It occurred to me overnight that if I am to claim it's significant clue that the word "sublunary," being one of Mathew Franklin Whittier's literary pets, was edited out by Edgar Allan Poe when he published it in the "Evening Mirror," I would need to do a bit more research on Poe end of things. Accordingly, this morning I digitally searched all of Poe's work that I could find (several volumes of the "Complete Works" are available, and searchable, through Archive.org, plus there are other sources online). I found one instance of Poe using the word "sublunary," in a story entitled "William Wilson: A Tale." I see no historical indication that it was plagiarized, but I will say that it looks like one of Mathew's productions. It's a morality tale, and Poe, not being (sincerely) concerned with morality, wrote horror tales. This is something people don't seem to get--writers express their core character. If you see a writer seemingly expressing values contrary to his core character, it's probably not his work. But one has to discern between a sociopath's external show, and his internal substance. Of course, a moral tale will coincide with a sociopath's external show. That's why he chooses such works to plagiarize, in the first place--it's another feather for his plumage.
This story was published in 1839. Mathew's own newspaper, the Salisbury "Monitor," ran during the first half of 1838. Only one copy of that volume has ever surfaced, and it was purchased for over $7,000 by a private collector, who has hidden it from public view ever since. It wouldn't surprise me if Mathew's version of this story appeared in that paper--but only posterity will know, since it looks like this collector will never release the content of the "Monitor" to the public within his or her lifetime. I wonder, sometimes, if this sort of thing isn't one of the reasons...
But that remains speculation. I haven't read "William Wilson" all the way through, but I doubt I will find any clues in it which definitely point to Mathew, except for the word, "sublunary." Given that this word doesn't seem to appear in any of Poe's other works--and yet, it appears in eighteen of Mathew's--I'd say it's a valid clue in its own right.
I actually found another one, in one of the volumes of complete works available through Archive.org, which I thought was included in Poe's review of Henry Wordsworth Longfellow's "Ballads and Other Poems." But now I can't find it in that critique; and I can't find the text, again, which included that word. We can say that it must have occurred in one of Poe's reviews, which I can't relocate.
So like everybody else of that era, Poe was aware of the word "sublunary," and he might use it once or twice in the course of his career, but it wasn't a favorite.
I also found a list of the other differences between the original printing of "The Raven" in "American Review," and Poe's claimed copy in the "Evening Mirror." There are a number of changes, but nothing else jumped out at me as a strong clue pointing to Mathew's authorship. However, once I got a chance to compare all the revisions, point-for-point, I found another one. Mathew's spelling of "lamplight" is considered incorrect--where scholars compare these versions, they correct it. It occurred to me to scan Mathew's body of work, to see if he had spelled it that way in any of his other words. I found only one--an adventure story entitled "The French Guardsman," which was plagiarized, along with a large block of works from Mathew's portfolio, by one Francis A. Durivage. This story was published by him in a compilation of Mathew's stolen work called "The Three Brides, Love in a Cottage, and Other Tales." The relevant line reads:
The window shutters were left unfastened, that the bright lamplight and ruddy firelight might stream afar upon the wintry waste, and perhaps guide some benighted wayfarer to a hospitable shelter.
Fortunately, I had downloaded it in Word format, precisely for this reason, that it would be searchable. There are others of Mathew's books which I don't have readily available in a searchable format, where further clues for both "lamplight" and "sublunary" might exist. Checking as many of them online as I could, I didn't find "lamplight," but I did find another example of "sublunary." Here again, it's a book published by Francis Durivage, which I am certain, by style, was authored by Mathew. This one, however, was published in 1845, before Durivage would have stolen Mathew's portfolio. When I discovered it some years ago, I speculated that Mathew might have ghost-written it for him. This little novel is called "Mike Martin: or, the Last of the Highwaymen. A Romance of Reality." There, the relevant passage is:
'The relationship between the priest and layman of the Catholic faith is a beautiful proof of the superiority of our creed in its influence even upon sublunary matters.
So I had thought to create yet a third video, just for this set of clues. It would have been a little stronger if Poe had never used the word, at all--and if Mathew had used it 23 times, as I first miscounted, instead of 19. But I'd say it's still a significant clue, taken with all the others. So this will be the sixteenth piece of evidence. One would think it wouldn't take so many.
I read some ways into Poe's critique of Longfellow's "Ballads," and it gives me a better sense of how Poe's mind operated. He was obviously extremely bright; but he kind of flashes his intelligence around for show, like a ceremonial sword. More than that, he's a flaming hypocrite, where he criticizes Longfellow for writing poetry that's more didactic and moral-driven than inspired. All of Poe's poetry--that portion of it he actually wrote, himself--seems to be created out of intellectual building-blocks. None of it is inspired. So this is blatant projection, which presumably is why he seems to have been obsessed with Longfellow in the first place. He made it clear enough how he supposedly wrote "The Raven"--not by inspiration at all, but as an intellectual exercise. And yet, he dares remark, of Longfellow's poetry:
Poesy is thus seen to be a response--unsatisfactory it is true--but still in some measure a response, to a natural and irrepressible demand. Man being what he is, the time could never have been in which Poesy was not. Its first element is the thirst for supernal BEAUTY--a beauty which is not afforded the soul by any existing collocation of earth's forms a beauty which, perhaps, no possible combination of these forms would fully produce. Its second element is the attempt to satisfy this thirst by novel combinations among those forms of beauty which already exist--or by novel combinations of those combinations which our predecessors, toiling in chase of the same phantom, have already set in order. We thus clearly deduce the novelty, the originality, the invention, the imagination, or lastly the creation of BEAUTY, (for the terms as here employed are synonimous) as the essence of all Poesy.
* * *
The elements of that beauty which is felt in sound, may be the mutual or common heritage of Earth and Heaven. In the soul's struggles at combination it is thus not impossible that a harp may strike notes not unfamiliar to the angels. And in this view the wonder may well be less that all attempts at defining the character or sentiment of the deeper musical impressions, has been found absolutely futile. Contenting ourselves, therefore, with the firm conviction, that music (in its modifications of rhythm and rhyme) is of so vast a moment in Poesy, as never to be neglected by him who is truly poetical--is of so mighty a force in furthering the great aim intended that he is mad who rejects its assistance--content with this idea we shall not pause to maintain its absolute essentiality, for the mere sake of rounding a definition. That our definition of poetry will necessarily exclude much of what, through a supine toleration, has been hitherto ranked as poetical, is a matter which affords us not even momentary concern. We address but the thoughtful, and heed only their approval--with our own. If our suggestions are truthful, then "after many days" shall they be understood as truth, even though found in contradiction of all that has been hitherto so understood. If false shall we not be the first to bid them die?
Did you read all of that? (Be honest, now.) I didn't. I probably will before I publish this, though it was kind of a painful read.* But what's the impression you were left with? This guy's really, really smart--he must know what he's talking about.
It's horseshit. First of all, I seriously doubt whether Poe believes in God, a soul, angels, or heaven. Secondly, his conception of poetry is, again, to build a poem with mental Legos. He's a sociopath, so his heart isn't in touch with his spiritual core, and that means he has to fake it with his mind.
Or steal it.
Well, his theft of "The Raven" was so brazen, and so hypocritical, that once I have proven it, and that proof is generally accepted, there really will be no other explanation except that he was sociopathic. And then the "scales will fall from their eyes," as it were, and the perceptual paradigm shift will occur, at which time it will be obvious: "Why didn't we see that?"
I'm writing this entry preparatory to creating the third video; and to see whether going to that much trouble is even justified. I think it is, so now I have to begin by writing the narration. This is probably going to take the best part of my day...
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*I did read it once I'd posted it, forcing myself to do so as a formality, and I found a typo in it--"petical" instead of "poetical." But I cut-and-pasted this directly from the website of the Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore, which suggests to me that they couldn't bear to proofread it, either...
Music opening this page: "Thief in the Night," by Eric Johnson,
from the album, "Venus Isle"