The Course of True Love
Bean an Phoist says: Honora has so many great collections to choose from that it would have been cruel and heartless to restrict her to just one item that she loves, so here are just some of her favourite LOVEly things for Valentine's Day 2012...
by Honora Faul, Curator of Prints & Drawings, Ephemera, Music, Maps
This comical postcard is from the Niall Murphy collection in our ephemera department. To celebrate the centenary of Bloomsday, Niall Murphy assembled a selection of 250 postcards, all of them posted in the Dublin area during 1904, four of them sent on 16 June.
This Leap Year postcard is by artist Lance Thackery. Although subtitled, A “two to one” Chance, I think it is more a case of “no chance” if the expression on the gentleman’s face is anything to go by!
A cautionary postcard from the Niall Murphy collection is a Map Shewing the Course of the Truelove River which outlines the many pitfalls and emotions to be experienced en route to the Sea of Matrimony.
Postcard of a Map Shewing the Course of the Truelove River, 1904. From our Niall Murphy Collection, Ephemera
It charts the route through the ‘Evasion Rapids’ past the ‘Despair Marsh’ onto ‘Tenderness Crossing’ and ‘Kissing Ford’, before things take a turn for the worse at ‘Opposition Bend’, which is followed by ‘Separation Deep’ and ‘Misery Marsh’, before communications resume at ‘Correspondence Outlet’, until finally the destination of ‘Honeymoon Island’ in the ‘Sea of Matrimony’ is reached! It is worth reading all of the place names. And note the cute loveheart compass in the bottom right spelling LOVE!!!
You have to read this one! An 18th century song sheet from our music collection, Guardian Angels sung by Mrs Sparks [Frances Ashmore, c.1749-1805], printed by Benjamin Rhames ‘at the [sign of the] Sun on the upper Blind Quay’, Dublin.
Guardian Angels sung by Mrs Sparks, and printed in Dublin by Benjamin Rhames at the Sun on the upper Blind Quay, 18th century. NLI ref.: Mu-sb-16
Those of you who can read music will enjoy the pretty tune. The rest will enjoy the melodramatic lyrics, as where the lovelorn woman pledges to go off and live in a cave if her lover forsakes her ‘to admire a nymph more fair’!
Does he Love and yet forsake me,
To admire a Nymph more fair,
If he’s false I’ll wear the Willow,
And Esteem the happy pair:
Some lonely cave shall be my dwelling,
Ne’er more the cares of life pursue,
The Lark & Philomel
Only shall hear me tell
What makes me bid the World Adieu.
Also from our wonderful music collection, a popular song from 1942, “Johnny Doughboy found a Rose in Ireland”, words and music by Kay Twomey and Al Goodhart.
Doughboy is an informal term for an American soldier. The term was in use as far back as the 1840s and was still in use in WWII.
Johnny Doughboy found a Rose in Ireland, by Kay Twomey and Al Goodhart, 1942. NLI ref.: MU-sb-511
The cover illustration of the couple silhouetted in black against the vibrant green background is very effective. The lyrics are charming too, - on that isle across the sea, Johnny’s making history with his Yankee doodle arms of love!
And the refrain:
John-ny Dough-boy found a rose in Ire - land,___
Sure the fair-est flow'r that Er-in ev-er grew,___
Oh the Blar-ney in her talk,
Took him back to old New York,
Where his moth-er spoke the sweet-est blar-ney too.___
A Valentine card beautifully illustrated by Elizabeth Rivers and with a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: Act 2, Scene 2
Elizabeth Rivers Valentine Card. NLI ref.: PD 3102 TX
Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.
Another beautiful illustration by Elizabeth Rivers alongside the final stanza of Sir Thomas Wyatt’s poem, Forget not yet
Elizabeth Rivers Valentine Card. NLI ref.: PD 3102 TX
Forget not then thine own approved,
The which so long hath thee so loved,
Whose steadfast faith yet never moved;
Forget not this!
Among the most colourful collections in our prints and drawings department are the late 19th century cartoons distributed as supplements with newspapers such as The Weekly Freeman, United Ireland and The Union.
Erin's Valentines, supplement with United Ireland on Saturday, 16 February 1884. NLI ref. PD United Ireland 1884 February
This cartoon, ‘Erin's Valentines’ from the newspaper United Ireland by artist John D. Reigh, portrays Erin with her harp sitting among a profusion of Valentine cards signed by all the famous names of the nationalist movement. She is looking with great interest at the Valentine in her right hand signed, ‘Yours very truly Chas S. Parnell’, which includes an image of the Irish Parliament on College Green.
This supplement from the Weekly Freeman, 13th February 1886 is by John Fergus O’Hea, one of the most famous of the political cartoonists who created cartoons for these newspapers.
Her New Valentine, supplement with Weekly Freeman on Saturday, 13 February 1886. NLI ref. PD Weekly Freeman 1886 February
In this cartoon, Gladstone is depicted as Cupid aiming an arrow at Erin who is meanwhile preoccupied sewing the flag of legislative independence. The new Chief Secretary John Morley kneels before her with his Valentine. The little fellow falling out of the top hat on the ground is identified by his sash as Aberdeen. However, I’m unsure who the sinister character is with the pointy ears in the background!