Knowing Poe: The Literature, Life and Times of Edgar Allan Poe... In Baltimore and Beyond

Maryland Public Television
2005 Webby Award Winner!
border border
Poe's Baltimore Letters
Random Raven

Another letter asking Allan for money

[Text: Edgar Allan Poe to John Allan - December 15, 1831.]

Dear Pa,

Balt. Dec. 15th, 1831.

I am sure you could not refuse to assist me if you were well aware of the distress I am in. How often have you relieved the distresses of a perfect stranger in circumstances less urgent than mine. and yet when I beg and intreat you in the name of God to send me succour you will still refuse to aid me. I know that I have offended you past all forgiveness, and I know that I have no longer any hopes of being again received into your favour, but, for the sake of Christ. do not let me perish for a sum of money which you would never miss, and which would relieve me from the greatest earthly misery — especially as I promise by all that is sacred that I will never under any circumstances apply to you again. Oh! if you knew at this moment how wretched I am you would never forgive you[r]self for having refused me. You are enjoying yourself in all the blessings that wealth & happiness can bestow, and I am suffering every extremity of want and misery without even a chance of escape, or a friend to whom I can look up to for assistance.

Think for one moment, and if your nature and former heart are not altogether changed you [page 2] will no longer refuse me your assistance if not for my sake for the sake of humanity.

I know you have never turned a beggar from your door, and I apply to you in that light, I beg you for a little aid, and for the sake of all that was formerly dear to you I trust that you will relieve me.

If you wish me to humble myself before you I am humble — Sickness and misfortune have left me not a shadow of pride,. I own that I am miserable and unworthy of your notice, but do not leave me to perish without leaving me still one resource. I feel at the very bottom of my heart that if you were in my situation and you in mine, how differently I would act.

Yours affecty
E A P.

Back to Top