Hearts Through History Romance Writers

I Am Already Sick of Love

by | February 14, 2012 | 10 comments

Charles of Orleans taking Bonne of Armagnac to wife

The first Valentine written is credited to Charles, Duke of Orleans (1394 – 1465).  He was captured by the English at the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years War between England and France.  During his twenty-four year captivity, he composed over five hundred poems, many of them he translated into English from French. 

Charles first married Isabeau of Valois, Richard II of England’s young widow.  She died bearing him a daughter when he was only fifteen.  His second wife was Bonne of Armagnac, the daughter of a count.  They had been married five years when he was taken at Agincourt.  She never had any children and died while he was yet a captive.  The thing she did have of him was his poem, called A Farewell to Love:

I am already sick of love, My very gentle Valentine,

Since for me you were born too soon, And I for you was born too late.

God forgives he who has estranged/Me from you for the whole year.

I am already sick of love, My very gentle Valentine,

Well might I have suspected, That such a destiny,

Thus would have happened this day, How much that Love would have commanded.

I am already sick of love, My very gentle Valentine.

Charles went on to marry Marie of Cleves after his release and by her had a son who became Louis XII of France.  He might be remembered as the fellow who ill-advisedly took the young Mary Tudor to wife when he was far too old for that sort of thing (yes, that’s the one). 

Charles composing in the White Tower of London

Charles had always been familiar with reading and poetry.  His father was a patron of the arts and his mother, Valentina Visconti, daughter of the Duke of Milan, was remembered in The City of Ladies by the female virtuosa poet Christine de Pizan.   He also had an extensive library but was profoundly admired for the robe he had made which was embroidered in pearls forming a lyric and the music to which it was set.  Four pearls per note–960 in all.  The garment cost nearly 300 pounds, an enormous sum in the Middle Ages.

Men are such peacocks, are they not?


  1. Sarah Lotfi

    I love how the very first Valentine on record was written by a contemporary of Christine de Pizan…brings back fond memories of the studies of her works.

  2. Angelyn

    Thanks for commenting, Sarah. Apparently the poet was brought by her astrologer/physician father from Italy to the court of Charles V. Poetry in those days was so multi-layerd as I’m sure you know.

  3. Allison Collins

    Even in those simpler days, love wasn’t easy, was it? I guess that’s why we write…we want the guaranteed happy ever after. (Lovely pictures you chose for the post!)

    • Angelyn

      LOL–and we all love a happy ending! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Sasha Summers

    Interesting post. I didn’t know a thing about the first Valentine. A bit sad, really.

    • Angelyn

      That was a sad one. It may have been the first but was probably not the last. Thanks for your comment, Sasha.

  5. Ally Broadfield

    It is a rather sad valentine, but apparently he recovered quickly from his sorrows since he managed to marry so many women, even with the 24 year imprisonment and all.

    • Angelyn

      I am still amazed he sired a child at fifteen. Maybe that wasn’t so amazing when you consider the times, I suppose. Thanks for stopping by, Ally–

  6. Ella Quinn

    There was no time that was actually simpler. It was just different. Men are men and women are women. Thanks for the post and the picture. Lovely.

    • Angelyn

      Thanks for the compliment!



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