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individual. Some may say, "What could Poe have done, if he had never drunk or taken drug?" Of course, we do not know, and we are very little concerned with this Poe, because we are not discussing Poe as a different man, but Poe as he was.
Why did he drink or take drug? Was Poe without human feeling? A teacher of Poe says, "He had a sensitive and tender heart." No man ever possessed such an abundance of human feeling or emotion as Poe. What of his devotion to Virginia Clemm and her mother; to Mrs. Whitman, Mrs. Stannard, Mary Devereaux? His feelings were under the control of his intellect-though some might not think so when they read of his love affairs. His intellect, however, was a prey upon his feelings. His heart poured a melancholic feeling into his brain of reason and logic, well-nigh fatal to any man. Poe's love of logic and his reasonability became a slave-driving force in his life. He even attempted to rationalize love, but he did not attempt it at the right time. He waited until he was in love, which is always too late; for love must be rationalized before one falls in love. He was at all times experimenting with the process of
Poe can not be condemned for his love of mysticism. Mysticism is a characteristic too welcome to the literary artist. Chesterton in The Maniac, says: "Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery, you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason. Poets do not go mad, but chess players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but the creative artist seldom. Moreover, it is worthy of remark that when a poet really was morbid it was commonly because he had some weak spot or rationality on his brain. Poe, for instance, really was morbid, not because he was poetical, but because he was specially analytical." Poe was certainly a mystic, a poet, a logician, and a mathematician. He was so morbid that he would often go at night and lie down at the grave of his beloved. Poe drank, because whiskey killed the hold that reason had on his intellect, releasing his feeling from his prey, intellect. Whiskey dispelled recollections of so many sad events. Poe never
drank because he liked the taste of whiskey; neither did he like its effect upon him. Poe wrote to Mrs. Whitman: “I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has been in the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories."
Poe was a solitary individual. He loved solitude. Whiskey gave him a social instinct more or less momentarily. It killed his love for solitude. His desire for being in society came when he was excited by drink. This made Poe drink; for he thought it best for his literary career to have some experience socially with mankind.
We have seen why whiskey had such a deadly effect upon Poe's nervous system; why it never inspired him to pen a single line of literary value; and why he indulged in the distasteful pleasure, which dispelled "torturing memories" from his mind and made him more social. Now let us see what effect opium had upon him.
The fact is, opium had just the opposite effect to whiskey upon Poe, making him quiet and concentrating his faculties for writing. Opium so concentrates the attention that the mind will be centered upon the first object at hand, or as Berenice says, "some frivolous device on the margin or in the topography of a book." DeQuincey gives a valid statement: opium "gives an expression to the heart and a benevolent effect." Why was there such a difference in DeQuincey and Poe? The only difference was in the amount of opium each took; Poe took a large dose, and DeQuincey a small dose. Thus Poe had induced thoughts and feelings of love. He became a dreamer about love and exalted more over love itself than the objects of his love. Stedman declared Poe "was not a libertine." "Woman was to him the impersonation of celestial beauty, her influence soothed and elevated him, and in her presence he was gentle and subdued." All of Poe's women were living statues of angels. Poe never wrote a line of lecherous thought. He was the most passionless of men. His conversation regarding women was never known to be salacious but chaste. Poe in his Poetical Principle substantiates the argument: "No nobler theme (woman) ever engaged the pen of poet."
Opium, no doubt, caused Poe to pen some of the most exquisite and matchless lines of poetry ever struck off by the pen of poet. This is rather a bold statement, but it is proven by the testimony of man. An anonymous author has written: "The opium-eater is without sexual appetite, anger, envy, malice, and the entire hell-brood claiming him to these, seem dead within him, or at least asleep; while gentleness, kindness, benevolence, together with a sort of sentimental religionism, constitute his habitual frame of mind. If a man has a poetical gift, opium almost irresistibly stirs it into utterance." If this testimony is true, which no doubt it is, Poe was largely indebted to this one vice of opium-eating as calling into expression his great genius for artistic working. In the face of this fact, shall we condemn Poe?
Some biographers and critics of Poe write about him dismissing his habit of alcohol and drugs. They say his life would have been lengthened, his genius heightened without them. Do they know whereof they speak? We would never have had a Poe, if Poe had never possessed the abnormalities that made him a genius. Imagine a Poe without his vices and we imagine America without her greatest poet. The one vice, that of opiumeating, caused America's greatest spark of genius to burst forth into all the radiance of splendor that ever dazzled the eyes of man. Never would we ask for Poe dispossessed of the mystery and the vices surrounding this great personality. The interest in Poe would die away. To understand and appreciate the works of Poe, one, of course, must know the life of Poe. The works of Poe could never be produced or replaced by any other human being except another Poe. A Poe only could replace Poe's great gift of literary masterpieces to the world.
What is the argument? Poe was certainly a great literary artist. He paid, however, the highest price for his genius mortal man ever paid. Largely through his efforts the name of America was engraved upon the scroll of literary fame of the world. Would you refrain from reading Poe because of his vices? W. A. Dickinson.
I'LL GET HIM YET
HE was awakened from her summer's sleep by the joyous shouts of a bunch of fraternity boys who had just arrived in the old burg, a week ahead of the opening of college, to be in readiness to spot the early arrivals and spike the desirables. After getting her extra hair out of the cedar chest and giving it the desired primp, getting her complexion from various and sundry boxes and bottles, she donned her smartest frock, rolled them down to the proper line of demarcation, and sallied out on the veranda where her father was reading the Gazette.
"What's the idea, daughter?" asked her father, somewhat startled. "No dances this time of the year, eh?"
"Why, dad, don't you know college opens next week?" she replied. "I just want to be on hand early and give the new boys a treat."
"Ah, I understand!" mused he. "So you are going to try it again! Well, I hope you have better success this season. But, look here, Sadie. Roll them up again. You are carrying this rejuvenation idea a little too far." The girl pouted a while, but finally decided to assume the twenty-three and quite proper attitude, instead of trying to be a flapper.
The exciting opening days had passed as usual. Old loves had been renewed and new conquests made. Some of the Freshmen were still followed by the cows every time they ventured into the meadows back of the dormitories; and the Juniors strutted about, defying the world to show them something they did not know, and on dark nights stealing chickens from Dr. Tyler's henhouse and hiding the feathers and feet under the beds where some innocent little Freshmen slept. Those things were now college history.
At the lower end of Duke of Gloucester Street, where for a hundred years so many hearts had been broken, tossed about and mended again, sat the Girl, looking at the new moon and
occasionally letting her gaze wander to the face of the Boy who sat at her side, entirely steeped in bliss and ignorance. "Just think, Robert!" she whispered, putting her soul into her words. "On this spot hundreds of girls romped around, and perhaps on this very spot, on just such a night as this, some man sat here and held some trusting young girl's hand, just as you are now holding mine. It makes me feel so romantic."
The young man was listening, spellbound, eager to catch every word that fell from the ruby lips of this wonderful girl. He pressed her hand more firmly, and breathed: "How wonderful!"
The Girl continued to pour her impassioned whispers into his willing ear. "It was on just such a night as this that Alexander swam Hellgate to get a glimpse of his lady love." (Here, history was unfair to the girl.) "Oh, temporals! Oh, morals! Is chivalry dead?" (You see, she was cultured.) "What man would now plunge, even into Jones' Mill Pond, to save his sweetheart from getting her feet wet?"
"I would," almost shouted Robert, as he started to his feet. "Sh! Not so loud!" cautioned the Girl as she clapped her hand over his mouth and pulled him down beside her. "The Eta Bitta Pies are having their initiation over in Garrett's basement, and they might hear you." She placed her hand on his shoulder and began to fumble with the lapel of his coat, as she continued: "What would you really do for poor little, unprotected me?"
Again he started to his feet in order to express himself better, a habit he had acquired in Phoenix Hall, but she held him close to her side, and he finally stammered: "Why, I'd carry you the hull length of this here street and place you on top of Lord Botetourt's Statue. That's what I'd do!"
"Aw, come now," she bantered. "You can't even lift me."
"Can't I?" he countered, and picking her up in his arms, held her closely. She twined her arms tightly about his neck as her