The Complete Poetical Works of Edgar Allan Poe Including Essays on Poetry

By Edgar Allan Poe

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printed "for
private circulation only." This was towards the end of 1827, when he was
nearing nineteen. Doubtless Poe expected to dispose of his volume by
subscription among his friends, but copies did not go off, and
ultimately the book was suppressed, and the remainder of the edition,
for "reasons of a private nature," destroyed.

What happened to the young poet, and how he contrived to exist for the
next year or so, is a mystery still unsolved. It has always been
believed that he found his way to Europe and met with some curious
adventures there, and Poe himself certainly alleged that such was the
case. Numbers of mythical stories have been invented to account for this
chasm in the poet's life, and most of them self-evidently fabulous. In a
recent biography of Poe an attempt had been made to prove that he
enlisted in the army under an assumed name, and served for about
eighteen months in the artillery in a highly creditable manner,
receiving an honorable discharge at the instance of Mr. Allan. This
account is plausible, but will need further explanation of its many
discrepancies of dates, and verification of the different documents
cited in proof of it, before the public can receive it as fact. So many
fables have been published about Poe, and even many fictitious documents
quoted, that it behoves the unprejudiced to be wary in accepting any new
statements concerning him that are not thoroughly authenticated.

On the 28th February, 1829, Mrs. Allan died, and with her death the
final thread that had bound Poe to her husband was broken. The adopted
son arrived too late to take a last farewell of her whose influence had
given the Allan residence its only claim upon the poet's heart. A kind
of truce was patched up over the grave of the deceased lady, but, for
the future, Poe found that home was home no longer.

Again the young man turned to poetry, not only as a solace but as a
means of earning a livelihood. Again he printed a little volume of
poems, which included his longest piece, "Al Aaraaf," and several others
now deemed classic. The book was a great advance upon his previous
collection, but failed to obtain any amount of public praise or personal
profit for its author.

Feeling the difficulty of living by literature at the same time that he
saw he might have to rely largely upon his own exertions for a
livelihood, Poe expressed a wish to enter the army. After no little
difficulty a cadetship was obtained for him at the West Point Military
Academy,

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