Be my Regency Valentine

Valentine from 1790

Yes.  I’m a day late, but such are vagaries of group blogging. Today, however, I am once again dipping into my handy Hone’s Every-Day Book.

According to Hone, “Two hundred thousand letters beyond the usual daily average, annually pass through the twopenny post-office in London on St. Valentine’s Day.”  St. Valentine was apparently a popular guy even in early 19th century England.

What was in these letters?  Hone provides us with a nice variety of Valentine sentiment.  How about this one?

Haste, friendly Saint! to my relief,
My heart is stol’n help! Stop the thief!
My rifled breast I sear’d with care,
And found Eliza luking 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

Hand made Valentine 1816

Hone goes on to give us several more verses from the time and states that “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.”

How lucky for us that lovers have more imaginings than other people and that Love, cruel tyrant that it may be, renders the coarsest nature somewhat interesting.  I hope your Valentine got his missive in the twopenny post in time.

About Myretta

Myretta is a founder and current manager of The Republic of Pemberley, a major Jane Austen destination on the web. She is also a writer of Historical Romance. You can find her at her website, and on Twitter @Myretta.
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