Edgar Allan Poe.

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THE LIBRARY

OF

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

GIFT OF

The Estate of
Mrs. Sophie D. Browi





















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THE FATE OF THE VERY GREATEST

I have sometimes amused myself by endeavoring to fancy
what would be the fate of an individual gifted, or rather accursed,
with an intellect very far superior to that of his race. Of course, he
would be conscious of his superiority; nor could he (if otherwise
constituted as man is) help manifesting his consciousness* Thus he
would make himself enemies at all points. And since his opinions
and speculations would widely differ from those of all mankind
that he would be considered a madman is evident. How horribly
painful such a condition I Hell could invent no greater torture than
that of being charged with abnormal weakness on account of being
abnormally strong.

In like manner, nothing can be clearer than that a very gen
erous spirit truly feeling what all merely profess must inevitably
find itself misconceived in every direction its motives misinterpreted.

EDGAR ALLAN POE.




MADE BY

THE WERNER COMPANY

AKRON, OHIO







O



Centenarp <tition



The Complete tf^orks of






With Biography and

Introduction

by

NATHAN HASKELL DOLE



TEN VOLUMES

Illustrated



Clje dlerner Company



Edition



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jBumftereU ^ete of tol)tc|)
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COPYRIGHT 1908

BY
THE WERNER COMPANY






FOG



v.i




TALES






CONTENTS




VOLUMB I.

BERENICE ........

THE UNPARALLELED ADVENTURE OF ONE HANS PFAALL
MS. FOUND IN A BOTTLE .....

THE ASSIGNATION ......

MORELLA ........

BON-BON ...*....

LIONIZING ........

THE DUG DE L OMELETTE .....

SHADOW: A PARABLE ......

LOSS OF BREATH . . . . .

KING PEST ........

METZENGERSTEIN ......

WILLIAM WILSON .......

A TALE OF JERUSALEM .....

FOUR BEASTS IN ONE ......

THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER . . .
THE MAN THAT WAS USED UP Y .



PACE

9

22
I GO
Il6
134
143
l68
176

182

1 86
2O5
224
237
268
274
286



(vfl)



M877701




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

VOLUME I.

PACK

EDGAR ALLAN POE . . . . Frontispiece

?T SEEMED TO ME THAT I HAD NEWLY AWAKENED

FROM A CONFUSED AND EXCITING DREAM . 1 8

HIS EXCELLENCY STOOPED TO TAKE IT UP . . 26
I FOUND LITTLE DIFFICULTY IN GAINING THEM OVER

TO MY PURPOSE . . . . 70
HE PORED, WITH A FIERY, UNQUIET EYE OVER

A PAPER . I 12

AND THE SHADOW ANSWERED I "l AM SHADOW" 184
THE STEED BOUNDED FAR UP THE TOTTERING

STAIRCASES OF THE PALACE . . . 234

CAN I SHALL I DESCRIBE MY SENSATIONS? . . 260

1 MADMAN ! I TELL YOU THAT SHE NOW STANDS

WITHOUT THE DOOR" . . . . .312



,. TTliffmiBil I I1UJJJJM







INTRODUCTION




THE LIFE OF EDGAR ALLAN POE

BY

NATHAN HASKELL DOLE



IT is a laudable canon of Criticism that
works of Art and Literature are to be
judged absolutely on their merits, with
out consideration of the character of their
originators. Some of the greatest pro
ductions of the human intellect are wholly anony
mous; of others little or nothing is known beyond
the names or dates of their authors. Time invari
ably veils all personality. The life-work, however
involved and entangled contemporarily with the life,
ultimately crystallizes out from the mixture and stands
alone. Nevertheless it is natural to desire to know
all we can about artists and writers, and there is
often much in their lives that throws light on the
origin and significance of what we read, see or
hear.

Edgar Allan Poe, whom Tennyson characterized
as "the most original genius that America has pro
duced," was born in Boston on the i9th of January,
1809. His paternal grandfather was General David Poe

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EDGAR ALLAN POE

of Baltimore, whose services in the War of the Rev
olution brought him the friendship of La Fayette.
The family came from the north of Ireland. Poe and
his Providence affinity, Mrs. Sarah Helen Whitman,
liked to amuse themselves by tracing their pedigree
back to a common ancestor named Le Poers, who
went from Italy to France and from France across
the channel. Enthusiastic genealogists, especially
when they are in love, easily leap a gap of a gene
ration or two, made small by the perspective of
time. His father, the eldest of General Poe s five
sons, and the only one who married, left his home,
which was in Augusta, Georgia, and joined a com
pany of English actors, in 1804. When the director,
C. D. Hopkins, died the following year, David mar
ried his widow who, as Elizabeth Arnold, is said to
have been a remarkably talented dancer, singer and
actor. She had also a talent for painting. An ex
tant miniature gives an exquisite likeness of the
sylph-like creature, with her big bright eyes, her
vivacious expression, her curly hair clustering under
a quaint bonnet over a fair brow, her bodice cut low
and high-girdled. What the influence of this por
trait had upon her impressionable son may be easily
gathered from a perusal of his weird and delicately
imaginative lyrics. The "Virginia Comedians" ap
peared in various places, presenting various enter
tainment and finally arrived in Boston, where she
danced, sang and played before sympathetic aud
iences. David Poe was taken ill of consumption
and vanished from sight. A child, Rosalie, believed

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INTRODUCTION

to have been posthumous, came to complicate the
poor mother s troubles. The exposures and priva
tions connected with the life of "strolling Thespians"
in those early days, when travel was rendered a
misery by slow and inconvenient conveyances, and
when the actors profession was considered far more
derogatory than it is at present, were too much
for Elizabeth Poe. After a heroic struggle to support
herself and her little family of three, she died early
in December at Richmond, where her company was
playing. Charity took charge of the children. Henry
had already been adopted by his grandfather; Rosalie
was taken by a Scotch family of Mackenzies who
kept a young ladies school; John Allan, a Scotchman,
at the urgent insistence of his wife, since they were
childless, but contrary to his own wishes, took Ed
gar, who was a bright, precocious boy. The Allans
were at the time in comparatively humble circum
stances and lived in rooms above the shop in which
he carried on trade.

Allan took his family to England in 1815, and
Edgar was put under the tuition of Dr. Bransby
at the Manor House School at Stoke Newington,
where all the associations were eminently historical
and literary. He visited Scotland and the Conti
nent. The influence of this environment may be
traced in his story of "William Wilson." Here he
began his classical education, which on his return
to America, five years later, was continued under
English professors until he entered the University of
Virginia in 1826. John Allan made an assignment

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EDGAR ALLAN POE

in 1822, but his fortunes were retrieved in 1825 when
he received a large share of the fortune of his uncle,
William Gait. He immediately bought a large house
and entered into the wider social life of Richmond,
then one of the most interesting and aristocratic cities
of the South. The son of Allan s partner long re
membered young Poe as "a very beautiful boy, yet
brave and manly for one so young ... a leader
among his playmates." His activity sometimes led
him into mischief. Once he was whipped by Allan for
having taken young Ellis into the woods and keep
ing him there till after dark; another time for having
shot some domestic fowls belonging to Judge Bushrod
Washington. He was fond of swimming, skating,
and playing games. He once swam seven miles in
the James, rivaling Byron s famous feat. He had a
talent for declamation, though it is said that as a lec
turer in later life he was not particularly eloquent.
He enjoyed taking part in private theatricals. The
story is told of his having once put on a mask and
a sheet and tried to frighten a company of gentle
men by appearing in the character of a ghost. Other
practical jokes are told of him. One of his school
mates called him a liar, and though he was generally
peaceable he resented the term and administered a
sound pummeling to his opponent, who was larger
and heavier than he. It is a moot point whether he
was "retiring in disposition and singularly unsociable
in manner" or fairly cordial and friendly with his
companions.

While at the Richmond Academy he had a boyish

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INTRODUCTION

love affair which had a profound influence on his
development. The mother of one of his young friends
spoke kindly to him one day and filled his heart
with vague dreams. She immediately became his
confidante and her advice was frequently whole
some for him when thrown into temptation. After
her death in 1824 he used to haunt her grave. Her
memory is enshrined in many of his poems. Mrs.
Whitman wrote that the image of this lady, long and
tenderly and sorrowfully cherished, suggested the
stanzas "To Helen." Her real name was Jane a
name which he could not endure. Poe himself, shortly
before his death, spoke of the love that inspired
these almost perfect verses as "The one, idola
trous and purely ideal love of his passionate boy
hood." The title to the earlier version of "Lenore"
was " Helen."

He had another early and more practical love-
affair with a young lady named Sarah Elmirah Roys-
ter. He became engaged to her, but when he entered
the University his letters to her were intercepted by
her father who thought her too young for such an
entanglement. Years afterwards she wrote enthusi
astically of him, declaring that he was a gentleman
in every sense of the word and one of the most fas
cinating and refined men she had ever known. She
characterized his reticence, his sadness of expression,
his impulsive and enthusiastic nature, his strong preju
dices, his hatred of everything coarse and unrefined,
his generosity, his talent for drawing and his pas
sionate love for music.

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EDGAR ALLAN POE



Poe had spent scarcely six months in his foster-
parents new home, when he was sent to Jefferson s
new University at Charlottesville. Of the eight pro
fessors six were foreign-born and men of high ac
complishments. It may have well been that Poe s
English training had specially fitted him in the lan
guages, for there is record of his skill in capping
Latin verses, and a voluntary translation which he
made from Tasso brought him a high compli
ment. He was fond of reading rather abstruse French
books. The freedom or license which Jefferson had
taken for the basis of the University training, had its
undoubted advantages, but the lack of supervision
was disastrous upon the life of such a youth as
Edgar Allan Poe.

Although many of the young men who were
Poe s college contemporaries rose to eminence,
yet there was unquestionably an unusual amount of
dissipation drinking, gambling and other riotous
conduct. Poe had more pocket-money than was
good for him, and while he took advantage of the
facilities afforded for study and debate he was Sec
retary of the JefTersonian Society and was reported
as excellent in the Senior Latin and Senior French
class there seems to be no doubt that he involved
himself seriously in so-called " debts of honor." When
he returned to Richmond he entered Allan s count
ing-room; but when that gentleman refused to sanc
tion Poe s debts amounting to about $2,000 they
quarreled and parted. Poe evidently went to Boston;



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INTRODUCTION

for there, in 1827, was printed by Calvin F. S. Thomas,
a tiny forty-page booklet entitled "Tamerlane and
Other Poems by a Bostonian." On the back of a
picture which Poe s mother had painted she had in
scribed these words: "For my little son Edgar,
who should ever love Boston, the place of his birth,
and where his mother found her best and most sympa
thetic friends." It may be that Edgar as it were in
stinctively returned to his birthplace in search of
some of these friends. It has been pointed out that
the names of some of them occur in Poe s earlier
stories.

In the preface to Tamerlane he says: "The
greater part of the poems which compose this little
volume were written in the year 1821-2, when the
author had not completed his fourteenth year. They
were of course not intended for publication; why
they are now published concerns no one but him
self. Of the smaller pieces very little need be said:
they perhaps savor too much of egotism; but they
were written by one too young to have any knowl
edge of the world but from his own breast. . . .
In Tamerlane he has endeavored to expose the
folly of even risking the best feelings of the heart
at the shrine of Ambition. He is conscious that in
this there are many faults (besides that of the
general character of the poem), which he flatters
himself he could, with little trouble, have corrected,
but unlike many of his predecessors he has been too
fond of his early productions to amend them in his
old age."

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EDGAR ALLAN POE

He was eighteen years old! Forty copies of " Tam
erlane" were issued and most of these have disap
peared. When a supposed unique example turned
up, seventy-three years later, it was sold for more
than $2,500, so precious was this first flowering of
Poe s genius in this insignificant little brochure, des
tined to fall unheeded and unknown. Viewed in the
light of his later achievements, these crude, vague, yet
sometimes melodious trivialities have some interest.
How Poe got the money to print "Tamerlane" is
not known. His later disgust with Boston and the
Bostonians (whom he calls the Frogpondians) possibly
dates from this period. At Boston, this same year,
he enlisted as a private in the regular army under
the name of Edgar A. Perry. He gave his occupa
tion as that of a clerk, his age as twenty-two; the
record as existing in army documents describes his
height as five feet, eight inches, his eyes grey, his
hair brown and his complexion fair. The truth is,
if his own description may be taken as reliable, his
hair was black and wavy, generally worn long, of
"weblike softness and tenuity." His complexion,
he says, was cadaverous; he had thin and pallid
lips with a remarkably beautiful curve; his nose was
of a delicate Hebtew model but with abnormally
broad nostrils; his chin was finely moulded but
wanting moral energy. Bishop D. P. FitzGerald
describes him as a compact, well-set man, about five
feet six inches high, straight as an arrow, easy-
gaited, with white linen coat and trousers, black



(8)



INTRODUCTION

velvet vest and broad Panama hat, features sad yet
finely cut, shapely head and eyes that were strangely
magnetic as you looked into them. Others who
knew him spoke of his large, liquid and luminous
eyes. It has been claimed by phrenologists that; a
line dividing his face perpendicularly separated very
dissimilar halves, as if each expressed a different
side of his nature.

He served for a time in Fort Independence but by
the first of October was at Fort Moultrie, Charleston,
S. C., and a year later at Fortress Monroe in his be
loved Virginia. His attainments made him company
clerk and assistant in the commissariat department.
He was promoted on his merits to be sergeant-major.
His superiors testified to his "unexceptionable con
duct," his good habits, his exemplary deportment, his
promptness and fidelity in the discharge of his duties,
his admirable education and his excellent character.
Echoes of his army service are discoverable in his
stories, "The Gold Bug," "The Balloon Hoax" and
"The Man That Was Used Up." He communicated
with his foster-father in the early part of 1828 and a
few days after the death of Mrs. Allan was in Rich
mond on leave of absence. In April, he was honor
ably discharged from the service with the avowed
intention of entering West Point, where his classmate
John B. Magruder was already a cadet. This com
mission he secured through influential friends of John
Allan s, and he entered the Academy in July, 1830,
this time reporting his age as nineteen years and five
months.

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EDGAR ALLAN POE



In the meantime he brought out his second vol
ume entitled "Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor
Poems " under the imprint of Hatch & Dunning, of
Baltimore. It is described as a thin octavo of seventy-
one pages, bound in boards, crimson sprinkled, with
yellow linen back. "Tamerlane" was rewritten, but
was still left vague and abrupt. No one familiar
with the "Endymion" of the gifted Keats, written
undoubtedly at about the same relative age and pub
lished nine years before, can read the smooth-flow
ing inconsequentiality of "Al Aaraaf" without in
stantly recognizing where Poe found his model. There
are dozens of passages where the phrasing, the use
of epithets, the classical allusions, the turn of rhyme,
the rhythm, and the meaningless, meandering evolu
tions of graceful imagery, would allow them to be
dovetailed into "Endymion" with little break in con
tinuity and almost without detection, except by the
expert.

Poe in a letter to Neal said: " Al Aaraaf has
some good poetry and much extravagance which I
have not had time to throw away. Al Aaraaf is
a tale of another world the star discovered by
Tycho Brahe, which appeared and disappeared so
suddenly or rather, it is no tale at all." Such ara
besques of verse are characteristic of young genius.
" Al Aaraaf" is as far removed from the cameo direct
ness of Poe s later lyrics as "Endymion" is from
the chaste, classic simplicity of "Hyperion."

He did not include a short poem which was pub
lished in December, 1829, in "The Yankee and Bos-

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INTRODUCTION

ton Literary Gazette," edited by John Neal, of Port
land, Maine. This follows:

THE MAGICIAN

MAGICIAN

Thou dark, sea-stirring storm,
Whence comest thou in thy might
Nay wait, thou dim and dreamy form
Storm spirit, I call thee tis mine of right
Arrest thee in thy troubled flight.

STORM SPIRIT

Thou askest me whence I came

I came o er the sleeping sea,

It roused at my torrent of storm and flame,

And it howled aloud in its agony,

And swelled to the sky that sleeping sea.

Thou askest me what I met

A ship from the Indian shore,

A tall proud ship with her sails all set

Far down in the sea that ship I bore,

My storm s wild rushing wings before.

And her men will forever lie,

Below the unquiet sea ;

And tears will dim full many an eye

Of those who shall widows and orphans be,

And their days be years for their misery.

A boat with a starving crew

For hunger they howled and swore ;

While the blood from a fellow s veins they drew

I came upon them with rush and roar

Far under the waves that boat I bore.

(ID



EDGAR ALLAN POE

Two ships in a fearful fight

When a hundred guns did flash

I came upon them no time for flight

But under the sea their timbers crash

And over their guns the wild waters dash.

A wretch on a single plank

And I tossed him on the shore

A night and a day of the sea he d drank,

But the wearied wretch to the land I bore

And now he walketh the land once more.

MAGICIAN

Storm spirit go on thy path
The spirit has spread his wings
And comes on the sea with a rush of wrath,
As a war horse when he springs
And over the earth his winds he flings
And over the earth nor stop nor stay
The winds of the storm-king go out on their way.

(Signed) P

A foot note states that the punctuation through
out is the author s by desire. It might have said
lack of punctuation, for there is a decided dearth of
periods.

Neal prophesied great things from the young poet,
a part of whose manuscript he had seen; he cited
a number of characteristic extracts, and said of their
author: "With all their faults, if the remainder of
Al Aaraaf and Tamerlane are as good as the body
of the extracts here given to say nothing of the more
extraordinary parts, he will deserve to stand high -
very high in the estimation of the shining brother
hood."

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INTRODUCTION

Poe was duly grateful for Neal s encomium which
he declared were the very first words of encourage
ment that he ever remembered to have heard, and
he took his Hannibal s oath that though he had
as yet not written the beautiful if not magnificent
poem which Neal expected of him, he was able to
do it provided time was given him. It is inter
esting to note that in the same number of "The
Yankee" appears one of Whittier s earliest poems,
not known apparently to any of his later editors or
biographers.

West Point provided Poe with a living. In his
studies he made an excellent record but the regu
larity of discipline was galling to him. It was recog
nized that he was an accomplished French scholar
and had a wonderful aptitude for mathematics, that
he was a devourer of books, but his neglect of the
ordinary routine of roll-calls, drills, and guard-duties
frequently subjected him to arrest and punishment.

He remained in this poet s prison only from July,
1830, until March, 1831, and was evidently delibe
rate in his intention of getting himself court-martialed
and expelled. Shortly after he left the Academy he
published his third volume through Elam Bliss of New
York. It was " respectfully dedicated" to the U. S.
Corps of Cadets and consisted of an introduction
in the form of a letter and eleven poems, occu
pying 124 duodecimo pages. Professor Harrison calls
attention to the interesting fact that Tennyson s
"Poems Chiefly Lyrical" was issued only a year
earlier and he says: "Certainly this collection con-

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EDGAR ALLAN POE

tains nothing of finer edge or dreamier grace than
Poe s work, which was contemporary with it."

Four days after the decision of the court-martial
took effect Poe wrote a letter to Colonel Thayer, the
Superintendent of the Academy, begging him to use
his influence in assisting him to proceed to Paris and
secure through the Marquis de La Fayette an appoint
ment in the Polish army. What happened to him
during the next two years and a half is almost wholly
a matter of conjecture. In May, 1831, he wrote to
William Gwynn, editor of the "Federal Gazette and
Baltimore Daily Advertiser," whom he had met shortly
before his appointment to West Point, and begged him
to help him secure some employment, now that Mr.
Allan was married again and Richmond was no longer
his home. He was evidently in the vicinity of Bal
timore, since he gave as an excuse for not calling,
the fact that he was housed by a sprained knee.
A not wholly authenticated story asserts that Poe
spent that year in Baltimore with his aunt, Maria
Clemm, and was paying ardent court to a young
lady, who at first was fascinated by the handsome
young soldier and kept up an ardent correspondence
with him, the notes being exchanged through the in
termediary of his cousin Virginia, then a girl of ten.
He is said to have offered himself to her, but being-
penniless was refused. A lover s quarrel caused by
jealousy and indulgence in wine quenched this flame.
She refused to receive his letters and he retaliated
by writing satires on her character. This brought
about a personal encounter between Poe and Mary s

(H)




INTRODUCTION

uncle. This lady long years afterward visited Poe
and his dying wife at Fordham. Such is the story.

There is also a legend to the effect that Poe car
ried out his project of going abroad, that he went
to fight for the independence of Greece, that he wan
dered to Russia, that he fought a duel in France and
had other exciting adventures. This legend arose in
Poe s own time and he did not deny it; probably, with
his vivid imagination and his love of mystery, he
liked to have it abroad.

In the summer of 1833, "The Baltimore Visitor"
offered prizes of $100 for the best short story and of
$50 for the best poem. Poe submitted six tales and
the prize was awarded to the "MS. Found in a Bot
tle," though "A Descent Into the Maelstrom" was
a close second. His poem, "The Coliseum" would
have secured the prize for the verse competition had
it not seemed inexpedient to award both to one and
the same person. One of the judges who saw Poe
at the time, thus described him: "He was, if any
thing, below the middle size, and yet could not be
described as a small man. His figure was remark
ably good, and he carried himself erect and well, as
one who had been trained to it. He was dressed
in black, and his frock coat was buttoned to the
throat, where it met the black stock, then almost
universally worn. Not a particle of white was worn.
Coat, hat, boots and gloves had very evidently seen
their best days, but so far as mending and brushing


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