Frances "Fanny" Osgood was born this day in 1811. An accomplished, well-known writer herself, she carried on a brief public flirtation with Poe — while both were still married. She was among the most popular women writers of her generation, dabbling both in poetry and in short prose. Her connection to Poe, though short-lived, became infamous. Her relationship with Poe's critical rival Rufus Griswold may have also led to friction between the two men, ultimately resulting in Griswold's character assassination of Poe beginning in 1849. Osgood herself died shortly after Poe's death; she had struggled with tuberculosis for years. In 1850, a posthumous edition of her works was published. One of the poems included in that collection was "Old Friends". It's an unusual one; much of her work is stereotypically feminine with particular emphasis on flowers. This one is about a dying man whose faithful dog clings to his side:
Cold blows the bleak wind around the long stranger,
Wild beat the snows in his thin waving hair,
One only true friend,—his old faithful Ranger,
Clings to his side in the wintry despair.
Sad and forsaken, his heart throbbing slowly,
His limbs numb'd and aching, his eyes dim with tears,
Back steals remembrance, with grief sweet and holy,
Back steals remembrance to happier years.
One only true friend, his old faithful Ranger,
Clings to his side in his wintry despair;
Wild blows the bleak wind around the lone stranger,
Drear drifts the snow in his thin waving hair.
Hunger and age, they have done their work drearily,
Yet is the forest tree grand in its fall;
Faith and affection, still gleaming out cheerily,
Like the sun, o'er the scene, halo it all.
Today also marks the anniversary of the world debut of Roger Corman's film House of Usher in 1960. A master of the B-movie, Corman took major advantage of Poe's name (much less than his actual works) to spit out a series of extremely loose adaptations of Poe's work beginning with House of Usher. Vincent Price made an appearance in all but one of them, including House of Usher. The one in which Price is conspicuously absent, The Premature Burial, is (coincidentally?) my personal favorite. Other Corman/Price collaborations include The Pit and the Pendulum and The Masque of the Red Death. All were very low budget but attracted decent audiences — and still do, to this day. Regardless of what you think of them, Poe's sudden surge in popularity in the 1960s is nothing to be ashamed of.