Monday, February 28, 2011

More Poe-Related Poetry

...Whether you like it or not.

As I have already posted several poems inspired by the mystique of Edgar Allan Poe, I thought that, in the interests of equality, I should include a tribute to his wife. The following anonymous poem, entitled simply, "Virginia Clemm," was published in honor of Poe's 100th birthday. As odes go, it's certainly no "Annabel Lee," but there is a sweet sincerity in these awkward, rather awful lines that I find oddly touching. If nothing else, it is a demonstration on the remarkable hold both Edgar and Virginia had acquired over the imaginations of so many readers. (Incidentally, this poem's theme of "If a woman as admirable as Virginia could love Edgar Poe, the guy couldn't have been that bad," was a popular, if slightly backhanded, argument used by his early defenders.)Virginia Clemm Poe
If he had had no other thing,
No harp upon whose diverse string
To strike with music's sovran spell
The witchering note of Israfel;
If he had had no other art
Except this lad's love in the heart,
This holy, pure, unsullied flame--
It would have been immortal fame!

If he had had no other light
Except this love to lead him right;
If he had had no other dream
Except this woman's eyes of gleam,
No man e'er had so much as he
To lift his soul in melody,
No man e'er had such diadem
As thy pure love--Virginia Clemm!

Oh, spirit that in shadow moved,
This any, o'er the rest, beloved!
What though he bent beneath the care
Whose bitter brood stalks everywhere;
What though he suffers slander yet
From tongues of scorn against him met;
Had he no other single claim
On time, his love would crown his name!

Sting, sting, the dead cannot arise!
But O Virginia, in thine eyes
He was a lover, and we know
Your love uplifted all below;
You would not, could not, love, indeed,
A worthless thing, a bitter weed;
Thy love around him makes hate vain
And wipes out every mortal stain!

Truth mocks the living through the dead;
Hate, writhing on Procrustean bed,
Sees the thing slayed by it unslayed,
Sees the thing cursed by it remade;
So from his shadow and his night
Poe walks out into newer light,
Grandeur upon him in that she
Dwelt in his heart's idolatry!

She was his sun and star and moon,
His ambient autumn and his June,
His balmy cloud, his pillared sea,
His gate to music's mystery;
There by her bed he saw her perish
Whom he had not the food to cherish;
His summer died--alone with Strife
He fought the unfinished fight of Life!

Time has his song and fame his art,
But in her spirit dwells his heart,
Who with her whole soul drew and drew
His own soul, singing, through and through.
A woman, yet a little child,
Set all his wondrous harp strings wild;
And so we say that it were best
Take up his love and leave the rest!

Tear from his brow the singer's Lay,
Take all his crowns of art away;
Strip him of genius, say he sinned,
Yet over Paradise a wind
Wafting the balmy rose of spring
Shall crown him kinglier than a king
Whose spiritual passion won this gem--
The saintly, sweet Virginia Clemm!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I have always instinctively believed that "The Raven" was not, as is generally assumed, some sort of autobiographical expression of his private, tormented longings for his own "lost Lenore," or even, as he himself claimed in "The Philosophy of Composition," a mere mathematical exercise. Indeed, the poem strikes me as cryptic black comedy, with "Nevermore" as the punchline. It was only recently, however, that I unexpectedly stumbled upon the key to Poe's inside joke.

It centers around St. Expedite, the patron saint for those who wish to avoid procrastination, and obtain general financial success. Expedite is usually depicted as a Roman centurion crushing a crow beneath his foot. The dying crow is shown as saying "Cras," the Latin word for "tomorrow." In other words, Expedite vanquishes tomorrow in favor of today.Saint Expedite and The Raven"Cras" (which was later anglicized to "Caw") was a Roman pun, as it also stood for the sounds made by crows and ravens. Thus, these birds were seen as speaking of nothing but "tomorrow."

This is where we reach the night's Plutonian shore. The narrator of "The Raven" obsessively asks his feathered visitor when he will be reunited with his beloved, expecting to hear "Cras"--tomorrow. Instead, to his discomfiture, he gets the answer, "Nevermore."

This helps illustrate why this compulsion to read all of Poe's writings as mere psychological autobiography is so inexpressibly exasperating. The man was a mystic, a satirist, a practical jokester, a savant, an esoteric short, he was the last writer in the world who could be described in such shallow terms.

(Many thanks to the invaluable Pauline at Triple P and HoodooQ for guiding me in Expedite's direction.)

Sarah Helen Whitman posing as Pallas AthenaOne of the many oddities about the letters Sarah Helen Whitman said she received from Poe is the fact that, in her own correspondence to others, she herself echoed passages from these letters.

For example, in a letter to Mary Hewitt written not long after Poe's death, Whitman said:

"In the fall of 1848 I one day heard Mr. Poe talking about the intellectual women of New York to a gentleman of our city. Something that he said of you arrested my attention &, in reply to my questions, he drew a portrait of you which imprinted itself on my heart and caused my thoughts often to revert to you with feelings of unwonted sympathy & interest."

Similarly, one of the Poe letters to Whitman stated:

"I have already told you that some few casual words spoken of you--[not very kindly]--by Miss Lynch, were the first in which I have ever heard your name mentioned. She described you, in some measure, personally...enchained and riveted, my attention...A profound sympathy took immediate possession of my soul...your unknown heart seemed to pass into my bosom..."

In regards to Poe, Whitman wrote Hewitt:

"I can never forget the impressions I felt in reading a story of his for the first time about six or seven years ago. I experienced a sensation of such intense horror that I dared neither look at anything he had written or even utter his name...I now think that the conscious soul recoiled with an instinctive apprehension of the agonies it was destined to suffer through its strange union with his own--By degrees this terror took the character of fascination..."

From the "Poe letters":

"I dared not speak of you--much less see you. For years your name never passed my lips, while my soul drank in, with a delirious thirst, all that was uttered in my presence respecting you. The merest whisper that concerned you awoke in me a shuddering sixth sense, vaguely compounded of fear, ecstatic happiness, and a wild, inexplicable sentiment..."

So...Whitman wasn't merely a Transcendentalist, (one of the "Crazyites," as Poe called them,) a Fourierist (a group about whom he had even worse things to say,) a spiritualist, and a woman who spent most of her days in an ether fog (how did that affect her memories of Poe?) while dressing like an antebellum Stevie Nicks--she was either a plagiarist or, as I often suspect, something far worse. And she presented herself to history as Poe's soul mate?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Poe's Perplexing Parents: David Poe, Jr.

David Poe Jr. father of Edgar Allan PoeThe greatest achievement of Edgar Allan Poe's father is that he managed the considerable feat of having a death even more mysterious than that of his famous son.

David Poe Jr. was born July 18, 1784. He was trained to be a lawyer, but at a young age defied his family's wishes and became an actor instead. He had a busy, if only modestly acclaimed career until he made his final known stage appearance on October 18, 1809. After that, his trail immediately goes cold. By July of 1811, his wife Eliza was described as "left alone, the only support of herself and several small children." No explanation was given for the absence of her spouse. In November of that year, it was said merely that Mrs. Poe had "quarreled and parted with her husband." She died the following month of a lingering illness, assumed to be either tuberculosis or pneumonia, leaving three young children as penniless orphans.

And that is the last we know of David Poe. No death or burial records have ever been found for him, or even contemporary references to his demise. This is strange, considering that he was a relatively famous and well-traveled performer. A newspaper story from a much later era claimed he died in Norfolk, Virginia on October 19, 1810, but this is completely unverified, and the source for the claim is uncertain. Long after the fact, various members of the Poe family and his early biographers gave very brief remarks indicating merely that David died on some uncertain date shortly before or after his wife. The nonspecific and conflicting nature of these accounts only proves that no one had any exact knowledge of when, where, or how he met his end. They all have the air of people repeating vague legend rather than known fact. Over forty years later, his sister Maria Poe Clemm told Sarah Helen Whitman that Edgar's parents both died at about the same time of "consumption," a story Edgar himself echoed. If this is true, it makes the absence of any sort of definite record of David's death or burial all the more inexplicable, as his wife's pitiful end was widely publicized. It is plausible that neither Maria Clemm nor her nephew wanted to admit that David Poe abandoned his family, and so passed on a more palatable story. They may well have never known his true fate.

There is so little evidence about the disappearance of David Poe that it has the air of a sudden and unnatural end--one that would leave no documentation. Is it possible that Edgar Poe's father was the victim of a undetected murder, and is lying in an secret, hastily-arranged grave, with contemporaries assuming that he had deserted both his young family and his chosen career? The very little we know about Edgar's father gives the impression of a quarrelsome, immature, hot-tempered drunk. It is undoubtedly unfair to judge a person by the contents of a single letter, but David Poe's one surviving missive--written to his relative George Poe Jr. early in 1809--suggests a man who could not refrain from alienating even his kin:
"Sir, You promised me on your honor to meet me at the Mansion house on the 23d--I promise you on my word of honor that if you will lend me 30, 20, 15, or even $10 I will remit it to you immediately on my arrival in Baltimore. Be assured I will keep my promise at least as well as you did yours and that nothing but extreme distress would have forc'd me to make this application--Your answer by the bearer will prove whether I yet have 'favour in your eyes' or whether I am to be despised by (as I understand) a rich relation because when a wild boy I join'd a profession which I then thought and now think an honorable one. But which I would most willingly quit tomorrow if it gave satisfaction to your family provided I could do any thing else that would give bread to mine."
George Poe, when he forwarded this note to his brother-in-law William Clemm Jr., snorted: "To this impertinent note it is hardly necessary to tell you my answer--it merely went to assure him that he need not look to me for any countenance or support more especially after having written me such a letter as that and thus for the future I desired to hear not from or of him--so adieu to Davy."

It is not difficult to picture a man capable of arousing such contempt among his own family angering the wrong person, with deadly results.

This is, of course, mere conjecture. But the virtual black hole one encounters when looking at the unexplained vanishing act of a man only in his mid-twenties--a man with many relatives who must have made efforts to locate him, if only for the sake of his children, and whose face and name were reasonably well-known--makes such conjectures inevitable.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Raven's Bride

The Raven's Bride a novel of Virginia Clemm PoeI've posted my assessment of Lenore Hart's new Virginia Poe novel, "The Raven's Bride" elsewhere, so I won't repeat myself here. Suffice to say:

I like it.

You never thought you'd see me say that about anything, eh? It's hardly perfect, but (especially by the generally gruesome standards of Poe-related fiction) it's not terrible, either. (Although I must say that I found myself quite fascinated by the fact that Ms. Hart must be--how can I best put it?--a great admirer of Cothburn O'Neal's earlier novel "The Very Young Mrs. Poe." Seriously, I wish someone would read both books back-to-back and tell me if I'm wrong.)

That aside, with James Spada's recent "Days When My Heart Was Volcanic," this means that two good Poe biographical novels have been published within the past year. By my count, that's precisely two more than have appeared this entire past century. And, interestingly, in both cases, Virginia--very atypically for Poe literature--is the heroine.Days When My Heart Was Volcanic a novel of Edgar Allan PoeI find this little short of miraculous.

If in 2011, someone writes a rational Poe biography, all of you may as well call an undertaker, because that could only mean that I've died and gone straight to Heaven.

(Obligatory note: I bought both these books on my own. No freebies. That does not mean, of course, that I'm not open to bribes, but, alas, who finds my opinions worth purchasing?)

An update: Since I wrote the above, I've dug out my copy of O'Neal's novel--which I hadn't read in some time, as it really isn't very good--and did a close side-by-side analysis with "Raven's Bride." I really wish anyone with an interest in either novel would do the same. I had thought Hart's novel was very reminiscent of this earlier work, but directly comparing the two is pretty amazing. I can honestly say that I've never seen two novels this similar.The Very Young Mrs Poe a novel of Virginia Clemm PoeWe may have to start a new Longfellow War here, folks.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Grotesque and Arabesque Stella Lewis (Part Two)

The Lewis divorce was also notable for a cameo appearance by none other than Elizabeth F. Ellet, in the role of espionage agent. According to Mrs. Lewis, while her divorce was in progress, Ellet paid a friendly call on her. Mrs. Lewis left to order them lunch, and wound up being absent for about half an hour. After the two women dined and Mrs. Ellet had left, Mrs. Lewis discovered that her desk had been ransacked and that a publisher's letter which "would have been worth $600" to her had vanished. Mrs. Lewis claimed that Mrs. Ellet, who was "in the pay" of Stella's estranged husband, stole it on his behalf. (When recounting the story to John H. Ingram, she snarled, "I blame myself only, for having received such a viper after all the things I had heard of her!") Mrs. Lewis never explained exactly what this letter was, why it was so valuable, or how and why Mrs. Ellet was enlisted for this bit of burglary, so this episode's exact implications are unknown. However, the combination of Stella Lewis, Elizabeth Ellet, divorce intrigue, and Purloined Letters in the same anecdote presents a sort of Poean Perfect Storm of sleaze that practically takes one's breath away.

Edgar Allan Poe and StellaMrs. Lewis may have figured in another story involving letters. Maria Clemm once stated that soon after Poe's death, Rufus W. Griswold offered her a large sum of money for letters a certain literary lady had written Poe. She claimed she destroyed them instead. Most Poe biographers assume--on absolutely no evidence--that the "lady" in question was Frances S. Osgood, (even though that would contradict Sarah Helen Whitman's story--which they also blindly accept--that in 1846 a delegation of ladies obtained Osgood's letters from Poe.) Ingram, however, thought otherwise. He confided to Whitman that, judging by what he heard from others, the letters were not Osgood's, but those of Mrs. Lewis. Ingram hinted that Griswold had hoped to obtain them in order to subject the wealthy woman to a little casual blackmail. A remarkable sidelight on the literary society of the time. (A footnote: Ingram may have been correct, but my own suspicion is that what Griswold sought were the mysterious, scandal-igniting letters Poe claimed Elizabeth F. Ellet had written him. At that time, Ellet and Griswold were locked in a remarkably vicious personal war--which the lady was winning handily--and he undoubtedly felt her letters, whatever they contained, would be life-saving ammunition.)

After her divorce, Mrs. Lewis lived a solitary life, mostly in England and the Continent. By all accounts, she had a genius for inspiring loathing, and Ingram, who saw much of her when she lived in London, described her as a very lonely and pathetic--and dreadful--woman whom he both pitied and detested. (He also occasionally implied that she was not entirely sane.) Before she died in 1880, Mrs. Lewis spent most of her last years writing Ingram over a hundred letters desperately trying to convince him of her importance in Poe's life. (He came to the conclusion that she did not "evince much real knowledge of the man.") Ingram later rewarded her efforts at self-glorification by writing a cruelly hilarious article for the July 1907 "Albany Review" entitled "Edgar Allan Poe and 'Stella'" where he dismissed her as one of the many "harpies" who helped make Poe's last years a misery.

Mrs. Lewis ranks among the worst of the many bizarre figures in Poe's history. (And considering that includes a cast of characters such as Sarah Helen Whitman, Frances S. Osgood, Annie Richmond, Rufus W. Griswold, Thomas Dunn English, Marie Louise Houghton, Thomas Holley Chivers, et al, that is a fairly frightening thought.) Poe was never truly close to anyone other than his wife and his mother-in-law, but there is a grim insincerity to his "friendship" with Mrs. Lewis that is quite depressing. In print and to others, his attitude towards Stella was warm, even effusive, and he was sincerely grateful for what he naively believed was her "kindness" to Mrs. Clemm. In truth, however, the sight of her evidently made him ill, and (according to Mrs. Clemm) she knew it. (Considering his similar encomiums to Frances Osgood, one is reminded of Hiram Fuller's cryptic remark that Poe's praise was as sinister as his abuse.)

As for Mrs. Lewis' feelings, it is quite clear that she never had any, for Poe or anyone else. When Poe was alive, she determinedly pried what she could out of him, for the sake of her literary ambitions. Immediately after his death, when Griswold's star was in the ascendant, she unblushingly transferred her loyalties to him. In 1853, she wrote that august biographer, "Nothing has ever given me so much insight into Mr. Poe's real character as his letters to you, which are published in this third volume. They will not fail to convince the public of the injustice of [George R.] Graham's and [John] Neal's articles." (It is doubtful she would have written any differently if she had known these letters were forgeries.) She continued, "I have ceased to correspond with Mrs. Clemm on account of her finding so much fault, and those articles of Graham's and Neal's. I cannot endure ingratitude. I have felt and do feel that you have performed a noble and disinterested part towards Mr. Poe in the editing of his works."

In later years, after Griswold was dead and his slanders of Poe discredited, she again did a 180-degree-spin any Olympic figure skater would envy. Eager to claim her share of Poe's burgeoning legend, she published a series of quite nauseating sonnets commemorating their "friendship," instructed everyone within earshot about the many kind services she had done him, and earnestly told Ingram that the late poet was "an angel," who had been cruelly defamed. (Unfortunately for her, Ingram lived long enough to see her correspondence with Griswold in print.)

Probably the clearest view of Mrs. Lewis' character and "friendship" with Poe comes through a letter of hers to an acquaintance in 1858. In the course of again asserting that Poe had asked her to write his life story, she managed, fittingly, to out-Griswold Griswold. She wrote:

"If anyone else should write it [Poe's life] do not permit the name of that old woman who calls herself his mother-in-law to appear in it. I have heard that she is not his mother-in-law. That she was something else to him. Anyhow, I believe that she was the black cat of his life. And that she at last strangled him to death."

After quoting this passage, Poe's biographer Edward Wagenknecht wrote with telling terseness: "And what the woman writes about herself in the same letter is almost equally repulsive."

At the end, when Poe lay slowly dying in that pitiful hospital bed in Baltimore, it can be hoped that he consoled himself with the thought that at least he had finally seen the last of Stella Lewis.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Grotesque and Arabesque Stella Lewis (Part One of Two)

Sarah Anna Lewis and Edgar Allan PoeIn an earlier post, I touched briefly on the odd and rather slimy role Sarah Anna Lewis played in the last two years of Poe's life. I realized that this woman was just deranged, destructive, and creepy enough to earn her very own post. Happy reading.

We do not know exactly how and when Lewis made Poe's acquaintance, but it was possibly during the period he lived in New York City in 1845. However, her real involvement in his history did not commence until late in 1846. The twenty-two year old woman was the wife of a wealthy lawyer named Sylvanus D. Lewis. Mrs. Lewis (who made several increasingly colorful changes to her Christian name until she finally settled on "Stella,") had, like so many members of the 19th century literati, both the money and leisure to pursue an interest in poetry. The question of whether or not they had the talent for it was considered irrelevant. She was a theatrical, narcissistic, flashily-dressed woman who imagined herself to be not only a profound artist, but a fascinating siren and muse. (Alas, no one else seemed to concur in this.) Mrs. Lewis was, in short, a living, breathing embodiment of the worst caricatures of the female literary dilettante, with a touch of a Hogarth engraving thrown in.

She insinuated herself into Poe's life when he was at the lowest point he would see until he turned up at that Baltimore tavern in October 1849. His wife Virginia was dying, and he himself was sick, persecuted, increasingly broken in spirit, and virtually penniless. His misery was widely--and, by his enemies, gleefully--advertised in the press. Although we--probably mercifully--do not know the details, the Lewises took full advantage of his public vulnerability, and provided the Poe family with money and other assistance. In exchange, there was said to be an unabashed extortion that Poe would do what polishing he could to Stella's clumsy verses and write laudatory notices of her for the magazines.

As I have said before, if this latter tale is true (and it mostly relies upon the ever-questionable testimony of Marie Louise Shew Houghton, who was infuriated about Mrs. Lewis' desire to present herself as the official Poe Family Protector--a role Houghton herself coveted--and thus wished to demean the woman's role in Poe's life as much as possible,) one must feel sadness and pity, rather than the scorn Poe and Mrs. Clemm have garnered. At that time, the Poes were virtually helpless, and if Stella Lewis took the opportunity to exploit this helplessness for her own ends, the odium belongs entirely on her own head. As later events would show, it was an odium she thoroughly deserved for more reason than one.

As it happened, it was not until after Poe died that Mrs. Lewis' talents for crude self-aggrandizement reached their full flower. At some point, she reputedly began circulating the story that she was the model for "Annabel Lee." When this reached the ears of Poe's erstwhile quasi-fiancee Sarah Helen Whitman, she was indignant. How dare this woman poach on her own claims to have inspired Poe's most romantic poem? Mrs. Whitman informed everyone within earshot that Mary Hewitt (another gossipy "literary lady") had written her that Mrs. Clemm told Mrs. Lewis that she was Poe's heroine as mere flattery, a way of paying back favors granted--the implication being that there was not a word of truth to Lewis' boasts. Quite cleverly, Whitman added that Hewitt also told her that Frances S. Osgood had written that the poem was a tribute to Virginia Poe only to spite Mrs. Lewis. Thus, her account achieved a neat double play, by simultaneously discrediting Whitman's two rival "claimants" to "Annabel Lee," Mrs. Lewis and Mrs. Poe. (Not to mention discrediting Osgood's declaration that Virginia had been Poe's one true love, a statement Whitman took as a deliberate insult to herself.) Sarah H. Whitman was an absurd woman in many ways, but stupid she was not.

We have no other evidence Hewitt actually made this statement about the poem, (Whitman, quite suspiciously, did not preserve these letters she allegedly received from her,) and it seems like an implausible thing for Mrs. Clemm to have done, no matter how indebted to Mrs. Lewis she may have felt. (For what it's worth, Annie Richmond wrote Poe's biographer John H. Ingram that Mrs. Clemm maintained that "Annabel Lee" was about Virginia, and was always somewhat affronted whenever anyone did not seem to grasp that fact on their own. If Mrs. Richmond spoke accurately--which, admittedly, would be something of a novelty for her--that would settle the "who was Annabel Lee" debate once and for all.) It seems most likely that Mrs. Lewis herself, always eager for publicity and indifferent about how she got it, simply invented her connection to Poe's poem.Edgar Allan Poe Annabel Lee manuscriptMrs. Lewis--when she was not asserting that Poe had asked her to write his biography--also played a key, if still-mysterious role in Rufus W. Griswold obtaining the job of acting as Poe's literary executor. From what both she and Griswold said afterwards, it appears that she was the one to actually enlist him for the task. She claimed this is what Poe had instructed her to do, but she never offered any proof of this. Why she would so interest herself in the matter is also unclear, but her involvement only adds to the dark, unfragrant cloud that hangs around the whole issue of Griswold's appointment.

The Lewises divorced in 1858. The breakup of their marriage seems to have also permanently estranged her from Mrs. Clemm--reputedly, Poe's aunt took Mr. Lewis' side in their dispute. However, there was never any real friendship between the two women--all that ever bound them was hunger on one side, and hunger for glory on the other. In any case, thereafter Maria Clemm became one of Mrs. Lewis' favorite targets for vilification.

In Part Two: The return of Elizabeth Ellet!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Poe's Cottage at Fordham

Edgar Allan Poe at FordhamMore Poe-inspired poetry. I'm just in that sort of mood.

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.Poe's Cottage at Fordham

(Header Image: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division. Footer: NYPL Digital Gallery)