Page:Edgar Allan Poe - how to know him.djvu/80

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60 EDGAR ALLAN POE �rine lore, the latent results of the gold-excitement in California, these appealed to Poe not so much in them- selves as through the enfolded sense of something greater yet to be. They were open doors rather than reservoirs. They were frontier subjects and out of each of them he wrought literature. �If he did not make literature out of the results of Bible discovery in Oriental lands, he at least left on record his familiarity with the subject and his prompt recognition of the part that such discoveries were des- tined to play in the interpretation of the Old and the New Testament. Though he did not live to greet any of the discoveries of Sir Henry Rawlinson, "the fa- ther of Assyriology," Poe's review of Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia, Petraa, and the Holy Land, by John Lloyd Stephens, the New Jersey lawyer, shows the spirit in which he would have welcomed the work of the great English Orientalist : �"Viewed only as one of a class of writings whose di- rect tendency is to throw light upon the Book of Books, it has strong claim upon the attention of all who read. While the vast importance of critical and philological research in dissipating the obscurities and determining the exact sense of the Scriptures cannot be too readily conceded, it may be doubted whether the collateral illustration derivable from records of travel be not deserving at least equal consideration. Cer- tainly the evidence thus afforded, exerting an enkin- dling influence upon the popular imagination, and so taking palpable hold upon the popular understanding, will not fail to become in time a most powerful because easily available instrument in the downfall of unbelief. ��� �