Ah love.
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" My dear Lady...I don't love you. I'm actually having a heart attack. And the only cure...is more cowbell! "

Love is the topic of a mind-numbing number of Shakespearean plays and also Maroon 5 songs. It is odd then that so much emphasis would be placed on love because in Elizabethan times, there was very little of it. Marriage was done as a business arrangement or perhaps to settle a feud. It was common knowledge that it was not wise to marry for love. Here are some other fast facts.
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(Most of this is directly quoted from the Life In Elizabethan England Comprendium. See Bibliography)
  • Courtship in those days was not what it was today. If a young man wanted to gain the attention of a young woman, he would write her a sonnet.
  • A marriage contract includes provision both for the bride's dowry and for a jointure, or settlement, in cash and property by the husband's family, that guarantees her welfare should her husband die first.
  • With parental permission, boys are legal to marry at 14, girls at 12, though it is not recommended so early. One comes of age at 21.
  • It is generally considered foolish to marry for love, although love may occur in marriage.
  • Everyone wants (and expects) to have children.
  • A marriage contract includes provision both for the bride's dowry and for a jointure, or settlement, in cash and property by the husband's family, that guarantees her welfare should her husband die first.
  • Children are the property of their parents, and give them the respect a servant gives his master. Or else.
  • Wives are the property of their husbands. See previous admonition.
  • Widows can own property and run their own businesses. A widow is entitled to 1/3 of her husband's estates (after the bills are paid), if he has heirs. All of it if he does not. This "widow's thirds" is separate from and in addition to her jointure.
  • It is still considered a good idea to re-marry to protect one's interests, however. There are minor problems to do with whether a woman's word or signature is legally binding. And her friends worry about her being taken advantage of by sharp servants, especially if she wants to marry one of them.
  • In general, every man wants to marry too, or at least acknowledges that he must. If he is not noble, he must be married to become the legal head of a household and eligible to hold public or ecclesiastical office and other positions of civic responsibility.
  • If you think about it, most songs are about love. Not just Maroon 5.