Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Puzzles Again,” Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, vol. 4, no. 11, March 11, 1840, p. 2, col. 3


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[page 2, column 3, continued:]

PUZZLES AGAIN!

Our friend J. R. H., of Philadelphia, will excuse us for saying that he has not, even yet, complied with our conditions, which provided that the arbitrary characters were to be used as the alphabetical ones are. In the present instance he has made no divisions between his words — running them all together. But lest he should think we cannot decypher what he sends, and especially in order that he may win his bet upon our infallibility, we now give the translation without more ado. It runs thus:

If music be the food of love, play on;

Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken and so die.

That strain again! — it had a dying fall.

O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet south

That breathes upon a bank of violets

Stealing and giving odor enough! no more!

‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.

O spirit of love, how quick and fresh art thou,

That, notwithstanding thy capacity

Receiveth as the sea, nought enters thee

Of what validity and pitch soever

But falls into abatement and low price

Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy

That it alone is high fantastical.

A correspondent who signs his initials L. R. G., of Philadelphia, but whom we strongly suspect, by his MS., to be a Mr. H., of our acquaintance, writes us as follows:

These puzzles you may see by analysis to be genuine. If you can’t resolve them, you will have to give up.” We must say to L. R. G. that we stipulated for English, and that the annexed affair (which are the translations of his cypher) can scarcely come under that denomination. We give the spelling as our correspondent gives it — evidently with the design of bothering us.

PRAYER

THE CHILD’S FOR AN ABSENT FATHER.

My father’s gone away,

A wish he would come home.

A do not like to have him stay

Where a can’t see him every day.

Ma yhen yill father come home.

One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.

————

To our correspondent in Bedford, Lower Canada. Your cypher is thus read:

“Mrs. Hopkins told me that she heard Green’s wife say that John Glacrie’s wife told her that Fanny Hopkins heard the Widow Washam say that Captain Weed’s wife thought Colonel Hodgkin’s sister Nel lied — that old Miss Quins reckoned that Mrs. Samuel Dunham had told Spalding’s wife that she heard John Min’s daughter say that her mother told her that old Miss Finns heard grandmother Cool declare that it was an undoubted fact.”

It would be a satisfaction to us if our enigmatical friends whose cyphers we have fairly decyphered would make acknowledgment to that effect.

 


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Notes:

This item was first attributed to Poe by Clarence S. Brigham in Edgar Allan Poe’s Contributions to Alexander’s Weekly Messenger, 1943, pp. 55-56.

 

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[S:0 - AWM, 1840] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Misc. - Puzzles Again