"'Love', designs on the imagination, the flattering idea of eternal happiness, in the entire and constant possession of the object we 'love'. 'Gallantry', fails not to paint there the agreeable image of a singular pleasure, in the enjoyment of the object we pursue; but, neither the one, nor, the other, copies after nature; experience shewing us, that their colours, however agreeable, are, equally, deceitful."
— Trusler, John (1735-1820)
As different as these words may appear, they have, nevertheless, been, and, are still, frequently, used, as synonymous, when intended to imply courtship. It may not be then unnecessary, to point out their peculiar ideas.
Love, is more sanguine, than gallantry; having for its object, the person, whom we are studious to please, through a view of possessing; and, whom we love as much, on her account, as our own: it takes possession of the heart, suddenly, and, owes its birth, to a certain something, which enchains the sentiments, and, draws the esteem, without any examination, or, information. Gallantry, is more sensual, than love; having for its object, the sex; we enter into intrigues, in hopes of enjoying it, and, love, more on our own account, than on that, of our mistress. It acts upon the senses, much more than upon the heart, and, is more, owing to constitution, and, complexion, than, to the force of beauty.
The one, has a power of making those persons agreeable in our eyes, who study to please the object of our love, provided, they in no respect raise our jealousy. The other, engages us to keep an eye upon all those, who are capable, either, of forwarding, or, hurting our designs; and, to watch them, as we would a rival, taking every advantage within our reach.
The first, leaves us not the liberty of choice; it commands in the beginning, as a master, and, reigns, afterwards, as a tyrant, till we are accustomed to its chains, by length of time; or, till they are broken by the efforts of powerful reason, or, the caprice of continued vexation. The second, suffers, sometimes, another passion to get before it; reason and interest, often, hold the bridle, and, make it give way to our situation, and, affairs.
Love, attaches us, solely, to one person, and, delivers up our heart, without reserve, so as to engage it, wholly, and, make every other object, of what beauty or merit soever, indifferent to us. Gallantry, rivets us, generally, to all persons, who are either beautiful or agreeable, and, unites us to those, who make the least returns to our eagerness and desire; in such a manner, however, as leaves us no liking for others.
It appears to me, that love, delights in difficulties; so far from being weakened by obstacles, they, generally, increase it; and, we make it one of our most serious engagements. As for gallantry, it banishes formality, is less accustomed to difficulty, and, is often entered into, merely, for amusement. It is for this reason, we observe more spirit of gallantry in men, than love: for, it is rare to find a first love, followed by a second; and, I doubt, whether ever it can be said, by a third: but, gallantries are, sometimes, without number, and, succeed each other, till that age arrives, when their source is dried up.
There is, always, honesty in love; but, it is troublesome and capricious; we consider it, now-a-days, as a distemper, or, as a weakness of mind. In gallantry, there is a degree of knavery, but, it is free and good humoured; and, is become the taste of the age.
Love, designs on the imagination, the flattering idea of eternal happiness, in the entire and constant possession of the object we love. Gallantry, fails not to paint there the agreeable image of a singular pleasure, in the enjoyment of the object we pursue; but, neither the one, nor, the other, copies after nature; experience shewing us, that their colours, however agreeable, are, equally, deceitful. All the difference we find, is, that love, being more serious, the unfaithfulness of its pencil, gives greater offence; and, the recollection of the pain it has given, in seeing it so ill rewarded, creates our disgust; whereas, gallantry, being more wanton, we are less sensible of the fallacy of its colouring, and, the vain notions we have of being arrived at the end of its designs, reconcile any disappointments, we may have met with.
In love, it is the heart, which, principally, tastes the pleasure; the mind, making itself a slave, without any regard; and, the satisfaction of the senses, contributing less to the sweet enjoyment, than a certain contentedness of soul, which produces the charming idea, of being in the possession of what we love, and, receiving the most sensible proofs of a tender return. In gallantry, the heart, is less affected with the object; the mind, being more free, to indulge itself, and the senses, more attentive to their own satisfaction, partake the pleasure with greater equality; voluptuousness, contributing more to its enjoyment, than the delicacy of sentiments.
When we are too much tormented by the caprices of love, we endeavour to disentangle ourselves, and, become indifferent. When we are too fatigued by the exercises of gallantry, we take a resolution to desist, and, become sober.
Excess makes love degenerate into jealousy; and, gallantry, into libertinism. In the first case, we are subject, to trouble of mind; in the second, we are in danger, of destroying our health.
Upon the whole, love, is, generally, justifiable; gallantry, always, blameable.
(II, pp. 82-86)
See John Trusler, The Difference, Between Words, Esteemed Synonymous: in the English Language; and, the Proper Choice of them Determined: Together with, so much of AbbÃ© Girard's Treatise, on this Subject, as Would Agree, with our Mode of Expression, 2 vols. (London: Printed for J. Dodsley, 1766). <Vol. I, Link to ECCO-TCP><Vol. II, Link to ECCO-TCP>