POCAHONTAS

1509

POETRY

the great volume of its waters; hence the commercial importance of such places as Piacenza and Turin, where there are the easiest fords.

Po'cahon'tas, daughter of the Indian chief Powhatan, was born about 1595. Her name has become famous for the part she is said to have played in saving the life of Captain John Smith in 1607. During one of Smith's exploring expeditions in Virginia he was taken prisoner by Powhatan, and his head laid on a log preparatory to having his brains beaten out by a club. At this juncture Pocahontas rushed between Smith and her father, and, placing her head on that of Smith, persuaded Powhatan to spare his life. Pocahontas married an Englishman named John Rolfe in 1614, and went to England with her husband two years later. After remaining in that country six or seven months, she embarked for Virginia, and died off Gravesend in March 1617.

Pod, the general name applied to dry and dehiscent fruits. A pod may be made up of one or more carpels. It is also used as the special name of a dry elongated fruit which consists of a single carpel, as in peas and beans. See Fruit.

Poe (pō), Edgar Allan, an American poet, was born at Boston, Jan. 19, 1809. His father and mother both dying in his infancy, he was adopted by John Allan, a rich and childless merchant of Richmond. In 1826 he entered the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, but, although a brilliant and successful student, he quitted the institution at the end of a year, deeply involved in debt through his passion for gaming. After remaining at home a year or more he expressed a desire to enter the military profession, and Mr. Allan secured his appointment as a cadet at West Point. Here he drank to excess and so neglected his duties that he was court-martialed and dismissed in 1831. He returned to Richmond and was kindly received by his foster-father, who had become a widower and married a second time. It is related that Poe's conduct toward Mrs. Allan was such that he had to be driven from the house. Whether this were the case or not, when Mr. Allan died in 1834, Poe was not mentioned in his will. Thus thrown upon his own resources for a livelihood, Poe devoted himself to literature. In 1833 the publisher of a Baltimore magazine offered prizes of $100 each for the best poem and the best story, both of which were won by Poe. About the same time he secured employment in connection with The Southern Literary Messenger at Richmond, and while there married his cousin, Virginia Clem, a beautiful and saintly girl only 14 years old, who died in 1848. In 1837 Poe moved to New York City, where he spent the next few years in various kinds of literary labor, 1845 being marked by the appearance of his

world-famous poem, The Raven (q. v.). In 1849 he visited Richmond. On the 4th of October he left Richmond for Baltimore, and a few hours after reaching the latter citv he was found insensible on the street and taken to an hospital, where he died two or three days later (Oct. 7, 1849). In all the sad records of genius there is hardly any such dark and disastrous career as that of Poe. But whatever may be said of his morals, his genius must be conceded to be of a high order. Small in quantity and limited in range as is his poetry, there is that in it which gives it a high place in American literature and will cause it to be read and admired by many generations. See Lives of Poe by Ingram, Gill, Woodberry and S. H. Whitman, and Stedman's Poets o/ America.

Po'etry. Poetry stands between prose and music, partaking somewhat of the nature of each. In the representation of particular things or the expression of definite thoughts it is nearer to prose. In general emotional suggestion it is nearer to music. Its material may be whatever is selected by the poet from the life of nature and of man. But the poet's conscious selection is also unconsciously influenced by his race, nation, generation and circumstances; by his peculiar traits of observation, appreciation, understanding, emotion and imagination; and by his personal ideals, purpose and impulse. Thus, as a product, poetry combines the most individual with the most general characteristics.

The particular manner of expression which we associate with poetry is the result of a selection since the earliest times of whatever has proved most generally pleasing in form. Even though a poet be highly gifted with beauty of utterance, he is not likely to depart greatly from this accumulated judgment of the past with regard to structure and style. The peculiarities which characterize poetic expression lie chiefly in vocabulary, meter and structure or general arrangement. The vocabulary selected by poetry is usually more heightened or emotional than that of prose. It often is more concise, and, in addition, for the sake of picturesqueness and intensity, it consciously seeks variations from the ordinary choice and arrangement of words, by the use of tropes, as the simile and metaphor, and of figures, as repetition and contrast. In meter, poetry makes use of the rhythm attained by the arrangement of accents so that they recur regularly, from three to six accents being usually found in each verse or line. For convenience of study the usual groupings of accented syllables with the unaccented syllables which immediately accompany them are considered as poetic feet or measures. The commonest feet in modern English verse are the iambus, the trochee, the anapest and the dactyl. The most frequently used is the iambus,