This word is almost always joined to a negation, which, for enforcement-sake, is generally accompanied with an oath.
No! madam; never will I forsake you. May heaven forsake me, if I do. This, at the first view, seems to signify, that one prefers the beloved object to one's life: but use teaches us that you should at least suppose to be understood such conditions as follows: “If you have always the same charms in my eyes: If I see no other beauty that pleases me better;” And the like.
Sometimes this term is employed, in the style of a half-pique, to re-animate a languishing passion: Well, cruel, since you drive me from you, since you force me to forsake you, it must be so.
A lover who knows how to say this with a tender air, and if he can squeeze out a few tears, so much the better; will advance his affairs notably: though the English of it is:
“The fear of losing a lover may make you give me some encouragement: if I leave you, it will diminish your train: think of that.”
It is, in short, a hint, that, dropped with art, and well-timed, rarely fails of its effect.
In the mouth of one's mistress, when she says, Faithless wretch! And can you forsake me then? It is as much as to say, “Am I then to have the pain of seeing another possess what I thought my own? What will the world say? Why, that I had not charms enough to fix Silvio, who adores Lucinda: they are every day together: he handed her yesterday into the side-box: they danced together at the last ball. Gods! this is not to be borne.”
Such a thought is enough to turn a woman's head, when it is once possessed with so cruel an idea; and will make her say a thousand impertinences, and commit a thousand more, that will fix the terrible term of forsaken upon her.
And the like.
Sometimes this term is employed, in the style of a half-pique, to
re-animate a languishing passion: Well, cruel, since you drive me from you, since you force me
to forsake you, it must be so.
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)