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date: 20 January 2021


  1. You know very well that love is, above all, the gift of oneself!
    Jean Anouilh 1910–87 French dramatist: Ardèle (1949)
  2. Is it prickly to touch as a hedge is,
    Or soft as eiderdown fluff?
    Is it sharp or quite smooth at the edges?
    O tell me the truth about love.
    W. H. Auden 1907–73 English poet: ‘Oh Tell Me the Truth about Love’ (1938)
  3. All the privilege I claim for my own sex…is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone.
    Jane Austen 1775–1817 English novelist: Persuasion (1818) ch. 23
  4. Love is just a system for getting someone to call you darling after sex.
    Julian Barnes 1946–  English novelist: Talking It Over (1991)
  5. The fate of love is that it always seems too little or too much.
    Amelia E. Barr 1831–1919 American writer and journalist: The Belle of Bolling Green (1904) ch. 4
  6. To love someone is to isolate him from the world, wipe out every trace of him, dispossess him of his shadow, drag him into a murderous future. It is to circle around the other like a dead star and absorb him into a black light.
    Jean Baudrillard 1929–2007 French sociologist and cultural critic: Fatal Strategies (1983)
  7. With love, you see, even too much is not enough.
    Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais 1732–99 French dramatist: The Marriage of Figaro (1784) act 4, sc. 1
  8. Love ceases to be a pleasure, when it ceases to be a secret.
    Aphra Behn 1640–89 English dramatist, poet, and novelist: The Lover's Watch (1686) ‘Four o' Clock. General Conversation’
  9. Love is free; it is not practised as a way of achieving other ends.
    Pope Benedict XVI 1927–  German cleric: Deus Caritas Est (God is Love, 2005)
  10. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up…
    Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
    Charity never faileth.
    ‘Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; It does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends’ in the Revised Standard Version (1946–57)
    The Bible (Authorized Version, 1611): I Corinthians ch. 13, v. 4
  11. 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.
    William Blake 1757–1827 English poet: Songs of Experience (1794) ‘The Clod and the Pebble’
  12. In her first passion woman loves her lover,
    In all the others all she loves is love.
    Lord Byron 1788–1824 English poet: Don Juan (1819–24) canto 3, st. 3
  13. Cuando amor no es locura
    no es amor.
    When love is not madness, it is not love.
    Pedro Calderón de La Barca 1600–81 Spanish dramatist and poet: El Mayor Monstruo Los Celos [Jealousy, the Greatest Monster] (1637) act 1
  14. when asked if he was ‘in love’:
    Yes…whatever that may mean.
    Charles, Prince of Wales 1948–  heir apparent to the British throne: interview after the announcement of his engagement, 24 February 1981
  15. If grass can grow through cement, love can find you at every time in your life.
    Cher 1946–  American singer and actress: in The Times 30 May 1998
  16. L'amor che muove il sole e l'altre stelle.
    The love that moves the sun and the other stars.
    Dante Alighieri 1265–1321 Italian poet: Divina Commedia ‘Paradiso’ canto 33, l. 145
  17. Much love much trial, but what an utter desert is life without love.
    Charles Darwin 1809–82 English natural historian: letter to Joseph Hooker, 27 November 1863
  18. Selfhood begins with a walking away,
    And love is proved in the letting go.
    C. Day-Lewis 1904–72 English poet and critic: ‘Walking Away’ (1962)
  19. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away.
    Louis de Bernières 1954–  English novelist and short-story writer: Captain Corelli's Mandolin (1994)
  20. Love is anterior to life,
    Posterior to death,
    Initial of creation, and
    The exponent of breath.
    Emily Dickinson 1830–86 American poet: ‘Love is anterior to life’
  21. The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can ever end.
    Benjamin Disraeli 1804–81 British Tory statesman and novelist; Prime Minister 1868, 1874–80: Henrietta Temple (1837)
  22. For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love.
    John Donne 1572–1631 English poet and divine: Songs and Sonnets ‘The Canonization’
  23. I am the Love that dare not speak its name.
    Lord Alfred Douglas 1870–1945 English poet: ‘Two Loves’ (1896)
  24. There is a kind of love called maintenance,
    Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it.
    U. A. Fanthorpe 1929–2009 English poet: ‘Atlas’ (1995)
  25. Plaisir d'amour ne dure qu'un moment,
    Chagrin d'amour dure toute la vie.
    Love's pleasure lasts but a moment;
    Love's sorrow lasts all through life.
    Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian 1755–94 French writer and poet: Célestine (1784)
  26. Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace!
    Where there is hatred let me sow love;
    Where there is injury, pardon;
    Where there is doubt, faith;
    Where there is despair, hope;
    Where there is darkness, light;
    Where there is sadness, joy.
    St Francis of Assisi 1181–1226 Italian monk: ‘Prayer of St Francis’ (attributed)
  27. Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says: ‘I need you because I love you.’
    Erich Fromm 1900–80 American philosopher and psychologist: The Art of Loving (1956) ch. 2
  28. If I love you, what does that matter to you!
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 1749–1832 German poet, novelist, and dramatist: Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (1795–6) bk. 4, ch. 9
  29. Love is a universal migraine.
    A bright stain on the vision
    Blotting out reason.
    Robert Graves 1895–1985 English poet: ‘Symptoms of Love’
  30. Mein Herz ich will dich fragen:
    Was ist denn Liebe? Sag'!—
    Zwei Seelen und ein Gedanke,
    Zwei Herzen und ein Schlag!
    What love is, if thou wouldst be taught,
    Thy heart must teach alone—
    Two souls with but a single thought,
    Two hearts that beat as one.
    Friedrich Halm 1806–71 German dramatist: Der Sohn der Wildnis (1842) act 2
  31. When love congeals
    It soon reveals
    The faint aroma of performing seals,
    The double crossing of a pair of heels.
    I wish I were in love again!
    Lorenz Hart 1895–1943 American songwriter: ‘I Wish I Were in Love Again’ (1937 song) in Babes in Arms
  32. Love is mutually feeding each other, not one living on another like a ghoul.
    Bessie Head 1937–86 South African-born writer: A Question of Power (1973)
  33. Passion makes the world go round. Love just makes it a safer place.
    Ice-T 1958–  American rap musician: The Ice Opinion (as told to Heidi Sigmund, 1994) ch. 4
  34. Love's like the measles—all the worse when it comes late in life.
    Douglas Jerrold 1803–57 English dramatist and journalist: The Wit and Opinions of Douglas Jerrold (1859)
  35. We love well only once, the first time. The loves which follow are less involuntary.
    Jean de la Bruyère 1645–96 French satiric moralist: Les Caractères ou les moeurs de ce siècle (1688) ‘Du Coeur’
  36. Love. Of course, love. Flames for a year, ashes for thirty.
    Giuseppe di Lampedusa 1896–1957 Italian writer: The Leopard (1957)
  37. What will survive of us is love.
    Philip Larkin 1922–85 English poet: ‘An Arundel Tomb’ (1964)
  38. There is no disguise which can hide love for long where it exists, or feign it where it does not.
    Duc de la Rochefoucauld 1613–80 French moralist: Maximes (1678) no. 70
  39. Only the flow matters: live and let live, love and let love. There is no point to love and life.
    D. H. Lawrence 1885–1930 English novelist and poet: ‘Do Women Change?’ (1930)
  40. Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.
    Ursula K. Le Guin 1929–2018 American writer: The Lathe of Heaven (1971) ch. 10
  41. Love means never having to say you're sorry.
    Love Story 1970 film: written by Erich Segal (1937–2010); the line in the novel (1970) was ‘Love means not ever having to say you're sorry’
  42. How alike are the groans of love to those of the dying.
    Malcolm Lowry 1909–57 English novelist: Under the Volcano (1947)
  43. If only one could tell true love from false love as one can tell mushrooms from toadstools.
    Katherine Mansfield 1888–1923 New Zealand-born short-story writer: ‘Love and Mushrooms’, journal entry (1917)
  44. Where both deliberate, the love is slight;
    Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?
    Christopher Marlowe 1564–93 English dramatist and poet: Hero and Leander (1598) First Sestiad, l. 175
  45. The love that lasts longest is the love that is never returned.
    W. Somerset Maugham 1874–1965 English novelist: A Writer's Notebook (1949) written in 1894
  46. Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.
    H. L. Mencken 1880–1956 American journalist and literary critic: Chrestomathy (1949) ch. 30; see Shaw
  47. The things that we love tell us what we are.
    summarizing a passage from St Thomas Aquinas, and often wrongly attributed to him; see Thomas Aquinas
    Thomas Merton 1915–68 American Trappist monk and writer: Thoughts in Solitude (1958)
  48. No, there's nothing half so sweet in life
    As love's young dream.
    Thomas Moore 1779–1852 Irish musician and songwriter: Irish Melodies (1807) ‘Love's Young Dream’
  49. Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real. Love, and so art and morals, is the discovery of reality.
    Iris Murdoch 1919–99 English novelist: ‘The Sublime and the Good’ in Chicago Review 13 (1959)
  50. If I can't love Hitler, I can't love at all.
    A. J. Muste 1885–1967 American pacifist: at a Quaker meeting 1940; in New York Times 12 February 1967
  51. Es tan corto el amor, y es tan largo el olvido.
    Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
    Pablo Neruda 1904–73 Chilean poet: ‘Tonight I Can Write’ (1924)
  52. Most people experience love, without noticing that there is anything remarkable about it.
    Boris Pasternak 1890–1960 Russian novelist and poet: Doctor Zhivago (1958) pt. 2, ch. 13, sect. 10
  53. Birds do it, bees do it,
    Even educated fleas do it.
    Let's do it, let's fall in love.
    Cole Porter 1891–1964 American songwriter: ‘Let's Do It’ (1954 song; words added to the 1928 original)
  54. But true love is a durable fire,
    In the mind ever burning,
    Never sick, never old, never dead,
    From itself never turning.
    Walter Ralegh c.1552–1618 English explorer and courtier: ‘Walsinghame’
  55. Love gratified, is love satisfied—and love satisfied, is indifference begun.
    Samuel Richardson 1689–1761 English novelist: Clarissa (1751) vol. 4, letter 23
  56. Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.
    Rainer Maria Rilke 1875–1926 German poet: Letters to a Young Poet (1929) 14 May 1904 (tr. Hugh MacLennan)
  57. Experience shows us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction.
    Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 1900–44 French novelist: Terre des Hommes (translated as ‘Wind, Sand and Stars’, 1939) ch. 8
  58. Love rules the court, the camp, the grove
    And men below and saints above
    For love is heaven, and heaven is love.
    Sir Walter Scott 1771–1832 Scottish novelist and poet: The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805) canto 3, stanza 2
  59. The course of true love never did run smooth.
    William Shakespeare 1564–1616 English dramatist: A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595–6) act 1, sc. 1, l. 134 (Oxford Standard Authors ed.)
  60. To be wise, and love,
    Exceeds man's might.
    William Shakespeare 1564–1616 English dramatist: Troilus and Cressida (1602) act 3, sc. 2, l. [163] (Oxford Standard Authors ed.)
  61. Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments. Love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds.
    William Shakespeare 1564–1616 English dramatist: Sonnet 116 (Oxford Standard Authors ed.)
  62. We cease loving ourselves if no one loves us.
    Mme de Staël 1766–1817 French writer: Sophie (1786)
  63. To say a man is fallen in love,—or that he is deeply in love,—or up to the ears in love,—and sometimes even over head and ears in it,—carries an idiomatical kind of implication, that love is a thing below a man.
    Laurence Sterne 1713–68 English novelist: Tristram Shandy (1759–67) bk. 6, ch. 37
  64. Love is the fart
    Of every heart:
    It pains a man when 'tis kept close,
    And others doth offend, when 'tis let loose.
    John Suckling 1609–42 English poet and dramatist: ‘Love's Offence’ (1646)
  65. 'Tis better to have loved and lost
    Than never to have loved at all.
    Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809–92 English poet: In Memoriam A. H. H. (1850) canto 27; see Clough, Congreve
  66. In the spring a livelier iris changes on the burnished dove;
    In the spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.
    Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1809–92 English poet: ‘Locksley Hall’ (1842) l. 19
  67. Omnia vincit Amor: et nos cedamus Amori.
    Love conquers all things: let us too give in to Love.
    Virgil 70–19 bc Roman poet: Eclogues no. 10, l. 69; see Chaucer
  68. Yet each man kills the thing he loves,
    By each let this be heard,
    Some do it with a bitter look,
    Some with a flattering word.
    The coward does it with a kiss,
    The brave man with a sword!
    Oscar Wilde 1854–1900 Irish dramatist and poet: The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898) pt. 1, st. 7
  69. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and a land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.
    Thornton Wilder 1897–1975 American novelist and dramatist: The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927), closing words
  70. A woman can be proud and stiff
    When on love intent;
    But Love has pitched his mansion in
    The place of excrement;
    For nothing can be sole or whole
    That has not been rent.
    W. B. Yeats 1865–1939 Irish poet: ‘Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop’ (1932)