HERE BEGINNETH THE LIFE OF ST. VALENTINE
Chapter 42 of the Golden Legend by Jacobus Voragine (1275), translated by William Caxton, 1483. This "reader's version" of the text provides paragraph breaks and explanatory glosses.
St. Valentine, friend of our Lord and priest of great authority, was at Rome. It happed that Claudius the emperor made him to come tofore him and said to him in demanding: What thing is that which I have heard of thee, Valentine? Why wilt thou not abide in our amity, and worship the idols and renounce the vain opinion of thy
St. Valentine answered him: If thou hadst very true knowledge of the grace of Jesu Christ thou shouldest not say this that thou sayest, but shouldest reny deny the idols and worship very God.
Then said to St. Valentine a prince which was of the council of the emperor: What wilt thou say of our gods and of their holy life?
And St. Valentine answered: I say none other thing of them but that they were men mortal and mechant bad and full of all ordure garbage and evil.
Then said Claudius the emperor: If Jesu Christ be God verily, truly wherefore sayst thou not the truth?
And St. Valentine said: Certainly Jesu Christ is only very God, and if thou believe in him, verily thy soul shall be saved, thy realm shall multiply, and he shall give to thee alway victory of thine enemies.
Then Claudius turned him himself unto all them that were there, and said to them: Lords, Romans, hear ye how wisely and reasonably this man speaketh?
Anon the provost of the city said: The emperor is deceived and betrayed, how may we leave that which we have holden held and been accustomed to hold sith since our infancy? With these words the emperor turned and changed his courage, mind and St. Valentine was delivered in the keeping of the provost.
When St. Valentine was brought in an house in prison, then he prayed to God, saying: Lord Jesu Christ very God, which art very light, true light enlumine this house in such wise that they that dwell therein may know thee to be very God.
And the provost said: I marvel me am amazed that thou sayest that thy God is very light, and nevertheless, if he may make my daughter to hear and see, which long time hath been blind, I shall do all that thou commandest me, and shall believe in thy God.
St. Valentine anon immediately, very soon put him in prayers, and by his prayers the daughter of the provost received again back her sight, and anon all they of the house were converted. After, the emperor did do smite off the head of St. Valentine, the year of our Lord two hundred and eighty.
Then let us pray to St. Valentine that he get us pardon of our sins. Amen.
VORAGINE'S ETYMOLOGY FOR THE NAME VALENTINE
This text was taken from the Internet Medieval Source Book. E-text © by Paul Halsall. Annotations, formatting, and added rubrics by Richard Stracke. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the sources. No permission is granted for commercial use.