"Oh happy state! when souls each other draw
When love is liberty, and nature law:
All then is full, possessing and possess'd,
No craving void left aching in the breast:
Even thought meets thought, ere from the lips it part,
And each warm wish springs mutual from the heart."
Love is such a giant power that it seems to gather strength from obstructions, and at every
difficulty rises to higher might. It is all dominant - all conquering; a grand leveler which can
bring down to its own universal line of equalization the proudest heights, and remove the most
stubborn impediments: "Like death, it levels all ranks, and lays the shepherd's crook beside
the sceptre." There is no hope of resisting it, for it outwatches the most vigilant - submerges
everything, acquiring strength as it proceeds; ever growing, nay, growing out of itself. Love is
the light, the majesty of life, that principle to which, after all our struggling, and writhing,
and twisting, all things must be resolved. Take it away, and what becomes of the world! It is a
barren wilderness! A world of monuments, each standing upright and crumbling; an army of
gray stones, without a chaplet, without a leaf to take off, with its glimpse of green, their flat
insipidity and offensive uniformity upon a shrubless plain. Things base and foul, creeping and
obscure, withered, bloodless, and brainless, could alone spring from such a marble hearted
Love's darts are silver; when they turn to fire in the noble heart, they impart a portion of that
heavenly flame which is their element. Love is of such a refining, elevating character, that it
expels all that is mean and base; bids us think great thoughts, do great deeds, and changes our
common clay into find gold. It illuminates our path, dark and mysterious as it may be, with
torchlights lit from the one great light. Oh! poor weak, and inexpressive are words when
sought to strew, as with stars, the path and track of the expression of love's greatness and
power! Dull, pitiful, and cold; a cheating, horny gleam, as stones strung by the side of
precious gems, and the far-flashing of the sparkling ruby with his heart of fire! The blue eyes
of turquoises, or the liquid light of the sapphire, should alone be tasked to spell along, and
character our thoughts of love.
The loves that make memory happy and home beautiful, are those which form the sunlight of
our earliest consciousness, beaming gratefully along the path of maturity, and their radiance
lingering till the shadow of death darkens them all together.
But there is another love - that which blends young hearts in blissful unity, and, for the time,
so ignored past ties and affections, as to make willing separation of the son from his father's
house, and the daughter from all the sweet endearments of her childhood's home, to go out
together, and rear for themselves an altar, around which shall cluster all the cares and
delights, the anxieties and sympathies, of the family relationship; this love, if pure, unselfish,
and discreet, constitutes the chief usefulness and happiness of human life. Without it, there
would be no organized households, and, consequently, none of that earnest endeavor for
competence and respectability, which is the main-spring to human effort; none of those sweet,
softening, restraining and elevating influences of domestic life, which can alone fill the earth
with the glory of the Lord and make glad the city of Zion. This love is indeed heaven upon
earth; but above would not be heaven without it; where there is not love, there is fear; but,
"love casteth out fear." And yet we naturally do offend what we most love.
Love is the sun of life; most beautiful in morning and evening, but warmest and steadiest at
noon. It is the sun of the soul. Life without love is worse than death; a world without a sun.
The love which does not lead to labor will soon die out, and the thankfulness which does not
embody itself in sacrifices is already changing to gratitude. Love is not ripened in one day,
nor in many, nor even in a human lifetime. It is the oneness of soul with soul in appreciation
and perfect trust. To be blessed it must rest in that faith in the Divine which underlies every
other emotion. To be true, it must be eternal as God himself. Zeno being told that it was
humiliating to a philosopher to be in love, remarked: "If that be true, the fair sex are much to
be pitied, for they would receive the attention only of fools." Some love a girl for beauty, some
for virtue, and others for understanding. Goethe says: "We love a girl for very different things
than understanding. We love her for her beauty, her youth, her mirth, her confidingness, her
character, with its faults, caprices, and God knows what other unexpressible charms; but we
do not love her understanding. Her mind we esteem (if it is brilliant), and it may greatly
elevate her in our opinion; nay, more, it may enchain us when we already love. But her
understanding is not that which awakens and inflames our passions."
Love is blind, and lovers cannot see
The pretty follies that themselves commit.
Remember that love is dependent upon forms; courtesy of etiquette guards and protects
courtesy of heart. How many hearts have been lost irrecoverably, and how many averted eyes
and cold looks have been gained from what seemed, perhaps, but a trifling negligence of
forms. Men and women should not be judged by the same rules. There are many radical
differences in their affectional natures. Man is the creature of interest and ambition. His
nature leads him forth into the struggle and bustle of the world. Love is but the embellishment
of his early life, or a song piped in the intervals of the acts. He seeks for fame, for fortune, for
space in the world's thoughts, and dominion over his fellow-men. But a woman's whole life is a
history of the affections. The heart is her world; it is there her ambition strives for empire; it
is there her ambition seeks for hidden treasures. She sends forth her sympathies on
adventure; she embarks her whole soul in the traffic of affection; and if shipwrecked her case
is hopeless, for it is bankruptcy of the heart.
Man's love is of man's life a thing, a part;
'Tis woman's whole existence.
For every woman it is with the food of the heart as with that of the body; it is possible to exist
on a very small quantity, but that small quantity is an absolute necessity. Woman loves or
abhors; man admires or despises. Woman without love is a fruit without flower. In love, the
virtuous woman says no; the passionate says yes; the capricious says yes and no; the coquette
neither yes nor no. A coquette is a rose from whom every lover plucks a leaf; the thorn
remains for the future husband. She may be compared to tinder which catches sparks, but
does not always succeed in lighting a match. Love, while it frequently corrupts pure hearts,
often purifies corrupt hearts. How well he knew the human heart who said: "We wish to
constitute all the happiness, or if that cannot be, the misery of the one we love."
Woman's love is stronger than death; it rises superior to adversity, and towers in sublime
beauty above the niggardly selfishness of the world. Misfortune cannot suppress it; enmity
cannot alienate it; temptation cannot enslave it. It is the guardian angel of the nursery and the
sick bed; it gives an affectionate concord to the partnership of life and interest, circumstances
cannot modify it; it ever remains the same to sweeten existence, to purify the cup of life on the
rugged pathway to the grave, and melt to moral pliability the brittle nature of man. It is the
ministering spirit of home, hovering in soothing caresses over the cradle, and the death-bed of
the household, and filling up the urn of all its sacred memories.
How many bright eyes grow dim - how many soft cheeks grow pale - how many lovely forms
fade away into the tomb, and none can tell the cause that blighted their loveliness! As the dove
will clasp its wings to its side, and cover and conceal the arrow that is preying on its vitals, so
it is the nature of woman to hide from the world the pangs of wounded affection. The love of a
delicate female is always shy and silent. Even when fortunate she scarcely breathes it to
herself; but when otherwise, she buries it in the recesses of her bosom, and there lets it brood
and cower among the ruins of her peace. With her the desire of the heart has failed. The great
charm of existence is at an end. She neglects all the cheerful exercises which gladden the
spirits, quicken the pulses, and send the tide of life in healthful currents through the veins.
Her rest is broken - the sweet refreshment of sleep is poisoned by melancholy dreams - "dry
sorrow drinks her blood," until her feeble frame sinks under the slightest external injury.
Look for her after a little while, and you will find friendship weeping over her untimely grave,
and wondering that one who but lately glowed with all the radiance of health and beauty,
should be so speedily brought down to "darkness and the worm." You will be told of some
wintry chill, some casual indisposition that laid her low; but no one knows of the mental
malady that previously sapped her strength and made her so easy a prey to the spoiler.
The affection that links together man and wife is a far holier and more enduring passion than
the enthusiasm of young love. It may want its gorgeousness - it may want its imaginative
character, but it is far richer, and holier, and more trusting in its attributes. Talk not to us of
the absence of love in wedlock. No! it burns with a steady and brilliant flame, shedding a
benign influence upon existence, a million times more precious and delightful than the cold
dreams of philosophy. Domestic love! Who can measure its height or its depth? Who can
estimate its preserving and purifying power? It sends an ever swelling stream of life through a
household, it binds hearts into one "bundle of life;" it shields them from temptation, it takes
the sting from disappointments and sorrow, it breathes music into the voice, into the footsteps,
it gives worth and beauty to the commonest office, it surrounds home with an atmosphere of
moral health, it gives power to effort and wings to progress, it is omnipotent. Love, amid the
other graces in this world, is like a cathedral tower, which begins on the earth, and, at first is
surrounded by the other parts of the structure; but, at length, rising above buttressed wall,
and arch, and parapet, and pinnacle, it shoots spire-like many a foot right into the air, so high
that the huge cross on its summit glows like a spark in the morning light and shines like a star
in the evening sky, when the rest of the pile is enveloped in darkness.
He who loves a lady's complexion, form and features, loves not her true self, but her soul's old
clothes. The love that has nothing but beauty to sustain it soon withers and dies. The love that
is fed with presents always requires feeding. Love and love only, is the loan for love. Love is of
the nature of a burning glass, which, kept still in one place, lights fire; changed often, it does
nothing. The purest joy we can experience in one we love, is to see that person a source of
happiness to others. When you are with the person loved, you have no sense of being bored.
This humble and trivial circumstance is the great test - the only sure and abiding test of love.
With the persons you do not love you are never supremely at your ease. You have some of the
sensation of walking upon stilts. In conversation with them, however much you admire them
and are interested in them, the horrid idea will cross your mind of "What shall I say next?"
One has well said, "In true love the burden of conversation is borne by both the lovers, and
the one of them who, with knightly intent, would bear it alone, would only thus cheat the
other of a part of his best fortune." When two souls come together, each seeking to magnify
the other, each in a subordinate sense worshiping the other, each helps the other; the two
flying together so that each wing-beat of the one helps each wing-beat of the other - when two
souls come together thus, they are lovers. They who unitedly move themselves away from
grossness and from earth, toward the throne crystalline and the pavement golden, are, indeed,
The Royal Path of Life - Aims and Aids to Success and Happiness - 1882 by T.L. Haines & L.W. Yaggy