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C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.

Valentine’s Day

  • My valentine I pray that thou wilt be,
  • Not for a day, but for eternity.
  • Charles Noel Douglas.

  • Saint Valentine is past;
  • Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?
  • Shakespeare.

    And now the lads and lasses, following the example of the birds, bill and coo together.

    H. W. Shaw.

    Now all nature seemed in love, and birds had drawn their valentines.

    Sir Henry Wotton.

    It was Shakespeare’s notion that on this day birds begin to couple; hence probably arose the custom of sending fancy love-billets.

    Washington Irving.

    On paper curiously shaped, scribblers to-day of every sort, in verses valentines ycleped, to Venus chime their annual court.

    H. G. Bohn.

    All birds during the pairing season become more or less sentimental, and murmur soft nothings in a tone very unlike the grinding-organ repetition and loudness of their habitual song. The crow is very comical as a lover; and to hear him trying to soften his croak to the proper Saint-Preux standard has something the effect of a Mississippi boatman quoting Tennyson.


  • Apollo has peeped through the shutter,
  • And awaken’d the witty and fair;
  • The boarding-school belle’s in a flutter,
  • The twopenny post’s in despair;
  • The breath of the morning is flinging
  • A magic on blossom, on spray,
  • And cockneys and sparrows are singing
  • In chorus on Valentine’s day.
  • Praed.

  • Oft have I heard both youths and virgins say,
  • Birds choose their mates, and couple too, this day;
  • But by their flight I never can divine
  • When I shall couple with my Valentine.
  • Herrick.

  • Oh, cruel heart! ere these posthumous papers
  • Have met thine eyes, I shall be out of breath;
  • Those cruel eyes, like two funereal tapers,
  • Have only lighted me the way to death.
  • Perchance thou wilt extinguish them in vapours,
  • When I am gone, and green grass covereth
  • Thy lover, lost; but it will be in vain—
  • It will not bring the vital spark again.
  • Hood—A Valentine.

  • No popular respect will I omit
  • To do the honour on this happy day,
  • When every loyal lover tasks his wit
  • His simple truth in studious rhymes to pay,
  • And to his mistress dear his hopes convey,
  • Rather thou knowest I would still outrun
  • All calendars with Love’s whose date alway
  • Thy bright eyes govern better than the Sun,—
  • For with thy favour was my life begun,
  • And still I reckon on from smiles to smiles,
  • And not by summers, for I thrive on none
  • But those thy cheerful countenance compiles;
  • Oh! if it be to choose and call thee mine,
  • Love, thou art every day my Valentine!
  • Hood.

    Hail to thy returning festival, old Bishop Valentine! great is thy name in the rubric. Like unto thee, assuredly, there is no other mitred father in the calendar.


  • To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
  • All in the morning betime,
  • And I a maid at your window,
  • To be your Valentine.
  • Shakespeare.