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) ST. VALENTINES DA Y. Now Andrew, Anthony, and William, For Valentine draw Prue, Kate, Julian." Poor Robin's Almanack for 1676. THE rural tradition that birds choosing their mates on this day gave rise to the custom of drawing Valentines, has been a favorite idea with our poets from Chaucer to the present time. That ancient Bard supposes nature thus to ad- dress the feathered choir on the Fourteenth of February Ye know weti, how on St. Valentine's day, By my statute and through my governance. Ye doe chase your mates, and aLer flie away With hemas I pricke you with pleasaunce. Shakespeare, also, alludes to the same notion in liia Midsummer Night's Dream. The cere- mony of thi,; day, however, has been attributed to various sources, besides the tradition men- tioned. The legend itself of St. Valentine, a Presbyter of the church, who was beheaded un- der the Emperor Claudius, contains nothing which could give origin to the custom notwith- standing the inference drawn by Wheatley in his Illustration of the Common Prayer, that from the great love and charity of that Saint, the custom of choosing Valentines upon his festival (which is still practised) took its rise." For were not all Saints famous for their love and charitv ?- And surely the writer does not mean that we should understand the word love, as implying gallantry. Another opinion, that because ghosts were formerly thought to walk 011 the night of this day, or about this time, that gallantry had, at the Reformation, taken up an idea which super- stition had been compelled to drop, is equally unsatisfactorv; since we have unquestionable authority from the Paston Correspondence that the custom of choosing "V alenlines was common in the reign of Edward IV. Margaret Brew, in a letter printed in Sir John Fenns collection of these carious documents, dated February, l addresses it to her Right well-beloved Valen- tine John Paston, Esq." The letter itself con- tains the genuine dictates of the heart of a young lady deeply in love, and apprehensive that her father will'not give her such a fortune on her marriage as the gentleman who paid his ad- dresses^ to her expected, she therefore fears the continuance of his affection, but assures him of her's:- t. f Ryght reverende and worschipful, and my right well-beloved Valuntyne, I recomainde me unto you full herely, desyring to hear of your welfare, which I beseche ALMYGHTY GOD long for to preserve unto hys plesur, and your herts desvr." The style of the whole, though obsolete, is extremely tender, and could not be easily ex- ceeded by a Valentine of the present day. She tells him, if it pleases to here of her welfare, she is not in good hellh of body, nor herte, nor shall be tyll she hears from hym." And finishes by desyring him to destroy her letter when he has read it, as she would on no account have any one to know she had written to him. Lydgate, the monk of Bury, in some compli- mentary verses on Catherine, Queen of Henry V.says— Seynt Valentine ofcustame yeere by yeere, Men have on usance in this regioun To loke and serche Cupid's kalendere. And chose theyr choyse by grete affection. Wharton also, in his History of English Poetry, has given us a specimen of a CUlious French a- lentine, composed by Gower the- contemporary of Chaucer. Charles Duke of Orieans, father of T^uuis ?vil. when a prisoner m com- posed some verses in honour of this festival, and other allusions are made to it by early writers, sufficient to prove the origin of the custom o be long anterior to the period stated. Some have asserted this to be an observance peculiar to Carnival time, which occurred an- ciently at this season of the year, when it was usual for vast numbers of Knights to visit the Courts of Europe, where they entertainedthe ladies with pageantry and tournaments. Eich lady, at these magnificent feats, selected, we ire told/ a Knight who engaged to serve her for the whole year, and to perform whatever she chose tc command. One of the never-failing conse- quences of the engagement was an injunction b employ his muse in the celebration of his mis- tress and hence the custom of writing and send- ing verses and love-letters on this day. Menage, in his Etymological Dictionary, has accounted for the term Valentine, by stating that Madame Royale, daughter of -,Kin., Henry IV. of France, having built a palace near Turin— which, in honour of the Saint, then in high es- teem, she called the Valentine-at the first enter- tainment which she gave in it, was pleased to order that the ladies should receive their lovers for the year by lots, reserving to herself the pri- vilege of being independent of chance, and of choosing her own partner. At the various balls which this gallant Princess gave during the year, it was directed that each lady should re- ceive a nosegay from her lover, and that, at every tournament, the Knight's trappings for his horse should be furnished by his allotted mis- tress, with this proviso, that the prize obtained should he her's, This custom, says Menage, occasioned the parties to be called Valentines. A writer of the early part of the seventeenth century tells us, that at this festival, the men used to make the women presents, as, upon an- other occasion, the women used to do to the men but that presents were to that day made reci- procally in Scotland. To which Pennant, in his tour to that country, adds, that in February young persons draw Valentines, and from thence collect their future fortunes in the nuptial state. In the British Apollo (1708) we read- Why Valentines, a day to choose A mistress and our freedom lose ? May I my reason interpose, The question with an answer close ?— To imitate we have a mind, And couple like the winged kind. And in the same work vol. ii. (1709) is this fur- ther illustration of the st[b,it-et-- Quest.-In choosing Valentines (according to custom) is not the party choosing (be it man or woman) to make a present to the party chosen? Answ.—We think it more proper to say draw- ing Valentines, since the most customary way is for each to take his or her lot and chance can- not be teimed choice. According to this method, the obligations are equal, and therefore it was f rmnr1.y the c'istom mutually to present but ¡ now it is customary only for the gentleman." Grose explains Valentine to mean the first seen by a man, or man seen by a woman, on S. Valentine's Day, the 14-th of February. Perhaps Mr. Douce's cdnjecture in his lllus- tratious of Shakspeare, that the custom of Valen- tines is a rilict of paganism, is the most proba- ble. It was the practice of ancient Rome," observes th-it gentleman, during a great part of the of to celebrate the Lu- percalia. which were feasts in honour of Pun and Juno, whence the hitter deity was named Fez brnata, Fehrualis, and Februclla. On this oc- casion, amidst a vatiety of ceremonies, the names of every young woman were put into a box, from whliich they were drawn by the men as' eha->ee diieeted.—The pastors of the early Church, who. by every possible means, exidea1 oured to eradicate the vestiges or Pasran superstinons. arid clsieiiV £ >y some coini>.sut..tion of thtdr terms, substituied, ui the present in stance, the n .mes of particular saints, instead of those of the woman and, as the festival of the Lupercalia commenced about the middle of Fe- bruary, thev appear to have chosen 'l f tine's "day for celebrating the new feast, because it occurred nearly at the same time. This is in part Butler's opinion in his Lives oj the Stliiits.- It should seem, however, that it was utterly im- possibly to exiiipate altogether any ceremony to which the common people had been much accus- tomed a fact which it were easy to prove in tracing the origin of various other popular su- perstitions and accordingly, the outline of the ancient ceremonies was preserved, but modified by some adaptation to the Christian system.- It is reasonable to suppose that the above prac- tice of choosing mates would gradually become reciprocal if. the sexes and that all persons so chosen, would be called Valcntincs, horn the day on which the ceremony took [dace. The modes of the Valentine for the year were nearly the same fonneily aa at present; they consisted either in drawing lots on Valentine's Eve, or in considering the person whom you met early ii) the following morning as the destined object. In the former case, th names of a certain number of the fair sex v. ere, by an equal number of the other, put :to a vase, which, for the time, tt termed their Va- lentine, as was considered the predictive ol their future fortune in maniage in the second, there was usually some little contrivance adopted, in order that the favoured object, when such exist- ed, might be first seen. To this custom Shaks- peare refers, when he represents Ophelia, in her distraction, singing- Good morrow, 'tis Saint Valentine's day, All in the morning betime, And 1 a maid at your window, To be your Valrntine. In the Connoisseur we find a curious species of divination, as practised on Valentine's Day, or E ve which some of our fair youthful readers may not be displeased to be acquainted with: it is supposed to be a communication from a young hdy to the author:- Last Friday was Valentine's day, and the night before I got five bay leaves, and pinned lour of them to the four corners of my pillows, and the fifth-to the middle and then, if I dream- ed of my sweetheart, Betty said we should be married before the year was out. But to make it more sure, I boiled an egg hard, and took out the yolk and filled it with salt; and when I went*to bed, ate it, shell and and all, without speaking or drinking after it. We also wrote our lovers names upon bits of paper, and rolled them up in clay, and put them into water, and the first that rose up was to b our Valentine-would you think it Mr. Blossom was my mail 1-1 lay a-bed, and shut my eyes all the morning, till he came to our house, for I would not have seen any other man before him for all the world." The practice of sitting cross-legged, and send- ing presents to fit chosen, has been con- tinued to iiioderl ('s and we may add a trait, not now obsePiKI, perhaps, on the autho- rity of an old English ballad, in which the las- ses are directed to pray cross-legged to St. Va- lentine for good luck.


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