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On paper curiously shaped
Scribblers to-day of every sort,
In verses Valentines ycled'd
To Venus chime their annual court.
I too will swell the motley throng,
And greet the all auspicious day,
Whose privilege permits my song
My love this secret to convey.
- Henry G. Bohn,
Manuscript--From his Dictionary of Poetical Quotations--Valentines
For this was on St. Valentine's Day,
When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.
- Geoffrey Chaucer, The Parlement of Fowles
Muse, bid the Morn awake!
Sad Winter now declines,
Each bird doth choose a mate;
This day's Saint Valentine's.
For that good bishop's sake
Get up and let us see
What beauty it shall be
That Fortune us assigns.
- Michael Drayton,
Additional Odes--To his Valentine
Oft have I heard both youths and virgins say,
Birds chuse their mates and couple too this day:
But by their flight I never can devine
When I shall couple with my valentine.
- Robert Herrick,
To his Valentine, on St. Valentine's Day
Oh, cruel heart! ere these posthumous papers
Have met thine eyes, I shall be out of breath;
Those cruel eyes, like two funereal tapers,
Have only lighted me the way to death.
Perchance thou wilt extinguish them in vapours,
When I am gone, and green grass covereth
Thy lover, lost; but it will be in vain--
It will not bring the vital spark again.
- Thomas Hood, A Valentine
No popular respect will I omit
To do the honour on this happy day,
When every loyal lover tasks his wit
His simple truth in studious rhymes to pay,
And to his mistress dear his hopes convey.
Rather thou knowest I would still outrun
All calendars with Love's whose date alway
Thy bright eyes govern better than the Sun,--
For with thy favour was my life begun,
And still I reckon on from smiles to smiles,
And not by summers, for I thrive on none
But those thy cheerful countenance compiles;
Oh! if it be to choose and call thee mine,
Love, thou art every day my Valentine!
- Thomas Hood,
Sonnet--For the 14th of February
Hail to thy returning festival, old Bishop Valentine! Great is thy name in the rubric, Thou venerable flamen of Hymen. . . . Like unto thee, assuredly, there is no other mitred father in the calendar.
- Charles Lamb (used pseudonym Elia),
Apollo has peeped through the shutter,
And awaken'd the witty and fair;
The boarding-school belle's in a flutter,
The twopenny post's in despair;
The breath of the morning is flinging
A magic on blossom and spray,
And cockneys and sparrows are singing
In chorus on Valentine's day.
- Winthrop Mackworth Praed,
Song for 14th of February
Saint Valentine is past.
Begin these woodbirds but to couple now?
- William Shakespeare,
A Midsummer Night's Dream
(Theseus at IV, i)
To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day.
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
- William Shakespeare,
Hamlet Prince of Denmark
(Ophelia at IV, v)
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