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A Victorian Vignette for Valentine's Day

sweet marie

Love was in the air on a warm moonlit evening in Victoria Park in July 1891.  Cy Warman had just walked his sweetheart, Marie Jones, back to her school, Sacred Heart Academy (a finishing school for young ladies on the site of present-day Catholic Central Secondary School). He sat down on a park bench and composed a poem as a marriage proposal to his sweetheart, entitled, Sweet Marie".  It opens with the following lines, "I've a secret in my heart, Sweet Marie/A tale I would impart, love to thee/Every daisy in the dell/Knows my secret, knows it well/And yet I dare not tell Sweet Marie."   The words to the poem were set to music by Raymond Moore and the song was published in New York in 1893. Tthe song was featured in the 1947 film, Life with Father.  The Willard Chocolate Factory, established in Toronto in 1917, capitalized on the song by launching the Sweet Marie chocolate bar in 1931.  It is now manufactured by Cadbury/Neilson's.


sheet music for sweet marie

Sheet music for "Sweet Marie"

Cy had met Marie in Kansas City but her parents who were from Denver did not approve of Warman so they sent their daughter to school in London, Ontario.  Cy was not to be deterred from pursuing the love of his heart.  He visited Marie often in London, using his railway passes to travel from Colorado where he was working as a newspaper reporter.  On May 17th, 1892, Cyrus Clarence Warman and Myrtle Marie Jones were married in Denver and they spent the next several years travelling in Europe and the Orient before settling in London, Ontario in 1897.   Their home built circa 1898-99 still stands at 100 Cheapside Street in North London.