Another St. Valentine, another Shakespearean Compliment

The field's chief flower, sweet above compare, Stain to all nymphs… More white and red than doves or roses are“The field’s chief flower, sweet above compare,
Stain to all nymphs…
More white and red than doves or roses are”

(Venus and Adonis)

As a curiosity item, here is a letter from an illustrious and historical character to his Valentine of the time – when the Internet was the stuff of improbable miracles or of myth or of what today we call science fiction. To add a little frisson, I will reveal the author only at the end of this blog.

To my mistress
Because the time it seems to me very long, since I haven’t heard from you, or concerning your health; the great affection I have for you has obliged me to send this bearer to be better informed, both of your health and pleasure, particularly because, since my last parting from you, I have been told, that you have intirely changed the opinion in which I left you, and that you would neither come to court with your mother, nor any other way; which report, if true, I cannot enough wonder at, being persuaded in my own mind, that I have never commented any offense against you; and it seems a very small return for the great love I bear you, to be kept at a distance from the person and the presence of a woman in the world that I value the most; and, if you love me with as much affection as I hope you do, I am sure, the distance of our two persons would be a little uneasy to you. Though this does not belong so much to the mistress as the server. Consider well, my mistress, how greatly your absence grieves me; I hope it is not your will that it should be so; but, if I heard it for certain, that you yourself desired it, I could do no other than complain of my ill fortune, and by degrees abate my great folly; a and so, for want of time, I make an end of my rude letter, desiring you to give credit to this bearer in all he will tell you from me. Written by the hand of your intire servant.
H Rex”

Suggestion for use.  Text for Valentine’s card. Overlook that the original is a compliment from a woman to a man.

In the poem.  Venus’ initial address to Adonis

Image Source:

 Writer of the quoted letter: King Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn.

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