Frances Osgood : LUSENET : The Work of Edgar Allan Poe : One Thread

If Frances Osgood was nothing more than a friend and fellow poet to Poe why is it that in the poetry she is mentioned, she is mentioned in secrecy("To F-s S. O-d"), or riddle? Why did he need to mention her so secrectly?

-- Anonymous, September 11, 2002


A confusing point, indeed! Poe dedicated several poems to the poetess Frances Sargent Osgood, but almost all of them were in fact already written, at a time or another, for other girls or women (e.g. for his cousin Elizabeth Herring, or for one of his editors' daughter, Miss White, &c). The verses you alluded to are probably "A Valentine" (Feb., 1846, revised in 1848), and not "To F-s S. O-d", as you seem to imply (you may consult many variants, with various earlier titles, at The valentines were common literary plays, and we may doubt about the sincerity of this precise acrostic, as well as of the other one he adressed to S. A. Lewis some two years later. That Poe was for a time in real intimacy with F. S. Osgood (apparently with his wife Virginia's approbation) is well attested in any good biography of our poet, but we may not forget that Griswold (you certainly know who is this man) partaked just the same kind of sentiment toward her, till her death in 1850. J. E. Walsh has composed a curious, well-documented abstract about those ambiguous relationships, entitled "Plumes in the Dust". Try to find it, for all its truth, but, alas, for some of its fancies too.... Nevertheless, the "Poe Log" remains the surest way to such an ambitious and neutral approach. Yours sincerely, Raven's Shade (Belgium).

-- Anonymous, September 11, 2002

I actually read somewhere that the poem was written for Mrs.Osgood. If you first letter from the first line and the second letter from the first word in the second line and the third letter from the first word in the third line and so on, you will see that it spells out Mrs.Osgood's entire name which is Frances Sargent Osgood.

-- Anonymous, December 03, 2003

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