I spent some time on yesterday's entry, as you can imagine, only to consign it to the Archives, today. It's sort of like writing for the newspaper...
This morning, I'm returning to my digital archives of the Boston "Weekly Museum" of 1849. There, it appears that Mathew was double-dipping, or perhaps "triple-dipping," with his travel letters to the editor. In one edition, if I am not mistaken, there are three letters, signed with three different signatures, from three different locations--all written by Mathew. He begins the third letter with writer's block as the subject--but what he doesn't say, is that he is uncharacteristically at a loss for words because it's his third letter. Or so I am guessing.
There are multiple clues in each letter which point to Mathew's authorship, including using writer's block as his lead-off (he does that again a couple of years later, for another paper--for the same reason, that there, he is contributing six or more different pieces for each weekly edition). However, there's nothing in those letters I particularly want to take up space for, here.
Yesterday, I actually heard back from one of two Edgar Allan Poe academic specialists that I had written to (reincarnation claim and all). He indicated that scholars would be quite interested to hear what I had to say, if I could back it up, and suggested I submit an article to a refereed journal. I demurred, for reasons I've explained, here. But in the course of a brief exchange (brief, so far), he shared with me a paper he had written. As of this writing I have only dipped into the first page, but there, he suggests that an unsigned poem in the New England Magazine of Sept. 1835 might have been Poe's. I took one look at it, and by the couple of stanzas he quoted, and the list of topics contained therein, I immediately wondered if it might actually have been Mathew Franklin Whittier's. In the spirit of scholarship, I wrote him a list of what MFW's take would be on each topic, before I had the chance to read the actual poem. The purpose was to see whether I could predict his authorship. That journal appears to be complete online, so I should be able to look it up a little later, today. Then I can probably get a pretty good sense of it. Basically, the philosophy and subject-matter looks like MFW, but the style isn't anything I've ever seen Mathew attempt.*
I shared with my new academic acquaintance, an announcement that Mathew made in the New York "Constellation," when the "New England Magazine" was first launched in New York. It so happens that the editor, Joseph T. Buckingham, had been Mathew's own editor when he submitted to the "New-England Galaxy" in previous years. Buckingham had quit the "Galaxy" and, with his son, had launched the "New England Magazine." Mathew (as I have determined) was the junior editor (i.e., acting editor) of the "Constellation"; when he saw that his old editor had launched a new venture there in New York, he enthusiastically plugged it. (And while doing so, he mischievously praised the writers who had written for the "Galaxy"--including, of course, himself.)
In other words, Mathew had strong ties to Buckingham, and thus to the New England Magazine. It would be very surprising, indeed, if he didn't submit one or two pieces for it, at least by way of friendship to help launch the venture.
So, this morning, I went through Vol. I online, which goes to the end of 1831. I was looking for pseudonyms I have come to associate with Mathew, like variations on his initials, or a double-P name, or the initials "P.P." or "P.," or perhaps "D.," which is what he used in the "Constellation." I found many of these, but most, I think, were coincidental, and not Mathew's work. One long article which purports to have been written by Buckingham's printer, signed with a double-P name, is possibly his, written in one of his styles, which is intentionally overblown, grandiose and intellectual, as a parody.
But I found something else that's a lot more significant, to me--what may be one, or perhaps two, of Abby's unsigned poems. Now, I have to give some background, so forgive me if you know all this.
Mathew's future wife, Abby Poyen, was four years younger. She was a child prodigy in poetry, and she had also been schooled in esoteric teachings by her mother, Sally--both high mysticism, and the occult (like palm reading and astrology). She was probably psychic--but in any case, she was deeply spiritual, and brilliant. I gather that she was a loner, who spent much of her time communing with Nature, and writing poetry--but when she was 14 years old, her parents became concerned and, consulting with each other, must have given her an ultimatum. Either she would be sent to a boarding school (i.e., a finishing school), where she would learn to be a young lady prepared to entertain wealthy suitors (because her family was upper class); or, if she preferred not to marry, she could train to be a school teacher. But in order to do that, she would have to attend public classes, and also take on a private student of her own, for practice.
She attended the class of one Albert Pike, who taught in nearby Newburyport, Mass., in 1830/31. She also took on Mathew, who desperately wanted an education, as her student. She wrote several poems as class assignments--but Albert Pike, having the same initials, and being morally challenged (shall we say), stole them and got them published under their shared initials, "A.P." That way, if anyone caught him, he could claim he was publishing them for her. On the other hand, if he wasn't caught, he could take the royalty money and the fame which resulted. He was able to go with Plan B.
Some of them, he edited, i.e., adulterated--especially when the class assignment only called for two stanzas, and he needed to sandwich his own third stanza in the middle, to make it long enough to submit for publication. When one series, entitled "Hymns to the Gods" became popular, he wrote some of them, himself. Abby disliked anything to do with ancient Rome, being far more inclined to ancient Greece. Therefore, if these hadn't been assignments, she never would have written about Roman gods.
In 1832, her poems ended up in a Boston magazine called "The Essayist," which Mathew contributed heavily to, under various pseudonyms like "Franklin, Jr." Her poems were either unsigned, signed with the editor's initials, or published under "A.P." None, that I recall, were signed with Albert Pike's name (as he did in later years). One of these poems, entitled "Ode to the Mocking Bird," he claimed, in a letter to his biographer, to have written "a couple of days after his marriage." But he was married in 1834. His poem is almost a complete reworking of Abby's original, 1832 poem.
One of the "Hymns to the Gods" series was written "To Somnus," the god of sleep. I think it was done during a period when Abby was taking laudanum, having gone through a terribly embarrassing period of being publicly shamed. I gather she had been tricked into giving a palm reading to a local girl, who then turned her in; and there was some kind of bru-ha-ha, perhaps even with a public trial involved. Mathew supported her, from Boston where he was at the time, as best he could, by publishing parodies of the girls who were gossiping against her. This showed up in one of my psychic readings, in 2010, as well.
But I think Abby, having written this two-stanza class assignment, wanted to write another treatment of it outside of class. Either that, or she had written it before she started the class. Either way, the one I just found, published in the 1831 New England Magazine, may be that poem.
I'll share it, in a minute.
But while I was keying in some of those travel letters in the Boston "Weekly Museum" of 1849 (eight years after Abby's death), I stumbled across an unsigned poem in the February edition. Abby died on March 27, 1841, and at this time in 1849, Mathew would have been reliving the events leading up to her death. He had recently made the break from his second wife (a family-arranged marriage), and two things were prominently on his mind--attractive young ladies, whom he now could officially date if he wanted to--and Abby. The young ladies were exciting, in an abstract sort of way; but his heart was still Abby's, no question about it.
This poem mentions Abby dying in the spring, with green foliage and roses and so-on. March 27 is a bit early for that sort of thing, up here (I now live in Portland, Maine)--but what I can find in the historical record, indicates that 1841 was an exceptionally mild winter. Perhaps things were warming up quickly then, and he added a bit of poetic license.
So that's the background. I wasn't looking for it, but there is a tie-in to "Annabel Lee," which I believe Mathew originally wrote as "Abigail P----," and which was later stolen by Poe. In both poems, you will see the idea expressed that Abby only lived to love him. In "Annabel Lee," it is written as:
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
Whereas in this poem, he says:
One who only lived to love me,
Your logical choices are coincidence, imitation by Mathew, or plagiarism by Poe. I think it's a bit too specific an idea for mere chance. But note one other thing--the style of this poem is actually reminiscent of "The Raven." That's because it's written in Mathew's preferred style. The reason the thought is expressed similarly in both poems, is because Abby really was that dedicated to Mathew, and it impressed him deeply. He wrote it because it was true. The only connection with Poe, is that Poe stole one of the poems.
But I just stumbled onto that. My purpose isn't to try to prove anything, except inasmuch as I want to share these poems as Mathew's and Abby's, without interference. Here's what I'd like to convey to anyone reading this blog--I've tried dozens of times, and I don't know whether it just bounces off, or what. I keep running across confirming bits and pieces of evidence, because you can't help doing that when you're right. When you have a real case, a real match, and when you are substantially right in your conclusions (about Mathew's personal history, his literary achievements, and the reincarnation case), everything you look at is likely to contain some piece of confirming evidence. I'm desperately trying to think of an analogy, and I always come back to the easy one, a jig-saw puzzle. If you have a puzzle which has all the original pieces in it, each piece you pick up is going to legitimately fit somewhere. And that's what my study has been like. I randomly bump into this poem, and son-of-a-gun, there's something in it which is echoed in "Annabel Lee." Well, duh, of course there is, because both were written by Mathew, about Abby. Both were written about the same girl, and the same relationship, and so, of course, they are going to have common elements.
This has happened so many times, that I finally capped my first book at something like 2,290 pages, trying to record and cross reference them all.
Here's another analogy that just occurred to me. Suppose you pick up the Jones family photograph album. No matter which page you turn to, you keep seeing members of the Jones extended family. It's not a coincidence--it's the Jones family album. Similarly, what I've concluded about Mathew's literary career, his relationship with Abby, her prowess as a poet and a writer; and the men who plagiarized both of them, is correct. Therefore, wherever I "poke" into this history, I find confirming clues.
I've also used the following analogy: it's like a good football team beating up on a poor one, by running up the score. I ran up the score to 2,290 pages, because I kept discovering confirming clues which I could cross-reference, in a giant tapestry--or, if you prefer, a giant jig-saw puzzle.
I did that because it seemed that no-one was taking me seriously. So instead of stopping at 200 pages, with people wanting to interview me, and have me speak at their conventions, and buying my books, nothing like that was happening. So, I kept researching, and finding more evidence, and running up the score, and still nobody wanted to interview me, or have me speak at their conventions, or buy my books. So, I moved to Portland, where Mathew had lived for 20 years, so I could visit these places associated with his life first-hand. And I wrote a sequel about that, which is now just over 200 pages--and still, nobody wants to...
But, I digress. Oh, as long as I'm digressing, I had meant to follow up on the Poe expert's blithe assurance that academicians would love to hear what I had to say, and that nothing I had to offer would particularly surprise him (or words to that effect). I think that was predicated on not really believing I could have anything too radical, or that I had good evidence for same. However, I suspect that if I can prove that Poe was a hack poet, a scoundrel, and that his best pieces were stolen from MFW, it would be too much for him, and for all of them. It would shake the very basis for the Poe myth, and all the Poe societies, if I were to strip these two poems from him. Just as it would destroy Albert Pike's reputation, if I was to strip these poems of Abby's, from him. In other words, given the weight of the evidence that I have, at some point he's going to save himself by dismissing me and backing out of our conversation. Let's see if I'm right.**
Anyway, here are the two poems--the first appearing in the Feb. 24, 1849 Boston "Weekly Museum," and the second appearing in the September 1831 edition of the "New England Magazine." At this time in 1831, Abby would be 15 years old. She would have sent the poem privately to Mathew, who was working in New York City, and, presumably with her permission, he would have sent it to Joseph T. Buckingham, his former editor, with Abby's stipulation that it be published anonymously. Or, he might have shared it privately with Buckingham, in a social call, and Buckingham might have asked to print it. (That would explain why Mathew didn't publish it in his own paper, the "Constellation.") Note that if this was written by Abby, it cannot be in imitation of "Hymns to the Gods," because Pike published those poems when he was 23 years old (which, as he was born in 1809, puts it at 1832). Clearly, the two poems are related, and admittedly this one could be an earlier attempt by Pike, before he got the idea for a series. This, however, strikes me as unlikely, because as one of his biographers noted, Pike valued fame above all else. So far as I know, he always signed his work (even if it wasn't really his). I think that Abby had written this poem to "Sleep" before she attended Pike's class; she then re-worked it for her class assignment, as a poem to "Somnus"; and Pike stole that classwork and modified it, not realizing that an earlier version of her poem had already been submitted for anonymous publication by Mathew.
As regards the poem to Sleep, I would simply add the observation, as I have concerning Poe and Dickens, that Albert Pike was not a spiritual personality, despite his high rank in Masonry later in life, with his teachings about "Lucifer" as a being of light. He was pro-slavery, fought as a general for the South, and as Abby has told me privately, he was "greasy." There's no possible way he could have expressed the spirituality inherent in the poem I've copied, here.
When the shadows dim the hours,
And the fire-fly lights his lamp,
And the evening shut the flowers
With her finger, slight and damp,
From the bright skies above me,
On the path of rosy light,
One who only lived to love me,
Comes in silence every night.
Then I walk in dreams Elysian
From the jarring world aside,
With the pale and beauteous vision,
Like the lover with his bride,
Feeling when she sits beside me,
With her thin hands meekly crossed,
Though her counsels no more guide me,
She is gone, but is not lost.
Spring in roses was apparaled,
All her fringes green and deep,
And the birds around her carolled,
As she softly fell asleep:
Then the sweetest tie was riven
That two spirits could unite,
And she passed the grave to heaven,
Leaving all its shadows bright.
Thou deity of winds and waving trees,
Close friend of gushing streams, and murmuring strains
Of summer music, unwound by the breeze
From its devoted harp, whene'er it deigns,—
Being of heavenly birth, to be for man
A chorister!—Thou sitter on the sand,
When ocean rolls his sluggish waves to land,
Pleased with the spicy winds thy brows that fan!
Thou who dost hallow all the vines that run
In flickering masses round the green-robed trees,
Rustling in music to the melting breeze,
Weaving a bower for thee against the sun!—
Who will not envy thee, O monarch Sleep?
Thy throne is beauty's eye-lid; earthly kings
Woo thee with many prayers, their souls to steep
With your sweet anodyne of wo. The strings
Of royal harps have sounded pleasantly,
To bribe your presence and your mild control;
Emperors and victors render up the soul
Less willingly to Beauty's self than thee.
Thou hast a kingdom of thine own, bright Sleep,
And, on the bosom of an upward dream,
With clown or sage or king, as thou dost deem
Best, from this earth to that bright realm dost leap.
Who has not seen young Sleep, as he reposes,
Soft on the bosom of the murmuring south,
As it rolls lazily o'er seas of roses,
With tangled hair, shut eyes, and open mouth,—
A wreath of poppies wound around his brow,—
His robes upon the wind; while all around,
A waterfall of music, with sweet sound,
Lulls him in sweet oblivion; nor now
In glowing, sun-gilt dreams, wraps his winged soul,
And pillows it in heaven! O sweet Sleep,
Come with thy draught of Lethe, bright and deep,
And lift me in thine arms on that cloud car to roll!
Stephen Sakellarios, M.S.
*It's extremely clever--a lengthy, cynical piece comparing pigs favorably with men--but I doubt it's Mathew's work. I also doubt it's Poe's, as the professor was suggesting.
**He wrote back basically dismissing everything I'd written him, saying that he is ending our discussion because his "interest in the subject at hand is limited." That, of course, is an excuse, if his special area of interest is Edgar Allan Poe, since I made it clear I have evidence that Poe plagiarized his flagship poem. The more I think about it the more disrespectful his response seems; but I am actually relieved if such a person doesn't take me seriously. The reason is that were he to take me seriously, he would then attempt to by-pass me. I would rather be laughed at than stolen from, again. I think I am done with contacting experts for awhile.
Music opening this page: "Springtime," by The Free Design,
from the album, "Cosmic Peekaboo"