Text: Thomas Ollive Mabbott, “Sources of Texts Collated: Poe's Own Collections,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. I: Poems (1969), pp. 577-584 (This material is protected by copyright)


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Tamerlane and Other Poems. By a Bostonian. Boston: Calvin F. S. Thomas — Printer, 1827. 40 pp. (Issued in paper covers before the end of August 1827.): Tamerlane [A]; To — — [Song, A]; Dreams [A]; Visit of the Dead [Spirits of the Dead, A]; Evening Star; Imitation; (untitled) “In youth have I known” [Stanzas]; (untitled) “A wilder’d being” [A Dream, A]; (untitled) “The happiest day” [The Happiest Day, A]; The Lake [A].

I edited a facsimile edition, published for the Facsimile Text Society by Columbia University Press, New York in 1941.

Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems. By Edgar A. Poe. Baltimore: Hatch & Dunning, 1829. 72 pages. (Issued in boards in December; two copies with Poe’s manuscript changes are known.): (untitled) “Science! meet daughter of old Time . . .” [Sonnet — To Science, A]; Al Aaraaf [C]; Tamerlane [C]; Preface [Romance, A]; To — — (“Should my early life seem”) [C]; To — — (“I saw thee on thy bridal day”) [Song, C]; To — — (“The bowers whereat”) [To (Elmira), A]; To the River — To the River (Po), B]; The Lake — To — [The Lake, C]; Spirits of the Dead [C]; A Dream [B]; To M — [B]; Fairyland [C].

—— [The Herring copy, with revisions made in 1845]. When Poe was preparing The Raven and Other Poems for publication in 1845, he made corrections in a copy of Al Aaraaf. . . (1829) borrowed from his cousin Elizabeth Herring (by now Mrs. Tutt) and gave it to the printers. This copy is now in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library. It is carefully described in my 1942 facsimile reprint of The Raven and Other Poems of 1845. Poems showing corrections are: Al Aaraaf [J, J2]; Tamerlane; Preface [Romance, E]; To —— —— (“Should my early life”) — the whole poem is marked for deletion; To — — [Song, E]; To — — (“The bowers whereat”) [To (Elmira), B]; To the River — — [To the River (Po), E]; A Dream; To M—— [C]; Fairyland [G].

The changes in “Tamerlane” and “A Dream” are not verbal.

—— [John Neal’s presentation copy]. This shows manuscript changes in “Tamerlane” [D] and “To —” [Song, D].

Poems by Edgar A. Poe . . . Second Edition. New York: Elam Bliss, 1831. 124 pages. (Issued about May 1, 1831. Killis Campbell supervised a facsimile edition, published for the Facsimile Text Society by Columbia University Press in 1936.): Introduction [Romance, C]; To Helen [A]; Israfel [A]; The Doomed City [The City in the Sea, A]; Fairy Land [II; Fairyland E]; Irene [A]; A Paean [A]; The Valley Nis [The Valley of Unrest, A]; (untitled) ­[page 578:] “Science! meet daughter of old Time thou art” [Sonnet — To Science, D]; Al Aaraaf [E]; Tamerlane [F; including The Lake, D].

Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. 2 vols. Philadelphia: Lea and Blanchard, 1840 (actually issued in November 1839): [To One in Paradise, E], in “The Visionary”; Catholic hymn [Hymn, D], in “Morella”; [Latin Hymn and Song of Triumph, C], in “Epimanes”; [The Haunted Palace, C, and Couplet, B], in “The Fall of the House of Usher”; motto for “William Wilson” [C].

Tales. New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1845 (brought out about June 15 under the supervision of E. A. Duyckinck): Motto for “The Gold-Bug” [B]; [The Haunted Palace, H, and Couplet, C] in “The Fall of the House of Usher.”

The Raven and Other Poems. New York: Wiley and Putnam, 1845. 91 pages, in a paper wrapper. The London edition of 1846 is not a reprint, but American sheets bound up with a cancel title page.

The circumstances of the compilation and publication of this collection are dealt with at length in the introduction to my reprint (1942) of the J. Lorimer Graham copy noted below. In a letter to E. A. Duyckinck, September 10, 1845, Poe said: “I leave for you what I think the best of my Poems.” He added that, if they could not be made to fill a book, “I can hand you some ‘Dramatic Scenes’ from the S. L. Messenger (2d Vol) and ‘AI Aaraaf’ and ‘Tamerlane,’ two juvenile poems of some length.” Since the extra material was desired, he borrowed a copy of Al Aaraaf . . . from his cousin Elizabeth and volume 2 of the Southern Literary Messenger from R. W. Griswold and made corrections in them for printer’s copy. The copyright copy of the book was deposited November 12, and on November 19 the New-York Tribune carried an advertisement announcing that the book was “this day published,” at the price of thirty-one cents. Poe was to have received seventy-five dollars for the book in February 1846, but he settled for a lump sum on it, together with what was due him for the Tales, on November 13, 1845.

Reviews of the New York volume appeared in the following journals in 1845 (the list is perhaps not quite complete): Evening Mirror (New York), November 21, 1845, by N. P. Willis; New-York Tribune, November 26, by Sarah Margaret Fuller; Evangelist (New York), November 27; Aristidean for November, by Thomas Dunn English; Democratic Review for December, by John L. O’Sullivan; Harbinger, December 6, by John S. Dwight (this fulmination from Brook Farm was quoted and answered by Poe in the Broadway Journal of December 13); New York Illustrated Magazine, December 6, by Lawrence Labree; the Golden Rule, December 13, and the Knickerbocker Magazine for January 1846, by Lewis G. Clark. The English issue was reviewed in the London Athenaeum, February 28, 1846 (by Thomas Kibble Hervey), and in the Literary Gazette, March 14, 1846.

The dedication reads: “To the noblest of her sex — to the author of ‘The Drama of Exile’ — To Miss Elizabeth Barrett Barrett, of England, I dedicate this volume, with the most enthusiastic admiration and with the most sincere esteem. E. A. P.”

Poetry as a “passion” for truth, beauty, and power, was discussed by Leigh Hunt in his essay “What is Poetry?” prefixed to Imagination and Fancy (1844). Hunt’s volume was reprinted in New York early in 1845 by Poe’s publishers. Poe, however, in the “Letter to Mr. —” prefixed to his Poems of 1831, had said that poetry should be a passion. ­[page 580:]

This is an acknowledgment of Poe’s debt in “The Raven” to Miss Barrett’s “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship.” The dedication copy, now in the Berg Collection of the New York Public Library, is inscribed “To Miss Elizabeth Barrett, With the Respects of Edgar A. Poe.” Her letter of thanks, dated “April 1846,” is also in the Berg Collection. Dr. Saul Rosenzweig calls my attention to a passage in a letter of Elizabeth Barrett to Browning, December 1, 1845, indicating that she supposed Poe’s preface would contain some reference, not wholly complimentary, to her poems. This almost surely was due to a misunderstanding of some communication, possibly from Cornelius Mathews, about Poe’s notices in the Evening Mirror and Broadway Journal.

The preface, with Poe’s changes made in 1849, is reproduced on p. 579. The pieces reprinted, all of which had previously been published in periodicals, are, in this order: The Raven [J]; The Valley of Unrest [E]; Bridal Ballad [E]; The Sleeper [H]; The Coliseum [J]; Lenore [F]; Catholic Hymn [Hymn, G]; Israfel [F]; Dream-land [C]; Sonnet — to Zante [To Zante, E]; The City in the Sea [E]; To One in Paradise [M]; Eulalie — A Song [E]; To F——s S. O——d [To Frances S. Osgood, F]; To F—— [To Frances, E]; Sonnet — Silence [F]; The Conqueror Worm [F]; The Haunted Palace [J]; Scenes from “Politian” [D]. POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH: Sonnet — To Science [J]; Al Aaraaf [K]; Tamerlane [H]; A Dream [E]; Romance [G]; Fairyland [H]; To —— [To (Elmira), D]; To the River — [To the River (Po) G]; The Lake — — To — — [The Lake, F]; Song [F]; To Helen [F]. Before POEMS WRITTEN IN YOUTH there is a note reading:

Private reasons — some of which have reference to the sin of plagiarism, and others to the date of Tennyson’s first poems — have induced me, after some hesitation, to republish these, the crude compositions of my earliest boyhood. They are printed verbatim — without alteration from the original edition — the date of which is too remote to be judiciously acknowledged. E. A. P.

The earlier poems were certainly not printed verbatim, although changes in the two longest were not numerous. The reference to plagiarism was called forth by John Forster’s pointless remark, in reviewing Griswold’s Poets and Poetry of America in the London Foreign Quarterly Review, January 1844, that “The Haunted Palace” was indebted to Tennyson’s “Deserted House.”

—— [Whitman copy]. This is the copy of The Raven and Other Poems (1845), bound with the Tales (1845) and issued by Wiley and Putnam in 1846, that Poe gave to Helen Whitman. It has a manuscript change, “Stannard” added, in the title of “To Helen” [H]. This copy is now owned by Mr. H. Bradley Martin.

—— [The J. Lorimer Graham copy with revisions as late as 1849]. This celebrated copy of The Raven and Other Poems (1845) contains manuscript revisions by Poe — some clearly very late — of the Preface and fourteen other pieces. The book came into Griswold’s hands too late for use in his edition of the Works. It was sold by his estate and acquired by James Lorimer Graham, whose widow gave it to the library of the Century Club, New York; it is now in the Miriam Lutcher Stark Library at the University of Texas. I edited a reproduction for The Facsimile Text Society in 1942. The poems ­[page 582:] affected are: The Raven [S]; Bridal Ballad [F]; The Sleeper [J]; The Coliseum [L]; Lenore [J]; Hymn [H]; Israfel [G]; Dreamland [E]; The City in the Sea [F]; To One in Paradise [N]; Eulalie [G]; The Conqueror Worm [J]; The Haunted Palace [M]; Politian [D].

The revisions in “The Coliseum,” “Israfel,” “The City in the Sea,” “Eulalie,” “The Haunted Palace,” and Politian were not verbal.


Poe made several collections of his poetry that are not in the form of published editions. Descriptions of these follow.

[The Wilmer Manuscript]. About 1828 Poe made manuscript copies of “Tamerlane” and some of his other poems, including (from the volume of 1827) revised versions of the poems now called “Song” (“I saw thee”), “Dreams,” “Spirits of the Dead,” “The Lake,” and “To — —” (“Should my early life seem,” completely rewritten from “Imitation”), as well as two new poems that were first printed in 1829, now called “To the River [Po],” and “To M—” (“I heed not”). The manuscript came into the possession of Poe’s early friend, Lambert A. Wilmer, whose heirs made it accessible to G. E. Woodberry in 1895 for use in the tenth volume of the Stedman-Woodberry edition of Poe’s works. Later the already imperfect manuscript was divided; most of it is now in the Pierpont Morgan Library, but one leaf was in the collection of Mr. William H. Koester, and another, described in the Yale List as number 10, is owned by Mr. H. Bradley Martin.

PHANTASY PIECES. In 1842 Poe planned a new collection of his tales. He drew up a table of contents and marked a number of changes in a copy of Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque (1840), but he was unsuccessful in finding a publisher. The marked volume I is now owned by Mr. H. Bradley Martin. A limited facsimile edition issued by George Blumenthal is mentioned in the Yale List, under number 150. The poems showing changes are The Haunted Palace [D], in “The Fall of the House of Usher,” and Hymn [E], in “Morella.”

Saturday Museum collection (1843). Poe made a small collection of his poems early in 1843 for the Philadelphia Saturday Museum, and inserted it in a sketch of his life which he said was by Henry B. Hirst, but in which he himself obviously had a hand. It first appeared in the issue of February 25, was reprinted in the issue of March 4, and was also put out as an Extra. The University of North Carolina has the issue of March 4; the American Antiquarian Society has the Extra, but no extant copy of the issue of February 25 is known. I examined in a large photostatic reproduction what purported to be an exemplar of that issue once owned by J. H. Rindfleisch, a bookseller and associate of J. H. Whitty. It was made up of clippings.

For the pieces introduced in the Museum sketch see the list of Newspapers and Magazines, p. 587, below. ­[page 583:]


These texts purport to be from late drafts given by Poe to the Richmond Examiner during his last visit to Richmond. In the preface to his Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe (1911), pp. viii-x, J. H. Whitty claimed that Poe’s friend, F. W. Thomas, had access to proof sheets of several poems of Poe set up by the printers of the Examiner late in the summer of 1849. “The poems from proof sheets of the Examiner were compiled by F. W. Thomas,” says Whitty, “with the intention of publishing a volume of Poe’s poems. He wrote his Recollections of Edgar A. Poe for this, but his death ended the project in 1866.” Judge Robert W. Hughes, according to Whitty, later “placed the manuscript in my hands for publication in the Richmond, Virginia, Sunday Times, with which newspaper I was associated at the time, but it was found unavailable. A copy, however, was retained, and all the important facts and changes are incorporated in this volume.” If we take Whitty at his word, he had a copy (presumably in his own hand) of a document by F. W. Thomas which has long since disappeared, and Whitty’s copy, too, has now disappeared. Whitty was evasive when I asked to see the Examiner material, although he freely showed me the manuscript of “Spiritual Song” (which survives) and allowed me to examine the changes Poe made (in his tales) in the Duane volumes of the Southern Literary Messenger, as he had done for Woodberry before 1894. (These changes are certainly authentic. Woodberry studied but did not record them; I have a complete record.)

To sum up, we have the report of a far from reliable person on the copy he had made of a lost manuscript. I am satisfied that Whitty had some kind of document; he quotes from it some passages of considerable length that are not in his own style. How he treated some of his briefer quotations, how far he quoted from memory and how accurately, cannot be answered at present. How reliable the memory of F. W. Thomas was after two decades cannot be answered at all.

The texts from the proof sheets present grave problems. We have a statement, independent of Whitty (and Thomas) that “Edgar A. Poe was induced to revise his principal poems for special publication in the Examiner” (Frederick S. Daniel, The Richmond Examiner During the War, 1868, p. 220). We know it was Poe’s custom to have his poems in revised form occasionally set up for publication in newspapers. “The Raven” appeared in the Examiner while Poe was still in Richmond; “Dreamland” soon after his death.

The “Richmond Examiner proof sheet texts” of a dozen other poems (Bridal Ballad, The Sleeper, Lenore, Israfel, The Conqueror Worm, The Haunted Palace, The Bells, For Annie, To My Mother, A Dream Within a Dream, Ulalume, and Annabel Lee) are known from the Whitty records alone, and hence through two manuscript copies. F. W. Thomas was not a meticulous scholar; his hand was none too legible; he sometimes wrote dashes and periods — and perhaps commas — alike. His punctuation is certainly unreliable. Some of the dozen Whitty texts are verbally extremely like (or even identical with) other printed old texts which differ from Griswold’s texts. Did Thomas take all his versions from Examiner proof sheets, or did he take some from other clippings in his possession? We do not know even what Thomas himself said. ­[page 584:]

Some of these versions seem to me really independent and possibly final texts, if they could be authenticated; but the differences are usually of only a word or two. (The change of the title of “A Dream Within a Dream” to the meaningless “To —” seems to me indubitably Poe’s, for he was at his worst when it came to titles; but that text has a doubtful reading.) I have given the variants in my notes, but I adopt none of the proof-sheet versions as my final text.





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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) (Sources of Texts Collated: Poe's Own Collections)