How many young men, in all previous times of unprecedented steadiness, had turned suddenly wild and wicked for the same reason, and, in an ecstasy of unrequited love, taken to wrench off door-knockers, and invert the boxes of rheumatic watchmen!
I do not now begin,--I still adore Her whom I early cherish'd in my breast; Then once again with prudence dispossess'd, And to whose heart I'm driven back once more. The love of Petrarch, that all-glorious love, Was unrequited, and, alas, full sad...
(translated by Edgar Alfred Bowring)
In the cold change which time hath wrought on love (The snowy winter of his summer prime), Should a chance sigh or sudden tear-drop move Thy heart to memory of the olden time; Turn not to gaze on me with pitying eyes, Nor mock me with a withered hope renewed; But from the bower we both have loved, arise And leave me to my barren solitude!
What boots it that a momentary flame Shoots from the ashes of a dying fire? We gaze upon the hearth from whence it came, And know the exhausted embers must expire: Therefore no pity, or my heart will break; Be cold, be careless--for thy past love's sake!
Then, wearied by the uncertainty and difficulties with which each scheme appeared to be attended, he bent up his mind to the strong effort of shaking off his love, like dew-drops from the lion's mane, and resuming those studies and that career of life which his unrequited affection had so long and so fruitlessly interrupted. In this last resolution he endeavoured to fortify himself by every argument which pride, as well as reason, could suggest.
Girls, like men, want to be petted, pitied, and made much of, when they are diffident, in low spirits, or in unrequited love. These are services which the weak cannot render to the strong and which the strong will not render to the weak, except when there is also a difference of sex.
The female that loves unrequited sleeps, And the male that loves unrequited sleeps, The head of the money-maker that plotted all day sleeps, And the enraged and treacherous dispositions, all, all sleep.
-Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass (1891-1892 ver.) (PASSAGE TO INDIA. )
The Solitary answered: Such a Form Full well I recollect. We often crossed Each other's path; but, as the Intruder seemed Fondly to prize the silence which he kept, And I as willingly did cherish mine, We met, and passed, like shadows. I have heard, From my good Host, that being crazed in brain By unrequited love, he scaled the rocks, Dived into caves, and pierced the matted woods, In hope to find some virtuous herb of power To cure his malady!