Friday 14 February 2014

Victorian Valentines

Take inspiration from nineteenth-century literature this February 14th - here are the perfect messages to ensure a steamy reception, whatever the romantic situation:

The ultimate chat-up line:

‘I hope, Cecily [INSERT NAME ACCORDINGLY], I shall not offend you if I state quite frankly and openly that you seem to me to be in every way the visible personification of absolute perfection.’
Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)

 [NB: May be a little long-winded for use in a nightclub]

Prefacing a first kiss

'Take care.—If you do not speak—I shall claim you as my own in some strange presumptuous way.—Send me away at once, if I must go’
Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South (1855)

[NB: Silence does not constitute consent]

Appreciating a long term partner:

‘I said she was lovelier than ever. She is. A fine rose, not deep but delicate, opens on her cheek. Her eye, always dark, clear, and speaking, utters now a language I cannot render; it is the utterance, seen not heard, through which angels must have communed when there was 'silence in heaven.' Her hair was always dusk as night and fine as silk, her neck was always fair, flexible, polished; but both have now a new charm. The tresses are soft as shadow, the shoulders they fall on wear a goddess grace. Once I only saw her beauty, now I feel it.’
Charlotte Bronte, Shirley (1849)

[NB: Works on birthdays too if your loved one fears ageing]

And….offering your ward who you were about to marry to another man:

‘take from me a willing gift, the best wife that ever man had. What more can I say for you than that I know you deserve her! Take with her the little home she brings you. You know what she will make it, Allan; you know what she has made its namesake. Let me share its felicity sometimes, and what do I sacrifice? Nothing, nothing.’
Charles Dickens, Bleak House (1852-3)

[NB: No longer acceptable]

If you have any other literary lovemaking lines to share – tweet them @SVictorianist! And share the love this Valentine’s by LIKING us on Facebook.

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