And you know what that means.
Yes, friends, it’s time for another round of Victorian Valentine’s verses from my two favorite sources: Hymen’s Rhapsodies (for gentlemen), and The Lady’s Own Fashionable Valentine’s Writer (for the ladies, obviously).
I realize I’ve been neglecting the blog for a while–I should probably just admit that winter depresses me and I can’t blog until spring and have done with it. But today it’s Valentine’s Day, and spring isn’t far off, so things are looking up. Today, in honor of this uncharacteristic optimism, I am featuring only happy verses. We’ll start off with a short and sweet one:
Always to me you have been very kind,
Believe in kindness I don’t lag behind,
Eager I seek such feelings to repay,
Love you I must,—to marry won’t say nay.
Aww. I hope he says yes.
Are you inclined to join in Hymen’s throng,
Leave other strains, make me your only song,
For better or for worse a wife to take,
Resigned to love, resolved no more to rake;
Eftsoons, in that case, with you I combine,
Delighted much to be your Valentine.
(Eftsoons, by the way, means “soon afterwards.”)
Dear youth, believe my heart’s long been your own,
As all my actions have too clearly shown;
No secret of my love I wish to make,
Indeed, ’tis your advice I wish to take,
Early or late your wishes still are mine,
List:–I announce you as my Valentine.
One hopes Daniel is equally ready to announce…
Guess, if you can, who sends this letter,
Early or late you’ll ﬁnd few better;
One thing I’m ready to admit,
Receive the news as you think ﬁt
Great love for you I entertain,
Either return it, or life’s vain.
It’s never a bad idea to start a romance with an ultimatum, right?
Long have I wished that I your love possest,
Expose I must the secret of my breast,
With hand and heart I fain would be your wife,
Inclined to think we’d live without much strife,
Secure to pass a happy, merry life.
And on to the gentlemen:
To a Lady with a Fortune
SINCE fortune on thee, fair, has smil’d,
Be not puff’d up and vain!
Let not my offer be revil’d,
Nor treated with disdain.
Thy hand I seek, and not thy purse,
Then prove thyself divine;
Oh, take, for better or for worse,
Thy humble Valentine.
A for effort, but no.
To a Lady of Distinction.
MY Valentine ne’er shall have cause to regret
The conduct which true love enforces;
No pains and no penalties ever shall threat,
And nothing but Death shall divorce us.
All titles and treasures I’d gladly resign,
To be my dear charmer’s approv’d Valentine.
To a Lady who had been lately Visited.
I HAD a dream last night,
When soft repose was mine—
I saw, with my mind’s sight,
A lovely Valentine.
That Valentine did seem
To be thyself divine—
Then realize the dream,
And be my Valentine !
Realize the dream!
‘Tis customary on this day,
For us a compliment to pay;
I therefore do to thee assign,
The title of my Valentine.
This seeming liberty I take,
Believe me not for custom’s sake;
Still doth my constant heart incline,
To thee my dearest Valentine.
It is the language of that heart,
Which now I candidly impart;
No formal words, precise and fine,
Unworthy of my Valentine.
Believe me, oh, thou charming fair,
The language of the heart’s sincere;
Then do not love for love decline,
But be my faithful Valentine.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.