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of love(论爱情)
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THE stage is more beholding to love, than the life of man. For as
to the stage, love is ever matter of comedies, and now and then of tragedies;
but in life it doth much mischief; sometimes like a siren, sometimes like
a fury. You may observe, that amongst all the great and worthy persons
(whereof the memory remaineth, either ancient or recent) there is not one,
that hath been transported to the mad degree of love: which shows that
great spirits, and great business, do keep out this weak passion. You
must except, nevertheless, Marcus Antonius, the half partner of the empire
of Rome, and Appius Claudius, the decemvir and lawgiver; whereof the former
was indeed a voluptuous man, and inordinate; but the latter was an austere
and wise man: and therefore it seems (though rarely) that love can find
entrance, not only into an open heart, but also into a heart well fortified,
if watch be not well kept. It is a poor saying of Epicurus, Satis magnum
alter alteri theatrum sumus; as if man, made for the contemplation
of heaven, and all noble objects, should do nothing but kneel be-
fore a little idol, and make himself a subject, though not of the mouth
(as beasts are), yet of the eye; which was given him for higher purposes.


It is a strange thing, to note the excess of this passion, and how it
braves the nature, and value of things, by this; that the speaking in a
perpetual hyperbole, is comely in nothing but in love. Neither is it merely
in the phrase; for whereas it hath been well said, that the arch-flatterer,
with whom all the petty flatterers have intelligence, is a man's self;
certainly the lover is more. For there was never proud man thought so
absurdly well of him self, as the lover doth of the person loved; and therefore
it was well said, That it is impossible to love, and to be wise. Neither
doth this weakness appear to others only, and not to the party loved; but
to the loved most of all, except the love be reciproque. For it is a true
rule, that love is ever rewarded, either with the reciproque, or with an
inward and secret contempt.

By how much the more, men ought to beware of this passion, which loseth
not only other things, but itself! As for the other losses, the poet's
relation doth well figure them: that he that preferred Helena, quitted
the gifts of Juno and Pallas.

For whosoever esteemeth too much of amorous affection, quitteth both riches
and wisdom. This passion hath his floods, in very times of weakness; which
are great prosperity, and great adversity; though this latter hath been
less observed: both which times kindle love, and make it more fervent,
and therefore show it to be the child of folly. They do best, who if they
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