I think, therefore I harm
I don’t need to remind anyone, today is Valentine’s Day. I realized that my Thursday’s Main would fall on that day and I had no choice but write something about it. In the most traditional spirit of this blog, I could have written something about the origin of Valentine’s Day. But the fact is, nobody knows, so I won’t go about it.
In Rome, Valentinus was a common name. Of all the people known by that name, three of them are considered early Christian martyrs. They were all executed, two of them on February 14th.
Among them, however, one is known as Saint Valentine of Rome. He was a priest around 270 AD and provided the sacraments such as marriage, which was outlawed at that time. Remember Christianity was only adopted as Rome’s state religion in 325 AD. Saint Valentine is reported to have illegally performed Christian weddings for soldiers, which were not allowed to marry. He was executed after he attempted to convert Emperor Claudius II to Christianity. Probably something about Jesus’ long hair, I’m not sure.
Today, it is generally well accepted that the story behind many of the saints were in fact invented to make them likable. Story became legend and legend became myth. Though February 14th have long been on the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints as a day of celebration for Saint Valentine, the day was removed in 1969 in recognition that nobody knew who he really was.
It is unclear when February 14th became a day associated with love and romantic deeds, but it is thought that it was not originally meant to be. Sadly, it has never been made into a paid holiday.
So since nobody knows the origin of Valentine’s Day, I am not going to talk about this. I’ll share a poem with you instead.
Charles d’Orléans lived during the 15th century. He was Duke (the king’s second son) of Orléans, France. He was taken as prisoner in England for 24 years. During this period, he wrote several poems, mostly in French.
He is attributed the first Valentine written in any language, a letter sent to his wife in the form of a poem. The original poem is in Old French, thus harder to understand, but it is always accompanied by an English translation. When comparing both versions, I soon realized the official English translation was incorrect and impossible to understand. Thus, let me have my take on translating the very first Valentine from Old French to understandable modern English. Please note that no attempt was made to keep the original form and rhymes of the poem.
|Old French||Tom’s English|
Je suis desja d’amour tanné,
Bien m’estoye suspeconné,
I am already tired of love,
Though I suspected
Despite the official story, I suspect this might have been written for his younger mistress, but was inadvertently delivered to his wife. But let’s not break the romance. You are up to your own interpretation.
Before I leave, here is a picture which represents what most of you will be doing tonight. Because the picture is very sensitive, I had to hide it behind a warning sign. Please, click only if you are old enough for nudity, violence and coarse language.