This coming Sunday, couples and loved ones will be celebrating Valentines Day. Flowers will be bought, candies will be consumed, whispered nothings will be in abundance and marriage proposals made (and hopefully accepted). Although there is the merest hint of the cynic in me that it is something that has been commercialised to death, I am by and large a huge sappy romantic and so to satiate this side of me, I thought it would be fair to show some examples of some famous romantic prose that will leave you inspired and stirred to the core.
There are numerous ways to express love and admiration but poetry and love letters just have that something extra that a box of chocolates lacks, the element of individuality, a glimpse into someone's heart. Throughout the centuries, many poets and writers have used this to convey strong emotions to their intended and to the audiences at large. You may have your favourite - Shakespeare, Browning, Robert Frost or even Edgar Allen Poe (though his is a little darker) but each has their place, so kick back and let's begin . . . .
Quotations about love - here are what some people wrote about love. Some are funny, some are a little irreverent but all of them are inspiring in one way or another.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery said "Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction."
Ambrose Bierce said (and I think it is funny!) "Love: a temporary insanity, curable by marriage."
Amy Bloom said "Love at first sight is easy to understand; it's when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle."
Barbara De Angelis said "Love is a choice you make from moment to moment."
Diane Arbus said "Love involves a peculiar unfathomable combination of understanding and misunderstanding."
Don Byas said "You call it madness, but I call it love."
Elizabeth Barrett Browning said "I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you. I love you not only for what you have made of yourself, but for what you are making of me. I love you for the part of me that you bring out."
Franklin P. Jones said "Love doesn't make the world go 'round; love is what makes the ride worthwhile."
Henry David Thoreau said "There is no remedy for love but to love more."
Martin Luther King, Jr., said "Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend." and "We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies."
Song of Songs 8 v 6-7
"Set me as a seal upon your heart,
As a seal upon your arm;
For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy as cruel as the grave;
Its flames are flames of fire,
A most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
Nor can the floods drown it.
If a man would give for love
All the wealth of his house,
It would be utterly despised."
Willa Cather said "Where there is great love, there are always miracles."
Some famous love letters (from http://www.dindragoste.ro/love/love-letters.php)
July 6, 1806 - Ludwig van Beethoven to a mystery woman
"My angel, my all, my very self -- only a few words today and at that with your pencil -- not till tomorrow will my lodgings be definitely determined upon -- what a useless waste of time. Why this deep sorrow where necessity speaks -- can our love endure except through sacrifices -- except through not demanding everything -- can you change it that you are not wholly mine, I not wholly thine?
Oh, God! look out into the beauties of nature and comfort yourself with that which must be -- love demands everything and that very justly -- that it is with me so far as you are concerned, and you with
me. If we were wholly united you would feel the pain of it as little as I!
Now a quick change to things internal from things external. We shall surely see each other; moreover, I cannot communicate to you the observations I have made during the last few days touching my own life -- if our hearts were always close together I would make none of the kind. My heart is full of many things to say to you - Ah! -- there are moments when I feel that speech is nothing after all -- cheer up -- remain my true, only treasure, my all as I am yours; the gods must send us the rest that which shall be best for us.
Napoleon Bonaparte to his wife Josephine
Paris, December 1795
"I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil. Sweet, incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart! Are you angry? Do I see you looking sad? Are you worried?. . . My soul aches with sorrow, and there can be no rest for your lover; but is there still more in store for me when, yielding to the profound feelings which overwhelm me, I draw from your lips, from your heart a love which consumes me with fire? Ah! It was last night that I fully realized how false an image of you your portrait gives!
You are leaving at noon; I shall see you in three hours.
Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire."
Victor Hugo 1821 to Adele Foucher
When two souls, which have sought each other for,
however long in the throng, have finally found each other ...a union, fiery and pure as they themselves are... begins on earth and continues forever in heaven.
This union is love, true love, ... a religion, which deifies the loved one, whose life comes from devotion and passion, and for which the greatest sacrifices are the sweetest delights.
This is the love which you inspire in me... Your soul is made to love with the purity and passion of angels; but perhaps it can only love another angel, in which case I must tremble with apprehension.
Famous passages from books and films (taken from http://www.lexibridges.com/love_in_prose.html)
James Joyce's story Araby
"Her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance. On Saturday evenings when my aunt went marketing I had to go to carry some of the parcels. We walked through the flaring streets, jostled by drunken men and bargaining women, amid the curses of labourers, the shrill litanies of shop-boys who stood on guard by the barrels of pigs' cheeks, the nasal chanting of street-singers, who sang a come-all-you about O'Donovan Rossa, or a ballad about the troubles in our native land. These noises converged in a single sensation of life for me: I imagined that I bore my chalice safely through a throng of foes. Her name sprang to my lips at moments in strange prayers and praises which I myself did not understand. My eyes were often full of tears (I could not tell why) and at times a flood from my heart seemed to pour itself out into my bosom. I thought little of the future. I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration. But my body was like a harp and her words and gestures were like fingers running upon the wires."
Viktor Frankl - Man's Search For Meaning (whilst being forced to work in a Nazi concentration camp)
"A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth--that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of man is through love and in love. I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world may still know bliss, be it only for a brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when a man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way--an honorable way--in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment. For the first time in my life, I was able to understand the words, "The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory."
From the film Dead Poets Society - Tom Schulman
"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, 'O me! O life! . . . of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless--of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life? Answer. That you are here--that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.' That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?"
Shakespeare's (that man had a lot to say about this) take on love in his sonnets and plays (taken from http://www.nosweatshakespeare.com/quotes/shakespeare-love-quotes.htm)
A Midsummer Night's Dream - Act 1, Scene 2 - "The course of true love never did run smooth"
The Two Gentlemen of Verona - Act 3, Scene 1- " Love is like a child, That longs for everything it can come by"
Hamlet - Act 4, Scene 7 - "Love is begun by time, and time qualifies the spark and fire of it"
Twelfth night - Act 3, Scene 1- " Love sought is good, but given unsought is better"
So there you have it, I hope this has given you something to think about in the run up to Valentine’s Day (or at least something to read). There are lessons that we need to learn but for now, never forget that there is more to love than just butterflies and flowers. It involves action, decision and sacrifice and it can be difficult sometimes. Before this article concludes, here is something that wraps up what this article was trying to convey about love. It is taken from the Bible from 1 Corinthians 13 v 4-8a and verse 13 (from The Message) and it says it best...
" Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies...
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love."
Happy Valentine's Day to you all!
Angelique Fyre © 9th January 2010