163. Valentine to a Little Girl

LITTLE maiden, dost thou pine
For a faithful Valentine?
Art thou scanning timidly
Every face that meets thine eye?
Art thou fancying there may be
Fairer face than thou dost see?
Little maiden, scholar mine,
Wouldst thou have a Valentine?

Go and ask, my little child,
Ask the Mother undefiled:
Ask, for she will draw thee near,
And will whisper in thine ear:— {291}
"Valentine! the name is good;
    For it comes of lineage high,
    And a famous family:
And it tells of gentle blood,
Noble blood,—and nobler still,
    For its owner freely pour'd
Every drop there was to spill
    In the quarrel of his Lord.
Valentine! I know the name,
Many martyrs bear the same;
And they stand in glittering ring
Round their warrior God and King, —
    Who before and for them bled,—
    With their robes of ruby red,
And their swords of cherub flame."

Yes! there is a plenty there,
Knights without reproach or fear,—
Such St. Denys, such St. George,
    Martin, Maurice, Theodore,
    And a hundred thousand more;
    Guerdon gain'd and warfare o'er,
By that sea without a surge, {292}
And beneath the eternal sky,
    And the beatific Sun,
        In Jerusalem above,
    Valentine is every one;
Choose from out that company
    Whom to serve, and whom to love.

The Oratory

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Newman Reader — Works of John Henry Newman
Copyright 2007 by The National Institute for Newman Studies. All rights reserved.