Text: Thomas Ollive Mabbott (and E. A. Poe, etc.), “Appendix III (Collaborations),” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. I: Poems (1969), pp. 491-496 (This material is protected by copyright)


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­[page 491:]

APPENDIX III
 
COLLABORATIONS

Like most professional men of letters, Poe occasionally polished verses for friends, as a matter of courtesy, or even for a fee.(1) We have several references to schemes to have Poe help other writers which came to little or nothing.(2) The most important plan, putting in shape a volume of poems for Mrs. M. St. Leon Loud, discussed by Poe in the summer of 1849, he did not reach Philadelphia to begin.

We do have one manuscript poem, revised for Mrs. Lewis; and three poems of friends, where Poe’s suggestions about a few lines were accepted. These are discussed in the paragraphs that follow.

 

A REVISION FOR ALEXANDER T. CRANE, 1845

Alexander Taylor Crane, an office boy for the Broadway Journal, greatly admired Poe, who was a very kind employer. Crane’s reminiscences are given in a letter to the New York Tribune of January 23, 1880 (published in the issue of January 30, 1880), an article in the Book-Lover, November-December 1901, and a feature interview in the Omaha Sunday World-Herald, August 6, 1911 — this last when Crane, then a farmer from Little Sioux, Iowa, was eighty-two years old and visiting a friend in Omaha. I have a photostat of the interview from the Nebraska State Historical Society at Lincoln. Said Crane: “Poe’s writings and poetry inspired me. I wanted to be able to write as he did. Even then, as a boy of 14, I used to try to write poetry. I still remember one little poem, a temperance poem, that I wrote at that time. I showed it to Poe, and he . . . only made a little change in correcting it . . . in the last line . . . necessary for meter.” Crane said that at Poe’s suggestion he took the poem to a Sunday School paper, The Youth’s Cabinet, edited in New York by Myron Finch, who accepted it.

Mr. Robert H. Haynes of Harvard College Library has located the piece in the issue of Thursday, May 1, 1845 (8:67). It appears in a section headed “Temperance” and is described as “Written for the Youth’s Cabinet.”

Crane’s version of the poem from memory in 1911 differed somewhat ­[page 492:] from the original publication, and his description of Poe’s revision is confusing. However, since the last line in the Cabinet is metrically correct, I feel sure Poe revised it from (not to) “ ’Tis then the cold shower gives a proof of God’s care.” The printed original reads:

WATER

By Alex T. Crane, S.S. No. 26

 

Cold water so bright, cold water so free,

Of all other liquids, cold water for me;

It is heard in the torrent with thundering roar,

In low murmuring music, it springs at your door.

 

In the broad fields of ocean, it is seen in its might,

When the clouds lower above it with darkness of night;

When the tempest sweeps o’er it, in fury it raves,

Converting its depths to an ocean of graves.

 

In the day when oppressed by the summer sun’s heat, —

When the pulse throbs within us with languishing beat;

When all nature seems drooping away in despair,

’Tis then the cool showers give proof of God’s care.

 

REVISION FOR HARRIET WINSLOW, 1848

The serious parody “To the Author of ‘The Raven,’ ” by Miss Harriet Winslow, is known in two forms, a manuscript in Poe’s hand and a slightly revised and improved form in Graham’s Magazine for April 1848. The manuscript was among the Poe documents sold by the younger Griswold through Bangs & Co., on April 11, 1896, and was listed and printed in the sale catalogue as a new, original composition of Poe. It is headed there:

TO THE AUTHOR OF THE RAVEN

By Miss Harriet Winslow

 

Author of “To the Unsatisfied” —

“Why thus longing, thus forever sighing —

“For the far-off unattained and dim?”

Its theme was that the raven was friendly.

Harriet Winslow was a real person, as Victor H. Paltsits pointed out to Miss Phillips (Edgar Allan Poe, II, 1004). She was born in Portland, Maine, on June 30, 1819; and her poem “Why thus longing” was printed by Longfellow in the Waif (1844). An expanded version of this poem, headed “To the Unsatisfied,” appeared in Duyckinck’s Cyclopedia of American Literature (1856), II, 689. Miss Winslow was married to Charles Liszt of Philadelphia in June 1848 and later resided in Boston. See also R. W. Griswold’s Female Poets of America (1849), p. 354.

Poe apparently saw and copied out the poem she had addressed to him ­[page 493:] before it appeared in Graham’s. The printed version has two emendations which I ascribe to Poe. Line 11 is changed from the grammatically faulty, “Knows he not the littlenesses that poor human nature presses” to “Knows he not the littlenesses of our natures — its distresses?” In lines 24-25, “By the memories of Lenore, / Oh, renounce him nevermore” is improved by the substitution of “thy memories.”

 

SUGGESTION FOR SARAH HELEN WHITMAN, 1848

In 1848 Mrs. Whitman sent Poe her poem “Arcturus,” upon which, in a letter of November 24, he commented:

The first note leave out: . . . 61 Cygni has been proved nearer than Arcturus and Alpha Lyrae is presumably so. Bessel, also, has shown six other stars to be nearer than the brighter ones of this hemisphere . . . There is an obvious tautology in “pale candescent.” To be candescent is to become white with heat. Why not read . . . “To blend with thine its incandescent fire.”

Mrs. Whitman did not use Poe’s line in a printing of an obviously revised version (it mentions Poe’s death) in Graham’s for June 1850, nor in the much cut-down and divided “Arcturus Written in April” and “Arcturus Written in October” in her volume Hours of Life (1853) at pp. 77-81. But she used Poe’s line in her own revised copy of that book (now at Brown University), and it appears in the October piece in her posthumous Poems (1879) at p. 86. Special thanks are due to Miss Marion E. Brown of Brown University Library for this note.

 

COLLABORATION WITH MRS. LEWIS, 1848 OR 1849

There is reason to believe that in 1848 and 1849 Poe polished many of the verses of his patroness, Mrs. Sarah Anna Lewis. Only one specimen of these revisions survives, “The Prisoner of Perotè.” The manuscript is in her hand, with suggested changes and an unsigned note penciled by Poe. This fell into the hands of J. H. Ingram, who published it imperfectly in the Albany Review for July 1907; J. H. Whitty reprinted from this publication in Complete Poems, second edition (1917), pp. 210-211. The manuscript is now in the Ingram Collection at the University of Virginia, and from it I print the poem as Poe wished it to read; the original forms of the lines he changed appear at the foot of the page. Poe suggested all the occasional indented short lines.

The authoress published “The Prisoner” herself in Poems by Estelle Anna Lewis (1857), pp. 218-221. In that version she adopted most of Poe’s changes, but corrected lines 7, 56, 59, and 69 in her own fashion, and did not change line 70.

[[n]]

THE PRISONER OF PEROTÈ

The only person, that shared the captivity of Santa Anna, in the cold and gloomy Prison of Perotè, was his young and beautiful Wife, ­[page 494:] who by a thousand little acts of kindness and affection, Soothed his Sorrows, and rendered less irksome the horrors of his prison house.

The troops of Parasites, who had fattened upon his bounty, and been loud in their “Vivas” to him in the Noon and tide of his Power, forgot their Benefactor in the Night of his Adversity, and cried “Death to the Tyrant!” but the affectionate wife clung closer to his bosom, the more the darkness gathered around him, and by her presence, and her smiles lit up the gloom of his dreary abode.

 

Translated from a Spanish Paper.

In the Prison of Perotè

Silently the warrior sate

[[v]]

With his eye bent sadly downward

Like one stricken sore by Fate;

5

Broken visions of his Glory

[[v]]

Quick before his spirit passed

[[v]]

Like clouds across the summer Heaven

[[v]]

Hurtled by the Blast.

[[v]]

The sullen booming of the cannon,

10

And the clash of the blade and spear —

“Death — death unto the Tyrant!”

Still were ringing in his ear.

[[v]]

Much he sorrowed for the people.

For whose weal he fain would die —

15

On the Tablets of The Future,

Sadly fell his eye:

There he saw his weeping country

Close beleaguerd by the foe,

[[v]]

Saw her chained and faint and bleeding,

[[v]]

20

Heard her shrieks of wo;

[[v]]

From the eastward and the westward

He beheld the Pilgrims come

[[v]]

To muse upon her wild ruins,

As now they flock to Rome.

25

Then in thought afar he wandered

[[n]]

Unto Andalusia’s shore,

[[n]]

To the cities of Abdallah,

And the valiant Compeador;

To the dark land of the Paynim,

30

Mecca’s consecrated Shrine,

To Palmyra of the desert, —

[[v]]

And to Palestine: ­[page 495:]

Well he weighed the fate of Nations,

[[v]]

Well their glory and their Shame,

35

Well the fleetness of all Power,

Well the emptiness of Fame;

Well the wasting wrecks of Empires

[[v]]

Choking time’s impatient stream,

[[v]]

Till Beauty with her gentle whispers

40

Woke him from his dream —

“Arouse thee, gallant soldier!”

In a heavenly voice she cried,

“Though forsaken by all others,

I am hovering by thy side;

[[v]]

45

Though thine own heroic Valor,

Turned against thy breast the dart,

As the feather of the Eagle

Guides the arrow to his heart;

Though the Tempest wildly rages,

[[v]]

50

Though the sky is dread and dark,

[[v]]

Steadfast keep thine eye on Heaven,

[[v]]

And God will guide thy Bark —

Sorrow not! attendant angels

Thee to fate will ne’er resign,

[[v]]

55

Soon the storm will all pass over

[[v]]

And the sun will shine —

Sorrow not! the proud and lofty

Sun and Sky I’ve left for thee.

[[v]]

The very dungeon of thy presence

[[v]]

60

Is a throne to me

Every gleam of thy Affection,

Every glance of thy dark eyes,

[[v]]

Deep into my aching bosom

[[v]]

Pour a Paradise

65

And forever, as the flower,

Far away from Pleasure’s sight

[[v]]

Close beside some stately Ruin

[[v]]

Sheds its holy light:

[[v]]

[[n]]

As the faithful Woodbine twines

[[v]]

70

Still around the mouldering tree, ­[page 496:]

So, to cheer thy desolation,

Will I cling to thee.

 


VARIANTS [[to “The Prisoner of Perotè”]]

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 494:]

3  His eye bent sadly downward

6  Before his spirit passed. / Poe first altered Before to O’er

7  Like clouds across the Heaven.

8  Driven onward by the Blast

9  The booming of the Cannon

13  Sadly bent his mental eye

19  He saw her chained and bleeding

20  He heard her shrieks of wo;

21  From the east and from the westward

23  To ponder o’er her Ruins,

32  And to the fallen Palestine:

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 495:]

34-37  Well was added by Poe in each line

38  That choke Time’s rapid stream

39-40  Till Beauty’s gentle whispers

45-48  Poe wrote beside this Very fine.

50  The sky is dread and dark

Awoke him from his dream. —

51  Keep thine eye steadfast on Heaven

52  God will guide thy helmless Bark

55  The storm will all pass over

56  The Sun again will shine —

59  The dungeon in thy presence

60  Is a Palace unto me

63  Into my aching bosom

64  Pours the Peace of Paradise;

67  Beside some stately Ruin,

68  Sheds its meek and holy light;

69  As the faithful Woodbine twineth

70  Still around the fallen tree,

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 495:]

71  To cheer its desolation,

72  So I’ll ever cling to thee.

 


[page 496, continued:]

NOTES [[to “The Prisoner of Perotè”]]

Title:  Antonio L√≥pez de Santa Anna (1795-1876), the adventurer, may seem an odd hero for a romantic poem. But he was personally courageous, and patriotic enough to come back from exile to command his own country’s army in the Mexican War.

Santa Anna was twice married. Soon after the death of his first wife he married a very young girl, Maria Dolores Tosta, who wanted a wedding in the cathedral in Mexico City. El Presidente was detained by affairs at home, but the ceremony was performed by proxy on October 3, 1844, as the lady desired. The young wife did take care of him at Perotè, where he was a prisoner of state, from January 13 to June 3, 1845. The marriage continued to be a fairly happy one until Santa Anna died. See W. H. Callcott, Santa Anna (University of Oklahoma Press, 1936), pp. 203ff.

26  To this line Mrs. Lewis added a footnote: “The name of Andalusia was applied by the Arabs not only to the Province so called, but to the whole Peninsula.” This she took verbatim from a note to the third canto of “The Abencerrage” in Tales and Historic Scenes by Mrs. Hemans. See her Poems (Boston, 1828, I, 114).

27-28  Abdallah (whose name means “Servant of God”), King of Granada, was defeated by the great Spanish hero, Rodrigo (or Ruy) Díaz de Bivar, called “El Cid Campeador” (The Lord Warrior), who flourished in the eleventh century.

69  In her Poetry of Flowers, Mrs. Caroline M. Kirkland says the woodbine means fraternal love. Mrs. Lewis later changed it to ivy.

 


[[Footnotes]]

[The following footnotes appear at the bottom of page 491:]

1  At least once he accepted suggestions for one of his own poems. Four lines of the first version of “The Bells” were written by Mrs. Marie Louise Shew.

2  In a letter of about March 1845, Anna Cora Mowatt asked Poe to make suggestions for her comedy Fashion, but if she used any, we cannot identify them. A letter of Poe to Mrs. Sarah Josepha Hale on January 16, 1846, discusses possible help on a projected reprint of her play, Ormond Grosvenor, but nothing more is known about it. Poe’s remark in an article on Henry B. Hirst, first printed posthumously in Works (1850), III, 212, that “he adopted my advice so implicitly, that his poems, upon the whole, are little more than our conversations done into verse” is obviously jocular, and points to nothing specific.

 


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Notes:

Eratta:

- p. 491: in a letter to the New York Tribune of January 23, 1880 (published in the issue of January 30, 1880) / in a letter to the New York Tribune of January 30, 1880 [This minor error is noted by Burton R. Pollin in his own copy of TOM’s edition of the Poems. Because TOM’s phrasing implies the date on which the letter was written rather than the date of publication, the sentence has been modified for the sake of clarity.]


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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) (Appendix III - Collaborations)