Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “A Valentine” (Text-04), revised “Griswold/Sargent” manuscript, February 1848


A Valentine.

By Edgar A. Poe.

To —— —— ——

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 these 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.

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.

Valentine’s Eve, 1848.



This valentine was written for Frances Sargent Osgood. Mrs. Osgood’s full name is spelled with one letter on each line, the first letter of the first line (“F”), the second letter of the second line (“r”), the third letter of the third line (“a”), etc. In the original version, Poe accidentally misspelled her middle name as “Sergeant” Poe took care to correct that error here. The manuscript was reproduced in facsimile by George E. Woodberry in The Life of Edgar Allan Poe: Personal and Literary, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1909, II, between pages 182 and 183.


[S:2 - MS, 1848 (fac, 1909)] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - A Valentine [Text-04]