14 of the Most Romantic Lines in Literature

I’ve always been a sucker for a good quote. To the horror of my friends who like to keep their books in immaculate condition, I rarely read without a pen in my hand, ready to underline any line that seems worthy. In fact, when I lend my books out, I encourage others to write in them. I love knowing what other people find interesting or beautiful or romantic, and it draws my attention to great lines I may have missed. And even though I don’t necessarily consider myself a huge romantic, I most often find myself underlining great declarations of love or beautiful moments of heartbreak.

For us members of the email and text message age, romantic notes are becoming fewer and farther between, and it’s made me even more likely to swoon when I read a romantic line from a book or poem. Below are some of my favorite romantic lines in literature, judged by no other criteria than that reading them made me wish someone had written them for me. And really, is there any better benchmark than that?

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
Pride and Prejudiceby Jane Austen

“To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company.”
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

“I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.”
–“Sonnett XVII,” by Pablo Neruda

“It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff now; so he shall never know how I love him; and that, not because he’s handsome, Nelly, but because he’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same…”
Wuthering Heightsby Emily Bronte

“He stepped down, trying not to look long at her, as if she were the sun, yet he saw her, like the sun, even without looking.”
Anna Kareninaby Leo Tolstoy

“You and I, it’s as though we have been taught to kiss in heaven and sent down to earth together, to see if we know what we were taught.”
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

“I thought an hour ago that I loved you more than any woman has ever loved a man, but a half hour after that I knew that what I felt before was nothing compared to what I felt then. But ten minutes after that, I understood that my previous love was a puddle compared to the high seas before a storm.”
–The Princess Brideby William Goldman

“I’ll get you, Jack, in another lifetime…And you’ll be very happy.”
Big Surby Jack Kerouac

“He knew that when he kissed this girl, and forever wed his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God. So he waited, listening for a moment longer to the tuning fork that had been struck upon a star. Then he kissed her. At his lips’ touch she blossomed like a flower and the incarnation was complete.”
The Great Gatsbyby F. Scott Fitzgerald

“Wheresoever she was, there was Eden.”
The Diaries of Adam and Eveby Mark Twain

“I look/at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world…”
–“Having a Coke With You,” by Frank O’Hara

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams;/ I have spread my dreams under your feet;/Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”
–“He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven,” by W.B. Yeats

“my blood approves,
and kisses are better fate
than wisdom”
–“since feeling is first,” by e.e. cummings

“Who, being loved, is poor?”
A Woman of No Importance, by Oscar Wilde

What are your favorite romantic lines in literature?

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