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MS. Found in a Bottle.' Had not the conditions of the contest precluded giving both prizes to the same person, he would have received the other award for his poem “The Coliseum.'
Through John P. Kennedy, one of the judges in the contest, Poe came into relations with T. W. White, the proprietor of The Southern Literary
Messenger,' published at Richmond. His contributions were heartily welcomed. White then invited Poe to become his editorial associate. The offer was accepted and Poe went to Richmond. Mrs. Clemm and Virginia followed, and in May, 1836, Poe was married to his cousin. A private marriage is said to have taken place at Baltimore the preceding September.
The arrangement entered into by White and Poe was most propitious. The proprietor of the 'Messenger' had obtained the services of a young man with a positive genius for the work in hand, - a young man who was able to contribute such tales as 'Berenice,''Morella,’ ‘Hans Pfaall,' ‘Metzengerstein,' besides poems, miscellanies, and caustic book-criticisms. On the other hand, Poe had, if a small, at least a regular income. He could not buy luxury with a salary of five hundred
a and twenty dollars, but it was a beginning, and an increase was promised. Moreover, he was in the hands of a man who regarded him with affection no less than admiration. Unfortunately the arrangement was not to last. Poe had become the victim of a hereditary vice.' Whether he drank much or little is of less consequence than the fact that after a period of indulgence he was wholly unfitted for work. Once when Poe was temporarily in Baltimore, White wrote him that if he returned to the office it must be with the understanding that all engagements were at an end the moment he 'got drunk.' Kennedy explained Poe's leaving the Messenger’ thus : He was "irregular, 'eccentric, and querulous, and soon gave up his place.'
From Richmond, Poe went to New York, attracted by some promise in connection with a magazine. He lived in Carmine Street, and Mrs. Clemm contributed to the family support by taking boarders. In July, 1838, was published The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. A month later Poe removed to Philadelphia.
He contributed to annuals and magazines and had a hand in a piece of hack-work, The Conchologist's First Book (1839). This same year he became assistant editor of Burton's Gentleman's
Magazine and American Monthly,' a periodical owned by the actor, William E. Burton, and held his position until June, 1840. The irregularity
There is one thing I am anxious to caution you against, & which has been a great enemy to our family, I hope, • however, in yr case, it may prove unnecessary, “ A too free « use of the Bottle” ...' William Poe to E. A. Poe, 15th June, 1843. Harrison's Poe, vol. ii, p. 143.
‘get rid of
and querulousness which Kennedy had remarked led to misunderstandings. How the two men differed in policy becomes plain from a letter to Poe in which Burton says: “You must, my dear sir,
your avowed ill feelings towards your brother authors.' There was a quarrel, and Poe, who had some command of the rhetoric of abuse, described Burton as'a blackguard and a villain.'
The year 1840 was notable in the history of American letters, for then appeared the first collected edition of Poe's prose writings, Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque. The edition, of seven hundred and fifty copies, was in two volumes and contained twenty-five stories, among them ‘Mo'rella,'' William Wilson,' The Fall of the House 'of Usher,''Ligeia,'' Berenice,' and 'The Conversation of Eiros and Charmion.'
Poe, a born magazinist,' cherished the ambition of editing a periodical of his own in which, as he phrased it, he could ‘kick up a dust.' He secured a partner and actually announced that “The Penn ‘Magazine' would begin publication on January 1, 1841. Compelled to postpone his project, he undertook the editorship of Graham's Magazine,'a new monthly formed by uniting the 'Gentleman's,' which Graham had bought, and “The Casket.' From February, 1841, to June, 1842, Poe contributed to every number of the new magazine, printing, among other things, ‘The Murders in the Rue 'Morgue,' The Mystery of Marie Roget,' and
•The Masque of the Red Death. Griswold succeeded him in the editorial chair. Poe gave as a reason for resigning his place disgust with the
namby-pamby character of the magazine.' In the hope of bettering his fortune, he sought a place in the Philadelphia Custom House, but was unsuccessful.
Notwithstanding frequent set-backs, he had it in his power at any time to attract public notice. In 1843 he won a hundred-dollar prize for his story “The Gold-Bug,' printed in the 'Dollar Newspaper,' and he lectured with success on 'The
Poets and Poetry of America.' But the field was barren and Poe determined on going to New York. Within a week after his arrival in that city (April, 1844) he printed in 'The Sun' his famous · Bal'loon Hoax.' In October he began work on ‘The 'Evening Mirror,' Willis's paper, and on January 29, 1845, ‘The Raven' appeared in its columns and was the poetical sensation of the day. The next month he lectured on American Poetry in the library of the New York Historical Society. Dissatisfied with the Mirror,' he accepted a proposition from C. F. Briggs to become one of the editors of “The Broadway Journal.' Later Poe became the sole editor, and for a brief time enjoyed the ambition of his life, the control of a paper of his own. He is said to have doubled the circulation in the four months during which he filled the editorial chair. Unfortunately he lacked capital
and could by no means secure it. “The Broadway ‘Journal' stopped publication.
While editing the ‘Journal' Poe was invited to read an original poem before the Boston Lyceum. He gave a juvenile piece, and when criticised, defended himself with curious want of tact. That he might lose no opportunity to alienate his contemporaries, he began publishing in ‘Godey's Lady's 'Book'a series of papers entitled “The Literati, in which he gave free rein to his propensity to 'kick up a dust.' The irony of his situation might well excite pity. He who most loathed a combination of literature and fashion plates was driven for support to the journals which made such a combination their chief feature.
At the close of 1845 was published The Raven and Other Poems, the first collected edition of Poe's verse. Occasionally the poet was seen at literary gatherings, where he left the most agreeable impression by his manner, appearance, and conversation. But his fortunes steadily declined, and in 1846, after he had moved to Fordham, a suburb of New York, he fell into desperate straits. His frail little wife, always an invalid, grew steadily worse. An appeal was made through the journals in behalf of the unfortunate family. Mrs. Poe died on January 30, 1847. Her husband's grief was so poignant that it is with amazement one reads of the strange affairs of the heart following this event. Recovering from the severe illness which fol