Pete's Article from the February 1999.
February 14th is for Lovers! by Pete Bennett
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.
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
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 Valentines 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 Emperors
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 - Valentines 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 Valentines
Day when every foul cometh there to choose his mate. John
Hail Bishop Valentine!
whose day this is;
All the air is thy
And all the chirping
And other birds are thy
Thou marryest ever year
The lyric lark
and the grave whispering
The sparrow that
neglects his life for love,
The household bird with
the red stomarcher;
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. Valentines Eve in
England and other places. The tradition of birds choosing
their mates on St. Valentines Day led to the idea that
boys and girls would do the same. Now when a youth drew a
girls 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
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. Valentines 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 mens billets,
and the men the maids 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 valentines 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. Valentines 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.
Each little bird this
Doth choose her beloved
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 &
ooooos. 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
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 nothings in her ear! Tell her
you love her, but most of all.......
have a Happy Valentines Day lovers! Spread your heart
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