. Poe — what is he doing — and what is he likely to do? — He has promised me several times that I should have the privilege of taking a monthly magazine — “The Stylus” — conducted by himself. . . . I know he is competent so far as talent, tact, and genius are concerned — but am afraid those irregularities of his, as well as a want of money, will prevent.

Does he continue to drink hard yet, or has he reformed, as Mr. Colton of Am. Review — tells me he is in hopes he has? Mr. Colton informed me in his last letter that Mr. Poe resides in the County of Westchester, but didn’t name the town. . . .

Mr. Colton has made me agent for the distribution of his Review — but I have been tarrying somewhat, a little in hopes that Mr. Poe’s promise would be fulfilled, as I had rather work for his “Stylus” than for the Review.

Do you think proper to answer this medley? I would especially like to know where Mr. Poe is, so that I can write him (Eveleth, p. 24).

[1847] CA. 25 NOVEMBER. FORDHAM. Poe sends “An Enigma” to a magazine, probably Mrs. Kirkland’s Union Magazine. This acrostic sonnet conceals the name Sarah Anna Lewis.

[1847] 27 NOVEMBER. Poe writes Mrs. Lewis in Brooklyn: “A thousand thanks for your repeated kindness, and, above all, for the comforting and cheering words of your note.” He accepts her advice “as a command” which neither [page 710:] his heart nor his reason could disobey. “A day or two ago I sent to one of the Magazines the sonnet enclosed. Its tone is somewhat too light; but it embodies a riddle which I wish to put you to the trouble of expounding” (L, 2:352-53).

[1847] DECEMBER. NEW YORK. The American Review contains Poe’s “Ulalume: A Ballad,” preceded by the dedication “To —— —— ——,” The poem is unsigned, in keeping with the magazine’s practice when publishing poetry.

[In his dedication Poe was almost certainly thinking of Sarah Anna Lewis or Marie Louise Shew, or of a formula which would gratify both.]

[1847] 1 DECEMBER. George H. Colton, editor of the Review, dies at age twenty-nine. He is succeeded by James D. Whelpley.

[1847] 8 DECEMBER. FORDHAM. Poe writes Willis, thanking him for his “note of three or four weeks ago’ [presumably the 12 November letter]. Poe is forwarding this month’s American Review, which contains his “Ulalume.” Although he does not wish “to be known as its author just now,” he would be grateful if Willis would reprint it in the Home Journal, “with a word of inquiry as to who wrote it” (L, 2:718).

[1847] BEFORE 12 DECEMBER. PHILLIPS, MAINE. Eveleth writes Williamson & Burns, publishers of the Weekly Universe. Apparently, he informs them that Poe has stopped drinking and suggests that they support the Stylus (12 December reply).

[1847] 12 DECEMBER. NEW YORK. Under the heading “To Correspondents” the Weekly Universe carries this reply: “G. W. E. — Phillips Me. We don’t know where the gentleman you inquire for, is residing; but are glad to hear from you, that he is so careful of himself. The enterprise you suggest might do, but we are too busy to undertake it” (Eveleth, pp. 19, 25).

[1847] CA. 15 DECEMBER. PHILADELPHIA. The John-Donkey, a satiric weekly edited by Thomas Dunn English and George G. Foster, commences publication. The first number, dated 1 January 1848, contains this oblique allusion to Poe’s drinking: “A NICE JOB. We understand that Mr. E. A. POE has been employed to furnish the railing for the new railroad over Broadway. He was seen going up street a few days ago, apparently laying out the road.”

[1847] 17 DECEMBER. BROOKLYN. In the Daily Eagle Walt Whitman welcomes the initiative number’ of the John-Donkey, “a new quarto illustrated [page 711:] journal of humor and drive-away-careism.” As a sample of the magazine’s humor — “the real coarse, but deep, true stuff” — Whitman reprints the fictitious report of Poe’s current employment.

[1847] 24 DECEMBER. NEW YORK. On Christmas Eve Poe accompanies Marie Louise Shew and “a Lady friend” to a midnight service conducted by Reverend William Augustus Muhlenberg. Mrs. Shew recalls:

He [Poe] went with us, followed the service like a “churchman”, looking directly towards the chancel, and holding one side of my prayer book, sang the psalms with us, and to my astonishment struck up a tenor to our sopranos and, got along nicely during the first part of the sermon, which was on the subject of the sympathies of our Lord, to our wants. The passage being often repeated, “He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” He begged me to stay quiet that he would wait for me outside, and he rushed out, too excited to stay. I knew he would not leave us to return home alone, (altho’ my friend thought it doubtful), and so after the sermon as I began to feel anxious (as we were in a strange church) I looked back and saw his pale face, and as the congregation rose to sing the Hymn, “Jesus Saviour of my soul,” he appeared at my side, and sang the Hymn, without looking at the book, in a fine clear tenor. . . . I did not dare to ask him why he left, but he mentioned after we got home, that the subject “was marvelously handled, and ought to have melted many hard hearts” and ever after this he never passed Doctor Muhlenbergs 20th St. Free Church without going in (letter to J. H. Ingram, ca. 15 April 1875, Miller [1977], pp. 132-33).

[1847] 1847. Thomas Dunn English’s 1843 temperance novel containing a hostile caricature of Poe is published as a book by William B. Smith & Co., its title altered to Walter Woolfe; or, The Doom of the Drinker.

[1847] 1847? PARIS. The French poet Charles Baudelaire encounters several of Poe’s stories in translation. Excited by his discovery, he begins to collect Poe’s publications in English (P. F. Quinn, pp. 14-15, 70-72, 87).

[1847] LATE 1847? NEW YORK. “The Raven” is reprinted in the Literary Annual for 1848 (Heartman and Canny, p. 116).

[1847] LATE 1847? FORDHAM. Mrs. Shew is repelled by Sarah Anna Lewis:

Mr. Poe was indebted to her [Mrs. Lewis], that is, she paid Mrs. Clemm in advance, when they were needy, and poor Poe had to notice her writings, and praise them. He expressed to me the great mortification it was to him, and I child like I hated the fat gaudily dressed woman whom I often found sitting in Mrs. Clemm’s little kitchen, waiting to see the man of genius, who had rushed out to escape her, to the fields and forest — or to the grounds of the Catholic school in the vicinity. I remember Mrs. C[lemm] sending me after him in great secrecy one day & I found him sitting on a favorite rock muttering his desire to die, and get rid of Literary bores (Shew to J. H, Ingram, 3 April 1875, Miller [1977], p. 120).

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:1 - TPL, 1987] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Bookshelf - The Poe Log (D. R. Thomas and D. K. Jackson) (Chapter 09 [Part 02])