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Q: Sympathy & Love, define each and how so different they are for ones heart? ( No Answer,   4 Comments )
Subject: Sympathy & Love, define each and how so different they are for ones heart?
Category: Relationships and Society > Romance
Asked by: 6ra3-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 04 Feb 2006 19:44 PST
Expires: 06 Mar 2006 19:44 PST
Question ID: 441571

Would like to locate verses of poetry and quotes that clarify how
Sympathy can't replce love as far as ones heart is concerned.. We
shouldn't marry for wrong reason.

Do you agree? Suggest quotes and poetry that exhibit that as well if
you may poetry and quotes that suggest how one should? :-)


Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 05 Feb 2006 09:50 PST
Here's a relevant, but odd, tidbit from the life of a very famous composer:

We know now that late in June, 1877, Tschaikovski announced definitely
to his brother Anatol, that he was engaged to, and would soon marry,
Antonina Ivanovna Miljukova....The curious details of the courtship
are told by the composer himself in a letter...

"One day I received a letter from a girl I had known for some time. I
learned from it that she loved me. The letter was couched in such
warm, frank terms that I concluded to answer it?something I have
always avoided doing in previous cases of this sort. Without
rehearsing the details of this correspondence I must mention that the
result of the letters was that I followed the wish of my future wife
and called to see her. Why did I do this? Now it seems to me that some
invisible power forced me to it. At our meeting I assured her that in
return for her love I could give her nothing but sympathy and
gratitude. But later I reproached myself for the carelessness of my
action. If I did not love her and did not wish to incite her further
love for me, why did I call on her and how could all this end? By the
following letter I saw that I had gone too far; that if I now turned
from her suddenly it would make her unhappy and possibly drive her to
a tragic fate.

"So the weighty alternative posed itself: Either I got my liberty at
the cost of a life, or I married. The latter was my only possible
choice. So one evening I went to see her, declared openly that I could
not love her, but that I would always be her grateful friend; I
described minutely my character, the irritability, the unevenness of
my temperament, my diffidence?finally my financial condition. Then I
asked her if she wished to be my wife. Naturally her answer was 'yes.'
The fearful agonies which I have experienced since that night are not
to be expressed in words. This is only natural. To live for
thirty-seven years in congenital antipathy to marriage, and then
suddenly to be made a bridegroom through the sheer force of
circumstances, without being in the least charmed by the bride?that is
something horrible! In order to get back my senses and accustom myself
to the thought of the future, I decided to go to the country for a
month. This I did. I console myself with the thought that no one can
escape his fate, and my meeting with that girl was fatality. My
conscience is clear. If I marry without loving, it is because
circumstances have forced this upon me. I cannot do otherwise.
Carelessly I surrendered at her first confession of love. I should not
have answered her at all."


A strange basis for a marriage, it seems to me...but who am I to judge?

Is this sort of thing on target?  Or are you looking for something a
bit on the flowery side?

Let me know your thoughts.


Clarification of Question by 6ra3-ga on 06 Feb 2006 00:54 PST
Hello Pafalafa,

You got it right on the button! :-)

I'm looking for realistic and raw experiences, as the one you've
mentioned, which clearly leave very little room for a counter argument
to sound as good as the one expressed.

I'm also looking for an experience similar to this that shows Sympathy
can NOT replace love, but from a female prospective if I may trouble

I'll make sure this detail and its impact on the work involved and
your time are appreciated and know that they're helping the 'right'
two hearts to meet where Sympathy for another is standing in the way
of both of their happiness.

Thank you.


Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 06 Feb 2006 17:30 PST

This is quite a challenge.  There are a fair number of works that
touch upon the topic, but very few that hit the nail on the head quite
as cleanly as the Tschaikovski excerpt. is what I came up with.  Please have a look and let me
know if it fits the bill.



by E. F. Benson

...It was not that he was deficient in sympathy for her, for in his
self-centred way he was fond of her, but he could sympathise with her
just as well at Ashbridge. He could do no good to her, and he had not
for her that instinct of love which would make it impossible for him
to leave her.

Love Romances of the Aristocracy
Thornton Hall

[a long excerpt, but worth a read, I think]

...It was at this time that Churchill seems to have first set eyes on
Sarah Jennings, now standing on the verge of womanhood, and as sweet a
flower as the Court garden of fair girls could show. He saw her moving
with queenly grace and dainty freshness among a crowd of the loveliest
women at a Royal ball, her proud well-poised head rising above them as
a lily towers over meaner flowers. And?such are the strange ways of
love?from that first glance he was fascinated by her as no other woman
ever had power to fascinate him. When he sought an introduction to
her, the bright spirit that shone in her eyes, her clever tongue, and
her graciousness quickly forged the chains which he was proud to wear
to his life's end. Seldom has a woman's spell worked such quick
magic?never has the love it gave birth to proved more loyal and

But Sarah Jennings was no maid to be easily won by any man?even by a
lover so dowered with physical graces and so invested with the halo of
romance as John Churchill. She knew all about his heroism on
battlefields; she knew also of that little incident in a palace
boudoir, and of many another youthful peccadillo of the gallant young
colonel. She was no flower to be worn and flung aside; and she meant
that Colonel Churchill should know it. She could be gracious to him,
as to any other man; but she quickly made the limits of her indulgence
clear. To all his amorous advances she presented a smiling and
inscrutable front; his ardour was as unwelcome as it was premature.

Had she designed to make a conquest of her martial lover she could not
have set to work more diplomatically. Colonel Churchill had basked for
years in woman's smiles, often unsought and undesired; to coldness and
indifference he was a stranger; but they only served, as becomes a
soldier, to make him more resolute on victory. As a subtle tongue and
a handsome person made no impression on this frigid beauty, he had
recourse to his pen (since his sword was useless for such a conquest)
and inundated her with letters, breathing undying devotion, and
craving for at least a smile or a look of kindness.

"Show me," he writes, "that, at least, you are not quite indifferent
to me, and I swear that I will never love anything but your dear self,
which has made so sure a conquest of me that, had I the will, I had
not the power ever to break my chains. Pray let me hear from you and
know if I shall be so happy as to see you to-night."

But to all his protestations and appeals she returns no response. If
she is deaf to the pleadings of love she must, he determined, at least
give him her pity. He writes to tell her that he is "extreme ill with
the headache," and craves a word of sympathy, as a beggar craves a
crust. He vows, in his pain,

"by all that is good I love you so well that I wish from my soul that
if you cannot love me, I may die, for life could be to me one
perpetual torment. If the Duchess," he adds, "sees company I hope you
will be there; but if she does not, I beg you will then let me see you
in your chamber, if it be but for one hour. If you are not in the
drawing-room you must then send me word at what hour I shall come."

At last the iceberg thaws a little?though it is only to charge him
with unkindness! She assumes the rôle of virtue; and, with a woman's
capriciousness, charges her lover with the coldness and neglect which
she herself has visited on him.

"Your not writing to me," she says, "made me very uneasy, for I was
afraid it was want of kindness in you, which I am sure I will never
deserve by any action of mine."

Was ever wayward woman so unjust? For weeks Churchill had been
deluging her with ardent letters, to which she had not deigned to
answer one word. Now she assumes an air of injured innocence, and
accuses him of unkindness! She even promises to see him, but cannot
resist the temptation to qualify the concession with a gibe.

"That would hinder you," she says, with delicious, if cruel satire,
"from seeing the play, which I fear would be a great affliction to
you, and increase the pain in your head, which would be out of
anybody's power to ease until the next new play. Therefore, pray
consider; and, without any compliment to me, send me word if you can
come to me without any prejudice to your health."

At any rate, the Sphinx had spoken and shown that she had some
feeling, if only that of pique and unreason; and the despairing lover
was able to take a little heart. After all, coquetry, even if carried
to the verge of cruelty, holds more promise than Arctic coldness.


...Love now illuminates, not by enlarging sympathy and disclosing the
hidden soul of good in error, but by suppressing sympathies too
diffusely and expansively bestowed.

The Marriage of William Ashe
Mrs. Humphry Ward

"I find her kind, Lady Kitty. She listens to me?I get sympathy from her."

"And you want sympathy?"

Her tone stung him. "As a hungry man wants food?as an artist wants
beauty. But I know where I shall not get it."

"That is always a gain!" said Kitty, throwing back her little head.
"Mr. Cliffe, pray let me bid you good-bye."

He suddenly made a step forward. "Lady Kitty!"?his deep-set, imperious
eyes searched her face?"I can't restrain myself. Your look?your
expression?go to my heart. Laugh at me if you like. It's true. What
have you been doing with yourself?"

He bent towards her, scrutinizing every delicate feature, and, as it
seemed, shaken with agitation. She breathed fast.

"Mr. Cliffe, you must know that any sympathy from you to me?is an
insult! Kindly let me pass."

He, too, flushed deeply.

"Insult is a hard word, Lady Kitty. I regret that poem."

She swept forward in silence, but he still stood in the way.

"I wrote it?almost in delirium. Ah, well"?he shook his head
impatiently?"if you don't believe me, let it be. I am not the man I
was. The perspective of things is altered for me." His voice fell.
"Women and children in their blood?heroic trust?and brute hate?the
stars for candles?the high peaks for friends?those things have come
between me and the past. But you are right; we had better not talk any
more. I hear old Federigo coming up the stairs. Good-night, Lady

A Matter of Delicacy
The Windsor magazine; an illustrated monthly for men and women

...My sympathies are yours, my love is hers -- always. I know now that
I shall never marry.


By the way, the first excerpt I gave you about Tschaikovski came from
here, and has some interesting additional material:

The passage I excerpted earlier continues as follows:

...Under such auspices, the marriage took place. It is hard to say
whom we should pity the more, husband or wife; and which we should
count the more insane. That which is technically called a honeymoon
lasted a week in this case. In ten days the husband is writing his
fellow-Platonist, Frau von Meck, that he is uncertain about his
happiness, but positive that he cannot compose. He and his wife pay a
little visit to her mother; then they return "home," only to part. The
unwilling bridegroom must be alone to recuperate. He writes Frau von

"I leave in an hour. A few days more of this, and I swear I should have gone mad."


That's what I've come up with, for now.  Let me know what you think.


Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 06 Feb 2006 17:42 PST
And while not exactly on point, I can't resist posting the wonderful
scene from Pride and Prejudice where Mr. Collins proposes to
Elizabeth, and refuses to believe how hopelessly mismatched they are:


It was absolutely necessary to interrupt him now.

?You are too hasty, sir,? she cried. ?You forget that I have made no
answer. Let me do it without further loss of time. Accept my thanks
for the compliment you are paying me. I am very sensible of the honour
of your proposals, but it is impossible for me to do otherwise than to
decline them.?

?I am not now to learn,? replied Mr. Collins, with a formal wave of
the hand, ?that it is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses
of the man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies
for their favour; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second,
or even a third time. I am therefore by no means discouraged by what
you have just said, and shall hope to lead you to the altar ere long.?

?Upon my word, sir,? cried Elizabeth, ?your hope is a rather
extraordinary one after my declaration. I do assure you that I am not
one of those young ladies (if such young ladies there are) who are so
daring as to risk their happiness on the chance of being asked a
second time. I am perfectly serious in my refusal. You could not make
ME happy, and I am convinced that I am the last woman in the world who
could make you so. Nay, were your friend Lady Catherine to know me, I
am persuaded she would find me in every respect ill qualified for the

?Were it certain that Lady Catherine would think so,? said Mr. Collins
very gravely??but I cannot imagine that her ladyship would at all
disapprove of you. And you may be certain when I have the honour of
seeing her again, I shall speak in the very highest terms of your
modesty, economy, and other amiable qualification.?

?Indeed, Mr. Collins, all praise of me will be unnecessary. You must
give me leave to judge for myself, and pay me the compliment of
believing what I say. I wish you very happy and very rich, and by
refusing you hand, do all in my power to prevent your being otherwise.
In making me the offer, you must have satisfied the delicacy of your
feelings with regard to my family, and may take possession of
Longbourn estate whenever it falls, without any self?reproach. This
matter may be considered, therefore, as finally settled.? And rising
as she thus spoke, she would have quitted the room, had Mr. Collins
not thus addressed her:

?When I do myself the honour of speaking to you next on the subject, I
shall hope to receive a more favourable answer than you have now given
me; though I am far from accusing you of cruelty at present, because I
know it to be the established custom of your sex to reject a man on
the first application, and perhaps you have even now said as much to
encourage my suit as would be consistent with the true delicacy of the
female character.?

?Really, Mr. Collins,? cried Elizabeth with some warmth, ?you puzzle
me exceedingly. If what I have hitherto said can appear to you in the
form of encouragement, I know not how to express my refusal in such a
way as to convince you of its being one.?

?You must give me leave to flatter myself, my dear cousin, that your
refusal of my addresses is merely words of course. My reasons for
believing it are briefly these: It does not appear to me that my hand
is unworthy your acceptance, or that the establishment I can offer
would be any other than highly desirable. My situation in life, my
connections with the family of de Bourgh, and my relationship to your
own, are circumstances highly in my favour; and you should take it
into further consideration, that in spite of your manifold
attractions, it is by no means certain that another offer of marriage
may ever be made you. Your portion is unhappily so small that it will
in all likelihood undo the effects of your loveliness and amiable
qualifications. As I must therefore conclude that you are not serious
in your rejection of me, I shall choose to attribute it to your wish
of increasing my love by suspense, according to the usual practice of
elegant females.?

?I do assure you, sir, that I have no pretensions whatever to that
kind of elegance which consists in tormenting a respectable man. I
would rather be paid the compliment of being believed sincere. I thank
you again and again for the honour you have done me in your proposals,
but to accept them is absolutely impossible. My feelings in every
respect forbid it. Can I speak plainer? Do not consider me now as an
elegant female, intending to plague you, but as a rational creature,
speaking the truth from her heart.?

?You are uniformly charming!? cried he, with an air of awkward
gallantry; ?and I am persuaded that when sanctioned by the express
authority of both your excellent parents, my proposals will not fail
of being acceptable.?

There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Sympathy & Love, define each and how so different they are for ones heart?
From: frde-ga on 05 Feb 2006 07:36 PST
I think that depends on the definition of 'sympathy'

The original English meaning derives (I believe) from the French, and
means 'affinity' or likeable.

In English, it has also gained a hierarchical meaning :-
  'one feels sympathy for the afflicted'

Should one marry someone one 'really likes' 
- or marry someone one 'feels sorry for' ?

There is the other factor, 'lust' and/or 'infatuation', which nowadays
people are explaining in hormonal terms.

One statement I remember vividly is:
  'In the old days 'til death to us part, meant about ten years'

There is also the one about putting a coin in a jar every time one
'makes love' with ones partner.
In the first two years it will fill, after that if one takes a coin
out rather than putting one in, it will never empty.

Personally I reckon that strong friendship is the soundest basis,
preferably where each contributes different skills.

If you are trying to convince someone else, then you are doomed to
failure, and saying 'I told you so' is not exactly helpful.

Quiet damage limitation
- set up the safety net, yet hope that it will not be required
Subject: Re: Sympathy & Love, define each and how so different they are for ones heart?
From: 6ra3-ga on 06 Feb 2006 01:40 PST
Hello Frde,

Thank you very much for your wonderful comment, I appreciate it and
learned a lot from it.

True, I do feel that friendship is the best basis for marriage, from
experience I can only appreciate that even more.

Is there material out there that you might find appropriate to suggest
as supporting of this opinion?  Meaning poetry or/and quotes? :-)

Thank you again!

Subject: Re: Sympathy & Love, define each and how so different they are for ones heart?
From: frde-ga on 06 Feb 2006 03:19 PST
Hi Mao,

pafalafa-ga's interesting snippet got me thinking about Benedick and
Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.

Obviously it is both comedy and fiction, yet Shakespeare was a canny
old cove, it is very likely that 'affection' is triggered by the
realization that one is the object of another's affection.

I've also been thinking about arranged marriages, they appear to work
in many cases (proof being that they still exist).

Recently I was rather surprized to be present when a 30 year old
Israeli guy was talking to an older woman, who was telling him about a
girl who was interested in meeting him. This was immediately after he
had returned from inspecting one of his friends new born baby.
Afterwards, I rather impudently asked him about it, he was obviously
very interested himself - incidentally he is, in local terms, quite a
catch, and has no shortage of available females - rather the reverse.

I'm also aware that pheronomes can have an astonishing effect, once in
Chicago on business I borrowed a colleagues deo, before flying back to
the UK. The results were astonishing, in the airport, on the aircraft
and on return.
Sadly my colleague refused to tell me what brand it was. :-(

Recently I've noticed quite a lot in the papers about pheronomes and
hormones controlling human mating activity.

Not really relevant, but another aspect of the subject.

I'll keep digging in my memory for literary/poetic references.
- an interesting topic.
Subject: Re: Sympathy & Love, define each and how so different they are for ones heart?
From: tinkywinkey-ga on 06 Feb 2006 05:28 PST
Hi again Frde,

I've always thought that overly simplifying the human emotion and
spirit to a few chemicals and hormones that merely, in my opinion,
contribute rather than control is short changing our souls.

I'm not an emotional man, though I'm full of emotion and those I felt
the strongest about and had been very close, I had very little
physical exposure or the sufficient short distance for these elements
to play a major role in the whole thing.

Nonetheless, I won't cancel out what might be scientifically proven,
which I don't know or have an interest in.

Thank you very much for your input, it's of great value. :-)


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