Изображения страниц

Edgar Allan Poe




Qe was of Irish extraction. His great-grand

father, John Poe, came to America about 1745 and settled near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. John Poe's son David (known in the annals of Baltimore as 'old General Poe') rendered notable services to his country during the Revolution. Lafayette remembered him well and during a visit to Baltimore in 1824 asked to be taken to the place where Poe was buried. 'Ici repose un cæur noble,' said Lafayette as he knelt and kissed the old patriot's grave.

R. W. Griswold : • Memoir of the Author' prefixed to the Works of Edgar A. Poe, vol. iii, 1850.

E. C. Stedman : Edgar Allan Poe, 1881.

J. H. Ingram: Edgar Allan Poe, bis Life, Letters, and Opinions, 1880.

G. E. Woodberry : Edgar Allan Poe, American Men of Letters,' fourth edition, 1888.

J. A. Harrison : Life and Letters of Edgar Allan Poe [1902-03].

Émile Lauvrière : Edgar Poe, sa Vie et son Euvre, étude de psychologie pathologique, 1904.

[ocr errors]

Of General Poe's six children, the eldest, David, was to have been bred to the law, but his tastes led him first to the amateur and then to the

professional stage. He married a young English actress, Mrs. Elizabeth (Arnold) Hopkins. They had three children, William, Edgar, and Rosalie. Edgar (afterwards known as Edgar Allan) was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on January 19, 1809.

The young family suffered the petty miseries incident to the life of strolling players, and became at one time very poor. The circumstances of David Poe's death and the place of his burial are unknown. When Mrs. Poe died at Richmond, Virginia, in December, 1811, Edgar was taken by Mrs. John Allan, the wife of a highly respected merchant of that city, and was brought up as a child of the house.

The Allans were in England from 1815 to 1820. During this time Poe was placed at Manor House School, Stoke Newington. He afterwards attended the English and Classical School in Richmond and on February 14, 1826, matriculated at the University of Virginia. His connection with the University ceased in December of the same year.

He left behind him a reputation for marked abilities, but he is said to have lost caste by his recklessness in card playing. Allan positively refused to pay the youth's gambling debts, which amounted to twenty-five hundred dollars.

Placed in Allan's counting-house, Poe was unhappy and rebellious, and finally disappeared. He declared in after years that he went abroad to offer his services to the Greeks. What he really did was to enlist in the United States army under the name of Edgar A. Perry. During the summer of 1827 he was with Battery H of the First Artillery at Fort Independence, Boston. In August of that year he published Tamerlane and Other Poems, by a Bostonian. The edition was small and the pamphlet has become one of the rarest of bibliographical curiosities.

Battery H was sent to Fort Moultrie, South Carolina, in October, 1827, and a year later to Fortress Monroe, Virginia. At some time during this period Poe must have made his whereabouts known to the Allans. Mrs. Allan, who was tenderly attached to Poe, may have succeeded in bringing about an understanding between the youth and his foster father. When she died (in February, 1829) Poe lost his best friend.

Allan, however, did what he could to forward the young man's newest ambition, which was to enter the Military Academy at West Point. He paid for a substitute in the army and wrote letters to men who were influential in such matters, with the result that Poe was enrolled at the Academy on July 1, 1830. He gave his age as nineteen years and five months. His prematurely old look led to the invention of the story that the appointment was really procured for Poe's son, but the son having died the father had taken his place.

While the question of the appointment was pending, Poe spent some time in Baltimore and there published his second volume of verse, Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems (1829).

The accounts of his life at the Academy are not so divergent as to be contradictory. One classmate noted the youth's censorious manner: 'I

never heard him speak in terms of praise of any English writer, living or dead.' Excelling in French and mathematics, Poe by intentional neglect of military duty brought about his own dismissal. He was court-martialled and left West Point on March 7, 1831. He had previously taken subscriptions among his friends for a new book of verse. It was published in New York (1831) under the title of Poems, 'second edition,' and was dedicated to the U. S. Corps of Cadets,' who are said to have been disappointed at finding in its pages none of the local squibs with which the author had been wont to amuse them.

Poe is next heard of in Baltimore, where he seems to have made his home with his father's sister, Mrs. Maria Clemm, a widow with one child, Virginia. In 1833 'The Saturday Visiter ' of Baltimore offered two prizes one hundred dollars

story, fifty for a poem. Poe submitted a manuscript volume entitled “Tales of the Folio *Club, and was given one award for his famous

[ocr errors]

for a

[ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »