Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

(20 April 1826 - 12 October 1887 / Stoke-on-Trent / England)

An Honest Valentine - Poem by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik

Returned from the Dead-Letter Office

THANK you for your kindness,
Lady fair and wise,
Though love's famed for blindness,
Lovers--hem! for lies.
Courtship's mighty pretty,
Wedlock a sweet sight;--
Should I (from the city,
A plain man, Miss--) write,
Ere we spouse-and-wive it,
Just one honest line,
Could you e'er forgive it,
Pretty Valentine?

Honey-moon quite over,
If I less should scan
You with eye of lover
Than of mortal man?
Seeing my fair charmer
Curl hair spire on spire,
All in paper armor,
By the parlor fire;
Gown that wants a stitch in
Hid by apron fine,
Scolding in her kitchen,--
O fie, Valentine!

Should I come home surly
Vexed with fortune's frown,
Find a hurly-burly,
House turned upside down,
Servants all a-snarl, or
Cleaning steps or stair:
Breakfast still in parlor,
Shall I to cold bacon
Meekly fall and dine?
No,--or I'm mistaken
Much, my Valentine.
What if we should quarrel?
--Bless you, all folks do:--
Will you take the war ill
Yet half like it too?
When I storm and jangle,
Obstinate, absurd,
Will you sit and wrangle
Just for the last word,--
Or, while poor Love, crying,
Upon tiptoe stands,
Ready plumed for flying,--
Will you smile, shake hands,
And the truth beholding,
With a kiss divine
Stop my rough mouth's scolding?--
Bless you, Valentine!

If, should times grow harder,
We have lack of pelf,
Little in the larder,
Less upon the shelf;
Will you, never tearful,
Make your old gowns do,
Mend my stockings, cheerful,
And pay visits few?
Crave nor gift nor donor,
Old days ne'er regret,
Seek no friend save Honor,
Dread no foe but Debt;
Meet ill-fortune steady,
Hand to hand with mine,
Like a gallant lady,--
Will you, Valentine?

Then, whatever weather
Come, or shine, or shade,
We'll set out together,
Not a whit afraid.
Age is ne'er alarming,--
I shall find, I ween,
You at sixty charming
As at sweet sixteen:
Let's pray, nothing loath, dear,
That our funeral may
Make one date serve both, dear,
As our marriage day.
Then, come joy or sorrow,
Thou art mine,--I thine.
So we'll wed to-morrow,
Dearest Valentine.

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

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