Beginning during his own lifetime, and continuing down to the present day, Poe has been the subject of a remarkable number of poems (it is puzzling that, so far as I know, no one has ever published a full compilation of them.) One of the best-known is the following poem by John Henry Boner, "Poe's Cottage at Fordham," which was first published in 1889. As this is the anniversary of Virginia Poe's funeral at Fordham's Old Dutch Reformed Church--a day, I believe, that marked the beginning of the end for her husband--these lines seemed somehow appropriate. It also exemplifies the peculiar mythology Poe inspired. Boner's work was written a mere forty years after Poe's death, but it does not describe a flesh-and-blood man, but a creature out of legend.
Here lived the soul enchanted
By melody of song;
Here dwelt the spirit haunted
By a demoniac throng; Here sang the lips elated; Here grief and death were sated; Here loved and here unmated Was he, so frail, so strong. Here wintry winds and cheerless The dying firelight blew, While he whose song was peerless Dreamed the drear midnight through, And from dull embers chilling Crept shadows darkly filling The silent place, and thrilling His fancy as they grew. Here with brows bared to heaven, In starry night he stood, With the lost star of seven Feeling sad brotherhood. Here in the sobbing showers Of dark autumnal hours He heard suspected powers Shriek through the stormy wood. From visions of Apollo And of Astarte's bliss, He gazed into the hollow And hopeless vale of Dis, And though earth were surrounded By heaven, it still was mounded With graves. His soul had sounded The dolorous abyss. Poor, mad, but not defiant, He touched at heaven and hell. Fate found a rare soul pliant And wrung her changes well. Alternately his lyre, Stranded with strings of fire, Led earth's most happy choir, Or flashed with Israfel. No singer of old story Luting accustomed lays, No harper for new glory, No mendicant for praise, He struck high chords and splendid, Wherein were finely blended Tones that unfinished ended With his unfinished days. Here through this lonely portal, Made sacred by his name, Unheralded immortal The mortal went and came. And fate that then denied him, And envy that decried him, And malice that belied him, Here cenotaphed his fame.
(Header Image: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division. Footer: NYPL Digital Gallery)