I swear, I protest to you that I will for ever be constant; should never be understood but with the following restrictions. “So long as you afford me lasting pleasure, so long as you can amuse me agreeably, and preserve your power to charm me; for otherwise the implicit contract is, in fact, void.”
This is both law and practice in Love. As soon as the object ceases to please, the love-correspondence drops of course. A respect to oaths is treated as a chimæra; pleasure is the life-hold of Love: and when pleasure ceases to exist, the court of conscience absolves the lover of all breach of them. Sappho, in the midst of her plaintive elegies on the inconstancy of her lover, admits that the Gods keep no register of lovers oaths. She knew so much before, and yet was the dupe of them. Women should imitate the Romans upon an occasion, when a noted lyar made them a promise, which he confirmed by the most terrible oath, the whole assembly of that people answered it, by yet a more terrible one, that they did not believe a word he said.
The Romans when a noted liar made them a promise, which he confirmed by the most terrible oath…
A Dictionary of Love (1777)
A Dictionary of Love (1795)