Valentine’s Day is a time when people show their feelings of love and affection in many ways to their loved ones. They dress in fine clothing and exchange gifts, letters or take their loved ones for a romantic dinner.
Apart from our friends, family and spouse, there are so many other things in our life that we love, we care for example books, plants, pets etc and I feel we should express our love, respect to those as well.
I am a literature student and I feel a strong bond towards my subject which I am unable to explain in words. Hence, this time I am planning to celebrate my love for language and literature on Valentine’s Day. So, friends Lets celebrate this Valentine in Literature way…
The Literary connection to Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day remembers Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. According to the catholic Encyclopaedia, there was a third saint Valentine who was martyred in Africa. Valentine’s Day is celebrated annually on February 14. It is recognised as a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance in many regions around the world, although it is not a public holiday in any country.
During the late fourteenth Century, Geoffrey Chaucer, author of “Canterbury Tales”, associated the term “Valentine’s Day” with his poem “The Parliament of Fowls “written possibly in 1382. He composed this poem in honour of the arranged marriage between England’s Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. The poem “The Parliament of Fowls”, literally means “the meeting of birds”. This poem features a parliament or assembly of birds, where they have gathered together to choose their mates. As Chaucer wrote “When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate”.
Shakespeare also associated this belief in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. As a character in the play discovers two lovers in the woods and asks:
“St. Valentine is past; begin these wood-birds but to couple now?”
He used another belief of Valentine’s Day in “Hamlet”: the belief that when a man first sees a woman on Valentine’s Day, will get married within a year.
John Donne also contributed in popularising the term Valentine’s Day when he wrote a marriage song to honour the wedding of The Lady Elizabeth and Count Palatine Being Married on St. Valentine’s Day.
All the air is thy diocese,
And all the chirping choristers
And other birds are thy parishioners:
Thou merriest ever year
The lyric lark and the grave whispering dove;
The sparrow that neglects his life for love,
The household bird with the red stomacher;
Thus make’s 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!
However, few of Chaucer’s contemporaries like John Gower (author of Confessio Amantis) and John Clanvowe (author of The Book of Cupid, God of Love) wrote poems about Valentine’s Day as a day of lovers. Chaucer was perhaps merely the poet who popularised this new fashionable notion, although there is some evidence to suggest that Chaucer was probably writing slightly earlier than these three other poets.
Some of the best Poems for Valentine’s Day
Friends, if you want to recite a poem or sing a song to amuse your beloved on this special day…go ahead and you can select any from the below mentioned poems or write your own to celebrate Valentine’s Day, love and romance.
- Geoffrey Chaucer, ‘The Parliament of Fowls’ is an example of the popular medieval debate poem. This poem is believed to popularise the connection between romance or love and the 14th of February.
- John Clare, ‘Valentine’.In this poem, the poet explains how he picked a bouquet of fine spring flowers for his beloved, Mary. Like several of Clare’s poems – ‘First Love’ is another prominent example of adolescent love when the poet was in the first flush of youth.
- Sir Philip Sidney, ‘My true love hath my heart, and I have his’. This poem is one of the finest Elizabethan love poems. Here the speakeris a shepherdess, pledging her love for her betrothed, a shepherd who rests in her lap.
- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18, ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’ where the lover is comparing his ladylove’s beauty with the beauty of nature.
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson, ‘Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white’. This short fourteen-line song from Tennyson’s long narrative poem or ‘medley’ is a classic example of erotic and sensual love where the ‘fire-fly’ evokes the burning passion of the speaker.
- Edgar Allan Poe, ‘A Valentine’. Poe wrote this poem for Frances Sargent Osgood, a married poet with whom he was in love.
- James Russell Lowell, ‘A Valentine’.In this poem, the American Romantic poet James Russell Lowell celebrates being in love and having ‘my happy Valentine’. It’s a tender and understated account of being ‘loved up’ for Valentine’s Day.
- Carol Ann Duffy, ‘Valentine’.This poem deals with the speaker’s gift to her Valentine, not of a red rose or a cute card but an onion.
So, these are some of my favourite love poems and among these I am going to recite (in my own way) at least one or two to entertain my man of life. My dear readers, you can also take this unique literature way instead of the conventional way of flower or chocolates or teddy to woo your loved ones as this would be something very different if not so, then definitely pocket friendly 😉
Happy Valentine’s Day…Enjoy your day to the fullest😊