Friday, August 06, 2010

Love Quotes by Shakespeare

UPDATED September, 2010 - My new book, Hear My Soul Speak : Wedding Quotations from Shakespeare, is available now!

While working on my wedding book I’ve compiled and organized something like 150 “love quotes” by Shakespeare.  This was harder than it might seem, especially if you google the appropriate terms and discover dozens upon dozens of quote databases dedicated to the subject.  The problem is that most of them simply search the works for words like “love” and then say “Aha, a love quote!”
That’s not really good enough, is it?  I don’t expect that people searching for love quotes want to see something like “The course of true love never did run smooth.”  True, it’s a love quote. By Shakespeare.  But it’s not exactly romantic.
To balance out this trend I’d like to anchor some “love quotes” here, compiled by we fans of the bard who’ll pick only the best of the best.  Quality, people.  Not quantity.
Personally I like those quotes that are in a form where someone could say it to someone else.  The romantic stuff. Like these:

“I will swear I love thee infinitely.”  - Henry IV Part 1
“I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eyes.” – Much Ado About Nothing
“I would not wish any companion in the world but you.” – The Tempest
“Sweet, above thought I love thee.” – Troilus and Cressida
“I do love nothing in the world so well as you.” – Much Ado About Nothing
(Long time fans will know that I had that first one engraved on an infinity bracelet for my wife).  I particularly like that Tempest one because the word love is nowhere to be found. So simple text searching won’t do it, you actually have to pay attention to what’s being said.
On the topic of love in general, there’s a couple I like just as well:
“If music be the food of love, play on.” – Twelfth Night
“Love is a spirit all compact of fire.” – Venus and Adonis
Anybody else got some favorites?

8 comments:

Charlene said...

Tis not the land I care for, wert thou thence,
A wilderness is populous enough,
So Suffolk had thy heavenly company.
For where thou art, there is the world itself,
With every several pleasure in the world;
And where thou art not, desolation.

Nora Manca said...

Cesario, by the roses of the spring,
By maidhood, honour, truth and every thing,
I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride,
Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide.
--Olivia from Twelfth Night

Duane said...

I love that Twelfth Night quote, Nora, except for one glaring thing - I don't think anybody these days knows what "maugre" means. I imagine reciting these to my wife, and what kind of reaction I'd get. If I tried that one I'd get the "That sounded good but I didn't really understand what you said" look.

Charlene, I typically see that quote reduced to that middle line - for where thou art, there is the world itself. The surrounding context makes it even better!

Ed said...

One I've always loved is said by Beatrice to Benedick: "I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest."

ActorFriend said...

OH! I love the quote from the tempest! I didn't know it and you are so right, that you would not be able to find it anywhere on the internet because LOVE is not in the sentence. I will save that one for sure and what a great find.

I know this is not a "i can say this directly to you" kind of quote but I like the IDEA of love in this.

"Love sought is good, but given unsought is better."

mmm. haha.

and just for fun here is one of my favorite "I can say it to you" quote:

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Romeo and Juliet.

I like the feeling of it.

I loved this post! Thank you!
Marcin Mesa

p-e-s said...

There is so much more in this quote than just love:

"Let Rome in Tiber melt, and the wide arch / Of the ranged empire fall! Here is my space. / Kingdoms are clay: our dungy earth alike / Feeds beast as man: the nobleness of life / Is to do thus; when such a mutual pair / And such a twain can do't..."

Antony & Cleopatra I.1

Ed said...

Cleopatra asks Antony of his love for her,"If it be love indeed, tell me how much."

And Antony replies beautifully, "There's beggary in the love that can be reckon'd."

Nick Miliokas said...

My favourite is still this one from Bottom, as Pyramus, in Midsummer Night's Dream.``O kiss me through the hole of this vile wall !!``