Hints for Lovers | Inspirational Valentine’s Day Podcast

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Today’s reading has been edited and adapted from the book Hints for Lovers by Arnold Haultain, published in 1909.

THE beginning, the middle, and the end of love — is a sigh. All things point to the infinite; and love more than all things else.

Complex as is the character of love, there are two things which love always does: always it …”Refines the thoughts and enlarges the heart.”

Nothing stands still in this world, not even love: it must grow or it withers. And, perhaps, the strongest love is that which surmounts the greatest number of obstacles.

Love to some is an intoxicant; to others an ailment. To all it is a necessity.

As is one’s character, so is one’s love. Perhaps the deepest love is the quietest.

Some loves, like some fevers, have three stages: incubation; eruption; and convalescence. And some loves, like some fevers, render the patient immune to that particular kind of contagion.

Only love can comprehend and reciprocate love. Of a great and reciprocated love there is one and only one sign: the expression of the eyes. Who that has seen such a love was ever deceived by its counterfeit?

Did ever the same love-light shine in the same eyes twice? The light of love in the eyes may take on a thousand forms: exultant jubilation, a trustful happiness; infinite appeasement or promises untold; an adoration supreme or a complex oblation; tenderness ineffable or heroic resolves implicit faith; unquestioning confidence; abounding pity; unabashed desire. Those who shall count the stars of heaven, shall enumerate the radiances of love.

There is no Art of Loving, though, as Ovid says, love must be guided by art. Yet if love did not come by chance, it would never come at all.

It is a significant fact that love, which (more than any other thing in this world) is the great bringer-together of hearts, begins its mysterious work as a separator and putter-at-a-distance. For when first love dawns in the breast of youth, it throws about its object a sacred aura, which awes at the same time that it inspires the faithful worshipper.

Too often the Phantasm of love and not love itself wins the day. Women who seek a real lover should beware of the overbold one.

To merge the thee and the me into one — that is ever the attempt of love. It is impossible. Yet, perhaps they are happiest who can longest disbelieve in the impossibility of this amorous fusion; for it may be that such incredulity is favorable to romance.

Love is not exactly a sacrifice; it is an exchange. The lover, indeed, gives their heart; but then they expect another in return.

Love is like life: no apparatus can manufacture it or kill it; and nothing in the heavens above or in the earth below or in the waters under the earth will resuscitate it.

To such heights does love exalt the lover that he or she will live for days in the remembered delights of a Iook, a word, a gesture. But one thing is impossible for love: love cannot create love; the intensest and most fervent love is powerless to evoke even a scintillation of love. Love may worship, it may adore, it may transfigure, it may exalt the object of its devotion to the skies; but it cannot cause that object to emit one ray of love in return.

The young think love is the winning-post of life; the old know it is a turn in the course. Nevertheless, it is a fateful turn.

Hate may be concealed; love never.

In love, the imagination plays a very large part. And 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 the more practical. 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 a religion as love. And love is the only religion in which there have been no heretics. Why? Because women are at once its object and its priesthood.

Love, art, and religion arc but different phases of the same emotion: awe, reverence, worship, and sacrifice in the presence of the supreme ideal. Love knows no creed. Indeed, love acknowledges no deity but itself and accepts no sanctions but its own: it is….autonomous.

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 realize the ideal. For love always beckons over insurmountable barriers to uninhabitable realms; promises unsupportable possibilities; lures to an unimaginable goal. And love has a myriad of counterfeits.

Love may best be compared to a musical note: to the unthinking it is a simple sound; to the more experienced it is known to consist of endless and complicated vibrations (harmonizing with some, and making discord with others) — notes that follow regular but unknown laws; differing according to the timbre of the emitter; reverberating under certain conditions; lost to the ear in others; and only responding to resonators vibrating in synch with itself.
Changing the simile, we may say that love is like light: all-pervading, universally diffused, and reflected and refracted and absorbed in varying degrees and varying manners by various objects. And, love, like sun-light, wears its most tender tints at dawn.

To some love comes like a flash; to others as the burning of tinder. In all, when real love is kindled, it devours all that is combustible. But all love, like all fire, needs not only ventilation but replenishing: Unless the primal spark is nourished, it will not glow. Stifle love and it dies down. So even the love of a married pair, unless it retains something of the romance of courtship, is apt to go out. And when love is dead, it is perhaps best soon buried.

Love will eventually reveal itself. But Jill keeps her secret better than Jack. For a woman generally controls love; a man is controlled by it. And Jill’s very power of making-believe to be “fancy free” exasperates Jack.

Love in a woman’s eyes is the supreme and ultimate arbiter. If she is loved, love in her eyes will condone anything — anything. For to prefer honor to love is a maxim unknown to women. With them love IS honor. And therefore the maxim is meaningless — and needless.

Women detect the dawn of love while it is still midnight with man. That is to say, a woman knows a man is in love with her long before he is aware of it himself. Except perhaps in this one circumstance: when she herself is in love with somebody else.

Love would rather suffer than forget. A wounded love carries a scar to the grave.

A woman who gives herself too freely is apt to regret the giving. In time, too, she discovers that, as a matter of fact, no woman can give her real self twice: one or other gift will prove to be a loan.

Nothing, nothing is criminal to love; for love knows not conscience. Or rather, love upsets all conventional conditions — for love creates a world of its own, a world populated by two — and these two make their own laws — or make none.

To die for a woman would perhaps, to a young and ardent lover, not be difficult; to wage continued warfare with the world for her, that perhaps is not so easy. But it is the better test of love; and perhaps also the better preserver and replenisher of love — for as little as people seem to be aware of it, love requires constant replenishing: no flame can burn without a feeding oil, no pool overflow without a purling brook. Yet the first ecstasies of love often blind both man and woman to the care necessary for the nurturing of love. Indeed, too many treat love as if it were a passing whim; whereas in sober reality it is (or should be) a lasting emotion.

Love, with women, is like the tides. And few women know the high-water mark of their own love: they are always harboring the belief that it may rise still higher; and often they await that rise.

It is not well to either confide or to confess too much. A very small rock will wreck a very big ship, and a very small slip will spoil a very long life.

The surest test of a waning love is that it begins not to concern itself when it sees its object suffer. The surest test of a dead love is that it forgets how to be jealous.

With women, love is a river, ever flowing, from the brook in girlhood to the estuary of womanhood. Like a river, too, a woman’s love is fed by all the streams it meets. On the other hand, with man, love is a geyser.

The obsession of the male heart by one woman ousts from it all other women. However, to the young woman, men continue to be men. That is to say, a man dives headlong into love. A woman paddles into it. And the woman’s hesitation at the brink of the stream exasperates the floundering man. In short, a man’s heart is captured wholly and at a stroke. A woman’s heart surrenders itself piece by piece.

In love, a woman is generally cool enough to calculate pros and cons; a man, in a similar plight, is incapable of anything but folly.

In love, as in all things, indecision spells ruination.

There is no question too subtle, too delicate, too recondite, or too rash, for human eyes to ask or answer. And he who has not learned the language of the eyes, has yet to learn the alphabet of love. Besides, love speaks two languages: one with the lips; the other with the eyes. The eye tells more than the tongue. If eye and tongue contradict one another, believe the eye.

A woman’s emotions are as practical as a man’s reason. A man’s emotions are never practical. This is why in the emotional matter of love, men and women so often clash.

In matters of love, the potency of personality exceeds the potency of beauty.

In spite of the poetry of love, deeds are more potent than words; — though perhaps it is well to pave the way for the one by the other. In spite, too, of the piety of love, love laughs at promises.

A woman never really quite detests daring. This is why much is forgiven a daring man. Beware of timidity — it is fatal.

Tenderness is the worship of the soul by the soul. And of all tests of love, tenderness is the truest.

Lovers think the world was made for them. — And so perhaps it was.

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