Text: James A. Harrison, “Editor’s Preface [Chapter 12],” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, Vol. XVII: Letters (1902), 17:326-347


∞∞∞∞∞∞∞


[page 326:]

CHAPTER XII.

JANUARY, 1849 - MARCH, 1849.

THE “ANNIE” LETTERS CONTINUED; “THE BELLS;” “ANNABEL LEE.”

——————

POE TO GRISWOLD.

[Griswold Memoir.]

[Without date, but appears to have been written early in 1849.]

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 done less than justice. I am ashamed to ask favors of you, to whom I am so much indebted, but I have promised Mrs. L—— this. They lied to you, (if they 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 that what I have always held in conversations 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 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 [page 327:] that I have never hazarded my own reputation by a disrespectful word of you, though there were, as I long ago explained, 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.

POE TO “ANNIE.”

[Ingram.]

[About Jan. 23.]

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, and by God’s blessing never will. Oh, if you but knew how happy I am in keeping it for your sake, you could never believe that I would violate it. The reports — if any such there be — may have arisen, however, from what I did, in Providence, on that terrible day — you know what I mean: — 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, “Annie,” I am beginning to grow wiser, and do not care so much as I did for the opinions of a world in which I see, with my own eyes, that to act [page 328:] 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. should think ill of me. If you can, disabuse him — and at all times act for me as you think best. I put my honor, as I would my life and soul, 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. Cracker. By the by, if you know the exact name and address send it to me. . . . But as long as you and yours love me, what need I care for this cruel, unjust, calculating world? . . . In all my present anxieties and embarrassments, I still feel in my inmost soul a divine joy — a happiness inexpressible — that nothing seems to disturb. . . .

I hope Mr. C. is well. Remember me to him, and ask him if he has seen my “Rationale of Verse,” in the last October and November numbers of the Southern Literary Messenger. . . . I am so busy, now, and feel so full of energy. Engagements to write are pouring in upon me every day. I had two proposals within the last week from Boston. I sent yesterday an article to the Am. Review, about “Critics and Criticism.” Not long ago I sent one to the Metropolitan called “Landor’s Cottage:” it has something about “Annie” in it, and will appear, I suppose, in the March number. To the S. L. Messenger I have sent fifty pages of “Marginalia,” five [page 329:] pages to appear each month of the current year. I have also made permanent engagements with every magazine in America (except Peterson’s National) 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,” and I can easily average 1 1/2 per day — that is $7 1/2. As soon as — “returns” come in I shall be out of difficulty. I see Godey advertises an article by me, but I am at a loss to know what it is. You ask me, Annie, to tell you about some book to read. Have you seen “Percy Ranthorpe” by Mrs. Gore? You can get it at any of the agencies. I have lately read it with deep interest, and derived great consolation from it also. 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, 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. . . .

[Signature missing.]

POE TO GODEY.

[Ingram.]

February, 1849.

To the Editor of the “Lady’s Book”:

I have the honor of sending you, for your magazine, an article which I hope you will be able to comprehend rather more distinctly than I do myself. It [page 330:] is a translation by my friend Martin Van Buren Mavis (sometimes called the “Poughkeepsie Seer”), of an odd-looking MS. which I found, 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,  
EDGAR A. POE.

POE TO “ANNIE.”

[Ingram.]

Thursday — 8th.

DEAR “ANNIE,” — My mother is just going to town, where, I hope, she will find a sweet setter from you or from Sarah; but, as it is so long since I have written, I must send a few words to let you see and feel that Eddy, even when silent, keeps you always in his mind and heart — I have been 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 considerably longer than the “Raven.” I call it “The Bells.” How I wish “Annie” could see it! Her opinion is so dear to me on such topics — on all it is everything to me — but on poetry in especial. And, Sarah, too. . . . I told her when we were at W——, that I hardly ever knew any one with a keener discrimination in regard to what is really poetical. The five prose pages I finished yesterday are cared — what do you think? — I am sure you will never guess — “Hop-Frog!” Only think of your Eddy writing a story with such a name as “Hop-Frog!” You would never guess the subject [page 331:] (which is a terrible one) from the title, I am sure. It will be published in a weekly paper, of Boston, . . . not a very respectable journal, perhaps, in a literary point of view, but one that pays as high prices as most of the magazines. The proprietor wrote to me, offering about $5 a “Graham page,” and as I was anxious to get out of my pecuniary difficulties, I accepted the offer. He gives $5 for a sonnet, also; Mrs. Osgood, Park Benjamin, and Mrs. Sigourney are engaged. I think “The Bells” will appear in the American Review. 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 day or two, and tell you how good I am. She is in high spirits at my prospects and at 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., however, make any arrangements for us in ——, or W——, for, being poor, we are so much the slaves of circumstances. At all events we will both come and see you, and spend a week with you in the early spring or before — but we will let you know some time before. Mother sends her dearest, dearest love to you and Sarah and to all. And now good-bye, my dearAnnie.” —

Your own EDDY.

POE TO THOMAS.

[From MS. in possession of Miss A. F. Poe.]

FORDHAM, near New York,
Feb. 14th, 1849.  

MY DEAR FRIEND THOMAS, — Your letter dated Nov. 27, has reached me at a little village of the Empire [page 332:] State after having taken at its leisure, a very considerable tour among the P. Offices — occasioned I presume by your endorsement “to forward” wherever I might be — and the fact is where I might not have been for the last three months, is the legitimate question. At all events now that I have your well known MS. before me, it is most cordially welcomed. Indeed it seems an age since I heard from you and a decade of ages since I shook you by the hand — although I hear of you now and then. 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. In fact, it is about the only one fit for a man. Far my own part there is no seducing me from the path. I shall be a littérateur 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 that is really valuable to a man of letters — to a poet in especial — is absolutely unpurchasable? Love, fame, the dominion of 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 all that a poet cares for: — then answer me this — why should he go to California? Like Brutus, “I pause for a reply” which like F. W. Thomas, I take it for granted you have no intention of giving me. — I have read the Prospectus of the “Chronicle” and like it much — especially the part where you talk about letting go the finger of that conceited booby, the East — which is by no means the East out of which came the wise men mentioned in Scripture! . . . [page 333:]

[The remainder of this letter which follows is drawn from another source.]

I wish you would come down on the Frogpondians. They are getting worse and worse, and pretend not to be aware that there are any literary people out of Boston. The worst and most disgusting part of the matter is, that the Bostonians are really, as a race, far inferior in point of anything beyond mere talent, to any other set upon the continent of N. A. They are decidedly the most servile imitators of the English it is possible to conceive. I always get into a passion when I think about it. 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. I suppose you have seen that affair — the “Fable for Critics” I mean, Miss Fuller, that detestable old maid — told him, once, that he was “so wretched a poet as to be disgusting even to his best friends.” This set him off at a tangent and he has never been quite right since: — so he took to writing satire against mankind in general, with Margaret Fuller and her protégé, Cornelius Mathews, in particular. It is miserably weak upon the whole, but has one or two good, but by no means original, things — oh, there is “nothing new under the sun” & Solomon is right — for once. I sent a review of the “Fable” to the “S. L. Messenger” a day or two ago, and I only hope Thompson will print it. Lowell is a ranting abolitionist and deserves a good using up. It is a pity that he is a poet. — I have not seen your paper yet, and hope you will mail me one — regularly if you can spare it. I will send you something whenever I get a chance. — With your coeditor Mr. —— [page 334:] I am not acquainted personally but he is well known to me by reputation. Eames, I think, was talking to me about him in Washington once and spoke very highly of him in many respects, so upon the whole you are in luck. — 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 — but I know there is little danger of your making the Chronicle a yea-nay one. I have been quite out of the literary world for the last three years, and have said little or nothing, but, like the owl, I have “taken it out in thinking.” By and bye I mean to come out of the bush, and then I have some old scores to settle. I fancy I see some of my friends already stepping up to the Captain’s office. The fact is, Thomas, living buried in the country makes a man savage — wolfish. I am just in the humor for a fight. You will be pleased to hear that I am in better health than I ever knew myself to befall of energy and bent upon success. You shall hear of me again shortly — and it is not improbable that I may soon pay you a visit in Louisville. — If I can do anything for you in New-York, let me know. — Mrs. Clemm sends her best respects — begs to be remembered to your mother’s family, if they are with you. You would oblige me very especially if you could squeeze in what follows, editorially. The lady spoken of is a most particular friend of mine, and deserves all I have said of her. I will reciprocate the favor I ask, whenever you say the word and show me how. Address me at N. York City, as usual, and if you insert the following, please cut it out & enclose it in your letter.

Truly your friend,  
EDGAR A. POE

[page 335:]

POE TO DUYCKINCK.

[Wm. M. Griswold transcript.]

FORDHAM, Feb. 16, 1849.

DEAR DUYCKINCK, — Perhaps in the conversation I had with you in your office about Ulalume, I did not make you comprehend precisely what was the request I made: so, to save trouble, I send now the enclosed from the Providence Daily Journal. If you will oblige me by copying the slip as it stands, prefacing it by the words “from the Providence Journal,” it will make everything straight.

Sincerely yours,  
EDGAR A. POE.

POE TO “ANNIE.”

[Griswold Collection.]

FORDHAM, Feb. 19, Sunday.

MY SWEET FRIEND AND SISTER, — I fear that in this letter, which I write with a heavy heart, you will find much to disappoint and grieve you — for I must abandon my proposed visit to —— and God only knows when I shall see you, and clasp you by the hand. I have come to this determination to-day, after looking over some of your letters to me and my mother, written since I left you. You have not said it to me, but I have been enabled to glean from what you have said, that Mr. R—— has permitted himself (perhaps without knowing it) to be influenced against me by the malignant misrepresentations of Mr. and Mrs. ——. Now, I frankly own to you, dear Annie, [page 336:] that I am proud, although I have never shown myself proud to you or yours, and never will. You know that I quarrelled with the ——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, feeling all this, 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. I cannot help thinking it, moreover, the most unaccountable instance of weakness — of obtuseness — that ever I knew a man to be guilty of: women are more easily misled in such matters. In the name of God, what else had I to anticipate in return for the offence which I offered Mrs. ——’s insane vanity and self-esteem, than that she would spend the rest of her days in ransacking the world for scandal against me (and the falser the better for her purpose), and in fabricating accusations where she could not find them ready-made? I certainly anticipated no other line of conduct on her part; but, on the other hand, I certainly [page 337:] did not anticipate that any man in his senses would ever listen to accusations from so suspicious a source. . . . Not only must I not visit you at —— , 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 in the whole world 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. — and Heaven knows there is no particle of selfishness in my devotion — I ask nothing for myself, but your own happiness — with a charitable interpretation of those calumnies which for your sake I am now enduring from this vile woman — and which, for your dear, dear sake I would most willingly endure if multiplied a hundredfold — the calumnies, indeed, Annie, do not materially wound me, except in depriving me of your society — for of your affection and respect I feel that they never can. As for any injuries the falsehoods of these people can do me, make your mind easy about that — it is true that, Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” but I have encountered such vengeance before, on far higher grounds; that is to say, for a far less holy purpose, than I feel the defence of your good name to be. I scorned Mrs. E——, simply because she revolted me, and to this day she has never ceased her anonymous persecutions. — But in what have they resulted it She has not deprived me of one friend who ever knew me and once trusted me — nor has she lowered me one inch in the public opinion. 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. ——, if ever he shall [page 338:] 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 Mother while I was absent at the South, and I intended to start after remaining with you a week — but my whole plans are now disarranged — I have taken the cottage at Fordham for another year — Time, dear Annie, will show all things. Be of good heart, I shall never cease to think of you — and bear in mind the two solemn promises I have made you — The one I am religiously keeping, and the other (so help me Heaven?) shall sooner or later be kept.

Always your dear friend and brother,  
EDGAR.

POE TO ———. [[G. W. EVELETH]].

[Ingram.]

29th of February.(1)

I mean to start for Richmond on the 10th March. Everything has gone as I wished it, and my final success is certain, or I abandon all claims to the title of Vates. The only contretemps of any moment, lately, has been Willis’s somewhat premature announcement of my project: — but this will only force me into action a little sooner than I had proposed. Let me now answer the points of your last letter.

C—— acted pretty much as all mere men of the world act. I think very little the worse of him for his endeavor to succeed with you at my expense. I always liked him, and I believe he liked me. His “I understand the matter perfectly” amuses me. [page 339:] Certainly, then, it was the only matter he did understand. His intellect was 0.

“The Rationale of Verse” will appear in Graham, after all. I will stop in Philadelphia to see the proofs. As for Godey, he is a good little man, and means as well as he knows how. . . .

The “most distinguished of American scholars” is Professor Charles Anthon, author of the — Classical Dictionary.”

I presume you have seen some newspaper notices of my late lecture on the Universe. You could have gleaned, however, no idea of what the lecture was, from what the papers said it was. All praised it — as far as I have yet seen — and all absurdly misrepresented it. The only report of it which approaches the truth is the one I enclose — from the Express — written by E. A. Hopkins, a gentleman of much scientific acquirement, son of Bishop Hopkins, of Vermont; but he conveys only my general idea, and his digest is full of inaccuracies. I enclose also a slip from the Courier and Enquirer. Please return them. To eke out a chance of your understanding what I really did say, I add a loose summary of my propositions and results: —

The General Proposition is this — Because Nothing was, therefore All Things are.

1. An inspection of the universality of Gravitation — i. e., of the fact that each particle tends, not to any one common point, but to every other particle — suggests perfect totality, or absolute unity, as the source of the phenomenon.

2. Gravity is but the mode in which is manifested the tendency of all things to return into their original unity — is but the reaction of the first Divine Act. [page 340:]

3. The law regulating the return — i. e., the law of Gravitation — is but a necessary result of the necessary and sole possible mode of equable irradiation of matter through space: this equable irradiation is necessary as a basis for the Nebular Theory of Laplace.

4. The Universe of Stars (contradistinguished from the Universe of space) is limited.

5. Mind is cognizant of Matter only through its two properties, attraction and repulsion: therefore Matter is only attraction and repulsion: a finally consolidated globe-of-globes, being but one particle, would be without attraction — i. e., gravitation: the existence of such a globe presupposes the expulsion of the separative ether which we know to exist between the particles as at present diffused: thus the final globe would be matter without attraction and repulsion but these are matter: then the final globe would be matter without matter — i. e., no matter at all: it must disappear. Thus Unity is Nothingness.

6. Matter, springing from Unity, sprang from Nothingness — i. e., was created.

7. All will return to Nothingness, in returning to Unity.

Read these items after the Report. As to the Lecture, I am very quiet about it — but, if you have ever dealt with such topics, you will recognize the novelty and moment of my views. What I have propounded will (in good time) revolutionise the world of Physical and Metaphysical Science. I say this calmly — but I say it.

I shall not go till I hear from you. — Cordially —

E. A. POE.

By the by, lest you infer that my views, in detail, are the same with those advanced in the Nebular [page 341:] Hypothesis, I venture to offer a few addenda,(1) the substance of which was penned, though never printed, several years ago, under the head of — A Prediction.”

[Signature missing.]

POE TO DUYCKINCK.

[Duyckinck Collection.]

FORDHAM, March 8 [1849].

DEAR SIR, — If you have looked over the Von Kempelen article which I left with your brother, you will have fully perceived its drift. I mean it as a kind of “exercise,” or experiment, in the plausible or verisimilar style. Of course, there is not one word of truth in it, from beginning to end. I thought that such a style, applied to the gold-excitement, could not fait of effect. My sincere opinion is that nine persons out of ten (even among the best-informed) will believe the quiz (provided the design does not leak out before publication) and that thus, acting as a sudden, although of course a very temporary, check to the gold-fever, it will create a stir to some purpose.

I had prepared the hoax for a Boston weekly called “The Flag” where it will be quite thrown away. The proprietor will give me $15 for it on presentation to his agent here; and my object in referring the article to you is simply to see if you could not venture to take it for the “World.” If so, I am willing to take for it $10 — or, in fact, whatever you think you can afford.

I believe the quiz is the first deliberate literary attempt of the kind on record. In the story of Mrs [page 342:] Veal, we are permitted, now and then, to perceive a tone of banter. In “Robinson Crusoe” the design was far more to please, or excite, than to deceive by verisimilitude, in which particular merely, Sir. Ed. Seaward’s narrative is the more skilful book. In my “Valdemar Case” (which was credited by many) I had not the slightest idea that any person should credit it as anything more than a “Magazine-paper” — but here the whole strength is laid out in verisimilitude.

I am very much obliged to you for your reprint of “Ulalume.”

Truly Yours,  
EDGAR A. POE.

EVERT A. DUYCKINCK, Esq.

P. S. If you feel the least shy about the article, make no hesitation in returning it, of course: — for I willingly admit that it is not a paper which every editor would dice to “take the responsibility” of printing — although merely as a contribution with a known name: — but if you decline the quiz, please do not let out the secret.

POE TO “ANNIE.”

[Ingram.]

March 23, 1849.

Will not “Annie” confide the secrets about Westford? Was it anything I did which caused you to “give up hope“? Dear Annie, 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. L—— strenuously denied having spoken ill of you to me, and I said “then it must remain a simple question of veracity between us, as I had no witness [page 343:] — ” but I observed afterwards — “Unfortunately I have returned Mrs. L—— her letters (which were filled with abuse of you both), but, if I am not mistaken, my mother has some in her possession that will prove the truth of what I say.” Now, Annie, when we came to look over these last, I found, to my extreme sorrow, that they would not corroborate me. I say “to my extreme sorrow;” for, oh, it is so painful to be doubted when we know our own integrity. Not that I fancied, even for one moment, that you doubted me, but then I saw that Mr. R—— and Mr. C—— did, and perhaps even your brother. Well what do you think? Mrs. L has again written my mother, and I enclose her letter. Read it! you will find it thoroughly corroborative of all I said. The verses to me which she alludes to, I have not seen. You will see that she admits having cautioned me against you, as I said, and in fact admits all that I accused her of. Now you distinctly remember that they both loudly denied having spoken against you — this, in fact, was the sole point at issue. I have marked the passages alluded to. 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 (for I find that it will not do to permit such reports to go unpunished), and, especially, obtain for me some 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 have sent them to the Flag of our Union. By the way, did you get “Hop-Frog “? I sent it to you by mail, not knowing whether you ever see the paper in ——. I am sorry to say that the Metropolitan has stopped and [page 344:] “Landor’s Cottage” is returned on my hands unprinted. I think the lines “For Annie”(1) (those I now send) 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. . . . Remember me to all.

[Signature missing.]

POE TO MRS. SHEW.

[Ingram.]

Thursday, March 30.

DEAREST LOUISE, — You see that I am not yet off to Richmond as I proposed. I have been detained by some very unexpected and very important matters which I will explain to you when I see you. What is the reason that you have not been out? I believe the only reason is that you suspect I am really anxious to see you.

When you see Mr. H—— I wish you would say to him that I would take it as an especial favor if he would pay me a visit at Fordham next Sunday. I have something to communicate to him of the highest importance, and about which I need his advice. Won’t you get him to come — and come with him to show him the way? — Sincerely yours,

EDGAR A. POE.

[page 345:]

POE TO “ANNIE.”

[Ingram.]

[undated.]

ANNIE, — You will see by this note that I am nearly, if not quite, well — so be no longer uneasy on my account. I was not so ill as my mother supposed, and she 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! all seems to be frustrated — at least for the present. As usual, misfortunes never come single, and I have met one disappointment after another. The Columbian Magazine, in the first place, failed — then Post’s Union (taking with it my principal dependence); then the Whig Review was forced to stop paying for contributions — then the Democratic — then (on account of his oppression and insolence) I was obliged to quarrel, finally, with; and then, to crown all, the, “ —— —— ” (from which I anticipated so much and with which I had made a regular engagement for $10 a week throughout the year) has written a circular to correspondents, pleading poverty and declining to receive any more articles. More than this, the S. L. Messenger, which owes me a good deal, cannot pay just yet, and, altogether, 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, such as these, to depress me. . . . No. [page 346:] 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: 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 says she is about to publish a detailed account of all that occurred between us, under guise of romance, with fictitious names, &c., — that she will make me appear noble, generous, &c. &c, — nothing bad — that she will “do justice to my motives,” &c. &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 than all this — she is coming on immediately to see me at Fordham. I have not replied — shall I? and what? The “friend” who sent the lines to the “H. J.” was the friend who loves you best — was myself. The Flag so misprinted them that I was 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. Why do you not send the tale of which you spoke?

[Signature missing.]

POE TO GRISWOLD.

[Griswold Memoir.]

[Undated.]

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. As regards “Lenore,” which you were kind [page 347:] enough to say you would insert,) I would prefer the concluding stanza to run as here written. . . . It is a point of no great importance, but in one of your editions you have given my sister’s age instead of mine. I was born in Dec. 1813; my sister, Jan. 1811.(1) Willis, whose good opinion I value highly, and of whose good word I have a right to be proud, has done me the honor to speak very pointedly in praise of “The Raven.” I inclose what he said, and if you could contrive to introduce it, you would render me an essential favor, and greatly further my literary interests, at a point where I am most anxious they should be advanced.

Truly yours,  
E. A. POE.

P. S. — Considering my indebtedness to you, can you not sell to Graham or to Godey (with whom, you know, I cannot with the least self-respect again have anything to do directly) — can you not sell to one of these men, “Annabel Lee,” say for $50, and credit me that sum? Either of them could print it before you will need it for your book. Mem. The Eveleth(2) you ask about is a Yankee impertinent, who, knowing my extreme poverty, has for years pestered me with unpaid letters; but I believe almost every literary man of any note has suffered in the same way. I am surprised that you have escaped.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 338:]

1.  Since found to belong to 1848 instead of 1849. — ED.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 341:]

1.  See “Addenda,” Vol. XVI. p. 337, “Virginia Edition” of Poe’s Works.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 344:]

1.  Beginning, “Thank Heaven! the crisis — the danger — is past.” — ED.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 347:]

1.  The date of his birth to which he refers was printed from his statement in the memoranda referred to in the first of the letters [March 29, 1849] here printed. — GRISWOLD’S NOTE.

2.  See “Addenda to Eureka.”


∞∞∞∞∞∞∞


Notes:

None.


∞∞∞∞∞∞∞

[S:0 - CWEAP, 1902] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Articles - Complete Works of E. A. Poe (Vol. 17 - Letters) (J. A. Harrison) (Chapter 12)