Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 1: No 2) >> ''Poe's Poetry'': A New Simms Essay >> Page 22

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Page 22

Reviews/Essays | [1845-10-11]
Transcription 22
has his defects also; --he in sometimes the victim of ca-
pricious moods;--his temper is variable—his nervous or-
ionization being such, evidently, as to subject his judg-
ments; sometimes, to influences which may be traced to
the weather and the winds. He takes his colour from
the cloud; and his sympathies are not unfrequently
chilled, and rendered ungenial, by the pressure of the
atmosphere-the cold and the vapors of a climate affec
ting his moral nature, through his physical, is greater
degree than is usual among literacy men who, by the
way, are generally far more susceptible to these influ-
ences; than is the case witht he multitude. Such are
the causes which occasionally operate to impair the value
and the,consisiency of his judgments as a Critic.--As a
Poet, Mr.Poe's imagination becomes remarkably con-
spicuous, and to surrender himself freely to his own
moods, would be to make all his writings in verse, efforts
of pure imagination only. He seems to dislike the
merely practical, and to shrink from the concrete. His
fancy takes the ascendant in his Poetry, and wings his
thoughts - to such superior elevations, as to render it too
intensely spiritual for the ordinary reader. With a ge-
nius thus endowed and constituted, it was a blunder with
Mr. Poe to accept the appointment, which called him to
deliver himself in poetry before the Boston Lyceum.
Highly imaginative rneh can scarcely succeed in such
exhibitions. The sort of poetry called for on such occa-
sions is the very reverse of the spiritual, the fanciful or
the metaphysical. To win the ears of a mixed audience,
nothing more is required than moral or patriotic com-
mon places in rhyming heroics. The verses of Pope
are just the things for such occasions. You must not
pitch your flight higher than the penny- whistle eleva-
tion of--
"Know then this truth, enough for men to know,
Virtue alone is happiness below."