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Marginalia XXXIX


You may recall that I once sent you a forgotten (more likely ignored) poem by Poe called The Mammoth Squash (I have received emails from those who doubt that Poe wrote such a verse, but I stand by my tomes). You may also recall that I afterwards sent you a bit out of Poe's Marginalia (not the essay version that I seem to see presented as "Marginalia", but a section in another of my books which quotes everything that Poe ever jotted down in the margins of his books) which explains why Poe didn't think much of Rev. Cox, which you promptly mis-saved and deleted. Being rather peeved at this, I never bothered sending it to you again (since I had never filed that message I had to retype it, rather than simply clicking the button marked "RESEND"). Until Now. (God, I wish I had a scanner that I could trust a really old book to.)

Here, once again, is Marginalia XXXIX, as quoted in Poe's Works, Vol III, edited by John H. Ingram, published in Edinburgh by Adam and Charles Black in 1875 (printed by R. & R. Clark, Edinburgh). [The spacing in the original is strange- the short lines of the poem line up with the second e in been, the g in teachings, and the s in is of the first three long lines. Also, the stuff in squiggly brackets should be in italics- I can't do anything fancy with this email program, and I can't properly space things, either.]


XXXIX.- Coxe's "Saul, A Mystery."


The Rev. Arthur Coxe's "Saul, a Mystery," having been condemned in no measured terms by Poe of "The Broadway Journal," and Green of "The Emporium," a writer in the Hartford Columbian" retorts as follows:

An entertaining history,
Entitled "Saul, a Mystery,"
Has recently been published by the Reverend Arthur Coxe.
The poem is dramatic,
And the wit of it is Attic,
And its teachings are emphatic of the doctrines orthodox.
But Mr. Poe, the poet,
Declares he cannot go it- That the book is very stupid, or something of that sort:
And Green, of "The Empori-
Um," tells a kindred story
And swears like any tory, that it is'nt worth a groat.
But maugre all the croaking
Of the Raven, and the joking
Of the verdant little fellow of the used-to-be Review,
The People, in derision
Of their impudent decision,
Have declared, without division, that the Mystery will do.

The truth, of course, rather injures an epigram than otherwise; and nobody will think the worse of the one above when I say that, at the date of its firts appearance, I had expressed no opinion whatever of the poem to which it refers. "Give a dog a bad name," etc. Whenever a book is abused, people take it for granted that it is I who have been abusing it.

Latterly I have read "Saul," and agree with the epigrammatist that it "will do"-whoever attempts to wade through it. It will do, also, for trunk-paper. The author is right in calling it "A Mystery"-for a most unfathomable mystery it is. And when I got to the end of it, I found it more mysterious than ever-and it was really a mystery how I ever did get to the end- which I half fancied that somebody had cut off, in a fit of ill-will to the critics. I have not heard a syllable about the "Mystery" of late days. "The People" seem to have forgotten it; and Mr. Coxe's friends should advertise it under the head of "Mysterious Disappearance"- that is to say, the disappearance of a Mystery.

Submitted by: Darren George


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