The Art of Courtly Love
According to the work The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capellanus, the word love is derived from the word “amar”, meaning hook, which signifies to be captured. Therefore, when one is in love they are “caught in the chains of desire” (pg. 299), and desire that they might hook someone else to hold their two hearts together. I think that this is an interesting perception that love is the capture of one in the desire of love, I have often felt that this is what love is, the battle to capture the heart of the one who has captured our heart. I also found it interesting that Capellanus feels that physical impediments such as blindness and age cause an inability to love. I feel that this is absolutely unfounded because I see older couples together all the time, and you can never seem to find two people more in love than a pair of old people who have spent their entire lives together and plan to spend the rest of their lives with that same person.
I also found it interesting that love was not based exclusively on class, but on the merits and good deeds that a person has completed in their life, that make them worthy of love. I really enjoyed this part because this is exactly how I feel, that love should not be based on status and money but should be based upon the personality of the person we are considering for our love. I think that although this is not the opinion of many Americans nowadays, that if we all thought about the ones we loved in this manner and loved them for these reasons we would have more successful marriages more often than we currently do.
I also found several of the rules laid out for love to be very interesting. An example is that “love is always growing or diminishing” this is an excellent description of love, it is not constant but must be constantly worked at so that rather than diminishing love can grow. Also, “he who is vexed by the thoughts of love eats little and seldom sleeps”, meaning that when someone is in love they cannot stop thinking about the person they love and therefore have a lack of eating and a lack of sleep. And finally, “be obedient in all things to the commands of ladies, thou shalt ever strive to ally thyself to the service of Love”, this means that the wants of a woman should always be taken into account, and a man should be willing to do anything that a lady wishes of them.
Symptoms of Love
This was an interesting list of symptoms that one in love exhibits. In fact, love is described as “a bright stain on the vision blotting out reason” (pg. 318), going back to the old saying that love is blind. I think that it is very true that often love blinds a person from the reality of things around them, in fact, often people in love cannot seem to point out any faults in the other person, despite the fact that everyone has flaws. However, despite the idea that there are symptoms that come along with love there is hope, saying “could you endure such grief at any hand but hers?” (pg. 318). This means, as is extremely true, that when someone is in love despite the pain and the suffering that comes along with love, those in love never seem to notice it because the good things outweigh the bad.
This sonnet was an excellent example of what it means to be truly in love, the constant yearning to be with the person that you care about, not being able to think about anything except that person. I know that love can blind a person to any other natural desires and turn their mind and heart completely toward the thoughts and emotions of the person they are in love with. Pablo Neruda, the author, states, “I hunger for your sleek laugh, your hands the color of a savage harvest, hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails” (pg. 320). This is an excellent written representation of the desire one has for the one that they love.