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Valerian

or Valirian. Husband of St. Cecilia. Cecilia told him she was beloved by an angel who frequently visited her, and Valerian requested he might be allowed, to see this constant visitant. Cecilia told him he should do so provided he went to Pope Urban and got baptised. On returning home, he saw the angel in his wife's chamber, who gave to Cecilia a crown of roses, and to himself a crown of lilies, both of which he brought from Paradise. The angel then asked Valerian what would please him best, and he answered that his brother might be brought “to saving faith” by God's grace. The angel approved of the petition, and said both should be holy martyrs. Valerian being brought before Almachius, the prefect, was commanded to worship the image of Jupiter, and, refusing to do so, was led forth to execution. (Chaucer: Secounds Nonnes Tale.) (See Cecilia.)

Valerian

(the herb). An irresistible attraction to cats. (The word is from the Latin valere, to be well, and hence to make well and keep well.) It is an excitant, antispasmodic, tonic, and emmenagogue. The “Father of Botany” says:

“Valerian hath been had in such veneration, that no brothes, pottage, or physical meates are worth anything, if this be not at one end.”

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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