William Penn's Welcome Week

This page: www.ushistory.org/penn/history/fruitsofsolitude.htm


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 ushistory.org Homepage

"Some Fruits of Solitude" by William Penn (excerpts)

Some thoughts on the relationship between Man and Wife

The section entitled "RIGHT MARRIAGE"

79. Never Marry but for Love; but see that thou lov'st what is lovely

80. If Love be not thy chiefest Motive, thou wilt soon grow weary of a Married State, and stray from thy Promise, to search out Pleasures in forbidden Places.

81. Let not Enjoyment lessen, but augment Affection; it being the basest of Passions to like when we have not, what we slight when we possess.

82-3. It is the difference betwixt Lust and Love, that this is fixt, that volatile. Love grows, Lust wastes by Enjoyment: And the Reason is, that one springs from an Union of Souls, and the other from an Union of Sense. They have Diverse Origins, and so are of different Families: That inward and deep, this superficial; this transient, and that paramount.

84. They that Marry for Money cannot have the true Satisfaction of Marriage; that requisite Means being wanting.

85-6. Men are generally more careful of the Breed of their Horses and Dogs than of their Children. Those must be of the best Sort, for Shape, Strength, Courage and good Conditions: But as for these, their own Posterity, Money shall answer all Things. With such, it makes the Crooked Straight, sets Squint-Eyes Right, cures Madness, covers Folly, changes ill Conditions, mends the Skin, gives a sweet Breath, repairs Honor, makes Young, works Wonders.

87. O how sordid is Man grown! Man, the noblest Creature in the World, as a God on Earth, and the Image of him that made it; thus to mistake Earth for Heaven, and worship gold for God!

From the section entitled "AVARICE"

92. But in Marriage do thou be wise; prefer the Person before Money; Virtue before Beauty; the Mind before the Body; then thou hast a Wife, a Friend, a Companion, a Second Self; one that bears an equal Share with thee in all thy Toils and Troubles.

93. Choose one that Measures her satisfaction, Safety and Danger, by thine; and of whom thou art sure, as of thy secretest Thoughts: A Friend as well as a Wife, which indeed a Wife implies: For she is but half a Wife that is not, or is not capable of being such a Friend.

94. Sexes make no Difference; since in Souls there is none: And they are Subjects of Friendship.

95. He that minds a Body and not a Soul, has not the better Part of the Relation; and will consequently want the Noblest Comfort of a Married Life.

96. The Satisfaction of our Senses is low, short, and transient: But the Mind gives a more raised and extended Pleasure, and is capable of an Happiness founded upon Reason: not bounded and limited by the Circumstances that Bodies are confin'd to.

97. Here it is we ought to search out our Pleasure, where the Field is large and full of Variety, and of an enduring Nature: Sickness, Poverty or Disgrace, being not able to shake it, because it is not under the moving Influences of Worldly Contingencies.

98. The Satisfaction of those that do so is in well-doing, and in the Assurance they have of a future Reward: That they are best loved of those they love most, and that they enjoy and value the Liberty of their Minds above that of their Bodies; having the whole Creation for their Prospect, the most Noble and Wonderful Works and Providences of God, the Histories of the Ancients, and in them the Actions and Examples of the Virtuous; and lastly, themselves, their Affairs and Family, to exercise their Minds and Friendships upon.

99. Nothing can be more entire and without Reserve; nothing more zealous, affectionate and sincere; nothing more contented and constant than such a Couple; nor no greater temporal Felicity than to be one of them.

100. Between a Man and his Wife nothing ought to rule but Love. Authority is for Children and Servants; yet not without sweetness.

101. As Love ought to bring them together, so it is the best Way to keep them well together.


Information on this page provided by James Quinn. Visit Gwynedd (Pennsylvania) Friends Meeting.