[Editor: This poem, by Maurice Farjeon, regarding Valentine’s Day, was published in The Herald (Melbourne, Vic.), 14 February 1887.]
By Maurice Farjeon.
St. Valentine, the patron saint
Of lovers fond and true,
Descends to earth one day each year,
His clients’ forms to view.
For young and old, both grave and gay,
Together still combine,
To celebrate his natal day,
Each sends his valentine.
The ladies in their snug boudoir,
List anxious for the bell,
Or waiting for the postman’s knock,
Their throbbing bosoms swell.
The milkmaid working at the churn,
Waits for the hour of nine,
Then starts with beating heart and cries
Here comes my valentine!
The schoolboy verging into man,
On careless mischief bound,
To master, usher, tutors all,
The saint’s work sends around;
And if the pictures ugly are,
And trenchant every time,
Don’t scold the lad, if him you know,
But blame St Valentine.
The crusty bachelor at home,
With gouty foot on stool,
Sits grumbling at his toast and eggs,
And growls till tea is cool.
Some former friend and Benedict
Will send an ugly “Guy,”
In rage he tears it up, and bids
St Valentine good-bye.
Our “dude” and spoony swell, well set
With cuff and collar white,
Who fancies every lady’s look
Upon him doth alight,
Receives a note from some sweet belle —
A warning in each line —
Pulls at his cuffs with nettled air.
Ah! ’Tis St. Valentine.
Our pretty little maids at home
Are seeking, too, for fun —
To cousins, brothers, uncles, aunts,
Send portraits every one.
And if the merry laughter now
Resounds from room to room,
And you can’t find out her who sent,
Just blame the nom de plume.
The Herald (Melbourne, Vic.), 14 February 1887, p. 4
Also published in:
The Morwell Advertiser and Weekly Chronicle (Morwell, Vic.), 19 February 1887, p. 3
Maurice Farjeon, the author of this poem, was an Englishman, involved in theatrical productions, who migrated to Australia.
belle = a very beautiful and charming female, especially referring to the most beautiful and charming woman in a crowd or group (e.g. as used in the phrase “the belle of the ball”)
doth = (archaic) does
gay = happy, joyous, carefree; well-decorated, bright, attractive (in modern times it may especially refer to a homosexual, especially a male homosexual; can also refer to something which is no good, pathetic, useless)
list = (archaic) listen
natal day = birthday; the day on which a person was born; the day on which an organisation, institution, state, or nation was founded (or the anniversary thereof)
nom de plume = (French) “name of pen”, pen-name; pseudonym; an assumed name (also hyphenated: nom-de-plume)
St = (abbreviation) Saint (also rendered with a full stop or period: “St.”)
St. = (abbreviation) Saint
swell = someone who is fashionably dressed; a toff, a dandy; someone who is socially prominent
’tis = (archaic) a contraction of “it is”