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I understand by this passion the union of desire, friendship, and tenderness, which is inflamed by a single female, which prefers her to the rest of her sex, and which seeks her possession as the supreme or the sole happiness of our being.

This quote is about infatuation.

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A bit about Edward Gibbon ...

Edward Gibbon (April 27, 1737 (O.S.) (May 8, 1737 (N.S.)) - January 16, 1794) was arguably the most influential historian since the time of Tacitus. His magnum opus, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, published between 1776 and 1788, is a groundbreaking work whose influence endures to this day.

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I'm female, say nothing