Romance is supposed to be one of the more straightforward messes a person can and will (inevitably) find themselves in. One meets another, sparks fly, hijinks ensue, yada-yada-yada, happy ending (hopefully). Sounds pretty simple, right? No! So much so that this lovely gentleman, Andreas Capellanus, felt the need to set a list of rules regarding romantic love and its expression in his book, De Amore. Here’s a translation I managed to find:
- Marriage should not be a deterrent to love.
Since this comes from an era when marriage and love are not mutually inclusive…
- Love cannot exist in the individual who cannot be jealous.
Love = Trusting your partner? Nooooo!!!!!!! Othello had it right!
- A double love cannot obligate an individual.
What is that even supposed to mean? Don’t cheat on your lover?
- Love constantly waxes and wanes.
It’s perfectly normal to give your other half the Scottish shower treatment. Just don’t be surprised when they dump you.
- That which is not given freely by the object of one’s love loses its savor.
-insert innuendo and undue giggling here-
- It is necessary for a male to reach the age of maturity in order to love.
And this being the middle ages, I’d estimate “maturity” means around 16 years. Mid-to-late teens? Sounds about right.
- A lover must observe a two-year widowhood after his beloved’s death.
Not a day more or less!
- Only the most urgent circumstances should deprive one of love.
But…but…but…rule 4 said….
- Only the insistence of love can motivate one to love.
Ah…that innocent age before restraining orders….
- Love cannot coexist with avarice.
Jealousy is just fine though!
- A lover should not love anyone who would be an embarrassing marriage choice.
Well, that’s pretty restricting, isn’t it? Is the party line “Kind of star-crossed lovers” instead of “star-crossed lovers”? Because it doesn’t quite have the same ring to it…
- True love excludes all from its embrace but the beloved.
Especially that unlucky person you are married to… Although that MIGHT explain why in most later tales Arthur has no children.
- Public revelation of love is deadly to love in most instances.
“I’m not ashamed of what we have honey! I just don’t want your husband to run me through!”
- The value of love is commensurate with its difficulty of attainment.
Going back to my point about restraining orders…
- The presence of one’s beloved causes palpitation of the heart.
Psychic link joke in 3…2…1…
- The sight of one’s beloved causes palpitations of the heart.
So does the sight of needles or spiders for some people. I always assumed it had something to do with fear…
- A new love brings an old one to a finish.
Unfortunately not always as Elaine of Astolat learned…
- Good character is the one real requirement for worthiness of love.
What about that social standing you harping about in rule 11?
- When love grows faint its demise is usually certain.
Rule 4! Rule 4, bog-dammit!
- Apprehension is the constant companion of true love.
Especially when you sleep with your employer’s wife, coughLancelotcough…
- Love is reinforced by jealousy.
In case you missed the point in rule 2.
- Suspicion of the beloved generates jealousy and therefore intensifies love.
Also tragically murderous or murderously tragic scenes.
- Eating and sleeping diminish greatly when one is aggravated by love.
In the middle ages the way to a man’s heart was, in fact, not through his stomach.
- The lover’s every deed is performed with the thought of his beloved in mind.
- Unless it please his beloved, no act or thought is worthy to the lover.
That’s pretty all-encompassing. What if she’s allergic to peanuts and he loves peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast?
- Love is powerless to hold anything from love.
Then why is that every other dramatic love confession goes along the lines of: “I can no longer hide my love from you”?
- There is no such thing as too much of the pleasure of one’s beloved.
Second round of innuendos in 3…2…1…
- Presumption on the part of the beloved causes suspicion in the lover.
What’s that even supposed to mean?
- Aggravation of excessive passion does not usually afflict the true lover.
Two rules above: “no such thing as too much pleasure”. Also RULE 4. I think these count as passions!
- Thought of the beloved never leaves the true lover.
Until they find a new love or the two years of widowhood pass at least….
- Two men may love one woman or two women one man.
I feel like I should be making a rule 34 joke here….