As Valentine’s Day approaches, we’ve found 8 of the world’s most romantic poems for you to woo the one you love with. Now get memorising…
1 Sonnet 116 William Shakespeare 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.
2 When You Are Old, W. B. Yeats When you are old and gray and full of sleep, And nodding by the fire, take down this book, And slowly read, and dream of the soft look Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace, And loved your beauty with love false or true; But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you, And loved the sorrows of your changing face.
And bending down beside the glowing bars Murmur, a little sadly, how love fled And paced upon the mountains overhead And his his face amid a crowd of stars.
3 Love is Enough, William Morris Love is enough: though the world be a-waning, And the woods have no voice but the voice of complaining, Though the skies be too dark for dim eyes to discover The gold-cups and daisies fair blooming thereunder, Though the hills be held shadows, and the sea a dark wonder, And this day draw a veil over all deeds passed over, Yet their hands shall not tremble, their feet shall not falter: The void shall not weary, the fear shall not alter These lips and these eyes of the loved and the lover.
4 Love's Secret William Blake Never seek to tell thy love, Love that never told can be; For the gentle wind doth move Silently, invisibly.
I told my love, I told my love, I told her all my heart, Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears, Ah! she did depart!
Soon after she was gone from me A traveller came by, Silently, invisibly, He took her with a sigh.
5 My lady's presence makes the roses red, Henry Constable My lady's presence makes the roses red, Because to see her lips they blush for shame. The lily's leaves, for envy, pale became, And her white hands in them this envy bred. The marigold the leaves abroad doth spread, Because the sun's and her power is the same. The violet of purple colour came. Dyed in the blood she made my heart to shed. In brief: all flowers from her their virtue take; From her sweet breath their sweet smells do proceed; The living heat which her eyebeams doth make Warmeth the ground and quickeneth the seed. The rain, wherewith she watereth the flowers, Falls from mine eyes, which she dissolves in showers.
6 Sonnet 18, William Shakespeare Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, And Summer's lease hath all too short a date: Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, And oft' is his gold complexion dimm'd; And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd: But thy eternal Summer shall not fade Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see, So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
7 On the balcony D.H. Lawrence In front of the sombre mountains, a faint, lost ribbon of rainbow And between us and it, the thunder; And down below in the green wheat, the labourers stand like dark stumps, still in the green wheat. You are near to me, and naked feet In their sandals, and through the scent of the balcony's naked timber I distinguish the scent of your hair: so now the limber Lightning falls from heaven. Adown the pale-green glacier river floats A dark boat through the gloom -- and whither? The thunder roars But still we have each other! The naked lightnings in the heavens dither And disappear -- what have we but each other? The boat has gone.
8 Bright Star, John Keats Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art-- Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night And watching, with eternal lids apart, Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite, The moving waters at their priestlike task Of pure ablution round earth's human shores, Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask Of snow upon the mountains and the moors-- No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable, Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast, To feel for ever its soft fall and swell, Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, And so live ever--or else swoon to death.