Dictionary of Love
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JOHN CLELAND
RALPH GRIFFITHS
J. F. DU RADIER



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Dictionary of Love: Selections
The Dictionary of Love
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Assignation  Attachment  Calm  Conquest  Cully  Fate  Favours  Husband  Indiscretion  Kiss  Lucretia  Matrimony  Old Maid  Rendezvous  Ruin  Run  Seraglio  TêTê-à-TêTê  Troublesome  Who  Yielding  TOP

Assignation, Rendezvous

The expert in gallantry never so much as mention these terrible words to a young adventurer of the fair sex: they are too alarming: but they generally employ some circumlocution; into which, however, they put the full value of the thing itself. But, if the fair-one consents, and keeps touch with her appointment, she is the fool; and if she returns without special reason to remember it, she has met with one.


Modified text:
…she has met with one …she has met with one
A Dictionary of Love (1777)


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Attachment

See Love

The lovers of these days, persuaded that a commerce of love with the fair is never more flourishing than when it is a free trade, look upon an attachment to one person as too hard a restriction to unload at one port, tho' a gale of desire should blow strongly towards another.

Long attachments, then, are now treated as tiresome and insipid: in short, matters are now so managed by consent of all parties, that there is no such thing as making a breach in constancy; since the whole of that old wall is entirely pulled down.


Omitted text:
Long attachments, then, are now treated as tiresome and insipid; in short, matters are now so managed by consent of all parties, that there is no such thing as making a breach in constancy; since the whole of that old wall is entirely pulled down.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Calm

The state of an heart without a passion. Whatever praises women may give to this tranquility, it is a thousand times more insupportable to them, than all the anxieties of love. Whenever, then, they talk in this manner, I admire the calm of a disengaged heart, this means, “Custom has absolutely forbid our sex to complain of having no lovers: it is confessing too many disagreeable things, and almost equal to owning that one has no merit. What is to be done then? dissemble.”

After having once loved, a calm is yet more odious; and indifference, at best, an isipid, uncomfortable state. To get out of it, there is nothing like spreading one's sails to a fresh breeze, though it should blow from another quarter.


Omitted text:
After having once loved, a calm is yet more odious; and indifference, at best, an isipid, uncomfortable state. To get out of it, there is nothing like spreading one's sails to a fresh breeze, though it should blow from another quarter.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Conquest

This pompous term is made use of to express the homage of desire extorted by its object. This metaphor is very just; for no hero could be vainer of the number of provinces he could conquer, than the Fair are of that of their lovers.

The arms they employ are, beauty, natural or artificial; the artillery of the eyes; engaging looks; smiles, airs, graces, and all the powerful auxiliaries of dress. A general shall sometimes be less embarrassed in marshalling an army of twenty thousand men, than a lady in posting a patch, sticking a pin, or placing a ribbon or flower. What a preparation do they make to set their caps, and looks, before they go upon an attack! Two lady's gentlewomen, an humble female friend, and a fop privileged for his insignificance, are not, with all their untied skill, sufficient to determine the pinning of a gown, upon a grand occasion. The toilette is the council-board of war; the Mall, the side-boxes, Ranelagh, Vauxhal, &c. the field of battle : and, as, in such a momentous concern, one should neglect no means that human prudence may suggest, one goes flanked with some frightful toad-eater, in a view of shining from the contrast. But it would engage one in an endless detail, to enumerate all the stratagems and machinery they employ. Archimedes was a bungler to them. Such a subject would require an express Treatise on the art military of the ladies.

It unhappily however too often falls out, that from judging of their conquests, more by number than weight, they are dishonoured by their success, and disgraced by their list.

Sometimes their plans of conquest end in being themselves conquered.

Some are even illustrated by their defeat, who like some barbarous countries would never have been known, but for the name of the conqueror who designed to subdue them.

Others, with worse fate, submit to those cruel conquerors, who treat them like provinces reduced; and which they rather transiently ravage, than care to keep possession of them.


Omitted text:
…sticking a pin, or placing a ribbon or flower!
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
… before they go upon an attack Two lady's gentlewomen, an humble female friend, and a fop privileged for his insignificance, are not, with all their untied skill, sufficient to determine the pinning of a gown, upon a grand occasion.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Modified text:
…some frightfulhag, perhaps with a view of striking by the contrast
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
…they rather transiently ravage, than care to keep posession of them
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Cully

Is one who gives much, and receives at most the appearances of love in return. Their tribe is very numerous: the chief divisions of them are,

The marrying-cully, and the keeping-cully. The first is used as a cloak: the second, like an orange, squeezed of its juice, and thrown away.


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Fate, Destiny, Stars, &c.

Words of great help to young persons, who catch at every thing to cover or excuse their weakness. Medea is not the last, or only one, who made use of that word as a reason for doing a foolish thing. Many have, since her time, taken their fate or starts to task, for the faults of their inclination. Nothing so frequent as predestinarians in love.

How can a poor creature help her fate? This signifies that the fair-one is too resigned to the system of fatality, to pretend to stem the force of a passion that borrows the plea of it, and is hurried down the stream; whilst the term serves her to yield honourably, and makes a sort of decent figure in a letter or speech.


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Favours

All that a mistress grants to her lover is called so.

They magnify or lessen the favours according to the exigence of the case: but, generally speaking, a lover magnifies small favours, and lessens great ones. Thus, when he pretends to exalt a trifling favour he has obtained, it is by way of insinuation how grateful he would be for greater ones, and thereby inspires the fair-one with a mind to try him with them.

When a lover lessens a great favour, all he says to that purpose signifies, “If I was to form to you too hight an image of the favour I am solliciting, you would think twice before you granted it me.”

The last favour is so called with great propriety; it being out of a woman's power, after that, to grant another; she then commences the person favoured, not favouring.


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Husband

What is a Husband? Hear a lady's definition, who composed a vocabulary to express the character of one, from her own experience, and which proves how copious our language is on that article. He is, she said, a snarling, crusty, sullen, testy, froward, cross, gruff, moody, crabbed, snappish, tart, splenetic, surly, brutish, fierce, dry, morose, waspish, currish, boorish, fretful, peevish, huffish, sulky, touchy, fractious, rugged, blustering, captious, ill-natured, rusty, churlish, growling, maundering, uppish, stern, grating, frumpish, humoursome, envious dog in a manger, who neither eats himself, not lets others eat.

Love has a strange spite at husbands, and is rarely very favourable to the definition of their character.


Omitted text:
He is, she said, a snarling, crusty, sullen, testy, froward, cross, gruff, moody, crabbed, snappish, tart, splenetic, surly, brutish, fierce, dry, morose, waspish, currish, boorish, fretful, peevish, huffish, sulky, touchy, fractious, rugged, blustering, captious, ill-natured, rusty, churlish, growling, maundering, uppish, stern, grating, frumpish, humoursome, envious dog in a manger, who neither eats himself, not lets others eat.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
Love has a strange spite at husbands, and is rarely very favourable to the definition of their character.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


Assignation  Attachment  Calm  Conquest  Cully  Fate  Favours  Husband  Indiscretion  Kiss  Lucretia  Matrimony  Old Maid  Rendezvous  Ruin  Run  Seraglio  TêTê-à-TêTê  Troublesome  Who  Yielding  TOP

Indiscretion

It is rare that a lover can avoid the imputation of this word: he may even be indiscreet thorough too great an affectation of discretion; and betray his secret, by the very measures he takes to conceal it: but this is not so common a character as that of premeditated indiscretion. There are those who would not care a farthing for a conquest, but for the pleasure of making a parade of it to the public. They may say, as Alexander, in the midst of the toils of his expeditions cost him, “Oh! Athenians, all this is to talked of, and to give your tongues employment.”


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Kiss

Some authors will have it, that a kiss is no kiss, or at best a half one, unless returned at the same time.

In some countries there is such a stress laid upon it, that a woman who grants a kiss, has passed away all right to refuse anything else. It is the seal of a treaty of surrender at discretion.

In ours, its signification is determined by the circumstances, the degree of warmth, the part, the time, and other particulars needless to enumerate. But of all kisses, the turtle-billing one is the most emphatic, but rarely used, where there is not full liberty to use every thing else.

In general, however, one may venture to pronounce kissing dangerous. A spark of fire has often been struck out of the collision of lips, that has blown up the whole magazine of virtue.


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Lucretia

A name used to express a model of virtue: not very properly however, since she was, strictly and in fact, rather a martyr to her reputation than her chastity; whilst, to avoid the scandal with which Tarquin threatened her, on non-compliance, she gave up the thing itself to preserve the name, and wisely swallowed the affront, though afterwards she gave herself the air of dying of an indigestion of it.


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Matrimony

A term which is the stale topic of ridicule to witlings, libertines, and coxcombs; and a term of the utmost respect amongst the virtuous and the sensible. It is, like patriotism, the most noble motive, and the most infamous pretext. It is the paradise of the wise, and the hell of fools. At present, the fashion is, properly speaking, to commit matrimony; since, on the footing that things are, it is rather a crime than a virtue; since no nobler a view determines numbers to it, than sends a highwayman to Hounslow-heath; to wit, the taking a purse. Sordid interest is now the great master of ceremonies to Hymen, of which it pollutes the sanctuary, and dishonours the worship. Parents who sacrifice their children to it, are worse than the Ammonites, who burnt theirs in honour to Moloch: at least the pain of those wretched victims was momentary; whilst the pain of those sold for interest is a lingering one, and often as sure a death.


Modified text:
…since, on the footing that things are, it is rather a crime than a virtue; many enter into it with no better design than a highwayman to Hounslow-heath…
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Old Maid

Is a term used to distinguish those who could not get any body to make them otherwise. It is however; too often a term of reproach, because it is not a woman's own fault if she is an old maid; if she never was lucky enough to be asked the question


Added text:
New word. A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Rendezvous

See Assignation


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Ruin

To Ruin a woman of her honour, or (what is worse to many of them) of the reputation of it.

Terrible as this word sounds, there are of them, who would look on no unhappiness so great, as that of having no reason ever to fear it would be attempted.

Do you want to ruin me? is a phrase of capitulation: a kind of dying speech of a virtue, just going to be turned off.


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Run Away

There is nothing left for it but your running away with me. This is rarely hazarded in express terms: but when the fair-one is sufficiently disposed, and her reason destroyed, her artful seducer employs this proposal, though in softened expressions, which at the bottom means as follows:

“Hitherto we have only committed the common follies of love; but now, let us consummate them by a stroke of êclat. I have so perfect a regard for you, that I make use of all the advantage your love gives me over you, to persuade you to take refuge in my arms, from tyrannical parents, whose darling you are, whose life it is necessary to my happiness you should imbitter [sic] for ever: (or perhaps) from a husband who adores you, who is so cruel to you as to want to have you all to himself; and whom you are going to overwhelm with shame and sorrow, whilst my passion lasts; and it will last as long — as it can: I will stand you in the stead of all you lose for my sake: when I am heartily tired of you, I shall arm myself with firmness enough to part with you: you may cry, complain, storm, all will be in vain: then you may go back to your family; that is to say, if it is silly and fond enough to receive you: if not, there are the ever open arms of the town for you.”

All this, the word Run-away implies, though you may be sure so much is never expressed.


Modified text:
“that is to say, if it is fond enough to receive you: if not,the town will receive you with open arms”
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
“…ever open arms of the town for you” All this, the word Run-away implies, though you may be sure so much is never expressed
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Seraglio

An inclosure [sic], in which a number of women are shut up and inslaved [sic] to the pleasure of one tyrant. A modern author, speaking of a queen who kept a seraglio of men, prefers it as much the most natural and sensible establishment.

“A seraglio of women, says he, in which one man reigns sole sovereign, is like a melancholy dismal valley, through which creeps a poor narrow stream, scarce sufficient to afford water to two or three sheep amongst a hundred that are perishing with thirst: whilst a seraglio of men, presided by a woman, is a joyous pasture, provided with a copious spring, that never dries up; and furnishes abundance for the use and refreshment of a whole flock. This then is the most natural one. The other is an abusive custom, and one of the grossest grievances of arbitrary power.”


Omitted text:
Entry omitted. A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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TêTê-à-TêTê

See Assignation


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Troublesome

A troublesome lover is one of those antiquated lovers who exact delicacy, constancy, and attachment from their mistresses. He is almost as unreasonable as a fond husband, and as much out of the fashion. The present system of toleration on both sides, seems too commodious not to grow into an established one.


Omitted text:
He is almost as unreasonable as a fond husband, and as much out of the fashion. The present system of toleration on both sides, seems too commodious not to grow into an established one.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Who Knows but he may marry me at last?

A common term, or at least a common thought of girls, who have seen little of the world. It is the usual conclusion of those soliloquies which love, supported by vanity, engages them to make. A man of condition, rich, and struck with the charms of a young person, addresses her, and soon finds the way to her heart. He makes proposals to her, and promises in course. The young creature, full of the prejudices of a virtuous education, tho' poor, rejects them at first. The gallant then sets himself to work to dissipate her fears, and vanquish her scruples. Letters, presents, and especially some female intriguer, who talks all the while of honour, whilst she is labouring to undermine the principles of it, are employed to turn the girl's head, and induce her to accept a lodging well furnished, and a table well kept. The reflexions of the young creature disturb this happiness, she declares she had rather return to her needlework than live in infamy. Then the difficulties and inconveniences of marrying, at least for the present, are pleaded, and at length believed. The girl returns to her old seducing thought, Who knows but he may at last marry me? which had before prevailed, and tranquillizes herself, “I am adored, says she to herself; I am adorable. So much pains, so many rich presents, are sure proofs of my lover's sincerity: then he is so fine a gentleman: would he deceive me? Why should I despair of my fortune? Why should not I grace a coronet as well as another? Have I less charms than lady such an one, who jumped out of the street into a title and a coach?”

But soon the scene changes, and the illusion vanishes; when my Lord, satisfied with having taken with her the copy of a marriage, proceeds to finish an original one with some lady of fortune or rank equal to his own, or, what is worse, changes one copy for another. Then the Who Knows is converted to rants of madness and despair. Then succeed the exclamations of Traitor, Villain, and the like, till Madam, now wiser at her own expence, acquiesces in the ordinary course of things, and suppresses the Who Knows for ever.


Modified text:
…till Madam, now wiser at her own expence, is under the melancholy necessity to acquiesce in the ordinary course of things, and condems most heartily her own folly and credulity
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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Yielding

The great art of yielding consists in studying well before-hand the time, place, person, and above all, the consequences.