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Shakespeare and Valentine's Day

Three third-century Christian saints named Valentine are mentioned in the early church catalogue of martyrs under the date of February 14. However, the common customs of courtship and romance associated with Saint Valentine's Day are not linked to any of the saints. The traditions originated in fourteenth-century France and England with the belief that on February 14, birds begin to mate. In Chaucer's The Parliament of Foules we read:
For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne's day
Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.
Shakespeare mentions Saint Valentine's Day in A Midsummer Night's Dream (4.1.145) and in Hamlet, where he alludes to the superstition that if two single people meet on the morning of Saint Valentine's Day they will likely get married:

To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.


Shakespeare and Love

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