Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. Killis Campbell), “A Valentine,” The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, Ginn and Company, 1917, pp. 115-116


[page 115:]


FOR her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,

Brightly expressive as the twins of Lœda,

Shall find her own sweet name, that, nestling lies

Upon the page, enwrapped from every reader.


Search narrowly the lines! — they hold a treasure

Divine — a talisman — an amulet

That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure —

The words — the syllables! Do not forget

The trivialest point, or you may lose your labor!


And yet there is in this no Gordian knot

Which one might not undo without a sabre,

If one could merely comprehend the plot.

Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering

Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus


Three eloquent words oft uttered in the hearing

Of poets, by poets — as the name is a poet’s, too. [page 116:]

Its letters, although naturally lying

Like the knight Pinto — Mendez Ferdinando —


Still form a synonym for Truth. — Cease trying!

You will not read the riddle, though you do the best you can do.




[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 115:]

Title To Her Whose Name is Written Below (E. M.), A Valentine. To — — — (U. M.).

1 these lines are: this rhyme is (U.M., 1850).

2 Brightly: Bright and (E.M.); twins: stars (E. M.).

4 this: the (U.M., 1850).

5 this rhyme, which holds: these words which hold (E.M.), the lines! — they hold (U.M., 1850).

8 letters themselves: syllables (U. M., 1850).

9 trivialest: smallest (E.M.).

12 understand: comprehend (E. M., U. M., 1850).

13 Upon the open page on which are peering (E.M.); Enwritten upon the leaf where now are peering (U.M., 1850).

14 Such sweet eyes now, there lies, I say, perdu (E. M.); Eyes scintillating soul, there lie perdus (U.M., 1850).

15 A well-known name: A musical name (E.M.), Three eloquent words (U. M., 1850).

16 as: for (E.M.).

[The following variants appear at the bottom of page 116:]

17 In common sequence set, the letters lying (E.M.).

18-20 Instead of these lines, E.M. has the following:

Compose a sound delighting all to hear —

Ah, this you’d have no trouble in desaying

Were you not something of a dunce, my dear: —

And now I leave these riddles to their seer.







[S:0 - KCP, 1917] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - A Valentine (ed. K. Campbell, 1917)