Francis Saltus Saltus
Born in 1849 in New York City, he was the elder half-brother of once popular but now relatively obscure novelist Edgar Saltus. He was educated at Columbia University and later at the Roblot Institution in Paris. Saltus was the leader of a group of bohemians in New York, including his brother Edgar and the young James Huneker, which met at Billy Moulds' bar in Manhattan's University Place; they were fond of absinthe and had "a taste for anything exotic". Van Wyck Brooks remarked that the unhappy Saltus "looked like a Greek god gone to ruin, partly as a result of the absinthe that he drank to excess". His verse reflects a refined, erotic and decadent temperament similar to that of his brother, inspired primarily by Edgar Allan Poe, Théophile Gautier (of whom he was a student) and Charles Baudelaire. He was praised by influential editor William Marion Reedy as an 'American Baudelaire' whose verse had "the perfume of exquisite sadness." Able to converse in ten languages, Saltus also wrote poems in Italian, German and French.
He was a frequent contributor to American and international periodicals, such as Town Topics. A talented musician, he wrote four comic operas and much musical criticism. Much of his humorous, commercial work was written under the pseudonym Cupid Jones. Saltus wrote and edited a comic paper entitled the Thistle in the 1870s, the entire contents of which were written by him and signed with various pseudonyms. After an illness lasting several weeks, he died at midnight on June 24 of 1889 at the Riverside Sanitarium in Tarrytown, aged thirty-nine and was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Saltus' father, Francis H. Saltus, edited a four-volume edition of his poetical works after his death. Saltus left behind a good deal of unpublished material, including "five thousand lyrics for posthumous publication" and several musical biographies, including a life of Gaetano Donizetti which was never published.
- Honey and Gall (1873)
- Shadows and Ideals (1890)
- The Witch of En-dor and Other Poems (1891)
- Dreams after Sunset (1892)
- Flasks and Flagons, Pastels and Profiles, Vistas and Landscapes (1892)
- The Bayadere and Other Sonnets (1894)
- Fact and Fancy (1895)
- The Bookmart: Volume Seven, June, 1889 to May, 1890. Page 95.
- Vechten, Carl Van. Excavations: a Book of Advocacies. Page 95. Ayer Publishing, 1971.
- Stedman, Edmund Clarence (editor). An American Anthology, 1787-1900. Page 819. Houghton Mifflin, 1900.
- Morris, Lloyd R. Incredible New York. Page 177. Ayer Publishing, 1975.
- Brooks, Van Wyck. The Confident Years, 1885-1915. Page 3. Dutton, 1955.
- Huneker, James. Steeplejack. Page 12. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1920.
- Putzel, Max. J. The Man in the Mirror: William Marion Reedy and His Magazine. Page 44. University of Missouri Press, 1998.
- The Bookman: an Illustrated Magazine of Literature and Life: Volume XXII, September, 1905-February 1906. Page 82.
- The New York Times: Obituary, Page 5. June 26, 1889.
- Crandall, Charles Henry (editor). Representative Sonnets by American Poets. Page 342. Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1890.
- Selected Works by Francis Saltus at Poets' Corner
- Absinthe related poems by Francis Saltus at Absinthe.se