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Americans are proverbially a care-worn people, who employ their lives
in gaining the means of living, which when they have fairly
accomplished, the fifth act of the drama closes and the curtain falls.
We have fewer festivals than any other nation; with the exception of
the 4th of July we have no national holyday, and the observance of this
has been almost wholly abandoned to little boys who fire crackers in
the streets, and larger boys who fire cannon and train in the militia.,
instead of being, as it should be, a day of elegant brevity. We have
Feasts and Thanksgivings, but except in dear, good New England, and
among her scattered children, they are of little note. Our city,
however, has the advantage of most others in her observance of New
Year's and Valentine's Day. The former, delightful for its social
intercourse, and the latter for the facility it affords people to speak
as at a masquerade, with their responsibility, for the time being, laid
aside, to use with impunity the light artillery of cupid and to
scatter compliments as they do sugar plums at a carnival. We would
multiply our holydays; and if life is, as they tell us, a funeral
procession, we would not trample down the flowers in our path, but
gather and weave them into rosy garlands.
Valentines' day seems to us a beautiful occasion for
saying what is pleasant, witty, or tender, to those we like, esteem, or
love, and we hold to its strict observance. We have been permitted to
make the following selections from some of these missives, which were
read at a private party on the evening of that day. We have selected
those addressed to persons well known, as being of more general
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TO HER WHOSE NAME IS WRITTEN BELOW.
For her these lines are penned, whose luminous eyes,
Bright and expressive as the stars of Leda,
Shall find her own sweet name that, nestling, lies
Upon this page, enwrapped from every reader.
Search narrowly these words, which hold a treasure
Divine — a talisman — an amulet
That must be worn at heart. Search well the measure —
The words — the letters themselves. Do not forget
The smallest point, or you may lose your labor.
And yet there is in this no Gordian knot,
Which one might not undo without a sabre.
If one could merely comprehend the plot
Upon the open page, on which are peering
Such sweet eyes now, there lies, I say perdu,
A musical name, oft uttered in the hearing
Of poets, by poets — for the name is a poet's, too,
In common sequence set, the letters lying,
Compose a sound delighting all to hear.
Ah, this you'd have no trouble in descrying,
Were you not something, of a dunce, my dear:
And now I leave these riddles to their seer.
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