Edgar Allan Poe - "Alone"

Because of his difficult childhood circumstances, Edgar Allan Poe was often alone during his youth. He wrote a poem, now called "Alone," where he reflects on how his loneliness made him different than other children.

Poe did not give the poem this title. He also did not include it in any of his own books of poetry or in any of his articles. The Edgar Allan Poe Society, in Baltimore, tells us about its origination:

Poe wrote this poem in the autograph album of Lucy Holmes, later Lucy Holmes Balderston. The poem was never printed during Poe’s lifetime. It was first published by E. L. Didier in Scribner’s Monthly for September of 1875, in the form of a facsimile.

The facsimile, however, included the addition of a title and date not on the original manuscript. That title was “Alone,” which has remained.

Doubts about its authenticity, in part inspired by this manipulation, have since been calmed. The poem is now seen as one of Poe’s most revealing works. The same album also contains a poem by Poe’s brother Henry.

The original manuscript bears the number 55 in the upper right hand corner, as a page number within the album.

The original poem, written circa 1829, is known as MS (for manuscript) 1796. It is maintained by the Maryland Historical Society. 

Hereafter are the words of "Alone," a melancholy work written by an adult looking back on his childhood:

From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—

Some of the words of "Alone" are superimposed here on the art of Jeremiah D. Morelli, a middle-school teacher and artist from Germany. To hear the poem, listen to this rendering by Tom O'Bedlam.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 12, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Mar 11, 2018

Media Credits

Image online via Pinterest; copyright Jeremiah D. Morelli, all rights reserved. Image provided here as fair use for educational purposes and to acquaint new viewers with Morelli's work


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"Edgar Allan Poe - "Alone"" AwesomeStories.com. Mar 12, 2016. Oct 22, 2019.
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