Text: Burton R. Pollin (and E. A. Poe), “Pinakidia,” The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe — Vol. II: The Brevities (1985), pp. 1-55 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 1:]


Southern Literary Messenger

August 1836

[172 items plus Introduction]

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Introduction [to Pinakidia]

Under the head of “Random Thoughts,” “Odds and Ends,” “Stray Leaves,” “Scraps,” “Brevities,” and a variety of similar titles, we occasionally meet, in periodicals and elsewhere, with papers of rich interest and value — the result, in some cases, of much thought and more research, expended, however, at a manifest disadvantage, if we regard merely the estimate which the public are willing to set upon such articles.(a) It sometimes occurs that in papers of this nature may be found a collective mass of general, but more usually of classical erudition, which, if dexterously besprinkled over a proper surface of narrative, would be sufficient to make the fortunes of one or two hundred ordinary novelists in these our good days, when all heroes and heroines are necessarily men and women of “extensive acquirements.” But, for the most part, these “Brevities,” &c. are either piecemeal cullings at second hand, from a variety of sources hidden or supposed to be hidden, or more audacious pilferings from those vast storehouses of brief facts, memoranda, and opinions in general literature, which are so abundant in all the principal libraries of Germany and France.(b) Of the former species, the Koran of Lawrence Sterne is, at the same time, one of the most consummately impudent and silly; and it may well be doubted whether a single paragraph of any merit in the whole of it may not be found, nearly verbatim, in the works of some one of his immediate cotemporaries.(c) If the Lacon of Mr. Colton is any better, its superiority consists altogether in a deeper ingenuity in disguising his stolen wares,(d) and in that prescriptive right of the strongest which, time out of mind, has decided upon calling every Napoleon a conqueror, and every Dick Turpin a thief,(e) Seneca;(f) Machiavelli;* (g) Balzac,(h) the author of “La Maniere de bien Penser;”(i) Bielfeld, the German, who wrote, in French, “Les Premiers Traits de L‘Erudition Universelle;”(j) [page 2:] Rochefoucault;(k) Bacon;(l) Bolingbroke;(m) and especially Burdon, of “Materials for Thinking” memory, possess, among them, indisputable claims to the ownership of nearly every thing worth owning in the book.(n)

Of the latter species of theft, we see frequent specimens in the continental magazines of Europe, and occasionally meet with them even in the lower class of periodicals in Great Britain. These specimens are usually extracts, by wholesale, from such works as the “Bibliotheque des Memorabilia Literaria,” the “Recueil des Bonnes Pensées,”(o) the “Lettres Edifiantes et Curieuses,”(p) the “Literary Mémoires” of Sallengre,(q) the “Mélanges Littéraires” of Suard and André,(r) or the “Pièces Intéressantes et peu Connues” of La Place.(s) D‘Israeli’s “Curiosities of Literature,” “Literary Character,” and “Calamities of Authors,” have, of late years, proved exceedingly convenient to some little American pilferers in this line, but are now becoming too generally known to allow much hope of their good things being any longer appropriated with impunity.(t)

Such collections, as those of which we have been speaking, are usually entertaining in themselves, and for the most part, we relish every thing about them save their pretensions to originality. In offering, ourselves, something of the kind to the readers of the Messenger, we wish to be understood as disclaiming, in a great degree, every such pretension. Most of the following article is original, and will be readily recognized as such by the classical and general reader — some portions of it may have been written down in the words, or nearly in the words, of the primitive authorities. The whole is taken from a confused mass of marginal notes, and entries in a common-place-book. No certain arrangement has been considered necessary; and, indeed, so heterogeneous a farrago it would have been an endless task to methodize.(u) We have chosen the heading Pinakidia, or Tablets, as one sufficiently comprehensive. It was used, for a somewhat similar purpose, by Dionysius of Halicarnassus.(v)

articles) a.  Poe underestimates, in “occasionally,” the multiplicity of such “articles” in the journals of the day, which often used such borrowed or pilfered material (with and without attribution) to fill up their columns. The Southern Literary Messenger (hereafter SLM) had to fill 52 to 78 (or even more) pages of 66, double-columned lines of fine print each month; hence, it relied rather heavily upon “such articles,” as Poe discovered from the custom of his editorial predecessors, James E. Heath and Edward V. Sparhawk. Quite naturally, the sample titles given by Poe, except for his own coinage of “Brevities,” are found in the SLM itself: “Random Thoughts” is a long “catch-all” anonymous article (2.355-57) in the May 1836 issue; it inserts quotations and allusions, classical and contemporary, for its little sections on “The Age,” “Ariosto,” “Mythology,” “Snoring,” “Thin Clothing,” “Implicit Faith” et al. — all intended to amuse and enlighten. This is directly followed (pp. [page 3:] 357-65) by “Odds and Ends” by “Oliver Oldschool,” or James Garnett, a popular contributor to the SLM (identified by David Jackson, Contributors . . . to the SLM [1936], p. 13). Poe’s “Sonnet” (To Science) is on the succeeding page. “Stray Leaves” is a similar type of article — really a sort of filler — in the 3/35 (dates hereafter are written thus) SLM (1.332), consisting of two short poems, the first on death, especially that of a woman, the second a conventional anacreontic on love and merriment through wine. The appearance of Poe’s “Berenice” directly after this is amazingly coincidental when one reads the end of poem 1: “And those pearly teeth, / Shall be trodden beneath, / The foot of the idle passerby” — a good motto for the tale and reason enough for Poe to remember the article the next year in introducing his “Pinakidia.” In the 4/36 SLM, 2.314-16, is a long learned article in five parts called “Leaves from My Scrap Book” (given by Jackson, p. 12, as by Philip P. Cooke) and in the 5/36 issue (2.372) is another “Leaf from my Scrap Book.” The first is preceded by one of Poe’s “fillers” on “unmeaning verbosity” or “anemone words,” (SP 16), to be used in the 1838 “Blackwood’s Article” (TOM 361n36) which also uses P. P. Cooke’s ref. to Remusat’s mention of a Chinese novel (360n29). The second “scrap,” as Cooke terms it, is directly followed by Poe’s filler on “The Corpus Juris” (SP 17). Using the word more directly is a small “filler” type of article in the 2/35 SLM (1.321), called “Variety” and consisting of eight short pieces. Numbers 3 through 6 are termed “Scraps from the ’Spirit of the Times“’ (presumably of New York City), all humorous in tone. Interestingly, the New Yorker, Greeley’s excellent magazine of New York City, in its issue of 8/27/36 (I, no. 23, 365) gave the Pinakidia a brief notice and partial reprint: “The Editorial articles of the Messenger are spirited. From one paper we have extracted several curious literary annotations, which we have entitled “Scraps” . . . we should have made room for it entire.” It then reprints seven of them.

Poe’s general designation of “Brevities” he likes well enough to use below in this para. and also in the prefatory note for installment 13 of the “Marginalia,” ostensibly by the editor then of the SLM John R. Thompson, but clearly written by Poe himself. He had other suggestions for such article titles, according to his letter of 1/17/41 to Snodgrass (Ostrom, Letters, p. 152), but “brevities” best expressed the form and pungency of these numerous productions. The OED authorizes no plural or singular form meaning terse observation, based on the common word “brevity,” but, as with “marginalia” — entirely his creation (see my Intro.) — Poe easily supplied the want. It has not been observed, I think, that some years earlier Poe had taken advantage of the freedom in such a collection via his “Letter to Mr. ——— ——— ” addressed to “Dear B———” (that is, probably, Elam Bliss, publisher of his 1831 Poems). His preliminary remarks about the changes made from the soi-disant first ed. of 1829 create a first section for a total of 13. In the 7/36 SLM [page 4:] (2.501-503) Poe reprinted the “Letter to B———.” (as he now called it) with this footnote: “These detached passages form part of the preface to a small volume. . . . They have vigor and much originality — but of course we shall not be called upon to endorse all the writer’s opinions.” (It was surely not White who signed this “Ed.”)

France) b.  The scattering of “erudition” over the surface of a novel describes the practice of the “silver fork” novelists and others of greater substance, e.g., Bulwer Lytton’s Pelham and Paul Clifford and Benjamin Disraeli’s Vivian Grey, all of which contributed surface decorations to many of Poe’s tales. The method contributed “tone” and even an imputed “instruction” to the highly suspect genre of fiction. The phrase “extensive acquirements” bears its points not, perhaps, as being invented by an author (no source has been found) but rather taken from a private school advertisement. The “storehouses” are the anthologies and compendia which Poe names, by author or by title, below. In view of his including several Britons, why did he leave out their country? Nor does he elsewhere specify them. The growing reputation for scholarly exactitude of the Germans and his use of the Lectures of A. W. Schlegel probably motivated this sentence.

cotemporaries) c.  Poe does not seem to know that The Posthumous Works of Laurence Sterne (1713-68), in 2 vols., although included in the first collected ed., had quickly been shown to be the work of Richard Griffith (d. 1788), with a continued sub rosa existence for Part II, The Koran: or, essays, sentiments, observations and callimachies of Tria,Juncta in Uno, MNA or Master of No Art. Indeed Poe derived two tidbits for his tales from this work, such as the Greek word in “Bon-Bon” (TOM 116n20), and the Ravisius Textor ref. (TOM 168n13; but there the ed. ignores this source). For a brief account of this testimony to Sterne’s continued popularity see W. L. Cross, Life of . . . Sterne (1907), p. 491. Whatever its manifest shortcomings, it was not attacked as being wholly copied, but many newspaper paragraphs were indebted to it.

wares) d.  Charles Caleb Colton (1780?-1832) was a sleazy sort of eccentric — a former minister, sportsman, wine merchant, varied author, gambler, retiree to America when his debts and other delinquencies forced him to flee, and finally a settler in Paris near which he committed suicide to avoid surgery. His Lacon, or many things in few Words addressed to those who think (1820) reached a 6th ed. in 1821 with a second vol. added in 1822 and many subsequent reprints, despite charges (e.g., in Gentleman’s Magazine, 6/1832; pp. 564-66) of borrowings from Bacon’s Essays and Burdon’s Materials (see below). (See MM 46 and 207 for this work.) His stay in America and spectacular death created great interest in him and his major work in this country; see, The Land We Love (Charlotte, N. C.), of 8/1868, 5.309-16; and William Gowans (Poe’s friend of 1837-38), revised ed. of his works with a “Life of the Author” (1849; rep. 1860). J. E. Heath, first editor of the SLM, included seven of his [page 5:] “sayings” as fillers in the first volume, q.v. in D. K. Jackson, “Poe Notes” in AL, 11/1933, 5.259 n.9. As a later “ed.” Poe surely conned these. Poe later reviewed The Pocket Lacon: comprising nearly one thousand Extracts from the best authors. Selected by, John Taylor, in BGM of 8/39, 5.115-16, but this merely shows that Colton almost contributed a new word — “lacon” — to our language for anthology or collection. To my mind, Colton’s Lacon is sententious, dull, derivative, pompous — altogether unworthy of the stir it caused and the place it here occupies in the Preface.

thief) e.  Dick Turpin (1705-39) turned from being a butcher to being a notorious highwayman, finally hanged outside York. Ainsworth in Rookwood (1834) gave him greater fame than Eliza Cook’s ballad about his ride on “Black Bess.”

Seneca) f.  Lucius Annaeus Seneca (d. 65 A. D.) is probably included here for the 77 epigrams handed down under his name, only three of which are indisputably his. Elsewhere Poe speaks of his nine tragedies, et al., but it is doubtful that Poe read any of these or of his philosophical works (see Pin 5,101,132; MM 46, 90,131,188, and TOM 993 motto n for “Purloined Letter”).

Machiavelli) g.  Poe has several refs. to Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527) and three of his works: Belphegor (see “Usher” in TOM 419n17) the Prince, and Life of Castruccio (see TOM 94n4, 112, 203, 995n13,1153; also H 9.58; 10.47). The entire footnote, save for the first sentence, (which is purely transitional, since Colton was not so charged) is borrowed, almost verbatim, from Isaac Disraeli’s Curiosities of Literature (hereafter CL), article on “Recovery of Manuscripts” (1865 ed., 1.72). The passage is a discussion of the way Aretino and Bishop Barbosa published, as their own, earlier works thought to be unique copies. Machiavelli “selected those [Apophthegms] which pleased him, and put them” into his hero’s mouth. Poe heightens this into “nearly all” but he preserves the misspelling of “Castruccio.” I have found the exact source for Disraeli’s comment in the Suite du Ménagiana, ou Bons Mots, etc. de M. Menage (Paris, 1715) [by Pierre Bayle], 2.96. On the other hand, in vol. 4, p. 86, as is noted by Ellis Farneworth in Works of Machiavel (London, 1762), 1.770, note c, M. Monnoye, says of the “libel” on Machiavelli: “Plutarch’s Apothegms of the Ancients were not only commonly known, but have been translated and published long before.. .. [His] use . . . was only to divert his Readers and embellish his work. . . . [He was] incapable of translating it.” Finally, S. W. Singer, in Notes and Queries of 6/1/1850, 2.4, notes that Giovanni Filelfo (1426-80), known as Philelphus, and after him Raphael Regius printed Latin collections called Plutarch’s Apophthegms, which took liberties with the original, according to Erasmus.

Balzac) h.  Poe is mistaken about authorship here. Jean-Louis Guez de Balzac (1597-1654), French essayist, letterwriter, and “charter member” of the French Academy, greatly influenced French prose style and acquired a reputation for elegance and sagacity, as in Pin 154, where [page 6:] the “vaudeville” makes him a model for wisdom. SP 25 uses an article from CL concerning his embarrassing full name (q.v.). The “vaudeville” citing him appears also as the motto of “Bon-Bon” in 1845 (see TOM 114), and Poe cites him for a word on “solitude” from Les Entretiens (1659), possibly without knowing the source, in “Island of the Fay” (TOM 606n6). I find him responsible also for the comment on Tertullian’s style, in “Man of the Crowd” (TOM 517n9), borrowed from CL also (1798 ed., 1.179). In short, Poe might justly have attributed the next book, in view of its title, to such a witty sage, through error.

Penser) i.  In the 12/71 Poe Newsletter [later Poe Studies], 4.27-29, Edgar C. Knowlton, Jr. published his important discovery of “Poe’s Debt to Father Bouhours,” too late unfortunately for Mr. Mabbott personally to include in his ed. of the tales, although the continuing editors traced two items in “A Blackwood Article” to that source in consequence (TOM 360-61nn31-32), indicating also the great influence of La Manière de bien penser dans les ouvrages d‘esprit (Paris, 1687). These four “dialogues” (somewhat in the style of Castiglione’s Courtier) are a kind of anthology of excerpts of Latin, French, Italian and Spanish authors, often illustrating the superiority of the classics. Anonymously published and often republished, it was very soon correctly ascribed to Father Dominique Bouhours (1628-1702), a fact apparently unknown to Poe. The LC catalogue gives 21 editions or reimpressions in French, emanating from Paris, Lyons, and Amsterdam, with translations: Italian (1735) and English (1705 and 1728, the second as The Arts of Logick and Rhetorick and sometimes quoted, below. Generally, I shall cite the 1771 Paris ed., unless otherwise specified). For the 14 instances in Pin, plus others in the Brevities see the table in my Intro.

Universelle) j.  Save for accidentals, Poe gives correctly the title of this large “compendium” (as his Preface calls it) by Jacob Friedrich (freiherr or baron von) Bielfeld (1717-1770), which Poe used for 19 Pinakidia and 4 SP, plus several Marginalia, and several loci in the tales (see TOM Index, 1414 and other prose, q.v. in PD 10). The Baron Bielfeld, whose works were almost entirely in French, was a member of the Gallicized court of Prussia, the preceptor of Frederick II’s brother, and holder of other appointments. The book appeared (in French) in Leyden (1767, 3 vols.), Berlin (4 vols.), London (1770, 3 vols. tr. by W. Hooper), Dublin (pirated), and Madrid (1802, 3 vols. in Spanish). Poe probably used the 1770 English text for all refs. except for the Pin 154 article (q.v.). Probably at that time it was much more commonly found in public libraries and gentlemen’s libraries than today, as the Maunsell ed. of the LC catalogue (with locations) proves. Almost uniformly Poe shows respect for the dicta and observations of Bielfeld.

Rochefoucault) k.  This spelling of the name of Duke François de la Rochefoucauld (1630-80) is validated in the first ed. of Reflexiones ou Sentences et Maximes morales (1705), in the CL usage, and the 1835 New [page 7:] York ed. of Maxims and Moral Reflections (q.v. in TOM n13 to 985 in “Purloined Letter” where Poe speaks of his “spurious profundity”). As part of the “storehouse” of erudition, the duke is mentioned in a similar context in the 11/39 BGM rev. of Canons of Good Breeding (H 10.47) and in M 47. This spelling also occurs in a humorous ref. in the 3/36 SLM rev. of Georgia Scenes (H 8.258).

Bacon) 1.  Poe’s use of various works of Francis Bacon, Baron Verulam (1561-1626), is so frequent and generally favorable that his mockery of his “method” in Eureka (paras. 13-22), which is transferred into “Mellonta Tauta” (TOM 1295), is surprising. For the opposite in the Brevities see MM 147, 183, 196, 213, 262; FS 3, SP 29 (see also six items listed in TOM’s Index, 1413).

Bolingbroke) m.  The celebrated Henry St. John, Lord Bolingbroke (1678-1751), orator, parliamentarian, versatile as a writer on politics and also on principles of government, whose “Philosophical Works” influenced Pope’s Essay on Man, issued a set of Fragments or Minutes of Essays (81 in number), q.v. in his Works in 5 vols., published by David Mallet in 1752 (in 1771 ed., comprising vol. 5). Poe uses his essay Of the Study of History (“Letter v”; vol. 2.340) for SP 42 (q.v.), but he lacks the terseness and rich allusiveness qualifying his works for aptness among the others. With revisions this whole section appears in the rev. of the Canons mentioned in K above, and also in M 44. He had referred to Bolingbroke in the 1835 SLM printing of “Bon-Bon” for the motto and also praised his style in the rev. of Southey’s Naval History in the 9/35 SLM . See also the letter to H. B. Wallace (qua W. Landor) of 717/41 in Ostrom, Letters 174.

book) n.  William Burdon (1764-1818), wealthy and educated coal-owner,“/published political pamphlets and this book which struck the popular chord and achieved five editions (1805 to 1820) without any distinction or real originality. It offers conventional views on ethical, social, and political questions of the day, and in vol. 2 (in its three essays) opposes several of William Godwin’s doctrines. One suspects that Poe talks about Burdon’s book simply from hearsay.

Pensées) o.  The first title has not yet been discovered, couched in its curious medley of Latin and French. The second appears to be an error by Poe, perhaps mistaking the subtitle of Suite du Ménagiana etc. (see g above) for a suitable compendium. This title designates Recueil de Bonnes Pensées pour tons les jours du mois. Pour servir d Essay a ceux qui n‘ont pas encore l‘usage de l‘Oraison (2nd ed., rev. and augmented, Paris, 1673; 167 pp.). Surely this small book of holy advice is irrelevant.

Curieuses) p.  This ref. seems extremely odd until we note that Thomas Moore twice used it in footnotes to Lalla Rookh which Poe had always admired (see loci of citations in PD 139, and FS 6, 41). Moore uses “a bad translation” to expound on the value of precious old Chinese porcelain (Poetical Works of . . . Moore [N. Y., 1853], 6.144), giving the title [page 8:] in Poe plus “of the Missionary Jesuits.” In his section, “The Fire-Worshippers” (6.238) Moore cites the name “holy” as applied to a stream in Lebanon, sanctified by the cedars on its banks or by cells for anchorites. The full title has the addition “ecrites des Missions Etrangeres.” The 26 vols., with 12,477 pp. (2nd ed., 1780-83) did contain much information about remote places in America, the Near and the Far East, but they scarcely qualify for inclusion in these compendia, save for the title.

Sallengre) q.  Poe would repeat this erudition in his Canons rev. of 1839 (see k above), similarly with the incorrect acute accent over the last letter. Albert Henri de Sallengre (1694-1723) published Mémoires de littérature et d‘histoire in 2 vols. (The Hague, 1715-17) with a continuation later. The first article (1.1-30), “Memoires pour servir a la Vie de Guillaume Postel” (d. 1581) I found most interesting for its pages on the attempt to ascribe the book (so to speak) “Des Trois Imposteurs / De Tribus Imposteribus” (see Pin 8), but I doubt Poe’s knowing this work.

Andre) r.  Poe’s citation of this work proves him, amusingly, not to have seen the book, as Woodberry, Poe (1885), p. 97, first indicated. With the help of several friends and his wife, Jean Baptiste Antoine Suard published Melanges de litterature (Paris, 1803; 3 vols.; 2nd ed. rev. and cor., 5 vols., Paris, 1806). Poe was citing John Black’s translation of Schlegel’s Lectures on Dramatic Literature which preserved Schlegel’s title (ch. xvii, Bohn ed.), ascribed to “Sward and Andere” or “Sward and others” — proof of Poe’s poor grasp of German. (See this discussed also by Regis Messac, Influences françaises dans l‘oeuvre de . . . Poe, 1929, pp. 222-23.) Poe repeated this bit of learning in the 3/8/45 BJ, in his Longfellow expose (H 12.56).

La Place) s.  One suspects that the title alone suited Poe’s needs for this item of court gossip. Pierre Antoine de La Place (1707-93) began his series with a 1781 Paris and Bruxelles issue, eventually reaching 12 vols. by 1790, but there are overlaps, and new editions in different volume-totals. The full title was Piéces intéressantes et peu connues, pour servir à l‘histoire et à la littérature. It was even translated into English as Loves of royalty / Bons mots, etc. A rapid perusal of the whole has failed to reveal any offering of suitable information or much to Poe’s purpose. The Bassompierre anagramatic-epigram of Pin 106 is offered (1787 ed., 5.354), but Poe’s source was clearly Bouhours.

impunity) t.  Isaac D‘Israeli (or Disraeli, as his son Benjamin spelled the name, which form will be used throughout by me), 1766-1848, was an author of great versatility, writing several anti-Jacobin novels (such as Vaurien at the “parlous” turn of the century) and books of much learning and great charm, such as The Literary Character (1795; enlarged, 1818), Calamities of authors (1812-13), Quarrels of authors (1814) and, chiefly, Curiosities of Literature which grew from a set of miscellaneous anecdotes into a series of essays on literary and historical themes (1791 into the 1860s, in editions revised and reshuffled by Benjamin Disraeli). [page 9:] James Ogden in Isaac D‘Israeli (OUP, 1969), pp. 94-107 traces the numerous permutations of these sets of “embarrassingly successful” accumulations of learning, essays, and keen observations, published in countless editions, authorized and pirated throughout the English-speaking world and in translations, on the Continent. Since Disraeli continued to make alterations and additions, specific items may disappear from or suddenly appear in newer editions. The 1865 N. Y. ed. (in 4 vols.) represents those of Isaac Disraeli’s later editions very largely, but occasionally one must cite earier [[earlier]] editions (sometimes seen in British, French, and Spanish libraries) which are not at hand in some of the largest American libraries used by this editor (although clearly used in some form by Poe, who spoke of “communication” with “D‘Israeli“either the father or son) in a 9/21/39 letter to Philip P. Cooke (Ostrom 117) — undoubtedly feigned. His books received much public acclaim, and Bulwer Lytton eulogized him in England as did many others (Ogden, 99, 106), as Godey’s Lady’s Book of 1/36,12.35, approvingly indicates. Here especially he was deemed to provide “relaxed browsing” and an introduction into “delightful fields of knowledge.” In a sense, Poe, who based 33 Pin entries and 13 of the Supplementary Pin entries on the CL (used hereafter for Curiosities of Literature) was continuing that propaedeutic function.

methodize) u.  It is barely possible that Poe playing a game of humor in his use of “original” in this para. Harrison (14.40), footnote, refers to Woodberry’s being first to omit a fancied “not” before “original” in sentence 3 (according to Poe, p. 96). However, this ignores Poe’s editorial para., August, 1835, 1.716, an issue prepared by Poe as T. W. White’s major assistant and real, if not nominal, editor (see TOM Poems, “Annals,” 545). It reads: “In every publication like ours, a brief sentence or paragraph is often wanted for the filling out a column, and in such cases it is customary to resort to selection. We think it as well, therefore, to mention that, in all similar instances, we shall make use of original matter.” Poe is using the word to mean “first” or “primary” or “initial” or “source.” There can be no question of an omitted “not.” In the Pin para. this interpretation is supported by “primitive authorities” which the “classical and general reader” is presumed to recognize. This is further borne out by Poe’s ref. to his “common-place-book,” which has never been found but may be presumed to have existed simply because of the great bulk of his quotations (despite their running in consecutive series; see my Intro.).

Halicarnassus) v.  Dionysius, rhetor, historian (fl. 30 B.C. for many years at Rome) “an acute and sensitive stylistic critic” (OCD 351), offers Poe’s final joke of the Intro., for his extant works do not include “Pinakidia or Tablets” at all. Poe took this from a CL article on “Titles of Books” (1865 ed., 1.379-385, specifically, 381): “Affected title-pages were not peculiar to the orientals: the Greeks and the Romans have [page 10:] shown a finer taste. They had their Cornucopias, or horns of abundance — Limones, or meadows — Pinakidions, or tablets — Pancarpes, or all sorts of fruits; titles not unhappily adapted for the miscellanists.” Poe sensible gives a Greek ending to the plural form, in place of the simple “s” in Disraeli’s text. One wonders whether he too made up the term, with this specialized meaning (of anthology), for certainly the word “pinakidion” for “tablet” is to be found in the lexicons, as a diminutive of “pinakis” or “tablet“.

Pinakidia 1

The whole of Bulwer’s elaborate argument on the immortality of the soul, which he has put into the mouth of the “Ambitious Student,” may be confuted through the author’s omission of one particular point in his summary of the attributes of Deity — a point which we cannot believe omitted altogether through accident. A single link is deficient in the chain — but the chain is worthless without it. No man doubts the immortality of the soul — yet of all truths this truth of immortality is the most difficult to prove by any mere series of syllogisms. We would refer our readers to the argument here mentioned.


Note: The form of the short title given by Poe suggests that he had seen the first publication in the New Monthly Magazine (12/1830-3/1832) of the entire series of “Conversations with an Ambitious Student in Ill Health” or else the pirated American reprint (New York, 1832) under the same title (save for in “Ill-Health”).

With some changes the magazine series was republished in London in 1835 as The Student: A Series of Papers (2 volumes), comprising a large part of the second volume under the title “The New Phaedo, or, Conversations on Things Human and Divine, with One Condemned.” Poe took several items of “erudition” from these papers for works published before the August 1836 “Pinakidia,” as yet unnoted by Poe scholars: e.g., the famous reference to “Bi-part and Pre-existent soul” and “Homoomeria” in the 5/35 SLM version of “Lion-izing. A Tale” (TOM 175; 185n16) and the sentence “Thou shalt not, then, play the Teian with Time, but, being ignorant of the flowers and the vine. . .” in “Morella” preceding 12135 (TOM 228, 233), all of which comes from “Conversation Six” (New Monthly Magazine of 4/31, 31.304-05; in ed. of 1835, pp. 256-57).

In fact, in the first printing of “Lion-izing” Poe mentions the “Ambitious Student in rather ill health” (sic) (TOM 176). In none of the various versions of the “Conversations” (ed. of 1835, pp. 146-361) can [page 11:] one find a “summary of the attributes of Deity” or any “series of syllogisms,” as Poe claims; only in the ninth “Conversation” is there a discursive and by no means “elaborate” treatment of immortality in connection with a summary of Plato’s “Phaedo,” sceptically presented (1835, pp. 345-351). We note that the 1835 (also subsequent) versions contain a “Ninth Conversation” developed from a small part of the magazine’s “Eighth Conversation,” which ends with Bulwer’s stipulation of his intention “to collect, revise, and reprint” the series “in a separate shape” because of their great popularity.

Pinakidia 2

The rude rough wild waste has its power to please,

a line in one Mr. Idiorne’s poem, “The Progress of Refinement,” is announced by the American author of a book entitled “Ante-Diluvian Antiquities,” “the very best alliteration in all poetry.”


Note: Poe’s slightly inaccurate reference is to the anonymous and very rare Antediluvian Antiquities. Fragments of the Age of Methuselah. Translated by an American Traveller in the East (Boston: Munroe and Francis, 1829), called “Vol. I” (with no more published). It contains Ossianic poems or letters on the world before the flood, notes on American literature, and perhaps the germ of Poe’s material-spiritual view of the universe as developed into Eureka. TOM describes his determined search for and examination of the copy found in the American Antiquarian Society in the American Collector, 1927, 4.124-26. The lauded line by Thomas Odiorne (1765-1851) is from his 176 page volume (Boston: Young and Etheridge, 1792), p. 19, “Influence of Nature,” I, 108. For other uses by Poe of the Antiquities, see Pin 4, 51-55, 63.

Pinakidia 3

The Turkish Spy is the original of many similar works — among the best of which are Montesquieu’s Persian Letters, and the British Spy of our own Wirt. It was written undoubtedly by John Paul Marana, an Italian, in Italian, but probably was first published in French. Dr. Johnson, who saw only an English translation, supposed it an English work. Marana died in 1693.


Note: Poe drew the major part of this item partly repeated in M 72, from Disraeli’s Curiosities of Literature, but sagely he ridded the reference [page 12:] to William Wirt (1772-1834) eminent lawyer, essayist, biographer, journal-contributor, and personal friend, of both Baltimore and Richmond, where he had lived for some years from 1800; The Letters of the British Spy first appeared seriatim in the Richmond Argus, before their book publication the same year (1803), to reach a tenth edition in 1832. Poe’s friend John P. Kennedy delivered “A discourse . . . on William Wirt” (5/4/34) which was printed in the SLM of 8/34 (1.16-18) and declared this native of Maryland “in truth a Virginian” — justification of Poe’s designation of “our.” For Poe’s cultivation of the favor of Wirt who had advised him about “Al Aaraaf” see Quinn 138, 145, 186-87; also TOM 288-89, and PD 99 for a half dozen Wirt allusions. For a good account of Wirt’s importance and for his following Montesquieu (and the anti-Jacobin Letters of Shahcoolen of 1802), see the Intro. of Richard Beale Davis in the reprint of the British Spy (Chapel Hill, 1970), who derives Wirt’s work from the Persian Letters and not the letters of Marana’s Turkish Spy, certainly as well known. The Baron Charles Montesquieu (1689-1755) was the chief progenitor, in his inordinately popular Lettres persanes (1721), of the many subsequent epistolary satires on contemporary foibles and abuses, as Disraeli said. Poe’s references here and elsewhere to Montesquieu’s pithiness, as in L‘Esprit des lois, probably are drawn from secondary sources (see TOM 391n22, 659n18, 1116n5). All of Poe’s data about Marana’s work comes from Disraeli’s article, “The Turkish Spy” (1824 ed., 2.146-49; 1865 ed., 2.43-45) with changes in the order.

Pinakidia 4

The hunter and the deer a shade

is a much admired line in Campbell’s Gertrude of Wyoming — but the identical line is to be found in the poems of the American Freneau.


Note: For this Poe uses, with changes, Antediluvian Antiquities, p. 266, n (see Pin 2), which does not name Campbell’s work and excuses him with: “The British bard did not recollect its American origin.” The line, with a dash before “a shade!” comes from “The Indian Burial Ground” in Poems, 1788, 4.8, while Campbell’s occurs in “O‘Connor’s Child” or “The Flower of Love lies Blushing” (4.8) in Gertrude of Wyoming (1809). Poe used this “identity” again in his 2/42 Graham’s review of Wakondah (H 11.35), and perhaps had a hint for his Indian and elk in “Morning on the Wissahiccon” or “The Elk” (TOM 860, 865) in 1843. [page 13:]

Pinakidia 5

Corneille’s celebrated Moi of Medea is borrowed from Seneca. Racine, in Phædra, has stolen nearly the whole scene of the declaration of love from the same puerile writer.


Note: Poe coalesced two or three passages into this item, both derived from Augustus Wilhelm Schlegel’s Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature, available to him in the James Black translation (London, 1815; Philadelphia, 1833) — proof that he consulted the English text for this and several other entries in the series, despite Quinn’s doubt, p. 247. For a good discussion of the ambiguous credit given by Poe to a German critic from whom he borrowed so much (see also PD, p. 82 for almost a dozen other loci of citation) see Albert J. Lubell in JEGP, 1953, 52.112, and M 181. Poe’s only original addition here is the adjective “puerile” for Seneca. In Lecture XV Schlegel, while discussing the Medea of Euripides, cites a German critic (London ed. of Bohn), p. 135n: “I . . . doubt whether Euripides . . . admitted the scene of the declaration of love, which Racine . . . in his Phaedra, has not hesitated to adopt from Seneca.” (This is in 2.5.670-711 of Phère.) In Lecture XIX, Schlegel repeats, with a change, the charge of Racine’s borrowing much from Seneca, including “the declaration of love, as may be seen in Brumoy’s enumeration” (p. 212). Later, while objecting to Corneille’s use of Seneca as model, he declares that “the Moi of Medea. . .is borrowed from Seneca” (278 n.). Schlegel could have found an excellent discussion of this point of comparison for Euripides, Seneca and Corneille in Voltaire’s preface (q.v. in Palissot’s notes in the edition [Paris: Didot, 1801], II, Preface, pp. 194-198, and Act 1, scene 5, p. 225, notes on p. 298. In his many references to Seneca, undoubtedly all at second hand (see PD, p. 83), Poe is usually respectful; his “puerilities” probably reflects Schlegel’s contempt for Seneca’s tragedies: “Bombastical and frigid, unnatural,. . . revolting. . . stilted language . . . characters. . . gigantic puppets” (Lecture VIII).

Pinakidia 6

The peculiar zodiac of the comets is comprised in these verses of Cassini —

Antinous, Pegasusque, Andromeda, Taurus, Orion,

Procyon, atque Hydrus, Centaurus, Scorpius, Arcus.


Note: Poe derived this article entirely from Bielfeld’s Erudition, probably in the Hooper translation, 2.89 (1.49.78) if not from the French [page 13:] text (2.329): “The courses of these [comets] are not confined to the planetary zodiac, but sometimes go from south to north. Their directions, however, are regulated by a zodiac that is peculiar to themselves, and which M. Cassini has included in these lines, etc.” The name given is that of the prominent family, four generations of which supervised the Paris observatory. I have found no traces of “verses” in the voluminous writings of the Cassinis. Probably the second Jacques (1667-1756) is meant, because of the date of the naming of “Hydras” (see below). The well known classical constellations need no mention. Antinous was a handsome favorite of the Emperor Hadrian who, at his death, wished it to be believed that he had been changed into a constellation. Procyon is a star near Sirius or the dog star, before which it generally rises in July. Hydrus was named in the 1603 Uranometria of the German astronomer Johann Bayer; his twelve constellations, all in the southern hemisphere were added to Ptolemy’s forty-eight, including Hydrus (Water-Snake), part of his adaptation derived from observations of the Dutch navigator Petrus Theodori, who died in 1596 off Java. Arcus is another form of Arctos, or the two celestial constellations near the North Pole, commonly called Ursa major and Ursa minor.

Pinakidia 7

Speaking of the usual representation of the banquet-scene in Macbeth, Von Raumer, the German historian, mentions a shadowy figure thrown by optical means into the chair of Banquo, and producing intense effect upon the audience. Enslen, a German optician, conceived this idea, and accomplished it without difficulty.


Note: Poe derived this item entirely from a passage in the translation by Sarah Austin and H. E. Lloyd, published in Phila. by Carey, Lea and Blanchard (1836) of England in 1835 by Friedrich von Raumer (London, 1836), pp. 143-44 (in Phila. ed.). Von Raumer (1781-1873), German historian, traveler, political figure, is talking about performances of Macbeth in London contrasted with those he has seen in Berlin: “Could not a shadowy figure be produced by some optical means, as Enslen once did? The effect of this, if properly managed, would be far more ghost-like and supernatural.” According to Erich Schumacher, Shakespeares Macbeth auf der deutschen Bühne (1938), p. 128, even in 1808, the actor Josef Lange was using the magic lantern for weird or fantastic effects. Johann Carl Enslen (1759-1848) and his son Karl George (1792-1866) were both panoramic painters, and both practiced at times in Berlin among other places in and outside of Germany, as Thieme — Becker’s Allgemeines Lexicon, 10.567-68, indicates. From the exact dates of his working in Berlin and also his speciality in painting, I suspect that [page 15:] the son was intended, for the theatricality of panorama spectacles, shown in special stage-like buildings, is great. (These refs. are by courtesy of Prof. Hans Joachim Lange of Erlangen University).

Pinakidia 8

A religious hubbub, such as the world has seldom seen, was excited during the reign of Frederic 11, by the imagined virulence of a book entitled “The Three Impostors.” It was attributed to Pierre des Vignes, chancellor of the king, who was accused by the Pope of having treated the religions of Moses, Jesus, and Mahomet as political fables. The work in question, however, which was squabbled about, abused, defended, and familiarly quoted by all parties, is well proved never to have existed.


Note: This article was later repeated as one of two “Excerpta” in the SLM of 6/48, 14.376 (with Pin 29) by arrangement with the editor John R. Thompson. Poe probably derived the major idea for this from Voltaire’s Essai sur les moeurs et l‘esprit des nations (1742) which he had used for Al Aaraaf (Poems 107, 121). Voltaire comments on Frederick II (1194-1250), Hohenstaufen monarch whose rule in Sicily was more successful than over Germany and the rest of Italy: “He did not fail first to write to all the princes of Germany and Europe by the pen of his famous counsellor, Peter des Vignes, who was accused of having composed the book of the Three Impostors. ‘I am not the first, says he in his letters, whom the clergy have treated so unworthily, and I shall not be the last.“’ (Bk. 2, ch. 42; Dublin, 1759 ed., 1.300). The development of the legend of the heretical or atheistical book, referring to Moses, Christ, and Mahomet in the title, is well presented in the introductory account of the 1867 Paris printing of Le Traité des Trois Imposteurs, ed. by Philomneste Junior [P. G. Brunet] (i-lvi). Even in Poe’s day, however, there did exist such a book, published in 1768 at Yverdun (135 pages) containing a discussion of the matter by the scholar La Monnaye with a reply, dated 1716. Brunet thinks that it dates from 1598, but Disraeli, perhaps influencing Poe, speaks of the attempt of the Duke de la Valliere and Abbé de St. Leger to supply forged copies, an attempt frustrated by the bibliophile De Bure, in his CL (Paris, 1835 ed., 3.288; N. Y.,1865; 4.213). For Pierre des Vignes’ innovation of the sonnet, see Pin 87.

Pinakidia 9

The word τυχη, or Fortune, does not appear once in the whole Iliad. [page 16:]


Note: This is derived from Henry Nelson Coleridge’s Introductions to the Study of the Greek Classic Poets, Designed Principally for the Use of Young Persons at School and College (London, 1830, 1834; Phila., circa 1831; Boston, 1842), p. 74 (1834), with these changes: appear once /occur; Iliad / poem. Poe used it again, including more of the original para. in M 121. Macrobius (ca. 400 A. D.) makes this observation about both of Homer’s epics in Saturnalia, 5.16.8, as J. G. Frazer observes in his note on Pausanias’ (ca. 150 A. D.) Description of Greece (1898), vol. 4, p. 424, for 30.4 of the text (1965 rep.).

Pinakidia 10

The “Lamentations” of Jeremiah are written, with the exception of the last chapter, in acrostic verse: that is to say, every line or couplet begins, in alphabetical order, with some letter in the Hebrew alphabet. In the third chapter each letter is repeated three times successively.


Note: Of the five poems which comprise the “Lamentations” of Jeremiah, four are acrostic. The twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet are given in succession at the beginning of each verse or strophe, while in the third, the acrostic is tripled at the beginning of each set of three lines, as Poe says. This necessarily denies his use of the word “couplet” although the extensive and elaborate use of parallelism, often in distichs, in Hebrew verse partially justifies the term. (See the Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 3.61.)

Pinakidia 11

The fullest account of the Amazons is to be found in Diodorus Siculus.


Note: Poe’s source is correct, that Diodorus Siculus of Agyrium, in his “World History” (60-30 B. C.) most fully treated of the Amazons (2.44-46; 3.52-55; 3.71-74). In “Loss of Breath” he cites Diodorus on Sardanapalus’ end (TOM 61n20). In “Some Words with a Mummy” Poe uses Diodorus’ authority for the skill of the Egyptians in making optical glass (TOM 1191 and 1200-02). In “Some Account of Stonehenge” in the 6/40 BGM (H 14.113) Poe gives a passage from Diodorus, originally extracted from the Cyclopaedia of Rees on Stonehenge. [page 17:]

Pinakidia 12

Theophrastus, in his botanical works, anticipated the sexual system of Linnxus. Philolaus of Crotona maintained that comets appeared after a certain revolution — and Æcetes contended for the existence of what is now called the new world. Pulci, “the sire of the half-serious rhyme,” has a passage expressly alluding to a western continent. Dante, two centuries before, has the same allusion.

De’ vostri sensi ch’ e del rimanente

Non vogliate negar l‘esperienza

Di retro al sol, del mondo senza gente.


Note: The source of this article is unknown. Theophrastus, pupil, collaborator, and successor of Aristotle, left many works, all incomplete. He is sometimes credited with founding botany, through his concepts of morphology, classification, and the study of plants, but Poe’s attribution of anticipating Linnaeus is maintained by no authority in accounts both of him and of Linnaeus. Philolaus of Croton or Tarentum, contemporary with Socrates, left only fragments, still debated, but apparently did displace the earth from the center of the universe, in favor of a fire. For his views on comets see Thomas Gomperz, Greek Thinkers (English tr., 1901), 1.23ff, 544ff. Poe’s ambiguous idea does not appear. In “Aecetes” Poe seems to mean “Hicetas” of Syracuse, a Pythagorean who was probably teacher of Ecphantus and younger than Philolaus; he is said to have first taught that earth moves in a circle, but Poe’s attribution is lacking; see W. K. C. Guthrie, History of Greek Philosophy (1971), 1.323-29. Pin 69 bears a curious trace of the “sexual system” applied to botany by Erasmus Darwin.

Luigi Pulci of Florence (1432-1484) wrote the burlesque masterpiece Il Morgante Maggiore (1483), which earned this attribution by Byron in Don Juan, 4.6.3, and his translation of Canto I. Poe’s allusion — undoubtedly derived second-hand — must be to Canto 25, stanzas 129130, in which the devil Astaroth, relating the trip of the Paladin Rinaldo, tells of his going into the west, beyond Gibraltar, to free Atlas of the burden of the sky and his commending Ulysses for having gone on to see a new world (also 14, stanza 69); see ed. Raffaello Ramat (Rizzoli, Milan, 1961), p. 983. But it is clearly not the western continent, the discovery of which was used by Poe to date his verse drama “Politian” (Poems 274, line 66 and n on 295). Poe alludes to Pulci also in the “Bargain Lost,” giving a line allegedly by him (TOM 88 at n 11) but Poe’s couplet has been judged to have no original in the Morgante, although slightly similar in theme: “Brethren, I come from lands afar / To show you all what fools you are.”

Poe might have picked up his allusion to Pulci from the notes to [page 18:] “Hell” in H. F. Cary’s verse translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy called The Vision (separately pub. 1805-1812; numerous combined eds. thereafter): This imagined voyage of Ulysses into the Atlantic is alluded to by Pulci.: “E sopratutto commendava Ulisse, I Che per veder vell’ altro mondo gisse (Morg. Magg. c. xxv).” Poe’s transcription from 1.26.11517 (with 3 or 4 errors, showing perhaps his poor grasp of Italian — all listed in my set of “changes”) means: “Deny not, to this the brief vigil 1 of your senses that remains, experience of the unpeopled world behind the Sun” (J. M. Dent bilingual classics, 1902, p. 292).

Pinakidia 13

Cicero makes finis masculine, Virgil feminine. Usque ad eum finem. — Cicero. Quæ finis standi? Hæc finis Priami fatorum. — Virgil.


Note: Poe’s seeming surprise at this discrepancy of treatment is noted by every schoolboy in reading the Orations of Cicero or Virgil’s Aeneid. Harper’s dictionary of Latin says that the feminine is found in the singular only, and the grammars give it as an archaic use. Cicero’s “up to this point” comes from the “In Verrem” (Against Verres), 1.6.16 or De Natura Deorum (On the nature of the gods), 2.51.129. Instance one from the Aeneid (5.384) means “what is the end of standing” and the second, “This was the end of Priam’s fates” (2.554).

Pinakidia 14

Dante left a poem in three languages — Latin, Provençal, and Italian. Rambaud de Vachieras left one in five.


Note: The name of Rambaud de Vaqueiras has various spellings, according to the language of the commentator, being Provençal in origin and applied to a troubadour and warrior who served masters at home, in Spain, and in Italy (Bonifacio I of Montferrat, with whom he went on the fourth crusade). He wrote between 1155 and 1207, especially to Beatrice of Montferrat, his patron’s sister. (For good accounts, see the Enciclopedia Italiana of 1949, 28.799; Enciclopedia Universal Ilustrada, 49.398.) Poe could have learned about the famous Discort to Beatrice from Bryant or Longfellow. W. C. Bryant reviewed, in the 1825 New York Review a reprint of the 1575 book by Jehan de Nostre Dame, Les Vies des plus celebres et anciens poetes provencaux qui out floury du temps des Comtes de Provence (reprinted in his Essays, Tales, and Orations of 1884) [page 19:] and explains the provenance of this curious poem: “Rambaud de Vaqueiras was not so successful with his mistress. She . . . withdrew [her encouragement] entirely, ‘wherefore Rambaud made a poem in diverse languages — to correspond with his unhappy case — saying therein that in like manner as he had changed her opinion of him, so he had changed languages.’ The first stanza was written in Provencal, the second in Tuscan dialect, the third in French, the fourth in Gascon, the fifth in Spanish, and the final stanza in the said five languages mingled together” (pp. 83-84 of 1884 ed.). Longfellow gave it in the course of his review of three works on French language and literature in the 4/31 North American Review, 32.277-317 (specifically 297-300).

As for Dante — Poe’s statement makes it apparent that he took this entry at second hand, without knowing its specific reference, for the Divine Comedy is the work intended, but has four tongues. The whole, in Italian, Latin for the admonishing of souls in the Purgatory and for the Hymns as well as for Cacciaguida’s address to Dante, his great-grandson, in Paradise (Canto 15). Provenpl is used for the speech of Arnaut Daniel whom Dante frequently cites in De Vulgari Eloquentia (Purgatory, Canto 26.139-148). There is also the cryptic address to Satan, Hell, 7.1, which Cary conjectures to be French and others to be Arabic.

Pinakidia 15

Marcus Antoninus wrote a book entitled, Των εις εαυτον — Of the things which concern himself. It would be a good title for a Diary.


Note: Poe took this item, almost verbatim, from Disraeli’s Curiosities of Literature: “Diaries — Moral, Historical, and Critical” (1824 ed., 3.160; 1835, 2.178; 1865 of N. Y., 2.388). It is very possible that he did not identify the name as the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and the volume as his celebrated Meditations, his stoical axioms and reflections transcribed and unsystematically collected probably after his death. The 1701 translation of Jeremy Collier is titled His conversation with himself. Poe’s interest in candid diaries appears in M 194.

Pinakidia 16

Lipsius, in his treatise, “De Supplicio Crucis,” says that the upright beam of the cross was a fixture at the place of execution, whither the criminal was made to bear only the transverse arm. Consequently the painters are in error who depict our Savior bearing the entire cross. [page 20:]


Note: Poe’s source correctly notes that Justus Lipsius, the Dutch classical scholar and philosopher (1547-1606), in his De Cruce (Antwerp 1594), sought to clarify opinion concerning the bearing of the crossbar and not the whole cross to the place of execution, in Bk. II, ch. 5 (1594 ed., p. 40; 1670 ed., pp. 76-78). It is Poe who adds the point about the error of painters. Rees’s Cyclopaedia, so often used by Poe, in its article under “Cross” (vol. 10) fails to clarify the matter, q.v. in New Catholic Ency. (N. Y., 1967), 4.485.

Pinakidia 17

The stream flowing through the middle of the valley of Jehoshaphat, is called, in the Gospel of St. John, “the brook of cedars.” In the Septuagint the word is κεδρον, darkness, from the Hebrew Kiddar, black, and not κεδρων, of cedars.


Note: Poe derived this, almost verbatim, from François René de Chateaubriand, Travels in Greece, Palestine, Egypt, and Barbary, tr. by Shoberl (N. Y., 1814), p. 299: “Cedron is a Hebrew word, which signifies darkness and sorrow. It is remarked that there is an error in the gospel of St. John, who calls this stream the Brook of Cedars. The error arises from an omega being put instead of an omicron: κεδ[ρ]ων for κεδρον.” Had Poe verified the English version, he would have found in John 18:1: “When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciplies [[disciples]] over the brook Cedron.” The translators then were fully able to correct the error in the Greek. The gloss in the Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible clarifies Poe’s addition, it being “Kadhar” meaning “to become black” rather than “Kiddar” for “black.” Neither is Poe’s other addition entirely accurate, that is, identifying its location with the “valley of Jehoshaphat” which, says James Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible, 2.838, is not found in the bible, and cannot be traced earlier than the 7th century A. D. For a full explanation of this popular “fanciful identification” see Interpreter’s Dictionary, 2.816.

Pinakidia 18

Seneca says that Appion, a grammarian of the age of Caligula, aintained that Homer himself made the division of the Iliad and Odsey into books, and evidences the first word of the Iliad, Μηνιν, the Μη of which signifies 48, the number of books in both poems. Seneca however adds, “Talia sciat oportet qui multa vult scire” [page 21:]


Note: This item is taken almost verbatim from H. N. Coleridge’s Introductions, p. 80 n, spelling the name as “Apion.” Since there is a small question about the name of the grammarian, I note that Lempriere gives it as Apianus or Apion (Harrison “corrected” it to Appian), and comments on him as born in Oasis in Libya; later, professor of rhetoric in Alexandria, ridiculous for his vanity, contentiousness and “trifling and unprofitable researches.” The source in Seneca is Letter 88 (Loeb classics, p. 374), the last sentence meaning: “A man who wishes to know many things must know such things as these.”

Pinakidia 19

The tale in Plato’s “Convivium,” that man at first was male and female, and that, though Jupiter cleft them asunder, there was a natural love towards one another, seems to be only a corruption of the account in Genesis of Eve’s being made from Adam’s rib.


Note: Poe alludes to the speech of Aristophanes, in the Banquet or Symposium as we know it (see also SP 31), concerning the round “menwomen” of double parts who schemed to assail the gods so that Zeus contrived “to slice every one of them in two” (Loeb Classics, pp. 13537), but the motive for divinity to create Eve from Adam’s rib in Genesis is entirely different. I have found no commentary of Poe’s day or before which draws this analogy (e.g., the Thomas Taylor ed. of 1804), but I suspect Poe’s deriving it from an intermediate source.

Pinakidia 20

Corneille has these lines in one of his tragedies: —

Pleurez, pleurez, mes yeux, et fondez — vows en eau —

La moité de ma vie a mis l‘autre au tombeau

which may be thus translated,

Weep, weep, my eyes! it is no time to laugh

For half myself has buried the other half.


Note: The French comes from Le Cid, 3.3.78-79, spoken by Chimene (cf. Pin 96) and used again by Poe in the motto for “The Man Used Up” in its 1842 planned revision (TOM 377-78). A more literal translation is: “Weep, weep, my eyes, and dissolve into water, / Half of [page 22:] my life has put the other into the tomb.” We may wonder about Poe’s offered translation here: Is it to be considered as his? TOM avers that since the “series contains almost nothing original” we have “little reason” to ascribe it to Poe (Poems 405) but this ambiguous word “original” does not banish the possibility.

Pinakidia 21

Over the iron gate of a prison at Ferrara is this inscription — ” Ingresso alla prigione di Torquato Tasso.”


Note: As early as 1826 at the University of Virginia Poe had been studying Tasso in Italian and translating passages by him into English verse as an optional class assignment (Poems 13). Several refs. (see PD 89 for refs. and SP 32) later show his continuing interest in Torquato Tasso (1544-95), the great poet whose tangled relationships with the duke of Ferrara, still in part unexplicated, led to his “imprisonment” in the madhouse of St. Anna, 1579-86. Byron added modern force to the interest in Tasso through his poem, “The Lament of Tasso,” published 7/17/1817, after his recent visit to the place, and bearing an “Advertisement” concerning the subject of Poe’s item: “There are two inscriptions, one on the outer gate, the second over the cell itself, inviting, necessarily, the wonder and the indignation of the spectator.” (For refs. see also Childe Harold, (n, to 2, 35 — 39 and n. 1.) A visit to Ferrara in 1981 to verify the inscription indicated its destruction since it was set up in 1815 after the recent restoration of the building. My inquiries in Ferrara (1981) caused Dr. Luciano Capra, Director of the City Library, to refer me to G. J. Ferrazzi’s Torquato Tasso (Bassano, 1880), pp. 461-63, giving the following inscription on the wall leading to the cell itself: RISPETTATE 0 POSTERI / LA CELEBRITA DI QUESTA STANZA / DOVE / TORQUATO TASSO / INFERNO PIU DI TRISTEZZA CHE DI DELIRIO / DETENUTO DIMORO ANNI VII MESI II / SCRISSE VERSI E PROSE / E FU RIMESSO IN LIBERTA / AD ISTANZA DELLA CITTA DI BERGAMO / NEL GIORNO VI LUGLIO MDLXXXVI. In 1875 the wording was slightly changed. No hint is given of the short inscription reported by Poe, perhaps directly over the cell. I found no trace of either inscription in the building, now given over to commercial offices. Does Poe’s wording — “the iron gate of a prison“indicate his awareness of the conventual nature of the place at that time? [page 23:]

Pinakidia 22

Hédelin, a Frenchman, in the beginning of the 18th century, denied that any such person as Homer ever existed, and supposed the Iliad to be made up ex tragediis, et variis canticis de trivio mendicatorum et circulatorum — a la maniere des chansons du Pontneuf.


Note: Poe derived all the material for this item from H. N. Coleridge’s Introduction (1834 ed., p. 33; 1842, p. 39), but he combined and omitted details from the text and from a footnote for his own purposes. Coleridge stated that only in the 17th and 18th centuries did Hedelin (given a false grave accent by Poe and none by Coleridge) and Perrault first question Homer’s personal existence and suggest a new theory about the composition of the Iliad, a theory developed by Gottlob Christian Heyne, German classical scholar (1729-1812) who overshadowed its originators. Then, in a footnote he cites August Wolfe, whose Prologomena of 1795, ch. 26, n. seems to ascribe to Hedelin the Latin phrase about the composition of the epic and the comparison with the songs of “Pontneuf.” In reality François Hédelin, abbé d‘Aubignac (1604-76), in his Conjectures académiques, ou Dissertation sur l‘Iliade (Paris 1715), presents his theory about Homer as epic writer without giving the Latin phrase or the Pontneuf comparison. Wolfe is translating for his Latin work “ces poesies . . . ont été faites par differens Poëtes, sous le nom de Tragédies. . . . publiees aux disputes et jeux de la poësie dans la celebration des fêtes de la Gréce, et chantees dans les Temples, ou les theatres, aux carrefours . . .” (pp. 354-55). The French phrase is given by Robert’s great Dictionnaire under the word “Pout-neuf” (built by Henry IV) for “song of” as a “popular song on a well known air, such as was sung or recited on the said bridge (the usage is dated 1717). Poe remembered Hedelin the next year (1837) for the name of the author of an imaginary book on dueling in “Von Jung,” later called “Mystification” (TOM 301 and n. 10). Poe used this whole item in his review of Morris’s American Melodies (uncol. by H) in the 12/39 BGM (5.333), which formed the basis for M 202 in the 4/49 SLM , but there the Latin and French are dropped, while the idea about the composition of Homer’s epics is retained. As P. Holt points out in AL, 1962, 34.16, in addition to the false grave accent over Hédelin, Poe simplifies the spelling of the Latin “tragoediis” and misspells “mendicorum” as “mendicatorum,” probably influenced by the following “circulatorum”; Wolfe’s dropped comma after “trivio” helps the meaning also: “out of tragedies and various comic songs from the public square, of mountebanques and beggars — in the manner of the songs of the Pontneuf” (that is, the particular highly trafficked bridge). Note also his view of the Iliad as “intended as a series of lyrics” in the 10/50 “Poetic Principle” (para. 4) in H 14.267. [page 24:]

Pinakidia 23

The Rabbi Manasseh published a book at Amsterdam entitled “The Hopes of Israel.” It was founded upon the supposed number and power of the Jews in America. This supposition was derived from a fabulous account by Montesini of his having found a vast concourse of Jews among the Cordilleras.


Note: Poe’s data certainly needs to be supplemented, and was unquestionably filtered through secondary sources. Rabbi Manasseh ben Israel (1604-57), friend of Rembrandt who painted his portrait which is now in the Rijksmuseum, devotes a few pages only to the 1644 Relación (in Spanish) of Antonio Montezinos (alias for Aaron Levi), who told of the representatives of the descendants of the ten tribes, maintaining an identity separate from the Indians, but Manasseh’s book does not examine details of the “supposed number and power” of these South American inhabitants in his 62-page Esperança de Israel, published in Amsterdam in 1650, but almost at once translated into English, for three editions (1650, ‘51, and ‘52), with another Dutch ed. in 1666 and a Spanish in 1881. (For Manasseh’s treatment see 2nd ed., rep. 1652, tr. by Moses Wal, London, pp. 1-8.) It may be that Poe derived his idea from Mordecai Noah, his journalist New York friend, of the Evening Star, who gave a celebrated speech a few months later, in the winter of 1836, at the Mercantile Library Association, Discourse on the evidences of the American Indians being the descendants of the Lost Tribes of Israel (published, and then reviewed; cf. the 6/10/37 New-Yorker and 6/37 Knickerbocker). Poe’s interest here shown may have produced some portions of the mythic account of the Tsalalians in the Narrative of . . . Pym (see Imaginary Voyages, pp. 360-61).

Pinakidia 24

The word assassin is derived according to Hyle from Hassa, to kill. Some bring it from Hassan, the first chief of the association — some from the Jewish Essenes — Lemoine from a word meaning “herbage” — De Sacy and Hammer from “hashish” the opiate of hemp leaves, of which the assassins made a singular use.


Note: Since all the data in this article can be found in one source, indirectly mentioned by Poe, it is likely that either his interest in the hallucinatory effect of “hashish,” source of the name “assassin” (see the 9/35 “Loss of Breath” in TOM 78) or a rev., as yet uncollected, gave him the work: Freiherr Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall’s History of the [page 25:] Assassins (tr. by Oswald Charles Wood, London, 1835, from the German, Stuttgart, 1818). The “Notes” of essay length, including a reprint of Sylvestre de Sacy’s 12/25/1809 letter on the subject to the Moniteur of Paris, extend from page 226 to 240. The OED says that assassin, from the Arabic originally, means literally a hashish-eater, and refers to the Ismaili sectaries who used to intoxicate themselves with hashish or hemp when preparing to dispatch some king or public man. As for Poe’s data — Thomas Hyde (Poe’s transcription error), 1636-1703, was a great orientalist who wrote numerous treatises; A para. is given in Sacy’s “letter” (p. 237) on this point. Only the “Essenes” ref. is hard to place, but probably it is Poe’s fancy about some of the alternate spellings in the “Notes” such as Heississini (p. 232, 237). Rees’s Cyclopaedia (vol. 1), so often consulted by Poe, defines as “assassins” those trapped at Masada (i.e., the Sicarii or Macabees) who in 73 A. D. killed themselves — all 960. Perhaps Poe linked them with the drugged hemp — eaters in spirit — but this is most doubtful as a link with the austere “Essenes.” Poe makes his own inference about “Hassan” the first chief of the Ismailians, to whom some space is indeed given, but with no implication of his name as the assumed source of “assassin” (230-33). The name “Lemoine” is not transcribed correctly, for Sacy gives it as Le Moyne, i.e., Nicolas Toussaint Le Moyne des Essarts (1744-1810), ascribing to him the correct etymology, namely, the word for “herb” in Arabic (237). Since this seems a definitive conclusion in Hammer’s book, Poe’s last comment is correct, as is his adaptation of “a beverage from hemp, which intoxicates and maddens like opium.” Sacy’s authority and von Hammer’s book’s popularity are confirmed by Bernard Lewis, The Assassins (London, 1967), pp. 2-13.

Pinakidia 25

“Defuncti injuria ne afficiantur” was a law of the twelve tables.


Note: Poe used this expression humorously in “Never Bet the Devil Your Head” (the 1845 version; TOM 622, 633n8) and also in FS 9. The Oxford Classical Directory regards the Twelve Tables as the earliest Roman code of laws and the starting point, although their authenticity has been questioned, especially since the bronze or wood tables in the Forum perished when the Gauls burned Rome. Although superseded by developments in law in classical times, they were still learned by heart by schoolboys. TOM (see above ref.) gives the Latin as “Let not the dead be injured” (that is, slandered). I have not found this sentence given as one of the laws of the remnants of the Twelve Tables. In the extensive collection (in English translation) called The Civil Law, 17 vols. tr. S. P. [page 26:] Scott (Cincinnati, Central Trust Co., 1932), only one article in the Twelve Tables bears the slightest resemblance — but most remotely: “When anyone publically abuses another in a loud voice or writes a poem for the purpose of insulting him, or rendering him infamous, he shall be beaten with a rod until he dies” (1.70).

Pinakidia 26

The origin of the phrase “corporal oath” is to be found in the ancient usage of touching, upon occasion of attestation, the corporale or cloth which covered the consecrated articles.


Note: Poe here is correcting a misconception, as does his probable source, William Paley, Principles of Moral and Political Philosophy (1785), very widely reprinted and also used for the article under “Oath” in Rees’s Cyclopaedia (vol. 26): “It is commonly thought that oaths are denominated corporal oaths from the bodily action which accompanies them, of laying the right hand upon a book containing the four Gospels. This opinion, however, appears to be a mistake, for the term is borrowed from the ancient usage of touching, upon these occasions, the corporale, or cloth which covered the consecrated elements (ch. 16, n to first sentence). The OED gives: “corporal or corporal-cloth . . . usually of linen upon which the consecrated elements are placed during. . . the mass,” etc.

Pinakidia 27

Montgomery in his lectures on Literature (!) has the following“Who does not turn with absolute contempt from the rings and gems, and filters, and caves and genii of Eastern Tales as from the trinkets of a toyshop, and the trumpery of a raree-show?” What man of genius but must answer “Not I.”


Note: Poe used this quotation again in M 19, adding a para. of scorn for the “Montgomery curs” and see also M 83 (mistakenly thinking that the two writers were brothers). For Poe’s “stormy” feelings about the “two writers called Montgomery” see my account in SAF, 1980, 8.23437, and the loci in the Brevities. It is surprising to find many of the articles in the latter borrowed from James Montgomery (1771-1854), Lectures on Poetry and General Literature. Delivered at the Royal Institution 1830 and 1831 (London,1833; many later eds.), this coming from “Various Classes of Poetry,” no. V. TOM (1150) deems this article to be an idea-source [page 27:] for Poe’s tale of “Scheherazade.” Poe changed Montgomery’s standard form “philtres” to “filters,” uncommon after the 18th century.

Pinakidia 28

The Abbé de St. Pierre has fixed in his language two significant words, viz.: bienfaisance, and the diminutive la gloriole.


Note: Poe took this article entirely from Disraeli’s Curiosities of Literature, “History of New Words” (3.48 in 1835 ed.; 3.350 in 1865 N. Y. ed.) For Charles Irénée Castel, Abbé de Saint-Pierre (1658-1743), early French Enlightenment writer, devoted to universal peace, political and educational reform, etc. see En. Brit., 24.40-41. The passage in CL is self-evident: “There are two remarkable French words created by the Abbé . . . bienfaisance and gloriole. He invented gloriole as a contemptuous diminutive of glorie; to describe that vanity of some egotists. . . ‘bienfaisance, c‘est-à-dire la pratique de la charite envers le prochain.’ I can form none more proper . . . than the term of . . . good-doing.”

Pinakidia 29

There is no particular air known throughout Switzerland by the name of the Ranz des Vaches. Every canton has its own song varying in words, notes, and even language. Mr. Cooper, the novelist, is our authority.


Note: Poe was always interested in the mystical effect of music upon the human psyche, hence in such an observation as Cooper’s. Poe probably knew Disraeli’s “Medical Music” in CL (1865 ed., 1.364-65), concluding with a final para. on “The Ranz des Vaches,” mentioned by Rousseau in his Dictionary of Music which “has such a powerful influence over the Swiss . . . that it is forbidden to be played in the Swiss regiments, in the French service.” The term means simply, in Swiss-French “the rank or ranking of the cows.” James F. Cooper, in his recent Excursions in Switzerland (Paris: Baudry’s European Library, 1836), “Letter VII — Grindelwald, etc.” has a passage condensed by Poe: “We asked for the Ranz des Vaches . . . and now learned, for the first time, that there are nearly as many songs and airs . . . by that name, as there are villages in Switzerland. Grindelwald has its own” (p. 60). The Oxford Companion to Music explains it: “A few short motifs are much reiterated, creating a slightly hypnotic effect” (p. 856). [page 28:]

Pinakidia 30

Incidis in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charybdim

is neither in Virgil nor Ovid, as often supposed, but in the “Alexandreis” of Philip Gualtier a French poet of the thirteenth century.


Note: Poe probably derived this from an edition of Malone’s Life of Dr. Johnson, footnotes to 3/30/1783 (Hill ed., 4.210), in which Malone discusses proverbial tags that are often falsely attributed and cites the Alexandreis (Poe miscopies) of Philip Gualtier (sic). The subtitle, “sive gesta alexandei magni” (or the deeds of Alexander the Great) is self-evident. It was composed in 1180 in ten books of Latin hexameters by Gaultier [in French] (Walter) of Lille or of Chatillon (1135-84), and published at Rouen (1487?), Strasburg (1513), Ingolstadt (1541), London (1558), Lyons (1588), St. Gall (1659), etc. The line in question appears in the reprint of Migne, Patrologiae Cursus completus (Paris, 1855), 209.459-574, specifically, p. 514. It means “You come upon Scylla, seeking to avoid Charybdis” (Bk. 5.301). Poe’s incorrect date, of the 13th century, comes directly from Malone.

Pinakidia 31

Under a portrait of Tiberio Fiurilli, who invented the character of Scaramouch, are these verses:

Cet illustre Comedien

De son art traça la carrière:

Il fut le maitre de Moliere

Et la Nature fut le sien.


Note: Poe derived this, almost verbatim, from Curiosities of Literature by Disraeli, article on “The Pantomimical Characters” (1835 ed., 2.102 — 14, i. e. 111; 1856 ed. 2.299), giving the quatrain as Poe has it, but with the French accents. A life of Tiberio Fiurilli was written by a fellow comic actor, Angelo Constantini, who was discussed also by Disraeli: La Vie, les Amours et les Actions de Scaramouche (Lyon, 1695; Paris, 1698). In a fairly full article on him in Hoefer’s Nouvelle biographie générale, 17.782-83, one learns that this portrait was by Antoine — François van der Meulen (1634-90), honored by Louis XIV as first painter of the court, many of whose works were popularized by engravings (Hoefer, 35.241-42). The Encyclopédie des gens du monde, in its “Scaramouche” article attributes the quatrain to La Fontaine. It may be thus translated: “This illustrious comedian determined the course or direction of his art [page 29:] (or profession); he was the master of Moliere and Nature (alone) held sway over him.”

Pinakidia 32

A curious passage in a letter from Cicero to his literary friend Papyrius Pætus, shows that our custom of annexing a farce or pantomime to a tragic drama existed among the Romans.


Note: This comes, almost verbatim, from Disraeli’s Curiosities of Literature, article on “Extemporal Comedies” (1865 ed. 2.304), which is a discussion of Italian improvised or impromptu farces. Poe brings together the text and a long attached footnote for his article. The letter is in Ad Familiares or Letters (L.: Heineman, 1928, 3 vols.), Letter XVI, Bk. ix, 2.244-45. It is noteworthy that Poe’s interest in drama, manifested in his criticism in the Broadway Journal, 1845, caused him to draw several of the Pinakidia from the literature and practice of this art form, e.g., 5, 7, 20, 31, 66, 68, 100, 101, 118-124.

Pinakidia 33

In Cary’s “Dante” is the following passage

And pilgrim newly on his road with love

Thrills if he hear the vesper bell from far

That seems to mourn for the expiring day.

Gray has also

The curfew tolls the knell of parting day.


Note: Thomas Gray, in his “Elegy Written in a Country Church-Yard” (1768 ed.), footnoted the first line with the following excerpt from the beginning of Canto 8 of Dante’s “Purgatory” (identified): “ —— squilla di lontano, / Che paia ‘1 giorno pianger, the si muore.” Did Poe intend us to believe the intentional to be the accidental? The “Dante” volume is Henry F. Cary’s The Vision; or, Hell, Purgatory and Paradise (London, 1819), 2.67 (that is “Purgatory,” 8.4-6). Being a scrupulous gentleman, Cary footnoted line 6 by quoting Gray’s line for the reader. [page 30:]

Pinakidia 34

Marmontel in the “Encyclopédie” declares that the Italians did not possess a single comedy worth reading — therein displaying his ignorance. Some of the greatest names in Italian Literature were writers of comedy. Baretti mentions a collection of four thousand dramas made by Apostolo Zeno, of which the greater part were comedies — many of a high order.


Note: This article is a close adaptation and transcription of two passages in Disraeli’s CL, article on “Extemporal Comedies,” cited in Pin 32; the text itself and a long footnote drawn from an Italian source are used: “The critics. . . reproached the Italians for the extemporal comedies; and Marmontel rashly declared that the nation did not possess a single comedy which could endure perusal. . . . He censured what he had never read.*

* Baretti mentions a collection . . . comedies (verbatim). . . . Some of the greatest names in Italian literature were writers of comedy.”

Notice Poe’s reordering the sentences.

Into his rev. of D‘Azeglio’s Ettore Fieramosca, in English tr., in the 8/9/45 BJ (H 12.223-24), Poe inserted Pin 34, only slightly changed, in order to discuss the “vast mine” unworked of Italian “Comedy” with Marmontel’s “ignorance” equated with that of Poe’s contemporaries, who know only Italian “romances.”

Pinakidia 35

A comedy or opera by Andreini was the origin of “Paradise Lost.” Andreini’s Adamo was the model of Milton’s Adam.


Note: This is adapted entirely from Disraeli’s CL, article on “Massinger, Milton, and the Italian Theatre” (1865 ed., 2.314):

“Andreini. . .must have the honour of being associated with Milton’s [name] for it was his comedy or opera which threw the first spark of the Paradise Lost into the soul of the epic poet. . . . The Adamo of Andreini was . . . sufficiently original and poetical to serve as the model of the Adam of Milton.”

This was Giambattista Andremi (1578-1650), best known for his L‘Adamo (Milan, 1613), a very rare work from which “Italians have often asserted that Milton, travelling at that time in their country, took the idea of Paradise Lost” (En. Br., 1.971). [page 31:]

Pinakidia 36

Milton has the expression “Forget thyself to marble.” Pope has the line “I have not yet forgot myself to stone.”


Note: This comes from Pope’s “Eloisa to Abelard” (1. 24); Thomas Warton’s notes indicate the source of this in Milton’s “Il Penseroso” (1. 42) as in the nine-vol. ed. of 1822 (London), 2.28. Pin. 35-37 and also 67, 76, 92 evidence Poe’s interest in Milton as do numerous citations listed in PD 63-64.

Pinakidia 37

The noble simile of Milton, of Satan with the rising sun in the first book of the Paradise Lost, had nearly occasioned the suppression of that epic: it was supposed to contain a treasonable allusion.


Note: This comes from Disraeli’s CL, article on “Licensers of the Press” (1824 ed., 3.177-201; 1835 ed., 2.196; 1865 ed., 2.411). The wording is the same except for “of our national epic.” Disraeli’s allusion is to Paradise Lost 1.594ff.

Pinakidia 38

Campbell’s line

Like angel visits few and far between,

is a palpable plagiarism. Blair has

Its visits

Like angel visits short and far between.


Note: Poe alludes to Thomas Campbell (1777-1844), author of “Pleasures of Hope” (1799), in which this line (2.37) is printed “angel-visits.” Robert Blair (1699-1746) is author of the popular “The Grave” (1743), 11. 588-89 read: “Visits / Like those of angels short and far between. The connection for two such well-known works was commonly recognized and mentioned. Poe could have found a comment, for example, in William Hazlitt’s Lectures on the English Poets (London, also Phila., 1818), p. 199 (in Bohn ed.). Less commonly known was Blair’s reliance upon “The Parting” by John Norris (1657-1711), with the line: [page 32:]

“Like angels’ visits, short and bright” and also his elegy “To the Memory of His Niece:” “angels, as ‘tis but seldom they appear, / So neither do they make long stay; / they do but visit, and away.” The source in Norris was apparently not known to Poe at the time of his publishing the Pinakidia, but in the 1/37 SLM (3.6), the first month after Poe left the magazine, in an issue containing the first installment of Pym and Poe reviews, appears an article on all three poets and the “similar” phrasing of the idea, indexed as an “Original” article, but without a name. Since Poe may well have been responsible for it, by virtue of being more fully informed by someone after the publication of Pinakidia in 8/36, the article is mentioned here. Pin 38 is used also in M 139.

Pinakidia 39

In Hudibras are these lines —

Each window like the pillory appears

With heads thrust through, nailed by the ears.

Young in his “Love of Fame” has the following

An opera, like a pillory, may be said

To nail our ears down and expose our head.


Note: This is taken entirely from Disraeli’s CL, article on “Poetical Imitations and Similarities” (1865 ed., 2.267): “Young, in his ‘Love of Fame,’ very adroitly improves on a witty conceit of Butler. It is curious to observe, that while Butler had made a remote allusion of a window to a pillory, a conceit is grafted on this conceit, with even more exquisite wit.” (The excerpts are then given.) The first is from Hudibras, 2.3.391; the second, from Young’s Satire III, couplet 107 in 1725 but cancelled in the edition of 1757. Pin 39 is used also in M 139.

Pinakidia 40

Goldsmith’s celebrated lines

Man wants but little here below

Nor wants that little long,

are stolen from Young; who has

Man wants but little, nor that little long. [page 33:]


Note: The source of this comparison is unknown. The lines come from Oliver Goldsmith’s ballad The Hermit, or Edwin and Angelina, written in 1764 and included in The Vicar of Wakefield (1766), ch. 8, 11. 31-32. Edward Young’s The Complaint, or Night Thoughts contains this line (4.118). The comparison is made again in M 139. At the end of “Premature Burial” Poe satirically refers to Night Thoughts; in two revs. of W. C. Bryant Poe refers pointedly to Young as though he knew his style well (H 9.283, 305; 13.130). Poe includes this item in M 139.

Pinakidia 41

The character of the ancient Bacchus, that graceful divinity, seems to have been little understood by Dryden. The line in Virgil

Et quocunque dens circum caput egit honestum

is thus grossly mistranslated,

On whate‘er side he turns his honest face.


Note: This is taken from Disraeli’s CL, article on “Drinking-Customs in England” (1824 ed., 3.313-327; 1835, 2.252-60; 1865, 3.2434; the first page). The full text shows how Poe combined texts for implications of sophistication about Dryden’s skill:

“The ancient Bacchus, as represented in gems and statues, was a youthful and graceful divinity. . . . He was never viewed reeling with intoxication. According to Virgil: Et quocunque deus circum caput egit honestum. (Georgics. II. 392.) which Dryden, contemplating on the red-faced boorish boy astride on a barrel on our sign-posts, tastelessly sinks into gross vulgarity: ‘On whate‘er side he turns his honest face.’ This latinism of honestum even the literal inelegance of Davidson had spirit enough to translate, ‘Where‘er the god hath moved around his graceful head.‘”

Dryden’s line is 540 of his tr. of the Georgics. Obviously Poe took his cue from Davidson, reprehending Dryden’s ignoring “well-favored” or “noble” as the common meaning of “honestum.” In Poe’s refs. to Dryden (see PD 29 for eight more refs.) he is usually more respectful of Dryden. [page 34:]

Pinakidia 42

There are about one thousand lines identical in the Iliad and Odyssey.


Note: This item comes, almost verbatim, from H. N. Coleridge’s Introductions (1830 ed.; 128 n): “There are . . . in the two poems, and it is plain, upon a collation. . . that the verses in the Odyssey are a modification of the original ones in the Iliad.”

Pinakidia 43

Macrobius gives the form of an imprecation by which the Romans believed whole towns could be demolished and armies defeated. It commences “Dis Pater sive Jovis mavis sive quo alio nomine fas est nominare,” and ends “Si hæc ita faxitis ut ego sciam, sentiam, intelligamque, tum quisquis votum hoc faxit recte factum esto, ovibus atris tribus, Tellus mater, teque Jupiter, obtestor.”


Note: This comes from the Saturnalia Convivia, in 7 books, by Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius (living about 400 A. D.). The following translation of the passage (Bk. 3, ch. 9) is by Percival V. Davies, The Saturnalia (Col. Univ. Press, 1961) pp. 218-19: “Father Dis, Veiovis, and spirits of the world below, or by what other name ye shall be called. . . . This if ye shall so have done that I may know, perceive, and understand the same, then, whoever shall have made this vow, wherever he shall have made it, let it have been rightly made with three black sheep.” See Pin 58 for Macrobius again.

Pinakidia 44

The “Courtier” of Baldazzar Castiglione, 1528, is the first attempt at periodical moral Essay with which we are acquainted. The “Noctes Atticæ” of Aulus Gellius cannot be allowed to rank as such.


Note: Poe uses the first sentence for M 61. He is using “periodical” to refer to intervals of time (“intervalc”), more customarily “periodic,” and is not thinking of “produced or issued” at different periods of time, as with reviews. Baldassare Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier (Il Libro del Cortegiano) was begun at Urbino in 1507 and published in Venice in 1528. Each of the four “books” or sections comprises a nightly discussion [page 35:] among the courtiers in the palace of the Duke of Urbino about the qualities defining the perfect courtier, in the style of the Platonic “dialogues,” such as The Symposium. Poe was to indicate his broad sense of the word “moral” in his footnote for the allusion to Marmontel’s Contes Moraux, for “Island of the Fay” (TOM 599): “‘fashionable,’ or, more strictly, ‘of manner.“’ Poe’s interest in Castiglione (1478-1529) had led him to give the first and the last name to two characters in his play “Politian” composed in 1835 and published in part in the SLM of 121 35, 1/36 (using the strange spelling of Pin 44 for the first name). Politian (or Poliziano) was Castiglione’s friend in life (TOM 288-89).

As for the “Noctes Atticae” — Aulus Gellius (ca. 130-180 A. D.) wrote or compiled numerous extracts from Greek and Roman writings during the long Attic winter nights to entertain his children. Although they were “periodic” in their composition, they scarcely are “moral” in content or aim, as Poe suggests. He must have been thinking of their remote descendant, the famous Blackwood’s series, Noctes Ambrosianae, chiefly by John Wilson (“Christopher North”) and his lively, witty friends regularly issued in the journal.

Pinakidia 45

These lines were written over the closet door of M. Menard,

Las d’espérer, et de me plaindre

De l’amour, des Brands, et du sort

C’est ici que j’attends la mort

Sans la d´esirer ou la craindre.


Note: Poe refers to François Maynard or Mainard (1582-1646), Abbe de Saint-Real, considered the chief disciple of Malherbe and excelling in the ode and the epigram. Michaud, in the Biographie universelle, 27.403-404, gives this quatrain as imitated from Martial, in Refléxions sur la Mort, in his Oeuvres (1846). T. B. Harbottle, Dictionary of Quotations (rep., N. Y., 1958), p. 121, gives this translation: “No more I hope, no more I jeer / At Love and Fortune and the Great; / Here the approach of death I wait / Without desire and without fear.” Poe’s confused spelling is explicable: “Ménard” is a much more Gallic spelling, is phonically the same, and François Menard (also of Toulouse) chances to be a poet with whom even Garrisson, in his 1885 ed. of Maynard’s writings, confused his subject (see Cassell’s Enc. of Lit. [N. Y., 1954], 2.1231). [page 36:]

Pinakidia 46

Martin Luther in his reply to Henry VIIIth’s book by which the latter acquired the title of “Defender of the Faith,” calls the monarch very unceremoniously “a pig, an ass, a dunghill, the spawn of an adder, a basilisk, a lying buffoon dressed in a king’s robes, a mad fool with a frothy mouth and a whorish face.”


Note: Martin Luther (1483-1546), published in 1520 his Babylonian Captivity, in which he broke with Catholicism and the Pope and called for a new church. Henry VIII of England, still within the fold, issued in 1521 his response, Assertio Septem Sacramentorum (Defense of the Seven Sacraments), probably written by Sir Thomas More. Luther’s reply of 1522, Martinus Lutherus contra Henricum Regem Angliae (175 pp.), was outstandingly vituperative, even in a day when polemical writings exercised little restraint normally. Perhaps his complete derogation of the British royalty explains the failure to translate the reply entirely into English (E. S. Buchan’s, of 1928 being the first); a German translation had been issued in 1523. Accounts of Henry VIII and of Sir Thomas More occasionally produced versions of excerpts or fragmentary passages, and it may have been from such a source that Poe derived his phrases; see, for a modern instance, Algernon Cecil, Portrait of Thomas More (London, 1937), p. 194, covering Poe’s passage but with different wording. The original Latin may be read in Luther’s Opera Latina (Wittenberg,1562; rep. of 1928), 2.330-352. specifically, 333, 334, 339 (Poe’s source obviously combines disconnected passages and makes changes, e.g., changing plurals to the singular for application to the king himself); “Hic furit, hic maledicit, hic totus convicia et virus est. . . Verum, prae caeteris furiosis . . . damnabilis putredo ista et vermis . . . insultos istos et ineptos Basiliscos, Progenies istae viperae . . . porci illi et assini.”

Poe’s interest in the matter may have been aroused by the article, “Literary Controversy” in Disraeli’s CL (1865 ed., 1.401-15, specifically, 402-403) in which he spends almost two pages on the vituperation of both Luther and Thomas More (writing for the King), but his examples are not those of Poe’s text, save for a curious duplication. The end of the para. on Luther quotes the phrase applied to Luther at the canonization of Ignatius Loyola in 1623, and the whole clause on this matter is given as filler in the SLM of 4148, 14.228, probably through Poe’s agency. (See Supplementary Pinakidia 35 for a full account of this and other items.) This seems to confirm Poe’s knowing the CL text as his source of the idea, at least. Poe’s interest in satire and his own power of invective were very great throughout his life. Luther occurs in the mottoes to “Metzengerstein,” “Never Bet the Devil,” and “Marie Rogêt and in Pin 56 and 142, and is quoted in a rev. (H 8.326). [page 37:]

Pinakidia 47

The Psalter of Solomon, which contains 18 psalms, is a work which was found in Greek in the library of Augsburg, and has been translated into Latin by John Lewis de la Cerda. It is supposed not to be Solomon’s, but the work of some Hellenistical Jew, and composed in imitation of David’s Psalms. The Psalter was known to the ancients, and was formerly in the famous Alexandrian MS.


Note: Poe’s source is unknown; his data are correct. The eighteen “psalms” date from the first century B. C., and survived in a Greek version of the Hebrew. The name of Solomon (perhaps a real “Solomon”) was early attached. The eight MSS. which preserved them were not earlier than the 10th century, but represented versions in Greek in the Codex Alexandrinus of the 5th Century. David Hoeschel, librarian at Augsburg, first called attention to the book, which was published in 1626 by the Jesuit Juan de la Cerda in his Adversaria Sacra. It is now agreed that the psalms date from the siege of Jerusalem by Pompey, being written by a Pharisee. Not very high in literary merit, they show a pious and zealous author (information from Hastings’ Dictionary of the Bible, 4.16263).

Pinakidia 48

An unshaped kind of something first appeared,

is a line in Cowley’s famous description of the Creation.


Note: The line is by Abraham Cowley (1618-67), amazingly precocious and versatile English poet, whose Davideis or scriptural epic on the history of King David, was composed while he was a student at Cambridge, although published in 1656. It is thought to have influenced Paradise Lost. The line is from the first of the four books (1.792). The item is slightly expanded in M 75 and appears in SP 36. Poe, as did Samuel Johnson in his sketch of Cowley in the Lives, tended to stress his “absurd conceits” and metaphysical style (see H 15.69 and 9.95, where he again cites the Creation passage from the Davideis).

Pinakidia 49

It is probable that the queen of Sheba was Balkis — that Sheba was a kingdom in the southern part of Arabia Felix, and that the people [page 38:] were called Sabxans. These lines of Claudian relate to the people and queen,

Medis, levibusque Sabæis

Imperat hic sexus; reginarumque sub armis

Barbariæ magna pars jacet.


Note: Sheba or Saba, in Southern Arabia, included Yemen and the Hadramaut. 1 Kings: 10 tells of the visit to Solomon of the Queen, called Balkis in the Moslem tradition. According to the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (1960), among the Sabaeans the women equalled the man, but their inscriptions are not old enough to throw light upon Solomon’s queen. The Arabs identify her with Balkis as being the only Sabaean queen known to them, although she may have lived centuries after Solomon (4.2752-53). Claudius Claudianus, last of the Latin classic poets, who died about 408 A. D., wrote this in In Eutropium (Against Eutropius), 1.321-23: “Women bear sway among the Medes and swift Sabaeans; half barbary is governed by martial queens” (Loeb Classical Library, 1922, 2.162). The origin and use of the name “Balkis” are obscure and curious. The En. Brit., 2.766, notes that Aspendus in Southern Turkey (modern Balkis Kale) was a wealthy ancient pre-Hellenic port of remarkably extensive ruins which earned it a legendary connection with Solomon’s Sheban queen — hence its present name.

Pinakidia 50

Sheridan declared he would rather be the author of the ballad called Hosier’s Ghost, by Glover, than of the Annals of Tacitus.


Note: Poe’s source for Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s remark has not been found, nor has consultation with two of the leading Sheridan scholars here and in the United Kingdom produced the locus, but he himself wrote navy ballads and was glad to accept the post of Treasurer of the Navy. The remark is similar to that in M 202, para. 5: “1 would much rather have written the best song of a nation than its noblest epic,” especially since song and ballad are equated in the entire article. Richard Glover (1712-85), an eloquent speaker in Parliament and popular poet, is now remembered only for “Hosier’s Ghost,” intended to excite the British against the attacks and menace of Spain. An opponent of Walpole, he here used the disastrous immobilization of Admiral Hosier and his fleet in the Caribbean in 1726. Concerning Cornelius Tacitus (56 A.D. - 136?), Poe is ambivalent, sometimes admiring his terseness — but [page 39:] inconsistently. His Annals in the surviving 16 books is a great achievement of history — writing, in style, scope, accuracy of details, and candid but positive perspective on Imperial Rome. Poe’s refs. are many: H 9.156, 193, 14.3-4, Pref. to M (TOM 1114), Poems (107n18), Tales 386 and 391n22; 654, 659n18; 1087n25. See Pin 161 for objection to his “prolixity” (sic).

Pinakidia 51

The word Jehovah is not Hebrew. The Hebrews had no such letters as J or V. The word is properly Iah-Uah — compounded of Iah Essence and Uah Existing. Its full meaning is the self-existing essence of all things.


Note: This is borrowed entirely from the anonymous Antediluvian Antiquities (see Pin 2), merely omitting a few words from the para. (p. 88 note) which relies on an unspecified work by Volney for most of this material. It is true that the word “Jehovah” is, rather, an artificial creation of 1516 by Peter Galatinus (Gallatin), Pope Leo X’s confessor, who combined the Hebrew tetragrammaton YHWH with the vowel points of Adonai to form the new word for God. For theories about the meaning and origin of the two component parts, first introduced by Moses, see Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (2.409-11, 817) and the OED, under the word; the latter’s explication avers that the provenance from the verb, to exist, for “he that is” or “the self-existent” is now disputed but with no widely accepted substitute theory offered.

Pinakidia 52

The “Song of Solomon,” throwing aside the heading of the chapters, which is the work of the English translators, contains nothing which relates to the Savior or the Church. It does not, like every other sacred book, contain even the name of the Deity.


Note: This is taken verbatim from Antediluvian Antiquities, p. 163 footnote. The author of this source-work concludes that “Looking at its letter, at its plain terms, there is no good thing in it.” Hence, his text is a kind of Bowdlerized paraphrase of the Canticles, with the erotic phrases excluded. He does concede, however, that if the “translators judged rightly as to its object, it cannot fail to confirm our piety” (footnote). [page 40:] This alludes to the allegorical interpretation which has prevailed from the earliest period, as Poe surely knew.

Pinakidia 53

In the Vatican is an ancient picture of Adam, with the Latin inscription “Adam divinitus edoctus, primus scientiarum et literarum inventor.”


Note: Poe took this, almost verbatim, from Antediluvian Antiquities, p. 246 footnote. Poe used it again, almost identically, for M 105. The footnote on p. 246 adds more information — that the picture is in the “Vatican Library” and has a “Hebrew inscription over his head” which information is in “Notes to Poetical Translations.” Rigorous search has not revealed the book thus designated, but a specially taken photograph from the Vatican Library, through the good offices of Prof. Pierre Pascal of Rome, shows me the accuracy of this information. An incompletely included inscription below the Latin reads “Paulus.PP.V /Ad Perpetuam Rei Memoriam” — indicating the papacy of the installation as that of Paul V (Camillo Borghese), 1552, (pope 1605-1621). The style of the figure of Adam accords with the Baroque, not with the word “ancient” borrowed by Poe. Adam holds an agricultural implement in his right hand, an apple in his left. The inscription reads: “Adam, divinely instructed, was the first to devise the sciences and letters (or the humanities). See the picture, reproduced, on p. 235 below.

Pinakidia 54

The word translated “slanderers” in 1 Timothy iii, 2, and that translated “false accusers” in Titus ii, 3, are “female devils” in the original Greek of the New Testament.


Note: Poe takes this, verbatim, from Antediluvian Antiquities (see Pin 2), using only part of p. 264 footnote and slightly redirecting the intention of the author, who wished to discuss the “great latitude” of St. Paul’s use of the word “devil,” for “He even calls certain women ‘devils,“’ and adding to the passage used by Poe: “a fact the existence of which the mere English reader of the Bible never could suspect.” Poe mistakenly assumes for the first example of “slanderers” that the “11” of his source stands for 2, rather than the correct “11” in 1 Timothy 3. [page 41:]

Pinakidia 55

The Hebrew language contains no word (except perhaps Jehovah) which conveys to the mind the idea of Eternity. The translators of the Old Testament have used the word Eternity but once.


Note: This item comes from Antediluvian Antiquities, p. 92 footnote (partly repeated on p. 261n.), q.v. in Pin 2, but Poe cunningly introduces a few changes:

It is wonderful that the Hebrew language contains no word, except the awful name of Jehovah, that conveys to the mind the idea that we connect with the words, eternal, eternity etc. The translators of the Old Testament ventured to use the word “eternity” but onceIsaiah lvii. 15. The same word, OD, occurs in many other places.

The passage in Isaiah is this: For thus saith the high and lofty one that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy.” By dropping the adjective “eternal” from his source, Poe renders his statement more accurate, since we find also the adjective in “Eternal God is thy refuge” in Deut. 33:27 and “an eternal excellency” in Is. 60:15. Moreover, the idea of “eternality” (rather than the word “eternity”) can be found in variants, such as “always” and “forever” and “without end” etc.

Pinakidia 56

“The slipper of Cinderella,” says the editor of the new edition of Warton “finds a parallel in the history of the celebrated Rhodope.”(a) Cinderella is a tale of universal currency.(b) An ancient Danish ballad has some of the incidents.(c) It is popular among the Welch — also among the Poles — in Hesse and Schwerin.(d) Schottky found it among the Servian fables.(e) Rollenhagen in his Froschmauseler speaks of it as the tale of the despised Aschen — possel.(f) Luther mentions it.(g) It is in the Italian Pentamerone under the title of Cenerentola.(h)

Rhodope) a. The unquestionably intermediate source of this whole article has not been found. Poe’s transcription of names is either extremely careless or based on a very corrupt text, in view of the many needed corrections. The “new” edition is Richard Price’s of Thomas Warton, The History of English Poetry in 4 vols. (London: Thomas Tegg, 1824), 1.86 (“Ed.’s Preface”), which gives Poe’s quotation along with Price’s source for the Rhodope ref. in a footnote: Claudius Aelianus, [page 42:] Varia Historia, Bk. 13, ch. 32. In the Greek Rhodope the slipper is carried off by an eagle and dropped into the lap of the king of Egypt, who seeks out and marries the owner, q.v. in L. F. Kready, A Study of Fairy Tales (Boston, 1916), p. 227.

currency) b. The Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Myth and Legend (1972), p. 233, calls it “the best known folktale in the world” with over 500 versions recorded for Europe alone. A well organized, detailed study is Marian R. Cox, Cinderella / 345 Variants (London: Folk Lore Society, 1893); Refs. to this work will be made under “Cox.”

incidents) c. Cox lists, for Denmark, E. T. Kristensen, Danske Folkeoeventyr (Viborg, 1888), pp. 24, 44; Table 282, 453, and discusses four areas of Denmark yielding the story (pp. xxvii-xxxi).

Schwerin) d. Poe or his source spelled this old Germanic name erroneously as “Swerhn.” Schwerin, the capital of the grand duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin to the northwest of Berlin, was an old stronghold whose name derived from the Slavonic Zwarin or Swarin, meaning “game preserve.” Hesse, known until 1866, as Hesse-Darmstadt, was a grand duchy of Germany, to the southwest of Schwerin. The name of the latter signifies an old Slavic or Wendish occupancy of the area, possibly justifying the somewhat ambiguous and unlikely ref. by Poe to Poles in that area, as well as in Hesse. The circulation in Polish of the tale is unquestionable, to be sure, being given in K. W. Wojcicki, Polish Fairy Tales (Warsaw, 1850), p. 51, and Kornel Kozlowski, Lud (Warsaw, 1867), pp. 94-95 (both given in Cox). The German tale of Aschenputtel (the ashgirl) is well known from the Grimms’ German Folk Tales, No. 21, tr. by Magorn and Krappe (Carbondale: Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1960), pp. 86-92. The ref. to Welsh versions of the story is supported by none of the folk-lore or folk-tale surveys, including Cox; but several versions in Ireland and Scotland suggest its presence also among the Welsh. The spelling of “Welsh” appears to have been allowed through the 18th century, being cited in the OED for Boswell’s Johnson and Joseph Priestley, with one 19th century citation of 1833; hence it has been retained.

fables) e. There is a probable error in the name “Schottky”; Cox records a Wallachian version in Arthur and Albert Schott, Walachische Märchen (Stuttgart, 1845), pp. 77, 117 (Wallachia, an old name for part of Romania, may be considered as tantamount to “Serbia”). There is no doubt about Serbian versions, as in William Denton, Papalluga, or the Golden Slipper (London, 1874, pp. 59-66, given by Cox, p. 14) and Vak Karajick, Serbian Folk-Tales (Berlin, 1854), pp. 131-33,169.

Aschen-possel) f. Poe or his source incorrectly writes the name of the author, of the title, and of the major character. George Rollenhagen (1542-1609), German poet, preacher, and religious dramatist wrote, in 1665, his famous verse satire Der Froschmäuseler . . . (pub. 1595) which may only allude to Cinderella or Aschenputtel. [page 44:]

mentions it) g. It may be included in Luther’s prodigious oeuvre, but the lack of indices makes it impossible to locate any passing ref., as is the likely form, nor is it likely to find such a mention in books on Luther, as I have found upon search.

Cenerentola) h. Giambattista Basile (1575-1632) was the collector of the folklore material in Lo Cunto de li Cunti (or Il Pentamerone), 50 fairy-tales in Neapolitan dialect, to which the Grimm brothers were in debted. The tale of the “ashgirl” (La Cenerentola) is the sixth tale of the first day’s narration (Breslau ed., 1846, 1.78-89). Poe must have known the Rossini opera based on it (1817).

Pinakidia 57

Porphyry, than whom no one could be better acquainted with the theology of the ancients, acknowledged Vesta, Rhea, Ceres, Themis, Priapus, Proserpina, Bacchus, Attis, Adonis, Silenus, and the Satyrs to be one and the same.


Note: This is taken, almost verbatim, from Jacob Bryant’s A New System; or, An Analysis of Antient Mythology. Bryant (1718-1804) was a learned antiquarian, seeking to reconcile pagan legends and biblical narratives, emphasizing etymology (often erroneously) in his great compendium. Two vols. appeared in 1774, a third in 1776 and additions came out in the revised edition. Poe probably used the third edition of 1807 (q.v. in TOM 1405 and the illuminating article by Stuart and Susan Levine on “Poe’s Use of Jacob Bryant” in ESQ, 1975, 21.197-214). This begins the “Bryant series” of Pinakidia (also 58, 60-62, 70-72), to which can be added other loci: “Shadow” (TOM 192n9), “Berenice” (2200), “Maelstrom” (595n3), “Eleonora” (646n4), and “Purloined Letter” (996n19) and other possibilities suggested by the Levines (see above). Poe’s use of Bryant’s learning is obviously not entirely admiring or serious, as in this item and the next.

This comes from the article, “An Account of the Gods of Greece” (1807 ed., 1.395). Porphyry (272 A. D. - 305) is esteemed as scholar, philosopher, and student of religions, whose numerous extant works pre serve much ancient learning although his original thinking is often deemed unimportant. This observation on him comes from Eusebius (A.C. 260-340), bishop of Caesarea, a great Christian chronographer: Praeparatio Evangelica, III, xi. For the long passages summarized by Bryant, see Migne’s Patrologiae (Paris, 1857), vol. 21 (for Eusebius), book 3, ch. 11, sections 10-11, p. 199. Both Pin 57 and 58 are incorporated into M 53. [page 44:]

Pinakidia 58

Servius on Virgil’s Æneid speaks of a bearded Venus. The poet Calvus in Macrobius speaks of Venus as masculine. Valerius Soranus among other titles calls Jupiter the Mother of the Gods.


Note: This is closely adapted from Bryant’s Mythology (see Pin 57): “But the most extraordinary circumstance was, that they represented the same Deity of different sexes. A bearded Apollo was uncommon; but Venus with a beard must have been very extraordinary. Yet she is said to have been thus exhibited in Cyprus, under the name of Aphroditus. . . . The same is mentioned by Servius.n28 The poet Calvus speaks of her as masculine.n25. . . . Valerius Soranus among other titles calls Jupiter the mother of the Gods. [n.23: Servius upon Virgil. Aeneid. Bk. 2, v. 632. and n.25: Apud Calvum: Acterianus. Macrobius. Saturnalia, III, 81.” Gaius Licinius Calvus (82 - ?47 B. C.) was an orator and poet, friend of Catullus, of whose work only a few verses survivve. Quintus Valerius of Sora, tribune of the people in 82 B. C., was often quoted by Varro, from whom two hexameters on the fatherhood of Jupiter were quoted by St. Augustine, The City of God, 4.2 and 7.9. Poe shows acquaintance with some of this material in a sense elsewhere. For example see a Servius quotation in the 1845 motto of “Island of the Fay” (TOM 599, 605) derived from Hugo’s Notre Dame (see DP 21-22) and see “Blackwood’s Article” (TOM 360n25) for a use of Servius’s Commentary on Virgil’s Eclogue 7.19-21. This whole article is made part of M 53.

Pinakidia 59

In Suidas is a letter from Dionysius, the Areopagite, dated Helipolis, in the fourth year of the 202d Olympiad (the year of Christ’s crucifixion) to his friend Apollophanes, in which is mentioned a total eclipse of the sun at noon. “Either,” says Dionysius “the author of nature suffers, or he sympathizes with some who do.”


Note: The source of this has not been discovered. Suidas or Suda is the Greek name of a lexicon, not an author as was formerly thought (see Fabricius’ Bibl. Gr.). The Ox. Cl. Dict., saying the name is borrowed from Latin and means Fortress or Stronghold, calls it a literary and historical encyclopedia of the end of the 10th century, compiled from already corrupt sources. The man named Dionysius in Acts 17:34, as converted by St. Paul, is probably confused with another of that name (of Rhinocolura, c. 370) in the Suidas, where Apollophanes is listed as [page 45:] an Athenian comic writer, once victorious c. 400 B. C. — totally discordant in date, of course. The sentence as given in the Suidas (1581), p. 247, col. 1, reads thus “Aut Deus patitur, out vice patientis dolet.” TOM compares a phrase about “the dying agonies of the God of Nature” in “A Dream” to this item, implying that it helps to prove Poe’s authorship (TOM 6, 9n1), an attribution that I strongly doubt (see Word Index to Poe’s Fiction, p. ix).

Pinakidia 60

The most particular history of the Deluge, and the nearest of any to the account given by Moses is to be found in Lucian (De dea Syria).


Note: This comes from “The Deluge” in Bryant’s Mythology (1807 ed.), 3.27, verbatim. Bryant footnotes the ref. to Lucian of Samosata, prolific satirist writing his dialogues in Greek, with “De Dea Syria, v. 2, p. 882” which concerns Mylitta, the moon-goddess or the Semitic Aphrodite. For the relevant passage — concerning “Deukalion” and Pyrrha, also as derived from the epic of Gilgamesh (Babylonia, 2100 B. C.) see Lucian, The Syrian Goddess, ed. H. A. Strong (London, 1913), para. 12, pp. 50-51. The ref. to Moses is in Genesis: 6-7.

Pinakidia 61

The Greeks had no historian prior to Cadmus Milesius, nor any public inscription of which we can be certified, before the laws of Draco.


Note: This article comes, verbatim, save for the first few words, from Bryant’s Mythology, article “Of the Dorians, Pelasgi, Cancones, Myrmidons, and Arcadians,” 5.21-59, specifically, 5.48. Even the peculiar form “certified” which might be more aptly “certain” is in Bryant. Regarding the content, see En. Brit., 15.919, “Logographi” (writers of prose histories) on Greek historiographers before Herodotus: “The first was probably Cadmus of Miletus (who lived, if at all, in the early part of the 6th century).” Draco, in Athenian tradition, introduced new laws (621/20 B.C.) which were put down in writing for the first time (Oxford Classical Dict.). Their extraordinary severity made “Draconian” mean “harsh.” Solon repealed all his laws save for those concerned with homicide. [page 46:]

Pinakidia 62

So great is the uncertainty of ancient history that the epoch of Semiramis cannot be ascertained within 1535 years, for according to

Syncellus,   she lived before Christ   2177,

Patavius, 2060,

Helvicus, 2248,

Eusebius, 1984,

Mr. Jackson, 1964,

Archbishop Usher, 1215,

Philo-Biblius from Sanconiathon,   1200,

Herodotus about 713


Note: This article represents excerpted material, used almost verbatim, from Jacob Bryant, Mythology, “Ninus and Semiramis” (pp. 2.376-388, specifically, 381) in the 1807 edition. Of all these names taken from Bryant only that of Archbishop James Ussher (the more proper spelling; 1581-1656), learned biblical scholar and chronologist, deserves passing mention for possibly figuring in the naming of the family of Roderick Usher, although stronger claimants for the suggestiveness are given in TOM 393-94. See Pin 65 for a more extensive, direct use of Ussher.

Pinakidia 63

The book of Jasher, said to have been preserved from the deluge by Noah, but since lost, was extant in the time of Joshua, and in the time of David. Mr. Bryant thinks, however, very justly, that the ten tables of stone were the first written characters. The book of Jasher is mentioned Joshua x. 13, and 2 Samuel i. 18.


Note: This article is adapted from Jacob Bryant, Mythology (1807 ed.), 4.157-58, and from Antediluvian Antiquities (see Pin 2), 61 footnote 2. The first book is the basis for sentence two of Poe’s article: “For my part, I believe that there was no writing antecedent to the law at Mount Sina [sic]. Here the divine art was promulgated, of which other nations partook.” For the rest, see Antiquities, the text of which discusses “The book of Jasher”: “The great book . . . was preserved from the deluge by Noah, but has since been lost. It was extant in the time of Joshua, and in the time of David. It is expressly quoted, josh. x.13, and alluded to, 2 Samuel i.18.” The Jewish Encyclopaedia, 7.74, explains: The book of Jasher is mentioned twice in the Old Testament: in the account of the battle of Gibeon a fragment of a song of Joshua is given as taken from it (Joshua x.13). Another fragment is quoted in David’s lamentations for [page 47:] Saul and Jonathan. The nature of the book is much discussed, a widespread view being that it was a special book lost during the captivity.

Pinakidia 64

André Chénier, imprisoned during the French Revolution, began thus some lines on his unhappy situation,

Peut-être avant que Pheure en cercle promenée

Ait posé sur l‘émail brillant

Dans les soixante pas où sa route est bornée

Son pied sonore et vigilant,

Le sommeil du tombeau pressera ma paupière —

At this instant André Chénier was interrupted by the officials of the guillotine.


Note: This article closely follows a passage in Disraeli’s Curiosities of Literature in “Poetical and Grammatical Deaths,” 2.93 (1865 N. Y. ed.), but it contains an error by Poe and follows an inadvertent error by Disraeli. Disraeli began thus: “I can never repeat without a strong emotion the following stanzas, begun by André Chenier, in the dreadful period of the French revolution. He was waiting for his turn to be dragged to the guillotine, when he commenced this poem: — ‘Comme un dernier rayon, comme un dernier zéphyre . . .’ This, the first quatrain, is omitted by Poe who starts with the second as given by Disraeli, pretending that thus did Chénier start his poem. After the eight lines, Disraeli wrote: “Here, at this pathetic line, was André Chénier summoned to the guillotine! Never was a more beautiful effusion of grief interrupted by a more affecting incident!” A note to the Pleiade edition of Chénier’s Oeuvres Complètes (Paris, 1940), p. 823, for this poem, no. IX of Iambes (pp. 193-95), written by Gérard Walter, explains the error. There are eighty more lines after “paupiere” as it is now printed, but the poem was published in part (presumably as Disraeli gives it) by Latouche, in 1819. The existing manuscript does not confirm this “last-moment” writing, especially since other poems are written on the same page. Clearly Disraeli, followed by Poe, believed Latouche’s pathetic interpretation. The French may be rendered thus: “Perhaps ere the hour, moved in its circle, has placed upon the shining enamel within the sixty steps along which its course is limited its sonorous and vigilant foot, the sleep of the tomb will press upon my eyelid.” [page 48:]

Pinakidia 65

Archbishop Usher, in a MS. of St. Patrick’s life, said to have been found at Louvain as an original of a very remote date, detected several entire passages purloined from his own writings.


Note: This comes almost verbatim from Isaac Disraeli’s CL, article on “Pamphlets” (1824 ed., 2.87-94, specifically, 89; 1835, 1.288-92, 289; 1865, 1.441-47, 443); in para. 1 Disraeli speaks about the curious information in Myles Davis’s “Icon Libellorum, or a Critical History of Pamphlets.” The source of Pin 65 is a set of such examples. It reads: “He relates a curious anecdote respecting the forgeries of the monks. Archbishop Usher detected in a manuscript of St. Patrick’s life, pretended to have been found at Louvain, as an original of a very remote date, several passages taken, with little alteration, from his own writings.” In Pin 62 Poe had cited material from Bryant’s Mythology which included Bishop Usher (or Ussher). The series precedes his use of the name in “Fall of the House of Usher” as indicated in Pin 62 n. For the major role in setting Biblical chronology, see TOM 1199n27; Poe’s text here shows his doubt about Ussher’s dating and the whole concept of Creationism.

Pinakidia 66

An extract from the “Mystery of St. Denis” is in the “Bibliotheque du Théatre François, depuis son origine, Dresde. 1768.” In this serious drama, St. Denis, having been tortured and at length decapitated, rises very quietly, takes his head under his arm and walks off the stage in all the dignity of martyrdom.


Note: This is closely adapted from Disraeli’s CL, article on “Mysteries, Moralities, Farces and Sotties” (1824 ed., 2.103-18; 1835, 1.296-303; 1865, 2.15-25, specifically 19-20). Poe omits the attribution of the “Bibliotheque” to the Duke de la Vallière. The rest of the source-passage follows: “This piece then proceeds to entertain the spectators with the tortures of St. Denis, and at length, when more than dead, they mercifully behead him: the Saint, after his decapitation, rises very quietly, takes his head under his arm, and walks off the stage in all the dignity of martyrdom.” [page 49:]

Pinakidia 67

The idea of “No light but rather darkness visible” was perhaps suggested to Milton by Spenser’s

A little glooming (sic) light much like a shade.


Note: The borrowing from Spenser was derived by Poe from Disraeli’s CL article on Bentley’s edition of Milton’s works (1798 ed., 2.109;1824, 2.133-139, specifically, 135;1835, 2.311-313;1865, 2.35 38, 36). Disraeli gives the loci of each, although erroneously for the second. The two are Paradise Lost, 1.63 and Faerie Queene, Spenser’s spelling of “gloaming” is used in neither citation.

Pinakidia 68

In the Dutch Vondel’s tragedy “The Deliverance of the Children of Israel” one of the principal characters is the Divinity himself.


Note: This is taken, almost verbatim, from Disraeli’s CL, article on “Literary Dutch” (1835, 1.339-41, specifically, 340; 1865, 2.73-76, 74). Disraeli precedes it with a discussion of Vondel’s “defective taste”: “Many of his tragedies are also drawn from the Scriptures; all badly chosen and unhappily executed.”

Pinakidia 69

Darwin is indebted for a great part of his “Great poem” to a Latin one by De La Croix, published in 1727 and entitled “Connubia Florum.”


Note: This comes from Disraeli’s CL, article on “Philosophical Descriptive Poems” (1824 ed., 2.183-87, specifically 85; 1835, 1.286-88; 1865, 1.439-42, 440). Demetrius de La Croix published Connubia forum latino carmine demonstrata in Paris in 1728, a work of 39 pages (plus vii), and issued also in Bath, 1791, with notes and remarks by Richard Clayton. The gaps in Poe’s presentation are owed, probably, to those in Disraeli’s, for although he also speaks of a poem Universal Beauty (1735) by Henry Brooke as presenting “the very model of Darwin’s versification” he fails to indicate Darwin’s title. Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802), man of science and didactic poet, published the second part — The Botanic Garden — of his “Great Poem” anonymously in 1789 and the whole poem, The Loves of the Plants in 1791, using decasyllabic rhymed couplets. It [page 50:] ingeniously and unpoetically used the Linnaean system, elaborate and ridiculous personifications, and artificial and pompous language, but here and in his other works he introduced ideas of the mutability of the species which were to bear fruit in the thought of his grandson Charles (see Baugh, LHE, pp. 1299-1300 for an appreciative evaluation and a good footnote bibliography). Poe obviously knew none of this, although his Phytology (1799) offers opinions about the sensations of plants that seem akin to the idea in “Usher” which Poe ascribes to Bishop Watson and others (TOM 408 and 419n13).

Pinakidia 70

Mr. Bryant in his learned “Mythology” says that although the Pagan fables are not believed, yet we forget ourselves continually and make inferences from them as existing realities.


Note: This is taken almost verbatim from Jacob Bryant’s Mythology (1807 ed.), 2.173, article “Taph, Tuph, Taphos,” which reads thus: “We absolutely argue upon Pagan principles: and though we cannot believe the fables, which have been transmitted to us; yet we forget ourselves continually; and make inferences from them, as if they were real.” Poe’s passage is quoted also in “Purloined Letter” (TOM 987) and in Eureka (H 16.217, para. 64), in all three changing the end to “existing realities.”

Pinakidia 71

The shield of Achilles in Homer seems to have been copied from some Pharos which the poet had seen in Egypt. What he describes on the central part of the shield is a map of the earth and of the celestial appearances.


Note: This is adapted from a discussion of Lycophron’s views on three rivers as pictured on a “robe” or “Pharos” in Jacob Bryant’s Mythology, article on “Temple Science” (1807 ed.), 2.97-98. The ref. is to Iliad, 18.478 ff. Bryant refers to the Pharos at Alexandria, united to the city by a mole nearly a mile in length, which Alexander the Great had caused to be built for harborage. Ptolemy 11 had the tower of white marble, built pyramidally by Sostratus on Pharos, as a lighthouse, which became one of the wonders of the world. [page 51:]

Pinakidia 72

Anaxagoras of Clazomenae is said to have prophesied that a stone would fall from the sun. This is a mistake of the learned. All that Anaxagoras averred may be seen in the Scholiast upon Pindar (Olymp. Ode, 1). It amounts only to this, that Petros was a name of the sun.


Note: This is taken by Poe, almost verbatim (with his addition of sent. 2), from Bryant, Mythology, article on “Patrr and Patra” (1807 ed.), 1.363. Anaxagoras (c. 500 - c. 428 B. C.) was the first philosopher to reside in Athens. His astronomical views, leading to the charge of impiety, involved the fall of the meteorite at Aegispotami. See M 124 for other Poe refs. to Anaxagoras. Bryant gives the Scholia in Pindar, Olympian and Pythian Odes, I, p. 8.

Pinakidia 73

The Hebrew language has lain now for two thousand years mute and incapable of utterance. The “Masoretical punctuation” which professes to supply the vowels was formed a thousand years after the language had ceased to be spoken, and disagrees in many instances with the Seventy, Origen and other writers.


Note: This is the first of five items, after Pin 27, taken from a book by James Montgomery, who is acknowledged and derided in Pin 74 but not in the rest of this set. Poe mistakenly thought James and Robert Montgomery to be brothers (see Pollin, SAF, 1980, 8.234-37). His derision appears in M 2 (for Robert), MM 19, 83 (for both), Pin 27 and M 32 (for James) (q.v. for other refs. by Poe). Poe here and below is citing James Montgomery, Lectures on Poetry and General Literature delivered at the Royal Institution in 1830 and 1831 (London 1831), probably in the first 1833 Harper pirated edition, which was reprinted in 1836, 1838, 1839, 1840, 1844, 1845, 1846, 1853, 1857, and 1860. In Lecture V, “The Form of Poetry,” Montgomery quotes Bishop [Robert] Lowth on the Hebrew language, and these words comprise Poe’s article with a single change: “is discordant. . . from” for “disagrees with.” The subject is resumed in Pin 169, q.v. [page 52:]

Pinakidia 74

James Montgomery thinks proper to style M‘Pherson’s Ossian, a collection “of halting, dancing, lumbering, grating, nondescript paragraphs.”


Note: Poe here cites James Montgomery, Lectures (see Pin 73), pp. 95-96: “Compare the harmonious cadences of this fine prose in our old version of Holy Writ with the halting . . . paragraphs in Macpherson’s Ossian.” Poe repeats this in M 132. Clearly Poe had great admiration for Ossian at this time, as his Intro. to the Poems of 1831, reprinted in the 7/36 SLM , shows (H 7.x1-xli). He defends “this gorgeous, yet simple imagery” which starts Temora against Wordsworth’s “contempt.”

Pinakidia 75

The paucity of spondees in the English language, is the reason why we cannot tolerate an English Hexameter. Sir Philip Sidney, in his Arcadia, thus speaks of Love in what is meant for Hexameter verse

So to the woods Love runnes, as well as rides to the palace:

Neither he bears reverence to a prince, nor pity to a beggar;

But, like a point in the midst of a circle, is still of a nearnesse.


Note: This material, from Montgomery’s Lectures, appears also in M 133 (see note a). Montgomery says: “One great defect in our English tongue . . . is the paucity of spondees in its vocabulary. Without these, no hexameter can close well, or be balanced in its progress” (p. 101). Poe’s example is drawn from a longer passage in the Lectures, which correctly transcribes the first word from Sir Philip Sidney as “How” and not “So”; see Arcadia, Book I, Eclogues I, “Dorus. Cleophila,” 11. 4-6 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1963), p. 77. Neither Montgomery nor Poe preserves the Elizabethan spelling. In other works Poe develops his ideas about spondees and hexameters in English verse, notably in “Rationale of Verse” (H. 14.261-65). See also his fuller discussion in M 133.

Pinakidia 76

His form had not yet lost

All her original brightness,

is a very remarkable passage in Milton’s Paradise Lost, wherein a person is personified. [page 53:]


Note: This is taken from Montgomery, Lectures (see Pin 73), called “a most singular prosopopoeia. . . . Here the very person of the fallen Angel is personified . . .” (p. 101).

Quoted is Paradise Lost, 1.591-92.

Pinakidia 77

It is certain that Hebrew verse did not include rhyme: the terminations of the lines where they are most distinct, never showing any thing of the kind.


Note: This is taken from Montgomery (see Pin 73), Lectures (no. V, p. 93), verbatim save for “manifesting” instead of “showing.” It is used also in M 147. Poe partly changes his mind in “Rationale of Verse” (H 14.224): “The terminations of Hebrew verse, (as far as understood,) show no signs of rhyme, but what thinking person can doubt that it did actually exist?” Compare also, in M 147, his defense of “rhyme” in Greek comedy, derived from Pin 100.

Pinakidia 78

Francis le Brossano engraved these verses upon a marble tomb which he erected to Petrarch at Arqua.

Frigida Francisci tegit hic lapis ossa Peterarcæ.

Suscipe, virgo parens, animam: sate virgine, plarce,

Fessaquejam terris, cceli requiescat in arce.


Note: While the source of this article is not definite, it is probably from a book that Poe himself reviewed in the 9/41 Graham’s (H 10.202-206), namely, Thomas Campbell’s Life of Petrarch, that he derived at least part of this item, with the three lines of Latin verse derived from a book mentioned therein and praised specifically by Poe in his review (p. 203), namely The Life of Petrarch by Jacques de Sade (tr. by Mrs. S. Dobson; 2nd ed. 1776; new ed., London, 1803; Phila., 1817). Both these works, however, fail to indicate some important facts and give a misimpression. In fact, Francesco Petrarca (1304-74), Italian poet and humanist, in his will indicated his desire to erect a chapel at Arqua in honor of the Blessed Virgin, to serve as his burial place. Instead, his body was interred in the [page 54:] parish church, but was removed six years later to a nearby marble tomb prepared by his son-in-law Francisco da Brossano with an epitaph presumably written by Petrarch (but not included in his works). Campbell (2.312) following Jacques de Sade (p. 484) assumes the epitaph to be Brossano’s, “meritorious” only in having rhyme. Others today excuse “his” epitaph because of the prevalent “rudeness” of his age (cf. Maud Jerrold, Petrarch, 1909, pp. 243, 333; and, for details of his burial, E. H. Wilkins, Petrarch’s Later Years, 1959, p. 271).

The verses may be roughly rendered thus: “This stone covers the cold bones of Francesco Petrarca. Take up his soul, oh virgin mother; spare it, oh fulfilled virgin, and, tired now with the things of the earth, let it repose in the citadel of the sky.” There is an obvious pun on “arce” with “Arqua.” For other refs. to Petrarch, see Pin 90, SM 10, H 7.110, and 12.29. For another foreign language epitaph see Pin 88.

Pinakidia 79

“Statua Statuae” was an inscription handed about at Paris for the equestrian statue of Louis XV, begun by Bouchardon and finished by Pigal. The following also,

Bouchardon est un animal

Et son ouvrage fait pitié:

Il place les vices à cheval

Et les vertus à pied.

and another,

Voilà noire roi comme il est à Versailles

Sans foi, sans loi, et sans entrailles.


Note: Poe’s source for this article has not been traced, nor has the provenance for any of the three satirical “bons mots,” either in the data on the two sculptors or in dictionaries of French quotations. In his life of Edme Bouchardon (1698-1762), Vie d‘Edmé Bouchardon, Sculpteur du roi (Paris, 1762), Anne Claude Caylus declares this statue to be the richest and largest monument of the age, with an elaborately carved and ornamented base, which required more than twelve years to complete (pp. 58-66); he directed that Jean-Baptiste Pigalle (1714-85) — Poe’s spelling being an alternative form of the name — complete four caryatides and other parts of the pedestal after his own death (see Louis Réau, Pigalle, 1950, pp. 59-72). Erected in the Place de la Concorde, it was destroyed during the Revolution.

The Latin means “the statue of a statue.” The quatrain can be rendered thus: “Bouchardon is an animal, and his work makes us pity [page 55:] him; he puts the vices on horseback and the virtues on foot.” The last reads: “There is our king as he is in Versailles (or at court): without faith, without law, and without entrails (or feeling or courage).”

Pinakidia 80

Bochart derives Elysium from the Phœnician Elysoth, joy, through the Greek Ηλυσιον. Circe from the Phœnician Kirkar, to corrupt — Siren from the Phœenician Sir, to sing — Scylla from the Phœnician Scol, destruction — Charybdis from the Phœnician Chor-obdam, chasm of ruin.


Note: Poe’s adaptation of material from H. N. Coleridge’s Introductions (pp.141n,163,166n;1834 ed., 283, 306, 309) probably indicates his sense of humor since the borrowed learning is self-evidently preposterous, although not advanced as such by Coleridge, in citing Samuel Bochart (1590-1667). This French scholar, formerly pastor at Caen before becoming tutor to the earl of Roscommon, was famous for his knowledge of the principal Oriental languages with an obsession about ancient Phoenician that led him into numerous “chimerical etymologies” (En. Brit., 4.106). In 1646 he published his Geographia Sacra (Caen, 1646 and 1651; London, 1707). The ref. to “Elysoth” (XXXIV, col. 600 in 1707 ed.) had been used by Poe in his 9/35 SLM tale, “Shadow,” and would appear again in “Eleonora” (TOM 647n20) and his 1844 rev. of Horne’s Orion (H 11.256), giving reason enough to think that Poe was deceived by a hasty reading of the Greek word into his spelling Elysium as Helusion, with the capital “eta” wrongly transliterated into “He” and the upsilon retained as a “u” instead of “y” in English. For a full tracing of the matter, see Palmer Holt, AL, 9/1962, 34.22-25. He also points out Poe’s mistaken transcription of Coleridge’s “Chor-obdan” influenced, he says, by the succeeding “chasm.”



[The following footnote appears at the bottom of page 1:]

*  It is remarkable that much of what Colton has stolen from Machiavelli, was previously stolen by Machiavelli from Plutarch. A MS. book of the Apophthegms of the Ancients, by this latter writer, having fallen into Machiavelli’s hands, he put them nearly all into the mouth of his hero, Castruccio Castricani. [[Poe’s note]]





[S:0 - BRP2B, 1985] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Collected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe (B. R. Pollin) (Pinakidia)