. . . . . Of the nature of these Valentine verses Mr. C. gives the following account in the memoir of his mother.
‘For a period of nearly twenty years the hospitable mansions of the Cliff, and Holy Wells, were enlivened by an annual party on the evening of St. Valentine’s Day; for which festive occasion Mrs. Cobbold designed, composed, and executed, with great taste and elegance, a collection of valentines, generally to the number of eighty, which were all curiously cut out on a half sheet of letter paper, and each inscribed with verses applicable to the subject.
They were then folded precisely alike, in blue paper, and placed, the ladies’ Valentines in one basket, and the gentlemen’s in another; and when cards or music had contributed, for an hour or two, to theamusement of the evening, these baskets were handed round to the unmarried visiters, and the valentines drawn by them as a lottery, each lady or gentleman selecting one, at their pleasure, from any part of the respective packets.
The prize was intended to prognosticate to the person who drew it, marriage, or a matrimonial engagement in the ensuing year; while the others, from the variety, and accidental or fancied coincidences with the supposed sentiments of the parties, afforded a unique and highly interesting amusement.’
The following are specimens of the poetry:
A Basket of Fruit.
If you have wisely nursed the flowers
That spring profuse in vernal bowers,
And trained their blossoms gay.
The fruits of youth, in virtue spent,
Ripe judgment, peace, and rich content,
Shall bless your summer day.
When fretful hours and griefs intrude
On life’s domestic plan—
When worldly cares, and discords rude,
Have warped the mind of man—
Then female softness tunes the strings
To many a melting tone,
And o’er the harp transported flings
A soothing all her own;
Bids ev’ry note to love reply,
And blends them into harmony.
The Pledge of Love
Quick the pulse of flutt’ring heart,
When the lover we descry
Fast approaching, to impart
Welcome tale of constancy.
Slowly beats the fainting heart
When the lover bids adieu;
Yet, unwilling to depart,
Breaking off the interview.
Lady, hast thou ever known
Honest word of such delight;
Lover, calling thee his own,
Giving thee his sacred plight!
Take, O take the pledge of love—
Ever, ever faithful boon;
Long may constant lovers prove
Life is but a houey-moon.
Source: Time’s telescope for; or, A complete guide to the almanack, 1829