Ha monny young folk are langin for th’ fourteenth o’ February! An ha mony old pooastmen wish it ud niver come? Sawr owd maids an’ crusty owd bachelors wonder ‘at fowk should have noa moor sense nor to waste ther brass on sich like nonsense. But it’s noa use them talkin’, for young fowk have done it befoor time, an’ as long as it’s i’th’ natur on ‘em to love one another an’ get wed, soa long will valentine makers have plenty to do at this time o’th’ year. Ther’s monny a daycent sooart of a young chap at thinks he could like to mak up to a young lass at he’s met at th’ chapel or some other place, but as sooin as he gets at th’ side on her, he caant screw his courage up to th’ stickin’ place, an’ he axes her some sooart ov a gaumless question, sich as “ha’s your mother,” or summat he cares noa moor abaat. An’ as sooin as he gets to hissell he’s fit to pail his heead agean th’ jaumstooan for bien sich a fooil. Well, nah, what can sich a chap do? Why, send her a valentine ov coorse. Soa he gooas an’ buys her one wi’ a grand piece ov poetry like this:
“The rose is red, the violet’s blue,
The pink is sweet, and so are you.”
John Hartley was an English poet and writer of the second half of the 19th century. He frequently worked in distinctive dialect (Yorkshire), as here.
This short bit of wit is among many others like it in Hartley’s collection Yorkshire Ditties, First Series, which you will find at Project Gutenberg.
It isn’t to be expected ‘at shoo can tell whear it’s come throo; but shoo could guess at twice, an guess puddin’ once, that’s the beauty on it. Then th’ way’s oppen’d aat at once, he’s gein her to understand what ten to one shoo understood long afoor he did. Next time they meet shoo’s sure to ax him if he gate ony valentines, an’ then he’ll smile an’ say, “What for, did yo?” An’ shoo’ll show him th’ direction, an’ ax him if he knows who’s writing that is? An’ he’ll luk at it as sackless as if he didn’t know it wor his own— ther heeads get cloise together, an’ shoo sighs an’ he sighs, an’ then, if ther’s noabody abaat he’ll give hur a smack with his lips an’ lawp back as if he’d burned th’ skin off ‘em, an’ shooo axes him ha he con fashion to goa on like that, he owt to be ashamed ov his face? An’ all th’ time shoo’s wonderin’ why he niver did it afoor. Then, if ther’s owt abaat him, it isn’t long befoor ther’s a weddin’, an’ then he’s begun life. He’s settled into his nook i’th’ world, an’ he feels he’s a man. Troubles come, but then ther’s a pleasure i’ bein able to maister ‘em. He’s summat to wark for besides his own belly an’ back. He’s a heart-expandin’ responsibility put on him. His country benefits by him, for a man does moor for his country ‘at leaves ten weel-trained sons an’ dowters nor him ‘at leaves ten thaasand paand. Then if sich a little simple thing as a valentine can help a chap on his rooad in lite, aw say. Be hanged to th’ Grumblers, goa a head Valentine Makkers!!!