Pete's Article from the February 1999.

February 14th is for Lovers”! by Pete Bennett

February 14th is a day for lovers, and what better way to tell her you love her

then to send her a card with the following

inscribed on it. Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote her poem,

“How do I love the?” in the mid 1800’s and the words live on.


How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
for the ends of Being and Ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right:
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise:
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old grieves, and with my childhood's faith;
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, - I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! - and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Legend has it that the holiday became “Valentine’s Day” after a priest named Valentine. Valentine was a priest in Rome at the time Christianity was a young religion.
The Emperor at that time, Claudius II, ordered the Roman soldiers NOT to marry or become engaged. Claudius believed that as married men, his soldiers would want to stay home with their families rather than fight his wars. Valentine defied the Emperor’s decree and secretly married the young couples.
He was eventually arrested, imprisoned, and put to death. Valentine was beheaded on February 14th. Valentine later was named a Saint. As Rome became more Christian, the priests moved an earlier spring holiday of feasting from the 15th of February to the 14th - Valentine’s Day.
What do you know about Cupid? Cupid has always played a role in the mythical celebrations of Love and Lovers. He is known as a mischievous, winged child, whose arrows would pierce the hearts of his victims causing them to fall deeply in love.
The Europeans also believed that on February 14th the birds began to choose their mates. In fact Chaucer, in his “Parlement of Foules” wrote: "For this was Seynt Valentine’s Day when every foul cometh there to choose his mate. John Donne wrote:
Hail Bishop Valentine! whose day this is;
All the air is thy diocese,
And all the chirping choristers
And other birds are thy parishioners:
Thou marryest ever year The lyric lark
and the grave whispering dove;
The sparrow that neglects his life for love,
The household bird with the red stomarcher;
Celebrations Thous makest the blackbird speed as soon,
As doth the goldfinch or the halcyon . . .
This day more cheerfully than ever shine,
This day which might inflame thyself old Valentine!
There was a Christian tradition of drawing names on St. Valentine’s Eve in England and other places. The tradition of birds choosing their mates on St. Valentine’s Day led to the idea that boys and girls would do the same. Now when a youth drew a girl’s name, he wore it on his sleeve, and attended and protected her during the following year. This made the girl his valentine and they exchanged love tokens throughout the year. Later this was changed to only men giving love tokens to females, usually without names but signed
"with St. Valentine’s Love."
Later, in France, both sexes drew from the valentine box.
A book called Travels in England, written in 1698, gives an account of the way it was done: On St. Valentine’s Eve an equal number of maids and bachelors get together, each writes their true or some feigned name upon separate billets, which they roll up and draw by way of lots, the maids taking the men’s billets, and the men the maid’s so that each of the young men lights upon a girl that he calls his Valentine, and each of the girls upon a young man which she calls hers. By this means, each has two valentine’s but the man sticks faster to the valentine that is fallen to him than to the valentine to whom he is fallen. Fortune having thus divided the company into so many couples, the valentines give balls and treats to their mistresses, wear their billets several days upon their bosoms or sleeves, and this little sport often ends in love.
This ceremony is practiced differently in different countries, and according to the freedom or severity of Madame Valentine. This is another kind of Valentine, which is the first young man or woman that chance throws in your way in the street, or elsewhere . . .
St. Valentine’s Day was mentioned by Shakespeare too, and the poet, Drayton, wrote verses entitled “To His Valentine” in which he expressed the idea of the birds mating on St. Valentine’s Day.
Each little bird this tide
Doth choose her beloved peer,
Which constantly abide
In wedlock all the year.
I remember how we celebrated the day in the Sinnamahoning School back in MY day. Each girl in the class received a small Valentine from each boy and visa versa. Some were hand made. Some to special girls were inscribed with special poems or “xxxx & ooooo’s. Some girls got an extra wink or a red faced blush. Yes, "those were the days".
Now that you have read about a bit of the history of the day, what ideas do you have to celebrate this "Day of Love" with your Valentine?
You could shower her with kisses! Send her long stemmed roses, or take her out to dinner. Have a candlelit dinner at home! Take her to a movie! (a Love Story) Hold her hand and sit with her in front of a warm fire! Whisper sweet nothing’s in her ear! Tell her you love her, but most of all.......
have a Happy Valentine’s Day lovers! Spread your heart around on
February 14th.

COPYRIGHT © 2018  Pete Bennett

All rights Reserved.


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