Richard Hovey ~ Her Valentine

What, send her a valentine? Never!
I see you don’t know who “she” is.
I should ruin my chances forever;
My hopes would collapse with a fizz.

I can’t see why she scents such disaster
When I take heart to venture a word;
I’ve no dream of becoming her master,
I’ve no notion of being her lord.

All I want is to just be her lover!
She’s the most up-to-date of her sex,
And there’s such a multitude of her,
No wonder they call her complex.

She’s a bachelor, even when married,
She’s a vagabond, even when housed;
And if ever her citadel’s carried
Her suspicions must not be aroused.

She’s erratic, impulsive and human,
And she blunders,—as goddesses can;
But if she’s what they call the New Woman,
Then I’d like to be the New Man.

I’m glad she makes books and paints pictures,
And typewrites and hoes her own row,
And it’s quite beyond reach of conjectures
How much further she’s going to go.

When she scorns, in the L-road, my proffer
Of a seat and hangs on to a strap;
I admire her so much, I could offer
To let her ride up on my lap.

Let her undo the stays of the ages,
That have cramped and confined her so long!
Let her burst through the frail candy cages
That fooled her to think they were strong!

She may enter life’s wide vagabondage,
She may do without flutter or frill,
She may take off the chains of her bondage,—
And anything else that she will.

She may take me off, for example,
And she probably does when I’m gone.
I’m aware the occasion is ample;
That’s why I so often take on.

I’m so glad she can win her own dollars
And know all the freedom it brings.
I love her in shirt-waists and collars,
I love her in dress-reform things.

I love her in bicycle skirtlings—
Especially when there’s a breeze—
I love her in crinklings and quirklings
And anything else that you please.

I dote on her even in bloomers—
If Parisian enough in their style—
In fact, she may choose her costumers,
Wherever her fancy beguile.

She may box, she may shoot, she may wrestle,
She may argue, hold office or vote,
She may engineer turret or trestle,
And build a few ships that will float.

She may lecture (all lectures but curtain)
Make money, and naturally spend,
If I let her have her way, I’m certain
She’ll let me have mine in the end!

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