Sunday, February 14, 2016

Happy Valentine’s Day (2016)

On Love


Valentine’s DayEmily Allen, and Cameron Macphail write for The Telegraph:”In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear the name of the person on their sleeves— hence the expression ‘to wear your heart on your sleeve.’”
Image Credit: Alamy
Source: The Telegraph

Happy Valentine’s Day to my wife; and to all those lovers who celebrate and enjoy this day of love. I acknowledge that not everyone feels the way that I do, but I enjoy this holiday. It is about gift giving and sharing, about declarations of love and affection, about eating chocolates and other confections, about buying flowers and sending gifts and cards with declarations of love. 

The people who like Valentine's Day might be sentimental (or they just might enjoy a good box of chocolates and beautiful flowers, as I do!). The holiday might be commercialized or trite, but this argument can be made for almost any celebration today. This comes at a time when some organized group or another will find one thing or another distasteful or disapproving. If this describes you, why not start your own celebratory traditions? Or decide to ignore the day altogether, if this is your declared desire.

As for the holiday, it is associated with Cupid (Latin Cupido, meaning “desire”), who in this vintage card is flying an airplane in possession of a stolen heart. He is carrying the heart to someone with amorous expectations, apparently to the heart’s beloved—a gesture suffused with poetry and romance. In “Valentine’s Day: Night in or night out? A guide to the day itself and how to celebrate it” (February 11, 2016), Emily Allen, and Cameron Macphail write for The Telegraph:
Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus and the war god Mars. Cupid is also known in Latin also as Amor (“Love”). His Greek counterpart is Eros and he is just one of the ancient symbols associated with St Valentine’s Day, along with the shape of a heart, doves, and the colours red and pink. He is usually portrayed as a small winged figure with a bow and arrow which he uses to strike the hearts of people. People who fall in love are said to be ‘struck by Cupid’s arrow’.
It is said that it is good to celebrate your victories. It is always good to celebrate your loves. Such are my thoughts. I leave you with Lord Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty,” which he composed in June 1814 after attending a party given by Lady Sitwell. Some say this is not a love poem, per se, but a poetic observation of beauty; yet, others argue that it, indeed, is. You be the judge.

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She Walks in Beauty
By Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron)

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!