In this essay, Bacon examines the overall negative results of love, particularly a love arising out of lust and carnal desires. From the beginning, he states that the way love is often portrayed in theater is misleading. While it is frequently recognized as being comedic and light, the actuality is that love often brings great "mischief."
Bacon admonishes men who engage in an uninhibited love. He claims that these men make themselves insignificant by using high flattery. Such efforts devalue one's own sense of self and are unbecoming. Bacon concludes that it is "impossible to love, and to be wise."
Love that is not reciprocated also lessens a man's character, according to Bacon. He states that men who attempt to flatter women will face one of two outcomes: either the woman will reciprocate those feelings or she will hold "contempt" toward him for engaging in unsolicited efforts to woo her. If rejected, a man faces deflated self-esteem and feelings of self-doubt.
Bacon maintains that men who engage too passionately in "amorous affection" abandon their own wisdom. Additionally, they are likely to forsake their acquired wealth as they seek out the sensual pleasures which women can offer. They are much more likely to engage in unrestrained acts of passion during times of "great prosperity" than they are when facing "great adversity." As men pursue their own sensual pleasures, they often abandon their business, health, and wealth.
He concludes by examining the particular influences of both love and wine on men who engage in fighting (such as warriors). These men seem to look toward the pleasures of life, as women and alcohol can offer, to alleviate the "perils" they often endure.
In closing, Bacon acknowledges the benefits of marriage, as this kind of love "maketh mankind." Additionally, friendly love makes life more perfect. Conversely, sexual promiscuity embarrasses both the true nature of love and the man who seeks such pleasures.