Text: Thomas Ollive Mabbott (and E. A. Poe), “Annabel Lee,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. I: Poems (1969), pp. 468-481 (This material is protected by copyright)


∞∞∞∞∞∞∞


­[page 468:]

ANNABEL LEE

Poe’s “Annabel Lee” is “the simplest and sweetest of his ballads,”(1) second only to “The Raven” in popularity, and is widely recognized as one of the great lyric poems of the English language. It has long and generally been regarded as a tribute to the memory of Virginia Poe, although that idea is rather in the realm of legend than demonstrable fact.

Other ladies have been thought to be the original of Annabel Lee, but from the beginning the opinion has been sometimes held that the personal element in the poem is subordinate. Its continued appeal lies not in its immediate inspiration but in its preeminence as a poem of young love, unconquered and unconquerable. It is significant that Mrs. LeDuc thought “Annabel Lee” and “The Bells” were composed as onomatopoetic expressions of varying emotions for recitation, as “Ulalume” had been written at the suggestion of her father, Professor C. P. Bronson.(2) The poet ­[page 469:] never gave a dedication (not even “To — —”) to his “ballad.” Perhaps we should regard the poem as primarily a conscious work of art based on different sources in literature and experience, and including several references the poet hoped more than one of his fair friends would take personally.(3)

“Annabel Lee” is certainly, though very subtly, onomatopoetic. One sensitive reader felt the rhythm to be dirgelike, recalling the tolling of a buoy in the ebb and flow of the sea.(4) Others hear the breaking of waves on the shore. The poem may be called anapestic by metrists, but Poe was successfully using a special kind of anapest that had long interested him. In a review of Bryant in 1837, he called attention to the peculiar metrical structure of Wordsworth’s “many and many a song” in an early version of “Guilt and Sorrow,” and in 1845 himself wrote “many and many a marvelous shrine” in an iambic poem.(5) In 1849 in “Annabel Lee” he boldly began, “It was many and many a year ago” — and continued the whole ballad in this unusual rhythm.

In May 1849, Poe wrote to Annie Richmond, “I have written a ballad called ‘Annabel Lee,’ which I will send you soon.”(6) This certainly indicates that a form of the poem satisfactory to its author had just been completed. At least in the form in which Poe submitted it for publication, “Annabel Lee” was his last poem, and he seems to have thought it would be.(7) It may well be significant that, exceptionally for him, he circulated it in manuscript. ­[page 470:]

Poe on occasion used factual material from personal experience. The following story seems pertinent to “Annabel Lee.” Its heroine is Catherine Elizabeth Poitiaux (pronounced “Poycha”), a goddaughter of the first Mrs. Allan. As a grown man, the poet was certainly not in love with her, but she received him as a dear friend in 1849. On September 11, 1872, her sister, Mary Jane Dixon, wrote: “We had been playmates . . . In the nursery we played at marrying him to my little sister whom he called his sweetheart.”(8) The context suggests that this was before the Allans went abroad in June 1815, when the poet was not yet seven years old.

Another possible source for the poem in a memory of the poet’s boyhood is known from a newspaper story, usually regarded as a legend, but perhaps having an element of truth.(9) It begins with a quoted obituary. “Died — on Monday evening, Feb. 24, — Annabel Lee, only daughter of Mary J. and T. C. Leland, aged 9 months and 2 weeks.” What follows says that Poe as a boy knew Mary as a schoolgirl of twelve. When he left school they were separated; he heard she was very ill and supposed her dead. “Bright dreams . . . remained . . . and . . . her angel often rose up before him” and inspired his “Annabel Lee.” Later he met her as “the wife of T. C. Leland. She cherished a sympathy for the . . . genius; her husband befriended, and . . . loved him for his talents, his warm heart, and . . . his conversation.” Their only child was named for the poem.

There is some confusion in the story, for its writer thought the child was born while Poe was living. But the obituary, as I discovered, is in the New-York Tribune of March 1, 1851, and the New York City Directories of 1850 to 1855 list Theron C. Leland ­[page 471:] as teacher, reporter, and phonographer (court stenographer): precisely the kind of minor intellectual with whom the poet consorted. Poe was certainly capable of telling the lady, if he had known her in youth, that she was Annabel Lee.(10)

Two probable literary sources for “Annabel Lee” have been pointed out. The first is a poem signed “D. M. C.,” in the Courier of Charleston, South Carolina, December 4, 1807.

THE MOURNER

How sweet were the joys of my former estate!

Health and happiness caroll’d with glee;

And contentment ne’er envy’d the pomp of the great

In the cot by the side of the sea.

 

With my Anna I past the mild summer of love

’Till death gave his cruel decree,

And bore the dear angel to regions above

From the cot by the side of the sea!

 

But the smile of contentment has never return’d

Since death tore my Anna from me;

And for many long years I’ve unceasingly mourn’d

In the cot by the side of the sea.

 

And her sweet recollections shall live in the mind

Till from anguish this bosom is free,

And seeks the repose which it never can find

In the cot by the side of the sea!

Robert Adger Law, who found this poem, felt that the similarities to “Annabel Lee” in meter and wording are so many that it is hard to think them a matter of pure chance.(11) There is, of course, the question of how likely Poe was to have seen the paper. The issue contains an advertisement of Placide’s company of players, to which both the poet’s parents sometimes belonged (although not in 1807) — and it is not at all improbable that he glanced through a file when stationed near Charleston, or even had a copy of the paper. “D. M. C.” has not been identified. ­[page 472:]

The second literary source suggested for “Annabel Lee” resembles Poe’s poem less strikingly, but there is no possible doubt that Poe knew it. The poem is one by Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman.

STANZAS FOR MUSIC

Tell him I lingered alone on the shore,

Where we parted in anger, to meet never more;

The night wind blew cold on my desolate heart;

But colder those wild words of doom — “Ye must part!”

 

O’er the dark, heaving waters I sent forth a cry;

Save the moan of those waters, there came no reply.

I longed like a bird o’er those waters to flee

From my lone island-home and the moan of the sea.

 

Away, far away from the wild ocean shore,

Where the waves ever murmur “No more, never more.”

Where I look from my lattice, far over the main,

And weep for the bark that returns not again.

 

When the clouds that now veil from us Heaven’s fair light

Their soft, silver lining turn forth on the night,

When time shall the vapors of falsehood dispel,

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

This was first printed in the second number of the American Metropolitan Magazine, that for February 1849, from which the foregoing text is copied.(12)

Mrs. Whitman’s story is this: Poe had urged her to send her lines “To Arcturus” to the new magazine. She thought them too personal, but being urged by Israel Post to contribute something, she added a final stanza to a song she had composed some years before for an air by a friend who was an Italian guitarist. She meant the verses as a reply to Poe’s last letter to her, and felt that he accepted them “as a peace-offering” to which “Annabel ­[page 473:] Lee” was a reply — the veiled expression . . . of his undying remembrance.” Mrs. Whitman’s claim is the one hinted at by Griswold when first publishing the poem, in the phrase, after a reference to personalities in Poe’s latest poems, “perhaps some of our readers . . . will understand the allusions.” Charles F. Briggs asserted her claim in the unsigned “Original Memoir” in the first American illustrated edition of Poe’s Poetical Works (New York, 1859, p. 33).(13)

Soon another lady entered the field. Sarah Anna Lewis claimed that the poem was for her. In his last letter to that lady, about September 18, 1849, Poe wrote, “My dear sister Anna (for so you have permitted me to call you) — never while I live shall I forget you.” That was little to go on, but Mrs. Clemm, wishing to pay her hostess a special compliment, told her the poet had assured her that “Annabel Lee” was for Anna Lewis. This was in the presence of Mary E. Hewitt, who immediately went and told Mrs. Osgood. Mrs. Hewitt later wrote to Mrs. Whitman:

Mrs. Osgood’s lip curled and she at once sat down to pen her comments on the poem for Griswold’s “Memoir,” in the course of which she points out that Poe’s ballad was written to his Virginia, “the only woman Poe ever loved.”

I knew . . . that Fanny (Osgood) could not for a moment have believed this statement, and I saw that the lines were dictated by pique . . . She wrote the comments . . . not with reference to you, dear Mrs. Whitman, but only hoping to “put Mrs. Lewis down.”(14)

What Mrs. Osgood wrote for Griswold was at least extremely effective.(15) Her most pertinent remarks on Poe’s last poem must be quoted:

In spite of the many little poetic episodes, in which the . . . romance of his temperament impelled him to indulge; . . . I believe . . . [his wife] was the only woman he ever truly loved; and this is evidenced by . . . the little poem . . . called Annabel Lee, of which she was the subject . . .

It is said that it was intended to illustrate a late love affair of the author; ­[page 474:] but they who believe this, have . . . missed the beautiful meaning . . . where he says “. . . her high-born kinsmen came, / And bore her away from me.” There seems . . . a disregard of the sacred purity and spiritual tenderness . . . in thus overlooking the allusion to the kindred angels and the heavenly Father of the lost and unforgotten wife.

Whatever Mrs. Osgood’s motives, her explanation of “Annabel Lee,” if not perfect, was ingenious and poetic.(16) Griswold accepted her explanation, as did Ingram (who in print would refer to no other), and in 1917 Killis Campbell could write (Poems, p. 295) that it was “the view universally held to-day among students of Poe.”(17) No such authority would now go so far. However, identification of Virginia Poe as the original of Annabel Lee need not be wholly rejected. It is the most beautiful of the stories of a personal element in Poe’s ballad.

Elmira Shelton believed that she herself was Annabel Lee, and undoubtedly Poe told her so — any gallant author would assure a lady whose hand he was seeking that she was the inspiration of his latest masterpiece.(18) Yet one may find in “Annabel Lee” an allegory continuing those of “Tamerlane” and “To Zante.” In the first the heroine is symbolically dead in her betrothal to ­[page 475:] Alexander Shelton; in the second, in her marriage to him. In the last of this trilogy the death of her husband (on July 12, 1844) has made her live again for her first lover. The highborn kinsmen would be Elmira Royster’s family, who broke up her engagement to Poe.

We may take leave of these rival claimants with mention of Mrs. Richmond, who apparently never even suggested that she was the real Annabel Lee. Yet Poe called her “Annie,” and she was the first person to whom he is known to have promised to show the poem. She must have wondered about it, as have many readers since.(19)

Poe circulated the poem among his friends far more widely than was usual for him, and five manuscripts are preserved. If he sent a copy to Mrs. Richmond, as he promised about May 1849, she may have returned it, for no manuscript from her papers has been found, and she did not destroy his poems when she burned his letters.

Not long before he left New York at the end of June he discussed the poem with Griswold and sent a copy to him with an undated letter.(20) This was for inclusion in the revised tenth edition of The Poets and Poetry of America, dated 1850, scheduled for publication and issued in December 1849.

Before he left New York, Poe also gave a manuscript to John W. Moore, head bookkeeper of the printing house of Joseph Russell, 79 John Street, who sometimes helped the poet financially. Said Poe, “Moore, I may never be able to repay you, but take this; some day it may be valuable.”(21) In Philadelphia, in July, Poe also gave a copy to Henry B. Hirst, from a collection of whose papers ­[page 476:] it was sold in 1921.(22) He also sold the poem for regular publication to Sartain’s Union Magazine. He had almost surely arranged for this previously.(23)

In Richmond, where Poe had read the poem in his lectures, on “the day before he left” (September 26) he gave a manuscript to John R. Thompson, in payment of a five-dollar debt.(24) This was obviously given as an autograph, although Thompson later wanted it thought a sale for publication. The Richmond Examiner proof sheet may be from this manuscript or may represent one that has been lost — they do not differ verbally, but the Examiner has two additional words italicized: “my life” in line 39. References that have been made to a manuscript sent N. P. Willis are based on careless reading of what he wrote in the Home Journal of October 20, 1849.

Poe’s actions were strictly honorable, but Sartain was unexpectedly dilatory in publication — the poem appeared in Sartain’s for January 1850.(25) On hearing of Poe’s death, Griswold “jumped the gun” and printed the poem in the New-York Tribune at once. The strict propriety of his action was more than questionable, but he gave a great poem to the world.

 

TEXTS

(A) Manuscript sent to R. W. Griswold, June 1849, now at Harvard; (B) manuscript given to John W. Moore, June 1849 (facsimile in New York Times, January 17, 1909), now owned by Colonel Richard Gimbel; (C) manuscript given to Henry B. Hirst, early July 1849, now in the Huntington Library; (D) manuscript sold to John Sartain, early July 1849, now in the Pierpont Morgan Library; (E) manuscript given to John R. Thompson, September 26, 1849 (facsimile in Woodberry, II, 352), now at Columbia University; ­[page 477:] (F) Richmond Examiner proof sheet, late summer 1849 (printed by Whitty, pp. 80-81), from E; (G) New-York Tribune, morning edition, October 9, 1849, from A; (H) Southern Literary Messenger, November 1849 (15:697), from E; (J) R. W. Griswold, Poets and Poetry of America, 10th edition (dated 1850, issued late in 1849), p. 418, from A; (K) Sartain’s Union Magazine for January 1850 (6:99-100), from D; (L) Works (1850), II, 27-28, from A.

The earliest version (A) and the latest (E) are given in full. Although Poe’s revisions were few, they were important; and one, made in a single manuscript (E), is generally considered unfortunate, since it marred the concluding line, widely regarded as one of the great lines of English verse.

The first version (A), through Griswold’s edition (L), is very generally known. Whitty’s notes (Complete Poems, 1911, p. 242) are confusing, but he told me that F was verbally like H, and that his text of line 41 was altered at the request of his publishers. A version in a gift book, The Present, edited by F. A. Moore (Manchester, New Hampshire, 1850), can hardly be authorized.

[[v]]

[[n]]

ANNABEL LEE [A]

[[n]]

It was many and many a year ago,

[[n]]

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee; —

5

And this maiden she lived with no other thought

Than to love and be loved by me.

 

[[v]]

[[n]]

I was a child and she was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea;

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

10

I and my Annabel Lee —

[[v]]

[[n]]

With a love that the wingéd seraphs in Heaven

Coveted her and me.

 

And this was the reason that, long ago,

In this kingdom by the sea,

[[v]]

15

A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling

[[v]]

My beautiful Annabel Lee;

[[v]]

So that her high-born kinsmen came

[[n]]

And bore her away from me,

To shut her up in a sepulchre,

20

In this kingdom by the sea. ­[page 478:]

 

[[n]]

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,

Went envying her and me

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

In this kingdom by the sea)

[[v]]

[[n]]

25

That the wind came out of the cloud by night,

[[v]]

[[n]]

Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

 

But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we —

Of many far wiser than we —

[[n]]

30

And neither the angels in Heaven above,

Nor the demons down under the sea,

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee: —

 

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams

35

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

[[v]]

[[n]]

And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee: —

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling — my darling — my life and my bride,

[[v]]

40

In her sepulchre there by the sea —

[[v]]

[[n]]

In her tomb by the sounding sea.

[May 1849]

 


­[page 478, continued:]

ANNABEL LEE [E]

It was many and many a year ago,

In a kingdom by the sea,

That a maiden there lived whom you may know

By the name of Annabel Lee; —

5

And this maiden she lived with no other thought

Than to love and be loved by me.

 

She was a child and I was a child,

In this kingdom by the sea,

But we loved with a love that was more than love — ­[page 479:]

10

I and my Annabel Lee —

With a love that the wingéd seraphs of Heaven

Coveted her and me.

 

And this was the reason that, long ago,

In this kingdom by the sea,

15

A wind blew out of a cloud by night

Chilling my Annabel Lee;

So that her highborn kinsmen came

And bore her away from me,

To shut her up, in a sepulchre

20

In this kingdom by the sea.

 

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,

Went envying her and me: —

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

In this kingdom by the sea)

25

That the wind came out of the cloud, chilling

And killing my Annabel Lee.

 

But our love it was stronger by far than the love

Of those who were older than we —

Of many far wiser than we —

30

And neither the angels in Heaven above

Nor the demons down under the sea

Can ever dissever my soul from the soul

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee: —

 

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams

35

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;

And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side

Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride

40

In her sepulchre there by the sea —

In her tomb by the side of the sea.

[September 1849]

 


­[page 480:]

VARIANTS [[to version A]]

Title:  Annabel Lee — A Ballad. (D, K)

7  I . . . she / She . . . I (B, C, E, F, H); She . . . I (D, K)

11  wingéd / wingèd (B, F); wingëd (G); winged (L); in / of (C, D, E, F, G, H, J, K, L)

15  chilling / by night (E, F, H)

16  My beautiful / Chilling my (E, F, H)

17  kinsmen / kinsman (K, L; misprint?)

25  by night / chilling (E, F, H)

26  Chilling and killing / And killing (E, F, H)

36  feel / see (E, F, H)

40  her / the (misprint, L)

41  sounding / side of the (E, H)

 


­[page 480, continued:]

NOTES [[to version A]]

Title:  The name probably comes from a combination of two titles Poe knew. On February 18, 1844, he wrote a letter to George Lippard praising his novel The Ladye Annabel (1842), and one of the two best-known lyrics of Poe’s friend Philip Pendleton Cooke is “Young Rosalie Lee,” first printed in the Southern Literary Messenger of March 1835 on a page facing Poe’s tale “Berenicë.” Compare also Dryden’s Absalom and Achitophel, line 34, where Absalom “made the charming Annabel his bride.” The name “Anna” is from the Hebrew for “gracious,” but the name was borne by the sister of Queen Dido in the Aeneid, IV, 32-33.

1  For Poe’s use of the phrase “many and many a,” see introductory comment above.

2  Most kingdoms have seacoasts. Mrs. Whitman’s reference in “Stanzas for Music” to her “home, and the moan of the sea” was literal, since Providence is a seaport. But Fordham and Richmond are near rivers.

7  In the Literary Era of August 1901, Edward M. Alfriend wrote: “Poe . . . was extremely fond of children . . . My father said that he would romp with them by the hour, and in their childish sports would become himself a child again.”

11-16  R. M. Hogg (Phillips, II, 1392) suggested that Poe had in mind the beautiful Scottish legend that the soul was conducted to Heaven by the spirit of its last predeceased kinsman. This would be more cogent if the singular form “kinsman” had manuscript authority, but it need not be wholly given up. An objection to Mrs. Osgood’s identification of the kinsmen with angels, who are not born, is weakened by a common usage of words like “angels” and “seraphs” for blessed human souls.

18  According to Caroline Ticknor (Poe’s Helen, p. 131), Mrs. Whitman believed that Poe had seen a letter she wrote to Mrs. Osgood in the spring of 1849 saying that friends had “caught her up” and “borne her away to the . . . shores of Massachusetts.”

21  Compare “Tamerlane” (H), lines 88-89, “angel minds . . . might envy” — the closest link to Elmira Shelton’s story.

25  Compare “The night wind blew cold” in Mrs. Whitman’s “Stanzas,” above. Miss Winwar unpoetically sees a reference to what Mrs. Clemm called Virginia Poe’s bronchitis (The Haunted Palace, p. 357) ­[page 481:]

26  Lewis S. Friedland told me he thought a line in Scott’s “Young Lochinvar” was echoed — “There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lea” (Marmion, V, XII, viii, 3) — and indeed that Scott’s ballad influenced Poe’s whole poem.

30-33  See Romans 8:38-39: “neither death, nor life, nor angels . . . nor powers . . . nor height, nor depth . . . shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus” — a familiar passage used in the Episcopal funeral service.

36  Comparison of stars to eyes is commonplace, but we may cite a passage by Poe’s friend N. P. Willis — from “The Confessional”: “Thy face looks up from every sea, / In every star thine eyes are set.”

41  It is generally agreed that Poe’s final phrasing “side of the sea” is inferior to the earlier “sounding sea” in this line. The reason for the change was probably to obtain greater metrical regularity. In “The Rationale of Verse” Poe said, “That rhythm is erroneous . . . which any ordinary reader can, without design, read improperly . . . the intention must be caught at once.” The new reading is, as Miss Phillips once said to me, “more harmonious, but the older one is more melodious.” The phrase “sounding seas” is in Lycidas, line 154.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 468:]

1  Woodberry, Life (1909), II, 351.

2  See commentary on “Ulalume,” above.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 469:]

3  Sarah Helen Whitman (who thought herself the heroine of Poe’s lines) asked pertinently, “Is the subject of the poem living or dead?” But she also wrote, “I do not doubt that the poem may have had [for the author] . . . other shades of meaning and may have been in some way associated with other persons.” See Caroline Ticknor, Poe’s Helen (1916), pp. 130-131.

4  Frances Winwar, The Haunted Palace (1959), p. 357.

5  See my notes on “The City in the Sea,” line 21. In “The Rationale of Verse” Poe called this kind of “resolved” iambus a “bastard anapest”

6  The date of the letter is uncertain, but its contents show that it cannot be earlier than May 5 or later than May 23, 1849.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 469, running to the bottom of page 470:]

7  See Woodberry, Life (1909), II, 295-296. Poe may have composed earlier versions of this ballad, but the evidence for anything of the kind is shadowy. The only significant testimony is that of Mrs. Weiss, who told James A. Harrison that “Poe showed her the poem in 1849, and said it was composed years before his wife’s death and had no reference to her.” See Charles W. Kent’s editor’s note in Harrison’s edition of the Complete Works (1902), VII, 219. Mrs. Weiss also said in her Home Life (1907), p. 129, that Rosalie Poe spoke of hearing the poem at Fordham in 1846, but one cannot expect Poe’s sister to be strictly accurate about which ­[page 470:] poems she heard where. There is no reason to doubt Griswold’s statement in the obituary signed “Ludwig” in the New-York Tribune of October 9, 1849, that Poe described it to him as his latest poem just before he left New York in June.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 470:]

8  The original letter is preserved with other papers of R. H. Stoddard in the Anthony Collection at the New York Public Library. It contains reminiscences of Mrs. Dixon, addressed to the editors of Harper’s Magazine.

9  Woodberry, Life, I, 376, reprints it from an undated clipping from the Green Mountain Gem of Brandon, Vermont. I have another clipping crediting the story to the Free Democrat of “Milwaukie,” Wisconsin — the old spelling suggests a date in the fifties.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 471:]

10  Unfortunately we do not know Mary Leland’s maiden name. She was certainly not Mary of Baltimore, for that Mary’s husband was a merchant tailor. See notes on the lost poem, “To Mary [Starr].”

11  Journal of English and Germanic Philology, April 1922 (21:341-346). Professor Law, a close friend of Killis Campbell, found “The Mourner” by chance when searching the Charleston paper for reasons unconnected with Poe.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 472:]

12  The magazine, edited by William Landon, was published at 259 Broadway, New York, by Israel Post, who had recently sold his Union Magazine to John Sartain. Post failed signally; the second number of his periodical was the last and, despite its date, did not appear until the middle of March. The only file known to contain both issues, that in the New-York Historical Society, is used. Mrs. Whitman republished the poem as “Our Island of Dreams” but never exactly in the form in which Poe saw it. Discussions of the relation of Mrs. Whitman to “Annabel Lee” are based on her letters of February 19 and 20, April 24, May 1, and May 11, 1874, to J. H. Ingram (Ingram List, numbers 122, 123, 147, 149, 153) and various documents quoted from Mrs. Whitman’s papers by Caroline Ticknor in her biography, Poe’s Helen, pp. 128-133.

[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 473:]

13  Briggs was once closely associated with Poe but is unlikely to have discussed “Annabel Lee” with him in 1849. Mrs. Whitman wrote Ingram that she did not authorize the statement, and she apparently did not know Briggs wrote it.

14  See Ticknor, Poe’s Helen, pp, 132-183.

15  See the “Memoir,” p. xxxvii. This “Memoir” was published in the International Magazine of October 1, 1850, a little before inclusion in the third volume of Poe’s Works late in that year.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 474:]

16  Mrs. Osgood’s motives were certainly complicated. She wished to minimize the importance of all the women in Poe’s life save Virginia Poe and herself, of whom Virginia approved. She does not account for the reference to Annabel and her lover as having been children at the same time; although in favor of that interpretation are the Bible texts, that only those enter the Kingdom of God who receive it as little children. See Mark 10:15, and Luke 18:17. See also an article in the South Atlantic Quarterly, April 1912, by Wightman F. Melton, who sought analogies in Poe’s tale “Eleonora” (which does concern Virginia). Mrs. Osgood and many others seem oblivious of the fact that a great love poem is not necessarily based on a great love.

17  Many as are the commentators who have accepted this interpretation, Woodberry always avoided decisive comment.

18  Mrs. Shelton told Thomas Alfriend that Poe assured her that she was his “lost Lenore” and inspired “Annabel Lee”; see the article by Edward M. Alfriend (son of Thomas) in the Literary Era for August 1901. On February 27, 1882, Dr. J. J. Moran wrote Mr. Edward Abbott that he had just returned from lecturing on Poe at Richmond, “the home of his Annabel Lee, who yet lives . . . she was at the lecture . . . and she and I, met.” The letter is printed in full in Hervey Allen’s Israfel (1926), II, 895. Hence Moran’s record in his Defense (Washington, 1885), p. 32, cannot be discounted as a product of his notoriously expansive memory for times long ago. I do discount Mrs. Shelton’s remark to Edward V. Valentine on March 19, 1875, quoted by Quinn, p. 91, that “Poe never addressed any poems to her” (he never did by name), for I think she mistrusted Valentine as well as J. H. Ingram whose emissary he was.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 475:]

19  Unfortunately most of what Poe wrote to Mrs. Richmond is still known only from what J. H. Ingram chose to publish, and he did not print anything that might weaken the claims of Virginia Poe. The idea that Annie Richmond might be Annabel was advanced by Caroline Ticknor in 1916 — see Poe’s Helen, p. 133.

20  See Griswold’s obituary of Poe, signed “Ludwig,” in the New-York Tribune of October 9, 1849, for Poe’s statement that it was his last poem, which need not be doubted. In printing the letter with the “Memoir,” Griswold interpolated a forged postscript, to indicate that Poe wanted him to sell the poem for fifty dollars. The actual letter is at the University of Texas. The manuscript poem (referred to below as A) was given to Harvard by Griswold’s grandchildren.

21  See the story in the New York Times of January 17, 1909, recounted in Phillips, II, 1414. This manuscript (B) is now owned by Colonel Richard Gimbel.

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 476:]

22  Anderson Galleries Sale, number 1583, lot 564. This manuscript (C) is in the Henry E. Huntington Library.

23  This manuscript (D) is in the Pierpont Morgan Library. It is marked “$5 paid,” with a note by Sartain’s editor, Professor John S. Hart, “paid when it was accepted.” The very small sum suggests to me a final payment after an advance.

24  I combine what Thompson wrote in the Southern Literary Messenger, November 1849 (15:694-697) and February 1854 (20:124-125) with a statement of W. F. Gill, Life (1877), p. 231. Gill knew Thompson, who was, in my opinion, a sensational journalist with no passion for exact truth. This manuscript (E) was recently bequeathed to Columbia University by Mrs. Alexander McMillan Welch.

25  Statements (of Griswold and Thompson and even perhaps Hirst) led John Sartain to suppose Poe had sold the poem to three other publishers; see Sartain’s Reminiscences of a Very Old Man (1899), p. 205.

 


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Notes:

In footnote 15, TOM references Mrs. Osgood’s recollection as appearing in Griswold’s “Memoir” of Poe as being on p. liii. That pagination refers to the post-1853 editions, by which time the memoir had been moved from volume III to volume I. (Even here, the recollections actually begin on p. lii, although the page reference is correct for the passage TOM quotes.) Above, the page reference has been changed to the 1850 version, better fitting the sense of the rest of the note. TOM was unaware that the recollections were originally written by Mrs. Osgood for Saroni’s Musical Times (December 8, 1849) (see B. R. Pollin, “F. S. Osgood and Saroni‚Äôs Musical Times: Documents linking Poe, Osgood, and Griswold,” Poe Studies, 23 (Dec. 1990), pp. 27-36).


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[S:1 - TOM1P, 1969] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (T. O. Mabbott) (Annabel Lee)