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mal tragedy, for which genius only makes the footlights burn with more lustre.
There is a passage in Keats's letters, written from the haunts of Burns, in which he expresses himself as filled with pity for the poet's life: he drank with blackguards, he was miserable; we can see horribly clear in the works of such a man his life, as if we were God's spies.
Yet Burns's sins and miseries left his heart unspoiled, and this cannot be said of Poe. After all, the austere virtues — the virtues of Emerson, Hawthorne, Whittier — are the best soil for genius.
I like best to think of Poe as associated with his betrothed, Sarah Helen Whitman, whom I saw sometimes in her later years.
That gifted woman had outlived her early friends and loves and hopes, and perhaps her literary fame, such as it was: she had certainly outlived her recognized ties with Poe, and all but his memory.
There she dwelt in her little suite of rooms, bearing youth still in her heart and in her voice, and on her hair al