Gateway to the Classics: Good Stories for Great Holidays by Frances Jenkins Olcott
Good Stories for Great Holidays by  Frances Jenkins Olcott

A Prisoner's Valentine


Charles, Duke of Orleans, who was taken prisoner at the battle of Agincourt in 1415, and detained in England twenty-five years, was the author of the earliest known written valentines. He left about sixty of them. They were written during his confinement in the Tower of London, and are still to be seen among the royal papers in the British Museum.

One of his valentines reads as follows:—

"Wilt thou be mine? dear Love, reply—

Sweetly consent or else deny.

Whisper softly, none shall know,

Wilt thou be mine, Love?—aye or no?

"Spite of Fortune, we may be

Happy by one word from thee.

Life flies swiftly—ere it go

Wilt thou be mine, Love?—aye or no?"

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