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

By Edgar Allan Poe

Page 4

to pay up our small bets.
Poe ran well, but his competitor was a long-legged, Indian-looking
fellow, who would have outstripped Atalanta without the help of the
golden apples."

"In our Latin exercises in school," continues the colonel, "Poe was
among the first--not first without dispute. We had competitors who
fairly disputed the palm, especially one, Nat Howard, afterwards known
as one of the ripest scholars in Virginia, and distinguished also as a
profound lawyer. If Howard was less brilliant than Poe, he was far
more studious; for even then the germs of waywardness were developing
in the nascent poet, and even then no inconsiderable portion of his
time was given to versifying. But if I put Howard as a Latinist on a
level with Poe, I do him full justice."

"Poe," says the colonel, "was very fond of the Odes of Horace, and
repeated them so often in my hearing that I learned by sound the words
of many before I understood their meaning. In the lilting rhythm of
the Sapphics and Iambics, his ear, as yet untutored in more
complicated harmonies, took special delight. Two odes, in particular,
have been humming in my ear all my life since, set to the tune of his
recitation:

_'Jam satis terris nivis atque dirce
Grandinis misit Pater, et rubente,'_

And

_'Non ebur neque aureum
Mea renidet in dono lacu ar,_' etc.

"I remember that Poe was also a very fine French scholar. Yet, with
all his superiorities, he was not the master spirit nor even the
favorite of the school. I assign, from my recollection, this place to
Howard. Poe, as I recall my impressions now, was self-willed,
capricious, inclined to be imperious, and, though of generous
impulses, not steadily kind, nor even amiable; and so what he would
exact was refused to him. I add another thing which had its influence,
I am sure. At the time of which I speak, Richmond was one of the most
aristocratic cities on this side of the Atlantic.... A school is, of
its nature, democratic; but still boys will unconsciously bear about
the odor of their fathers' notions, good or

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