Parlement of Foules

Inspired by “The Parlement of Foules” a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer (1343–1400) which is made up of approximately 700 lines. The poem is in the form of a dream vision in rhyme royal stanza and contains one of the earliest references to the idea that St. Valentine’s Day is a special day for lovers.

[blockquote author=”From Wikipedia, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote” single=”true”]For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.[/blockquote]

Composed in the tradition of French romances (while at the same time questioning the merits of that tradition), this poem has been called one of the best occasional verses in the English language.

Often thought to commemorate the marriage of Richard II to Anne of Bohemia in 1382, it describes a conference of birds that meet to choose their mates on St. Valentine’s Day. Readers have uncritically assumed that Chaucer was referring to February 14 as Valentine’s Day

St. Valentine’s Day is a special day for lovers

The narrator falls asleep and dreams of a beautiful garden in which Nature presides over a debate between three high-ranking eagles, all vying for the attention of a beautiful female. The other birds, each of which represents a different aspect of English society, are given a chance to express their opinions;

Chaucer uses this device to gently satirize the tradition of courtly love. He handles the debate with humour and deftly characterizes the various birds. Although the debate on love and marriage is never resolved, the poem is complete in itself and ends on a note of joy and satisfaction.


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The Parliament of Fowls Poem
Parlement of Foules


Parlement of Foules

The first recorded association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer.