The Free lance. (State College, Pa.) 1887-1904, October 01, 1899, Image 5

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    Poe' s wretched and altogether unlovely life calls forth our heartfel
pity. He was misunderstood while living, but a careful study of his
life and works reveals him to us as he is, and a more charitable feel
ing is shown toward him at the present day. Although his reputa
tion was not an enviable one yet deep down in his very being, in
those elements which build character; are found those nobler traits
which are entirely lacking in some of his earlier critics. Both ex
tremes have been taken in judging him; some condemn him un
mercifully, thinking he was cursed with an incurable perversity of
character, others give him the highest praise. R. H. Stoddard
" He belonged to the bright, but blasted brotherhood whose
faults the world agrees to condone, partly because of the gifts
which accompany them, and partly because of the misfortunes
which they entail. * * * The character of Poe was as unlovely as
the conduct to which it impelled him was willful." His character
was ruined by his foster father, as he was unchecked in his youtht
ful propensities, for he gambled and drank, was proud, bitter, and
perverse. The best of his character was shown in his domestic
relations, in which he displayed great tenderness, patience, and
fidelity. He was a perfect gentleman except when under the in
fluence of wine. As proven by his letters he had humility, will
ingness to persevere, belief in another's kindness, and capability
of cordial and grateful friendship.
The reputation and fame of Poe is based upon three different
manifestations of his genius,—upon his poems, his stories, and his
criticisms. Prom the beginning he was a poetic artist. Lowell
says of him,—" Mr. Poe had that indescribable something .which
men haye agreed to call genius. No man could ever tell us pre
cisely what it is, and yet there is none who is not inevitably aware
of its presence and its power. * * * To the eye of genius the veil
of the spiritual world is ever rent asunder, that it may perceive
the ministers of good and evil who throng continually around it."
He wrote poems when a mere boy and copied his favorite au
thors, of whom Byron was the chief. He liked the " spiritual
gloom "of Byron and fancied he felt his despair. Poe was not re
cognized as a new poet till he published his second volume contain
ing " To Helen," " The Sleeper," " Israfel," and " The City in
the Sea." " This volume authenticated his genius, his originality,
and the class of subjects in which he was to excel." "To Helen "