On this day the feast of St. Valentine is held. In early tradition, Valentine’s Day was the date that birds began to choose their mates, only later did the romance extend to the human population.
The first reference in print to Valentine’s Day is found in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Parlement of Foules (The Parliament of Fowls), in about 1381: “For this was on seynt Volantynys day Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his mate.” Nobody really knows who Saint Valentine was and why the date of 14th February was selected. It may relate to the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, which Chaucer’s poem was written to honour.
The earliest known romantic Valentine verse was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife, in the 15th century:
Je suis desja d’amour tanné
Ma tres doulce Valentinée
(I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine)
In Hamlet, Shakespeare had Ophelia sing this risqué Valentine’s Day verse:
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 donned his clothes,
And dupped the chamber door.
Let in the maid that out a maid
Never departed more.
Today I will remember the words of St Paul: “Three things will last forever – faith, hope and love – and the greatest of these is love”