Poe's original grave. Photo: commons.wikimedia.org
October 7th was the day that Edgar Allen Poe died, and to mark the date and honor all of the other poets who have passed, a holiday has been created. Today is the first-ever Dead Poet's Remembrance Day, created by Walter Skold, the founder of The Dead Poets Society of America. The intention is that people should gather at the gravesites of famous poets to remember the literary contributions these people have made, to reflect upon their influence on society, and perhaps to read some poems.
|Poe's "new" grave. Photo: theundergroundpress.com|
Poe's death was a mystery in itself. He was found wandering the streets of Baltimore, Maryland, delirious and in great distress on October 3rd, 1849. Not only that, he was wearing someone else's clothes. He was taken to a hospital, but he never became coherent enough to discuss his condition. Four days later, he had died of an illness that remains a mystery. All of Poe's medical records and his death certificate have been lost. Another mystery: It is said Poe repeatedly called out the name "Reynolds" the night before he died, but the person he was reffering to remains unknown.
Poe's gravesite is interesting because it was it was moved, and that's why you see two different monuments in the photos that accompany this blog. Here's the story.
|Edgar Allen Poe. January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849|
Lenore by Edgar Allan Poe
Ah, broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll!- a saintly soul floats on the Stygian river;
And, Guy de Vere, hast thou no tear?- weep now or nevermore!
See! on yon drear and rigid bier low lies thy love, Lenore!
Come! let the burial rite be read- the funeral song be sung!-
An anthem for the queenliest dead that ever died so young-
A dirge for her the doubly dead in that she died so young.
"Wretches! ye loved her for her wealth and hated her for her pride,
And when she fell in feeble health, ye blessed her- that she died!
How shall the ritual, then, be read?- the requiem how be sung
By you- by yours, the evil eye,- by yours, the slanderous tongue
That did to death the innocence that died, and died so young?"
Peccavimus; but rave not thus! and let a Sabbath song
Go up to God so solemnly the dead may feel no wrong.
The sweet Lenore hath "gone before," with Hope, that flew beside,
Leaving thee wild for the dear child that should have been thy
For her, the fair and debonair, that now so lowly lies,
The life upon her yellow hair but not within her eyes
The life still there, upon her hair- the death upon her eyes.
"Avaunt! avaunt! from fiends below, the indignant ghost is riven-
From Hell unto a high estate far up within the Heaven-
From grief and groan, to a golden throne, beside the King of
Let no bell toll, then,- lest her soul, amid its hallowed mirth,
Should catch the note as it doth float up from the damned Earth!
And I!- to-night my heart is light!- no dirge will I upraise,
But waft the angel on her flight with a Paean of old days!"
Rest in Peace, Edgar. And Emily Dickinson- I love you too.