Hero and Leander "Who Ever Loved That Loved Not At First Sight?"
by Christopher Marlowe

Start Your Free Trial

Download Hero and Leander Study Guide

Subscribe Now

"Who Ever Loved That Loved Not At First Sight?"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Leander, a youth who lives in Abydos, goes to the feast for Adonis held at Sestros, which is across the Hellespont from his home. At the temple there, he sees the priestess of Aphrodite, Hero. As she lifts her head from "sacrificing turtles' blood" her gaze meets that of Leander, and they instantly fall in love. The idea of instantaneous love was used by Shakespeare in As You Like It, Act III, sc. V, l. 82, by George Chapman in The Blind Beggar of Alexandria (1598), and rather closely paralleled by Edward Gibbon in Memoirs (1796). Marlowe says:

It lies not in our power to love or hate,
For will in us is overrul'd by fate.
. . .
Where both deliberate, the love is slight;
Who ever lov'd, that lov'd not at first sight?