It’s probably not just by chance that I’m alone. It would be very hard for a man to live with me, unless he’s terribly strong. And if he’s stronger than I, I’m the one who can’t live with him. … I’m neither smart nor stupid, but I don’t think I’m a run-of-the-mill person. I’ve been in business without being a businesswoman, I’ve loved without being a woman made only for love. The two men I’ve loved, I think, will remember me, on earth or in heaven, because men always remember a woman who caused them concern and uneasiness. I’ve done my best, in regard to people and to life, without precepts, but with a taste for justice.
LEONATOWell, then, go you into hell?BEATRICENo, but to the gate; and there will the devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with horns on his head, and say 'Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven; here's no place for you maids:' so deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter for the heavens; he shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as the day is long.
LEONATOWell, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.BEATRICENot till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be overmastered with a pierce of valiant dust? to make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle, I'll none: Adam's sons are my brethren; and, truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.
If [God] send me no husband, for the which blessing I am at him upon my knees every morning and evening ...
(Response to King Erik XIV of Sweden's proposal of marriage:)[W]hile we perceive ... the zeal and love of your mind towards us is not diminished, yet in part we are grieved that we cannot gratify your Serene Highness with the same kind of affection. And that indeed does not happen because we doubt in any way of your love and honour, but, as often we have testified both in words and writing, that we have never yet conceived a feeling of that kind of affection towards anyone.We therefore beg your Serene Highness again and again that you be pleased to set a limit to your love, that it advance not beyond the laws of friendship for the present nor disregard them in the future. ... We certainly think that if God ever direct our hearts to consideration of marriage we shall never accept or choose any absent husband how powerful and wealthy a Prince soever. But that we are not to give you an answer until we have seen your person is so far from the thing itself that we never even considered such a thing. I have always given both to your brother ... and also to your ambassador likewise the same answer with scarcely any variation of the words, that we do not conceive in our heart to take a husband but highly commend this single life, and hope that your Serene Highness will no longer spend time in waiting for us.
If I follow the inclination of my nature, it is this: beggar-woman and single, far rather than queen and married.
There are some who want to get married and others who don't. I have never had an impulse to go to the altar. I am a difficult person to lead.
[I]n the end this shall be for me sufficient, that a marble stone shall declare that a Queen, having reigned such a time, lived and died a virgin.
Which crime has the female sex committed to be sentenced to the harsh necessity which consists of being locked up all life either as a prisoner or a slave? I call the nuns prisoners and the married women slaves.
The desire to get married is a basic and primal instinct in women. It's followed by another basic and primal instinct: the desire to be single again.
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife. However little known the feelings or views of such a man may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding families, that he is considered as the rightful property of someone or other of their daughters.
I say this explicitly, that it is impossible for me to marry. That is the way it is for me. My temper is a mortal enemy to this horrible yoke, which I would not accept, even if I thus would become the ruler of the world.