Text: Thomas Ollive Mabbott (and E. A. Poe), “An Acrostic (Elizabeth, it is in vain),” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. I: Poems (1969), pp. 149-150 (This material is protected by copyright)


­[page 149, continued:]

(“Elizabeth, it is in vain”)

This is a companion piece to the foregoing, written on another page of Elizabeth Herring’s album. Poe surely did not plan to print it. He took unusual poetic license in misspelling a name in order to gain an initial, and in confusing the story of Endymion.



(A) Manuscript signed “E. A. P.” about 1829, described, and lines 1-2 quoted, in the Catalogue of the Harold Peirce Sale, Philadelphia, May 6, 1903, lot 960; (B) complete text in Anderson’s Catalogue, May 19, 1905, lot 366; (C) Complete Poems, ed. J. H. Whitty (1911), p. 141. The manuscript (A), owned by H. Bradley Martin, is followed.


[page 150, continued:]


The initials of the lines spell Elizabeth.

3  “L. E. L.” was the signature of Letitia Elizabeth Landon. See note on “A Dream,” lines 3-4.

4  “Zantippe” is of course Xanthippe, the shrewish wife of Socrates; emendation would spoil the acrostic.

8-9  Compare the following from the first of Moore’s Evenings in Greece, lines 139-140: “And dying quenched the fatal fire / At once of both her heart and lyre.” According to the usual legend, Endymion was not killed, but put to sleep in a cave on Mount Latmos, where the virgin moon-goddess could kiss him nightly. Poe refers to him again in “Serenade” (1833).






[S:1 - TOM1P, 1969] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (T. O. Mabbott) (An Acrostic (Elizabeth, it is in vain))