Edgar Allan Poe — “A Valentine”


Reading and Reference Texts:

Reading copy:

  • “A Valentine” — reading copy


Historical Texts:

Manuscripts and Authorized Printings:

  • Text-01 — “To — — —” — February 13, 1846 — “Poe” manuscript — (Mabbott text A) (This is the first of Mabbott's two copy-texts) (On the leaf facing the poem, Poe has written, in ink, matching the text of the poem: “For Her Whose Name is Written Within” The title of “To — — —” is written in pencil, apparently as a kind of afterthought. The paper is embossed. Poe has also written the word “as” to replace “for,” probably as the first of several minor changes that occurred to him in reading it over again the next day.)
  • Text-02 — “To Her Whose Name is Written Below” — February 14, 1846
    • Text-02a — “To Her Whose Name is Written Below” — February 14, 1846 — (speculated faircopy draft manuscript, prepared and sent to N. P. Willis for the Evening Mirror. In making this copy for publication, Poe appears to have made several minor changes, which meant that he needed to write out another manuscript for presentation to Mrs. Osgood, with the newer text. This manuscript is not known to exist, but this version is presumably recorded in Text-02b.)
    • Text-02b — “To Her Whose Name is Written Below” — February 21, 1846 — Evening Mirror — (Mabbott text C)
  • Text-03 — “To ——” — February 14, 1846 — “Griswold/Sergeant” manuscript — (Poe apparently sent this manuscript to Mrs. Osgood, only to find out later that he had misspelled her middle name. The poem is written on the same embossed paper as for Text-01.) (The probable chain of ownership is that Poe sent the manuscript to Mrs. Osgood (1811-1850). It was kept by her until her death early in 1850. After her death, it was inherited by Rufus W. Griswold (1815-1857), who was her literary exectuor. Griswold's papers were left in the charge of George Henry Moore (1823-1892). After Moore died, Griswold's son, William McCrillis Griswold (1853-1899), petitioned New York for possession of what remained of his father's papers, a request that was granted. Although many of Griswold's papers were given to the Boston Public Library, several of the manuscripts were kept in the Griswold family, until they were eventually donated to Harvard.) (Mabbott text B)
  • Text-04 — “A Valentine” — before February 14, 1848 — (speculated copy of the Evening Mirror marked with revisions to correct Mrs. Osgood's middle name.)
  • Text-05 — “A Valentine” — Valentine's Eve [February 14] 1848 — revised “Griswold/Sargent” manuscript — (The probable chain of ownership is essentially the same as for Text-03.) (Mabbott text D)
  • Text-06 — “A Valentine” — about March 1848
    • Text-06a — “A Valentine” — about March 1848 — (speculated faircopy manuscript of the revised Text-04, prepared for publication in Sartain's Magazine. This manuscript is not known to exist, but this version is presumably recorded in Text-06b.)
    • Text-06b — “A Valentine” — March 1849 — Sartain's — (Mabbott text E)
  • Text-07 — “A Valentine” — about February 1849
    • Text-07a — “A Valentine” — about February 1849 — presumed second faircopy MS from Text-04, sent to the Flag of Our Union (Killis Campbell, in his edition of Poe's poems, p. 262, mentions “it is proper to note that the Flag text is nearer in several of its readings to the text of 1846 than is that of the Union Magazine .... Possibly Poe kept no copy of the text sent to the Union Magazine, and revised the poem anew (on the basis of the Mirror text) when he sent it to the Flag in 1849.” More specutively, and less convincingly, Campbell goes on to state “In the Flag text, owing probably to an oversight of the printer, the alternate lines are not indented.” Assuming that Poe wrote out a new manuscript, it is just as likely that he did not indent the lines. This manuscript is not known to exist, but this version is presumably recorded in Text-07b.)
    • Text-07b — “A Valentine” — March 3, 1849 — Flag of Our Union — (Mabbott text F)



  • “A Valentine” — March 3, 1849 — Portland Transcript  (reprinted from Sartain's)
  • “A Riddle for Somebody to Unriddle” — March 20, 1849 — Evening Mirror (NY)
  • “Ingenious Valentine” — March 28, 1849 — Daily Crescent (New Orleans, LA), vol. II, no. 28, p. 4, col. 1 (reprinted from Portland Transcript) (This entry was based on information provided by Ton Fafianie in an e-mail to the Poe Society on December 10, 2016)
  • A Valentine” — 1850 — WORKS — Griswold reprints Text-05, but probably from the MS of Text-04 (which came into his possession along with Poe's other material from Mrs. Clemm)  (Mabbott text G)  (This is the second of Mabbott's two copy-texts)
  • “A Valentine” — 1852 — Tales of Mystery and Imagination and Humour; and Poems, London: Henry Vizetelly (An undated edition appears about the same time, published by Charles H. Clark and Samuel Orchart Beeton, and their name appears as publisher for the second series), first series pp. 255-256. (with no woodcut illustration) (this poem was omitted in some later printings)
  • “To Her Whose Name Is Written Below” — June 1883 — Harper's New Monthly Magazine, vol. 67 whole no. 397, p. 161 (reprinting the Evening Mirror text of 1846, but without the solution) (Information for this entry was provided to the Poe Society by Ton Fafianie in an e-mail dated August 6, 2021.)
  • A Valentine” — 1875 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol 3: Poems and Essays, ed. J. H. Ingram, Edinburgh, Adam and Charles Black (3:23)
  • “A Valentine” — October 16, 1910 — Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, MD), vol. CXLVII, no. 153, p. 12, col. 7 (printed as part of an article about the discovery of a file of the Flag of Our Union, although mis-stated as being from 1847 rather than 1849, but with the correct year for the individual poems. The article implies that a new edition of the “Virginia Poe” edition was being planned by the publishers, although no new edition appeared.)


Scholarly and Noteworthy Reprints:

  • A Valentine” — 1894-1895 — The Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 10: Poems, ed. E. C. Stedman and G. E. Woodberry, Chicago: Stone and Kimball (10:82, and 10:192)
  • A Valentine” — 1902 — The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 7: Poems, ed. J. A. Harrison, New York: T. Y. Crowell (10:115, and 10:217)
  • A Valentine” — 1911 — The Complete Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. J. H. Whitty, Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co. (p. 73, and pp. 238-240)
  • A Valentine” — 1917 — The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Killis Campbell, Boston: Ginn and Company (pp. 115-116, and pp. 261-264)
  • “A Valentine” — 1965 — The Poems of Edgar Allan Poe, ed. Floyd Stovall, Charlottesville: The University Press of Virginia (p. 101, and pp. 267-270)
  • A Valentine” — 1969 — The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 1: Poems, ed. T. O. Mabbott, Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (1:386-391)  (Mabbott gives two texts)
  • “A Valentine” — 1984 — Edgar Allan Poe: Poetry and Tales, ed. Patrick F. Quinn (New York: Library of America) (p. 86) (reprints Text-05)


Comparative and Study Texts:

Instream Comparative and Study Texts:

  • None


Associated Material and Special Versions:

Miscellaneous Texts and Related Items:

  • “Zum St. Valentinstage” — 1862 — Lieder und Balladenbuch amerikanischer und englischer Dichter der Gegenwart, Hamburg: Hoffman and Campe, pp. 55-56 (translation by Adolf Strodtmann. This entry was provided to the Poe Society by Ton Fafianie, in an e-mail dated October 11, 2018, noting about the acrostic nature of the poem: “it was an amazing feat as Strodtmann managed to get all the letters at the right place, without doing much harm to the spirit of the poem.”)
  • Carte de la Saint-Valentin” — dated 2009, but available in late 2008 — Poèmes d‘Edgar Allan Poe, Paris: Publibook (translation by Jean Hautepierre)



  • Heartman, Charles F. and James R. Canny, A Bibliography of First Printings of the Writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Hattiesburg, MS: The Book Farm, 1943.
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, “Allusions to a Spanish Joke in Poe's ‘A Valentine’,” Notes & Queries, September 14, 1939, 169:189
  • Mabbott, Thomas Ollive, ed., The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (Vol 1 Poems), Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1969.


[S:0 - JAS] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - A Valentine