For as long as man has had the ability to communicate thoughts, we have been inspired to impart our ideas about love through poetry, song, novels, and just about any other artistic form. Thousands of beautiful quotes about love have been written and spoken over the course of history, and below you'll find 30 of them, along with the people who loved deeply enough to coin them.
"Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up."
Born in Harlem, James Baldwin was a novelist and essayist, whose beloved works explored the nuances of race, sexuality, and class distinctions in Western society. His most famous works include Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next Time, and No Name in the Street. When Baldwin died of stomach cancer in France in 1987, he left behind an unfinished manuscript recalling his personal experiences with civil rights leaders like Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X. The manuscript, Remember This House, was turned into a 2016 Academy Award-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro.
"You can talk with someone for years, everyday, and still, it won't mean as much as what you can have when you sit in front of someone, not saying a word, yet you feel that person with your heart, you feel like you have known the person for foreverâ¦connections are made with the heart, not the tongue."
C. JoyBell C.
C. Joybell C. is one of the most frequently quoted contemporary writers. A self-declared "modern-day Renaissance Woman," C. Joybell C. has written various books on topics ranging from poetry, philosophy, parenting, esoterica, and fiction.
"We accept the love we think we deserve."
This great quotation about love is from the teen coming-of-age novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which landed author Stephen Chbosky on the New York Times bestseller list. But Chbosky's enviable career far exceeds his work writing teen fiction. He also co-created and wrote for the CBS television series Jericho, wrote the screenplay for the 2005 film adaptation of Rent, co-wrote the screenplay for 2017's live-action Beauty and the Beast, wrote and directed the film version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and directed 2017's hit film Wonder.
"So, I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you."
Brazilian novelist Paulo Coehlo is well-known for his great and inspiring quotations. This great quote about love is from Coehlo's best-known work, The Alchemist, the allegorical novel which has sold millions of copies worldwide and which has inspired adaptations ranging from music to film. Coehlo's wisdom is highly sought after; he currently boasts more than 12.2 million followers on Twitter and 30 million on Facebook.
"It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like, so long as somebody loves you."
Few authors are as beloved by readers of all ages than Roald Dahl. Born in Wales, Dahl began his career as a pilot in the Royal Air Force during World War II. Despite his reputation as a "flying ace," Dahl was happy when the war ended and he was able to focus on writing. Dahl's books are well known for their darkly comic tones and beloved characters, and his extensive bibliography includes Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The BFG, to name but a few. Dahl won a number of prestigious literary awards throughout his lifetime, and has even been called "one of the greatest storytellers for children of the 20th century."
"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams."
Easily one of the most famous authors who ever lived, Dr. Seuss is actually the pen name of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Though he also worked as a political cartoonist for such esteemed publications as Vanity Fair and Life, Dr. Seuss's most famous works are his books for children. His more than 60 books (including Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who!, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!) are some of the bestselling books of all time. They've sold more than 600 million copies in more than 20 languages. Every year on March 2, elementary school students across the United States celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday by reading non-stop as part of the National Read Across America Day.
"Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves."
As it turns out, Albert Einstein was both brilliant and witty. The theoretical physicist is perhaps best known for developing the theory of relativity and contributing greatly to modern physics. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics because of his "services to theoretical physics, and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect." Thanks to his powerful mind and extensive writings (he produced more than 300 scientific papers and about 150 non-scientific works), the name "Einstein" has become synonymous with ideas of genius.
"Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold."
Although she was a novelist and painter in her own right, Zelda Fitzgerald is perhaps most famous as the wife of author F. Scott Fitzgerald. A socialite from Montgomery, Alabama, Zelda was well known for her spirited nature. She was even nicknamed "the first American Flapper." Zelda's marriage with F. Scott was both passionate and tumultuous. Wild nights of drinking, bouts of infidelity followed by bitter recriminations, and Zelda's eventual diagnosis with schizophrenia. Zelda was hospitalized in Asheville, North Carolina in 1948. The hospital caught on fire and Zelda was killed.
"It isn't possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal."
Edward Morgan Forster was a novelist and short story writer. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature 16 different times over the course of his career. The nominations most certainly included recognition for his most famous novels Howards End, A Passage to India, and the novel bearing this great quote about love, A Room With a View. Much of Forster's literary work dealt with class differences and what he viewed as the hypocrisy of British society in the early 20th century.
"Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up."
Neil Gaiman is one of the most influential writers alive today. Perhaps best known as a novelist, Gaiman has authored a number of bestsellers including Stardust, American Gods, The Sandman series, and the children's bestseller Coraline. Gaiman is also a screenwriter, and has written comic books, graphic novels, short fiction, and audio theater. The above quote is from Gaiman's The Kindly Ones, part of his The Sandman series.
"I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once."
John Green exploded onto the young adult literary scene in 2006 when his first novel, Looking for Alaska was awarded the prestigious Michael L. Printz Award. The next year, Green was nominated for the same award with his second novel, An Abundance of Katherines, while his third book Paper Towns was an immediate New York Times bestseller and winner of the Edgar Allen Poe Award. The above quotation is from what is probably Green's most famous work, The Fault in Our Stars, which spent several weeks on various bestseller lists before being adapted into a popular film.
"Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything."
Katharine Hepburn spent more than 60 years as one of Hollywood's most famous figures. Known for her spirited personality, Hepburn starred roles in everything from dramas to screwball comedies. She received four Best Actress Oscars over the course of her long career — an Academy Awards record. She was named by the American Film Institute as Classic Hollywood Cinema's best female star. Hepburn's long list of classic and memorable film roles include Morning Glory, On Golden Pond, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, The African Queen, and The Lion in Winter.
"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
Lao Tzu, known also as Laozi or Lao Tze, was an ancient Chinese philosopher. Believed to have lived during the 5th or 4th century B.C.E., Lao Tzu is credited with writing the Tao Te Ching, perhaps the most famous philosophical text of Taoism. Though partly legendary, he remains an important figure in Chinese culture, and is often used as a symbol in Chinese legalism and by anti-authoritarian groups.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Few names are as famous as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Baptist minister who became one of the most inspiring figures of the civil rights movement. Inspired by his Christian faith and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi, King organized a number of influential activism events. These included the Montgomery bus boycott (1955) and the 1963 March on Washington, where he made his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. The Nobel Peace Prize winner was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. The above quotation can be found in the excellent anthology of King's "Essential Writings and Speeches", A Testament of Hope.
"Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering."
This great quote about love is from the bestselling novel The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. Krauss is actually the author of four novels, including Man Walks Into a Room, Great House, and Forest Dark. She has also published short stories in a number of prestigious publications, along with the Best American Short Stories anthologies of 2003 and 2008. Her novels have won numerous awards. In 2010, Krauss was named by The New Yorker as one of the "20 Under 40" writers to watch.
"Two people in love, alone, isolated from the world, that's beautiful."
Milan Kundera was born in Czechoslovakia in 1929, and as a teen joined the Communist Party. In the tumultuous post-war years, Kundera's continuous attempts to reform the country's Communist faction led to him being expelled from the party for "anti-party activities." After two more decades of turbulent politics, Kundera was forced to leave his home country and move to France. Now a naturalized French citizen, Kundera "sees himself as a French writer and insists his work should be studied as French literature." Though he has never won, it is rumored that Kundera has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature on multiple occasions. Some of Kundera's best-known works include The Festival of Insignificance, Life is Elsewhere, and The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
"Love is friendship that has caught fire. It is quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses."
Ann Landers was the pen name of Ruth Crowley (and later, Eppie Lederer). She was a popular syndicated advice columnist. Men and women from all over the country would write to the fictional Ann, who would then respond about topics ranging from manners and social politics to new trends and household hacks. "Ask Ann Landers" ran for 56 years, and boosted the advice columnist into the realm of cultural icon.
"There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance."
Though he died nearly 40 years ago, John Lennon is still one of the best known musicians in the world thanks to the fact he co-founded the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in music history. When he wasn't singing or writing songs, Lennon was influencing large sections of the population as a peace activist. After the breakup of the Beatles in 1970, Lennon wrote such classic pacifist songs as "Give Peace a Chance", "Imagine", and "Happy Xmas (War is Over)". Lennon was assassinated in 1980 while standing in the entry of his Manhattan apartment.
"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable."
Though he is most famous as the author of the beloved Chronicles of Narnia series, C.S. Lewis was also a celebrated poet, academic, medievalist, Christian apologist, and essayist, among a handful of other things. He wrote more than 30 books over the course of his long career, including The Screwtape Letters, The Space Trilogy, and Mere Christianity. Having inspired millions with his teachings and writings, Lewis was honored upon his death with a memorial in Poets' Corner at Westminster Abbey. The eloquent quotation above is from The Four Loves.
"Promise me you'll never forget me because if I thought you would, I'd never leave."
A.A. Milne is the English author most famous for writing the Winnie-the-Pooh stories. Milne based the character of Christopher Robin on his own son, Christopher Robin Milne, and the animal characters on his son's favorite stuffed animals. The real Christopher Robin's teddy bear, kangaroo, tiger, and donkey have all survived the almost 100 years since Milne published his first Winnie the Pooh story, and can be seen on display at the main branch of the New York Public Library.
"The real lover is the man who can thrill you by kissing your forehead or smiling into your eyes or just staring into space."
During her too-short life Marilyn Monroe became one of Hollywood's most popular sex symbols and managed to redefine much of her era's ideas about sexuality. After growing up in and out of foster homes, Marilyn enjoyed short stints working at factories and as a pin-up model before signing an acting contract with Fox. Over the course of a series of starring roles in films like Monkey Business, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, How to Marry a Millionaire, and Some Like it Hot, Marilyn established herself as the world's favorite "blonde bombshell" and "smart dumb blonde." Unfortunately, Marilyn's private life was plagued by troubles. She experienced two highly publicized and bitter divorces, a lurid affair with the president of the United States, and repeated bouts of depression and substance abuse. She was found dead of "probable suicide" on August 5, 1962 at age 36.
"Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment, for someday that person might not be there again. Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind."
Dr. Bob Moorehead
Bob Moorehead spent 30 years as the lead pastor of Overlake Christian Church in the state of Washington. He is credited with coining a number of great quotations about love, theology, and other topics, many of which can be found in his extensive bibliography which includes the well known Words Aptly Spoken.
"Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love."
Mother Teresa (born AnjezÃ« Gonxhe Bojaxhiu) certainly knew a little bit about the power of love. Born in what is now the small country of Macedonia, she spent her childhood fascinated by stories of saints and missionaries. At age 18, she left home with the aim of becoming a nun and missionary, first in Ireland, then in India. For decades, Mother Teresa, or Saint Teresa of Calcutta as she's known in the Catholic Church, served the poorest population of Calcutta. She survived wars and skirmishes, the Bengal famine of 1943, and countless threats against herself and her work offering "wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor."
"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."
A politician who knew how to tap into the human heart — this seemingly incongruous statement perfectly describes Pablo Neruda. Born Ricardo Eliecer Reyes Basoalto, Neruda spent much of his career as a politician and diplomat in his home country of Chile. Arguably, his first love was always poetry. By age 10, Neruda was already writing in a variety of literary styles, including surrealism, historical, and love poems. In fact, it is his love poems for which he is most famous today. Neruda, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, is often considered Chile's national poet. The above quotation is from his anthology 100 Love Sonnets.
"There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved."
George Sand is the nom de plume of Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin, a French novelist who published her works under a male pseudonym in order to be taken more seriously in 19th century France. Sand authored dozens of novels, including Valentine, Consuelo, La Mare au Diable, and La Petite Fadette. Despite her literary success, Sand was equally as famous for her highly publicized affairs with such famous names as FrÃ©dÃ©ric Chopin and Alfred de Musset, as well as her controversial insistence on wearing men's clothing in public.
"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind."
People all over the world know of William Shakespeare, the English poet and playwright who is often declared to be the greatest writer in the history of the English language. Over the course of his lifetime, Shakespeare wrote 39 known plays, two narrative poems, and more than 150 sonnets. His plays have been translated into every major language, and he is known to this day as England's national poet. This great quotation about love is from one of Shakespeare's most beloved plays, A Midsummer Night's Dream.
"One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: That word is love.
Few ancient Greek writers have survived the test of time, yet Sophocles has managed to not only survive, but to also thrive in literature. Highly prolific, Sophocles produced more than 120 plays over the course of his lifetime. Only seven of those have survived in their complete forms. Ajax, Atigone, The Women of Trachis, Oedipus Rex, Electra, Philoctetes, and Oedipus at Colonus have been performed, adapted, and studied hundreds of times in the last two centuries. They remain some of the most important works to come out of the ancient period.
"So it's not gonna be easy. It's going to be really hard; we're gonna have to work at this everyday, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, everyday. You and meâ¦every day."
Few writers have found success like that of Nicholas Sparks. As one of the most popular romance novelists, Sparks has authored such bestsellers as A Walk to Remember, Message in a Bottle, Dear John, and The Notebook, the latter of which included this great quote about love.
"If I had a flower for every time I thought of youâ¦ I could walk through my garden forever."
Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Alfred [the] Lord Tennyson is one of Great Britain's most famous poets, and was a favorite of Queen Victoria. Tennyson's many short lyric poems include "The Charge of the Light Brigade", "Tears, Idle Tears", "Break, Break, Break", and "Crossing the Bar", to name a few. According to The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Tennyson is the ninth most frequently quoted writer. In addition to the great quote about love above, Tennyson is credited with coining the well-known quotations, "'Tis better to have loved and lost/ Than never to have loved at all" and "Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die."
"You don't love someone for their looks, or their clothes, or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear."
Irish born Oscar Wilde was a successful poet, novelist, and playwright, who enjoyed a reputation in the 1890s as one of the most popular artists in London. He coined a number of catchy and memorable epigrams and quotations. Many of these came from his famous novel The Picture of Dorian Gray and his plays, which include The Importance of Being Earnest, SalomÃ©, and Lady Windermere's Fan. Sadly, Wilde was arrested at the peak of his career and charged with "gross indecency with men." After a long trial, Wilde was sentenced to two years of hard labor and two years of jail. By the time he died in 1900, Wilde was destitute and publicly shamed.