I think the most appropriate way of beginning Puzzledom this month will be to give you all a Puzzle Valentine.
A Puzzle Valentine.
If I should blow a kiss to you,
To show you where my heart would be;
Will you respond to love so true,
By blowing back a kiss to me?
As thirsting blossoms sigh for rain,
To tell you all my love I pine:
Alas! that love should bring us pain;—
May you ne’er feel such pangs as mine!
No barbed arrow, well-addressed,
Or knife, bright-glancing in the sun,
Shall e’er so deeply pierce my breast
Or cut my heart, as Love has done!
Then let us join our hands and vow,
In spite of all that Love has tried,
In faith and constancy as now
We two for ever will abide.
I daresay you will wonder how to set about this Valentine, so I may as well tell you it is done in the same way as “Proverbs in Rhyme,” which I have given you once or twice before. I must confess I am not a very great believer in proverbs. “There is no rule without an exception” (which is itself an exception as a proverb, because it is nearly always true) is pleaded whenever a proverb breaks down, but it always seems to me that the proverb is the exception and not the rule—it is so often wrong. A proverb asserts too much. It is as if I should say “All cats are black,” which would seem a wise saying to people who had never seen tabbies, tortoiseshells, or white cats. However, in spite of my doubts about proverbs, I will give you one in picture language. It is one of those which I don’t like, for its tendency is to discourage people who are of an obliging disposition.
Source: Excursions into puzzledom, a book of charades,
acrostics, enigmas, conundrums, 1879