Books

Top 50 romantic quotes from literature

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Stylist Team
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Here’s our pick of the best love quotes in literature, poems and passages from historic, classic and contemporary books and plays.

From classic romance novels like Gone With the Wind, well-known plays such as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and modern works like The Notebook, we’ve picked out some of the most famous, beautifully written and romantic quotes from literature.

Whether you’re looking for a love poem as inspiration for a wedding reading, or you’re just a book lover with a preference for whimsy, this list is full of passionate prose.

We’ve broken the list into six sections, with love quotes taken from contemporary literature, historic stories, classic novels, books that have become films, love poetry and plays. Some are romance novels entirely: for others, though, love might just be a small part of their stories. Together we think they make a collection of the best romantic quotes from literature, ever. 

Romantic movie quotes that originated from literature 

Gone with the Wind

“You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.”

Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Read it here and watch it here

Romantic quotes from literature

“When you fall in love, it is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake, and then it subsides. And when it subsides, you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots are to become 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 desire to mate every second of the day. It is not lying awake at night imagining that he is kissing every part of your body. No … don’t blush. I am telling you some truths. For that is just being in love; which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over, when being in love has burned away. Doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? But it is!”

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières

Read it here and watch it here

Brokeback Mountain

“I wish I knew how to quit you.”

BrokeBack Mountain by Annie Proulx

Read it here and watch it here

The Notebook

“I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived: I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.”

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

Read it here and watch it here

Romantic quotes in literature

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen

Read it here and watch it here

The Great Gatsby

“He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning-fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed for him like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Read it here and watch it here 

Atonement

“I’ve never had a moment’s doubt. I love you. I believe in you completely. You are my dearest one. My reason for life.”

Atonement by Ian McEwan

Read it here and watch it here

Quotes from historical romance novels 

The White Company

“You are my heart, my life, my one and only thought.”

The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle

Read it here

Romantic quotes from books

“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.”

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Read it here

Possession

“I cannot let you burn me up, nor can I resist you. No mere human can stand in a fire and not be consumed.”

Possession by A.S. Byatt

Read it here

war and peace

We are asleep until we fall in love!”

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Read it here and watch it here

all the light we cannot see

“He sweeps her hair back from her ears; he swings her above his head. He says she is his émerveillement. He says he will never leave her, not in a million years.”

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Read it here 

romantic book quotes

“I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I can’t do anything but think about him. At night I dream of him, all day I wait to see him, and when I do see him my heart turns over and I think I will faint with desire.”

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Read it here and watch it here

the essex serpent

“We’ve loved each other so long I’ve never been a man and not loved her.”

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

Read it here 

romantic quotes from books

“You are sunlight through a window, which I stand in, warmed. My darling.”

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

Read it here 

Romantic quotes from plays

romeo and juliet

“Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”

Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Read it here and watch it here

romantic book quotes

“She is a mortal danger to all men. She is beautiful without knowing it, and possesses charms that she’s not even aware of. She is like a trap set by nature - a sweet perfumed rose in whose petals Cupid lurks in ambush! Anyone who has seen her smile has known perfection. She instills grace in every common thing and divinity in every careless gesture. Venus in her shell was never so lovely, and Diana in the forest never so graceful as my Lady when she strides through Paris!”

Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

Read it here

romantic book quotes

“Soul meets soul on lovers’ lips.”

Prometheus Unbound by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Read it here

the rover

“One hour of right down love is worth an age of dully living on.”

The Rover by Aphra Benn

Read it here

hamlet

“Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love.”

Hamlet by William Shakespeare

Read it here 

Literary love quotes from historical novels 

little women

“Love is a great beautifier.”

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Read it here and watch it here 

far from the madding crowd

“Her love was entire as a child’s, and though warm as summer it was fresh as spring.”

Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Read it here and watch it here

david copperfield

“She was more than human to me. She was a Fairy, a Sylph, I don’t know what she was - anything that no one ever saw, and everything that everybody ever wanted. I was swallowed up in an abyss of love in an instant. There was no pausing on the brink; no looking down, or looking back; I was gone, headlong, before I had sense to say a word to her.”

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Read it here

love poetry from books

“Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear.”

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Read it here and watch it here

vanity fair

“It is better to love wisely, no doubt: but to love foolishly is better than not to be able to love at all.”

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray

Read it here and watch it here 

romantic book quotes

“You and I, it’s as though we have been taught to kiss in heaven and sent down to earth together, to see if we know what we were taught.”

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Read it here and watch it here

romantic novel quotes

“I have waited for this opportunity for more than half a century, to repeat to you once again my vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love.”

Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez

Read it here

wuthering heights

“Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Read it here 

romantic quotes from literature

“It is not time or opportunity that is to determine intimacy; - it is disposition alone. Seven years would be insufficient to make some people acquainted with each other, and seven days are more than enough for others.”

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Read it here 

dangerous liaisons

“Now, I’m not going to deny that I was aware of your beauty. But the point is, this has nothing to do with your beauty. As I got to know you, I began to realise that beauty was the least of your qualities. I became fascinated by your goodness. I was drawn in by it. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. And it was only when I began to feel actual, physical pain every time you left the room that it finally dawned on me: I was in love, for the first time in my life. I knew it was hopeless, but that didn’t matter to me. And it’s not that I want to have you. All I want is to deserve you. Tell me what to do. Show me how to behave. I’ll do anything you say.”

Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos

Read it here

romance novel quotes

“All hopes of eternity and all gain from the past he would have given to have her there, to be wrapped warm with him in one blanket, and sleep, only sleep. It seemed the sleep with the woman in his arms was the only necessity.”

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Read it here and watch it here

north and south

“All this gladness in life, all honest pride in doing my work in the world, all this keen sense of being, I owe to her!” And it doubles the gladness, it makes the pride glow, it sharpens the sense of existence till I hardly know if it is pain or pleasure, to think that I owe it to one - nay, you must, you shall hear” - said he, stepping forwards with stern determination - “to one whom I love, as I do not believe man ever loved woman before.”

North And South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Read it here

the portrait of a lady

“It has made me better loving you … it has made me wiser, and easier, and brighter. I used to want a great many things before, and to be angry that I did not have them. Theoretically, I was satisfied. I flattered myself that I had limited my wants. But I was subject to irritation; I used to have morbid sterile hateful fits of hunger, of desire. Now I really am satisfied, because I can’t think of anything better.”

The Portrait Of A Lady by Henry James

Read it here

Quotes from love poems

best love poetry quotes

“I would love to say that you make me weak in the knees but to be quite upfront and completely truthful you make my body forget it has knees at all.” 

Love Language, Chasers of the Light by Tyler Knott Gregson 

Read it here 

love poetry quotes

“Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all.”

 In Memoriam A.H.H. by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Read it here

best love poetry quotes

“He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest.”

Stop All The Clocks by W.H. Auden

Read it here

best love poetry

“He feeds upon her face by day and night, And she with true kind eyes looks back on him, Fair as the moon and joyful as the light.”

In An Artist’s Studio by Christina Rossetti

Read it here

Robert Burns' poems

“O, my luve’s like a red, red rose, That’s newly sprung in June.”

 My Luve Is Like A Red Red Rose by Robert Burns

Read it here

william blake poems

“Love seeketh not itself to please, Nor for itself hath any care; But for another gives its ease, And builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair.”

The Clod And The Pebble by William Blake

Read it here

best love poem quotes

“We loved with a love that was more than love.”

Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe

Read it here

rupi kaur quotes

“You might not have been my first love, but you were the love that made all the other loves irrelevant”

milk and honey by Rupi Kaur

Read it here

bending the universe

“Love starts as a feeling, but to continue is a choice. And I find myself choosing you, more and more every day.” 

Bending The Universe by Justin Wetch

Read it here 

shakespeare's sonnets

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depths and breadth and height my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight for the ends of being and idea grace.”

Sonnet 43 by William Shakespeare

Read it here

Romantic quotes from contemporary novels 

the god of small things

“The way her body existed only where he touched her. The rest of her was smoke.”

The God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Read it here

the english patient

“Her life with others no longer interests him. He wants only her stalking beauty, her theatre of expressions. He wants the minute secret reflection between them, the depth of field minimal, their foreignness intimate like two pages of a closed book.”

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje

Read it here and watch it here

unaccustomed earth

“That the last two letters in her name were the first two in his, a silly thing he never mentioned to her but caused him to believe that they were bound together.”

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

Read it here 

a walk to remember quotes

“Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous, love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful.”

A Walk to Remember by Nicholoas Sparks

Read it here and watch it here

eat pray love quotes

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.”

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

 Read it here and watch it here

the goldfinch

“And the flavor of Pippa’s kiss–bittersweet and strange–stayed with me all the way back uptown, swaying and sleepy as I sailed home on the bus, melting with sorrow and loveliness, a starry ache that lifted me up above the windswept city like a kite: my head in the rainclouds, my heart in the sky.”

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

Read it here

the fault in our stars

“I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”

The Fault in Our Stars by John Greene

Read it here and watch it here

Images: Courtesy of publishing houses