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A Valentine

1. A Valentine

Valentine’s Eve. 1846


For her these lines are penned, whose luminous eyes, 

Bright and expressive as the stars of Leda,  

Shall find her own sweet name that, nestling, lies 

Upon this page, enwrapped from every reader. 

Search narrowly these words, which hold a treasure 

Divine — a talisman, an amulet 

That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure — 

The words — the letters themselves. Do not forget 

The smallest 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 understand the plot. 

Upon the open page on which are peering 

Such sweet eyes now, there lies, I say, perdu

A musical name oft uttered in the hearing 

Of poets, by poets — for the name is a poet’s too. 

In common sequence set, the letters lying, 

Compose a sound delighting all to hear — 

Ah, this you’d have no trouble in descrying 

Were you not something, of a dunce, my dear — 

And now I leave these riddles to their Seer. 


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