From Shakespeare to the Simpsons: 10 romantic quotes to win your Valentine’s heart
Words not your forte? It's time to borrow from the masters...
When it comes to sourcing a quote which combines glorious wit, playful wordplay and an underlying heartfelt message, Oscar Wilde is the unrivalled king. It’s a pity he lived in a pre-Clinton Cards era as the man would have made a packet…well, so long as they kept him away from the Valentine’s Day merchandise.
See, Wilde wasn’t much of a fan of romance. Indeed, speaking with the candour of a man whose fingers were burned one too many times he often lamented humanity’s obsession with romance. Take for example the following snippets:
“Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.”
“A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her.”
“Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same.”
“How marriage ruins a man! It is as demoralizing as cigarettes, and far more expensive.”
Hmmm. So if we’re leaving slightly bitter Irish intellectuals off the list of rousing romantics, to whom should you lovebirds, obsessive romantics, hopeless singletons and stalkers turn for a winning quote in your Valentine’s card. Quidco Discover of course!
Come here, let us tenderly hold your hand and point you in the right direction.
First up this little beauty from French poet, playwright and novelist, Victor Hugo – better known for his work on the musical Cats. Sorry, I mean Les Misérables.
“What I feel for you seems less of earth and more of a cloudless heaven.”
If that doesn’t send a quiver down your spine, you’re dead inside.
He may have died over 500 years ago but Christopher Marlowe packed enough punch into his 29 years to make any off-the-rails Hollywood starlet jealous.
Described as a spy, a brawler, a heretic and a homosexual, as well as a “magician”, “duellist”, “tobacco-user”, “counterfeiter” and “rakehell” he also found the time to be one of the country’s greatest dramatists.
Taken from his play The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, Marlowe pays lip service (see what I’ve done there) to Helen of Troy and her ‘face that launched a thousand ships’ penning the following:
“Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss! Her lips suck forth my soul: see, where it flies! Come Helen, come give me my soul again. Here will I dwell, for heaven be in these lips, And all is dross that is not Helen.”
If you happen to be courting a girl called Helen, I’d say you’re onto a winner with that.
Channelling the energy of long-dead literary greats is all well and good, but occasionally it can feel like you’re trying a bit too hard. If you’re married, why not take a leaf out of Homer Simpson’s book. Springfield’s finest family man famously uttered the following words about being wed:
“For you see, marriage is a lot like an orange. First, you have the skin… then the sweet, sweet innards…”
Pair the metaphorical with the literal, by presenting your hubby with a real orange or Terry’s Chocolate orange if they’ve a sweet tooth.
If you’re wondering whether to take the plunge by confessing your love, but feel an innate need to over analyse your feelings, perhaps you might enjoy quoting Woody Allen:
“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer. To suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy then is to suffer. But suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness. I hope you’re getting this down.”
Every now and then it’s the ability to express a simple desire which is the most effective. Spoken by Andre Gide’s character Jerome in the 1909 novel Strait is the Gate, the following words perfectly sum up that desire to indulge in the simple things.
“I wished for nothing beyond her smile, and to walk with her thus, hand in hand, along a sun-warmed, flower-bordered path.”
We’ll quietly ignore the fact that the girl he pines after, Alissa, spurns his advances leaving him in a neurotic mess. For those who want to update the above, you might like to replace “flower-bordered path” with Nando’s, Bluewater or alike.
It wouldn’t be a Valentine’s themed blog if Shakespeare, and indeed his tale of star-crossed lovers Romeo & Juliet didn’t make an appearance. Arguably Western society’s most famous romance, the following line is spoken by Juliet as she famously looks out from her balcony in the play’s most famous scene:
“The more I give to thee, the more I have, for both are infinite.”
In Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 film adaptation Leonardo di Caprio is so impressed by Claire Danes’ delivery of the line that he breaks into a New Kids On The Block style dance montage; true story. If that’s what you’re after from a lover, this is obviously the line for you.
Next, a trip back in time…to Ancient Greece. A founding figure of Western philosophy it’s perhaps not surprising that Aristotle often dipped his finger in the love pie, as well as those of physics, politics, music and biology. Mmmm, biology pie. Apologies, reading Homer (Simpson) is obviously having an effect. Anyway, here’s Artistotle on friendship.
“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.”
In his 78 years, Ralph Waldo Emerson delivered over 1500 public lectures extolling the “infinitude of the private man.” An advocate of individualism he was a man who spoke with incredible passion across a range of subjects. Indeed, such is his legacy that former President Barack Obama lists his work “Self Reliance” among his favourite books on his Facebook page.
Here’s a snippet of Emerson’s intensity from an 1841 essay:
“Thou art to me a delicious torment.”
I know you’re thinking…is this right for a Valentine’s Day card? Isn’t it crossing the line from intense to creepy? Quidco Discover maintains that so long as you don’t deliver your Valentine a card dressed as the Milk Tray man you’ll probably be OK. You don’t want to go over the top.
Time for some more Shakespeare. You can’t have too much of The Bard, well that’s what we think. A fact likely influenced by the fact that our office is situated 10 seconds from his Globe Theatre. The following comes from The Tempest and beautifully captures that “love at first sight moment.”
“Hear my soul speak: The very instant that I saw you, did My heart fly to your service.”
If you’re the kind of guy or gal who carries a pen (and Valentine’s card) around with you, the above is a great line to keep in the locker the next time you fall in love while on your commute.
You may not have realised it, possibly because you’re too busy sloshing back free champagne, but you’ve likely come across the work of Roy Croft before.
The American wordsmith is the man responsible for the poem titled “Love” a much recited wedding reading. Here’s the first line for anybody who may have been dozing the first 20 times it was read to you:
“I love you not only for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you.”
Granted, it’s a rather touching line, but interestingly, who Croft is has long been up for debate. So little is known about the man, that it is widely believed he may not have existed at all. Spooky stuff.
Seeing as we’re in a generous mood…
Last, but not least we leave you with a movie quote, which is a personal favourite of Quidco Discover. We don’t say this because we’re huge fans of either Renee Zellweger or Tom Cruise, but because we can remember it…and it seems applicable for singletons, prospective lovers and long-term partners alike. Taken from Jerry Maguire, it’s the line uttered by Zellweger’s Dorothy Boyd to Cruise’s titled lead:
“Shut up, just shut up. You had me at hello.”
You may want to leave the first part out, presumably because such a staunch command doesn’t work so well in the context of a Valentine’s card…but use the rest. We dare you. And with that, we say good night, and good luck.