The HyperTexts

The Best Love Quotes and Epigrams

The following quotes and epigrams about love are well worth reading, remembering and consulting from time to time. I am dedicating this page to my lovely wife Elizabeth Harris Burch, because she practices the tender arts of love, compassion and kindness on a daily basis. The lovers quoted here include poets, philosophers, politicians, rock stars, actors, comedians, saints, sinners, sex goddesses, even a Kung-Fu legend!

compiled by Michael R. Burch, editor of The HyperTexts

These are my top ten love quotes and poetic epigrams of all time ... but why stop at ten?

Love calls, everywhere and always.
We're sky bound.
Are you coming?

Love distills desire upon the eyes, love brings bewitching grace into the heart.—Euripides
Keep love in your heart. A life without love is like a sunless garden full of wilted flowers.—Oscar Wilde
A man may attempt to burnish pure gold, but who can think to improve on his mother?—Mahatma Gandhi, translation by Michael R. Burch

If you like my translations, you are welcome to share them for noncommercial purposes, but please be sure to credit the original author and translator (which you can easily do by copying the credit that follows each translation).

While nothing can save us from death,
still love can redeem each breath.
—Pablo Neruda, translation by Michael R. Burch

Love keeps the cold out better than a cloak.—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Love comforteth like sunshine after rain.—William Shakespeare
Love consists in this, that two solitudes protect and touch and commune with each other.—Rainer Maria Rilke

Eros harrows my heart:
wild winds whipping desolate mountains,
uprooting oaks.
Sappho, fragment 42, translation by Michael R. Burch

Love is a canvas created by nature and completed by imagination.—Voltaire, translation by Michael R. Burch
Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves!―Albert Einstein
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.―Martin Luther King Jr.

May the gods prolong the night
  —yes, let it last forever!—
as long as you sleep in my sight.
—Sappho, fragment 130, translation by Michael R. Burch

Love is the irresistible desire to be desired irresistibly.—Robert Frost
I live and love by God's peculiar light.—Michelangelo, translation by Michael R. Burch
If you can make a woman laugh, you can make her do anything.―Marilyn Monroe

You can crop all the flowers but you cannot detain spring.
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The real lover is the man who can thrill you by kissing your forehead or smiling into your eyes or just staring into space.―Marilyn Monroe
Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.—Kahlil Gibran
Once we have flown, we will forever walk the earth with our eyes turned heavenward, for there we were and will always long to return.—Leonardo da Vinci, translation by Michael R. Burch

To err is human, but it feels divine.—Mae West
One day you will ask me which is more important? My life or yours? I will say mine and you will walk away not knowing that you are my life.—Kahlil Gibran
Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.―Zelda Fitzgerald

And yet poets have, at times, measured and described love quite marvelously:

... you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you ...
e. e. cummings

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
Pablo Neruda

Every Day You Play (Excerpt)
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Every day you play with Infinity’s rays.
Exquisite visitor, you arrive with the flowers and the water!
You are vastly more than this immaculate head I clasp lovingly
like a cornucopia, every day, with ecstatic hands ...

Every heart sings a song, incomplete,
until another heart whispers back.
Those who wish to sing always find a song.
At the touch of a lover,
everyone becomes a poet.

As if you were set on fire from within,
the moon whitens your skin.
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you simply, without problems or pride:
I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this,
in which there is no I or you,
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.
Pablo Neruda

When I despair,
I remember that all throughout history
the way of truth and love have always won.
There have been tyrants and murderers,
and for a time, they can seem invincible,
but in the end, they always fall.
Think of it, always.
Mahatma Gandhi

Please understand that when I awaken weeping
it's because I dreamed I was a lost child
searching the leaf-heaps for your hands in the darkness.
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Love Sonnet XI
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
I stalk the streets, silent and starving.
Bread does not satisfy me; dawn does not divert me
from my relentless pursuit of your fluid spoor.

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses
who are only waiting to see us act, just once,
with beauty and courage.
Perhaps everything that frightens us is,
in its deepest essence,
something helpless that wants our love.
Rainer Maria Rilke

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

My heart overflows with love for you.
You are the breath in my lungs,
the light in my eyes,
and the anchor that holds me grounded and safe.
Elizabeth Harris Burch

I hold fast to the knowledge
that you will always be mine,
that our love has grown deeper,
through the years more divine.
Elizabeth Harris Burch

don’t forget ...
by Michael R. Burch

for Elizabeth Harris Burch

don’t forget to remember
that Space is curved
(like your Heart)
and that even Light is bent
by your Gravity.

She bathes in silver,
on her reflections ...
Michael R. Burch

I dedicated the two poems above to the love of my life, but you are welcome to dedicate them to the love of yours, if you like them. The opening lines of the first poem were inspired by a famous love poem by e. e. cummings.

Love Sonnet XVII
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I do not love you like coral or topaz,
or the blazing hearth’s incandescent white flame;
I love you as obscure things are embraced in the dark ...
secretly, in shadows, unrevealed & unnamed.

Tonight I will write the saddest lines
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight I will write the saddest lines.
I will write, for example, “The night is less bright
and a few stars shiver in the distance
as I remember her unwarranted light ...”

A Handwritten Sign Found on the Wall of Mother Teresa's Room

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends, and some true enemies; be successful anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, some could destroy overnight; build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, others may be jealous; be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will forget tomorrow; do good anyway!
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give your best anyway!
For you see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway!

Love is the most important thing in this world; without it we're bereft ... but I love you ... I truly, truly care about all of you.—Elizabeth Harris Burch
Perhaps love doesn't make the world go round, but it makes the bumpy ride worthwhile and provides a glorious destination.—Michael R. Burch
Love is either wholly folly, or fully holy.—Michael R. Burch
Love is all you need.—John Lennon
Love is like a baby; it needs to be treated gently.—Congolese proverb
Here is my heart, guard it well.—French saying
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.—Lao Tzu
At the touch of love everyone becomes a poet.—Plato
Love is the joy of the good, the wonder of the wise, the amazement of the gods.—Plato
One word frees us of all the weight and pain in life. That word is love.—Sophocles
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.—Helen Keller
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.—Maya Angelou
There is no remedy for love but to love more.—Henry David Thoreau
I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.—Mother Teresa
Love does not dominate; it cultivates.—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.—Alfred Lord Tennyson
You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.—Dr. Seuss
I like not only to be loved, but also to be told I am loved.—George Eliot
A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.—Ingrid Bergman
It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.—Judy Garland
The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.—Audrey Hepburn
The rose speaks of love silently, in a language known only to the heart.—Unknown
What I feel for you seems less of earth and more of a cloudless heaven.—Victor Hugo
All Love is sweet. Given or returned. Common as light is love, and its familiar voice wearies not ever.—Percy Bysshe Shelley
Take away love, and our earth is a tomb.—Robert Browning
Love is too young to know what conscience is.—William Shakespeare
Thou art to me a delicious torment.—Ralph Waldo Emerson
We are all born for love. It is the principle of existence, and its only end.—Benjamin Disraeli
I love her and that's the beginning and end of everything.—F. Scott Fitzgerald
Absence sharpens love, presence strengthens it.—Benjamin Franklin
Fortune and love favor the brave.—Ovid
Life without love is like a tree without blossoms or fruit.—Khalil Gibran
Your words are my food, your breath my wine. You are everything to me.—Sarah Bernhardt
Where there is love there is life.—Mohandas Gandhi
Who so loves believes the impossible.—Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Who would give a law to lovers? Love is unto itself a higher law.—Boethius
Who, being loved, is poor?—Oscar Wilde
Love conquers all.—Virgil
Love blinds us to faults, hatred to virtues.—Jean Baptiste Racine
If you press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than because he was he, and I was I.—Michel de Montaigne
Love is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop.—H. L. Mencken
Love is love's reward.—John Dryden
At the center of nonviolence stands the principle of love.—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Love is metaphysical gravity.—R. Buckminster Fuller
Love is my religion; I could die for it.—John Keats
Love is a game that two can play and both win.—Eva Gabor
Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.—Robert Heinlein
A kiss makes the heart young again and wipes out the years.—Rupert Brooke
There is no surprise more magical than the surprise of being loved: it is God's finger on man's shoulder.—Charles Morgan
Where there is great love, there are always miracles.—Willa Cather
Love is like a friendship caught on fire ... As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.—Bruce Lee
I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love.—John Ciardi
The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.—Victor Hugo
Perhaps love is the process of my gently leading you back to yourself.—Antoine de Saint-Exupery
What else is love but understanding and rejoicing in the fact that another person lives, acts, and experiences otherwise than we do?—Friedrich Nietzsche
If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.—Bob Hope
The best portion of a good man's life: his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love.—William Wordsworth
Be not dishearten'd—Affection shall solve the problems of Freedom yet; those who love each other shall become invincible.—Walt Whitman
God is Love, and he who abides in Love abides in God, and God abides in him.—Saint John
Love suffers long, and is kind; envies not; seeks not her own; thinks no evil; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.—Saint Paul
Love never fails.—Saint Paul
And now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.—Saint Paul, concluding his epistle on Divine Love
To love another person is to see the face of God.—Victor Hugo
That Love is all there is, is all we know of Love.—Emily Dickinson
All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love.—Leo Tolstoy
Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.—Aristotle
Love is the strongest force the world possesses, and yet it is the humblest imaginable.—Mohandas Gandhi
He who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.—Saint Basil
Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.—Lao Tzu
To thy faith add knowledge, to thy actions, love, and thy presence among the people will be a benediction.—Order of the Amaranth
Though I speak with the tongues of men of angels, and have not love, I am become as a clanging gong or a tinkling cymbal.—Saint Paul
Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.—William Shakespeare
Love is a smoke made with the fume of sighs.—William Shakespeare
Love sought is good, but given unsought, is better.—William Shakespeare
Speak low, if you speak love.—William Shakespeare
The course of true love never did run smooth.—William Shakespeare
The love of heaven makes one heavenly.—William Shakespeare
It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.―André Gide
There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.―Jane Austen
We love the things we love for what they are.―Robert Frost
One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.―Paulo Coelho

Life is mostly froth and bubble;
Two things stand like stone,
Kindness in another's trouble,
Courage in your own.
Adam Lindsay Gordon

The hours I spend with you I look upon as sort of a perfumed garden, a dim twilight, and a fountain singing to it. You and you alone make me feel that I am alive. Other men it is said have seen angels, but I have seen thee and thou art enough.—George Edward Moore

Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.—Mother Theresa

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality ... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.
Alfred Tennyson

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