- You know very well that love is, above all, the gift of oneself!
Ardèle (1949) 1910–87 French dramatist:
- 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.
1907–73 English poet: ‘Oh Tell Me the Truth about Love’ (1938)
- All the privilege I claim for my own sex…is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone.
Persuasion (1818) ch. 23 1775–1817 English novelist:
- Love is just a system for getting someone to call you darling after sex.
Talking It Over (1991) 1946– English novelist:
- The fate of love is that it always seems too little or too much.
The Belle of Bolling Green (1904) ch. 4 1831–1919 American writer and journalist:
- 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.
Fatal Strategies (1983) 1929–2007 French sociologist and cultural critic:
- With love, you see, even too much is not enough.
The Marriage of Figaro (1784) act 4, sc. 1 1732–99 French dramatist:
- Love ceases to be a pleasure, when it ceases to be a secret.
The Lover's Watch (1686) ‘Four o' Clock. General Conversation’ 1640–89 English dramatist, poet, and novelist:
- Love is free; it is not practised as a way of achieving other ends.
Deus Caritas Est (God is Love, 2005) 1927– German cleric:
- 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): I Corinthians ch. 13, v. 4
- 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.
Songs of Experience (1794) ‘The Clod and the Pebble’ 1757–1827 English poet:
- In her first passion woman loves her lover,
In all the others all she loves is love.
Don Juan (1819–24) canto 3, st. 3 1788–1824 English poet:
- Cuando amor no es locura
no es amor.
When love is not madness, it is not love.
El Mayor Monstruo Los Celos [Jealousy, the Greatest Monster] (1637) act 1 1600–81 Spanish dramatist and poet:
when asked if he was ‘in love’:Yes…whatever that may mean. 1948– heir apparent to the British throne: interview after the announcement of his engagement, 24 February 1981
- If grass can grow through cement, love can find you at every time in your life.
The Times 30 May 1998 1946– American singer and actress: in
- L'amor che muove il sole e l'altre stelle.
The love that moves the sun and the other stars.
Divina Commedia ‘Paradiso’ canto 33, l. 145 1265–1321 Italian poet:
- Much love much trial, but what an utter desert is life without love. 1809–82 English natural historian: letter to Joseph Hooker, 27 November 1863
- Selfhood begins with a walking away,
And love is proved in the letting go.
1904–72 English poet and critic: ‘Walking Away’ (1962)
- Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin (1994) 1954– English novelist and short-story writer:
- Love is anterior to life,
Posterior to death,
Initial of creation, and
The exponent of breath.
1830–86 American poet: ‘Love is anterior to life’
- The magic of first love is our ignorance that it can ever end.
Henrietta Temple (1837) 1804–81 British Tory statesman and novelist; Prime Minister 1868, 1874–80:
- For God's sake hold your tongue, and let me love.
Songs and Sonnets ‘The Canonization’ 1572–1631 English poet and divine:
- I am the Love that dare not speak its name.
1870–1945 English poet: ‘Two Loves’ (1896)
- There is a kind of love called maintenance,
Which stores the WD40 and knows when to use it.
1929–2009 English poet: ‘Atlas’ (1995)
- 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.
Célestine (1784) 1755–94 French writer and poet:
- 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.
1181–1226 Italian monk: ‘Prayer of St Francis’ (attributed)
- Immature love says: ‘I love you because I need you.’ Mature love says: ‘I need you because I love you.’
The Art of Loving (1956) ch. 2 1900–80 American philosopher and psychologist:
- If I love you, what does that matter to you!
Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (1795–6) bk. 4, ch. 9 1749–1832 German poet, novelist, and dramatist:
- Love is a universal migraine.
A bright stain on the vision
Blotting out reason.
1895–1985 English poet: ‘Symptoms of Love’
- 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.
Der Sohn der Wildnis (1842) act 2 1806–71 German dramatist:
- 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!
Babes in Arms 1895–1943 American songwriter: ‘I Wish I Were in Love Again’ (1937 song) in
- Love is mutually feeding each other, not one living on another like a ghoul.
A Question of Power (1973) 1937–86 South African-born writer:
- Passion makes the world go round. Love just makes it a safer place.
The Ice Opinion (as told to Heidi Sigmund, 1994) ch. 4 1958– American rap musician:
- Love's like the measles—all the worse when it comes late in life.
The Wit and Opinions of Douglas Jerrold (1859) 1803–57 English dramatist and journalist:
- We love well only once, the first time. The loves which follow are less involuntary.
Les Caractères ou les moeurs de ce siècle (1688) ‘Du Coeur’ 1645–96 French satiric moralist:
- Love. Of course, love. Flames for a year, ashes for thirty.
The Leopard (1957) 1896–1957 Italian writer:
- What will survive of us is love.
1922–85 English poet: ‘An Arundel Tomb’ (1964)
- There is no disguise which can hide love for long where it exists, or feign it where it does not.
Maximes (1678) no. 70 1613–80 French moralist:
- Only the flow matters: live and let live, love and let love. There is no point to love and life. 1885–1930 English novelist and poet: ‘Do Women Change?’ (1930)
- Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.
The Lathe of Heaven (1971) ch. 10 1929–2018 American writer:
- Love means never having to say you're sorry. 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’
- How alike are the groans of love to those of the dying.
Under the Volcano (1947) 1909–57 English novelist:
- If only one could tell true love from false love as one can tell mushrooms from toadstools. 1888–1923 New Zealand-born short-story writer: ‘Love and Mushrooms’, journal entry (1917)
- Where both deliberate, the love is slight;
Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?
Hero and Leander (1598) First Sestiad, l. 175 1564–93 English dramatist and poet:
- The love that lasts longest is the love that is never returned.
A Writer's Notebook (1949) written in 1894 1874–1965 English novelist:
- Love is the delusion that one woman differs from another.
Chrestomathy (1949) ch. 30; see Shaw 1880–1956 American journalist and literary critic:
- 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
Thoughts in Solitude (1958) 1915–68 American Trappist monk and writer:
- No, there's nothing half so sweet in life
As love's young dream.
Irish Melodies (1807) ‘Love's Young Dream’ 1779–1852 Irish musician and songwriter:
- Love is the extremely difficult realisation that something other than oneself is real. Love, and so art and morals, is the discovery of reality.
Chicago Review 13 (1959) 1919–99 English novelist: ‘The Sublime and the Good’ in
- If I can't love Hitler, I can't love at all.
New York Times 12 February 1967 1885–1967 American pacifist: at a Quaker meeting 1940; in
- Es tan corto el amor, y es tan largo el olvido.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long. 1904–73 Chilean poet: ‘Tonight I Can Write’ (1924)
- Most people experience love, without noticing that there is anything remarkable about it.
Doctor Zhivago (1958) pt. 2, ch. 13, sect. 10 1890–1960 Russian novelist and poet:
- Birds do it, bees do it,
Even educated fleas do it.
Let's do it, let's fall in love.
1891–1964 American songwriter: ‘Let's Do It’ (1954 song; words added to the 1928 original)
- But true love is a durable fire,
In the mind ever burning,
Never sick, never old, never dead,
From itself never turning.
c.1552–1618 English explorer and courtier: ‘Walsinghame’
- Love gratified, is love satisfied—and love satisfied, is indifference begun.
Clarissa (1751) vol. 4, letter 23 1689–1761 English novelist:
- Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and greet each other.
Letters to a Young Poet (1929) 14 May 1904 (tr. Hugh MacLennan) 1875–1926 German poet:
- Experience shows us that love does not consist in gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction.
Terre des Hommes (translated as ‘Wind, Sand and Stars’, 1939) ch. 8 1900–44 French novelist:
- Love rules the court, the camp, the grove
And men below and saints above
For love is heaven, and heaven is love.
The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805) canto 3, stanza 2 1771–1832 Scottish novelist and poet:
- The course of true love never did run smooth.
A Midsummer Night's Dream (1595–6) act 1, sc. 1, l. 134 (Oxford Standard Authors ed.) 1564–1616 English dramatist:
- To be wise, and love,
Exceeds man's might.
Troilus and Cressida (1602) act 3, sc. 2, l.  (Oxford Standard Authors ed.) 1564–1616 English dramatist:
- Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds.
1564–1616 English dramatist: Sonnet 116 (Oxford Standard Authors ed.)
- We cease loving ourselves if no one loves us.
Sophie (1786) 1766–1817 French writer:
- 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.
Tristram Shandy (1759–67) bk. 6, ch. 37 1713–68 English novelist:
- Love is the fart
Of every heart:
It pains a man when 'tis kept close,
And others doth offend, when 'tis let loose.
1609–42 English poet and dramatist: ‘Love's Offence’ (1646)
- 'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
In Memoriam A. H. H. (1850) canto 27; see Clough, Congreve 1809–92 English poet:
- 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.
1809–92 English poet: ‘Locksley Hall’ (1842) l. 19
- Omnia vincit Amor: et nos cedamus Amori.
Love conquers all things: let us too give in to Love.
bc Roman poet: Eclogues no. 10, l. 69; see Chaucer 70–19
- 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!
The Ballad of Reading Gaol (1898) pt. 1, st. 7 1854–1900 Irish dramatist and poet:
- 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.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1927), closing words 1897–1975 American novelist and dramatist:
- 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.
1865–1939 Irish poet: ‘Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop’ (1932)