A Rowland for your Oliver
We think you've justly earned;
You sent us each a valentine,
Your gift is now returned.
We cannot write or talk like you;
We're plain folks every one;
You've played a clever trick on us,
We thank you for the fun.
Believe us when we frankly say
(Our words, though blunt are true),
At home, abroad, by night or day,
We all wish well to you.
And never may a cloud come o'er
The sunshine of your mind;
Kind friends, warm hearts, and happy hours,
Through life we trust you'll find.
Where'er you go, however far
In future years you stray,
There shall not want our earnest prayer
To speed you on your way. . .
The History of Valentine Cards
Papers made especially for Valentine greetings began to be marketed in the 1820s, and their use became fashionable in both Britain and the United States. In the 1840s, when postal rates in Britain became standardized, commercially produced Valentine cards began to grow in popularity. The cards were flat paper sheets, often printed with colored illustrations and embossed borders. The sheets, when folded and sealed with wax, could be mailed.
The legendary British illustrator of children’s books, Kate Greenaway, designed Valentines in the late 1800s which were enormously popular. Her Valentine designs proved sold so well for the card publisher, Marcus Ward, that she was encouraged to design cards for other holidays.
Some of Greenaway’s illustrations for Valentine cards were collected in a book published in 1876, Quiver of Love: A Collection of Valentines.