vol II date / index
St. Valentine. St. Maro, A.D. 433. St. Abraames, A.D. 422. St. Augentius, 5th Cent. St. Conran, Bishop of Orkney.
Of this saint, so celebrated among young persons, little is known, except that he was a priest of Rome, and martyred there about 270.
It was a custom with the ancient Roman youth to draw the names of girls in honour of their goddess Februata-Juno on the 15th of February, in exchange for which certain Roman catholic pastors substituted the names of saints in billets given the day before, namely, on the 14th of February.
Where can the postman be, I say?
He ought to fly—on such a day!
Of all days in the year, you know,
It's monstrous rude to be so slow:
The fellow's so exceeding stupid— Hark!—there he is!—oh! The dear CUPID!
Two hundred thousand letters beyond the usual daily average, annually pass through the twopenny post-office in London on St. Valentine's Day. "Two hundred thousand twopences," said an old gentleman as he read this in a March newspaper, "are four hundred thousand pence,"—and he was going to cast up the amount—"Why, papa," said his daughter, "that's just the number of young folks there must be in love with each other— that's the way to reckon." "Ah, my child, that's not the way to reckon; you have taken something into the account that has no business there: all Valentine-writers are not in love, nor are all lovers Valentine-writers; and remember, my dear girl, that as smiles on the face sometimes conceal cruel dispositions, so there are some who write Valentines, and trifle with hearts for the mere pleasure of inflicting pain." "I will show you what I mean," said the old gentleman, and taking a paper from a drawer, he held up this exemplification:
Just then an unmarried gentleman, "of a certain age," entered the room. On becoming acquainted with the topic, he drew from his pocket a small packet, and said, with a merry smile, "Here was my Valentine." It contained a rib of some small animal completely enveloped with white satin ribbon, ornamented by a true lover's knot at each end, and another in the middle. Father and daughter both had a laugh at the "old bachelor," and he, laughing with them, put into the young lady's hand the poetical address that accompanied his rib:
Go contemplate this lovely sign!
Haste thee away to reason's shrine,
And listen to her voice;
No more illusive shades pursue,
To happiness this gives the clue,
Make but a prudent choice.
'Till Adam had a partner given,
Much as fair Eden bloom'd like heaven,
His bliss was incomplete;
No social friend those joys to share,
Gave the gay scene a vacant air!
She came—'twas all replete.
And could not genuine Paradise,
The most extensive wish suffice,
Its guiltless lord possest?
No—not without a kindred mate;
How then in this degen'rate state,
Can man, alone be blest?
But now the Muse withdraws her aid;
Enough, thy folly to upbraid;
Enough to make thee wise:
No more of pensive hours complain,
No more, that all life's joys are vain,
If thou this hint despise.
Feb. 13, 182—. A Friend.
"Well now, this is capital!" exclaimed the laughing lass. "After such a Valentine, 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 wife: there are many ladies whom we know, of your age, wholly disengaged; but you don't pay them any particular attention." Her father interposed; and the gentleman she addressed playfully said, "It is a little hard, indeed, that I should have these fine compliments and severe reproaches at the same time: however," taking her by the hand, "you will understand, that it is possible I may have paid particular attention to a lady at an age when the affections are warmer; I did; and I reconciled my self to rejection by courting my books and the pleasures of solitude—
Hast thou been ever waking
From slumbers soft and light,
And heard sweet music breaking
The stillness of the night;
When all thy soul was blending
With that delightful strain,
And night her silence lending
To rivet fancy's chain;
Then on a sudden pausing,
Those strainds have ceas'd to play
A painful absence causing
Of bliss that died away!
So from my soul has vanish'd
The dream of youthful days;
So Hope and Love are banish'd,
And Truth her pow'r displays.
The origin of so pleasant a day, the first pleasant day in the year, whether its season be regarded, or the mode of its celebration, requires some little investigation; nor must some of its past and 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 hill.
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.
Attend we upon ELIA. Hark, how triumphantly that noble herald of the college of kindness proclaims the day!
"Hail to thy returning festival, old Bishop Valentine! Great is thy name in the rubric, thou venerable arch-flamen of Hymen! Immortal Go-between! who and what manner of person art thou? Art thou but a name, typifying the restless principle which impels poor humans to seek perfection in union? or wert thou indeed a mortal prelate, with thy tippet and thy rochet, thy apron on, and decent lawn sleeves? Mysterious personage! like unto thee, assuredly, there is no other mitred father in the calendar.—Thou comest attended with thousands and ten thousands of little Loves, and the air is
Brush'd with the hiss of rustling wings;
singing Cupids are thy choristers, and thy precentors; and instead of the crosier, the mystical arrow is borne before thee.
"In other words, this is the day on which those charming little missives, ycleped Valentines, cross and intercross each other at every street and turning. The weary and all for-spent twopenny postman sinks beneath a load of delicate embarrassments, not his own. It is scarcely credible to what an extent this ephemeral courtship is carried on in this loving town, to the great enrichment of porters, and detriment of knockers and bell-wires. In these little visual interpretations, no emblem is so common as the heart,—that little three-cornered exponent of all our hopes and fears,—the bestuck and bleeding heart; it is twisted and tortured into more allegories and affectations than an opera-hat. What authority we have in history or mythology for placing the head-quarters and metropolis of god Cupid in this anatomical seat rather than in any other, is not very clear; but we have got it, and it will serve as well as any other thing. Else we might easily imagine, upon some other system which might have prevailed for any thing which our pathology knows to the contrary, a lover addressing his mistress, in perfect simplicity of feeling, 'Madam my liver and fortune are entirely at your disposal;' or putting a delicate question, 'Amanda, have you a midriff to bestow?' But custom has settled these things, and awarded the seat of sentiment to the aforesaid triangle, while its less fortunate neighbors wait at animal and anatomical distance.
"Not many sounds in life, and I include all urban and all rural sounds, exceed in interest a knock at the door. It 'gives a very echo to the throne where Hope is seated.' But its issues seldom answer to this oracle within. It is so seldom that just the person we want to see comes. But of all the clamorous visitations, the welcomest in expectation is the sound that ushers in, or seems to usher in, a Valentine. As the raven himself was hoarse that announced the fatal entrance of Duncan, so the knock of the postman on this day is light, airy, confident, and befitting one that 'bringeth good tidings.' It is less mechanical than on other days; you will say, 'That is not the post, I am sure.' Visions of Love, of Cupids, of Hymens, and all those delightful, eternal common-places, which 'having been, will always be;' which no schoolboy or schoolman can write away; having their irreversible throne in the fancy and affectations; what are your transports, when the happy maiden, opening with careful finger, careful not to break the emblematic seal, bursts upon the sight of some well-designed allegory, some type, some youthful fancy, not without verses—
or some such device, not over abundant in sense—young Love disclaims it,—and not quite silly—something between wind and water, a chorus where the sheep might almost join the shepherd, as they did or as I apprehend they did, in Arcadia.
"All Valentines are not foolish, and I shall not easily forget thine, my kind friend (if I may have leave to call you so) E. B.—E. B. lived opposite a young maiden, whom he had often seen, unseen, from his parlour window in C—e-street. She was all joyousness and innocence, and just of an age to enjoy receiving a Valentine, and just of a temper to bear the disappointment of missing one with good humour. E. B. is an artist of no common powers; in the fancy parts of designing, perhaps inferior to none; his name is known at the bottom of many a well-executed vignette in the way of his profession, but no further; for E. B. is modest, and the world meets nobody half-way. E. B. meditated how he could repay this young maiden for many a favour which she had done him unkown; for, when a kindly face greets us, though but passing by, and never knows us again, nor we it, we should feel it as an obligation; and E. B. did. This good artist set himself at work to please the damsel. It was just before Valentine's day three years since. He wrought unseen, and unsuspected, and wondrous work. We need not say it was on the finest gilt paper with borders—full, not of common hearts and heartless allegory, but all the prettiest stories of love from Ovid, and older poets than Ovid (for E. B. is a scholar.) There was Pyramus and Thisbe, and be sure Dido was not forgot, nor Hero and Leander, and swans more than sang in Cayster, with mottoes and fanciful devices, such as beseemed,—a work in short of magic. Iris dipt the woof. This on Valentine's eve he commended to the all-swallowing indiscriminate orifice—(O, ignoble trust!)—of the common post; but the humble medium did its duty, and from his watchful stand, the next morning, he saw the cheerful messenger knock, and by and by the precious charge delivered. He saw, unseen, the happy girl unfold the Valentine, dance about, clap her hands, as one after one the pretty emblems unfolded themselves. She danced about, not with light love, or foolish expectations, for she had no lover; or, if she had, none she knew that could have created those bright images which delighted her. It was more like some fairy present; a God-send, as our familiarly pious ancestors termed a benefit received, where the benefactor was unknown. It would do her no harm. It would do her good for ever after. It is good to love the unknown. I only give this as a specimen of E[.] B., and his modest way of doing a concealed kindness.
"Good morrow to my Valentine, sings poor Ophelia; and no better wish, but with better auspices, we wish to all faithful lovers, who are not too wise to despise old legends, but are content to rank themselves humble diocesans with old Bishop Valentine, and his true church."
Mr. Douce, whose attainments include more erudition concerning the origin and progress of English customs than any other antiquarian possesses, must be referred to upon this occasion. He observes, in his "Illustrations of Shakespeare," concerning St. Valentine's day, that "it was the practice in ancient Rome, during a great part of the month of February, to celebrate the Lupercalia, which were feasts in honour of Pan and Juno, whence the latter deity was named Februata, Februalis, and Februlla. On this occasion, amidst a variety of ceremonies, the names of young women were put into a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed. The pastors of the early christian church, who by every possible means endeavoured to eradicate the vestiges of pagan superstitions, and chiefly by some commutations of their forms, substituted, in the present instance, the names of particular saints instead of those of the women, and as the festival of the Lupercalia had commenced about the middle of February, they appear to have chosen St. Valentine's day for celebrating the new feast, because it occurred nearly at the same time. This is, in part, the opinion of a learned and rational compiler of the 'Lives of the Saints,' the Rev. Alban Butler. It should seem, however, that it was utterly impossible to extirpate altogether any ceremony to which the common people had been much accustomed: a fact which it were easy to prove in tracing the origin of various other popular superstitions. And accordingly the outline of the ancient ceremonies was preserved, but modified by some adaptation to the christian system. It is reasonable to suppose that the above practice of choosing mates would gradually become reciprocal in the sexes; and that all persons so chosen would be called Valentines, from the day on which the ceremony took place."
Leaving intermediary facts to the curious inquirer, we come immediately to a few circumstances and sayings from grave authors and gay poets respecting this festival, as it is observed in our own country. It is recorded as a rural tradition, that on St. Valentine's day each bird of the air chooses its mate; and hence it is presumed, that our homely ancestors, in their lusty youth, adopted a practice which we still find peculiar to a season when nature bursts its imprisonments for the coming pleasures of the cheerful spring. Lydgate, the monk of Bury, who died in 1440, and is described by Warton to have been "not only the poet of his monastery, but of the world in general," has a poem in praise of queene Catherine, consort to Henry V., wherein he says:
Seynte Valentine. Of custome yeere by yeere
Men have an usaunce, in this regioun,
To loke and serche Cupides kalendere,
And chose theyr choyse, by grete affeccioun;
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 of the Almightie Lord," to address the happiest of living things at this season, 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 smallè foules for thy sake,
Will have they causè 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 the word "make" in Chaucer, now obsolete, signified mate.
Jago, a poet, who, if he has not soared to greatness, has at least attained to the easy versification of agreeable, and sometimes higher feelings, has left us a few stanzas, which harmonize with the suppositions of Chaucer:
St. Valentine's Day.
The tuneful choir in amorous strains
Accost their feathered loves;
While each fond mate, with equal pains,
The tender suit approves.
With cheerful hop from spray to spray
They sport along the meads;
In social bliss together stray,
Where love or fancy leads.
Through Spring's gay scenes each happy pair
Their fluttering joys pursue;
Its various charms and produce share,
For ever kind and true.
Their sprightly notes from every shade
Their mutual loves proclaim;
Till Winter's chilling blasts invade,
And damp th' enlivening flame.
Then all the jocund scene declines,
Nor woods nor meads delight;
The drooping tribe in secret pines,
And mourns th' unwelcome sight.
Go, blissful warblers! timely wise,
Th' instructive moral tell;
Nor thou their meaning lays despise,
My charming Annabelle!
Old John Dunton's "British Apollo" sings a question and answer:
Why, Valentine's a day to choose
A mistress, and our freedom lost?
May I my reason interpose,
The question with an answer close?
To imitate we have a mind,
And couple like the winged kind.
Further on, in the same miscellany, is another question and answer:
"Question. In chusing valentines (according to custom) is not the party chusing (be it man or woman) to make a present to the party chosen?
Answer. We think it more proper to say, drawing of valentines, since the most customary way is for each to take his or her lot. And chance cannot be termed choice. According to the method, the obligations are equal, and therefore it was formerly the custom mutually to present, but now it is customary only for the gentlemen."
This drawing of valentines is remarked in Poor Robin's Almanac for 1676, under St. Valentine's day:
"Now Andrew, Antho-
ny, and William,
For Valentines draw
Prue, Kate, Jilian."
Misson, a learned traveller, who died in England about 1721, describes the amusing practices of his time:—"On the eve of the 14th of February, St. Valentine's day, the young folks in England and Scotland, by a very ancient custom, celebrate a little festival. An equal number of maids and bachelors get together, each writes their true or some feigned name upon separate billets, which they roll up, and draw by way of lots, the maids taking the men's billets, and the men the maids'; so that each of the young men lights upon a girl that he calls his valentine, and each of the girls upon a young man which she calls hers. By this means each has two valentines: but the man sticks faster to the valentine that is fallen to him, than to the valentine to whom he is fallen. Fortune having thus divided the company into so many couples, the valentines give balls and treats to their mistresses, wear their billets several days upon their bosoms or sleeves, and this little sport often ends in love. This ceremony is practised differently in different counties, and according to the freedom or severity of madam Valentine. There is another kind of valentine, which is the first young man or woman that chance throws in your way in the street, or elsewhere, on that day."
In some places, at this time, and more particularly in London, the lad's valentine is the first lass he sees in the morning who is not an inmate of the house; the lass's valentine is the first youth she sees. Gay mentions this usage on St. Valentine's day: he makes a rustic housewife remind her good man,—
I early rose just at the break of day,
Before the sun had chas'd the stars away;
A field I went, amid the morning dew
To milk my kine, (for so should house-wives do,)
Thee first I spied, and the first swain we see
In spite of Fortune shall our true-love be.
So also in the "Connoisseur" there is mention of the same usage preceded by certain mysterious ceremonies the night before; one of these being almost certain to ensure an indigestion is therefore likely to occasion a dream favourable to the dreamer's waking wishes,—"Last Friday was Valentine's day, and, the night before, I got five bay-leaves, and pinned four of them to the four corners of my pillow, and the fifth to the middle; and then, if I dreamt of my sweetheart, Betty said we should be married before the year was out. But to make it more sure, I boiled an egg hard, and took out the yolk, and filled it with salt; and when I went to bed, ate it, shell and all, without speaking or drinking after it. We also wrote our lovers' names upon bits of paper, and rolled them up in clay, and put them into water: and the first that rose up was to be our valentine. Would you think it, Mr. Blossom was my man. I lay a-bed and shut my eyes all the morning, till he came to our house; for I would not have seen another man before him for all the world."
Shakspeare bears witness to the custom of looking for your valentine, or desiring to be one, through poor Ophelia's singing
Good morrow! 'tis St. Valentine's day
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your valentine!
Sylvanus Urban, in 1779, was informed by Kitty Curious, that on St. Valentine's day in that year, at a little obscure village in Kent, she found an odd kind of sport. The girls from five or six to eighteen year old were assembled in a crowd, burning an uncouth [e]ffigy which they called a "holly boy,["] and which they had stolen from the boys; while in another part of the village the boys were burning what they called an "ivy girl," which they had stolen from the girls. The ceremony of each burning was accompanied by acclamations, huzzas, and other noise. Kitty inquired the meaning of this from the oldest people in th eplace, but she could learn no more than that it had always been a sport at that season.
A correspondent communicates to the Every-Day Book a singular custom, which prevailed many years since in the west of England. Three single young men went out together before daylight on St. Valentine's day, with a clapnet to catch an old owl and two sparrows in a neighbouring barn. If they were successful, and could bring the birds to the inn without injury before the females of the house had risen, they were rewarded by the hostess with three pots of purl in honour of St. Valentine, and enjoyed the privilege of demanding at any other house in the neighbourhood a similar boon. This was done, says our correspondent, as an emblem, that the owl being the bird of wisdom, could infuence the feathered race to enter the net of love as mates on that day, whereon both single lads and maidens should be reminded that happiness could alone be secured by an early union.
On this ancient festival, it was formerly the custom for men to make presents to the women. In Scotland these valentine gifts were reciprocal, as indeed they are still in some parts.
Hurdis calls this
The day Saint Valentine,
When maids are brisk, and at the break of day
Start up and turn their pillows, curious all
To know what happy swain the fates provide
A mate for life. Then follows think discharge
Of true-love knots and sonnets nicely penned.
St. Valentine is the lover's saint. Not that lovers have more superstition than other people, but their imaginings are more. As it is fabled that Orpheus "played so well, he moved old Nick;" so it is true that Love, "cruel tyrant," moves the veriest brute. Its influence renders the coarsest nature somewhat interesting. A being of this kind, so possessed, is almost as agreeable as a parish cage with an owl inside; you hear its melancholy tee-whit tee-who, and wonder how it got there. Its place of settlement becomes a place of sentiment; nobody can liberate the starveling, and it will stay there. Its mural [sic] notes seem so many calls for pity, which are much abated on the recollection, that there are openings enough for its escape. The "tender passion" in the two mile an hour Jehu of an eight-hourse waggon, puzzles him mightily. He"sighs and drives, sighs and drives, and drives and sighs again," till the approach of this festival enables him to buy "a valentine," with a "halter" and a "couple o' hearts" transfixed by an arrow in the form of a weathercock, inscribed
"I'll be yours, if you'll be mine,
I am your pleasing Valentine."
This he gets his name written under by the shopkeeper, and will be quite sure that it is his name, before he walks after his waggon, which he has left to go on, because neither that nor his passion can brook delay. After he is out of the town, he looks behind him, lest any body should see, and for a mile or two on the road, ponders on the "two hearts made one," as a most singular device, and with admired devotion. He then puts it in the trusty pocket under his frock, which holds the waggon bill, and flogs his horses to quicken their pace towards the inn, where "she," who is "his heart's delight," has been lately promoted to the rank of under kitchen-maid, vice her who resigned, on being called "to the happy estate of matrimony" by a neighbouring carter. He gives her the mysterious paper in the yard, she receives it with a "what be this?" and with a smack on the lips, and a smack from the whip on the gown. The gods have made him poetical, and, from his recollection of a play he saw at the statute-fair, he tells her that "love, like a worm in the mud, has played upon his Lammas cheek" ever since last Lammas-tide, and she knows it has, and that she's his valentine. With such persons and with nature, this is the season of breaking the ice.
St. Valentine, be it repeated, is the saint of all true lovers of every degree, and hence the letters missive to the fair, from wooers on his festival, bear his name. Brand thinks "one of the most elegant jeu-d'esprits on this occasion," is one wherein an admirer reminds his mistress of the choice attributed by the legend to the choristers of the air on this day, and inquires of her—
Shall only you and I forbear
To meet and make a happy pair?
Shall we alone delay to live?
This day an age of bliss may give.
But, ah! when I the proffer make,
Still coyly you refuse to take;
My heart I dedicate in vain,
The too mean present you disdain.
Yet since the solemn time allows
To choose the object of our vows;
Boldly I dare profess my flame,
Proud to be yours by any name.
A better might have been selected from the "Magazine of Magazines," the "Gentleman's," wherein Mr. Urban has sometimes introduced the admirers of ladies to the admirers of antiquities—under which class ladies never come. Thence, ever and anon, as from some high barbican or watchtower old, "songs of loves and maids forsaken," have aroused the contemplation from "facts, fancies and recollections" regarding other times, to lovers "sighing like furnace" in our own. Through Sylvanus, nearly a century ago, there was poured this
Invocation of St. Valentine.
Haste, friendly Saint! to my relief,
My heart is stol'n, help! stop the thief!
My rifled breast I search'd with care,
And found Eliza lurking there.
Away she started from my view,
Yet may be caught, if thou pursue;
Nor need I to describe her strive—
The fairest, dearest maid alive!
Seize her—yet treat the nymph divine
With gentle usage, Valentine!
Then, tell her, she, for what was done,
Must bring my heart, and give her own.
So pleasant, so descriptive an illustration of the present custom, requires a companion equally amiable:
Mark'd you her eye's resistless glance,
That does the enraptur'd soul entrance?
Mark'd you that dark blue orb unfold
Volumes of bliss as yet untold?
And felt you not, as I now feel,
Delight no tongue could e'er reveal?
Mark'd you her cheek that blooms and glows
A living emblem of the rose?
Mark'd you her vernal lip that breathes
The balmy fragrance of its leaves?
And felt you not, as I now feel,
Delight no tongue can e'er reveal?
Mark'd you her artless smiles that speak
The language written on her cheek,
Where, bright as morn, and pure as dew,
The bosom's thoughts arise to view?
And felt you not, as I now feel,
Delight no tongue could e'er reveal?
Mark'd you her face, and did not there,
Sense, softness, sweetness, all appear?
Mark'd you her form, and saw not you
A heart and mind as lovely too?
And felt you not, as I now feel,
Delight no tongue could e'er reveal?
Mark'd you all this, and you have known
The treasured raptures that I own;
Mark'd you all this, and you like me,
Have wandered oft her shade to see,
For you have felt, as I now feel,
Delight no tongue could e'er reveal!
Every lady will bear witness that the roll of valentine poesy is interminable; and it being presumed that few would object to a peep in the editor's budget, he offers a little piece, written, at the desire of a lady, under an engraving, which represented a girl fastening a letter to the neck of a pigeon:—
THE COURIER DOVE.
"Va, porter cet écrit à l'objet de mon cœur!"
Outstrip the winds my courier dove!
On pinions fleet and free,
And bear this letter to my love
Who's far away from me.
It bids him mark thy plume whereon
The changing colours range;
But warns him that my peace is gone
If he should also change.
It tells him thou return'st again
To her who sets thee free;
And O! it asks the truant, when
He'll thus resemble thee?
Lastly, from "Sixty-five Poems and Sonnets," &c. recently published, he ventures to extract one not less deserving the honour of perusal, than either that he has presented:—
No tales of love to you I send,
No hidden flame discover,
I glory in the name of friend,
Disclaiming that of lover.
And now, while each fond sighing youth
Repeats his vows of love and truth,
Attend to this advice of mine—
With caution choose a VALENTINE.
Heed not the fop, who loves himself,
Nor let the rake your love obtain;
Choose not the miser for his pelf,
The drunkard heed with cold disdain;
The profligate with caution shun,
His race of ruin soon is run:
To none of these your heart incline,
Nor choose from them a VALENTINE.
But should some generous youth appear,
Whose honest mind is void of art,
Who shall his Maker's laws revere,
And serve him with a willing heart;
Who owns fair Virtue for his guide,
Nor from her precepts turns aside;
To him at once your heart resign,
And bless your faithful VALENTINE.
Though in this wilderness below
You still imperfect bliss shall find,
Yet such a friend will share each woe,
And bid you be to Heaven resign'd:
While Faith unfolds the radiant prize,
And Hope still points beyond the skies,
At life's dark storms you'll not repine,
But bless the day of Valentine.
Wit at a pinch.
A gentleman who left his snuffbox at a friend's on St. Valentine's Eve, 1825, received it soon after his return home in an envelope, sealed, and superscribed—
To J—— E——, Esq.
I've just found proof enough,
You are not worth a pinch of snuff;
Receive the proof, seall'd up with care,
And extract from it, that you are.
Valentine, 1825. *
SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE died on the 14th of February, 1780. He was born at the house of his father, a silkman, in Cheapside, London, on the 10th of July, 1723; sent to the Charter-house in 1730; entered Pembroke-college, Cambridge, in 1738; of the Middle Temple, 1741; called to the bar in 1746; elected recorder of Wallingford in 1749; made doctor of civil law in 1750; elected Vinerian professor of common law in 1758; returned a representative to Parliament in 1761; married in 1761; became a justice of the court of Common Pleas in 1770. In the course of his life he filled other offices. He was just and benevolent in all his relations, and, on the judicial seat, able and impartial. In English literature and jurisprudence he holds a distinguished rank for his "Commentaries on the Laws of England." This work originated in the legal lectures he commenced in 1753: the first volume was published in 1759, and the remaining three in the four succeeding years. Through these his name is popular, and so will remain while law exists. The work is not for the lawyer alone, it is for every body. It is not so praiseworthy to be learned, as it is disgraceful to be ignorant of the laws which regulate liberty and property. The absence of all information in some men when serving upon juries and coroners' inquests, or as constables, and in parochial offices, is scandalous to themselves and injurious to their fellow men. The "Commentaries" of Blackstone require only common capacity to understand, Wynne's "Eunomus" is an excellent introduction to Blackstone, if any be wanting. With these two works no man can be ignorant of his rights or obligations; and, indeed, the "Commentaries" are so essential, that he who has not read them has no claim to be considered qualified for the exercise of his public duties as an Englishman. He is at liberty, it is true, for the law leaves him at liberty, to assume the character he may be called on to bear in common with his fellow-citizens; but, with this liberty, he is only more or less than a savage, as he is more than a savage by his birth in a civilized country, and less than a savage in the animal instinct, which teaches that self-preservation is the first law of nature; and still further is he less, because, beside the safety of others, it may fall to him, in this state of ignorance, to watch and ward the safety of the common wealth itself.
Blackstone, on making choice of his profession, wrote an elegant little poem, entitled "The Lawyer's Farewell to his Nurse." It is not more to be admired for ease and grace, than for the strong feeling it evinces in relinquishing the pleasures of poesy and art, and parting for ever from scenes wherein he had happily spent his youthful days. Its conclusion describes his anticipations—
Lost to the field and torn from you—
Farewell! a long—a last adieu!
Me wrangling courts and stubborn law
To smoke and crowds, and cities draw
There selfish faction rules the day,
And pride and av'rice throng the way;
Diseases taint the murky air,
And midnight conflagrations glare:
Loose revelry and riot bold
In frighted streets their orgies hold;
Or when in silence all is drowned,
Fell murder walks her lonely round:
No room for peace—no room for you
Adieu, celestial nymph, adieu!
A SUIT AT LAW.
Its origin and progress may be traced in the Tree engraved on the opposite page.
1. The root of the engraved Tree exhibits a diversity of suits and actions for the remedy of different wrongs.
2. The trunk shows the growth of a suit, stage by stage, until its conclusion.
3. The branches from each stage show the proceedings of the plaintiff on one side, and the proceedings of the defendant on the other.
4. The leaves of each branch show certain collateral proceedings whereby the suit is either advanced or suspended.
5. Supposing the form of action suitable to the case, and no stay of proceedings, the suit grows, on the "sure and firm set earth" of the law, into a "goodly tree," and, attaining to execution against either the plaintiff or the defendant, terminates in consuming fire.
A few whimsical miscellanies are subjoined, not derogatory from the importance or necessity of legislation, but amusingly illustrative of legal practice in the sinuosities it has acquired during successive stages of desuetude and change. Those only who know the law are acquainted with the modes by which numerous deformities in its application have originated, or the means by which they may be remedied; while all who experience that application are astonished at its expensiveness, and complain of it with reason.
A legal practitioner is said to have delivered a bill containing several charges of unmerciful appearance, to a client, who was a tailor; and the tailor, who had made a suit of clothes for his professional adviser, is said to have sent him the following bill by way of set-off.
GEORGE GRIP, ESQ.
Dr. to SAMUEL SMART.
£. s. d. Attending you, in conference, concerning your proposed Suit, conferring thereon when you could not finally determine.... 0 6 8 Attending you again thereon, when found you prepared, and taking measures accordingly.... 0 6 8 Entering.... 0 3 4 Instructions and warrant to woollen-draper.... 0 5 0 —— —— —— Carried forward.... 1 1 8
£. s. d. Brought forward.... 1 1 8 Copy thereof to keep.... 0 2 0 Instructions to foreman.... 0 6 8 Difficulty arising as to proceedings, attending him in consultation.... 0 6 8 Paid fees to woollen-draper.... 4 18 6 Attending him thereon.... 0 6 8 Perusing his receipt.... 0 3 4 Attending to file same.... 0 3 4 Filing.... 0 1 0 Attending button-maker, instructing him.... 0 6 8 Paid his charges.... 2 19 0 Having received summons to proceed, perusing and considering same.... 0 6 8 Drawing consent, and copy to keep.... 0 4 4 Postage.... 0 1 6 Copy order thereon and entering.... 0 3 0 Appointing consultation as to further proceedings, and attending same.... 0 13 4 Foreman having filed a demurrer, preparing argument against same.... 0 6 8 Attending long argument on demurrer, when same overruled.... 0 10 0 Perusing foreman's plea.... 0 6 8 Excepting to same.... 0 6 8 Entering exceptions.... 0 3 4 Perusing notice of motion to remove suit, and preparing valid objections to lay before you.... 0 10 0 Same being overruled, consent thereto, on an undertaking.... 0 6 8 Expenses on removal of suit—paid by you at the time.... 0 0 0 Writing you my extreme dissatisfaction on finding the suit removed into the King's Bench, and that I should move the court, when you promised to obtain a Rule as soon as term commenced, and attend me thereon.... 0 10 0 Conferring with you, in presence of your attendant, at my house, on the first day of term, when you succeeded in satisfying me that you were a Gent. one, &c. and an honourable man, and expressed great dissatisfaction at the proceedings had with the suit while out of my hands; receiving your instructions to demand of your Uncle that same should return to me, on my paying him a lien he claimed thereon, and received from you his debenture for that purpose.... 0 13 4 Perusing same, and attending him in St. George's-fields therewith and thereon.... 0 10 0 Paid him, principal and interest.... 2 10 4 —— —— —— Carried forward.... £18 18 0
£. s. d. Brought forward.... 18 18 0 In consideration of circumstances, no charge for receiving suit back.... 0 0 0 Perusing letter unexpectedly received from you, dated from your own house, respecting short notice of trial.... 0 6 8 Attending you thereon.... 0 6 8 Attending at Westminster several morning to try the suit, when at last got same on.... 2 2 0 Paid fees.... 0 12 0 Fee to porter.... 0 5 0 It being determined that the suit should be put into a special case, drawing special instructions to Boxmaker for same.... 0 13 4 Attending him therewith and thereon.... 0 6 8 Paid him his fee for special case.... 2 2 0 Paid his clerk's fee.... 0 2 6 Considering case, as settled.... 0 6 8 Attending foreman for his consent to same, when he promised to determine shortly.... 0 6 6 Attending him again thereon to obviate his objections, and obtained his consent with difficulty.... 0 6 8 Drawing bill of costs.... 0 15 0 Fair copy for Mr. —— to peruse and settle.... 0 7 6 Attending him therewith.... 0 6 8 Fee to him settling.... 0 5 0 Attending him for same.... 0 6 8 Perusing and considering same, as settled.... 0 6 8 Attending Mr. —— again suggesting amendments.... 0 6 8 Fee to him on amending.... 0 5 0 Perusing same as amended.... 0 6 8 Fair copy, with amendments, to keep.... 0 7 6 Entering.... 0 5 0 Fair copy for service.... 0 7 6 Thirty-eight various attendances to serve same.... 6 6 8 Service thereof.... 0 6 8 Drawing memorandum of service.... 0 5 0 Attending to enter same.... 0 3 4 Entering same.... 0 2 6 Attending you concerning same.... 0 6 8 Accepted service of order to attend at the theatre, and gave consent.... 0 6 8 Retaining fee at box-office.... 0 1 0 Service of order on box-keeper.... 0 6 8 Self and wife, with six children, two of her cousings, her brother, and his son, two of my brothers, my sister-in-law, three nephews, four nieces, each attending for four hours and a half to see the Road to Ruin, and the Beggars' Opera, eighty five hours and a —— —— —— Carried forward.... £39 5 10
£. s. d. Brought forward.... 39 5 10 half, at 3s. 4d. per hour—very moderate 17 0 10 Coach hire there and back.... 0 18 0 Attending you to acquaint you with particulars in general, and concerning settlement particularly.... 0 6 8 Instructions for receipt.... 0 3 4 Drawing receipt.... 0 5 0 Vacation fee.... 1 1 0 Refreshing fee.... 0 13 4 Perusing receipt, and amending same.... 0 6 8 Fair copy to keep.... 0 2 6 Engrossing on stamp.... 0 2 6 Paid duty and paper.... 0 3 1 Fee on ending.... 2 2 0 Letters and messengers.... 0 10 0 ——
—— £63 0 9 To numerous, various, and a great variety of divers, and very many letters, messages, and attendances to, from on, and upon, you and your agents and others, pending a negotiation for settlement, far too numerous to be mentioned; and an infinite deal of trouble, too troublesome to trouble you with, or to be expressed; without more and further trouble, but which you must, or can, or shall, or may know, or be informed of—what you please....
Item in a Bill of Costs
Attending A in conference concerning the best mode to indemnify B against C's demand for damages, in consequence of his driving D's cart against E's house, and thereby breaking the window of a room occupied by F's family, and cutting the head of G, one of his children, which H, the surgeon, had pronounced dangerous, and advising on the steps necessary for such indemnity. Attending I accordingly thereon, who said he could do nothing without the concurrence of his brother J, who was on a visit to his friend K, but who afterwards consented thereto, upon having a counter-indemnity from L. Taking instructions for, and writing the letter accordingly, but he refused to accede thereto, in consequence of misconduct in some of the parties towards his distant relation M, because he had arrested N, who being in custody of O, the officer, at P's house, was unable to prevail upon Q and R to become bail. Attending in consequence upon S, the sheriff, when he said, if he received an undertaking to give a bail-bond at the return of the writ, the defendant should be discharged. Attending T for undertaking accordingly, conferring thereon; but he declined interfering without the concurrence of V, to whom he was largely indebted, in whose hands he had lodge several title-deeds as a collateral security, and who, it appeared, had sent the deeds to his attorney U, for the purpose of preparing a mortgage to W, in trust, for securing his demand, and also of a debt due to X. Attending afterwards on A's clerk Y, communicating the result of our numerous applications, and conferring with him thereon, when he at length informed me that Z had settled the business.
"To him that goes to law, nine things are requisite: 1. A good deal of money— 2. A good deal of patience— 3. A good cause— 4. A good attorney— 5. Good counsel— 6. Good evidence— 7. A good jury— 8. A good judge—and lastly, good luck."
"Reason is the life of the law, nay, the common law itself is nothing else but reason."
If a man says of a counsellor of law, Thou are a daffa-down-dilly, an action lies. So adjudged in Scaccario, and agree per totam curiam.— 1 Vin. Abb. 445.
He hath no more law than Mr. C.'s bull. These words being spoken of an attorney, the court inclined that they were actionable, and that the plaintiff should have judgment, though it was objected that the plaintiff had not declared that C. had a bull.—Siderfin, 327, pl. 8. Pasch. 19 Car. II. Baker v. Morfue. The chief justice was of opinion, that if C. had no bull, the scandal was the greater. And it was pronounced per curiam in the same case, that to say of a lawyer, that he has no more law than a goose, has been adjudged actionable.—Sid. 127, pl. 8.— There is quære added as to the saying, He hath no more law than the man in the moon (Ib. 2 Kib. 209); the law, doubtless, contemplating the possibility of there being a man in the moon, and of his being a good lawyer.
My lord chief baron cannot hear of one ear, adjudged actionable, there being a colloquium of his administration of justice. But not so if there had been no discourse of his justice. — Vin. Ab. 446.
Adjudged, that the death of a parson is a non-residency, within 13 Eliz. c. 20, so as to avoid his leases. Mott v. Hales, Crok. Eliz. 123.
Eden and Whalley's case:—"One Eden confessed himself guilty of multiplication, and that he had practised the making of quintessence, and the philosopher's stone, by which all metals might be turned into gold and silver; and also accused Whalley, now a prisoner in the Tower, of urging and procuring him to practise this art; and that Whalley had laid out money in red wine and other things necessary for the said art. And, because this offence is only felony, Eden, the principal, was pardoned by the general pardon; but Whalley, who was but accessary in this case, was excepted as one of those who were in the Tower. The question was moved, whether Whalley should be discharged;—Quære, the statute of 5 Hen. IV. 4, which enacts, 'that none should use to multiply gold or silver, nor use the craft of multiplication; and if any the same do, that he incur the pain of felony in this case.'—Quære—Whether there can be any accessary in this new felony?— 1 Dyer, 87, 6, Easter Term, 7 Ed. VI. This statute was repealed by the stat. of 1 Will. & Mary."
In the case of monopolized cards, there was cited a commission in the time of Henry V. directed to three friars and two aldermen of London, to inquire whether the philosopher's stone was feasible, who returned it was, and upon this a patent was made out for them to make it.— Moore, 675; Dancey's case[.]
According to the Asiatic Researches, a very curious mode of trying the title of land is practised in Hindostan:— Two holes are dug in the disputed spot, in each of which the plaintiff and defendant's lawyers put one of their legs, and remain there until one of them is tired, or complains of being stung by the insects, in which case his client is defeated. In this country it is the client, and not the lawyer, who puts his foot into it.
Professional practice is frequently the subject of theatrical exhibition. "Giovanni in London" has a scene before going to trial, with the following
First Lawyer, Second Lawyer, Giovanni.
Air— "Soldier, gave me one Pound."
Giovanni, give me one pound.
Giovanni, give me two.First Lawyer.
Trial it comes on to-day;
And nothing we can do.
You must give a fee,
Both to me—
For, oh! the law's a mill
that without grist will never go.
Lawyer, there is one pound;
(to second Lawyer)
Lawyer, there are two;
(to first Lawyer)
And now I am without a pound,
Thanks to the law and you.
For, oh! I feel the law
Has clapp'ed on me its paw;
And, oh! the law's a mill
that without grist will never go.
The Monday before Shrove Tuesday is so called because it was the last day of flesh-eating before Lent, and our ancestors cut their fresh meat into collops, or steaks, for salting or hanging up till Lent was over; and hence, in many places, it is still a custom to have eggs and collops, or slices of bacon, at dinner on this day. The Rev. Mr. Bowles communicates to his friend Mr. Brand, that the boys in the neighbourhood of Salisbury go about before Shrove-tide singing these lines:
Shrove-tide is nigh at hand,
And I am come a shroving;
Pray, dame, something,
An apple or a dumpling,
Or a piece of Truckle cheese
Of your own making,
Or a piece of pancake.
Polydore Virgil affirms of this season and its delicacies, that it sprung from the feasts of Bacchus, which were celebrated in Rome with rejoicings and festivity at the same period. This, therefore, is another adoption of the Romish church from the heathens; and it is observed by Brand, that on Shrove Monday it was a custom with the boys at Eton to write verses concerning Bacchus, in all kinds of metre, which were affixed to the college doors, and that Bacchus' verses "are still written and put up on this day." The Eton practice is doubtless a remnant of the catholic custom.
Yellow Crocus. Crocus Mœsiacus.
Dedicated to St. Valentine