It's the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe, (books by this author) born in Boston in 1809. When he was two, both his parents died from tuberculosis, and Edgar was taken in by a wealthy tobacco merchant named John Allan, and Edgar Poe became Edgar Allan Poe. He went to the University of Virginia, and for years he was in and out of the Army and West Point, publishing several books of poems, including Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems (1829). He started writing short stories as well, and we remember him for many of those gothic horror stories, like "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Fall of the House of Usher."
But Poe lived most of his life in poverty and sometimes in misery. He would work and work on a poem only to sell it to a newspaper for a few dollars. In 1836, Poe married his 14-year-old cousin, Virginia Clemm. She was sick with tuberculosis, and they had no money to pay for heat so Poe trained their cat to sit on her lap to keep her warm. Virginia's mother lived with the couple as well, and Poe was trying to care for them both with almost no money. When he did get money, he often spent it on alcohol. His biggest problem was that he wasn't paid enough money for what he wrote; in 1845, he sold the poem "The Raven" to a newspaper for $15.
lifted from The Writer's Almanac
Sancta Maria! turn thine eyes -
Upon the sinner's sacrifice,
Of fervent prayer and humble love,
From thy holy throne above.
At morn - at noon - at twilight dim -
Maria! thou hast heard my hymn!
In joy and wo - in good and ill -
Mother of God, be with me still!
When the Hours flew brightly by,
And not a cloud obscured the sky,
My soul, lest it should truant be,
Thy grace did guide to thine and thee;
Now, when storms of Fate o'ercast
Darkly my Present and my Past,
Let my Future radiant shine
With sweet hopes of thee and thine!