PRIMITIVE LOVE AND LOVE-STORIES
BY HENRY T. FINCK
DEDICATED TO ONE WHO TAUGHT THE AUTHOR THAT CONJUGAL AFFECTION IS NOT INFERIOR TO ROMANTIC LOVE
On page 654 of the present volume reference is made to a custom prevalent in northern India of employing the family barber to select the boys and girls to be married, it being considered too trivial and humiliating an act for the parents to attend to. In pronouncing such a custom ludicrous and outrageous we must not forget that not much more than a century ago an English thinker, Samuel Johnson, expressed the opinion that marriages might as well be arranged by the Lord Chancellor without consulting the parties concerned. Schopenhauer had, indeed, reason to claim that it had remained for him to discover the significance and importance of love. His ideas on the relations between love, youth, health, and beauty opened up a new vista of thought; yet it was limited, because the question of heredity was only just beginning to be understood, and the theory of evolution, which has revolutionized all science, had not yet appeared on the horizon.
The new science of anthropology, with its various branches, including sociology, ethnology, and comparative psychology, has within the last two or three decades brought together and discussed an immense number of facts relating to man in his various stages of development—savagery, barbarism, semi-civilization, and civilization. Monographs have appeared in great numbers on various customs and institutions, including marriage, which has been discussed in several exhaustive volumes. Love alone has remained to be specially considered from an evolutionary point of view. My own book, Romantic Love and Personal Beauty, which appeared in 1887, did indeed touch upon this question, but very briefly, inasmuch as its subject, as the title indicates, was modern romantic love. A book on such a subject was naturally and easily written virginibus puerisque; whereas the present volume, being concerned chiefly with the love-affairs of savages and barbarians, could not possibly have been subjected to the same restrictions. Care has been taken, however, to exclude anything that might offend a healthy taste.
If it has been necessary in some chapters to multiply unpleasant facts, the reader must blame the sentimentalists who have so persistently whitewashed the savages that it has become necessary, in the interest of truth, to show them in their real colors. I have indeed been tempted to give my book the sub-title "A Vindication of Civilization" against the misrepresentations of these sentimentalists who try to create the impression that savages owe all their depravity to contact with whites, having been originally spotless angels. If my pictures of the unadulterated savage may in some cases produce the same painful impression as the sights in a museum's "chamber of horrors," they serve, on the other hand, to show us that, bad as we may be, collectively, we are infinitely superior in love-affairs, as in everything else, to those primitive peoples; and thus we are encouraged to hope for further progress in the future in the direction of purity and altruism.
Although I have been obliged under the circumstances to indulge in a considerable amount of controversy, I have taken great pains to state the views of my opponents fairly, and to be strictly impartial in presenting facts with accuracy. Nothing could be more foolish than the ostrich policy, so often indulged in, of hiding facts in the hope that opponents will not see them. Had I found any data inconsistent with my theory I should have modified it in accordance with them. I have also been very careful in regard to my authorities. The chief cause of the great confusion reigning in anthropological literature is that, as a rule, evidence is piled up with a pitchfork. Anyone who has been anywhere and expressed a globe-trotter's opinion is cited as a witness, with deplorable results. I have not only taken most of my multitudinous facts from the original sources, but I have critically examined the witnesses to see what right they have to parade as experts; as in the cases, for instance, of Catlin, Schoolcraft, Chapman, and Stephens, who are responsible for many "false facts" that have misled philosophers.
In writing a book like this the author's function is comparable to that of an architect who gets his materials from various parts of the world and fashions them into a building of more or less artistic merit. The anthropologist has to gather his facts from a greater variety of sources than any other writer, and from the very nature of his subject he is obliged to quote incessantly. The following pages embody the results of more than twelve years' research in the libraries of America and Europe. In weaving my quotations into a continuous fabric I have adopted a plan which I believe to be ingenious, and which certainly saves space and annoyance. Instead of citing the full titles of books every time they are referred to either in the text or in footnotes, I merely give the author's name and the page number, if only one of his books is referred to; and if there are several books, I give the initials—say Brinton, M.N.W., 130; which means Brinton's Myths of the New World, page 130. The key to the abbreviations will be found at the end of the volume in the bibliography, which also includes an author's index, separate from the index of subjects. This avoids the repetition of titles or of the customary useless "loc. cit.," and spares the reader the annoyance of constant interruption of his reading to glance at the bottom of the page.
Not a few of the critics of my first book, ignoring the difference between a romantic love-story and a story of romantic love, fancied they could refute me by simply referring to some ancient romantic story. To prevent a repetition of that procedure I have adorned these pages with a number of love-stories, adding critical comments wherever called for. These stories, I believe, augment, not only the interest but the scientific value of the monograph. In gathering them I have often wondered why no one anticipated me, though, to be sure, it was not an easy task, as they are scattered in hundreds of books, and in scientific periodicals where few would look for them. At the same time I confess that to me the tracing of the plot of the evolution of love, with its diverse obstacles, is more fascinating than the plot of an individual love-story. At any rate, since we have thousands of such love-stories, I am perhaps not mistaken in assuming that the story of love itself will be welcomed as a pleasant change. H.T.F.
NEW YORK, October 27, 1899.
HISTORY OF AN IDEA
Origin of a Book Skeptical Critics Robert Burton Hegel on Greek Love Shelley on Greek Love Macaulay, Bulwer-Lytton, Gautier Goldsmith and Rousseau Love a Compound Feeling Herbert Spencer's Analysis Active Impulses Must be Added Sensuality the Antipode of Love The Word Romantic Animals Higher than Savages Love the Last, Not the First, Product of Civilization Plan of this Volume Greek Sentimentality Importance of Love
HOW SENTIMENTS CHANGE AND GROW
No Love of Romantic Scenery No Love in Early Religion Murder as a Virtue Slaughter of the Innocents Honorable Polygamy Curiosities of Modesty Indifference to Chastity Horror of Incest
WHAT IS ROMANTIC LOVE?
Ingredients of Love.
I. INDIVIDUAL PREFERENCE
All Girls Equally Attractive Shallow Predilection Repression of Preference Utility versus Sentiment A Story of African Love Similarity of Individuals and Sexes Primary and Secondary Sexual Characters Fastidious Sensuality is not Love Two Stories of Indian Love Feminine Ideals Superior to Masculine Sex in Body and Mind True Femininity and its Female Enemies Mysteries of Love,—An Oriental Love-Story
Juliet and Nothing but Juliet Butterfly Love Romantic Stories of Non-Romantic Love Obstacles to Monopolism Wives and Girls in Common Trial Marriages Two Roman Lovers
Rage at Rivals Women as Private Property Horrible Punishments Essence of True Jealousy Absence of Masculine Jealousy Persian and Greek Jealousy Primitive Feminine Jealousy Absence of Feminine Jealousy Jealousy Purged of Hate A Virtuous Sin Abnormal States Jealousy in Romantic Love
Women Who Woo Were Hebrew and Greek Women Coy? Masculine Coyness Shy but not Coy Militarism and Mediaeval Women What Made Women Coy? Capturing Women The Comedy of Mock Capture Why the Women Resist Quaint Customs Greek and Roman Mercenary Coyness Modesty and Coyness Utility of Coyness How Women Propose
V. HOPE AND DESPAIR—MIXED MOODS
Amorous Antitheses Courtship and Imagination Effects of Sensual Love
Girls and Flowers Eyes and Stars Locks and Fragrance Poetic Desire for Contact Nature's Sympathy with Lovers Romantic but not Loving The Power of Love
Comic Side of Love A Mystery Explained Importance of Pride Varieties and Germs Natural and Artificial Symptoms of Love
Egotism, Naked or Masked Delight in the Torture of Others Indifference to Suffering Exposing the Sick and Aged Birth of Sympathy Women Crueler than Men Plato Denounces Sympathy Sham Altruism in India Evolution of Sympathy Amorous Sympathy
Deification of Persons Primitive Contempt for Women Homage to Priestesses Kinship Through Females Only Woman's Domestic Rule Woman's Political Rule Greek Estimate of Women Man-Worship and Christianity
X. UNSELFISH GALLANTRY
The Gallant Rooster Ungallant Lower Races of Men Egyptian Love Arabian Love The Unchivalrous Greeks Ovid's Sham Gallantry Mediaeval and Modern Gallantry "An Insult to Woman," Summary A Sure Test of Love
XI. ALTRUISTIC SELF-SACRIFICE
The Lady and the Tiger A Greek Love-Story Persian Love Hero and Leander The Elephant and the Lotos Suicide is Selfish
Erotic Assassins The Wisdom of Solomon Stuff and Nonsense Sacrifices of Cannibal Husbands Inclinations Mistaken for Affection Selfish Liking and Attachment Foolish Fondness Unselfish Affection
XIII. MENTAL PURITY
German Testimony English Testimony Maiden Fancies Pathologic Love A Modern Sentiment Persians, Turks, and Hindoos Love Despised in Japan and China Greek Scorn for Woman-Love Penetrative Virginity
XIV. ADMIRATION OF PERSONAL BEAUTY
Darwin's Unfortunate Mistake Decoration for Protection War "Decorations," Amulets, Charms, Medicines Mourning Language Indications of Tribe or Rank Vain Desire to Attract Attention Objects of Tattooing Tattooing on Pacific Islands Tattooing in America Tattooing in Japan Scarification Alleged Testimony of Natives, Misleading Testimony of Visitors "Decoration" at the Age of Puberty "Decoration" as a Test of Courage Mutilation, Fashion, and Emulation Personal Beauty versus Personal Decoration De Gustibus non est Disputandum? Indifference to Dirt Reasons for Bathing Corpulence versus Beauty Fattening Girls for the Marriage Market Oriental Ideals The Concupiscence Theory of Beauty Utility is not Beauty A New Sense Easily Lost Again Moral Ugliness Beautifying Intelligence The Strange Greek Attitude
A COMPOSITE AND VARIABLE SENTIMENT
Definition of Love Why called Romantic.
SENSUALITY, SENTIMENTALITY, AND SENTIMENT.
Appetite and Longing Wiles of an Oriental Girl Rarity of True Love.
MISTAKES REGARDING CONJUGAL LOVE
How Romantic Love is Metamorphosed Why Savages Value Wives Mourning to Order Mourning for Entertainment The Truth about Widow-Burning Feminine Devotion in Ancient Literature Wives Esteemed as Mothers Only Why Conjugal Precedes Romantic Love
OBSTACLES TO ROMANTIC LOVE
I. Ignorance and Stupidity II. Coarseness and Obscenity III. War IV. Cruelty V. Masculine Selfishness VI. Contempt for Women VII. Capture and Sale of Brides VIII. Infant Marriages IX. Prevention of Free Choice X. Separation of the Sexes XI. Sexual Taboos XII. Race Aversions XIII. Multiplicity of Languages XIV. Social Barriers XV. Religious Prejudice
SPECIMENS OF AFRICAN LOVE
Bushman Qualifications for Love "Love in all Their Marriages," False Facts Regarding Hottentots Effeminate Men and Masculine Women How the Hottentot Woman "Rules at Home," "Regard for Women" Capacity for Refined Love Hottentot Coarseness Fat versus Sentiment South African Love-Poems A Hottentot Flirt Kaffir Morals Individual Preference for—Cows, Bargaining for Brides Amorous Preferences Zulu Girls not Coy Charms and Poems A Kaffir Love-Story Lower than Beasts Colonies of Free Lovers A Lesson in Gallantry Not a Particle of Romance No Love Among Negroes A Queer Story Suicides Poetic Love on the Congo Black Love in Kamerun A Slave Coast Love-Story The Maiden who Always Refused African Story-Books The Five Suitors Tamba and the Princess The Sewing Match Baling out the Brook Proverbs about Women African Amazons Where Woman Commands No Chance for Romantic Love Pastoral Love Abyssinian Beauty and Flirtation Galla Coarseness Somali Love-Affairs Arabic Influences Touareg Chivalry An African Love-Letter
ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIAN LOVE
Personal Charms of Australians Cruel Treatment of Women Were Savages Corrupted by Whites? Aboriginal Horrors Naked and not Ashamed Is Civilization Demoralizing? Aboriginal Wantonness Lower than Brutes Indifference to Chastity Useless Precautions Survivals of Promiscuity Aboriginal Depravity The Question of Promiscuity Why do Australians Marry? Curiosities of Jealousy Pugnacious Females Wife-Stealing Swapping Girls The Philosophy of Elopements Charming a Woman by Magic Other Obstacles to Love Marriage Taboos and "Incest" Affection for Women and Dogs A Horrible Custom Romantic Affliction A Lock of Hair Two Native Stories Barrington's Love-Story Risking Life for a Woman Gerstaecker's Love-Story Local Color in Courtship Love-Letters.
ISLAND LOVE ON THE PACIFIC
Where Women Propose Bornean Caged Girls Charms of Dyak Women Dyak Morals Nocturnal Courtship Head Hunters A-Wooing Fickle and Shallow Passion Dyak Love-Songs The Girl With the Clean Face Fijian Refinements How Cannibals Treat Women Fijian Modesty and Chastity Emotional Curiosities Fijian Love-Poems Serenades and Proposals Suicides and Bachelors Samoan Traits Courtship Pantomime Two Samoan Love-Stories Personal Charms of South Sea Islanders Tahitians and Their White Visitors Heartless Treatment of Women Two Stories of Tahitian Infatuation Captain Cook on Tahitian Love Were the Tongans Civilized? Love of Scenery A Cannibal Bargain The Handsome Chiefs Honeymoon in a Cave A Hawaiian Cave-Story Is this Romantic Love? Vagaries of Hawaiian Fondness Hawaiian Morals The Helen of Hawaii Intercepted Love-Letters Maoris of New Zealand The Maiden of Rotorua The Man on the Tree Love in a Fortress Stratagem of an Elopement Maori Love-Poems The Wooing-House Liberty of Choice and Respect for Women Maori Morals and Capacity for Love
HOW AMERICAN INDIANS LOVE
The Red Lover The Foam Woman The Humpback Magician The Buffalo King The Haunted Grove The Girl and the Scalp A Chippewa Love-Song How "Indian Stories" are Written Reality versus Romance Deceptive Modesty Were Indians Corrupted by Whites? The Noble Red Man Apparent Exceptions Intimidating California Squaws Going A-Calumeting Squaws and Personal Beauty Are North American Indians Gallant? South American Gallantry How Indians Adore Squaws Choosing a Husband Compulsory "Free Choice" A British Columbia Story The Danger of Coquetry The Girl Market Other Ways of Thwarting Free Choice Central and South American Examples Why Indians Elope Suicide and Love Love-Charms Curiosities of Courtship Pantomimic Love-Making Honeymoon Music in Indian Courtship Indian Love-Poems More Love-Stories "White Man Too Much Lie" The Story of Pocahontas Verdict: No Romantic Love The Unloving Eskimo.
INDIA—WILD TRIBES AND TEMPLE GIRLS.
"Whole Tracts of Feeling Unknown to Them" Practical Promiscuity "Marvellously Pretty and Romantic" Liberty of Choice Scalps and Field-Mice A Topsy-Turvy Custom Paharia Lads and Lasses Child-Murder and Child-Marriage Monstrous Parental Selfishness How Hindoo Girls are Disposed of Hindoos Far Below Brutes Contempt in Place of Love Widows and Their Tormentors Hindoo Depravity Temple Girls An Indian Aspasia Symptoms of Feminine Love Symptoms of Masculine Love Lyrics and Dramas I. The Story of Sakuntala II. The Story of Urvasi III. Malavika and Agnimitra IV. The Story of Savitri V. Nala and Damayanti Artificial Symptoms The Hindoo God of Love Dying for Love What Hindoo Poets Admire in Women The Old Story of Selfishness Bayaderes and Princesses as Heroines Voluntary Unions not Respectable
DOES THE BIBLE IGNORE ROMANTIC LOVE?
The Story of Jacob and Rachel The Courting of Rebekah How Ruth Courted Boaz No Sympathy or Sentiment A Masculine Ideal of Womanhood Not the Christian Ideal of Love Unchivalrous Slaughter of Women Four More Bible Stories Abishag the Shunammite The Song of Songs
GREEK LOVE-STORIES AND POEMS.
Champions of Greek Love Gladstone on the Women of Homer Achilles as a Lover Odysseus, Libertine and Ruffian Was Penelope a Model Wife? Hector and Andromache Barbarous Treatment of Greek Women Love in Sappho's Poems Masculine Minds in Female Bodies Anacreon and Others Woman and Love in Aeschylus Woman and Love in Sophocles Woman and Love in Euripides Romantic Love, Greek Style Platonic Love of Women Spartan Opportunities for Love Amazonian Ideal of Greek Womanhood Athenian Orientalism Literature and Life Greek Love in Africa Alexandrian Chivalry The New Comedy Theocritus and Callimachus Medea and Jason Poets and Hetairai Short Stories Greek Romances Daphnis and Chloe Hero and Leander Cupid and Psyche
UTILITY AND FUTURE OF LOVE.
BIBLIOGRAPHY AND INDEX OF AUTHORS
INDEX OF SUBJECTS
HISTORY OF AN IDEA
"Love is always the same. As Sappho loved, fifty years ago, so did people love ages before her; so will they love thousands of years hence."
These words, placed by Professor Ebers in the mouth of one of the characters in his historic novel, An Egyptian Princess, express the prevalent opinion on this subject, an opinion which I, too, shared fifteen years ago. Though an ardent champion of the theory of evolution, I believed that there was one thing in the world to which modern scientific ideas of gradual development did not apply—that love was too much part and parcel of human nature to have ever been different from what it is to-day.
ORIGIN OF A BOOK
It so happened that I began to collect notes for a paper on "How to Cure Love." It was at first intended merely as a personal experiment in emotional psychology. Afterward it occurred to me that such a sketch might be shaped into a readable magazine article. This, again, suggested a complementary article on "How to Win Love"—a sort of modern Ovid in prose; and then suddenly came the thought,
"Why not write a book on love? There is none in the English language—strange anomaly—though love is supposed to be the most fascinating and influential thing in the world. It will surely be received with delight, especially if I associate with it some chapters on personal beauty, the chief inspirer of love. I shall begin by showing that the ancient Greeks and Romans and Hebrews loved precisely as we love."
Forthwith I took down from my shelves the classical authors that I had not touched since leaving college, and eagerly searched for all references to women, marriage, and love. To my growing surprise and amazement I found that not only did those ancient authors look upon women as inferior beings while I worshipped them, but in their descriptions of the symptoms of love I looked in vain for mention of those supersensual emotions and self-sacrificing impulses which overcame me when I was in love. "Can it be," I whispered to myself, "that, notwithstanding the universal opinion to the contrary, love is, after all, subject to the laws of development?"
This hypothesis threw me into a fever of excitement, without the stimulus of which I do not believe I should have had the courage and patience to collect, classify, and weave into one fabric the enormous number of facts and opinions contained within the covers of Romantic Love and Personal Beauty. I believed that at last something new under the sun had been found, and I was so much afraid that the discovery might leak out prematurely, that for two years I kept the first half of my title a secret, telling inquisitive friends merely that I was writing a book on Personal Beauty. And no one but an author who is in love with his theme and whose theme is love can quite realize what a supreme delight it was—with occasional moments of anxious suspense—to go through thousands of books in the libraries of America, England, France, and Germany and find that all discoverable facts, properly interpreted, bore out my seemingly paradoxical and reckless theory.
When the book appeared some of the critics accepted my conclusions, but a larger number pooh-poohed them. Here are a few specimen comments:
"His great theses are, first, that romantic love is an entirely modern invention; and, secondly, that romantic love and conjugal love are two things essentially different.... Now both these theses are luckily false."
"He is wrong when he says there was no such thing as pre-matrimonial love known to the ancients."
"I don't believe in his theory at all, and ... no one is likely to believe in it after candid examination."
"A ridiculous theory."
"It was a misfortune when Mr. Finck ran afoul of this theory."
"Mr. Finck will not need to live many years in order to be ashamed of it."
"His thesis is not worth writing about."
"It is true that he has uttered a profoundly original thought, but, unfortunately, the depth of its originality is surpassed by its fathomless stupidity."
"If in the light of these and a million other facts, we should undertake to explain why nobody had anticipated Mr. Finck's theory that love is a modern sentiment, we should say it might be because nobody who felt inspired to write about it was ever so extensively unacquainted with the literature of the human passions."
"Romantic love has always existed, in every clime and age, since man left simian society; and the records of travellers show that it is to be found even among the lowest savages."
While not a few of the commentators thus rejected or ridiculed my thesis, others hinted that I had been anticipated. Several suggested that Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy had been my model. As a matter of fact, although one of the critics referred to my book as "a marvel of epitomized research," I must confess, to my shame, that I was not aware that Burton had devoted two hundred pages to what he calls Love-Melancholy, until I had finished the first sketch of my manuscript and commenced to rewrite it. My experience thus furnished a striking verification of the witty epitaph which Burton wrote for himself and his book: "Known to few, unknown to fewer still." However, after reading Burton, I was surprised that any reader of Burton should have found anything in common between his book and mine, for he treated love as an appetite, I as a sentiment; my subject was pure, supersensual affection, while his subject is frankly indicated in the following sentences:
"I come at last to that heroical love, which is proper to men and women ... and deserves much rather to be called burning lust than by such an honorable title." "This burning lust ... begets rapes, incests, murders." "It rages with all sorts and conditions of men, yet is most evident among such as are young and lusty, in the flower of their years, nobly descended, high fed, such as live idly, at ease, and for that cause (which our divines call burning lust) this mad and beastly passion ... is named by our physicians heroical love, and a more honorable title put upon it, Amor nobilis, as Savonarola styles it, because noble men and women make a common practice of it, and are so ordinarily affected with it." "Carolus a Lorme ... makes a doubt whether this heroical love be a disease.... Tully ... defines it a furious disease of the mind; Plato madness itself."
"Gordonius calls this disease the proper passion of nobility."
"This heroical passion or rather brutish burning lust of which we treat."
The only honorable love Burton knows is that between husband and wife, while of such a thing as the evolution of love he had, of course, not the remotest conception, as his book appeared in 1621, or two hundred and thirty-eight years before Darwin's Origin of Species.
HEGEL ON GREEK LOVE
In a review of my book which appeared in the now defunct New York Star, the late George Parsons Lathrop wrote that the author
"says that romantic love is a modern sentiment, less than a thousand years old. This idea, I rather think, he derived from Hegel, although he does not credit that philosopher with it."
I read this criticism with mingled emotions. If it was true that Hegel had anticipated me, my claims to priority of discovery would vanish, even though the idea had come to me spontaneously; but, on the other hand, the disappointment at this thought was neutralized by the reflection that I should gain the support of one of the most famous philosophers, and share with him the sneers and the ridicule bestowed upon my theory. I wrote to Mr. Lathrop, begging him to refer me to the volume and page of Hegel's numerous works where I could find the passage in question. He promptly replied that I should find it in the second volume of the Aesthetik (178-182). No doubt I ought to have known that Hegel had written on this subject; but the fact that of more than two hundred American, English, and German reviewers of my book whose notices I have seen, only one knew what had thus escaped my research, consoled me somewhat. Hegel, indeed, might well have copied Burton's epitaph. His Aesthetik is an abstruse, unindexed, three-volume work of 1,575 pages, which has not been reprinted since 1843, and is practically forgotten. Few know it, though all know of it.
After perusing Hegel's pages on this topic I found, however, that Mr. Lathrop had imputed to him a theory—my theory—which that philosopher would have doubtless repudiated emphatically. What Hegel does is simply to call attention to the fact that in the literature of the ancient Greeks and Romans love is depicted only as a transient gratification of the senses, or a consuming heat of the blood, and not as a romantic, sentimental affection of the soul. He does not generalize, says nothing about other ancient nations, and certainly never dreamt of such a thing as asserting that love had been gradually and slowly developed from the coarse and selfish passions of our savage ancestors to the refined and altruistic feelings of modern civilized men and women. He lived long before the days of scientific anthropology and Darwinism, and never thought of such a thing as looking upon the emotions and morals of primitive men as the raw material out of which our own superior minds have been fashioned. Nay, Hegel does not even say that sentimental love did not exist in the life of the Greeks and Romans; he simply asserts that it is not to be found in their literature. The two things are by no means identical.
Professor Rohde, an authority on the erotic writings of the Greeks, expresses the opinion repeatedly that, whatever their literature may indicate, they themselves were capable of feeling strong and pure love; and the eminent American psychologist, Professor William James, put forth the same opinion in a review of my book. Indeed, this view was broached more than a hundred years ago by a German author, Basil von Ramdohr, who wrote four volumes on love and its history, entitled Venus Urania. His first two volumes are almost unreadably garrulous and dull, but the third and fourth contain an interesting account of various phases through which love has passed in literature. Yet he declares (Preface, vol. iii.) that "the nature [Wesen] of love is unchangeable, but the ideas we entertain in regard to it and the effects we ascribe to it, are subject to alteration."
SHELLEY ON GREEK LOVE
It is possible that Hegel may have read this book, for it appeared in 1798, while the first manuscript sketches of his lectures on esthetics bear the date of 1818. He may have also read Robert Wood's book entitled An Essay on the Original Genius and Writings of Homer, dated 1775, in which this sentence occurs:
"Is it not very remarkable, that Homer, so great a master of the tender and pathetic, who has exhibited human nature in almost every shape, and under every view, has not given a single instance of the powers and effects of love, distinct from sensual enjoyment, in the Iliad?"
This is as far as I have been able to trace back this notion in modern literature. But in the literature of the first half of the nineteenth century I have come across several adumbrations of the truth regarding the Greeks, by Shelley, Lord Lytton, Lord Macaulay, and Theophile Gautier. Shelley's ideas are confused and contradictory, but interesting as showing the conflict between traditional opinion and poetic intuition. In his fragmentary discourse on "The Manners of the Ancients Relating to the Subject of Love," which was intended to serve as an introduction to Plato's Symposium, he remarks that the women of the ancient Greeks, with rare exceptions, possessed
"the habits and the qualities of slaves. They were probably not extremely beautiful, at least there was no such disproportion in the attractions of the external form between the female and male sex among the Greeks, as exists among the modern Europeans. They were certainly devoid of that moral and intellectual loveliness with which the acquisition of knowledge and the cultivation of sentiment animates, as with another life of overpowering grace, the lineaments and the gestures of every form which they inhabit. Their eyes could not have been deep and intricate from the workings of the mind, and could have entangled no heart in soul-enwoven labyrinths." Having painted this life-like picture of the Greek female mind, Shelley goes on to say perversely:
"Let it not be imagined that because the Greeks were deprived of its legitimate object, that they were incapable of sentimental love, and that this passion is the mere child of chivalry and the literature of modern times."
He tries to justify this assertion by adding that
"Man is in his wildest state a social being: a certain degree of civilization and refinement ever produces the want of sympathies still more intimate and complete; and the gratification of the senses is no longer all that is sought in sexual connection. It soon becomes a very small part of that profound and complicated sentiment, which we call love, which is rather the universal thirst for a communion not merely of the senses, but of our whole nature, intellectual, imaginative, and sensitive."
Here Shelley contradicts himself flatly by saying, in two consecutive sentences, that Greek women were "certainly devoid of the moral and intellectual loveliness" which inspires sentimental love, but that the men nevertheless could feel such love. His mind was evidently hazy on the subject, and that is probably the reason why his essay remained a fragment.
MACAULAY, BULWER-LYTTON, GAUTIER
Macaulay, with deeper insight than Shelley showed, realized that the passion of love may undergo changes. In his essay on Petrarch he notes that in the days of that poet love had become a new passion, and he clearly realizes the obstacles to love presented by Greek institutions. Of the two classes of women in Greece, the respectable and the hetairai, he says:
"The matrons and their daughters, confined in the harem—insipid, uneducated, ignorant of all but the mechanical arts, scarcely seen till they were married—could rarely excite interest; while their brilliant rivals, half graces, half harpies, elegant and refined, but fickle and rapacious, could never inspire respect."
Lord Lytton wrote an essay on "The Influence of Love upon Literature and Real Life," in which he stated that
"with Euripides commences the important distinction in the analysis of which all the most refined and intellectual of modern erotic literature consists, viz., the distinction between love as a passion and love as a sentiment.... He is the first of the Hellenic poets who interests us intellectually in the antagonism and affinity between the sexes."
Theophile Gautier clearly realized one of the differences between ancient passion and modern love. In Mademoiselle de Maupin, he makes this comment on the ancient love-poems:
"Through all the subtleties and veiled expressions one hears the abrupt and harsh voice of the master who endeavors to soften his manner in speaking to a slave. It is not, as in the love-poems written since the Christian era, a soul demanding love of another soul because it loves.... 'Make haste, Cynthia; the smallest wrinkle may prove the grave of the most violent passion.' It is in this brutal formula that all ancient elegy is summed up."
GOLDSMITH AND ROUSSEAU
In Romantic Love and Personal Beauty I intimated (116) that Oliver Goldsmith was the first author who had a suspicion of the fact that love is not the same everywhere and at all times. My surmise was apparently correct; it is not refuted by any of the references to love by the several authors just quoted, since all of these were written from about a half a century to a century later than Goldsmith's Citizen of the World (published in 1764), which contains his dialogue on "Whether Love be a Natural or a Fictitious Passion." His assertion therein that love existed only in early Rome, in chivalrous mediaeval Europe, and in China, all the rest of the world being, and having ever been, "utter strangers to its delights and advantages," is, of course a mere bubble of his poetic fancy, not intended to be taken too seriously, and, is, moreover, at variance with facts. It is odd that he overlooks the Greeks, whereas the other writers cited confine themselves to the Greeks and their Roman imitators.
Ten years before Goldsmith thus launched the idea that most nations were and had ever been strangers to the delights and advantages of love, Jean Jacques Rousseau published a treatise, Discours sur l'inegalite (1754), in which he asserted that savages are strangers to jealousy, know no domesticity, and evince no preferences, being as well pleased with one woman as with another. Although, as we shall see later, many savages do have a crude sort of jealousy, domesticity, and individual preference, Rousseau, nevertheless, hints prophetically at a great truth—the fact that some, at any rate, of the phenomena of love are not to be found in the life of savages. Such a thought, naturally, was too novel to be accepted at once. Ramdohr, for instance, declares (III. 17) that he cannot convince himself that Rousseau is right. Yet, on the preceding page he himself had written that "it is unreasonable to speak of love between the sexes among peoples that have not yet advanced so far as to grant women humane consideration."
LOVE A COMPOUND FEELING
All these things are of extreme interest as showing the blind struggles of a great idea to emerge from the mist into daylight. The greatest obstacle to the recognition of the fact that love has a history, and is subject to the laws of evolution lay in the habit of looking upon it as a simple feeling.
When I wrote my first book on love, I believed that Herbert Spencer was the first thinker who grasped the idea that love is a composite state of mind. I now see, however, that Silvius, in Shakspere's As You Like It (V. 2), gave a broad hint of the truth, three hundred years ago. Phoebe asks him to "tell what 't is to love," and he replies:
It is to be all made of sighs and tears.... It is to be all made of faith and service.... It is to be all made of fantasy, All made of passion, and all made of wishes, All adoration, duty, and observance, All humbleness, all patience, and impatience, All purity, all trial, all obedience.
Coleridge also vaguely recognized the composite nature of love in the first stanza of his famous poem:
All thoughts, all passions, all delights, Whatever stirs this mortal frame, All are but ministers of love, And feed his sacred flame.
And Swift adds, in "Cadenus and Vanessa:"
Love, why do we one passion call, When 'tis a compound of them all?
The eminent Danish critic, George Brandes, though a special student of English literature, overlooked these poets when he declared, in one of his lectures on literary history (1872), that the book in which love is for the first time looked on as something composite and an attempt made to analyze it into its elements, is Benjamin Constant's Adolphe (which appeared in 1816). "In Adolphe," he says,
"and in all the literature associated with that book, we are informed accurately how many parts, how many grains, of friendship, devotion, vanity, ambition, admiration, respect, sensual attraction, illusion, fancy, deception, hate, satiety, enthusiasm, reasoning calculation, etc., are contained in the mixtum compositum which the enamoured persons call love."
This list, moreover, does not accurately name a single one of the essential ingredients of true love, dwelling only on associated phenomena, whereas Shakspere's lines call attention to three states of mind which form part of the quintessence of romantic love—gallant "service," "adoration," and "purity"—while "patience and impatience" may perhaps be accepted as an equivalent of what I call the mixed moods of hope and despair.
HERBERT SPENCER'S ANALYSIS
Nevertheless the first thinker who treated love as a compound feeling and consciously attempted a philosophical analysis of it was Herbert Spencer. In 1855 he published his Principles of Psychology, and in 1870 appeared a greatly enlarged edition, paragraph 215 of which contains the following exposition of his views:
"The passion which unites the sexes is habitually spoken of as though it were a simple feeling; whereas it is the most compound, and therefore the most powerful, of all the feelings. Added to the purely physical elements of it are first to be noticed those highly complex impressions produced by personal beauty; around which are aggregated a variety of pleasurable ideas, not in themselves amatory, but which have an organized relation to the amatory feeling. With this there is united the complex sentiment which we term affection—a sentiment which, as it exists between those of the same sex, must be regarded as an independent sentiment, but one which is here greatly exalted. Then there is the sentiment of admiration, respect, or reverence—in itself one of considerable power, and which in this relation becomes in a high degree active. There comes next the feeling called love of approbation. To be preferred above all the world, and that by one admired beyond all others, is to have the love of approbation gratified in a degree passing every previous experience: especially as there is added that indirect gratification of it which results from the preference being witnessed by unconcerned persons. Further, the allied emotion of self-esteem comes into play. To have succeeded in gaining such attachment from, and sway over, another, is a proof of power which cannot fail agreeably to excite the amour propre. Yet again the proprietary feeling has its share in the general activity: there is the pleasure of possession—the two belong to each other. Once more, the relation allows of an extended liberty of action. Toward other persons a restrained behavior is requisite. Round each there is a subtle boundary that may not be crossed—an individuality on which none may trespass. But in this case the barriers are thrown down; and thus the love of unrestrained activity is gratified. Finally, there is an exaltation of the sympathies. Egoistic pleasures of all kinds are doubled by another's sympathetic participation; and the pleasures of another are added to the egoistic pleasures. Thus, round the physical feeling forming the nucleus of the whole, are gathered the feelings produced by personal beauty, that constituting simple attachment, those of reverence, of love of approbation, of self-esteem, of property, of love of freedom, of sympathy. These, all greatly exalted, and severally tending to reflect their excitements on one another, unite to form the mental state we call love. And as each of them is itself comprehensive of multitudinous states of consciousness, we may say that this passion fuses into one immense aggregate most of the elementary excitations of which we are capable; and that hence results its irresistible power."
Ribot has copied this analysis of love in his Psychologie des Sentiments (p. 249), with the comment that it is the best known to him (1896) and that he sees nothing to add or to take away from it. Inasmuch as it forms merely an episodic illustration in course of a general argument, it certainly bears witness to the keenness of Spencer's intellect. Yet I cannot agree with Ribot that it is a complete analysis of love. It aided me in conceiving the plan for my first book, but I soon found that it covered only a small part of the ground. Of the ingredients as suggested by him I accepted only two—Sympathy, and the feelings associated with Personal Beauty. What he called love of approbation, self-esteem, and pleasure of possession I subsummed under the name of Pride of Conquest and Possession. Further reflection has convinced me that it would have been wiser if, instead of treating Romantic Love as a phase of affection (which, of course, was in itself quite correct), I had followed Spencer's example and made affection one of the ingredients of the amorous passion. In the present volume I have made the change and added also Adoration, which includes what Spencer calls "the sentiment of admiration, respect, or reverence," while calling attention to the superlative phase of these sentiments which is so characteristic of the lover, who does not say, "I respect you," but "I adore you." I may therefore credit Spencer with having suggested three or four only of the fourteen essential ingredients which I find in love.
ACTIVE IMPULSES MUST BE ADDED
The most important distinction between Spencer's analysis of love and mine is that he treats it merely as a composite feeling, or a group of emotions, whereas I treat it as a complex state of mind including not only diverse feelings or sentiments—sympathy, admiration of beauty, jealousy, affection—but the active, altruistic impulses of gallantry and self-sacrifice, which are really more essential to an understanding of the essence of love, and a better test of it, than the sentiments named by Spencer. He ignores also the absolutely essential traits of individual preference and monopolism, besides coyness, hyperbole, the mixed moods of hope and despair, and purity, with the diverse emotions accompanying them. An effort to trace the evolution of the ingredients of love was first made in my book, though in a fragmentary way, in which respect the present volume will be found a great improvement. Apart from the completion of the analysis of love, my most important contribution to the study of this subject lies in the recognition of the fact that, "love" being so vague and comprehensive a term, the only satisfactory way of studying its evolution is to trace the evolution of each of its ingredients separately, as I do in the present volume in the long chapter entitled "What Is Romantic Love?"
In Romantic Love and Personal Beauty (180) I wrote that perhaps the main reason why no one had anticipated me in the theory that love is an exclusively modern sentiment was that no distinction had commonly been made between romantic love and conjugal affection, noble examples of the latter being recorded in countries where romantic love was not possible owing to the absence of opportunities for courtship. I still hold that conjugal love antedated the romantic variety, but further study has convinced me that (as will be shown in the chapters on Conjugal Love and on India, and Greece) much of what has been taken as evidence of wifely devotion is really only a proof of man's tyrannic selfishness which compelled the woman always to subordinate herself to her cruel master. The idea on which I placed so much emphasis, that opportunity for prolonged courtship is essential to the growth of romantic love, was some years later set forth by Dr. Drummond in his Ascent of Man where he comments eloquently on the fact that "affection needs time to grow."
SENSUALITY THE ANTIPODE OF LOVE
The keynote of my first book lies of course in the distinction between sensual love and romantic love. This distinction seemed to me so self-evident that I did not dwell on it at length, but applied myself chiefly to the task of proving that savages and ancient nations knew only one kind, being strangers to romantic or pure love. When I wrote (76) "No one, of course, would deny that sensual passion prevailed in Athens; but sensuality is the very antipode of love," I never dreamed that anyone would object to this distinction in itself. Great, therefore, was my amazement when, on reading the London Saturday Review's comments on my book, I came across the following:
"and when we find Mr. Finck marking off Romantic Love not merely from Conjugal Love, but from what he is pleased to call 'sensuality,' we begin to suspect that he really does not know what he is talking about."
This criticism, with several others similar to it, was of great use to me, as it led to a series of studies, which convinced me that even at the present day the nature of romantic love is not understood by the vast majority of Europeans and Americans, many of them very estimable and intelligent individuals.
THE WORD ROMANTIC
Another London paper, the Academy, took me to task for using the word "romantic" in the sense I applied to it. But in this case, too, further research has shown that I was justified in using that word to designate pure prematrimonial love. There is a passage in Steele's Lover (dated 1714) which proves that it must have been in common use in a similar sense two centuries ago. The passage refers to "the reign of the amorous Charles the Second," and declares that
"the licenses of that court did not only make the Love which the Vulgar call Romantick, the object of Jest and Ridicule, but even common Decency and Modesty were almost abandoned as formal and unnatural."
Here there is an obvious antithesis between romantic and sensual. The same antithesis was used by Hegel in contrasting the sensual love of the ancient Greeks and Romans with what he calls modern "romantic" love. Waitz-Gerland, too, in the six volumes of their Anthropologie der Naturvoelker, repeatedly refer to (alleged) cases of "romantic love" among savages and barbarians, having in all probability adopted the term from Hegel. The peculiar appropriateness of the word romantic to designate imaginative love will be set forth later in the chapter entitled Sensuality, Sentimentality, and Sentiment. Here I will only add an important truth which I shall have occasion to repeat often—that a romantic love-story is not necessarily a story of romantic love; for it is obvious, for instance, that an elopement prompted by the most frivolous sensual passion, without a trace of real love, may lead to the most romantic incidents.
In the chapters on affection, gallantry, and self-sacrifice, I shall make it clear even to a Saturday Reviewer that the gross sensual infatuation which leads a man to shoot a girl who refuses him, or a tramp to assault a woman on a lonely road and afterward to cut her throat in order to hide his crime, is absolutely antipodal to the refined, ardent, affectionate Romantic Love which impels a man to sacrifice his own life rather than let any harm or dishonor come to the beloved.
ANIMALS HIGHER THAN SAVAGES
Dr. Albert Moll of Berlin, in his second treatise on sexual anomalies, takes occasion to express his disbelief in my view that love before marriage is a sentiment peculiar to modern man. He declares that traits of such love occur even in the courtship of animals, particularly birds, and implies that this upsets my theory. On the same ground a reviewer in a New York evening paper accused me of being illogical. Such criticisms illustrate the vague ideas regarding evolution that are still current. It is assumed that all the faculties are developed step by step simultaneously as we proceed from lower to higher animals, which is as illogical as it would be to assume that since birds have such beautiful and convenient things as wings, and dogs belong to a higher genus of animals, therefore dogs ought to have better wings than birds. Most animals are cleaner than savages; why should not some of them be more romantic in their love-affairs? I shall take occasion repeatedly to emphasize this point in the present volume, though I alluded to it already in my first book (55) in the following passage, which my critics evidently overlooked:
"In passing from animals to human beings we find at first not only no advance in the sexual relations, but a decided retrogression. Among some species of birds, courtship and marriage are infinitely more refined and noble than among the lowest savages, and it is especially in their treatment of females, both before and after mating, that not only birds but all animals show an immense superiority over primitive man; for male animals fight only among themselves and never maltreat the females."
LOVE THE LAST, NOT THE FIRST, PRODUCT OF CIVILIZATION
Notwithstanding this striking and important fact, there is a large number of sentimental writers who make the extraordinary claim that the lower races, however savage they may be in everything else, are like ourselves in their amorous relations; that they love and admire personal beauty just as we do. The main object of the present volume is to demolish this doctrine; to prove that sexual refinement and the sense of personal beauty are not the earliest but the latest products of civilization. I have shown elsewhere that Japanese civilization is in many important respects far superior to ours; yet in their treatment of women and estimate of love, this race has not yet risen above the barbarous stage; and it will be shown in this volume that if we were to judge the ancient Greeks and the Hindoos from this point of view, we should have to deny them the epithet of civilized. Morgan found that the most advanced of American Indians, the Iroquois, had no capacity for love. His testimony in detail will be found in its proper place in this volume, together with that of competent observers regarding other tribes and races. Some of this evidence was known to the founders of the modern science of sociology. It led Spencer to write en passant (Pr. Soc., I., Sec. 337, Sec.339) that "absence of the tender emotion ... habitually characterizes men of low types;" and that the "higher sentiments accompanying union of the sexes ... do not exist among primitive men." It led Sir John Lubbock to write (50) regarding the lowest races that "love is almost unknown among them; and marriage, in its lowest phases, is by no means a matter of affection and companionship."
PLAN OF THIS VOLUME
These are casual adumbrations of a great truth that applies not only to the lowest races (savages) but to the more advanced barbarians as well as to ancient civilized nations, as the present volume will attempt to demonstrate. To make my argument more impressive and conclusive, I present it in a twofold form. First I take the fourteen ingredients of love separately, showing how they developed gradually, whence it follows necessarily that love as a whole developed gradually. Then I take the Africans, Australians, American Indians, etc., separately, describing their diverse amorous customs and pointing out everywhere the absence of the altruistic, supersensual traits which constitute the essence of romantic love as distinguished from sensual passion. All this will be preceded by a chapter on "How Sentiments Change and Grow," which will weaken the bias against the notion that so elemental a feeling as sexual love should have undergone so great a change, by pointing out that other seemingly instinctive and unalterable feelings have changed and developed.
The inclusion of the civilized Greeks in a treatise on Primitive Love will naturally cause surprise; but I cannot attribute a capacity for anything more than primitive sensual love to a nation which, in its prematrimonial customs, manifested none of the essential altruistic traits of Romantic Love—sympathy, gallantry, self-sacrifice, affection, adoration, and purity. As a matter of course, the sensualism of a Greek or Roman is a much less coarse thing than an Australian's, which does not even include kisses or other caresses. While Greek love is not a sentiment, it may be sentimental, that is, an affectation of sentiment, differing from real sentiment as adulation does from adoration, as gallantry or the risking of life to secure favors do from genuine gallantry of the heart and self-sacrifice for the benefit of another. This important point which I here superadd to my theory, was overlooked by Benecke when he attributed a capacity for real love to the later Greeks of the Alexandrian period.
IMPORTANCE OF LOVE
One of the most important theses advanced in Romantic Love and Personal Beauty (323, 424, etc.), was that love, far from being merely a passing episode in human life, is one of the most powerful agencies working for the improvement of the human race. During the reign of Natural Selection, before the birth of love, cripples, the insane, the incurably diseased, were cruelly neglected and allowed to perish. Christianity rose up against this cruelty, building hospitals and saving the infirm, who were thus enabled to survive, marry, and hand down their infirmities to future generations. As a mediator between these two agencies, love comes in; for Cupid, as I have said, "does not kill those who do not come up to his standard of health and beauty, but simply ignores and condemns them to a life of single-blessedness;" which in these days is not such a hardship as it used to be. This thought will be enlarged in the last chapter of the present volume, on the "Utility and Future of Love," which will indicate how the amorous sense is becoming more and more fastidious and beneficial. In the same chapter attention will be called, for the first time, to the three great strata in the evolution of parental love and morality. In the first, represented by savages, parents think chiefly of their own comfort, and children get the minimum of attention consistent with their preservation. In the second, which includes most of the modern Europeans and Americans, parents exercise care that their children shall make an advantageous marriage—that is a marriage which shall secure them wealth or comfort; but the frequency with which girls are married off to old, infirm, or unworthy men, shows how few parents as yet have a thought of their grandchildren. In the next stage of moral evolution, which we are now entering, the grandchildren's welfare also will be considered. In consequence of the persistent failure to consider the grandchildren, the human race is now anything but a model of physical, intellectual, and moral perfection. Luckily love, even in its sensual stages, has counteracted this parental selfishness and myopia by inducing young folks to marry for health, youth, and beauty, and creating an aversion to old age, disease, and deformity. As love becomes more and more fastidious and more regardful of intellectual worth and moral beauty—that is becomes Romantic Love—its sway becomes greater and greater, and the time will come when questions relating to it will form the most important chapters in treatises on moral philosophy, which now usually ignore them altogether.
HOW SENTIMENTS CHANGE AND GROW
In conversation with friends I have found that the current belief that love must have been always and everywhere the same, because it is such a strong and elemental passion, is most easily shaken in this a priori position by pointing out that there are other strong feelings in our minds which were lacking among earlier and lower races. The love of grand, wild scenery, for instance—what we call romantic scenery—is as modern as the romantic love of men and women. Ruskin tells us that in his youth he derived a pleasure from such scenery "comparable for intensity only to the joy of a lover in being near a noble and kind mistress."
NO LOVE OF ROMANTIC SCENERY
Savages, on the other hand, are prevented from appreciating snow mountains, avalanches, roaring torrents, ocean storms, deep glens, jungles, and solitudes, not only by their lack of refinement, but by their fears of wild animals, human enemies, and evil spirits. "In the Australian bush," writes Tylor (P.C., II., 203), "demons whistle in the branches, and stooping with outstretched arms sneak among the trunks to seize the wayfarer;" and Powers (88) writes in regard to California Indians that they listen to night noises with unspeakable horror:
"It is difficult for us to conceive of the speechless terrors which these poor wretches suffer from the screeching of owls, the shrieking of night-hawks, the rustling of the trees ... all of which are only channels of poison wherewith the demons would smite them."
To the primitive mind, the world over, a high mountain is the horror of horrors, the abode of evil spirits, and an attempt to climb it certain death. So strong is this superstition that explorers have often experienced the greatest difficulty in getting natives to serve as porters of provisions in their ascents of peaks. Even the Greeks and Romans cared for landscape only in so far as it was humanized (parks and gardens) and habitable. "Their souls," says Rohde (511),
"could never have been touched by the sublime thrills we feel in the presence of the dark surges of the sea, the gloom of a primeval forest, the solitude and silence of sunlit mountain summits."
And Humboldt, who first noted the absence in Greek and Roman writings of the admiration of romantic scenery, remarked (24):
"Of the eternal snow of the Alps, glowing in the rosy light of the morning or evening sun, of the loveliness of the blue glacier ice, of the stupendous grandeur of Swiss landscape, no description has come down to us from them; yet there was a constant procession over these Alps, from Helvetia to Gallia, of statesmen and generals with literary men in their train. All these travellers tell us only of the steep and abominable roads; the romantic aspect of scenery never engages their attention. It is even known that Julius Caesar, when he returned to his legions in Gaul, employed his time while crossing the Alps in writing his grammatical treatise 'De Analogia.'"
A sceptical reader might retort that the love of romantic scenery is so subtle a sentiment, and so far from being universal even now, that it would be rash to argue from its absence among savages, Greeks, and Romans, that love, a sentiment so much stronger and more prevalent, could have been in the same predicament. Let us therefore take another sentiment, the religious, the vast power and wide prevalence of which no one will deny.
NO LOVE IN EARLY RELIGION
To a modern Christian, God is a deity who is all-wise, all-powerful, infinite, holy, the personification of all the highest virtues. To accuse this Deity of the slightest moral flaw would be blasphemy. Now, without going so far down as the lowest savages, let us see what conception such barbarians as the Polynesians have of their gods. The moral habits of some of them are indicated by their names—"The Rioter," "The Adulterer," "Ndauthina," who steals women of rank or beauty by night or by torchlight, "The Human-brain Eater," "The Murderer." Others of their gods are "proud, envious, covetous, revengeful, and the subject of every basest passion. They are demoralized heathen—monster expressions of moral corruption" (Williams, 184). These gods make war, and kill and eat each other just as mortals do. The Polynesians believed, too, that "the spirits of the dead are eaten by the gods or demons" (Ellis, P.R., I., 275). It might be said that since a Polynesian sees no crime in adultery, revenge, murder, or cannibalism, his attributing such qualities to his gods cannot, from his point of view, be considered blasphemous. Quite true; but my point is that men who have made so little progress in sympathy and moral perception as to see no harm in adultery, revenge, murder and cannibalism, and in attributing them to their gods, are altogether too coarse and callous to be able to experience the higher religious emotions. This inference is borne out by what a most careful observer (Ellis, P.R., I., 291) says:
"Instead of exercising those affections of gratitude, complacency, and love toward the objects of their worship which the living God supremely requires, they regarded their deities with horrific dread, and worshipped only with enslaving fear."
This "enslaving fear" is the principal ingredient of primitive religious emotion everywhere. To the savage and barbarian, religion is not a consolation and a blessing, but a terror. Du Chaillu says of the equatorial Africans (103) that "their whole lives are saddened by the fears of evil spirits, witchcraft, and other kindred superstitions under which they labor." Benevolent deities, even if believed in, receive little or no attention, because, being good, they are supposed to do no harm anyway, whereas the malevolent gods must be propitiated by sacrifices. The African Dahomans, for instance, ignore their Mahu because his intentions are naturally friendly, whereas their Satan, the wicked Legba, has hundreds of statues before which offerings are made. "Early religions," as Mr. Andrew Lang tersely puts it, "are selfish, not disinterested. The worshipper is not contemplative, so much as eager to gain something to his advantage." If the gods fail to respond to the offerings made to them, the sacrificers naturally feel aggrieved, and show their displeasure in a way which to a person who knows refined religion seems shocking and sacrilegious. In Japan, China, and Corea, if the gods fail to do what is expected of them, their images are unceremoniously walloped. In India, if the rains fail, thousands of priests send up their prayers. If the drought still continues, they punish their idols by holding them under water. During a thunderstorm in Africa, Chapman (I., 45) witnessed the following extraordinary scene:
"A great number of women, employed in reaping the extensive corn-fields through which we passed were raising their hoes and voices to heaven, and, yelling furiously, cursed 'Morimo' (God), as the terrific thunder-claps succeeded each vivid flash of lightning. On inquiry I was informed by 'Old Booy' that they were indignant at the interruption of their labors, and that they therefore cursed and menaced the cause. Such blasphemy was awful, even among heathens, and I fully expected to see the wrath of God fall upon them."
If any pious reader of such details—which might he multiplied a thousand-fold—still believes that religious emotion (like love!) is the same everywhere, let him compare his own devoted feelings during worship in a Christian church with the emotions which must sway those who participate in a religious ceremony like that described in the following passage taken from Rowney's Wild Tribes of India (105). It refers to the sacrifices made by the Khonds to the God of War, the victims of which, both male and female, are often bought young and brought up for this special purpose:
"For a month prior to the sacrifice there was much feasting and intoxication, with dancing round the Meriah, or victim ... and on the day before the rite he was stupefied with toddy and bound at the bottom of a post. The assembled multitude then danced around the post to music, singing hymns of invocation to some such effect as follows: 'O God, we offer a sacrifice to you! Give us good crops in return, good seasons, and health.' On the next day the victim was again intoxicated, and anointed with oil, which was wiped from his body by those present, and put on their heads as a blessing. The victim was then carried, in procession round the village, preceded by music, and on returning to the post a hog was sacrificed to ... the village deity ... the blood from the carcass being allowed to flow into a pit prepared to receive it. The victim, made senseless by intoxication, was now thrown into the pit, and his face pressed down till he died from suffocation in the blood and mire, a deafening noise with instruments being kept up all the time. The priest then cut a piece of flesh from the body and buried it with ceremony near the village idol, all the rest of the people going through the same form after him."
Still more horrible details of these sacrifices are supplied by Dalton (288):
"Major Macpherson notes that the Meriah in some districts is put to death slowly by fire, the great object being to draw from the victim as many tears as possible, in the belief that the cruel Tari will proportionately increase the supply of rain."
"Colonel Campbell thus describes the modus operandi in Chinna Kimedy: 'The miserable Meriah is dragged along the fields, surrounded by a crowd of half-intoxicated Kandhs, who, shouting and screaming, rush upon him, and with their knives cut the flesh piece-meal from his bones, avoiding the head and bowels, till the living skeleton, dying from loss of blood, is relieved from torture, when its remains are burnt and the ashes mixed with the new grain to preserve it from insects.'"
In some respect, the civilized Hindoos are even worse than the wild tribes of India. Nothing is more sternly condemned and utterly abhorred by modern religion than licentiousness and obscenity, but a well-informed and eminently trustworthy missionary, the Abbe Dubois, declares that sensuality and licentiousness are among the elements of Hindoo religious life:
"Whatever their religion sets before them, tends to encourage these vices; and, consequently, all their senses, passions, and interests are leagued in its favor" (II., 113, etc.).
Their religious festivals "are nothing but sports; and on no occasion of life are modesty and decorum more carefully excluded than during the celebration of their religious mysteries."
More immoral even than their own religious practices are the doings of their deities. The Bhagavata is a book which deals with the adventures of the god Krishna, of whom Dubois says (II., 205):
"It was his chief pleasure to go every morning to the place where the women bathe, and, in concealment, to take advantage of their unguarded exposure. Then he rushed amongst them, took possession of their clothes, and gave a loose to the indecencies of language and of gesture. He maintained sixteen wives, who had the title of queens, and sixteen thousand concubines.... In obscenity there is nothing that can be compared with the Bhagavata. It is, nevertheless, the delight of the Hindu, and the first book they put into the hands of their children, when learning to read."
Brahmin temples are little more than brothels, in each of which a dozen or more young Bayaderes are kept for the purpose of increasing the revenues of the gods and their priests. Religious prostitution and theological licentiousness prevailed also in Persia, Babylonia, Egypt, and other ancient civilized countries. Commenting on a series of obscene pictures found in an Egyptian tomb, Erman says (154): "We are shocked at the morality of a nation which could supply the deceased with such literature for the eternal journey." Professor Robertson Smith says that "in Arabia and elsewhere unrestricted prostitution was practised at the temples and defended on the analogy of the license allowed to herself by the unmarried mother goddess." Nor were the early Greeks much better. Some of their religious festivals were sensual orgies, some of their gods nearly as licentious as those of the Hindoos. Their supreme god, Zeus, is an Olympian Don Juan, and the legend of the birth of Aphrodite, their goddess of love, is in its original form unutterably obscene.
Before religious emotion could make any approximation to the devout feelings of a modern Christian, it was necessary to eliminate all these licentious, cruel, and blasphemous features of worship—the eating or slaughtering of human victims, the obscene orgies, as well as the spiteful and revengeful acts toward disobedient gods. The progress—like the Evolution of Romantic Love—has been from the sensual and selfish to the supersensual and unselfish. In the highest religious ideal, love of God takes the place of fear, adoration that of terror, self-sacrifice that of self-seeking. But we are still very far from that lofty ideal.
"The lazzarone of Naples prays to his patron saint to favor his choice of a lottery ticket; if it turns out an unlucky number he will take the little leaden image of the saint from his pocket, revile it, spit on it, and trample it in the mud."
"The Swiss clergy opposed the system of insuring growing crops because it made their parishioners indifferent to prayers for their crops" (Brinton, R.S., 126, 82). These are extreme cases, but Italian lazzaroni and Swiss peasants are by no means the only church-goers whose worship is inspired not by love of God but by the expectation of securing a personal benefit. All those who pray for worldly prosperity, or do good deeds for the sake of securing a happy hereafter for their souls, take a selfish, utilitarian view of the deity, and even their gratitude for favors received is too apt to be "a lively sense of possible favors to come." Still, there are now not a few devotees who love God for his own sake; and who pray not for luxuries but that their souls may be fortified in virtue and their sympathies widened. But it is not necessary to dwell on this theme any longer, now that I have shown what I started out to demonstrate, that religious emotion is very complex and variable, that in its early stages it is made up of feelings which are not loving, reverential, or even respectful, but cruel, sacrilegious, criminal, and licentious; that religion, in a word, has (like love, as I am trying to prove) passed through coarse, carnal, degrading, selfish, utilitarian stages before it reached the comparatively refined, spiritual, sympathetic, and devotional attitude of our time.
Besides the growing complexity of the religious sentiment and its gradual ennoblement, there are two points I wish to emphasize. One is that there are among us to-day thousands of intelligent and refined agnostics who are utter strangers to all religious emotions, just as there are thousands of men and women who have never known and never will know the emotions of sentimental love. Why, then, should it seem so very unlikely that whole nations were strangers to such love (as they were strangers to the higher religious sentiment), even though they were as intelligent as the Greeks and Romans? I offer this consideration not as a conclusive argument, but merely as a means of overcoming a preconceived bias against my theory.
The other point I wish to make clear is that our emotions change with our ideas. Obviously it would be absurd to suppose that a man whose ideas in regard to the nature of his gods do not prevent him from flogging them angrily in case they refuse his requests are the same as those of a pious Christian, who, if his prayers are not answered, says to his revered Creator: "Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven," and humbly prostrates himself. And if emotions in the religious sphere are thus metamorphosed with ideas, why is it so unlikely that the sexual passion, too, should "suffer a sea change into something rich and strange?"
The existence of the wide-spread prejudice against the notion that love is subject to the laws of development, is owing to the fact that the comparative psychology of the emotions and sentiments has been strangely neglected. Anthropology, the Klondike of the comparative psychologist, reveals things seemingly much more incredible than the absence of romantic love among barbarians and partly civilized nations who had not yet discovered the nobler super-sensual fascinations which women are capable of exerting. The nuggets of truth found in that science show that every virtue known to man grew up slowly into its present exalted form. I will illustrate this assertion with reference to one general feeling, the horror of murder, and then add a few pages regarding virtues relating to the sexual sphere and directly connected with the subject of this book.
MURDER AS A VIRTUE
The committing of wilful murder is looked on with unutterable horror in modern civilized communities, yet it took eons of time and the co-operation of many religious, social, and moral agencies before the idea of the sanctity of human life became what it is now when it might be taken for an instinct inherent in human nature itself. How far it is from being such an instinct we shall see by looking at the facts. Among the lowest races and even some of the higher barbarians, murder, far from being regarded as a crime, is honored as a virtue and a source of glory.
An American Indian's chief pride and claim to tribal honor lies in the number of scalps he has torn from the heads of men he has killed. Of the Fijian, Williams says (97):
"Shedding of blood is to him no crime, but a glory. Whoever may be the victim—whether noble or vulgar, old or young, man, woman, or child—whether slain in war or butchered by treachery, to be somehow an acknowledged murderer, is the object of a Fijian's restless ambition."
The Australian feels the same irresistible impulse to kill every stranger he comes across as many of our comparatively civilized gentlemen feel toward every bird or wild animal they see. Lumholtz, while he lived among these savages, took good care to follow the advice "never have a black fellow behind you;" and he relates a story of a squatter who was walking in the bush with his black boy hunting brush monkeys, when the boy touched him on the shoulder from behind and said, "Let me go ahead." When the squatter asked why he wished to go before him, the native answered, "Because I feel such an inclination to kill you."
Dalton (266) says of the Oraons in India: "It is doubtful if they see any moral guilt in murder." But the most astounding race of professional murderers are the Dyaks of Borneo. "Among them," says Earl, "the more heads a man has cut off, the more he is respected." "The white man reads," said a Dyak to St. John: "we hunt heads instead." "Our Dyaks," says Charles Brooke, "were eternally requesting to be allowed to go for heads, and their urgent entreaties often bore resemblance to children crying after sugar-plums." "An old Dyak," writes Dalton, "loves to dwell upon his success on these hunting excursions, and the terror of the women and children taken affords a fruitful theme of amusement at their meetings." Dalton speaks of one expedition from which seven hundred heads were brought home. The young women were carried off, the old ones killed and all the men's heads were cut off. Not that the women always escaped. Among the Dusun, as a rule, says Preyer,
"the heads were obtained in the most cowardly way possible, a woman's or child's being just as good as a man's ... so, as easier prey, the cowards seek them by lying in ambush near the plantations."
Families are sometimes surprised while asleep and their heads cut off. Brooke tells of a man who for awhile kept company with a countrywoman, and then slew her and ran off with her head. "It ought to be called head-stealing not head-hunting," says Hatton; and Earl remarks:
"The possession of a human head cannot be considered as a proof of the bravery of the owner for it is not necessary that he should have killed the victim with his own hands, his friends being permitted to assist him or even to perform the act themselves."
It is to be noted that the Dyaks are not in other respects a fierce and diabolical race, but are at home, as Doty attests, "mild, gentle, and given to hospitality." I call special attention to this by way of indirectly answering an objection frequently urged against my theory: "How is it possible to suppose that a nation so highly civilized as the Greeks of Plato's time should have known love for women only in its lower, carnal phases?" Well, we have here a parallel case. The Dyaks are "mild, gentle, and hospitable," yet their chief delight and glory is murder! And as one of the main objects of this book is to dwell on the various obstacles which impeded the growth of romantic love, it will be interesting to glance for a moment at the causes which prevented the Dyaks from recognizing the sanctity of life. Superstition is one of them; they believe that persons killed by them will be their slaves in the next world. Pride is another. "How many heads did your father get?" a Dyak will ask; and if the number given is less than his own, the other will say, "Well, then you have no occasion to be proud." A man's rank in this world as in the next depends on the number of his skulls; hence the owner of a large number may be distinguished by his proud bearing. But the head hunter's strangest and strongest motive is the desire to please women! No Dyak maiden would condescend to marry a youth who has never killed a man, and in times when the chances for murder were few and far between, suitors have been compelled to wait a year or two before they could bag a skull and lead home their blushing bride. The weird details of this mode of courtship will be given in the chapter on Island Love on the Pacific.
SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENTS.
In all these cases we are shocked at the utter absence of the sentiment relating to the sanctity of human life. But our horror at this fiendish indifference to murder is doubled when we find that the victims are not strangers but members of the same family. I must defer to the chapter on Sympathy a brief reference to the savage custom of slaughtering sick relatives and aged parents; here I will confine myself to a few words regarding the maternal sentiment. The love of a mother for her offspring is by many philosophers considered the earliest and strongest of all sympathetic feelings; a feeling stronger than death. If we can find a wide-spread failure of this powerful instinct, we shall have one more reason for not assuming as a matter of course, that the sentiment of love must have been always present.
In Australian families it has been the universal custom to bring up only a few children in each family—usually two boys and a girl—the others being destroyed by their own parents, with no more compunction than we show in drowning superfluous puppies or kittens. The Kurnai tribe did not kill new-born infants, but simply left them behind. "The aboriginal mind does not seem to perceive the horrid idea of leaving an unfortunate baby to die miserably in a deserted camp" (Fison and Howitt, 14). The Indians of both North and South America were addicted to the practice of infanticide. Among the Arabs the custom was so inveterate that as late as our sixth century, Mohammed felt called upon, in various parts of the Koran, to discountenance it. In the words of Professor Robertson Smith (281):
"Mohammed, when he took Mecca and received the homage of the women in the most advanced centre of Arabian civilization, still deemed it necessary formally to demand from them a promise not to commit child-murder."
Among the wild tribes of India there are some who cling to their custom of infanticide with the tenacity of fanatics. Dalton (288-90) relates that with the Kandhs this custom was so wide-spread that in 1842 Major Macpherson reported that in many villages not a single female child could be found. The British Government rescued a number of girls and brought them up, giving them an education. Some of these were afterward given in marriage to respectable Kandh bachelors,
"and it was expected that they at least would not outrage their own feeling as mothers by consenting to the destruction of their offspring. Subsequently, however, Colonel Campbell ascertained that these ladies had no female children, and, on being closely questioned, they admitted that at their husbands' bidding they had destroyed them."
In the South Sea Islands "not less than two-thirds of the children were murdered by their own parents." Ellis (P.R., I., 196-202) knew parents who had, by their own confession, killed four, six, eight, even ten of their children, and the only reason they gave was that it was the custom of the country.
"No sense of irresolution or horror appeared to exist in the bosoms of those parents, who deliberately resolved on the deed before the child was born." "The murderous parents often came to their (the missionaries') houses almost before their hands were cleansed from their children's blood, and spoke of the deed with worse than brutal insensibility, or with vaunting satisfaction at the triumph of their customs over the persuasions of their teachers."
They refused to spare babies even when the missionaries offered to take care of them (II., 23). Neither Ellis, during a residence of eight years, nor Nott during thirty years' residence on the South Sea Islands, had known a single mother who was not guilty of this crime of infanticide. Three native women who happened to be together in a room one day confessed that between them they had killed twenty-one infants—nine, seven, and five respectively.
These facts have long been familiar to students of anthropology, but their true significance has been obscured by the additional information that many tribes addicted to infanticide, nevertheless displayed a good deal of "affection" toward those whom they spared. A closer examination of the testimony reveals, however, that there is no true affection in these cases, but merely a shallow fondness for the little ones, chiefly for the sake of the selfish gratification it affords the parents to watch their gambols and to give vent to inherited animal instincts. True affection is revealed only in self-sacrifice; but the disposition to sacrifice themselves for their children is the one quality most lacking in these child-murderers. Sentimentalists, with their usual lack of insight and logical sense, have endeavored to excuse these assassins on the ground that necessity compelled them to destroy their infants. Their arguments have misled even so eminent a specialist as Professor E.B. Tylor into declaring (Anthropology, 427) that "infanticide comes from hardness of life rather than from hardness of heart." What he means, may be made clear by reference to the case of the Arabs who, living in a desert country, were in constant dread of suffering from scarcity of food; wherefore, as Robertson Smith remarks (281), "to bury a daughter was regarded not only as a virtuous but as a generous deed, which is intelligible if the reason was that there would be fewer mouths to fill in the tribe." This explains the murders in question but does not show them to be excusable; it explains them as being due to the vicious selfishness and hard-heartedness of parents who would rather kill their infants than restrain their sexual appetite when they had all the children they could provide for.
In most cases the assassins of their own children had not even as much semblance of an excuse as the Arabs. Turner relates (284) that in the New Hebrides the women had to do all the work, and as it was supposed that they could not attend to more than two or three, all the others were buried alive; in other words the babes were murdered to save trouble and allow the men to live in indolence. In the instances from India referred to above, various trivial excuses for female infanticide were offered: that it would save the expenses connected with the marriage rites; that it was cheaper to buy girls than to bring them up, or, better still, to steal them from other tribes; that male births are increased by the destruction of female infants; and that it is better to destroy girls in their infancy than to allow them to grow up and become causes of strife afterward. Among the Fijians, says Williams (154, 155), there is in infanticide "no admixture of anything like religious feeling or fear, but merely whim, expediency, anger, or indolence." Sometimes the general idea of woman's inferiority to man underlies the act. They will say to the pleading missionary: "Why should she live? Will she wield a club? Will she poise a spear?"
But it was among the women of Hawaii that the motives of infanticide reached their climax of frivolity. There mothers killed their children because they were too lazy to bring them up and cook for them; or because they wished to preserve their own beauty, or were unwilling to suffer an interruption in their licentious amours; or because they liked to roam about unburdened by babes; and sometimes for no other reason than because they could not make them stop crying. So they buried them alive though they might be months or even years old (Ellis, P.R., IV., 240).
These revelations show that it is not "hardness of life" but "hardness of heart"—sensual, selfish indulgence—that smothers the parental instinct. To say that the conduct of such parents is brutal, would be a great injustice to brutes. No species of animals, however low in the scale of life, has ever been known to habitually kill its offspring. In their treatment of females and young ones, animals are indeed, as a rule, far superior to savages and barbarians. I emphasize this point because several of my critics have accused me of a lack of knowledge and thought and logic because I attributed some of the elements of romantic love to animals and denied them to primitive human beings. But there is no inconsistency in this. We shall see later on that there are other things in which animals are superior not only to savages but to some civilized peoples as high in the scale as Hindoos.
Turning now from the parental to the conjugal sphere we shall find further interesting instances showing How Sentiments Change and Grow. The monogamous sentiment—the feeling that a man and his wife belong to each other exclusively—is now so strong that a person who commits bigamy not only perpetrates a crime for which the courts may imprison him for five years, but becomes a social outcast with whom respectable people will have nothing more to do. The Mormons endeavored to make polygamy a feature of their religion, but in 1882 Congress passed a law suppressing it and punishing offenders. Did this monogamous sentiment exist "always and everywhere?"
Livingstone relates (M.S.A., I., 306-312) that the King of the Beetjuans (South Africa) was surprised to hear that his visitor had only one wife:
"When we explained to him that, by the laws of our country, people could not marry until they were of a mature age, and then could never have more than one wife, he said it was perfectly incomprehensible to him how a whole nation could submit voluntarily to such laws."
He himself had five wives and one of these queens
"remarked very judiciously that such laws as ours would not suit the Beetjuans because there were so great a number of women and the male population suffered such diminutions from the wars."
Sir Samuel Baker (A.N., 147) says of the wife of the Chief of Latooka:
"She asked many questions, how many wives I had? and was astonished to hear that I was contented with one. This amused her immensely, and she laughed heartily with her daughter at the idea."