The Works of Edgar Allan Poe — Volume 1

By Edgar Allan Poe

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his pleasure because a magazine to which he was to
contribute had agreed to pay him $20 monthly for two pages of criticism.

Those were discouraging times in American literature, but Poe never
lost faith. He was finally to triumph wherever pre-eminent talents win
admirers. His genius has had no better description than in this stanza
from William Winter's poem, read at the dedication exercises of the
Actors' Monument to Poe, May 4, 1885, in New York:

He was the voice of beauty and of woe,
Passion and mystery and the dread unknown;
Pure as the mountains of perpetual snow,
Cold as the icy winds that round them moan,
Dark as the caves wherein earth's thunders groan,
Wild as the tempests of the upper sky,
Sweet as the faint, far-off celestial tone of angel
whispers, fluttering from on high,
And tender as love's tear when youth and beauty die.

In the two and a half score years that have elapsed since Poe's death
he has come fully into his own. For a while Griswold's malignant
misrepresentations colored the public estimate of Poe as man and as
writer. But, thanks to J. H. Ingram, W. F. Gill, Eugene Didier, Sarah
Helen Whitman and others these scandals have been dispelled and Poe is
seen as he actually was-not as a man without failings, it is true, but
as the finest and most original genius in American letters. As the
years go on his fame increases. His works have been translated into
many foreign languages. His is a household name in France and England-in
fact, the latter nation has often uttered the reproach that Poe's own
country has been slow to appreciate him. But that reproach, if it ever
was warranted, certainly is untrue.

W. H. R.


By James Russell Lowell

THE situation of American literature is anomalous. It has no centre, or,
if it have, it is like that of the sphere of Hermes. It is divided
into many systems, each revolving round its several suns, and often
presenting to the rest only the faint glimmer of

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

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of his boyish ideal, Byron.
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" Thus I pacified Psyche and kissed her, And tempted her out of her gloom-- And conquered her scruples and gloom; And we passed to the end of a vista, But were stopped by the door of a tomb-- By the door of a legended tomb; And I said--"What.
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Politian is expected Hourly in Rome--Politian, Earl of Leicester! We'll have him at the wedding.
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A crucifix whereon to register This sacred vow? (_he hands her his own_.
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"Aristotle, with singular assurance, has declared poetry the most philosophical of all writings--but it required a Wordsworth to pronounce it the most metaphysical.
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That they have followers proves nothing: "'No Indian prince has to his palace More followers than a thief to the gallows.
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There were undoubtedly more than two cities engulphed in the "dead sea.
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If I could dwell Where Israfel Hath dwelt, and he where I, He might not sing so wildly well A mortal melody, While a bolder note than this might swell From my lyre within the sky.
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Yes! though that long dream were of hopeless sorrow, 'Twere better than the cold reality Of waking life, to him whose heart must be, And hath been still, upon the lovely earth, A chaos of deep passion, from his birth.
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Ide, junior.
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I love, indeed, to regard the dark valleys, and the gray rocks, and the waters that silently smile, and the forests that sigh in uneasy slumbers, and the proud watchful mountains that look down upon all,--I love to regard these as themselves but the colossal members of one vast animate and sentient whole--a whole whose form (that of the sphere) is the most perfect and most inclusive of all; whose path is among associate planets; whose meek handmaiden is the moon; whose mediate sovereign is the sun; whose life is eternity; whose thought is that of a god; whose enjoyment is knowledge; whose destinies are lost in immensity; whose cognizance of ourselves is akin with our own cognizance of the _animalculae_ which infest the brain, a being which we in consequence regard as purely inanimate and material, much in the same manner as these _animalculae_ must thus regard us.
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Yet a day, and men breathed with greater freedom.
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While the epic mania, while the idea that to merit in poetry prolixity is indispensable, has for some years past been gradually dying out of the public mind, by mere dint of its own absurdity, we find it succeeded by a heresy too palpably false to be long tolerated, but one which, in the brief period it has already endured, may be said to have accomplished more in the corruption of our Poetical Literature than all its other enemies combined.
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It was the misfortune of Mr.
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death's mystery, Swift to be hurl'd-- Anywhere, anywhere Out of the world! In she plunged boldly, No matter how coldly The rough river ran,-- Over the brink of it, Picture it,--think of it, Dissolute Man! Lave in it, drink of it Then, if you can! Still, for all slips of hers, One of Eve's family-- Wipe those poor lips of hers Oozing so clammily, Loop up her tresses Escaped from the comb, Her fair auburn tresses; Whilst wonderment guesses Where was her home? Who was her father? Who was her mother! Had she a sister? Had she a brother? Or was there a dearer one Still, and a nearer one Yet, than all other? Alas! for the rarity Of Christian charity Under the sun! Oh! it was pitiful! Near a whole city full, Home she had none.
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He owns it in all noble thoughts, in all unworldly motives, in all holy impulses, in all chivalrous, generous, and self-sacrificing deeds.
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that has been previously narrated.