Andreas Capellanus late 12th cent. De Amore A Treatise on Courtly Love Excerpts [The work is divided into three books; the first begins in the manner of an academic lecture, with attention to definitions and etymology. Love is an inborn suffering proceeding from the sight and immoderate thought upon the beauty of the other sex, for which cause above all other things one wishes to embrace the other and, by common assent, in this embrace to fulfill the commandments of love. From Whence Love is Named "Love amor " is derived from the word "hook amar ", which signifies "capture" or "be captured. Just as a shrewd fisherman tries to attract fish with his bait and to catch them on with his curved hook, so he who is truly captured by love tries to attract another with his blandishments and with all his power tries to hold two hearts together with one spiritual chain or, if they be already united, to hold them always together. What is the Effect of Love This is the effect of love: that the true lover can not be corrupted by avarice; love makes an ugly and rude person shine with all beauty, knows how to endow with nobility even one of humble birth, can even lend humility to the proud; he who loves is accustomed humbly to serve others.
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He who is not jealous cannot love. No one can be bound by a double love. It is well known that love is always increasing or decreasing. That which a lover takes against his will of his beloved has no relish. Boys do not love until they arrive at the age of maturity. When one lover dies, a widowhood of two years is required of the survivor. No one should be deprived of love without the very best of reasons. No one can love unless he is impelled by the persuasion of love.
Love is always a stranger in the home of avarice. It is not proper to love any woman whom one should be ashamed to seek to marry. A true lover does not desire to embrace in love anyone except his beloved. When made public love rarely endures. The easy attainment of love makes it of little value; difficulty of attainment makes it prized. Every lover regularly turns pale in the presence of his beloved. When a lover suddenly catches sight of his beloved his heart palpitates.
A new love puts to flight an old one. Good character alone makes any man worthy of love. If love diminishes, it quickly fails and rarely revives. A man in love is always apprehensive. Real jealousy always increases the feeling of love. Jealousy, and therefore love, are increased when one suspects his beloved. He whom the thought of love vexes, eats and sleeps very little. Every act of a lover ends with in the thought of his beloved.
A true lover considers nothing good except what he thinks will please his beloved. Love can deny nothing to love. A lover can never have enough of the solaces of his beloved. A slight presumption causes a lover to suspect his beloved.
A man who is vexed by too much passion usually does not love. A true lover is constantly and without intermission possessed by the thought of his beloved. Nothing forbids one woman being loved by two men or one man by two women.
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He who is not jealous cannot love. No one can be bound by a double love. It is well known that love is always increasing or decreasing. That which a lover takes against his will of his beloved has no relish.
Andreas Capellanus and The Art of Courtly Love
Andreas Capellanus, The Art of Courtly Love Andreas "the Chaplain" writes this essay in three parts and addresses it to his young male friend, Walter, who apparently has asked for instruction. The first part discusses what love is and how love may be obtained. The second part discusses how love may be preserved. The third part discusses why love should be avoided and attempts to undo the work of the first two parts. The book is notable for its embedded dialogues purporting to describe "courts of love" held by queens and duchesses, trials at which men and women debated the behaviors of lovers from various stations of society and evaluated them. It also contains an important definition of love and two sets of rules for love, the longer of which is reproduced below.