As Valentine’s Day approaches, some of us are trying to think of those perfect captions to put into our cards and what to say to our loved ones. Often, nothing else captures exactly what we mean to say quite like writers and their magical uses of language. Coincidently, love and relationships are written about frequently in literature, so there is scope to find the perfect quote on love, whatever your outlook.
I am a huge fan of romantic quotes, from the soppy outright romantic ones, to those about love gone wrong, to those with the truly honest advice on love. Books and poems, alongside music and unrealistic rom-coms, were my first real education on love and just how many emotions it can invoke in all of us. Here are some of my personal favorite romantic quotes to get you into a Valentine’s Day kind of mood!
1) “Love is a temporary madness, it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion, it is not the desire to mate every second minute of the day, it is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every cranny of your body. No, don’t blush, I am telling you some truths. That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.” – Louis de Bernières, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
I have not read this book but still this is my favorite romantic quote. De Berniere’s quote is beautiful but it is also a quote that is very truthful (for want of a better word) about relationships – its truthfulness lies in the fact that the cornerstone of a lasting relationship lies beyond lust and ultimately comes down to whether you could imagine your life without the other person. As I have grown up, both literally and in my experiences of love, this quote becomes more meaningful than ever and is the one that I feel best encapsulates what romantic love becomes.
2) “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same”- Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
A very famous quote from an incredibly famous romantic novel. Obviously a classic needed to be included in the list! Bronte’s classic is a constant cycle of ups and downs (mainly downs) between the two protagonists Cathy and Heathcliff that presents the tough side of love forbidden by wider social factors.
This quote is my personal favourite and is the most heartfelt line uttered in the entire novel. The closeness between Cathy and Heathcliff is obviously noted throughout the novel but this quote epitomizes it. As a romantic quote, it causes us to question whether our lovers should be part of ourselves. I love this quote because, having studied Wuthering Heights at sixth form, found myself feeling such a range of emotions about the constant rollercoaster of love that Bronte takes you on, but this quote brings you down to earth as a reminder of just how intense the relationship between Heathcliff and Cathy is.
3) “When he went back to the fire he knelt and smoothed her hair as she slept and he said if he were God he would have made the world just so and no different” – Cormac McCarthy, The Road
A romantic quote from a post-apocalyptic novel, a little bit unconventional, but hey love is also unconventional at times. This quote is from McCarthy’s gritty novel The Road, which mainly depicts the struggles of a father and son in a world completely devastated. This quote is a flashback from the main character (he is not named in the novel) of his wife. McCarthy’s stripped back style of writing in this novel and this quote in particular, strip love and hope back to its basic level. This quote is one of my favourite romantic quotes because it portrays love as raw but sincere and shows that even in the worst of circumstances, that love can be the most amazing thing and cause you to ignore wider problems because that other person can make you so happy that you don’t care if you are in a post-apocalyptic world.
4) Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee – William Shakespeare, Sonnet 18
No list of quotes about love would be complete without at least one from the master of English literature himself. Although his classic plays such as Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado about Nothing and others have some of the best lines about love, personally, I find there is more of a romantic and honest feel to his sonnets, perhaps because they are both more personal and universal (we have very little information on who these sonnets were produced for or written about).
Sonnet 18 is perhaps his most famous and most quoted but it is a really great sonnet about love, specifically about the eternity of love, which is something often missed. In this sonnet Shakespeare describes a lover and their beauty in relation to the seasons, saying that their beauty will fade, but that their love won’t. Love is likened to summer, warmth and happiness which will always be there. The sonnet prescribes love as something that will transcend time, which is so true.
5) ‘love will come/ and when love comes/ love will hold you/ love will call your name/ and you will melt/ sometimes though/ love will hurt you but/ love will never mean to/ love will play no games/ cause love knows life/ has been hard enough already’ – Rupi Kaur, From Milk and Honey
Rupi Kaur’s anthology of poems and prose in Milk and Honey is raw, intense and wise. This short poem is my personal favourite. The language is simple but yet rich in its content. What I love about this quote is its sheer scope, in such a small amount of words, of what love can do and how it feels. It is a great piece of advice for those who are cynical about love but it is also a realization of the harsh realities of love. Ultimately though, the quote is hopeful and positive about love which is good because although love is awful at times, there is nothing more amazing when it is good (apologies for the over-amount of soppiness).
Image Credit: Michelle Williams