Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

FLORAL DIRECTORY,

young persons, little is known, except Polyanthus. Primula polyantha. that he was a priest of Rome, and marDedicated to St. Catherine de Ricci. tyred there about 270.

It was a custom with the ancient RoFebruary 14.

man youth to draw the names of girls in VALENTINE'S DAY.

honour of their goddess Februata-Juno St. Valentine. St. Maro, A. D. 433. which certain Roman catholic pastors

on the 15th of February, in exchange for St. Abraames, A. D. 422. St. Ar

substituted the names of saints in billets gentius, 5th Cent. St. Conran, Bishop given the day before, namely, on the 14th of Orkney.

of February St. Valentine. Of this saint, so celebrated among

[graphic]

Where can the postman be, I say?
lle ought to fly-on such a day !
Of all days in the year, you kuow,
It's monstrous rude to be so slow :
The fellow's so erceeding stupid-

llark!-there he is !-oh! the dear Cupid ! Two hundred thousand letters beyond that's the way to reckon.” “ Ah, my ihe usual daily average, annually pass child, that's not the way to reckon; you through the twopenny post-office in Lon- have taken something into the account that don on St. Valentine's Day. “ Two has no business there : all Valentinehundred thousand twopences,” said an writers are not in love, nor are all lovers old gentleman as he read this in a March Valentine-writers; and remember, my newspaper, are four hundred thousand dear girl, that as smiles on the face somepence,"—and he was going to cast up the times conceal cruel dispositions, so there amount_“Why, papa," said his daughter, are some who write Valentines, and trifle “ that's just the number of young folks with hearts for the mere pleasure of inthere must be in love with each other— ficting pain." "I will show you what I

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

mean," said the old gentleman, and tak "Well now, this is capital !” exclaimed ing a paper from a drawer, he held up the laughing lass. “ After such a Valenthis exemplification :

tine, you must take the hint, my dear sir : it's really a shame that so good-natured a man should remain a bachelor. I recollect, that when I could only just run about, you used to be so kind to me; besides, how you dandled and played with me! and since then, how you have read to me and instructed me till I grew up! Such a man is the very man to be married : you are every way domestic, and it's settled ; you must get married.”—“Well, then, will you have me?" he inquired, with a cheerful laugh. “ I have you? No! Why, you

are too old; but not too old to find a Just then an unmarried gentleman, wife: there are many ladies whom we " of a certain age," entered the room. know, of your age, wholly disengaged; On becoming acquainted with the topic, but you don't pay them any particular he drew from his pocket a small packet, attention." Her father interposed; and and said, with a merry smile, “Here was the gentleman she addressed playfully my Valentine." It contained a rib of said, “ It is a little hard, indeed, that I some small animal completely enveloped should have these fine compliments and with white satin ribbon, ornamented by severe reproaches at the same time: howa true lover's knot at each end, and ano- ever,” taking her by the hand, you will ther in the middle. Father and daughter understand, that it is possible I may have both had a laugh at the “old bachelor," paid particular attention to a lady at an and he, laughing with them, put into the age when the affections are warmer ; I young lady's hand the poetical address did; and I reconciled myself to rejection that accompanied his rib:

by courting my books and the pleasures Go contemplate this lovely sign!

of solitude-
Haste thee away to reason's shrine,

Hast thou been ever waking
And listen to her voice ;

From slumbers soft and light,
No more illusive shades pursue,

And heard sweet music breaking
To happiness this gives the clue,

The stillness of the night;
Make but a prudent choice.

When all thy soul was blending
'Till Adam had a partner given,

With that delightful strain,
Much as fair Eden bloom'd like heaven,
His bliss was incomplete;

And night her silence lending

To rivet fancy's chain ;
No social friend those joys to share,
Gave the gay scene a vacant air !

Then on a sudden pausing,
She came'twas all replete.

Those strains have ceas'd to plav

A painful absence causing
And could not genuine Paradise,

Of-bliss that died away!
The most extensive wish suffice,
Its guiltless lord possest?

So from my soul has vanish'd
No-not without a kindred mate;

The dream of youthful days;
How then in this degen'rate state,

So Hope and Love are banish’d,

And Truth her pow'r displays.
Can man, alone be blest?
But now the Muse withdraws her aid;
Enough, thy folly to upbraid;

The origin of so pleasant a day, the
Enough to make thee wise :

first pleasant day in the year, whether its No more of pensive hours complain,

season be regarded, or the mode of its No more, that all life's joys are vain, celebration, requires some little invesIf thou this hint despise.

tigation; nor must some of its past and Feb. 13, 182—.

A Friend. present usages be unrecorded here.

St. Valentine's Morning.
Hark! through the sacred silence of the night

Loud chanticleer doth sound his clarion shrill,
Hailing with song the first pale gleam of light

Which floats the dark brow of yon eastern bill.

[graphic]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

see comes.

Bright star of morn, oh! leave not yet the wave

To deck the dewy frontlet of the day;
Nor thou, Aurora, quit Tithonus' cave,

Nor drive retiring darkness yet away.
Ere these my rustic hands a garland twine,

Ere yet my tongue endite a single song,
For her I mean to hail my Valentine,

Sweet maiden, fairest of the virgin throng. Dodsley's Miscell. Attend we upon Elia. Hark, how perfect simplicity of feeling, “Madam, triumphantly that noble herald of the my liver and fortune are entirely at your college of kindness proclaims the day! disposal;' or putting a delicate question,

“ Hail to thy returning festival, old Amanda, have you a midriff to bestow?' Bishop Valentine! Great is thy name in But custom has settled these things, and the rubric, thou venerable arch-flamen of awarded the seat of sentiment to the Hymen! Immortal Go-between! who and aforesaid triangle, while its less fortunate what manner of person art thou? Art neighbours wait at animal and anatomical thou but a name, typifying the restless distance. principle which impels poor humans to “ Not many sounds in life, and I inseek perfection in union? or wert thou clude all urban and all rural sounds, exindeed a mortal preiate, with thy tippet ceed in interest a knock at the door. It and thy rochet, thy apron on, and decent gives a very echo to the throne where lawn sleeves ? Mysterious personage! like Hope is seated.' But its issues seldom onto thee, assuredly, there is no other answer to this oracle within. It is so mitred father in the calendar. Thou seldom that just the person we want to coinest attended with thousands and ten

But of all the clamorous thousands of little Loves, and the air is visitations, the welcomest in expectation Brush'd with the hiss of rustling wings;

is the sound that ushers in, or seems to

usher in, a Valentine. As the raven himsinging Cupids are thy choristers, and thy self was hoarse that announced the fatal precentors; and instead of the crosier entrance of Duncan, so the knock of the the mystical arrow is borne before thee. postman on this day is light, airy, confi

“ In other woids, this is the day on dent, and befitting one that bringeth which those charming little missives, good tidings.' It is less mechanical than ycleped Valentines, cross and intercross on other days; you will say, 'That is not each other at every street and turning. the post, I am sure.' Visions of Love, of The weary and all for-spent twoperiny Cupids, of Hymens, and all those depostman sinks beneath a load of delicate lightful, eternal common-places, which embarrassments, not his own. It is having been, will always be ;' which no scarcely credible to what an extent this schoolboy nor schoolman can write away; ephemeral courtship is carried on in this having their irreversible throne in the loving town, to the great enrichment of fancy and affections; what are your transporters, and detriment of knockers and ports, when the happy maiden, opening bell-wires. In these little visual inter with careful finger, careful not to break pretations, no emblem is so common as

the emblematic seal, bursts upon the sight ihe heart,--that little three-cornered ex of some well-designed allegory, some porent of all our hopes and fears,—the type, some youthful fancy, not without bestuck and bleeding heart; it is twisted verses and tortured into more allegories and

Lovers all, affectations than an opera-hat. What

A madrigal, authority we have in history or mythology or some such device, not over abundant for placing the head-quarters and metro in sense-young Love disclaims it,-and polis of god Cupid in this anatomical seat not quite silly-something between wind rather than in any other, is not very clear; and water, a chorus where the sheep out we have got it, and it will serve as might almost join the shepherd, as they well as any other thing Else we might did, or as I apprehend they did, in Areasily imagine, upon some other system cadia. which might have prevailed for any thing “ All Valentines are not foolish, and I which our pathology knows to the con shall not easily forget thine, my kind trary, a lover addressing his mistress, in friend (if I may have leave to call you

$0) E. B.-E. B. lived opposite a young “ Good morrow to my Valentine, sings maiden, whom he had often seen, unseen, poor Ophelia ; and no better wish, but from his parlour window in C-6-street. with better auspices, we wish to all faithShe was all joyousness and innocence, ful lovers, who are not too wise to despise and just of an age to enjoy receiving a old legends, but are content to rank Valentine, and just of a temper to bear themselves humble diocesans with old the disappointment of missing one with Bishop Valentine, and his true church.” good humour. E. B. is an artist of no common powers; in the fancy parts of designing, perhaps inferior to none; his Mr. Douce, whose attainments include name is known at the bottom of many a more erudition concerning the origin and well-executed vignette in the way of his progress of English customs than any profession, but no further ; for E. B. is other antiquarian possesses, must be remodest, and the world meets nobody ferred to upon this occasion. He obhalf-way. E. B. meditated how he could serves, in his “ Illustrations of Shakrepay this young maiden for many a fa- speare," concerning St. Valentine's day, your which she had done him unknown; that “it was the practice in ancient for, when a kindly face greets us, though Rome, during a great part of the month but passing by, and never knows us of February, to celebrate the Lupercalia, again, nor we it, we should feel it as an which were feasts in honour of Pan and obligation; and E. B. did. This good · Juno, whence the latter deity was named artist set himself at work to please the Februata, Februalis, and Februlla. On damsel. It was just before Valentine's this occasion, amidst a variety of cereday three years since. He wrought un- monies, the names of young women were seen, and unsuspected, a wondrous work. put into a box, from which they were We need not say it was on the finest gilt drawn by the men as chance directed. paper with borders-full, not of common The pastors of the early christian church, hearts and heartless allegory, but all the who by every possible means endeavoured prettiest stories of love from Ovid, and to eradicate the vestiges of pagan superolder poets than Ovid (for E. B. is a stitions, and chiefly by some commutascholar.) There was Pyramus and Thisbe, tions of their forms, substituted, in the and be sure Dido was not forgot, nor present instance, the names of particular Hero and Leander, and swans more than saints instead of those of the women , sang in Cayster, with mottoes and fanci- and as the festival of the Lupercalia had fal devices, such as beseemed,-a work commenced about the middle of February, in short of magic. Iris dipt the woof. they appear to have chosen St. Valentine's This on Valentine's eve he commended day for celebrating the new feast, because to the all-swallowing indiscriminate ori- it occurred nearly at the same time. This fice-(0, ignoble trust!)—of the common is, in part, the opinion of a learned and post; but the humble medium did its rational compiler of the Lives of the duty, and from his watchful stand, the Saints,' the Rev. Alban Butler. It should next morning, he saw the cheerful mes seem, however, that it was utterly impossenger knock, and by and by the precious sible to extirpate altogether any ceremony charge delivered. He saw, unseen, the to which the common people had been happy girl unfold the Valentine, dance much accustomed : a fact which it were about, clap her hands, as one after one easy to prove in tracing the origin of the pretty emblems unfolded themselves. various other popular superstitions. And She danced about, not with light love, or accordingly the outline of the ancient foolish expectations, for she had no lover; ceremonies was preserved, but modified or, if she had, none she knew that could by some adaptation to the christian syshave created those bright images which tem. It is reasonable to suppose that delighted her. It was more like some the above practice of choosing mates fairy present; a God-send, as our famili- would gradually become reciprocal in the arly pious ancestors termed a benefit sexes; and that all persons so chosen received, where the benefactor was un would be called Valentines, from the day known. It would do her no harm. It on which the ceremony took place.” would do her good for ever after. It is Leaving intermediary facts to the cugood to love the unknown. I only give rious inquirer, we come immediately 10 this as a specimen of E B., and his mo a few circumstances and sayings from dest way of doing a concealed kindaess. grave authors and gay poets respecting

this festival, as it is observed in our own the coming pleasures of the cheerful country. It is recorded as a rural tradi. spring. Lydgate, the monk of Bury, tion, that on St. Valentine's day each bird who died in 1440, and is described by of the air chooses its mate; and hence it Warton to have been“ not only the poet is presumed, that our homely ancestors, of his monastery, but of the world in in their lusty youth, adopted a practice general,” has a poem in praise of queene which we still find peculiar to a season Catherine, consort to Henry V., wherein when nature bursts its imprisonments for he says :

Seynte Valentine. Of custome yeere by yeere

Men have an usaunce, in this regioun,
To Joke and serche Cupides kalendere,

And chose theyr choyse, by grete afteccioun;

Such as ben move with Cupides mocioun,
Takyng theyre choyse as theyr sort doth falle :

But I love oon whiche excellith alle. Chaucer imagines “ Nature the vicare happiest of living things at this season, of the Almightie Lord,” to address the the birds, thus :

Foules, take hede of my sentence I pray,

And for your own ease in fordring of your need,

As fast as I may speak I will me speed:
Ye know well, how on St. Valentine's day

By my statute and through my governaunce,
Ye doe chese your Makes, and after flie away

With hem as I move you with pleasaunce
· Saint Valentine, thou art full high on loft,
Which drivest away the long nightès black,
Thus singen smalle foules for thy sake,
Will have they cause for to gladden oft,
Since each of them recovered hath his Make:

Full blissful may they sing, when they awake,
Our young readers are informed, that Then all the jocund scene declines,
the word “ make" in Chaucer, now ob Nor woods nor meads delight;
solete, signified mate.

The drooping tribe in secret pines, Jago, a poet, who, if he has not soared And mourns th' unwelcome sight. to greatness, has at least attained to the Go, blissful warblers ! timely wise, easy versification of agreeable, and some Th' instructive moral tell; times higher feelings, has left us a few Nor thou their meaning lays despise, stanzas, which harmonize with the sup My charming Annabelle ! positions of Chaucer :

Old John Dunton's “ British Apollo" St. Valentine's Day.

sings a question and answer: The tuneful choir in amorous strains

Why. Valentine's a day to choose
Accost their feathered loves ;

A mistress, and our freedom lose ?
While each fond inate, with equal pains,
The tender suit approves.

May I my reason interpose,

The question with an answer close ? With cheerful hop froin spray to spray

To imitate we have a mind, They sport along the meads;

And couple like the winged kind. In social bliss together stray,

Further on, in the same miscellany, is Where love or fancy leads.

another question and answer :

Question. In chusing valentines (acThrough Spring's gay scenes each happy pair cording to custom) is not the party chu

Their futtering joys pursue ;
Its various charms and produce share,

sing (be it man or woman) to make a For ever kind and true.

present to the party chosen ?

Answer. We think it more proper to Their sprightly notes from every shade say, drawing of valentines, since the Their mutual loves proclaim;

most customary way is for each to take Till Winter's chilling blasts invade,

his or her lot. And chance cannot be And damp th' enlivening flame.

termer choice. According to this me

« IndietroContinua »