A Valentine

by Edgar Allan Poe
(published 1850)


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For her this rhyme is penned, whose luminous eyes,
     Brightly expressive as the twins of Leda,
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 perdu,
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.

Poe wrote this poem for a specific person. The woman's name is hidden within the text. Can you find it? Hint: its an acrostic. If you give up, here's the solution.


Gordian knot:
The Gordian knot is a legend where Alexander the Great tried to untie a complicated knot and when he couldn't solve the puzzle, sliced it in half with his sword.
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Mendez Ferdinando:
Fernão Mendes Pinto was a Portuguese explorer and writer born in 1509. The stories he wrote of his life were so unusual and exaggerated that they were not believed. The Portuguese expression, "Fernão, Mentes? Minto!" makes fun of his name. It means, "Fernão, do you lie? Yes, I lie!"
Brilliantly clever, stimulating, or witty
twins of Leda:
In Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux were twins born of Leda and fathered by Zeus, who disguised himself as a swan and seduced her. The twins are also the two brightest stars in the Gemini constellation.