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“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 he concealed within't.
Source: The Best of Poe: Literary Touchstone Classic, ©2005 Prestwick House. All Rights Reserved. Full copyright.
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.
Naples – a city in Italy
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
veritably – actually
tuckermanities – refers to the works of author Henry Tuckerman. Tuckerman was the editor of a literary journal that rejected The Tell-Tale Heart.
ephemeral – fleeting
opaque – difficult to understand