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



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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)


But

BUT if this should be known. BUT if you should be unconstant. All these Buts are nothing less than invincible objections. She has already surrendered, who makes any doubt about her surrendering.

The woman that deliberates is lost.


Added text:
∗The woman who deliberates is lost. (∗ A very important truth.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)


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)


Constancy

According to the most expert judges of gallantry, is a chimæra, a phantom; sounds well in verse, and figures prettily enough in a declaration of love. But those who know any thing of the value of terms in this language, lay no great stress upon it. A mistress, who talks of constancy to a lover, intimates that she is on the point of surrender; and this a word in course of capitulation. It is then a lover may risk every thing, or rather risk nothing. Safe is the word.

Constancy too is often only another word for indolence; and a man sticks to his old mistress, to avoid the trouble and risk of changing; as some stay in the country, where they have been tired all their lives, purely out of aversion to the fatigue and embarrassment of coming to town.


Omitted text:
…lay no great stress upon it. A mistress, who talks of constancy to a lover, intimates that she is on the point of surrender; and this a word in course of capitulation. It is then a lover may risk every thing, or rather risk nothing. Safe is the word.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


Coquette

One who wants to engage the men without engaging herself; whose chief aim is to be thought agreeable, handsome, amiable; though a composition of levity and vanity.

She resembles a fire-eater, who makes a show of handling, and even chewing live coals, without receiving any damage from the fire. But, whatever may be their pretended insensibility, they have their critical moments as well as others, in which they are said to give more pleasure, as prudes do more glory, in the reduction of them.


Coxcomb

Is a term of such extensive comprehension, that it takes in near the whole race of mankind, from the throne to the peasant's cottage. All ranks, all orders of men, are liable more or less, to that vanity, which is its fundamental, and only varies in its signs of eruption.

There are coxcomb-kings, coxcomb-judges, coxcomb-physicians, coxcomb men of letters, coxcomb men of business; even professions have their peculiar distinctions of coxcombry. The gravity of an apothecary, who carries his profession printed in his face, is not less a symptom of coxcombry, than a hat and feather in a declared beau.— Mr. Addison even thought no fine gentleman could exist without a dash of the coxcomb. My Lord Rochester says, that it is a character not to be acquired but by much pains and reflection; that, in short, God never made a coxcomb worth a groat. The women in general are so fond of this character, that, however they snuff at the title, the attributes of it are the principal means of succeeding with them. An intrepid, self-assured coxcomb, who is called so to-day, passes to-morrow for a pretty fellow with them; on no better grounds than having kept inflexibility to it, and beat them at their own weapons of pride and insolence. The lady is vain; so is the coxcomb: she affects to despise him; he disdains to dangle after her. One would think these were no promising dispositions to come to a good understanding. But, let them alone, and it will happen to them, as to two persons, who, taking different ways to walk round a garden, being by turning their back to one another, and are sure to meet again in their circuit.


Omitted text:
All ranks, all orders of men, are liable more or less, to that vanity, which is its fundamental, and only varies in its signs of eruption. There are coxcomb-kings, coxcomb-judges, coxcomb-physicians, coxcomb men of letters, coxcomb men of business; even professions have their peculiar distinctions of coxcombry.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


Declaration of Love

A word that wants little or no definition. There are several sorts of declarations, and differently made by word of mouth; by writing, in verse or in prose. But where nothing is more intended than an occasional scheme of pleasure, there is none of more efficacy, or more compendious, than a purse, a bank bill or a settlement.

It happens sometimes, that a lady not thoroughly versed in the love-language, and the value of its terms, may mistake, for a declaration, what is no more than a compliment, especially from a man she likes. Prudes, and women not so handsome as one would wish, are apt to fall into this error; and are not always extremely pleased to find it one.


Added text:
Additional text: ∗Prudes, and women not so handsome as one would wish… (∗ A mistake not at all uncommon)
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


Discreet

To be discreet, reserved in one's actions and words, is a virtue now rarely practiced. The lovers of former times, used to complain loudly of the rigours of their mistresses, and kept a religious silence as to their favours. That system is now reversed: Vanity makes them very sure to keep the secret of their refusal, and to publish with pleasure all the favours they receive. Sooner than burst with a retention of them, they would have recourse to the invention of Midas's barber. But lovers, who know full well that a character of indiscretion is a great obstacle to their successes with the Fair, take special care to quiet any scruple upon that head

I am discreet. The true meaning of this phrase is: “It is not my game that you should have any doubts of my discretion; this is then to remove that obstruction, as far as words may do it; reserving, however, to myself the relief of giving broad hints of the favours you shall have granted me; and I will recommend such particular secrecy to some of my friends, over a bottle, that you will not have much to fear upon that head.”


Omitted text:
I am discreet. The true meaning of this phrase is: “It is not my game that you should have any doubts of my discretion; this is then to remove that obstruction, as far as words may do it; reserving, however, to myself the relief of giving broad hints of the favours you shall have granted me; and I will recommend such particular secrecy to some of my friends, over a bottle, that you will not have much to fear upon that head.”
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


Fribble

This word signifies one of those ambiguous animals, who are neither male nor female; disclaimed by his own sex, and the scorn of both. There is ever a silly insipid simper in their countenances. Without any of the good qualities of their own sex, they affect all the bad ones, all the impertinences and follies of the other; whilst what is no more than ridiculous, and sometimes even a grace in the women, is nauseous and shocking in them. A wretch of this no-species, loves mightily the company of the ladies, that he may come in for a share of the amusements that are going amongst them, and which are more to his taste than manly employments or exercise. He even endeavours to make himself necessary to them; combs their lap-dogs, fancies their ribbons, recommends the best scented powder, and loves to be consulted in the cut of their cap, their tea, and the placing of their china-baubles: helps them in their knotting, fringing, embroidering, or shell-work: understands pastry, preserving, pickling, and the like. They are as fond withal of scandal, and all the tittle-tattle of the tea-table, as the veriest woman. They are great critics of dress, and the assortment of colours; can tell which will suit a complexion, and which not. One of them can pronounce emphatically, that yellow does not become a fair one, that colour is not sufficiently contrasted to her skin. That, on the other hand, an olive-beauty does not agree with a brownish light grey, because of the too great opposition of this colour to that of her hair and eye-brows, which will therefore appear harsh: That a yellow, a lemon, a pale, or a straw-colour, should be avoided by the fair-complexioned; and the sky-blue, the light-green, or black, by the brown; with other decisions of the like importance. Nor is their own dress neglected: the muff, the ermin-facing, a cluster-ring, the stone-buckle, and now and then a patch, that on them does not always suppose a pimple, are the plague-spots, in which the folly of these less than butterflies breaks out. Even their swords hand at their sides garnished with a taudry sword-knot, purely for ornament, like bobs at a lady's ears. Some of them too have their own toilettes, and wash in three waters. One would think, in short, that these equivocal animals imitated the women, out of complaisance to them, that they might have the higher opinion of their own sex, from seeing that there were men who endeavoured to come as near it as possible. But so far are they from succeeding, that they disfigure the graces, caricature the faults, and have non of the virtues of that amiable sex.


Modified text:
…and loves to be consulted in the cut of their cap, the colour of their gowns and the placing of their china-baubles
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Modified text:
He is a great critic in dress…
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
One of them can pronounce emphatically…
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Modified text:
…the stone-buckle, and now and then a patch, which does not always cover a pimple, are the tokens which ususally recommend these genius's to notice
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Omitted text:
…that they might have the higher opinion of their own sex, from seeing that there were men who endeavoured to come as near it as possible
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


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.


Love, The Love-passion

It is a modern discovery, that Love is as much a bodily appetite as hunger and thirst, which are removed by a hearty meal, or a copious draught; and, like them too, is liable to a surfeit. This doctrine is so far countenanced, that some knowing ladies prefer by much, that Love which is a corporeal want, to that which is an imaginary one.— Some indeed will have it a distemper, that may be cured by plentiful evacuations, bleeding, purging, and a low diet. A certain duke, who was what they call violently in love, being seized by a fever, for which he was bled, blistered, and brought low in the flesh, on his recovery he lost at once his fever and his love, to a point, that no trace of it remained in his imagination.

As to Platonic Love, it is a mere opera-finger, a voice, and nothing more. Lady Manlove, who is an excellent judge, said, if such a rascal as Platonic Love was to come within her doors, she would order her porter to kick him out.

There are who [sic] have defined Love to be a desire of being loved by the object one loves. According to La Rochefoucault, it never goes, at the delicatest, without a secret desire of enjoyment. This is the end after which the merest Arcadian swain is sure to sigh, even whilst he protests the contrary to his nymh[sic], who with all her modesty would despise him, if she believed him; and who herself often goes his halves in the wish, without distinctly knowing the nature of the wish.

Love was formerly a commerce of fair-dealing; a Love-for-love scheme. Other times, other manners. It is now a match play'd of tricks and sharpership, in which each side proposes to take fair or unfair advantages of the other. At present, sheer disinterested love passes for a chimaera, and the sentiments of it are left to garnish romances, or flower the fustian of some modern tragedy. All the metaphysical ideas of it are not so much as understood now. Here follows a specimen of the style of our modern lovers.

Clarissa
Ah! if you did but love me!

Townly
Who me! not love you! Nothing is comparable to my love for you: you alone are the mistress of my heart. Without you I can have no thought of happiness: but…

Clarissa
But what?

Townly
Nothing: only you know the world too well to take it ill: Emilia has a thousand pounds more to her fortune: and could I deserve your love, if I was so weak as not to let my reason get the better of my inclination?

And (N.B.) this is so much in common course, that the Hibernicism of his incomparable Love, yielding to his interest, passes unnoticed.

There is indeed a Love, which seems a contradiction to the power of Interest: and that is, when some raw, silly novice takes a passion for an object very much disproportioned to him; or when a rich old fellow marries his tucker-up: but neither does this deserve the name of genuine Love. It only supposes a more than ordinary eclipse of reason; a blind rage, that does not let them see how many bitter days they are preparing themselves, for the sake of one night's luscious banquet. It is being put to bed in a fit of drunkenness, to rise the next morning miserably sobered, and with a head-ach for life.


Variant spelling:
nymh | nymph A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)

Modified text:
It is now a match play'd of tricks and sharps
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


Lust

A term extremely odious; and which, however, as nothing is commoner than the thing itself, it behooves the fair to take care of not mistaking for Love. The test of both is enjoyment. If Love subsists unabated after it, the love was real: if not, it was only Lust. But how should women not be deceived in this point, when the men themselves are often woefully deceived by themselves, and mistake one passion for another, all wide as is the difference?


Omitted text:
…and mistake one passion for another , all wide as is the difference?
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


Money

A term of infinite power in the present modern system of Love. The possession of it alone confers the title of Lover, as it does that of a Lord. A bank-bill genteelly conveyed, beats all the fine things a Catullus or Tibullus could say. The English of it is extremely plain: “I leave to your needy younger brothers and officers, who live upon their commissions, the drudgery of courtship: I love an easy, ready pleasure. None of the vulgarisms of sighs, intreaties, and the like nonsense for me. See, will this suit you?” But remember we are in an age where nothing is given for nothing.


Omitted text:
“See, will this suit you?” But remember we are in an age where nothing is given for nothing.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


Qualities

It is not your beauty alone that charms me, but the divine qualities of your understanding and heart: it is your soul alone with which mine is enraptured. All speeches of this sort mean, “I find you are one of the sentimental ladies, forsooth! and on that foot you shall not want for some metaphysical jargon to dazzle and dumbfound you.”

But will these spiritualities pass? Yes, but with those alone who are spoilt by reading romances, or the double-refined nonsense of some modern French novel-writers.


Sacrifice

I Sacrifice to you my heart, my liberty, &c. This sacrifice is generally of no great importance, and is accordingly accepted for what it is worth.

To sacrifice an old mistress to a new one. Nothing costs a gallant so little, or flatters a Fair-one so much. Thus,

“I had a passion for Lucinda: I had inspired her with an equal one for me; and she will be desperately vexed at finding I sacrifice her to you.”

This means, “I know there is nothing of which you women are fonder, than being enriched with the spoils of another.”

But the sacrifice is doubly welcome, when it is that of her dear friend, and her rival in beauty. Thus, You reproach me with this conquest? Well; I sacrifice it to you: Can you desire more?

This means,“ I will use you one day just as I use her at present. Your vanity shuts your eyes to this certain consequence: but when a sad experience shall make you open them, you will have no reason to complain. Had not my conduct given you sufficient warning?”


Toilette

A woman may admit a lover to her toilette, when she is sure of the effect of her charms. It is like the artful confidence of a secret, one is certain will do one honour. When a woman suffers herself to be surprized at her toilette, it is as much as to say, “I have, as to my beauty, a clear conscience: it is all honestly my own: and I am the more sure of doing execution with it, for its not having the air of murder propense.”

But when it comes to that dismal time of its being a necessity to make a face, the dressing-room door is well bolted till the operation is over. There is no secret better kept by the women than that of the toilette: it is even better kept than that of their intrigues.


Variant spelling:
propense | prepense A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)


Torments

Nothing can equal my torments, &c. This signifies, “There is in women a perversity, that makes them delight in thinking their lovers suffer a great deal of pain for them; and to tell them so, is taking them by their weak side: as to the reality, that is out of the question: but, as they are fond of such expressions, why not play them upon them? they deserve it.”

And, in this conclusion, the men are not quite in the wrong. There are none deserve less quarter, or fair play, than the tribe of teazers, for teazing-sake.

    They wrong their trust, who beauty misemploy,
    And turn to torment what was meant a joy.
    Ye Fair! who have from heav'n this gift receiv'd,
    Abuse it not: nor, by false pride deceiv'd,
    Affect a pleasure in a lover's pain,
    But court the merit of a gentle reign.
    Then if a wretch there is so void of sense,
    As to mis-use the favours you dispense,
    On him employ, relentless, every art,
    To soften or subdue the rebel heart:
    At war, with those who dare your triumphs brave,
    Humble the proud:— but spare the prostrate slave.

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)


Wit

The wit of these times consists in a defiance of common-sense, a licentious impertinence. Its chief employment is to put off false sentiments for true ones: to carry off the most worthless proceedings with an air of triumph in them: to ruin women, to debauch the wife or sister of a bosom friend: to feign a love one never felt. In short, it makes many comedians in love, and not one true lover.

The primitive acceptation of this term was an honourable one. A wit was formerly a character of worth and solidity. It supposed a refined, shining understanding: one who had the courage to think before he spoke or wrote: who stuck to the standard of reason and propriety. But this was too grave a character to maintain long its estimation. Such as yet adhere to it, are called, in derision, Philosophers, and are very little valued by the men, and not at all by the women, who look on them as odd, sober, insipid personages.

Opposed to these is another species of wits, who are now in high reign. Every thing with them is lively, sparkling and frothy. These are the idols of the women, and are by them preferred to all except to moneyed men, whose substantial eloquence out-cuts even the powerful charms of their nonsense.


Modified text:
…to pretend a love that was never felt
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)