My Valentines – By Col. A.M. Hobby

ST. VALENTINE’S DAY

This anniversary will be celebrated as long as the human heart has passions. It is a day of confessions, when preference or devotion may be expressed in verse or prose without fear of criticism or offense. It is a day alike welcome to the young heart first touched by the tender passion, or the maturer one which speaks in burning words of love elevating and immortal, that can never be affected by circumstance or weakened by time. That there are such loves even hate and skepticism have never dared to deny. We publish below a poem inspired by the sentiments of the day, which has no superior in the language, and which will continue to be republished because it can not be improved. It is from the pen of one of our most practical and successful business men, who occasionally pauses in the midst of his labors to favor us with such productions as this. How much is fact or fancy in a poet’s confessions the world can never know. It may be as fair to conclude that from observation they tell the secrets of mankind — rather than their own.

In the different experiences described in the poem, each son of Adam will find his own hidden experiences with one of Eve’s daughters, made known. We know of no poem in the range of our reading that tells so many secrets in brilliant verse and touching pathos:

MY VALENTINES.

BY COL. A.M. HOBBY.

Come fill to the brim, let us drink to the day,
Old memories back it will bring,
One bumper, to banish life’s winter away,
Then back to its glorious spring.
Old age shall be cheered at the banquet of mirth,
As love lighted visions arise,
Like blooms that are hidden, will spring from the earth,
When wooed by the smile of the skies.

I am standing again at the portal of youth,
‘Mid memories many and tender,
And the future grows bright as the rainbow of truth,
Unrolls in its magical splendor.
In the school-house again, where in solitude waved
The sorrow-toned shadowless pine,
At the old oaken desk, where her name is engraved,
I am writing my first Valentine.

A poor wounded heart is suspended above,
Cupid’s arrows are piercing it through,
And I swore by each note in the gamut of love,
That my love should forever be true.
Its edges were gilt, and its sides were embossed,
Without an erasure or blot;
The t’s with a rule were all carefully cross’d,
And the I’s had their heavy round dot.

Her face was all beauty, and faultless her form,
Her cheeks wore the roses of May,
Her ringlets were tinged with the blushes of morn,
And her eyes they were azure as day.
We parted, and others were soon in her place,
I fervently sighed as they passed,
I hailed them in turn, queen of beauty and grace,
And the dearest was always the last.

And whence do you ask, are those Valentines now?
One has gone to the Kingdom of peace —
I smoothed down her tresses and kissed her cold brow,
It was white as the young lamb’s fleece;
And long hath she slept where the jessamine arch,
Bends lovingly over her tome,
And spring seems to pause, in her glorious march,
To shed there her fragrance and bloom.

Another whose days have been cheerless and cold —
Her brow keeps the record of care,
She bartered affection for acres and gold,
For a life that she never could share;
And others are treading life’s silent decline —
Some invite me, perhaps, to a dance;
And a bumper or two of the mellow old wine
Rekindles the early romance.

In the smile of the daughter the mother appears,
And the idol I worshipped is seen;
I gaze and forget that a river of years
Is silently flowing between.
Oh! well is it thus, that my fancy takes wing,
My bachelor dares to assuage;
Thus rose-buds are plucked from the gardens of spring,
To bloom in the winter of age.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Feb 14, 1873

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