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Vases with Red Poppies, by Van Gogh (Photo credit: Wikipedia

Vases with Red Poppies, by Van Gogh (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been doing maintenance work on my posts and ended up reinserting images that had disappeared and revising certain blogs.  I also discovered a missing blog on Chaucer & Valentine’s Day and rediscovered Charles d’Orléans.

Charles d’Orléans (24 November 1394, Paris – 5 January 1465, Amboise) was a French Duke who was taken prisoner at the Battle of Agincourt, on the 25th of October 1415, and spent nearly 25 years in England, as a “prisoner.”  Because he was a possible heir to the throne of France, the English king, Henry V, would not allow him to leave England.cvalhrt17

Charles’ first wife died in childbirth, but their daughter Joan survived.  His second wife died while he was a prisoner in England.  But when he returned to France, he married 14-year-old Marie de Clèves (19 September 1426 – 23 August 1487).  He was then 46.  She gave birth to the first of their three children, Marie d’Orléans, in 1457.  Their second child, born in 1462, would be Louis XII, king of France.  Their third child, Anne of Orleans, was born in 1464.

When Charles was released, in 1440, “speaking better English than French,” according to the English chronicler Raphael Holinshed (Charles d’Orléans, Wikipedia), he had become not only a poet, but an excellent poet.  One of his poems is exquisite.  It’s about winter: Le temps a laissé son manteau…  (The weather left its coat…).  It is included in my now relatively old, but updated post.  However, for this post, I have chosen a frivolous song.

Claude Debussy (22 August 1862 – 25 March 1918) wrote music based on this poem, but we also have a Dutch song, mixing French and Dutch.  Moreover, there is a site that features Charles singing a St Valentine’s song.  When he returned to France, Charles d’Orléans made Valentine’s Day known in courtly circles.

It seems Geoffrey Chaucer is the father of Valentine’s day.  He wrote that Valentine’s Day was the day on which birds mated.  This myth probably existed long before Chaucer, but he made it official, so to speak.  It is included in his Parlement of Fowles, 1382.


“Geoffrey Chaucer”. Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 16 Feb. 2013

Histoire de cœur, by Michel Polnareff (born 1944)



© Micheline Walker
16 February 2013