End of Europe's Middle Ages

Andreas Capellanus: De Amore

Andreas Capellanus lived in the late twelfth century in the household of Countess Marie de Champagne. His work, De Amore (About Love), provided a detailed and often satirical guide to courtly love. This excerpt outlines the effect of love.

Now it is the effect of love that a true lover cannot be degraded with any avarice. Love causes a rough and uncouth man to be distinguished for his handsomeness; it can endow a man of even the humblest birth with nobility of character, it blesses the proud with humility; and the man in love becomes accustomed to performing many services gracefully for everyone. O what a wonderful thing is love, which makes a man shine with so many virtues and teaches everyone, no matter who he is, so many good traits of character! There is another thing about love that we should not praise in few words; it adorns a man, so to speak, with the virtue of chastity, because he who shines with the light of love can hardly think of embracing another woman, even a beautiful one. For when he thinks of his beloved the sight of any other woman seems to his mind rough and rude.

Andres Capellanus, The Art of Courtly Love, J.J. Parry, trans., F. Locke, ed. (New York: Frederick Ungar, 1954), p.4. As appears in The Middle Ages: Volume 1: Sources in Medieval History, Brian Tierney, 4th edition, p.211.

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