The Works of Edgar Allan Poe
Volume 5 of the Raven Edition


{In the book there is a gap in numbering the notes between 12 and 29. —ED}

Edgar Allan Poe

  1. Such portions of “Politian” as are known to the public first saw the light of publicity in the “Southern Literary Messenger” for December, 1835, and January, 1836, being styled “Scenes from Politian: an unpublished drama.” These scenes were included, unaltered, in the 1845 collection of Poems, by Poe. The larger portion of the original draft subsequently became the property of the present editor, but it is not considered just to the poet’s memory to publish it. The work is a hasty and unrevised production of its author’s earlier days of literary labor; and, beyond the scenes already known, scarcely calculated to enhance his reputation. As a specimen, however, of the parts unpublished, the following fragment from the first scene of Act II. may be offered. The Duke, it should be premised, is uncle to Alessandra, and father of Castiglione her betrothed.


        Duke. Why do you laugh?

        Castiglione. Indeed
    I hardly know myself. Stay! Was it not
    On yesterday we were speaking of the Earl?
    Of the Earl Politian? Yes! it was yesterday.
    Alessandra, you and I, you must remember!
    We were walking in the garden.

        Duke, Perfectly.
    I do remember it—what of it—what then?

        Cas. O nothing—nothing at all.

        Duke. Nothing at all!
    It is most singular that you should laugh
    At nothing at all!

        Cas. Most singular—singular!

        Duke. Look you, Castiglione, be so kind
    As tell me, sir, at once what ’tis you mean.
    What are you talking of?

        Cas. Was it not so?
    We differed in opinion touching him.

        Duke. Him!—Whom?

        Cas. Why, sir, the Earl Politian.

        Duke. The Earl of Leicester! Yes!—is it he you mean?
    We differed, indeed. If I now recollect
    The words you used were that the Earl you knew
    Was neither learned nor mirthful.

        Cas. Ha! ha!—now did I?

        Duke. That did you, sir, and well I knew at the time
    You were wrong, it being not the character
    Of the Earl—whom all the world allows to be
    A most hilarious man. Be not, my son,
    Too positive again.

        Cas. ’Tis singular!
    Most singular! I could not think it possible
    So little time could so much alter one!
    To say the truth about an hour ago,
    As I was walking with the Count San Ozzo,
    All arm in arm, we met this very man
    The Earl—he, with his friend Baldazzar,
    Having just arrived in Rome. Hal ha! he is altered!
    Such an account he gave me of his journey!
    ’Twould have made you die with laughter—such tales he told
    Of his caprices and his merry freaks
    Along the road—such oddity—such humor—
    Such wit—such whim—such flashes of wild merriment
    Set off too in such full relief by the grave
    Demeanor of his friend—who, to speak the truth,
    Was gravity itself—

        Duke. Did I not tell you?

        Cas. You did—and yet ’tis strange! but true as strange,
    How much I was mistaken! I always thought
    The Earl a gloomy man.

        Duke. So, so, you see! Be not too positive. Whom have we here?
    It can not be the Earl?

        Cas. The Earl! Oh, no! ’Tis not the Earl—but yet it is—and leaning
    Upon his friend Baldazzar. Welcome, sir!

    (Enter Politian and Baldazzar.)

    My lord, a second welcome let me give you
    To Rome—his Grace the Duke of Broglio.
    Father! this is the Earl Politian, Earl
    Of Leicester in Great Britain. [Politian bows haughtily.]
        That, his friend
    Baldazzar, Duke of Surrey. The Earl has letters,
    So please you, for Your Grace.

        Duke. Hal ha! Most welcome
    To Rome and to our palace, Earl Politian!
    And you, most noble Duke! I am glad to see you!
    I knew your father well, my Lord Politian.
    Castiglione! call your cousin hither,
    And let me make the noble Earl acquainted
    With your betrothed. You come, sir, at a time
    Most seasonable. The wedding—

        Politian. Touching those letters, sir,
    Your son made mention of—your son, is he not?
    Touching those letters, sir, I wot not of them.
    If such there be, my friend Baldazzar here—
    Baldazzar! ah!—my friend Baldazzar here
    Will hand them to Your Grace. I would retire.

        Duke. Retire!—So soon?
    Came What ho! Benito! Rupert!
    His lordship’s chambers—show his lordship to them!
    His lordship is unwell.     (Enter Benito.)

        Ben. This way, my lord! (Exit, followed by Politian.)

        Duke. Retire! Unwell!

        Bal. So please you, sir. I fear me
    ’Tis as you say—his lordship is unwell.
    The damp air of the evening—the fatigue
    Of a long journey—the—indeed I had better
    Follow his lordship. He must be unwell.
    I will return anon.

        Duke. Return anon!
    Now this is very strange! Castiglione!
    This way, my son, I wish to speak with thee.
    You surely were mistaken in what you said
    Of the Earl, mirthful, indeed!—which of us said
    Politian was a melancholy man? (Exeunt.)

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