February 15, 1881
It is unfortunate but when it comes to matters of the heart the perception is that lawyers are not inclined to be romantic. It has been said that they have difficulty establishing an ‘emotional connection’. They are in large part driven by logic. Love, of course, does not tend to be logical.
On Valentine’s Day, February 1881, a St. John’s lawyer sent a poem by the American poet, John B. Saxe to the St. John’s newspaper the Evening Telegram determined to make the public aware that there were some in his profession that were deeply romantic. They just had/have their own language to express their romantic intentions. The poem reads:
The Lawyer’s Valentine
I’m notified, fair neighbour mind,
By one of our profession,
That this, the term of Valentine,
Is Cupid’s Special Session.
Permit me, therefore, to Report
Myself, on this occasion,
Quite ready to proceed to Court,
and file my declaration.
I’ve an attachment for you, too;
A legal and a strong one;
O, yield onto the Process, do;
Nor let it be a long one.
No scowling bailiff lurks behind;
He’d be a precious noddy,
Who failing to arrest the Mind,
Should go and take the Body!
For though a form like yours might throw,
A sculptor in distraction;
I couldn’t serve a Capias, no;
I’d scorn so base an Action!
Oh, do not tell me off your youth,
And turn aware demurely,
For thought your very young in truth,
You’re not an infant surely!
The Case is everything me;
My heart is loves own tissue;
Don’t plead a Dilatory Plea;
Let’s have the General Issue!
Or since you’ve really no Defence,
Why not, this present Session,
Omitting all absurd defence
Give Judgement by Confession.
So, shall you be my lawful wife?
And I your faithful lover,
Be Tenant of your heart for Life.
With no Remainder over!
(Take some time to send this ‘Archival Moment’ to your lawyer. Perhaps your lawyer is your Valentine!)
Recommended Archival Collection: At the Rooms Provincial Archives see the Valentine cards of Marion Adams. During the First World War (1914 – 1918) , Marion Adams of St. John’s received Valentine cards from two suitors.
Source of Poem: The Lawyer’s Valentine, by John G. Saxe originally appeared in the New York Times, on February 18, 1860.