I have just been reading part of the Canterbury Tales, written by Geoffrey Chaucer in the late fourteenth century, and I came across this section from The Franklin’s Tale (I will change the language a bit so that it is easier to read):
For one thing, sires, safely dare I say
that lovers each other must obey
if they will long keep company.
Love will not be forced by domination.
When domination comes, the god of love then
beats his wings, and farewell, he is gone!
Love is a thing as any spirit free.
Women, by nature, desire liberty,
and not to be constrained as a slave;
and so do men, if I tell it true.
It goes on to speak about the importance of patience in love – it is a ‘high virtue’ for it vanquishes things that ‘rigour’ (aggression or unyielding resistance) can never attain. I love this! There is a history of respectful relationships in English literature it seems, that goes back to some of the earliest writing in the language. Good hey!