The Most Romantic Declarations of Love in Literature

Happy Valentine’s Day! “Ugh, flowers and chocolates!” you cry. Love it or hate it, but it has to be said that those literary masters knew what they were talking about when it comes to declarations of love. So read on ahead and swoon because it is all in the words, baby.

jane eyre

1. “Sacrifice! What do I sacrifice? Famine for food, expectation for content. To be privileged to put my arms round what I value-to press my lips to what I love-to repose on what I trust: is that to make a sacrifice? If so, then certainly I delight in sacrifice.” Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte

Men declaring their love for women is conventional but you know, what is bad ass? Women declaring their love for their men. In classical literature. Pretty much any exchange between Jane and Rochester is quotable but I think this part where Jane declares that by marrying the now handicapped Mr Rochester would be the best sacrifice is romantic.

2. “I wish I knew how to quit you.” Brokeback Mountain, Annie Proulx

This short story by Annie Proulx is heart-breaking and a sucker punch to the gut. Ennis del Mar and Jack Twist come together out of loneliness and a desperate longing during their long days herding horses in the mountains. Over the years, they separate but their powerful connection brings them together until the ending.

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Image courtesy of

3. “Florentina Ariza had kept his answer ready for fifty-three years, seven months and eleven days and nights. ‘Forever,’ he said.”  Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

If you want some of the greatest quotes on love, put away that Handbook of Love and pick up some Marquez (Just check out that opening line in the picture above). Love in the Time of Cholera is a beautiful meditation on the all-consuming power of love while reflecting on marriage and loneliness. Just don’t say “Love in the Time of (insert whatever here) here” all the time. That is just sad.

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Image courtesy of

4. “I shall do one thing in this life-one thing certain-this is, love you, and long of you, and keep wanting you till I die.” Far from the Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy

For Hardy’s happiest novel, you can’t get better than the perfect marriage plot of Far from the Madding Crowd. Gabriel Oak (geddit? he is strong and silent like the oak and angelic like Gabriel). For a tad sexist depiction of one woman for whom three guys pine after (proof that this can only happen in books), this declaration is pretty sweet and charming. Also, the new adaptation starring Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby, An Education) looks pretty awesome so there’s one adaptation to be looking forward to this year.


5. “I love you as certain dark things are to be loved, in secret between the shadow and the soul.” Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

All of Neruda ia quotable, the guy was in top form about all thing love but this quote just reigns supreme for all declarations of love. Longing, desire, understanding all come together in this perfectly coined phrase.


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