The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?
The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.
When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
What is a participle? par·ti·ci·ple ˈpärdəˌsip(ə)l/ noun GRAMMAR
a word formed from a verb (e.g., going, gone, being, been ) and used as an adjective (e.g., working woman, burned toast ) or a noun (e.g., good breeding ). In English, participles are also used to make compound verb forms (e.g., is going, has been ).
Participle Phrases It is really common to see participles in participle phrases. A participle phrase also acts like an adjective. In the examples below, the participle phrases are shaded and the participles are in bold:
The man carrying the bricks is my father.
(The participle phrase carrying the bricks describes the the man.)
She showed us a plate of scones crammed with cream.
(The participle phrase crammed with cream describes the scones.)
Whistling the same tune as always, Ted touched the front of his cap with his forefinger as she dismounted.
(The participle phrase Whistling the same tune as always describesTed.)
Stunned by the blow, Mike quickly gathered his senses and searched frantically for the pepper spray.
(The participle phrase Stunned by the blow describes Mike.)