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Rules of Courtly Love

The following set of rules is based on the De Amore of Andreas Capellanus, as adapted in Appendix 1 of Ann S. Haskell's A Middle English Anthology (Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1985). To find out more about Andreas Capellanus, click here.

1. Marriage should not be a deterrent to love.

2. Love cannot exist in the individual who cannot be jealous.

3. A double love cannot obligate an individual.

4. Love constantly waxes and wanes.

5. That which is not given freely by the object of one's love loses its savor.

6. It is necessary for a male to reach the age of maturity in order to love.

7. A lover must observe a two-year widowhood after his beloved's death.

8. Only the most urgent circumstances should deprive one of love.

9. Only the insistence of love can motivate one to love.

10. Love cannot coexist with avarice.

11. A lover should not love anyone who would be an embarrassing marriage choice.

12. True love excludes all from its embrace but the beloved.

13. Public revelation of love is deadly to love in most instances.

14. The value of love is commensurate with its difficulty of attainment.

15. The presence of one's beloved causes palpitation of the heart.

16. The sight of one's beloved causes palpitations of the heart.

17. A new love brings an old one to a finish.

18. Good character is the one real requirement for worthiness of love.

19. When love grows faint its demise is usually certain.

20. Apprehension is the constant companion of true love.

21. Love is reinforced by jealousy.

22. Suspicion of the beloved generates jealousy and therefore intensifies love.

23. Eating and sleeping diminish greatly when one is aggravated by love.

24. The lover's every deed is performed with the thought of his beloved in mind.

25. Unless it please his beloved, no act or thought is worthy to the lover.

26. Love is powerless to hold anything from love.

27. There is no such thing as too much of the pleasure of one's beloved.

28. Presumption on the part of the beloved causes suspicion in the lover.

29. Aggravation of excessive passion does not usually afflict the true lover.

30. Thought of the beloved never leaves the true lover.

31. Two men may love one woman or two women one man.

For a good translation, see Capellanus, Andreas, Andreas Capellanus on Love, translated P.G. Walsh, London, 1982.

For further information, see A. J. Denomy's "Courtly Love and Courtliness" in Speculum, XXVIII (1953), 44-63; A. J. Denomy's The Heresy of Courtly Love, NY: 1947; E. T. Donaldson's "The Myth of Courtly Love," Ventures V (1965), 16--23,: W. T. H. Jackson's "The De Amore of Andreas Capellanus and the Practice of Love at Court," Romanic Review, XLIX (1958), 243-51; C. S. Lewis' The Allegory of Love, New York, 1958; and J. J. Parry, trans. The Art of Courtly Love, New York, 1941 (Records of Civilization, No 33).


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