Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Birthday, Edgar

E A Poe, undated photoToday in 1809, in Boston, Edgar Allan Poe was born. Wikipedia notes
Best known for his tales of mystery and the macabre, Poe was one of the earliest American practitioners of the short story and is considered the inventor of the detective-fiction genre. He is further credited with contributing to the emerging genre of science fiction. He was the first well-known American writer to try to earn a living through writing alone, resulting in a financially difficult life and career.
Oh, that Wikipedia and its wacky understatements!

He died in Baltimore, probably as a result of drug- and alcohol-poisoning due to cooping (the practice of kidnapping someone and forcing them to vote often in many precincts), though there have been many theories of his death, all records being lost. Until last year, three roses and a bottle of cognac, half empty, were left on his grave every year for more than 60 years. Last year was the first time the anonymous visitor didn't come. This year, he didn't come again, meaning it's likely that he died and left no-one to carry on the tradition.

Here's one of his shorter, less macabre works:


Gaily bedight,
A gallant knight,
In sunshine and in shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.

But he grew old-
This knight so bold-
And o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

And, as his strength
Failed him at length,
He met a pilgrim shadow-
"Shadow," said he,
"Where can it be-
This land of Eldorado?"

"Over the Mountains
Of the Moon,
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
Ride, boldly ride,"
The shade replied-
"If you seek for Eldorado!"

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At 6:57 AM, January 19, 2011 Anonymous Penny Auction Bidding had this to say...

That's really nice pic of him. Keep them alive.


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