[Editor: This poem, regarding Valentine’s Day, was published in the Hobart Town Gazette, and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser (Hobart Town, Tas.), 18 February 1825.]
Once sweet flower of vernal hue,
Giving thy sweets to air,
When Flora charms the ravis’d view
With pride of the parterre,
Wandering where sun-beams beauteous call
The tribe to gentle life,
I thought of thee the boast of all,
’Midst amiable strife.
The visionary theme is thine,
From one who loves thee still:
It calls itself a Valentine,
But call it what you will —
No more as wont, thy beaming eye
To violets I compare;
Nor talk about the lily’s dye,
To tell thee thou art fair.
The time is past, when Hope’s sweet will
Would link thy heart to mine;
And the fond muse with simple skill
Chose thee its Valentine.
Though some may yet their skill employ,
To wreathe with flowers thy brow;
With me thy love’s a wither’d joy,
And vain thy beauty now!
Spring flowers were filling hopes young songs,
To grace love’s earliest vow;
But wither’d ones that summer wrongs,
Are sweetest emblems now:
Their perish’d blooms that once were given,
Hopes weary tale can tell;
And shadows where a sun hath been,
Its mournful music swell.
The dream of mortal bliss hath been;
Its flowers have died away;
But memory keeps the shadow green,
And wakes this idle lay.
Then let esteem — a welcome prove,
That knows not to resign;
And friendship take the place of love,
To send a Valentine.
⁂ Valentine’s Day was last Monday.
Hobart Town Gazette, and Van Diemen’s Land Advertiser (Hobart Town, Tas.), 18 February 1825, p. 3
art = (archaic) are
hath = (archaic) has
lay = song, tune; ballad (can also refer to ballads or narrative poems, as sung by medieval minstrels or bards)
’midst = amidst; of or in the middle of an area, group, position, etc.
muse = a source of artistic inspiration; a person, especially a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for an artist (derived from the Muses of Greek and Roman mythology, who were said to provide inspiration for artists and writers)
parterre = (French, meaning “on the ground”) a flat ornamental garden area, with an ornamental arrangement of flowers and/or plants, with the flower beds and paths forming a pattern; historically, such a garden area was designed so that its pattern could be viewed from a higher level (such as the balcony of a house), so as to show off the garden arrangement to its full effect
See: “Parterre”, Wikipedia
perish’d = (vernacular) perished
thee = (archaic) you (regarding a person as the object in a sentence)
thine = (archaic) yours (“thine”, meaning “yours”, is the more common usage); your (“thine”, meaning “your”, is usually placed before a word which begins with a vowel or a vowel sound, e.g. “To thine own self be true”)
thou = (archaic) you (regarding a person as the subject in a sentence)
thy = (archaic) your
vernal = the spring season (or regarding, relating to, or occurring therein); fresh, new, young, youthful (like the new growth of the spring season)
wither’d = (vernacular) withered
wont = custom, habit, practice; accustomed; apt, inclined
[Editor: An extra line break was placed before the last line (to distinguish the editorial comment from the text of the poem). The typographic symbol on the last line is an asterism (pointing upwards); however, the symbol in the original is an inverted asterism (pointing downwards); a regular asterism has been used here, because the current range of ASCII symbols does not include an inverted asterism.]