April 25, 2011

Mr. & Mrs. Edgar Allan Poe

Written by: Rosa Morgan

Edgar clasped the still hand of his wife, pleading, "Sissy, please don't leave me." As if swimming upwards from a great depth, Virginia struggled towards the air she longed to breathe. Her eyes fluttered, and the face of her beloved came into focus. She coughed into the handkerchief Edgar put to her pale lips, her consumption turning it crimson. "I'm still with you, Eddie, as always," she replied with a forced smile.

Edgar hung his head. "I can't survive without you." She couldn't argue the point.
As first cousins, they'd lived together since she was seven, and even with her constant love, he'd fallen into the depths of melancholia.
She demanded, “Promise me you'll not drown your sorrows.”

“If you would but live, I swear I'll never ...”

His oath faded away. He'd promised sobriety before, only to be carried home unconscious from drink. He tore at his hair, “I've killed you with the scandal I've brought to your good name. It began with our marriage. You were only thirteen and I twenty-seven, and gossipmongers said we wed because of an impropriety. Truth is, we had to marry in order for me to find a semblance of sanity.”

She considered the poverty and heartache he'd brought her, and of the women he'd publicly cheated on her with, but their love prevailed. She whispered, “Eddie, I'm ever so proud to be your wife,” and then she took her last breath. Horrified, he realized his wife, only twenty-four, was truly gone to him. Having not a single image of her, he frantically sent a message to an artist, who came to her death bed. "My darling little wife, you've been my greatest and only stimulus to battle with this uncongenial, unsatisfactory, and ungrateful life."
(Two years later Edgar Allen Poe was found wandering the streets of Baltimore in an incoherent state, wearing clothes that were not his own. He was hospitalized and remained in a confused state until he died a few days later.)

(Dear Reader, Please leave a comment listing your favorite Poe story!)


  1. I know it's a popular notion that Poe "publicly cheated" on Virginia, but to be fair to the man, that is almost certainly a myth.

  2. Splendid to hear from the crotchety, contrarian chronicler of the stranger and more neglected highways and byways of all things Poe. Because ultimately no one knows what goes on behind closed doors, we cannot know definitively the nature of Poe and Fanny Osgood's relationship. However, their intimate correspondences, travels together, and Poe, himself, using the term 'amour' to describe his relationship with Mrs. Osgood, points to something beyond a platonic intellectual companionship.

  3. Virginia herself wrote:
    And Oh, the tranquil hours we'll spend,
    Never wishing that others may see!
    Perfect ease we'll enjoy, without thinking to lend
    Ourselves to the world and its glee —
    Ever peaceful and blissful we'll be

  4. Robert, thanks for adding this to the post. Virginia was definitely a writer in her own right.

  5. Poe's mystery stories were great, but it's hard to touch "The Raven" for real mystery. I read a treatise once on how he wrote it. I was fascinated by all that went into it. So much technical expertise. I wonder if he knew it would be like the Mona Lisa of poetry. Everyone wonders what it means.

  6. Hi Cousin Jackie,
    There does seem to be a lot of layers to the Raven, including literary allusions. Though it didn't bring him wealth, it's definitely what made him a household name.

  7. What a wonderful blog! It's very difficult to choose a favorite, but The Black Cat is pretty memorable. Have you read The Purloined Letter before?

  8. Good hearing from you Elyse. I checked out your blog, very cool. Haven't read The Purloined Letter, yet. When I was about eight, Poe was my first grown-up author that I read. I loved his darkness! Tell-Tale Heart was probably my favorite.