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15 Best Love Poems of All Time

When it comes to romance, trust the professionals.

Even the smoothest operator can get tongue-tied and ruin a romantic moment. Knowing this, the experts of sweet nothings took their time, wrote down their feelings, and edited them into dreamy, passionate poems that can be read over and over again. We’ve gathered some of their loveliest lines, all of which make up some of the best love poems of all time. Fair warning: These poems are likely to take your breath away.

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“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach.”

—"How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways," by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Love this poem? Check out The Collected Poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Related: 9 Inspiring Female Coming of Age Stories 

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“I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I

Did, till we loved”

—"The Good-Morrow," by John Donne

Read more of his metaphysical poetry in The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose of John Donne.  

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“Who said that love was fire?

I know that love is ash.

It is the thing which remains

When the fire is spent.

The holy essence of experience.”

—"Who Said That Love Was Fire?" by Patience Worth

Allegedly, Patience Worth was a spirit channeled by Pearl Lenore Curran. You can learn more about Curran/Worth's relationship in Patience Worth: a psychic mystery. 

Related: 10 Most Terrifying Ghost Stories and Paranormal Novels 

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“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.”

—"She Walks in Beauty," by Lord Byron

All of George Gordon Byron's writing can be found in his Complete Works

Related: Your Favorite Poems of All Time 

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“i carry your heart with me (i carry it in

my heart) i am never without it (anywhere

i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done

by only me is your doing, my darling)”

—"i carry your heart with me," by e.e. cummings

Read more of his best love poems sans capital letters in his Selected Poems. 

best_love_poems

“I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times...

In life after life, in age after age, forever.”

—"Unending Love," by Rabindranath Tagore

Discover more from this Bengali wordsmith in The Complete Works of Rabindranath Tagore. 

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“That I did always love

I bring thee proof

That till I loved

I never lived.”

—"That I Did Always Love,” by Emily Dickinson

You can read the rest of Dickinson's poems in her Complete Poems. 

Related: 20 Quotes From Your Favorite Poets 

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“You were born together, and together you shall be forever more.

You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.”

—"Love One Another," by Khalil Gibran

If you're unfamiliar with this Lebanese-American writer, we highly suggest reading his Complete Works.  

best_love_poems

“Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,

That looks on tempests, and is never shaken”

—"Sonnet 116,” by William Shakespeare

You can't have a list of the best love poems without including the Bard. For a fun twist on Shakespurr—we mean, Shakespeare—check out Shakespeare's Cats: The Complete Sonnets for the Literary Cat Lover. 

Related: Bards of a Feather: 11 Books Inspired by William Shakespeare 

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“Then seek not, sweet, the ‘If’ and ‘Why’

I love you now until I die.

For I must love because I love

And life in me is what you give.”

—"Because She Would Ask Me Why I Loved Her,” by Christopher Brennan

Brennan's heartwarming words can also be found in 50 Classic Love Poems You Have to Read. 

When You Come by Maya Angelou

"When you come to me, unbidden,

Beckoning me

To long-ago rooms,

Where memories lie.

Offering me, as to a child, an attic,

Gatherings of days too few.

Baubles of stolen kisses.

Trinkets of borrowed loves.

Trunks of secret words,

I CRY."

—"When You Come," by Maya Angelou

The Complete Poetry of Maya Angelou is something that everyone should read once in their lifetime.

Related: 11 Books By Black Authors You Must Read Now 

Rondel of Merciless Beauty

“Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;

Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;

Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen. 

Only your word will heal the injury

To my hurt heart, while yet the wound is clean -

Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;

Their beauty shakes me who was once serene.” 

—"Rondel of Merciless Beauty," by Geoffrey Chaucer 

We can't think of a higher compliment than being told you have "merciless beauty." The Canterbury Tales author's Complete Works are definitely worth a read. 

“Don't go far off, not even for a day, because—

because—I don't know how to say it: a day is long 

and I will be waiting for you, as in an empty station 

when the trains are parked off somewhere else, asleep.”

—"Don't Go Far Off," by Pablo Neruda

Also don't be fooled by Neruda's innocent words here—he's known for his passionate poems that will get your heart racing. See for yourself in The Poetry of Pablo Neruda. 

Related: 10 Steamy Historical Romance Novels That Will Get Your Petticoats in a Twist 

love poem by rupi kaur

“love will come

and when love comes

love will hold you

love will call your name

and you will melt

sometimes though

love will hurt you but

love will never mean to

love will play no games

cause love knows life

has been hard enough already”

—pg. 60, Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur 

Not too many poets stand out in their own time, but recently Rupi Kaur has managed to do just that. Milk and Honey became a best-seller soon after its release in 2014, and her second book of poetry, The Sun and Her Flowers, managed to do the same.  

Related: 8 Stunning Poetry Collection Books Like Milk and Honey 

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 are thou, my bonie lass,

So deep in luve am I;

And I will luve thee still, my Dear,

Till a’ the seas gang dry."

—"A Red, Red Rose," by Robert Burns

Bonus points if you read this one out loud with a light Scottish brogue. For more words to woo your bonie lass or lad, check out the Complete Works of Robert Burns. 

Related: 11 Poetry Collections That Even Non-Poetry Readers Will Enjoy 

Featured photo: Tyler Nix / Unsplash 

Related: The Best Sad Poetry Books 

Published on 23 Jun 2015

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