Rosy Valentine's poetry books included some barbs

| January 2006

Rosy Valentine's poetry books included some barbs

Ah, February, that season of smiles and that time for those sweet nothings of love. Expectations have always run high on Valentine's Day. The trouble is, how are we to prepare for these expectations?

In the early 19th century, when giving valentines was a relatively novel practice, small booklets called 'Valentine Writers' were available. They were filled with flowery lines ready to be transcribed and posted to one's intended love. Then, one would just wait, hoping that it would be favorably received and that a reply would be forthcoming in kind. But the publishers of the booklets provided the sender a hint of what might be in store if the valentine wasn't kindly received.

Some of the booklets could be quite gentle and sympathetic toward the feelings of those involved, such as this example that was first published in London:

From a Gentleman.

As I lay musing on my bed,
A heavy thought came in my head,
Up I got and thought it time
To send my love a Valentine.

This Valentine to you I send,
And hope that to my suit you'll bend;
So favourably receive this line,
And be my constant Valentine.

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