Andreas Capellanus, The Art of Courtly Love (1184-6)
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.
According to Andreas,
"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. . . ."
Love was not considered essential to marriage because Christian doctrine associated it with lust, a deadly sin, and indeed one could commit that sin with one's own spouse if one loved immoderately and had sex for reasons other than procreation. Paul, the great promoter of chastity as the highest human state, reluctantly agreed that it was "better to marry than to burn" (i.e., in Hell for the sin of lust if it could not be prevented by "medicinal" application of marriage).
The Rules of Love
1. Marriage is no excuse for not loving.
2. He who is not jealous can not love.
3. No one can be bound by two loves.
4. Love is always growing or diminishing.
5. It is not good for one lover to take anything against the will of the other.
6. A male cannot love until he has fully reached puberty.
7. Two years of mourning for a dead lover are prescribed for surviving lovers.
8. No one should be deprived of love without a valid reason.
9. No one can love who is not driven to do so by the power of love.
10. Love always departs from the dwelling place of avarice.
11. It is not proper to love one whom one would be ashamed to marry.
12. The true lover never desires the embraces of any save his lover.
13. Love rarely lasts when it is revealed.
14. An easy attainment makes love contemptible; a difficult one
makes it more dear.
15. Every lover turns pale in the presence of his beloved.
16. When a lover suddenly has sight of his beloved, his heart beats wildly.
17. A new love expells an old one.
18. Moral integrity alone makes one worthy of love.
19. If love diminishes, it quickly leaves and rarely revives.
20. A lover is always fearful.
21. True jealousy always increases the effects of love.
22. If a lover suspects another, jealousy and the efects of love increase.
23. He who is vexed by the thoughts of love eats little and seldom sleeps.
24. Every action of a lover ends in the thought of his beloved.
25. The true lover believes only that which he thinks will please his beloved.
26. Love can deny nothing to love.
27. A lover can never have enough of the embraces of his beloved.
28. The slightest suspicion incites the lover to suspect the worse of his beloved.
29. He who suffers from an excess of passion is not suited to love.
30. The true lover is continuously obsessed with the image of his beloved.
31. Nothing prevents a woman from being loved by two men, or a man
from being loved by two women.
For more excerpted translations from Andreas, including some of the dialogues, click
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