Artifact Corner: 1830s Book of Poetry

Hi Everyone and welcome back to another artifact corner. In honor of Valentine’s Day, happening just a couple of days ago, we will be looking at a small book, the perfect size to fit in a pocket. The book is called “A Token of Affection. Poetry of the Heart.” The book was published in London, by Charles Tilt of Fleet Street. There is no publishing date, but it must have been published sometime before 1840. There is an inscription on the flyleaf that reads, “For little Frances, from her affectionate friend, H. C.C. Hartford, Oct. 16th, 1840.” Little Frances is our Fannie Delord Webb Hall, the last family member to reside in the house. She was born in Albany in 1834, and lived in our home for the first four years of her life, being raised by her Grandmother Betsey Delord. She then moved down to Connecticut to be raised and educated by her Aunt Eliza. So, at the time of receiving this gift, she was only six years old. But the book must have been treasured, because it has survived almost 200 years. Let’s take a sneak peak inside.
One of the first poems in the book is called “Affections Keepsake.” It reads as follows:

“Affection never for a moment tires,

But still the same, for ever will love on;

The cloud of sorrow oftentimes conspires,

To shade it’s brilliant fervor; but when gone,

How bursts it forth in all it’s radiant fires,

To shame the former light with which it shone.

So ever be it still – forbid it Heaven,

That lasting hindrance to true love be given.”

Another poem in the book is meant to be set to music. It says this poem is arranged for voice and piano-forte. It’s called, “How like yon evening star of heaven.”

“How like yon evening star of heaven

Was Ella’s eye,

With joy was mixed no bitter leaven

When she was by:

Nor thought I then of ought besides,

The groves and flowers

All yielded unto her their pride,

In those sweet hours.

When summer days were long and fair,

How we would pine

Until appear’d yon welcome star

On Us to shine.

But why o’er joy departed cast

Such lingering gaze?

’Tis set no more to rise – are past

It’s latest rays.”

Lastly, we’ll read a short poem towards the end of the book. It’s called, “The Origin of the Red Rose.”

“As first in Eden’s blissful bowers,

Young eve survey’d her countless flowers,

An opening rose of purest white

She mark’d with eyes that beam’d delight,

It’s leaves she kiss’d, and straight it drew

From beauty’s lips the vermeil hue.”

This little book is in quite good condition. The leather binding is almost perfect, and the gold leaf lettering is also pretty much perfect. The pages have some foxing, meaning browning and spotting, but this is very common for books that are almost 200 years old. The ink inscription is still very clear and legible as well. This is a beautiful little book, and we are so lucky to have it in our collections. We hope you all had a lovely Valentine’s Day! Thanks so much for stopping by.

The following music was used for this media project:
Music: Sunny Morning by MusicLFiles
Free download:
License (CC BY 4.0):
Artist website: