A grocer stands at a counter and holds a piece of food. Behind him is a pile with rounds marked "cheese", "live", and "oil." On the other side of the counter stands a small child and a container marked "sour milk." The valentine accuses the recipient of selling rotten foods., Text: You doubly green old grocer, go, / With teeth blue as your indigo; / Your milk's as sour as your face, / Your cheeks hang down in mouldy grace, / Where pimple worms sport round with ease, / Just like the maggots in your cheese; / Your foul meats, like your green eyes, shine, / You carrion of a Valentine., Provenance: McAllister, John A. (John Allister), 1822-1896, collector.
A man stands behind a counter and measures leaves in a set of scales. He is wearing an apron and pointed shoes. Beneath the counter is a box marked sloe-leaves. The sender implies that the shopkeeper substitutes sloe leaves for tea., Text: Original, should be the word, / Genuine, is quite absurd, / For Ash and Sloe leaves sure must be, / At least a new invented Tea; / So Verdigris, I don’t incline, / To take you for a Valentine., Provenance: Helfand, William H..
A man with a gap-toothed grin weighs leaves in a set of scales. The packet he holds in his hand is labelled "Imitation tea" and several other containers behind the counter are labeled "Dutch pink", "Tea Dust", and "Verdigrease". The valentine suggests the clerk cheats his customers., Text: Original, should be the word, / Genuine, is quite absurd, / For Ash and Sloe leaves sure must be, / At least a new invented Tea; / So Verdegris, I don’t incline, / To take you for a Valentine., Provenance: Helfand, William H..
A baker stands in front of his oven. He is smoking a pipe and his shovel leans on the wall next to him., Text: The bread that you bake is not fit for a dog, / Your pies and your cake would sicken a hog; / Sawdust-flour you use, rancid butter and lard, / For such practice you ought to be feathered and tarred, / Or else to be taken and baked in your oven -- / You dirty old cheat, and rascal, and sloven., Provenance: Helfand, William H.
A butcher with a moustache stands with cleaver in hand. Two cats hang from hooks under the words "Cats wanted.", Text: Go! slaughterer of stolen cats, / And shave the moustache from thy lip -- / Thy sausages are made from rats, / Thy cutlets worse than any chip, / Thy steaks defy the strongest jaws, / Thy mutton comes from aged rams, / Thy pork defies the sharpest saws, / And tainted are thy sugared hams. / Repent, ere yet it is too late, / Or you may butcher for the State., Provenance: Helfand, William H..
The "shoddy" military contractor is handed a $50 bill and stands in front of a barrell marked "STINKING PORK FOR U.S. ARMY from SHODDY." He says "I CAN'T SEE THAT THE PORK STINKS A BIT," and there a sign behind him that reads "SHODDY INSPECTOR OFFICE.", Text: You can't see it? No wonder you can't, / With a fifty dollar green back in your eye; / The soldier may starve-- the sailor may want, / What cares Shoddy if even they die? / He's a curse to his kind -- his country's worst bane, / Deserving the noose on the hangman's line; / But, alas, you don't get it, and to publish your shame, / Is left alone for this poor Valentine., Provenance: McAllister, John A. (John Allister), 1822-1896, collector.