Others have given currency to wild tales of orgies, in which they must have also partaken, or at least encouraged. I remember to have heard a Philadelphian poet, the author of Endymion, describe a scene of the kind. To him it was amusing—to me most painful. He remarked that, “the real contempt which Poe felt for his cotemporaries came out at once under the influence of the wine–cup, and he ridiculed, satirized, imitated and abused them right and left without mercy.” I did not think the presence of such a stimulant at all necessary for such a development; for the bearing of the man at all times, the curl of his lip, the cold sarcasm, the covert smile, each and all told of a man who measured himself with his fellows, only to feel his own superiority. And why should he not?

Yes, I repeat, why should he not? I must and will speak of this man, not as he manifested himself to the world, but by the measure of his intimations, by his own estimate of himself, which is a truer mode of judgment than the world knows. Yes, this man knew what was in himself, and this it was that sustained him through all the perplexities and disheartenments of poverty, and all the abuse heaped upon him by the cruelty and malice of his enemies; and it is this faith in himself which enabled him to command the respect even of those critical in judgment and austere in practice, and which sustained him to the last, and is now fast redeeming his memory.

Edgar Poe found persons of noble penetration, who could worthily estimate him. I find among my letters the following, from Sarah Helena Whitman, of Providence, R. I. I had written a critique upon Mr. Poe, published in the United States Magazine, to which she refers:

“It is said that all men have two natures — a higher and a lower — a divine and a demoniac sphere of life. It has been so painful for me to contemplate the lower sphere of his life, that I have habitually turned away from it to look at the other nobler or more interior nature. In this I believe, and would fain ignore the rest. *** From any other point of view, I see that your estimate is a most kind and tolerant one. I like, especially, the passage commencing, ‘We listen as to a dirge, but it is not of mortal sounding,’ and that in which you speak of his manner toward women. I do not think with you, that his manner gave the impression of habitual insincerity. On the contrary, he seemed to me — in his private character — simple, direct and genuine, beyond all other persons that I have known. *** I believe, too, that in the artistic utterance of poetic emotion he was profoundly, passionately genuine; genuine in the expression of his utter desolation of soul—his tender, remorseful regret for the departed; his love, his hate, his pride, his perversity, and his despair. He was, it is true, vindictive, revengeful, unscrupulous in the use of expedients to attain his ends; but never false and fair-seeming from an inherent perfidy and hollowness of heart. *** I feel sure that your notice will be read with interest, and will help to remove from his memory some undeserved imputations.”