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About The courier. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1894-1903 | View Entire Issue (Oct. 12, 1895)
all did their great work after they were
forty years old. Poe never did his great
work. He could not endure the hunger.
This year the Drexel Institute hss put
over sixty thousand dollars into a now
edition ot Poo's poenis and stories. He
himself never got six thousand for them
altogether. If one of the great and
learned institutions of the land had in
vested one tenth of that amount in the
living author forty years ago wo should
have had from him such works as would
have riado tho name of this nation
great. But ho sold "The Masque or the
Red Death' for a few dollars, and now
the Drexel Instituto pays a publisher
thousands to publish it beautifully. It
is enough to make Satan laugh until his
ribs ache, and all tho little devils laugh
and heap on fresh coals. I don't wonder
they hate humanity. It's so dense, so
Only a few weeks before Poe's death
he said he had never bud time or oppor
tunity to make a serious effort. All his
tales were merely experiments, thrown
off when his day's work as a journalist
was over, when ho should have been
asleep. AH those voyages into the mys
tical unknown, into the gleaming, impal
pable kingdom of pure romance from
which he brought back such splendid
trophies, were but experiments. He
was only getting his tools into shape
getting ready for his great effort, the
effort that never came.
Bread seems a little thing to stand in
the way of genius, but itcan. The sim
ple sordid factB were these, that in the
bitterest storms of winter Poe seldom
wrote by a fire, that after he was twenty-five
years old he never knew what it
was to have enough to eat without
dreading tomorrow's hunger. Chatter
ton bad only himself to sacrifice, but
Poe saw the woman he loved die of
arant before his very eyes, die smiling
and begging him not to give up his
work, lhey saw tho depths together
in those long winter nights when she
lay in that cold room, wrapped in Poe's
only coat, be, with one hand holding
hers, and with the other dashing off
some of the most perfect masterpieces
of English prose. And when he would
wince and turn white at her coughing,
she would always whisper: "Work on,
my poet, and when you have finished
read it to me. I am happy when I
listen." O, the devotion of women and
the madness of art! They are the two
most awesome things on earth, and
surely this man knew both to the full.
I have wondered so often how he did
it. How he kept his purpose always
clean and his taste always perfect. How
it was that hard labor never wearied
nor jaded him, never limited his imagin
tion. that the jarring clamor ab;ut him
never drowned the fine harmonies of his
fancy. His discrimination remained
always delicate, and from the constant
strain of toil his fancy always rose strong
and unfettered. Without encourage
ment or appreciation of any sort, with
out models or precedents he built up
that pure stylo of his that is without
peer in the language, that style of which
every sentence is a drawing by Vedder.
Elizabeth Barrett and a few great
artists over in France knew what he
was doing, they knew that in literature
he was making possible a new heaven
and a new earth. But he never knew
that they knew it. He died without the
assurance that he was or ever would be
understood. And yet through all this,
with the whole world of nrt and letters
against him. betrayed by his own peo
ple, he managed to keep that lofty ideal
of perfect work. What he suffered
never touched or marred his work, but
it wrecked his character. Poe's char
acter was made by his necessity. He
was a liar and an egotist; a man who'
had to beg for bread at the hands of his
publishers and critics could bo nothing
but a liar, and hud he not hud tho in
sane egotism and conviction of genius,
ho would have broken down and written
the drivelling trash that his country
men delighted to read. Poe lied to his
publishers sometimes, there is no doubt
of that, but there wero two to whom ho
was never false, his wife and his muse.
He drank sometimes too, when for very
ugly and relentless reasonc ho could not
eat. And then ho forgot what he suf
fered. For Bacchus is tho kindest of
the gods after all. When Aphrodite has
fooled us and left us and Athene has
betrayed us in battle, then poor tipsy
Bacchus, who covers his head with vine
leaves where th curls are gottting thin,
out his cup to us and says, "forget." Its
poor consolation, but he means it well.
The Transcendcntalifct3 were good con
versationalists, that in fact was their
principal accomplishment, lhey used
to talk a great deal of genius, that rare
and capricious spirit that Visits earth so
seldom, that is wooed by so many, and
won by so few. They had grand theo
ries that all men should be poets, that
the visits of that rare spirit should be
made as frequent and universal as after
noon calls. O, they hud plans to mak
a whole generation of little geniuses.
But she only laughed her scornful
laughter, that deathless lady of the
immortals, up in her echoing chambers
that are floored with dawn and roofed
with the spangled stars. And she
snatched from them the only man of
their nation she had ever deigned to
love, whose lips she had touched with
music and whose soul with song. In
his youth she had shown him the
secrets of her beauty and his manhood
had been one pursuit of her, blind to
all else, like Anchises, who on the night
that he knew the love of VenuB, was
struck sightless, that he might never
behold the face of a mortal woman. For
Our Lady of Geniss has no care for the
prayer and groans of mortals, nor for
their hecatombs sweet of savor. Many
a time of old she has foiled the plans of
seers and none may entreat her or take
her by force. She favors no one nation
or clime. She takes one from the mil
lions, and when she gives herself unto
a man it is without his will or that of
his fellows, and he pays for it, dear
heaven, he pays!
"The sun comes forth ami many reptiles
lie sets and each ephemeral insect then
is gathered unto death without a dawn,
And the immortal stars awako again."
Yes, "and the immortal stars awake
again.' None may thwart the unerring
justice of the gods, not even the Trans
cendentalists. What matter that one
man's life was miserable, that one man
was broken on the wheel? His work
lives and his crown is eternal. That the
Work of his age was undone, that is the
pity, that the work of his youth was
done, that is the glory. The man is
nothing. There aie millions of men.
The work is everything. There is so
little perfection. We lament our dearth
or poets when we let Poe starve. We
are like the Hebrews who stoned their
prophets and then marvelled that the
voice of God was silent. Wo will wait a
long time for another. There are Gris
wold and N. P. Willis, our chosen ones,
let us turn to them. Their names are
forgotten. God is just. They are,
"(lathered unto death without a dawn.
And the immortal stars awako a sain."
THE LINCOLN SALT BATHS
SULPHO-SALINEBATH HOUSE AND SAN1TARIUII
COR 14 AND M.
All forms of baths, Turkish, Russian
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WITH SPECIAL ATTENTION
To tho application of natural and
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DRS. M. H. AND J O. EVERETT
HUM PALE BEER
AT $1.00 PER DOZEN
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wis m. m o sin
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HEADQUARTERS FOR WHEELMEN.
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GENUINE BLUE RIVER ICE.
Telephones 583 and
ijj ;ny paj?t of the Guy,
PllONE 1S7. I 1 7 N. 9TH STREET.
i n voice
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HOURS 9 A. ft. TO 2:30 P. I AND BY
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Having secured from the Courier
Publishing Co. all copper plates here
tofore controlled by them, we shall
be pleased to Nil orders for Engraved
Cards and Wedding Stationery on
short notice and In a satisfactory man
ner. too CAR05 AND PLA IE - $2.50
100 CARDS WITHOUT PLATE 1.30
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223 No. nth Street.
ifr Shoe Store.
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WHOLESALE and RETAIL
1338 O Street. Telephone 217
COLO. SPRINGS AND PUEBLO.
On August 12th the Union Pacific will
sell round trip tickets to above points
at one fare. Full information given at
City Ticket office 1014 O street.
E. B. Slosso.v, J. T. Mastin,
Woempner for paints and oils, 139 S.10
By the Banker's Alliance ot Calif
nia. Combined life and accident iaawt
ance in the same policy or separate.
Insures either sex.
8. J. DENNIS,
Room . 115 North Eleventh atreet.
$5 TO CALIFOBNIa
Is our Sleep's Car Rate on thePhUUps-Boek
Island Tourist Excursions from Council Bluffs
Omaha or Lincoln to Los Angeles or Han Fra
ci'cotia tha.3cenic Route and Ogden. Car
learn Det Moines erery Friday, and ileepiac
rar rate from there is $3. JO.
Yon hare through sleeper, and the PhlOipa
t&angement has a special agent accompany tM
excursion each week, and you will sst nonf
and bars excellent accomodation, aa the ear
bars upholstered spring seats, are PnUsaaa
build, and appointments perfect.
Address for full particulars,
JMO. SEBASTIAN. 6. P. A. Chieaf.
CHAS. KENNEDY, Gen. W. P:
C. A. RUTHERFORD. C. P. T. A.
1045 O St Cor. 11th, Lincoln, Neb
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