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"On Love."
By Peter Landry.1

  • 1 - What Is Love:
  • 2 - When Love Comes Knocking:
  • 3 - The Disabling Passion:
  • 4 - Love Shows:
  • 5 - Love is Freeing.
  • 6 - Love is Sweet.
  • 7 - Love is Sex.
  • 8 - Love is Giving and Caring.
  • 9 - Love is Selective.
  • 10 - Love is Blind.
  • 11 - The Selfish and Selfless Passion.
  • 12 - The Rare Passion.
  • 13 - Between Hope and Fear, Love Makes Her Home.
  • 14 - In Love with Love.
  • 15 - Four Different Kinds of Love.
  • 16 - Love's Sweet Voice.
  • 17 - The Love Letter.
  • 18 - Better to Have Loved Than Not at All.
  • 19 - Bacon On Love.
  • 20 - Notes.

  • [TOC]
    1 - What Is Love:-

    Good shephard, tell this youth what 'tis to love.
    It is to be all made of sighs and tears,
    It is to be all made of faith and service,
    It is to be all made of fantasy,
    All adoration, duty, and observance,
    All humbleness, all patience, and impatience,
    All purity, all trial, all observance.
    - Shakespeare's As You Like It.

    Love is begot by Fancy, bred
    By ignorance, by Expectation fed,
    Destroy'd by Knowledge, and at best.
    Lost in the moment 'tis possess'd.
    - Lord Lansdowne.

    Why did she love him? Curious fool? be still;
    Is human love the growth of human will?
    - From Byron's Lara.

    2 - When Love Comes Knocking:-

    When love once pleads admission to our hearts,
    In spite of all the virtue we can boast,
    The woman who deliberates is lost.
    - From Addison's Cato.

    3 - The Disabling Passion:-

    ... Love has never known a law
    Beyond its own sweet will.
    - From Whittier's Amy Wentworth.

    The three main extra-rational activities in modern life are religion, war and love; all these are extra-rational, but love is not anti-rational.
    - Bertrand Russell.

    ... let no man fall in love, for from that moment he is 'the baby of a girl.'
    - William Hazlitt.

    The fly that sips treacle
    Is lost in the sweets;
    So he that tastes woman
    Ruin meets.
    - From John Gay.

    4 - Love Shows:-

    There is no disguise which can for long conceal love where it exists or simulate it where it does not.
    - From Rochefoucauld's maxims.

    When a young man is found habitually at the side of any one given young lady, - when he lingers where she stays, and hastens when she leaves, - when his eyes follow her as she moves, and rest upon her when she is still, - when he begins to grow a little timid, he who was so bold, and a little pensive, he who was so gay, whenever accident finds them alone, - when he thinks very often of the given young lady, and names her very seldom, ---
    - Oliver Wendell Holmes.

    Then there were sighs, the deeper for suppression,
    And stolen glances, sweeter for the theft,
    And burning blushes, tho' for no transgression,
    Tremblings when met, and reatlessness when left.
    - From Byron's Don Juan.

    5 - Love is Freeing:-

    "If love is to bring all the good of which it is capable, it must be free, generous, unrestrained and wholehearted."
    - Bertrand Russell.)

    6 - Love is Sweet:-

    All love is sweet,
    Given or returned. Common as light is love,
    And its familiar voice wearies not ever.
    They who inspire it most are fortunate,
    As I am now; but those who feel it most
    Are happier still.
    - From Shelley, Prometheus Unbound, 1818-1819, act II, sc. v, l. 39.)

    7 - Love is Sex:-

    "For all love, however ethereally it may bear itself, is rooted in the sexual impulse alone, nay, it absolutely is only a more definitely determined, specialized, and indeed in the strictest sense, individualized sexual impulse."
    - From Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Idea.

    "Sir, - said I, - all men love all woman. That is the prima-facie aspect of the case. The Court of Nature assumes the law to be, that all men do so; and the individual man is bound to show cause why he does not love any particular woman."
    - From Oliver Wendell Holmes' Breakfast-Table.)


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    8 - Love is Giving and Caring:-
    "The pleasure of love is in loving. We are happier in the passion we feel than in that we arouse."
    - From Rochefoucauld's maxims (259).

    "By this word [love] I do not mean the polite attention, the gallantry, without hope or design, which has originated in the spirit of chivalry, and is interwoven with the texture of French manners. I understand by this passion the union of desire, friendship, and tenderness, which is inflamed by a single female, which prefers her to the rest of her sex, and which seeks her possession as the supreme or the sole happiness of our being.
    - From Gibbon's Autobiography.

    "We pardon to the extent that we love."
    - From Rochefoucauld's maxims (330).

    "That which is to be loved long must be loved with reason rather than with passion."
    - From Doctor Johnson, as quoted by Cecil.

    9 - Love is Selective:-
    The pillars of love (or friendship for that matter) are respect and confidence; if either should slip then love will slip.

    "True love is rooted in the recognition of the moral and mental qualities of the beloved person."
    - Krafft-Ebing,2

    10 - Love is Blind:-

    Be to her virtues very kind;
    Be to her faults a little blind.
    - From Prior's An English Padlock.

    11 - The Selfish and Selfless Passion:-

    "... real love surrenders, real love is selfless, real love is tender ..."
    - From W. Somerset Maugham, Great Novelists.

    "Love cannot be anything but egotistical."
    - From Freud, 1882.

    "Love is at the same time the most generous and the most egotistical thing in nature; the most generous because it receives nothing and gives all -- pure mind being only able to give and not receive; the most egotistical, for that which he seeks in the subject, that which he enjoys in it, is himself and never anything else."
    - Friedrich von Schiller.3

    "Lovers never get tired of each other, because they are always talking about themselves."
    - From Rochefoucauld's maxims (312).

    12 - The Rare Passion:-

    "True love is like ghosts, which everybody talks about and few have seen."
    - From Rochefoucauld's maxims (76).

    13 - Between Hope and Fear, Love Makes Her Home:-

    "Between Hope and Fear, Love makes her home."
    - Raymond Lully.4


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    14 - In Love with Love:-
    "In their first passion women love their lovers, in the others they love love."
    - From Rochefoucauld's maxims (471).

    "In her first passion woman loves her lover, In all the others, all she loves is love."
    - From Byron, Don Juan. canto III [1821], st. 3.

    "Woman loves with her whole soul. To woman love is life, to man it is the joy of life."
    - Krafft-Ebing.

    15 - Four Different Kinds of Love:-

    1. Passion-love, that of the Portuguese Nun, of Heloise for Abelard. ...
    2. Sympathy-love, such as ... is found in the memoirs and romances. ...
    3. Sensual love.
    4. Vanity love.
    - From Stendhal's De l'Amour, 1822.

    16 - Love's Sweet Voice:-
    All my lovers had a sweet voice; is it because a lover's voice is sweet; or is it because I have been attracted to a sweet voice?

    The devils hath not in all his quiver's choice, An arrow for the heart like a sweet voice.
    - From Byron's Don Juan.

    17 - The Love Letter:-

    ... The morning is the only proper time for me to write to a beautiful Girl whom I love so much; for at night, when the lonely day has closed, and the lonely, silent, unmusical Chamber is waiting to receive me as into a Sepulchre, then believe me my passion gets entirely the sway, then I would not have you see those rhapsodies which I once thought it impossible I should ever give way to, and which I have often laughed at in another; for fear you should think me either too unhappy or perhaps a little mad. I am now at a very pleasant Cottage window, looking onto a beautiful hilly country, with a glimpse of the sea; the morning is very fine. I do not know how elastic my spirit might be, what pleasure I might have in living here and breathing and wandering as free as a stag about this beautiful Coast if the remembrance of you did not weigh so upon me... Ask yourself my love whether you are not very cruel to have so entrammelled me, so destroyed my freedom. Will you confess this in the letter you must write immediately and do all you can to console me in it - make it right as a draught of poppies to intoxicate me - write the softest words and kiss them that I may at least touch my lips where yours have been. For myself I know not how to express my devotion to so fair a form: I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair. I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days - three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.
    - From John Keats to Fanny Brawne, as quoted by Cecil.

    18 - Better to Have Loved Than Not at All:-

    I hold it true, whate'er befall,
    I feel it when I sorrow most;
    'Tis better to have loved and lost,
    Than never to have loved at all.
    - From Tennyson: In Memoriam.

    19 - Bacon On Love:-
    I now end with a bit of Bacon: It was Francis Bacon who said: "It is impossible to love, and be wise" And that: "Love is a child of folly." "Love is ever rewarded either with the reciprocal, or with an inward and secret contempt." And for a person to be a "success" in the world, among society, he or she best not ever fall in love. It is interesting to note that while Bacon married, "he never loved a woman. To all intents and purposes he loved, after his father, but one human being upon earth: his brother Anthony, lame, frail, and doomed to die at age forty-two."5

    20 - Notes:

    1 Peter Landry is a lawyer and has been, for 25 years, in private practice in the City of Dartmouth. He invites correspondence on the topic and may be contacted at P.O. Box 1200, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, B2Y 4B8, or at peteblu@blupete.com.

    2 Baron Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902) was a specialist in nervous diseases, who practised in a Vienna. This quote is from his work, Psychopathia Sexualis, 1866.

    3 Friedrich von Schiller, 1759-1805, German poet and historian. This quote attributed to him as being taken from his Essays, 1793.

    4 Raymond Lully (c.1232-1315), was a Spanish theologian who traveled on both sides of the Mediterranean; he was stoned to death for his beliefs. His followers were to become known as "The Lullists." Lullists, according to Chambers, combined religious mysticism with alchemy.

    5 This comes from Bowen's biography, Francis Bacon - The Temper of the Man, p. 15. I have published as part of these pages, Francis Bacon's short essay "Of Love" to which I would refer the reader.


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    2011 (2019)

    Peter Landry