Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD. It was deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.
- For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
- To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
- Saint Valentine is past;
Begin these wood-birds but to couple now?
- Hayle Bishop Valentine whose day this is
All the Ayre is thy Diocese
And all the chirping Queristers
And other birds ar thy parishioners
Thou marryest every yeare
The Lyrick Lark, and the graue whispering Doue,
The Sparrow that neglects his life for loue,
The houshold bird with the redd stomacher
Thou makst the Blackbird speede as soone,
As doth the Goldfinch, or the Halcyon
The Husband Cock lookes out and soone is spedd
And meets his wife, which brings her feather-bed.
This day more cheerfully than ever shine
This day which might inflame thy selfe old Valentine.
- John Donne, Epithalamion Vpon Frederick Count Palatine and the Lady Elizabeth marryed on St. Valentines day.
- The rose is red, the violet's blue
The honey's sweet, and so are you.
Thou are my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine.
The lot was cast and then I drew;
And Fortune said it shou'd be you.
- as printed in Gammer Gurton's Garland (London, 1784).
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 828-29.
- On paper curiously shaped
Scribblers to-day of every sort,
In verses Valentines yclep'd,
To Venus chime their annual court.
I too will swell the motley throng,
And greet the all auspicious day,
Whose privilege permits my song
My love thus secret to convey.
- Henry G. Bohn, MS. From his Dictionary of Poetical Quotations, Valentines.
- Muse, bid the Morn awake!
Sad Winter now declines,
Each bird doth choose a mate;
This day's Saint Valentine's.
For that good bishop's sake
Get up and let us see
What beauty it shall be
That Fortune us assigns.
- Michael Drayton, Additional Odes, To his Valentine.
- Oft have I heard both youths and virgins say,
Birds chuse their mates and couple too this day:
But by their flight I never can devine
When I shall couple with my valentine.
- Robert Herrick, To his Valentine, on St. Valentine's Day.
- No popular respect will I omit
To do the honour on this happy day,
When every loyal lover tasks his wit
His simple truth in studious rhymes to pay,
And to his mistress dear his hopes convey.
Rather thou knowest I would still outrun
All calendars with Love's whose date alway
Thy bright eyes govern better than the Sun,—
For with thy favour was my life begun,
And still I reckon on from smiles to smiles,
And not by summers, for I thrive on none
But those thy cheerful countenance compiles;
Oh! if it be to choose and call thee mine,
Love, thou art every day my Valentine!
- Thomas Hood, Sonnet, For the 14th of February.
- Oh, cruel heart! ere these posthumous papers
Have met thine eyes, I shall be out of breath;
Those cruel eyes, like two funereal tapers,
Have only lighted me the way to death.
Perchance thou wilt extinguish them in vapours,
When I am gone, and green grass covereth
Thy lover, lost; but it will be in vain—
It will not bring the vital spark again.
- Thomas Hood, A Valentine.
- Hail to thy returning festival, old Bishop Valentine! Great is thy name in the rubric, Thou venerable arch flamen of Hymen. * * * Like unto thee, assuredly, there is no other mitred father in the calendar.
- Charles Lamb, Essays, Valentine's Day.
- Apollo has peeped through the shutter,
And awaken'd the witty and fair;
The boarding-school belle's in a flutter,
The twopenny post's in despair;
The breath of the morning is flinging
A magic on blossom and spray,
And cockneys and sparrows are singing
In chorus on Valentine's day.
- Winthrop Mackworth Praed, Song for 14th of February.