"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.
"And, veritably, Sol is right enough.
The general tuckermanities 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.
= Jeff Trescott
Enigma “ There is a code within this poem in which the actual enigma is hidden.
One letter in each line is used to spell out the name of Sarah Anna Lewis.
She was a minor poet, but Poe described one of her poems as œinexpressibly beautiful.
To solve the enigma, follow the lines downward: The first letter of the first line is S;
the second letter of the second line is a; r is the third letter of the third line, etc.
Solomon Don Dunce “ This name was made up by Poe, probably to juxtapose the
wisdom of the Solomon first name with the foolishness of the last name, Dunce.
Petrarchan “ relating to Francesco Petrarca (1304 “ 1374), an Italian poet.
Usually, poems of this type, including An Enigma, refer to a love that is unattainable.
con “ to study
tuckermanities “ refers to the works of author Henry Tuckerman. Tuckerman was
the editor of a literary journal that rejected The Tell-Tale Heart.