St Valentine’s Day
Eliza Flower (1803–1846)

for solo voice and piano
performed by Frances M Lynch

The words of the song were almost certainly written by

A sepia pencil drawing of a young man with curly hair wearing a very flouncy gown over his shirt and tie - he is seated so we don't see his feetCharles Reece Pemberton (1790-1840)
Actor, Author and Lecturer

Image by Engraver Charles Edward Wagstaff, after Octavius Oakley (Wikipedia Public Domain)

“St Valentine’s Day”

 Hark! Hark! It is there
On the hedge-row bare;
‘Tis there on the boughs
Of the leafless tree;
Two winged lovers responding vows;
It comes with a chirp and a twitter to me:
Sweet! Be thou mine,
Sweet Valentine!
Sweet! I am thine,
Sweet Valentine!
From each down-mottled throat it comes dancing to me,
‘Tis love’s mellow note, so joyous and free.

Birds by Saz Spratt from Pixabay

The composer doesn’t use the 2nd verse – giving no indication, as in other Songs of the Months that the music should be repeated to these new words. This could have been for any number of reasons – simply that the music felt complete, or she ran out of time before the monthly deadline, or perhaps didn’t much like the following text –  I leave you to decide!

Bright, bright, each gleam
Of the joyous dream;
When love-cherishing spring
Embowers the grove,
They’ll revel in bliss on expanded wing,
And waft through the sky the rich carol of love.
Sweet! Thou art mine,
Sweet Valentine!
Sweet! I am thine,
Sweet Valentine!
It will float o’er the vale, and come leaping to me,
With the flower-scented gale, float mellow and free.

Sepia drawing of the head of the composer surrounded by flowers

Eliza Flower (1803 – 1846)

Tinted lithograph of a drawing by Mrs E Bridell Fox, 1898/99 courtesy of Conway Hall Ethical Society

February – St Valentine’s Day is from “Songs of the Months” published by A J Novello in December 1834. The title page describes the volume as A Musical Garland and addresses us as………

……………………………Children of the year,
We move in swift tho’ never wearying march,
Each richly gifted with a precious dower
Of differing beauty. Listen as we pass
Marking our pace by Music.

The composer of each of the 12 songs is Eliza Flower, who set poetry provided by her close knit circle of literary friends, mainly women, including her sister Sarah Flower Adams. The result is an eclectic mix of songs which vere from romantic to dramatic harmony and from simple beauty to lively humour.
The short editorial introduction explains that each song appeared throughout 1834 in the Monthly Repository – a publication associated with South Place Chapel where Flower’s life and work was based.

They are collected as a musical garland for the hoary head of Time, a welcome for his comings, a benediction on his goings, and a march to quicken his steps when the road is thorny and toilsome.

It is hoped that, should they become familiar in the social circle, while ‘voices keep tune,’ hearts will not lose time, but sustain this perennial chaunt of affection, enoyment and hope, which prolongs the ‘good wishes of the season,’ from happy new year to a merry Christmas.

In nature the flower of the month is of course the Primrose symbolizing virtue and modesty!

raising the profile of music by women