Edgar Allan Poe

An Enigma

"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. 

spoken = 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.