The Complete poems of Edgar Allan Poe, by Edgar Allan Poe

Impromptu. To Kate Carol (1845)

Kate Carol was a pseudonym for Frances Sargent Osgood, a woman with whom Poe exchanged love notes published in journals. Poe was married at the time, yet his friendship with Osgood was very public. This four line poem, written with an almost juvenile tone, compares the woman’s beautiful thoughts with her beautiful eyes.

The poem, which consists of four lines, was published in the Broadway Journal on April 26, 1845. It was unsigned but Poe biographer and critic T.O. Mabbott assigns it as Poe’s without hesitation. Osgood copied the poem and gave it to her friend Elizabeth Oakes Smith with the title “To the Sinless Child.” This copy is now preserved in the library of the University of Virginia.

When from your gems of thought I turn

To those pure orbs, your heart to learn,

I scarce know which to prize most high —

The bright i-dea, or the bright dear-eye.

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Last updated Monday, March 17, 2014 at 17:10