Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day, all! I hope you’re wallowing in lace-edged Valentines and heart-shaped boxes full of gooey chocolaty substances. Earlier this week, in honor of Valentine’s Day, my little sister’s debate society postponed their usual policy debate in favor of a poetry reading. I thought that was an excellent idea, so I’ve decided to, er, borrow it.

When it comes to love poetry, my personal favorite is John Donne:

She’s all states, and all princes I ;
Nothing else is ;
Princes do but play us ; compared to this,
All honour’s mimic, all wealth alchemy.

— from “The Sunne Rising”


I wonder by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? were we not wean’d till then?
But suck’d on country pleasures, childishly?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers’ den?
‘Twas so ; but this, all pleasures fancies be;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, ’twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.

— from “The Good-Morrow”

Then, of course, there’s Donne’s famous “license my roving hands, and let them go…” but that’s better suited to later in the day.

What love poems make you go all fluttery?


  1. Nikki M on February 14, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Happy Valentines Day, Lauren!
    Alas, I am Valentine -less. So I have been out with friends today and I’ve taken to watching the least romantic films tonight!

    However, the poem “Lochinvar” by Sir Walter Scott always makes me swoon. It’s probably my favourite.
    I do love Sonnet 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning too though.

  2. Stephanie Stoddard on February 14, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Happy Valentines Day All,
    Whether you are single or in a relationship i hope your day is filled with happiness.

    I have two favorites the first is Shakespeare sonnet number 116

    Let me not to the marriage of true minds
    Admit impediments; love is not love
    Which alters when it alteration finds,
    Or bends with the remover to remove:
    O, no, it is an ever-fixèd mark,
    That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
    It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
    Whose worth’s unknown, although his heighth be taken.
    Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
    Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
    Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
    But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
    If this be error and upon me proved,
    I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

    and then..
    Did not By Thomas Moore

    Did Not

    ‘Twas a new feeling – something more
    Than we had dared to own before,
    Which then we hid not;
    We saw it in each other’s eye,
    And wished, in every half-breathed sigh,
    To speak, but did not.

    She felt my lips’ impassioned touch –
    ‘Twas the first time I dared so much,
    And yet she chid not;
    But whispered o’er my burning brow,
    ‘Oh, do you doubt I love you now?’
    Sweet soul! I did not.

    Warmly I felt her bosom thrill,
    I pressed it closer, closer still,
    Though gently bid not;
    Till – oh! the world hath seldom heard
    Of lovers, who so nearly erred,
    And yet, who did not.

  3. Lois on February 14, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    I don’t like poetry per se, but I like collections of poetry. . . so I have a nice little love poetry book near me at present. But there’s always the old standby favorite —

    Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Day. 🙂


  4. Mary Ellen Kelly on February 15, 2009 at 11:03 am

    The love poem that makes me “go all fluttery” (and, at times, a bit teary) has done so since I first encountered it, many years ago, at the impressionable age of 12: “A Red, Red Rose,” by Robert Burns:

    O my Luve ‘s like a red, red rose
    That ‘s newly sprung in June:
    O my Luve ‘s like the melodie
    That’s sweetly play’d in tune!

    As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
    So deep in luve am I:
    And I will luve thee still, my dear,
    Till a’ the seas gang dry:

    Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
    And the rocks melt wi’ the sun;
    I will luve thee still, my dear,
    While the sands o’ life shall run.

    And fare thee weel, my only Luve,
    And fare thee weel a while!
    And I will come again, my Luve,
    Tho’ it were ten thousand mile.

  5. Ellen on February 15, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    One of my favourite love poems is Sonnet 130 by William Shakespeare.
    “My mistresses’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
    Coral is far more red than her lips’ red:
    If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
    If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
    I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
    But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
    And in perfumes is there more delight
    Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
    I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
    That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
    I grant I never saw a goddess go;
    My mistress, when she walks, she treads on ground:
    And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
    As any she belied in false compare.”

  6. April on February 15, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    My Valentine is in Iraq right now and I was feeling very melancholy until I heard this song on the radio by Jason Mraz singing with another artist. It made me feel better. Although it’s not Shakespeare, it is poetry to me, and expressed perfectly my relationship with my husband right now.

    boy: Do you hear me? I’m talking to you
    Across the water, across the deep blue
    ocean, under the open sky.
    Oh, my baby, I’m trying.

    girl: Boy, I hear you in my dreams.
    I feel you whisper across the sea.
    I keep you with me in my heart.
    You make it easier when life gets hard.

    both: Lucky I’m in love with my best friend,
    Lucky to have been where I have been,
    Lucky to be coming home again.

    They don’t know how long it takes
    Waiting for a love like this.
    Every time we say good-bye
    I wish we had one more kiss.
    I’ll wait for you I promise you I will.

    Lucky I’m in love with my best friend,
    Lucky to have been where I have been,
    Lucky to be coming home again.

    Lucky we’re in love in every way,
    Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed,
    Lucky to be coming home some day.

    boy: And so I’m sailing through the sea
    To an island where we’ll meet.
    You’ll hear the music fill the air,
    I’ll put a flower in your hair.

    girl:Though the breezes through the trees
    Move so pretty, you’re all I see.
    As the world keeps spinning round
    You hold me right here right now.

    both:Lucky I’m in love with my best friend,
    Lucky to have been where I have been,
    Lucky to be coming home again.

    Lucky we’re in love in every way,
    Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
    Lucky to be coming home some day.

  7. Nikki M on February 15, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    I just remembered I never posted the actual poems themseleves. To be honest I can’t post Lochinvar, it’s way to long but here’s a link;


    Sonnet 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
    My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
    For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
    I love thee to the level of everyday’s
    Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
    I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
    I love thee with the passion put to use
    In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
    I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
    With my lost saints,—I love thee with the breath,
    Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
    I shall but love thee better after death.

  8. Camille la Flamme on February 15, 2009 at 6:08 pm

    Shakespeare sonnet 116 and yay Romeo and Juliet!

    I spent my day (alone) with them for company. 🙂

  9. Kayse on February 15, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Shakespeare, Donne, Burns, and Byron are my top-tier favorites, but I love the Cavalier poets, and many more of the Romantic poets. One of my favorite poems is Lord Byron’s “She Walks in Beauty.”

    She walks in beauty, like the night
    Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
    And all that ‘s best of dark and bright
    Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
    Thus mellow’d to that tender light
    Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

    One shade the more, one ray the less,
    Had half impair’d the nameless grace
    Which waves in every raven tress,
    Or softly lightens o’er her face;
    Where thoughts serenely sweet express
    How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

    And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
    So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
    The smiles that win, the tints that glow
    But tell of days in goodness spent,
    A mind at peace with all below,
    A heart whose love is innocent!

  10. Catherine on February 15, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    The two most beautiful poems I’ve ever read;
    He Wishes for the cloths of heaven
    by W B Yeats

    Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
    Enwrought with golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
    Of night and light and the half-light,
    I would spread the cloths under your feet:
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

    She Tells her love while half asleep
    by Robert Graves

    She tells her love while half asleep,
    In the dark hours,
    With half-words whispered low:
    As Earth stirs in her winter sleep
    And puts out grass and flowers
    Despite the snow,
    Despite the falling snow.

  11. Laura on February 16, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    My fav is “Fire and Ice” by Edmund Spenser:
    My love is like to ice, and I to fire:
    how comes it then that this her cold so great
    is not dissolv’d through my so hot desire,
    but harder grows, the more I her entreat?

    Or how comes it that my exceeding heat
    is not delayed by her heart frozen cold,
    but that I burn much more in boiling sweat,
    and feel my flames augmented manifold?

    What more miraculous thing may be told
    that fire, which all thing melts, should harden ice:
    and ice which is congealed with senseless cold,
    should kindle fire by wonderful device?

    Such is the pow’r of love in gentle mind
    that it can alter all the course of kind.

    And even though it’s sad, I really like “The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson


  12. Debra Callaway on February 19, 2009 at 10:35 am

    My personal favorites are also Sonnet 43 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and “A Red, Red Rose,” by Robert Burns. Also Scene 2 of Romeo & Juliet (commonly known as the balcony scene):

    SCENE II. Capulet’s orchard.

    But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?
    It is the east, and Juliet is the sun.
    Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
    Who is already sick and pale with grief,
    That thou her maid art far more fair than she:
    Be not her maid, since she is envious;
    Her vestal livery is but sick and green
    And none but fools do wear it; cast it off.
    It is my lady, O, it is my love!
    O, that she knew she were!
    She speaks yet she says nothing: what of that?
    Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
    I am too bold, ’tis not to me she speaks:
    Two of the fairest stars in all the heaven,
    Having some business, do entreat her eyes
    To twinkle in their spheres till they return.
    What if her eyes were there, they in her head?
    The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars,
    As daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven
    Would through the airy region stream so bright
    That birds would sing and think it were not night.
    See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand!
    O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
    That I might touch that cheek!

    Ay me!

    She speaks:
    O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art
    As glorious to this night, being o’er my head
    As is a winged messenger of heaven
    Unto the white-upturned wondering eyes
    Of mortals that fall back to gaze on him
    When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds
    And sails upon the bosom of the air.

    etc, etc, etc.

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