Losing hearts at first sight, soul-entwining sponsored_longforms that only death do part...the complexities and mysteries of romantic feelings have been considered by great poets and writers for centuries. Romantics and cynics alike will appreciate the results of these tortured souls putting pen to paper to convey the most beautiful expressions of love. From classics such as Romeo and Juliet to modern works like The Notebook, ditch anything you ever read from Mills and Boon and embrace the 50 best romantic quotes from literature...
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Compiled by Anna Pollitt. Images: Rex Features
by Leo Tolstoy
“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.”
Gone With The Wind
by Margaret Mitchell
"You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.”
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
by Louis de Bernières
"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!"
by John Donne
"I wonder by my troth, what thou and I Did, till we loved? were we not weaned till then?"
by Jane Austen
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you."
by Annie Proulx
“I wish I knew how to quit you.”
Cyrano de Bergerac
by Edmond Rostand
"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!"
by Victor Hugo
“To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.”
by Nicholas Sparks
"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."
Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady
by Samuel Richardson
“By my soul, I can neither eat, drink, nor sleep; nor, what's still worse, love any woman in the world but her.”
by Boris Pasternak
“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.”
Pride And Prejudice
by Jane Austen
"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."
Love In The Time Of Cholera
by Gabriel García Márquez
"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."
by Emily Brontë
"Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”
by Choderlos de Laclos
"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."
Lady Chatterley's Lover
by D.H. Lawrence
“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.”
North And South
by Elizabeth Gaskell
"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."
by E.M. Forster
"Love had caught him out of triviality and Maurice out of bewilderment in order that two imperfect souls might touch perfection.”
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
"Soul meets soul on lovers' lips."
The Great Gatsby
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
"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."
In Memoriam A.H.H.
by Alfred Lord Tennyson
"'Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all."
Our Mutual Friend
by Charles Dickens
"You know what I am going to say. I love you. What other men may mean when they use that expression, I cannot tell; what I mean is, that I am under the influence of some tremendous attraction which I have resisted in vain, and which overmasters me. You could draw me to fire, you could draw me to water, you could draw me to the gallows, you could draw me to any death, you could draw me to anything I have most avoided, you could draw me to any exposure and disgrace. This and the confusion of my thoughts, so that I am fit for nothing, is what I mean by your being the ruin of me. But if you would return a favourable answer to my offer of myself in marringe, you could draw me to any good - every good - with equal force."
by A.S. Byatt
“I cannot let you burn me up, nor can I resist you. No mere human can stand in a fire and not be consumed.”
The Portrait Of A Lady
by Henry James
“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.”
Rabbi Ben Ezra
by Robert Browning
"Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be."
by Cormac Mccarthy
"Lying under such a myriad of stars. The sea’s black horizon. He rose and walked out and stood barefoot in the sand and watched the pale surf appear all down the shore and roll and crash and darken again. 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.”
by Aphra Benn
"One hour of right down love is worth an age of dully living on."
Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms
by Thomas Moore
"Oh the heart that has truly loved never forgets, But as truly loves on to the close."
by William Makepeace Thackeray
“It is better to love wisely, no doubt: but to love foolishly is better than not to be able to love at all.”
Stop All The Clocks
by W.H. Auden
"He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest."
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by William Shakespeare
"Doubt thou the stars are fire; Doubt that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar; But never doubt I love."
Winnie The Pooh
by A.A. Milne
"If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you."
by Toni Morrison
“She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.”
Romeo and Juliet
by William Shakespeare
"Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night."
by George Eliot
"What greater thing is there for two human souls, than to feel that they are joined for life--to strengthen each other in all labour, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?"
My Luve Is Like A Red Red Rose
by Robert Burns
"O, my luve's like a red, red rose, That's newly sprung in June."
by Charlotte Brontë
“Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear.”
The White Company
by Arthur Conan Doyle
"You are my heart, my life, my one and only thought."
The Age Of Innocence
by Edith Wharton
“Each time you happen to me all over again.”
The God Of Small Things
by Arundhati Roy
“The way her body existed only where he touched her. The rest of her was smoke.”
Sense and Sensibility
by Jane Austen
"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."
The Amber Gods
by Harriet Prescott Spofford
"The winds were warm about us, the whole earth seemed the wealthier for our love."
by Charles Dickens
"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."
The English Patient
by Michael Ondaatje
“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.”
Far From The Madding Crowd
by Thomas Hardy
"Her love was entire as a child's, and though warm as summer it was fresh as spring."
by Jhumpa Lahiri
“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.”
The Clod And The Pebble
by William Blake
"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."
In An Artist's Studio
by Christina Rossetti
"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."
The Map of Love
by Ahdaf Soueif
“Is it that happy stretch of time when the lovers set to chronicling their passion. When no glance, no tone of voice is so fleeting but it shines with significance. When each moment, each perception is brought out with care, unfolded like a precious gem from its layers of the softest tissue paper and laid in front of the beloved - turned this way and that, examined, considered.”
by Ian McEwan
“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.”