Sunday, April 02, 2006

On love

From Barbara Pym’s A Very Private Eye: An Autobiography in Diaries and Letters
21 September 1932
It was a very cold evening and I felt very tired, but we went down Weston lane and looked at the stars. I said that the happiness one got out of love was worth any unhappiness it might (and generally does) bring. I can’t remember what Rupert said but he wasn’t so sure about it not having had the experience I suppose.

From Propertius’s Elegies, 1.1 (ca. 54-40 BC), as translated and collected in A Loeb Classical Library Reader
Cynthia first with her eyes ensnared me, poor wretch, that had previously been untouched by desire. It was then that Love made me lower my looks of stubborn pride and trod my head beneath his feet, until the villain taught me to shun decent girls and live the life of a ne’er-do-well. Poor me, for a whole year now this frenzy has not abated, while I am compelled to endure the frown of heaven.

2 Samuel 11:2
And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself, and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.

From Francine du Plessix Gray’s Them: A Memoir of Parents (2005)
In this particular mimesis of [my mother] Tatiana I had aspired to be courted by barons and counts, as she had, and I bettered her: I ended up going steady—how corny can you get?—with an alcoholic prince. No earlier accomplishments of mine evoked such a surge of maternal approval as I received during my affair with that particular cad.

From Anthony Powell’s A Question of Upbringing (1951)
Being in love is a complicated matter; although anyone who is prepared to pretend that love is a simple, straightforward business is always in a strong position for making conquests.

From Christopher Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” (1599, 1600)
Come live with me and be my love
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or sleepy mountain yields.

From Evelyn Waugh’s "Love in the Slump" (1932)
“You’re always so much nicer to me than anyone else, Tom; I wonder why?” and before he could deflect her—he had had an unusually exacting day’s business and the dance had been stupefying—she had popped the question.

“Well of course,” he had stammered, “I mean to say there’s nothing I’d like more, old girl. I mean, you know, of course I’ve always been crazy about you . . . But the difficulty is I simply can’t afford to marry. Absolutely out of the question for years, you know.”

“But I don’t think I should mind being poor with you, Tom; we know each other so well. Everything would be easy.”

And before Tom knew whether he was pleased or not, the engagement had been announced.

From Anthony Powell’s A Question of Upbringing (1951)
In general, things are apt to turn out unsatisfactorily for at least one of the parties concerned; and in due course only its most determined devotees remain unwilling to admit that an intimate and affectionate relationship is not necessarily a simple one: while such persistent enthusiasts have usually brought their own meaning of the word to something far different from what it conveys to most people in early life.

From Barbara Pym's A Very Private Eye: An Autobiography in Diaries and Letters
1 November 1933
What a bad sign it is to get the Oxford Book of Victorian Verse out of the library.

From Anthony Powell’s Afternoon Men (1931)
Barlow said: “If it’s really poisoning your life, why not ask her to marry you? I sometimes do that. Girls like it. Besides, you’d be quite safe. I don’t think she’d accept you for a moment.”

From an early 1938 letter from Barbara Pym to her friend Robert Liddell, collected in A Very Private Eye: An Autobiography in Diaries and Letters
“Mrs Minshall seems to want us all to be either dead or married,” said Mrs. Pym to her daughter as they drove home in the car.

“Well, I do not see what else we can be,” said Barbara in a thoughtful tone. “I suppose we all come to one state or the other eventually. I do not know which I would rather be in.”

“Oh, there is plenty of time for that,” said Mrs. Pym comfortably.
From Christopher Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” (1599, 1600)
The shepherds’ swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

From David Riggs’s The World of Christopher Marlowe (2004)
Six years after Marlowe’s death, when his [translation of Ovid’s Amores] had appeared in print, Archbishop Whitgift ordered all copies to “be presently brought to the Bishop of London to be burned” in St. Paul’s churchyard.

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