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No. 170 [from The Spectator]
by [?]

Friday, September 14, 1711.

‘In amore haec omnia insunt vitia: injuriae,
Suspiciones, inimicitiae, induciae,
Bellum, pax rursum …’

Ter. Eun.

Upon looking over the Letters of my female Correspondents, I find several from Women complaining of jealous Husbands, and at the same time protesting their own Innocence; and desiring my Advice on this Occasion. I shall therefore take this Subject into my Consideration, and the more willingly, because I find that the Marquis of Hallifax, who in his Advice to a Daughter [1] has instructed a Wife how to behave her self towards a false, an intemperate, a cholerick, a sullen, a covetous, or a silly Husband, has not spoken one Word of a Jealous Husband.

Jealousy is that Pain which a Man feels from the Apprehension that he is not equally beloved by the Person whom he entirely loves. Now, because our inward Passions and Inclinations can never make themselves visible, it is impossible for a jealous Man to be thoroughly cured of his Suspicions. His Thoughts hang at best in a State of Doubtfulness and Uncertainty; and are never capable of receiving any Satisfaction on the advantageous Side; so that his Enquiries are most successful when they discover nothing: His Pleasure arises from his Disappointments, and his Life is spent in Pursuit of a Secret that destroys his Happiness if he chance to find it.

An ardent Love is always a strong Ingredient in this Passion; for the same Affection which stirs up the jealous Man’s Desires, and gives the Party beloved so beautiful a Figure in his Imagination, makes him believe she kindles the same Passion in others, and appears as amiable to all Beholders. And as Jealousy thus arises from an extraordinary Love, it is of so delicate a Nature, that it scorns to take up with any thing less than an equal Return of Love. Not the warmest Expressions of Affection, the softest and most tender Hypocrisy, are able to give any Satisfaction, where we are not persuaded that the Affection is real and the Satisfaction mutual. For the jealous Man wishes himself a kind of Deity to the Person he loves: He would be the only Pleasure of her Senses, the Employment of her Thoughts; and is angry at every thing she admires, or takes Delight in, besides himself.

Phaedria’s Request to his Mistress, upon his leaving her for three Days, is inimitably beautiful and natural.

Cum milite isto praesens, absens ut sies:
Dies, noctesque me ames: me desideres:
Me somnies: me exspectes: de me cogites:
Me speres: me te oblectes: mecum tola sis:
Meus fac sis postremo animus, quando ego sum tuus.

Ter. Eun. [2]

The Jealous Man’s Disease is of so malignant a Nature, that it converts all he takes into its own Nourishment. A cool Behaviour sets him on the Rack, and is interpreted as an instance of Aversion or Indifference; a fond one raises his Suspicions, and looks too much like Dissimulation and Artifice. If the Person he loves be cheerful, her Thoughts must be employed on another; and if sad, she is certainly thinking on himself. In short, there is no Word or Gesture so insignificant, but it gives him new Hints, feeds his Suspicions, and furnishes him with fresh Matters of Discovery: So that if we consider the effects of this Passion, one would rather think it proceeded from an inveterate Hatred than an excessive Love; for certainly none can meet with more Disquietude and Uneasiness than a suspected Wife, if we except the jealous Husband.

But the great Unhappiness of this Passion is, that it naturally tends to alienate the Affection which it is so solicitous to engross; and that for these two Reasons, because it lays too great a Constraint on the Words and Actions of the suspected Person, and at the same time shews you have no honourable Opinion of her; both of which are strong Motives to Aversion.