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Text: Edgar Allan Poe, "An Enigma [Sarah Anna Lewis]," Union Magazine of Literature and Art, March 1848, 2:130





[page 130:]

SONNET.

——
BY EDGAR A. POE.
——

[column 1:]

"SELDOM we find," says Solomon Don Dunce,
"Half an idea in the profoundest sonnet.
Through all the flimsy things we see at once
As easily as through a Naples bonnet —
Trash of all trash! — how can a lady don it?
Yet heavier far than your Petrarchan stuff —
Owl-downy nonsense that the faintest puff
Twirls into trunk-paper the while you con it."  [column 2:]
And, veritably, Sol is right enough.
The general Petrarchanities are arrant
Bubbles — ephemeral and so transparent —
But this is, now, — you may depend upon it —
Stable, opaque, immortal — all by dint
Of the dear names that lie concealed within 't.









Notes:

The hidden name in this poem is that of Sarah Anna Lewis. It is spelled with one letter on each line, the first letter of the first line "S", the second letter of the second line "a", the third letter of the third line "r", etc. In the following copy of the text, punctuation and spaces have been removed and the relevant letters marked in red to make the matter clear:

SeldomwefindsaysSolomonDonDunce      
Halfanideaintheprofoundestsonnet
Throughalltheflimsythingsweseeatonce
AseasilyasthroughaNaplesbonnet
Trashofalltrashhowcanaladydonit
YetheavierfarthanyourPetrarchanstuff
Owldownynonsensethatthefaintestpuff
Twirlsintotrunkpaperthewhileyouconit
AndveritablySolisrightenough
Thegeneraltuckermanitiesarearrant
Bubblesephemeralandsotransparent
Butthisisnowyoumaydependuponit
Stableopaqueimmortalallbydint
Ofthedearnamesthatlieconcealedwithint

The terms "Petrarchanies" and "Petrarchan" refer to Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374), an Italian poet famous for his sonnets







 
[S:1 - UM, 1848] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - An Enigma (A)