On Romantic Love
On romantic love, it can be observed that the imagination plays a very large part. Yet 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
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. 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 realise 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.
Men and Women’s Interpretation of Love
Yet 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.