POE, Edgar Allan. Autograph manuscript verses, the first 8 stanzas (of 16) of "For Annie ("Thank Heaven: the crisis --- the danger is past....") n.p. [New York?], n.d. .\n\n2 pages (220 x 170 mm). With N.P. Willis's instructions to printer on first page (see below). (Slight crinkling of lower margin of the sheet, small puncture in blank margin). Full orange morocco, silk-lined protective case, matching quarter morocco clamshell case.\n\n"I THINK THE LINES FOR ANNIE MUCH THE BEST I HAVE EVER WRITTEN..."\nOne of Poe's most important late compositions, written for Nancy L. Richmond ("Annie"). In the wake of the wrenching death of Virginia in 1847, Poe courted -- in his awkward but obsessive fashion -- at least four different women, more or less at the same time. Poe and Mrs. Richmond met when he lectured in her home-town of Lowell, Massachusetts. As one biographer notes, "a photograph from the period conveys an image of steady reliability, of plain sensibleness, without glamour." Poe, smitten, "promptly put his literary talents to work in wooing Annie. She figured first in the story 'Landor's Cottage,'" and was also the subject of "the taut, tragic poem 'For Annie'" (James M. Hutchinson, Poe, p. 220-222). The fact that Annie was married and therefore practically unattainable seems not to have deterred Poe in the least. (Only his powerful involvement, later on, with Sarah Helen Whitman served to eclipse Mrs. Richmond.)\n\nPoe wrote to Annie L. Richmond in late March, enclosing a copy of new verses "For Annie," which, he proudly informs her, he has already sold to the Boston literary journal Flag of Our Union. He believes the verses "much the best I have ever written," but observes that "an author can seldom depend on his own estimate of his own works -- so I wish to know what my Annie truly thinks of them...." (Letters, 2:434-435). On 20 April, Poe submitted "For Annie" to Nathaniel P. Willis (1806-1867), co-editor of the New York Home Journal." Poe explained rather apologetically that it had just appeared in the 28 April issue of the Boston Weekly. He suggested that Willis might simply note prior publication in "a late Boston paper," without specifying the paper. He reminded Willis of other poems he had published in the Home Journal, and notes "I have not forgotten how a 'good word in season' from you made the 'Raven' and 'Ulalume'..." (Letters, 2:436-37). Willis, evidently unconcerned at the poem's previous publication, accepted "For Annie" and in the blank margins of the first page of Poe's fair copy, penned ink instructions to the printer regarding its presentation: "Will Mr. Babcock please put this on the second page this week, & leave me twenty lines room for an introduction N.P.W." He also inserted the poet's name at the top right: "by Edgar A. Poe."\n\nIn "For Annie," the speaker seems suspended in a strange nether-world, seemingly dead, from "the fever called living"; he has taken a draught of poison ("the napthaline river Of Passion accurst"). But now that the pains of dying are past, he remains conscious, "composedly" resting, so still "That any beholder Might fancy me dead"). In this limbo of near death he reflects on his passing and describes Annie's tender ministrations to him ("She tenderly kissed me She fondly caressed me"). Thinking him dead, Annie weeps over his deathbed, allowing her hair to cascade over him ("drowned in a bath Of the tresses of Annie"). The poet reminds us that death awaits us, too "For man never slept in a different bed - And to sleep, you must slumber In just such a bed."\n\n"Thank Heaven! the crisis ---\nThe danger is past --,\nAnd the lingering illness\nIs over at last --\nAnd the fever called 'Living'\nIs conquered at last..."\n\n"For Annie" is preserved in at least 11 mostly printed sources, with numerous variant readings; for details see T.O. Mabbott, ed. Collected Works, 1:452-461. Provenance: John F. Fleming\n\nSadly, I know\nI am shorn of my strength,\nAnd no muscle I move\nAs I lie at full length ---\nBut no matter! -- I feel\nI am better at length.\n\nAnd I rest so composedly,\nNow, in my bed\nThat any beholder\nMight fancy me dead --\nMight start at beholding me,\nThinking me dead.\n\nThe moaning and groaning,\nThe sighing and sobbing,\nAre quieted now,\nWith that horrible throbbing\nAt heart: -- ah, that horrible,\nHorrible throbbing!\n\nThe sickness --- the nausea-\nThe pitiless pain --\nHave ceased, with the fever\nThat maddened my brain --\nWith the fever called 'Living'\nThat burned in my brain.\n\nAnd oh! of all tortures\nThat torture the worst\nHas abated -- the terrible\nTorture of thirst\nFor the naphthaline river\nOf Passion accurst: ---\nI have drunk of a water\nThat quenches all thirst: ----\n\nOf a water that flows,\nWith a lullaby sound,\nFrom a spring but a very few\nFeet under ground ---\nFrom a cavern not very far\nDown under ground.\n\nAnd ah! let it never\nBe foolishly said\nThat my room it is gloomy\nAnd narrow my bed;\nFor man never slept\nIn a different bed-\nAnd, to sleep, you must slumber\nIn just such a bed.