Wlliam Gilmore Simms
The Simms Review (Vol 15: No 2) >> Simms Defends Poe and Poe Replies >> Page 29

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Page 29

Reviews/Essays | 1845-11-22
Transcription of thing. He is too original, too fanciful, too speculative,too any-
thing in verse, for the comprehension of any but audience fit though
few.' In obeying this call to Boston, Mr. Poe sommitted another
mistake. he had been mercilessly exercising himself as a critic
at the expense of some of their favorite writers. The swams of
New-England, under his delineation, had been described as mere
geese, and those, too, of none of the whitest. He had been expos-
ing the short comings and the plagiarisms of Mr. Longfellow,
who is supposed, along the banks of the Penobscot, ot be about the
comliest bird that ever dipped his bill in Pieria. Poe had dealt
with the favorites of Boston unsparingly, and they hankered after
their revenges. In an evil hour, then, did he consent to commit
himself, in verse to their tender mercies. It is positively amusing
to see how eagerly all the little witlings of the press, in the oh!
purlieus of the Puritan flourish the cirtical tomahawk about the
head of their critic. In their eagerness for retribution, one of the
papers before us actually congratualtes itself and readers on the
(asserted) failure of the poet. The good editor himself was not
present, but he hammers away not the less lustily at the
victim, because his objections are to be made at second hand.--
Mr. Poe committed another error in consenting to address an au-
dience in verse, who, for three mortal hours, had been compelled to
sit and hear Mr. Caleb Cushing in prose. The attempt to speak
after this, in poetry, and fanciful poetry, too, was sheer madness.
The most patient audience in the world, must have been utterly
exhausted by the previous infliction. But it is denied that Mr.
Poe failed at all. He had been summoned to recite poetry. It is
asserted that he did so. The Boston Courier, one of the most
thoughtful of the journals of that city, gives us a very favorable
opinion of the performance which has been so harshly treated.--
"The Poem," says the journal, "called 'The Messenger Star,'
was an eloquent and classic production, based on the right princi-
ples, containing the essence of true poetry, mingled with a gorgeous
imagination, exquisite painting, every charm of metre, and a
graceful delivery. It strongly reminded us of Mr. Horne's
'orion,' and resembled it in the majesty of its design, the noble-
ness of its incidents, and its freedom from the trammels of produc-
tions usual on these occasions. The delicious word-painting of
some of its scenes brought vividly to out recollection, Keats''Eve of St. Agnes,' and parts of 'Paradise Lost.'
That it was malapropros to the ossacion, we take the liberty to
deny. What is the sue of repeating the 'mumbling farce' of
having invited a poet to deliver a poem? We (too often) find a
person get up and repeat a hundred or two different couplets of
words, with kingling rhymes and stale witticisms, with scarcely a