Now there are two distinct forms which the feeling of love may assume in the mature mind, both of which are gratifying to the object of it, though they are very different, and indeed in some sense exactly the opposite of each other. There is the receiving and the bestowing love. It is true that the two forms are often conjoined, or rather they often exist in intimate combination with each other; but in their nature they are essentially distinct. A young lady, for example, may feel a strong attachment for the gentleman to whom she is engaged—or a wife for her husband—in the sense of liking to receive kindness and attention from him more than from any other man. She may be specially pleased when he invites her to ride with him, or makes her presents, or shows in any way that he thinks of her and seeks her happiness—more so than she would be to receive the same attentions from any other person. This is love. It may be very genuine love; but it is love in the form of taking special pleasure in the kindness and favor bestowed by the object of it. Yet it is none the less true, as most persons have had occasion to learn from their own experience, that this kind of love may be very strong without being accompanied by any corresponding desire on the part of the person manifesting it to make sacrifices of her own ease and comfort in order to give happiness to the object of her love in return.
In the same manner a gentleman may feel a strong sentiment of love for a lady, which shall take the form of enjoying her society, of being happy when he is near her, and greatly pleased at her making sacrifices for his sake, or manifesting in any way a strong attachment for him. There may be also united with this the other form of love—namely, that which would lead him to deny himself and make sacrifices for her. But the two, though they may often—perhaps generally—exist together, are in their nature so essentially different that they may be entirely separated, and we may have one in its full strength while there is very little of the other. You may love a person in the sense of taking greater pleasure in receiving attentions and favors from him than from all the world beside, while yet you seldom think of making efforts to promote his comfort and happiness in any thing in which you are not yourself personally concerned. On the other hand, you may love him with the kind of affection which renders it the greatest pleasure of your life to make sacrifices and endure self-denial to promote his welfare in any way.
In some cases these two forms are in fact entirely separated, and one or the other can exist entirely distinct from the other—as in the case of the kind feelings of a good man towards the poor and miserable. It is quite possible to feel a very strong interest in such objects, and to be willing to put ourselves to considerable inconvenience to make them comfortable and happy, and to take great pleasure in learning that our efforts have been effectual, without feeling any love for them at all in the other form—that is, any desire to have them with us, to receive attentions and kindness from them, and to enjoy their society.