Poe’s Brother’s Poetry-Part One

by Ann Neilson

This will be the first of a few installments of William Henry Leonard Poe’s poetry (AKA Edgar Allan Poe’s brother’s poetry). (For a brief biography of Henry, you can read what I wrote about him here.)

Because not all of his poems are easily available online, at least to my knowledge, I will take the liberty of posting his poetry. I have received permission, his works are public domain, therefore on that note…let us start!

For the North American. 
On the Death of Miss E.S.B.
Died in June, 1827–AGED EIGHTEEN YEARS.
The eye which once with sweetest beauty shone,
E’en like the star, that lights the summer even;
The smile that gladden’d, and the heart that won,
Are fled from us to their more kindred heaven.
And shall we mourn? May we then dare repine?
And wish thee longer in this world of woe!
Yon heaven was formed for souls as pure as thine-
Then why not smile, and gladly bid thee go!
Perhaps in some soft hour–when all is bright,
And earth partakes of beauty with the sky;–
When stars are shining with their purest light,
And all with thee is minstrelsy:
E’en in that hour–when hearts approach the throne
Of Him who smiles on innocence like thine,
Thoul’t pray for those who would like thee be gone,
Who languish here–and for they brightness pine.

For the North American.
Oh! Give That Smile.
Arm(?)–Oh teach me home(?) from lore to fly.
Oh! give that smile–that smile again,
Tho’ e’en from thee I sever,
Thro’ years of joy, of care or pain,
I’ll ne’er forget–no–never!
Dear woman’s eye may oft be met,
And friendship’s voice may greet,
Yet still I never can forget,
The smile which beam’d so sweet.
Tho’ pleasure sparkle on my brow,
And glad this heart the while,
Yet even these–as e’en ’tis now,
I’ll ne’er forget they smile.
Ah! fare thee well! yet smile again,
Tho’ now from thee I sever,–
Thro’ years of care–of joy or pain.
I’ll ne’er forget–no–never!

For the North American. 
In a pocket book I lately found three locks of hair, from which originated the following lines:–
My Father’s!–I will bless it yet–
For thou hast given life to me:
Tho’ poor the boon–I’ll ne’er forget
The filial love I owe to thee.
My Mother’s too!–then let me press
This gift of her I loved so well,–
For I have had thy last caress,
And heard thy long, thy last farewell.
My Rosa’s! pain doth dim my eye,
When gazing on this pledge of thine–
Thou wer’t a dream–a falsity–
Alas!–’tis wrong to call thee mine!
A Father! he hath loved indeed!
A mother! she hath blessed her son,–
But Love is like the pois’ning weed,
That taints the air it lives upon.

*The question marks present in the second poem are placed there because I am unsure what those words are. The text is small and quite hard to read. I made an educated guess to the best of my ability.

**The third poem is interesting in particular because, the quote discussing Henry’s finding of the three locks of hair is actually quite significant, not only as it was to Henry but Edgar as well. The Rosa mentioned may, in my opinion, either refer to the Poes’ sister Rosalie, or the name may allude to Rosa, a woman who had broken up her engagement with Henry.

***These pieces have been copied out of the book Poe’s Brother, by Hervey Allen and Thomas Ollive Mabbott, copyright 1926, book no. 773/1000.

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