"Amore che muove il sole e l'altre stelle." - Dante
The beginning, middle, and end of love- is a sigh.
All things point to the infinite; and love more than all things else.
Complex as is the character of love, here are two things which love always does: always it
"Refines the thoughts and heart enlarges" - Milton
And, love dyes all things a cerulean hue. (What a pity it is not a fast color!)
Love is the most antimonial of emotions: it worships, yet it will not stop at sacrilege; it will build about its object a temple of adoration, then desecrate the fane; it will give all, yet ruthlessly seize everything; it delights in pleasing, yet it sometimes wittingly wounds; its ineffable tenderness often merges into an inclemency extraordinary; symbol of universal duality, it is at once demonical and angelic.
Nothing stands still in this world, not even love: it must grow or it withers. And, perhaps, that is the strongest love which surmounts the greatest number of obstacles.
Love to some is an intoxicant; to others an ailment. To all it is a necessity.
As is one's character, so is one's love. And perhaps the deepest love is the quietest.
Love is as implacable as it is un-appeasable. Nay more, love is merciless: as merciless to its votary as to its victim: For love would slay rather than surrender; would for-swear rather than forgo.
Some loves, like some fevers, render the patient immune- at all events to that particular kind of contagion. Many lovers are vaccinated in early youth.
Only love can comprehend and reciprocate love. This is why, if, of two sensitive human souls, the one loves passionately and the other not at all, the other is unwittingly blind and deaf to love's clamors and claims: the one may ardently urge; the other but passively yields:- only the famished understand the pangs of the hungered.
Of a great and reciprocated love there is one and only one sign: the expression of the eyes. Who that has seen it was ever deceived by its counterfeit? Did ever the same love-light shine in the same eyes twice? The light of love in the eyes may take on a thousand forms: exultant jubilation, a trustful happiness; infinite appeasement, or promises untold; an adoration supreme, or a complex oblation; tenderness ineffable, or heroic resolves; implicit faith; unquestioning confidence; abounding pity; unabashed desire... he who shall count the stars of heaven, shall enumerate the radiances of love.
There is no Art of Loving (Note 1: Ovid wrote not Art of Loving ["Ars Amandi"]; he wrote on the Amatorial Art ["Ars Amatoria"].); though, as Ovid says, love must be guided by art (Note 2: "Arte regendus amor." - "Ars Amatoria", I, 4.). Yet, if love did not come by chance, it would never come at all.
To each of us himself is the centre of the visible universe. But when love comes it alters this Ptolemaic theory. Yet, it is a significant fact that love, which, more than any other thing in this world, is the great bringer- together of hearts, begins its mysterious work as a separator and puter-at-a-distance. For when love first dawns in the breast of youth, it throws about its object a sacred aureole, which awes at the same time that it inspires the faithful worshipper.
Can only two walk abreast in the path of love? How many try to widen that strait and narrow way!
Love raises everything to a higher plane; but nothing higher than the man or woman who is loved. Is there anything about which love does not shed a halo? Indeed, love is a sort of transfiguration. And when on the mount, we can very truly say, "It is good for us to be here".
If there is any sublunary thing equal in value to the true love of a faithful woman, it has not yet entered into the heart of man to conceive.
True love makes all things loveable,-except perhaps the chaperon.
Was there ever man or woman yet who was not bettered by a true love?
True love is ever diffident and fearful of its own venturesomeness (Note 3: Cf. "La volupte Nous rend hardis, l'amour nous rend timides." -Voltaire, La Pucelle, Chant vi.). But this not every woman understands. Too often the Phantasm of love and not the Verity wins the day (Note 4: See Leopardi, "Storia del Genere Humano", where the Verities of Truth and Love and Justice never leave the throne of Jove, but their Phantasms are sent down amongst men.). Women who seek a real lover should beware the overbold one.
To merge the THEE and the ME into one- that is ever the attempt of love. It is impossible. Yet, perhaps they are happiest who can longest disbelieve in the impossibility of this amatorial fusion; for it may be that such incredulity is favorable to romance.
Love is not exactly a sacrifice; it is an exchange. The lover, indeed, gives his heart; he expects another in return.
Love is like life: no apparatus can manufacture it; kill it, and nothing in the heavens above or in the earth beneath or in the waters under the earth will resuscitate it. How many a forlorn human wight has tried to resuscitate love!
To such heights does love exalt the lover that he or she will live for days in the remembered delights of a look, a word, a gesture. But one thing is impossible to love: love cannot create love; the intensest and most fervent love is powerless to evoke a scintillation of love. Love may worship, it may adore, it may transfigure, it may exalt the object of its devotion to the skies; but it cannot cause that object to emit one ray of love in return.
Hate may be concealed; love never.
The greater the imaginative altitude of love, the lower the boiling point. But love cannot always be kept at high pressure.
The young think love is the winning-post of life, the old know it is a turn in the course. Nevertheless, it is a fateful turn.
In love, the imagination plays a very large part. And this may be variously interpreted. Thus, by man, love is regarded as a sort of sacred religion; by woman, as her every-day morality. The former is the more exhilarating; but the latter is more serviceable. Indeed, love and religion are very near akin: both inspire, and both elevate. And if faith, hope, and charity are the basis of religion, there never was such as religion as love. And love is the only religion in which there have been no heretics. Why? Because woman are at once its object and its priesthood. Love, art, and religion are but different phases of the same emotion: awe, reverence, worship, and sacrifice in the presence of the supreme ideal.
Love knows no creed. Nay more, love acknowledges no deity but itself and accepts no sanctions but its own: it is autonomous. And yet- and yet, love sometimes feels constrained to offer a liturgical acquiescence to the rubric of Reason. In short, between the prelatical domination of Reason and the recusant Protestantism of Love there has ever been strife. Or, in plain language, there are two codes of ethics: one that of the romantic heart; the other that of the practical head. Who shall assimilate them? The heart, in its profoundest depths, feels that something is due to Reason; and Reason, in its highest flights, feels that something is due to the heart. Is there a divine duplicity in the human soul? And yet, after all, all love seeks is: love. Yet love little knows that in seeking love, love enters on an endless search. Since love is an endless effort to realize the Ideal. For love always beckons over insurmountable barriers to uninhabitable realms; promises insupportable possibilities; lures to an unimaginable goal. Yet love has a myriad counterfeits. And men and women interpret the word differently. Even different women interpret the word love differently. Thus, to one woman, love is as the rising of the sun: it shines but once in her whole life-day; it floods everything with its light; it brightens the world; it dazzles her. To another woman, love is as the rising of a star: a fresh one may appear every hour of her life, and nor she nor her world is one whit affected by its rays. Indeed, one would hardly err if he said that many a woman really does not know whether she is "in love" or not. She is sought- that she perceives; but which of her seekers is worthiest, which most zealous, which merely takes her fancy, and which appeals to her heart- on these matters she meditates long- to the exasperation, of course, of the individual seeker. Accordingly, men, carried away by their own passionate impulse, detest calculation of the part of women: since HE stakes his all on impulse in the matter of love, says man, why should woman stay to consider? Foolish man! he forgets that a woman always weighs a man's declaration of love- and legitimately - and naturally; perhaps legitimately because naturally; for, once again, what a woman stays to consider in the matter of love is, not the potency of the impulse of the moment, but the permanent efficacy of the emotion. Therefore it is that woman unwittingly obeys great Nature's laws.
Many imagine that love is a thing like a chemical element: with a fixed symbol 84 and a rigid atomic equivalent. And so it may be; but, like the philosopher's stone, hitherto it has defied detection in its elemental form. The fact is probably that love may be compared to a substance that is never found free, and which not only combines in all sorts of relationships with all sorts of substances, but also, like many another chemical body, takes on the most varied forms, not only in these relationships, but also under varying pressures and temperatures. Or perhaps it would be better to say that love may be compared to a musical note: to the unthinking it is a simple sound; to the more experienced it is know to consist of endless and complicated harmonical vibrations; harmonizing with some, and making discord with other, notes by regular but unknown laws; differing according to the timbre of the emitter; reverberating under certain conditions; lost to the ear in others; and only responding to resonators vibrating synchronously with itself. Lastly, there is a whole gamut of love. Changing that simile, we may say that Love is not like the sun: a unit, and practically the same wherever seen; it is like light: all-pervading, universally diffused, and reflected and refracted and absorbed in varying degrees and varying manners by various objects. And than a great and pure love, can anyone point to anything on earth greater and more purifying? The lesser luminary perturbs the tide of human passion; the greater light draws it upward- none the less veritably because in tinted formless vapor. This is symbolical of love. It is the nascent thing that evokes the keenest emotions: the bud-the babe-dawn - and the first beginnings of love. So Love, like sun-light, wears its most tender tints at dawn.
It still remains a mystery that, out of a townful of folk, two particular hearts should worry themselves into early graves because this one cannot get that other. Yet it is almost enough to destroy one's faith in the uniqueness of love to see from how narrow a circle of acquaintances men and women choose their spouses. Were Plato's two half-souls separated by the diameter of the globe- that were lamentable.
The man often argues that esteem will grow into passion. The woman knows that the argument is utterly fallacious. Yet Unless passion is guarded by esteem, as the calyx ensheaths the corolla, the former is prone to wither. In youthful love, as in the enfolded bud, esteem and passion- like calyx and corolla - seem one and identical; it is only the full-blown flower that displays its constituent parts. Would that love could remain ever in bud!
To some love comes like a flash; to others as the burning of tinder. In all, when real love is kindled, it devours all that is combustible. But All love, like all fire, needs, not only ventilation but replenishing: unless the primal spark is nourished, it will not glow; stifle love, and it dies down. So even the love of a married pair, unless it retains something of the romance of courtship, is apt to go out.
Love takes no thought of surroundings: an empty compartment is as good as a coppice. Give it privacy, it is satisfied.
In love, we would much rather give than take. Yet, if the giving is one-sided, there is trouble. And love brooks no half measures. Again, trust a woman to calculate the breaking-strain of her lover's heart. But she will never let him off with less than the maximum stress.
When love is dead, it is perhaps best soonest buried.
In astronomy, to determine the motions of three bodies mutually attractive is admittedly difficult. It is easy compared with the same problem in love. A man's work and a woman's love, though to each the sum-total of life, are often things wholly and totally dissociated. man, the egoist, thinks that if the woman loves him, by consequence she will love his work. It may be, but usually, non sequitur; for few are the women who can understand a man's work: for thousands of years man has worked in the hunting-field, in the market-place in the camp; for an equal length of time woman has worked by the cradle, by the hearth. Accordingly, man has two sides to his nature, woman but one: man wears one aspect when facing the world; he wears quite another aspect when facing women; at their work, men are rigid, frigid, austere, sever, peremptory, tyrannical, downright; With women..... Humph!- Wherefore, O strenuous and high-aspiring man, in thy work, seek not from woman's love what woman's love cannot give; but set thy face as a flint. Bethink thee of the fate of Anthony. For man's chief business in the world is: Work. Woman's chief business in the world is; Love. Man's love (perhaps just because it is his play-thing, not his business) is more finely tempered than is woman's, and takes on a finer edge. For this very reason it is the more easily turned, and is the less useful. - It is the pocket-knife, not the lancet, that is oftener called into requisition. Also, man's love is usually a highly ephemeral affair. With a man, love is like hunger or thirst: he makes a great fuss over it; he forgets when it is appeased. Yet when "passion's trance" is overpast, it is fortunate if affection takes its place. So too, in love it is the man who protests; and that man is fortunate, who, after marriage, has not some dubious reflections as to whether he has protested over-much. For in love, it is the man, generally, who makes a fool of himself.
Love (like murder) will out. But Jill keeps her secret better than Jack. For a woman generally controls love: a man is controlled by it. And Jill's very power of making-believe to be "fancy free" exasperates Jack.
It is a purely feminine ruse to apply a test to love- both her own and that of her lover - to prove it true. A man would as soon as think of applying a match to a powder magazine to prove it combustible.
Love in woman's eyes is the supreme and ultimate arbitrator. If she is loved, love in her eyes will condone anything- anything. For to prefer honor to love is a maxim to women unknown. With them love IS honor. And therefore the maxim is meaningless-and needless.
It is a sort of legal- or rather charitable - fiction that women should surrender only to love. In fact, do not even the lightest of Laises and Thaises make a show of being swayed by love? And no woman by too much love was ever spoiled. Man, remember that!
The logic of the emotions differs from the logic of the intellect. As to the senses- Alack-a-day! The senses never reason. Love sometimes wrecks its barque upon the rocks to prove that they harbor no mirage. Love sometimes forgets that it is possible to probe too far. Love, in pursuit of love, sometimes vivisects as unconsciously as a science in pursuit of life.
Women detect the dawn of love while it is still midnight with a man. That is to say, a woman knows a man is in love with her long before he is aware of it himself. Except perhaps in this once circumstance: when she herself is in love with somebody else. And this is a highly important circumstance.
Wholly to satisfy masculine infatuation is given to no woman. And perhaps wholly to satisfy feminine caprice is given to no man. So, sometimes, the last refuge of an unrequited love is the belief that love will create love. Nothing can be more futile than such a faith. Yet love without hope, has its mitigations; but how alleviate the pain of a love that mistook a simulated love for a true one? A simulated love is a contradiction in terms. Either one loves or one does not, that is the conclusion of the whole matter.
Love would rather suffer than forget. Love would give the world to be able to exculpate a languid lover. A passionate love is perhaps always poignant. Love disdains pity. A wounded love carries a scar to the grave. In love, when honor is lost, loss of shame soon follows. Then indeed the downward patch becomes precipitous.
To some, love never comes; to some, it comes too often; but the same love never recurs, as never a bud opens twice: happy he or she is who gains bud, blossom, and fruit. Since the sweetest love is that wherein the odorous flower of passion ripens into the nourishing fruitage of affection. But love requires careful nature. And the more exotic the love, the more difficult its culture. True, An orchid may live on air. Yes; but how torrid and vaporous an air! Your sturdy mistletoe thrives on the humble apple; a Cattleya requires a Columbian forest.
Youth wonders at the amatory successes of middle-age. Youth knows not that in matters amatory, age is no handicap: A girl in her 'teens will make love to a gentleman of forty- and vice versa. In fact the indiscreet impetuosity of youth succumbs before the astuteness of age. The bachelor and the spinster both sometimes wonder that the benedick and the bride are still their rivals; for they know not that in the amatorial art, matrimony is no handicap. In short, there is no barrier at which love will balk. Nay more, love will forgive anything: did love demand it, love, though it might blush, would not blench. And often love itself stands amazed at its own divine audacity. Indeed, love loves to immolate itself for love. Knowing that to love, nothing is common or unclean: for love, like charity, thinketh no evil. But- remember that it is only the Uranian Aphrodite (Note: 5 See Plato, "Symposium", 180 et seq.) that dares essay a divine audacity. Nevertheless, love is the most vulnerable of the emotions, and a love doubtful of itself would be cautiously accepted: it is not a fact that to try to feel one's own pulse, is to make the heart beat irregularly? So, to try to see in a mirror the love light in one's own eyes, is to be-dim it. So, too, if passion is not linked with affection- woe worth the day when the troth was plighted! But given passion linked with affection- ah!
Nothing, nothing is criminal to love; for love knows not conscience. Or rather, love upsets all conventional conditions. For love creates a world of its own, a world populated by two- and these make their own laws- or make none. So a woman will imbrue her hands with blood, and a man will fling honor to the winds, and yet the twain regard each other as impeccant and impeccable.- Till Pippa passes; then, love always awakes to the fact that not even a community of two can live without law; and that though human laws may be outraged, those divine may not. And assuredly, the ideal love is the divine love. And, in ideal love, strange, strange, but true, in a great and ardent love, when at last that is offered which was long sought, there supervenes upon the lovers a great tenderness, which hesitates to make their own that for which they yearned. Almost it were as if a psychic monitor warned the conqueror to be clement, and the captive to be kind. This tenderness is the worship of the soul by the soul. And of all tests of love tenderness is the truest. But indeed, indeed in love there are heights above heights, depths beneath depths: who shall scale them, who shall plumb?
"Si vis amari ama." - Seneca
Lovers think the world was made for them.- And so perhaps it was.
To each other, lovers are the most interesting personages alive; but onlookers regard them partly with amusement, partly with pity, partly with compassion- in the etymological sense of that word.
The first wonder of every accepted lover is that he should be the accepted lover of such a woman. -What the woman thinks . . . what the woman thinks, probably not even she herself knows. Probably each woman thinks her own thoughts.
To doubt whether one is in love is to prove oneself out of it.
To impress upon the lover the still-existing necessity of refining gold or painting the lily is out of the question. Yet every woman attempts it.
If there is one proverb more distasteful than another to a hot-headed lover, it is that half a loaf is better than no bread.
Children, dogs, and old people are difficult to deceive. Lovers who have to use circumspection should remember this.
A doubting lover should mark how, and for whom, his woman dresses.
To die for a woman would perhaps, to a young and ardent lover, not be difficult; to wage incessant warfare with the world for her, that perhaps is not so easy. But it is the better test of love; and perhaps also the better preserver and replenisher of love. For little as people seem to be aware of it, love requires constant replenishing: no flame can burn without a feeding oil, no pool overflow with out a purling brook. Yet the first ecstasies of love often blind both lover and lass to the care necessary for the nurture of love. Indeed, too many treat love as if it were a passing whim; whereas in sober reality it is (or should be) a lasting emotion.
Love, with woman, is like the tides. And few women know the high-water mark of their love: they are always harboring the belief that it may rise still higher; and often they await that rise.
It is but the reflection of himself in his mistress that many a foolish lover loves.
That aged spinster is a rare one who does not regret she did not accept one of her lovers. But that younger spinster is not to be envied who has to make choice of several. Youth glories in the multiplicity of its lovers; age sometimes wishes it had had but one.
The unloved think lad the one thing needful. The beloved know that an ocean of love could be swallowed up and the parched soul cry out athirst.
It is not well either to confide or confess too much. A very small rock will wreck a very big ship, and a very small slip will spoil a very long life.
The pain which lovers cause each other-through fickleness, languidness, jealousy, and the thousand natural shocks that love is heir to- is not altogether pain, though at the moment it may seem the most poignant anguish the human soul could suffer. One proof of this lies in the fact that there are few who would choose to have missed love's pangs altogether. Perhaps the pleasure intermixed with love's pangs arises from the thought that the other is the cause of our suffering. For, in all love, it is the sacrifice of oneself for the other that brings keenest joy. And yet there is an element of self-love in the very extremest of love. Since love, after all, is a debtor and creditor affair. (Who ever loved with no hope of return?) It is when one of the parties declares him-or her-self insolvent that the account is closed- with many tears and sighs on the part of the chief creditor. At all events, the intenser the love, the more flawless does its object appear. For the surest test of the sincerity of love is that it thinketh no evil. The surest test of a waning love is that it begins not to content itself when it sees its object suffer. The surest test of a dead love is that it forgets how to be jealous.
The falling-out of lovers true is a renewing may be of love. (Note 1: "Amanitum irae amoris integratis est." -Terrence, Andria, III, 23.) Still it is not to be recommended. In fact, it might be said that every falling-out of lovers true is a nail in love's coffin. Yet, a blessing it is that in love we remember the sweet rather than the bitter. For love was ever bitter-sweet (Note 2: But I supposed innumerable people have said this before. No matter.)
The heart of a lover is like that bottom of a well: all the beauties of the starry heavens are revealed in it; but when it sheds the light of its countenance upon it, all else is obliterated. Was any lover ever loved enough? Or did any ever hear of a tired lover? Nevertheless often "Drink to me only with thine eyes", says the youthful lover; but when the seance is over he goes out and orders beef-steak and bottled beer. What it really craves, the lover's heart is impotent to express. Yet, it is ever attempting. A lover is full of wishes as an egg is full of meat. But what it really wishes no lover seems able to say. As a matter of fact, the endless task which the lover is ever attempting is a search for a formula for the summation of an infinite series of which love is the variable.- Few lovers seem to understand this.
To kindle aspiration in her lover, a woman herself need not be aspiring. For, whatever the talents of a man, they are stimulated by contact with woman. Since an elevating influence seems to radiate from women: we have but to come into the light of their countenances for our own faces to shine as the sun. Indeed, physicists may talk as they like, but lovers know a more subtle and a more potent force than any yet revealed to them. It has not yet been named; but for the present it might be called "psychicity". (Note 3: Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes speaks of "celebricity". See "Over the Tea Cup")
If you wish to ascertain the relationship of a youthful pair, watch their eyes. For simulation is difficult to the eye.
When the idol into which a woman has converted her lover is dethroned, she still worships her remembrance of her god, and puts together and treasures the broken pieces. When the idol into which has converted his loved one is dethroned, he generally changes his creed.
A circumpsecting lover is a woman's abhorrence: as a calculating mistress is a man's.
Let a lover but put himself into the hands of his mistress, and he is safe. Since the man she really loves, a woman will shield through thick and thin, through right and wrong. For, concerning a man, the only question a woman asks is, not, "Is he right or wrong?" but, "Is he mine or another's?"- We men therefore leave a woman to get her lover out of a scrape.
It is to be feared that the men and women who love but once and forever are not usually to be found outside of romances.
With women, love is a river, ever-flowing, from the brook in girlhood, (Note 4: Standing with reluctant feet / Where the brook and river meet. - Longfellow, "Maidenhood") to the estuary of womanhood. Like a river, too, woman's love is fed by all the streams it meets. On the other hand, with man, love is a geyser.
The languishing lover has gone out of date; he has been replaced by the diverting one. And the change is significant of much: The early nineteenth-century maid pretended to ignorance; the early twentieth-century maid to omniscience. The early nineteenth-century suitor protested; but the early twentieth-century suitor has to contest. In the one case, the woman tacitly acknowledges an inequality. In the other case, the man has to openly to recognize his equal. Nevertheless, the fundamental relationship between the sexes do not materially vary from century to century, much as conventional manners and customs may. For, after all, always what a man seeks in a woman is: love. And in all love there is something perfectly and Paradisiacally pristine. Would the most emancipated woman have love otherwise? At all events, perhaps the most womanly position a woman can occupy is: with her head on her lover's heart. At this the strong-minded may scoff. They may.
The obsession of the male heart by one woman ousts from it all other women. Thus, the accepted young man regards all women but the one as he would regard fashion-plates. To the young woman men continue to be men. That is to say, a man dives headlong into love. A woman paddles into it. And the woman's hesitation at the brink of the stream exasperates the spluttering man. In short, a man's heart is captured wholly and at a stroke. A woman's heart surrenders itself piecemeal. Whereas, with a man, a trivial passion is usually an affair more of the senses or of the imagination than of the heart; with a woman every passion is an affair of the heart.
A man, when first he is in love, is absorbed in the contemplation of the object of his love. A woman is similarly situated is capable of making comparisons. It gives to woman's curiosity a curious pleasure to compare the methods of men's proposals. In love, a woman is generally cool enough to calculate pros and cons; a man, in similar plight, is incapable of anything but folly.
It is a feminine motto that a woman needs to be taught how to love. Perhaps she does; but most men will think one private tutor ought to suffice, and that tutor ought to be he. At all events, the last schoolmaster would be apt to regard with somewhat mixed feelings the tuition of previous crammers. Why go to the trouble of explaining away a first love, if the second is no whit its inferior? Unless it be to overcome. What a second love chiefly deplores is: that it was not he (or she) who first taught his (or her) loved one to love. Is it not true also that it is the first love that amazes, that beautifies, that consecrates? (An illicit love beautifies and consecrates nothing: A Maud leaves the daisies rosy; not so Faustine.) Many a woman has given her heart to one lover and herself to another. The first is always won; the second is sometimes extorted. Yet, it is wonderful how a woman will contrive to make all her lovers believe they are winners.
It often gives a lady a pleasure to give her lover a pang.
Not many but have tasted the bitterness of the conflict between the desire of the flesh and the resentment of the spirit. Explain these terms who may.
To attempt by erring to cure an erring lover, is to administer, not an antidote, but an adjuvant. It works poison in the blood. When (and if) in a tortuous love, a man arrives at a 'Don't give a damn' stage, he is not to be classed with the animals known as docile. And as to a woman... but polite language has its limits.
Many a man has be exasperated, not only by the audacity of his rival, but by the equanimity with which his lady-love views that audacity. He forgets that, as a rule, feminine complaisance varies directly as masculine audacity. And yet, often enough, as a simple matter of fact, masculine diffidence is vastly more potent than masculine audacity. And further, rarely need the complaisance that audacity evokes perturb the diffident man; since rarely need the complaisance that audacity evokes perturb the diffident man; since the true woman may give her fingertips to the gallant; she gives herself to the worshiper. The pity o' it is that the worshiper cannot away with the complaisance that permits a woman to give even her finger-tips to the gallant. And few are the women who have plumbed the silent and sensitive depths of the diffidence of her devotee. The worst of it is, the devotee essays two things: he would apotheosize the object of his adoration and place her as a constellation among the stars; yet he would have her at the same time terrestrial and tangible. When the woman shows herself terrestrial and tangible to others than he, the faith of the devotee is shaken. In fine, every lover attempts that impossible task: the realization of the heavenly ideal. Perhaps it is in aphelion that the corona appears most splendid; were perihelion to result is coalescence, perhaps the photosphere would be proved composed of terrestrial vapors. And if it did (as no doubt it would), would it be at all bedimmed? For, to the devout astrologer nothing, nothing will ever destroy beauty- and therefore wonder. So, bodily beauty, where Love is priestess, is a daedal spur to the loftiest worship. The lover is ever worshipful. And where is worship, nothing can be profane. So in love there is nor taint nor stain. Therefore, make, O youthful lover, the best and most of youth and love: never will either recur.
"Mille modi Veneris." - Ovid
There are as many ways of making love as there are of making soup. And probably there are as many kinds of love as there are of flavors. And palates- both sentimental and physical - evidently differ widely. And yet, if you would know the secret of success with women, it is said in a word: Ardor. And would ye, O women, know in a word the secret of success with men? It lies in: Responsiveness.
In matters amatory- or rather pre-amatory - feminine tactics are infallible and consummate: Let no man think to cope with feminine strategy.
A rake has more chance than a ninny. Which doubtless has been said before.
In love, as in all things, indecision spells ruination. For there is a curious antagonism between the sexes. They are in a manner foes, not friends. The successful wooer is the captor, the raptor; the bride is the capture, the rapture. (Etymologically as well as metaphorically-and veritably.) And even she who is minded to be caught will not spare her huntsman the ardor of the chase, and lightly esteems him who imagines she is to be lightly won. In the chess-like game of love-making, no woman plays for check-mate: the game interests her too much to bring it to a finish. What pleases her most is stale-mate, where, though the King cannot be captured, the captress can maneuver without end.
A man imagines he wins by strenuous assault. The woman knows the victory was due to surrender.
Wouldst thou ask ought of a woman? Question her eyes: they are vastly more voluble than her tongue. Indeed, there is no question too subtle, too delicate, too recondite, or too rash, for human eyes to ask or answer. And he who has not learned the language of the eyes, has yet to learn the alphabet of love. Besides, love speaks two languages: one with the lips; the other with the eyes. (There is really a third; but this is Pentecostal.) At all events, lovers always talk in a cryptic tongue. There is but one universal language: the ocular- not Volapuk nor Esperanto is as intelligible or as efficacious as this.
No woman can be coerced into love- though she may be coerced into marriage. And man, the clumsy wielder of one blunt weapon, often enough stands agape at his own powerlessness before the invulnerable woman of his desire. Indeed, the battle between the coquettish maid and determined man is like the battle between the Retiarius and the Mirmillio. The coquetry ensnares the man as with a net against which his sword is useless.
A woman's emotions are as practical as a man's reason. A man's emotions are never practical. This is why, in the emotional matter of love, men and women so often lash. And perhaps it is a beneficial thing for the race that a woman's emotions are practical. For if neither the man nor the woman curbed the mettlesome Pegasus "Emotion", methinks the colts and fillies would want for hay and oats.
It is a moot question which is the more fatally fascinating: the uniformed nurse or the weeded widow. But who has yet discovered the secret springs of fascination? For example, how is it that certain eyes and lips will enthrall, while others leave us cold and inert? Does the potency lie in the eyes and the lips, or is there some inscrutable and psychic power? At all events, who will explain how it is that a man will sometimes forsake the most beautiful of wives and a woman will forsake the kindest of husbands to follow recklessly one who admits no comparison with the one forsaken? All we can say is that the potency of personality exceeds the potency of beauty. For, Powerful as is physical charm, it counts not for all in the matter of love. Yet what it may be that does count, and how and why it does count, no man living shall say. For is even love aware of all its seeks? And is it given to any to grant all that love beseeches? And yet were all love sought bestowed, what sequel? Perhaps it were well to leave love but semi-satisfied. At bottom the real question is this: What will win and keep me another heart? But how to win and keep another heart, that is a thing has to be found out for oneself- if it be discoverable. And always by the experimental method. Since in matters amatory, there is no a priori reasoning possible. All we know is that there is nothing more potent than passion. And the chasm, which seems to innocence to yawn between virtue and frailty, is leapt by that Pegasus, Passion, at a bound- but he blinds his rider in the feat.
In spite of the poesy of love, deeds are more potent than words; -though perhaps it is well to pave the way for the one by the other. In spite, too of the piety of love, love laughs at promises- that is, the promises that affect it.
There is one miracle that women can always perform, and always it astonishes the man; it is this: to change from the recipient into the appellant. That is to say, when woman, usually regarded as the receiver, becomes the giver- or rather the demander - man's wonderment surpasses words. And let it be remembered that there is no re-crossing this Rubicon.
Mistrust a prolonged and obdurate resistance. Either you are out-classed, or you are out-experienced. And, besides, surrender after prolonged resistance rarely is brought about by emotion.
A woman never really quite detests daring. This is why much is a forgiving a daring man. So, too, much is forgiven a pretty woman by the men.
If the beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water, the beginning of love is as when one kindleth a fire.
The eye tells more than the tongue. And if the eye and the tongue contradict each other, believe the eye.
There is an indifference that attracts, and there is an indifference that repels. He is a sagacious man, and she is a sagacious woman, who will differentiate them. The question resolves itself into that which so often puzzles the angler- how much line to let out. About one thing there need be no hesitation, when your fish is within reach, be quick with the landing-net - or even with the gaff.
In the matter of wooing, soon enough does the young girl learn to prefer the mature manners of the man of the world to the gaucheries of inexperienced youth. As to the man! How curious the things that appeal to this lord of creation, Man!- a half-averted face - a laughing gesture - a merry eye - an all but imperceptible tone of the voice - the scarce felt touch of a reluctant hand- a semi-tender phrase - an unexpected glance - the momentary pressure of petulant lips - a blanched cheek - a look prolonged one fractional part of a second beyond its wont - an infinitesimal drooping of the eyelid - a speaking silence - a half-caught sigh - these will entrap the male brute where green widths that were never dried will not hold him. But by what men are won, most women seem thoroughly to comprehend. By what women are won, few men know. Perhaps no woman knows by what she herself is won. One thing there is, at all events, to which woman will always succumb: tenderness. But remember, Dames, that tenderness is extremely difficult of simulation. Or rather, tenderness is so delicate and deep-seated a feeling, that few care to attempt its simulation.
A woman who gives herself too freely is apt to regret the giving. In time, too, she discovers that, as a matter of fact, no woman can give her real self twice: one or other gift will prove to be a loan. (And it is always and only the first recipient that causes a woman's heart to flutter, and often it flutters long.) A second gift is generally a mortgage- if it is not a sale. A mortgage is difficult to bind. For there is a statute of limitations in love as there is in law. Nor is the former to be set aside by bond. That pair is in a parlous state when either party discovers that the title was not properly searched. Since everybody expects a fee simple- though few deserve it, God wot!
Perhaps the most durable conquest is the incomplete one. Which sounds illogical. But it is well to remember that repletion seems to cause, in the man, temporary indifference; while repletion causes, in the woman, enduring content. And in this we can detect a significant distinction between the sexes: namely the fact that a single goal satisfies most women; no single goal ever yet satisfied the restless spirit of man.
What gives keenest joy is the evocation of latent passion. For each takes pleasure in believing that he or she alone can evoke this passion. Accordingly, the premature confession of passion, and the confession of premature passion, both rankle in the breast- and, probably, in the breast of both penitent and confessor.
What intensity of feeling a woman can throw into the enunciation of a Christian name! There is perhaps no better clue to possession that this. For, probably, not until a man's Christian mane is ecstatically uttered is a woman wholly his.
Men and women content with the different weapons. This is why men are rarely intrepid in the presence of women; but women rarely stand in awe of men. Nothing differentiates the sexes more than this; but the psychological reason is difficult to discover. Perhaps, the making of love is a sort of duel, the conditions of which are that the man shall doff all his armor and the woman may don all hers. Indeed, the battle of love-making would be an unequal combat, even were both contestants fully panoplied; for, a woman's derision will pierce any mail. In fact, no armor is impervious to woman's shafts- be they those of laughter or be they those of love. So the veriest roué' is vulnerable to the veriest maid. But for each man she meets, a woman carries in her quiver but one shaft. If that misses its aim, she is powerless: it is like a dart without a thong; when thrown, the man can close. But always it devolves upon the man to take the initiative. But, again, always the man must pretend that he takes no initiative. But, again, always the woman must pretend that she gives no opportunity. The game of love is not only one of chance but one of skill. What irks man is that a woman pretends that she must be circumvented by wiles. But man was ever a clumsy wooer. Nevertheless, it is only the man who thinks he is too venturesome. Since the iciest woman sometimes thaws. And the austerer a woman, the sweeter her surrender. And, again, a woman is never sweeter than in surrender. Accordingly, "De l'audace, et encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace" (- Dante) should be the motto of every wooer. Since Audacity if beloved of women; but it must be an audacity born of Sincerity and educated by Discretion. At all events beware timidity- it is fatal.
With women, nothing is more conquering than conquest; nothing so irresistible as resistance. On the other hand, resistance on the part of the woman is an effort put forth for the purpose of defeating its own object. A man prizes only what he has fought for. No one knows this better than a woman. This is why a woman's capitulation she always makes to appear as a capture. And where there are no defense works, a woman will erect them. Foolish that man who does not storm entrenchments. For resistance on the part of a woman is a wall which a man is expected to leap. His agility is the measure of her approbation.
Arouse a woman's interest, and you arouse much. But having failed, disappear. Yet it takes very many futile attempts to make a failure. At the same time, importunity is an inferior weapon.
A conditional surrender is no surrender. But a woman's surrender is in reality a desertion, a going over to the enemy. Thenceforward she is an ally. Indeed a woman's capitulation is her conquest.
Let no amount of simulated austerity deter you. The marble Galatea came to life at the prayer of a man.
The number of modes in which a woman can say 'Yes' has not, up to the present, be accurately enumerated; but perhaps the one most frequently in use is the negative imperative. And many are the men who have puzzled long and painfully over the motives of a woman's 'No.' Yet in nine cases out of ten a woman says 'No' merely because she feels herself on the brink of saying 'Yes'. In other words, it is often mistrust of herself that leads many a woman to refuse it will the lips the consent that is fluttering at her heart. Perhaps that is why with woman 'Yea' and 'Nay' are meaningless and interchangeable terms.
'Ware a show of excessive feeling. It is proof, either that it is shallow and evanescent, or that it is put on. At all events excessive feeling is rarely taken seriously. Now seriousness adds a spice to gallantry. But, like spice, a little is ample.
Many men think it is the woman who has to be persuaded. It is not the woman; it is her scruples. Besides, "Nemo repente turpissimus-vel turpissima". Yet by thirty, scruples are either dormant or dominant. Both of the callow youth of fifteen and the man of the world of forty-five swear by the woman of thirty.
It may seem a paradox, but it is a truism, that, in matters of love, it is the weaker and the defenseless sex that takes the initiative. In other words, the woman makes the opportunity which the man takes. And an opportunity missed is an opportunity lost. And the woman is implacable to the man who sees the opportunity and takes it not. Since with woman indifference is worse than insult. Wherefore never, never disappoint a woman.
Spontaneous admiration is the sincerest flattery. Those who know this, affect spontaneity. But it requires much art to conceal this art. You will oftener err upon the side of ultra-delicacy in a compliment that upon the side of bare-facedness. Do not imagine that excessive admiration can give offence. But remember that the eye can netter express admiration than can the tongue. The publicity with which a woman will receive admiration from a male admirer often is sufficient to astonish that admirer. But often enough it is the admiration, not the admirer, that a woman covets. Indeed, many a woman is in love with love (I seem to remember that somebody before has said something like this before.), but not her lover. But this no lover can be got to comprehend.
To flatter by deprecating a rival is a complement of extremely doubtful efficacy.
A woman does not admire too clement a conqueror. She admits the right to ovation, and to him who waives it she lightly regards.
Seek no stepping-stones unless you mean to cross: he who gathers stepping-stones and refrains from crossing is contempted of women. Indeed, every advance of which advantage is not taken, is in reality a retreat. And remember, too, that though sought interviews are sweet, those unsought are sweeter. And probably no son of Adam- and for the matter of that, probably no daughter of Eve - ever quite looks back with remorse upon a semi-innocent escapade. Yet the man who thinks he can at any time extract himself from any feminine entanglement that he may choose to have raveled, is a simpleton.
The way of man with a maid may have been too wonderful for Agur; now-a-days the way of a man with a married woman would puzzle a wiser than he. What is the attitude to be maintained towards the too complaisant spouse of an honorable friend? That is a problem will puzzle weak men without end. Of that fatal and fateful dilemma when a wife or a husband falls victim to the wiles of another, there are, for the delinquent, two and only two horns (and it is a moot question upon which it is preferable to be impaled): Flight- either from the victor or the victrix. Yet to some it is no anomaly to pray God's blessing upon a liaison. But these folk are to be pitied; for a clandestine love always works havoc-havoc to all three. (Cf. Platus: "Malus clandestinus est amor; damnum 'st merum.")
Will men and women never learn what trouble they lay up in store for themselves by breaking their plighted troths?
"La beaute' pour moi c'est la divinite' visible, c'est le bonheur palpable, c'est le ciel descendu sur terre." - Theophile Gautier
Beauty, they say, is but skin-deep. That is quite deep enough to enslave mankind. As a matter of fact, it is much deeper: for, to say nothing of health and good-spirits, beneath true beauty lies an admirable or a loveable character. And yet- or, perhaps, and therefore - If by some mischance beauty should arouse our resentment, with what different eyes we regard it!
The feeling for beauty is probably more highly developed in man than in woman. (N. B. Perhaps this is the source of the beauty of women.) Nevertheless, it is a question that perhaps will never be settled, how much value should be placed upon mere beauty. For man soon tires of mere beauty. In fact, man, the inconstant creature, soon tires of mere anything.
Beauty should never be analyzed. At sight of graceful neck, who speaks of "musculus sterno-cleido-mastoideus"; at touch of moist red lips, who thinks upon the corpuscles of Paccini?
More women are wooed for their complexions than for their characters.
Could women only know it, nothing can add to their charms: how provokingly delightful is the uniformed demureness of an hospital nurse beside the elaborate bedizenments of a woman of fashion!
The most beautiful thing known among men is: a good woman. And this is not an anomaly.
She who captures a man by a single charm, be it even beauty, holds him by a weak chain. Think not it was merely beauty that made Helen or Cleopatra historic. Beauty is much, and grace is much; but there is a charm more subtle and potent than these. Beauty without modesty is a rose without perfume: the petals may delight, but they lack an ineffable savor. Like a flower, too, though the tangible petals are numbered and comptable, the subtle perfume eludes the sense and is inexhaustible. For modesty is the exhalation of the soul: at once it enhances, as it refines, the potency of beauty. Nay more, the sacrosanct aureole of modesty beautifies all it surrounds: though it diviner haze imperfection there is none. So, given a redolent balm, and the lowliest herb becomes treasured and precious. And each human soul has its own individual essence; what folly were the violet to envy the rose! Since beauty is much, and grace is much, and mien and demeanor and wit; but a prepotent and psychic essence there is transcending the power of these. And, as the suave and subtle essence is not distinct from, but springs from, the tangible and numerable petals, so the spirit perceives that its fleshy vesture is not a thing apart, to be donned or doffed at will, to be contemned or left out of regards, but indeed at integral and inseparable portion of itself; for in the very woof and warp of flesh, sprit is immanent and enmeshed. Indeed- though in a mystic sense - vesture and wearer are mutually one. And yet love ever essays the task of seeking out the psychic wearer beneath the corporeal vesture- often with plaintive strife. When seeker and sought make a mutual search-the starkest strife is condoned. But alack! The mystic unity of the human soul is never wholly divulged- not even to love - not even to love.
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