S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.


It is certain there is no other passion which does produce such contrary effects in so great a degree. But this may be said for love, that if you strike it out of the soul, life would he insipid, and our being but half animated. Human nature would sink into deadness and lethargy, if not quickened with some active principle; and as for all others, whether ambition, envy, or avarice, which are apt to possess the mind in the absence of this passion, it must be allowed that they have greater pains, without the compensation of such exquisite pleasures as those we find in love. The great skill is to heighten the satisfactions and deaden the sorrows of it; which, has been the end of many of my labours, and shall continue to be so, for the service of the world in general, and in particular of the fair sex, who are always the best or the worst part of it. It is a pity that a passion which has in it a capacity of making life happy should not be cultivated to the utmost advantage. Reason, prudence, and good nature, rightly applied, can thoroughly accomplish this great end, provided they have always a real and constant love to work on.

Joseph Addison: Tatler, No. 9.

A disappointment in love is more hard to get over than any other; the passion itself so softens and subdues the heart that it disables it from struggling or bearing up against the woes and distresses which befall it. The mind meets with other misfortunes in her whole strength; she stands collected within herself, and sustains the shock with all the force which is natural to her; but a heart in love has its foundation sapped, and immediately sinks under the weight of accidents that are disagreeable to its favourite passion.

Joseph Addison: Spectator, No. 163.

The consciousness of being loved softens the keenest pang, even at the moment of parting; yea, even the eternal farewell is robbed of half its bitterness when uttered in accents that breathe love to the last sigh.

Joseph Addison.

The aspects which procure love are not gazings, but sudden glances and dartings of the eye.

No cord or cable can draw so forcibly, or bind so fast, as love can do with only a single thread.

Divinity maketh the love of ourselves the pattern, the love of our neighbour the portraiture.

There be none of the passions that have been noted to fascinate or bewitch but love and envy.

You may observe that amongst all the great and worthy persons (whereof the memory remaineth, either ancient or recent) there is not one that hath been transported to the mad degree of love,—which shows that great spirits and great business do keep out this weak passion. You must except, nevertheless, Marcus Antoninus, the half-partner of the empire of Rome, and Appius Claudius, the decemvir and lawgiver….

They do best who, if they cannot but admit love, yet make it keep quarter, and sever it wholly from their serious affairs and actions of life; for if it check once with business it troubleth men’s fortunes, and maketh men that they can no ways be true to their own ends.

Francis Bacon: Essay X., Of Love.

There is in man’s nature a secret inclination and motion towards the love of others, which, if it be not spent upon one or a few, doth naturally spread itself towards many, and maketh men become humane and charitable.

Francis Bacon: Essay X., Of Love.

Here are the two great principles upon which charitable or pious uses depend. The love of God is the basis of all that are bestowed for His honour, the building up of His church, the support of His ministers, the religious instruction of mankind. The love of his neighbour is the principle that prompts and consecrates all the rest. The currents of these two great affections finally run together, and they are at all times so near that they can hardly be said to be separated. The love of one’s neighbour leads the heart upward to the common Father of all, and the love of God leads it through Him to all His children.

Horace Binney: Argument Vidal v. the City of Philadelphia, 1844, 28.

This sublime love, being, by an intimate conjunction with its object, thoroughly refined from all base dross of selfishness and interest, nobly begets a perfect submission of our wills to the will of God.

Robert Boyle.

Love doth seldom suffer itself to be confined by other matches than those of its own making.

Robert Boyle.

It is this desire of the happiness of those whom we love which gives to the emotion of love itself its principal delight, by affording to us constant means of gratification. He who truly wishes the happiness of any one cannot be long without discovering some means of contributing to it. Reason itself, with all its light, is not so rapid in discoveries of this sort as simple affection, which sees means of happiness, and of important happiness, where reason scarcely could think that any happiness was to be found, and has already by many kind offices produced the happiness of hours before reason could have suspected that means so slight could have given even a moment’s pleasure. It is this, indeed, which contributes in no inconsiderable degree to the perpetuity of affection. Love, the mere feeling of tender admiration, would in many cases have soon lost its power over the fickle heart, and in many other cases would have had its power greatly lessened, if the desire of giving happiness, and the innumerable little courtesies and cares to which this desire gives birth, had not thus in a great measure diffused over a single passion the variety of many emotions.

Dr. T. Brown: Lects. on the Philos. of the Human Mind.

But if you listen to the complaints of a forsaken lover, you observe that he insists largely on the pleasures which he enjoyed, or hoped to enjoy, and on the perfection of the object of his desires: it is the loss which is always uppermost in his mind. The violent effects produced by love, which has sometimes been even wrought up to madness, is no objection to the rule which we seek to establish. When men have suffered their imaginations to be long affected with any idea, it so wholly engrosses them as to shut out by degrees almost every other, and to break down every partition of the mind which would confine it. Any idea is sufficient for this purpose, as is evident from the infinite variety of causes which give rise to madness; but this at most can only prove that the passion of love is capable of producing very extraordinary effects, not that its extraordinary emotions have any connection with positive pain.

Edmund Burke: On the Sublime and Beautiful.

But the petitioners are violent. Be it so. Those who are least anxious about your conduct are not those that love you most. Moderate affection and satiated enjoyment are cold and respectful; but an ardent and injured passion is tempered up with wrath, and grief, and shame, and conscious worth, and the maddening sense of violated right. A jealous love lights his torch from the firebrands of the furies.

Edmund Burke: Speech on the Plan for Economical Reform, Feb. 11, 1780.

Love is not altogether a delirium, yet it has many points in common therewith. I call it rather a discerning of the infinite in the finite,—of the ideal made real.

That even among the most hackneyed and most hardened of malefactors there is still about them a softer part which will give way to the demonstrations of tenderness; that this one ingredient of a better character is still found to survive the dissipation of all the others, that, fallen as a brother may be from the moralities which at one time adorned him, the manifested good will of his fellow-man still carries a charm and an influence along with it; and that, therefore, there lies in this an operation which, as no poverty can vitiate, so no depravity can extinguish.

Dr. Thomas Chalmers: Sermons on Depravity, Serm. X.

Most men know what they hate, few what they love.

Charles Caleb Colton: Lacon.

If I were ever in love again (which is a great passion, and therefore I hope I have done with it), it would be, I think, with prettiness, rather than with majestical beauty.

Abraham Cowley.

There is such a thing as keeping the sympathies of love and admiration in a dormant state, or state of abeyance.

Thomas De Quincey.

Love, a penurious god, very niggardly of his opportunities, must be watched like a hard-hearted treasurer.

Love that has nothing but beauty to keep it in good health is short-lived, and apt to have ague fits.


Solid love, whose root is virtue, can no more die than virtue itself.


Attachment must burn in oxygen, or it will go out; and by oxygen, I mean a mutual admiration and pursuit of virtue, improvement, utility, the pleasures of taste, or some other interesting concern, which shall be the element of their commerce, and make them love each other, not only for each other, but as devotees to some third object which they both adore.

John Foster: Journal.

“Whether love be natural or no,” replied my friend, gravely, “it contributes to the happiness of every society into which it is introduced. All our pleasures are short, and can only charm at intervals: love is a method of protracting our greatest pleasure; and surely that gamester who plays the greatest stake to the best advantage will, at the end of life, rise victorious.”

Oliver Goldsmith: Citizen of the World, Letter CXVI.

Love is of two sorts, of friendship and of desire; the one betwixt friends, the other betwixt lovers; the one a rational, the other a sensitive love: so our love of God consists of two parts, as esteeming of God, and desiring of him.

Henry Hammond.

As the will doth now work upon that object by desire, which is motion towards the end, as yet unobtained; so likewise upon the same hereafter received, it shall work also by love.

Richard Hooker.

As love without esteem is volatile and capricious, esteem without love is languid and cold.

Dr. Samuel Johnson.

In love, the state which fills the heart with a degree of solicitude next that of an author, it has been held as a maxim, that success is most easily obtained by indirect and unperceived approaches; he who too soon professes himself a lover raises obstacles to his own wishes, and those whom disappointments have taught experience endeavour to conceal their passion till they believe their mistress wishes for the discovery.

Dr. Samuel Johnson: Rambler, No. 1.

Woman’s is comparatively a fixed, a secluded, and a meditative life. She is more the companion of her own thoughts and feelings; and if they are turned to ministers of sorrow, where shall she look for consolation? Her lot is to be wooed and won; and if unhappy in her love, her heart is like some fortress that his been captured, and sacked, and abandoned, and left desolate. How many bright eyes grow dim—how many soft cheeks grow pale—how many lovely forms fade away into the tomb, and none can tell the cause that blighted their loveliness! As the dove will clasp its wings to its side, and cover and conceal the arrow that is preying on its vitals, so it is the nature of woman to hide from the world the pangs of wounded affection. The love of a delicate female is always shy and silent. Even when fortunate, she scarcely breathes it to herself; but when otherwise, she buries it in the recesses of her bosom, and there lets it cower and brood among the ruins of her peace. With her, the desire of her heart has failed,—the great charm of her existence is at an end. She neglects all the cheerful exercises which gladden the spirits, quicken the pulse, and send the tide of life in healthful currents through the veins. Her rest is broken, the sweet refreshment of sleep is poisoned by melancholy dreams, “dry sorrow drinks her blood,” until her enfeebled frame sinks under the slightest external injury. Look for her, after a little while, and you will find friendship weeping over her untimely grave, and wondering that one who but lately glowed with all the radiance of health and beauty should so speedily be brought down to “darkness and the worm.” You will be told of some casual indisposition that laid her low; but no one knows the mental malady that sapped her strength and made her so easy a prey to the spoiler.

Nothing is so fierce but love will soften, nothing so sharp-sighted in other matters but it throws a mist before the eyes on’t.

Roger L’Estrange.

To love our neighbour as ourself is such a fundamental truth for regulating human society, that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality.

Tell a man passionately in love that he is jilted, bring a score of witnesses of the falsehood of his mistress, and it is ten to one but three kind words of hers shall invalidate all their testimonies.

Oh, how beautiful it is to love! Even thou that sneerest and laughest in cold indifference or scorn if others are near thee,—thou, too, must acknowledge its truth when thou art alone, and confess that a foolish world is prone to laugh in public at what in private it reveres as one of the highest impulses of our nature; namely, love.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Oh, there is nothing holier in this life of ours than the first consciousness of love—the first fluttering of its silken wings—the first rising sound and breath of that wind which is so soon to sweep through the soul, to purify or to destroy!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Why have I been born with all these warm affections, these ardent longings after good, if they lead only to sorrow and disappointment? I would love some one—love him once, and forever—devote myself to him alone—live for him—die for him—exist alone in him! But, alas! in all this wide world there is none to love me as I would be loved—none whom I may love as I am capable of loving! How empty, how desolate seems the world about me! Why has Heaven given me these affections only to fall and fade?

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Of all the agonies of life, that which is most poignant and harrowing—that which for the time annihilates reason, and leaves our whole organization one lacerated, mangled heart—is the conviction that we have been deceived where we placed all the trust of love.

Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton.

Love and enmity, aversation and fear, are notable whetters and quickeners of the spirit of life in all animals.

Sir Thomas More.

As the obtaining the love of valuable men is the happiest end of this life, so the next felicity is to get rid of fools and scoundrels.

Alexander Pope.

Let thy love be to the best, so long as they do well; but take heed that thou love God, thy country, thy prince, and thine own estate, before all others! for the fancies of men change, and he that loves to-day hateth to-morrow; but let reason be thy school-mistress, which shall ever guide thee aright.

Love requires not so much proofs, as expressions, of Love. Love demands little else than the power to feel and to requite love.

Jean Paul F. Richter.

Love one human being purely and warmly, and you will love all. The heart in this heaven, like the wandering sun, sees nothing, from the dewdrop to the ocean, but a mirror which it warms and fills.

Jean Paul F. Richter.

Love, like fire, cannot subsist without continual movement: so soon as it ceases to hope and fear, it ceases to exist.

A lover’s hope resembles the bean in the nursery-tale: let it once take root, and it will grow so rapidly that in the course of a few hours the giant Imagination builds a castle on the top, and by-and-by comes Disappointment with the curtal-axe, and hews down both the plant and the superstructure.

Thou demandest, What is love? It is that powerful attraction towards all that we conceive, or fear, or hope beyond ourselves, when we find within our own thoughts the chasm of an insufficient void, and seek to awaken in all things that are, a community with what we experience within ourselves. If we reason, we would be understood; if we imagine, we would that the airy children of our brain were born anew within another’s; if we feel, we would that another’s nerves should vibrate to our own; that lips of motionless ice should not reply to lips quivering and burning with the heart’s best blood. This is love. This is the bond and the sanction which connects not only man with man, but with everything which exists. We are born into the world, and there is something within us which, from the instant that we live, more and more thirsts after its likeness.

Percy Bysshe Shelley.

It is said that in love we idolize the object, and, placing him apart and selecting him from his fellows, look on him as superior in nature to all others. We do so; but even as we idolize the object of our affections, do we idolize ourselves: if we separate him from his fellow-mortals, so do we separate ourselves, and glorying in belonging to him alone, feel lifted above all other sensations, all other joys and griefs, to one hallowed circle from which all but his idea is banished: we walk as if a mist, or some more potent charm, divided us from all but him; a sanctified victim, which none but the priest set apart for that office could touch and not pollute, enshrined in a cloud of glory, made glorious through beauties not our own.

Mrs. Mary W. Shelley.

Carrying thus in one person the only two bands of good-will, loveliness and lovingness.

Sir Philip Sidney.

Love is better than spectacles to make everything seem great.

Sir Philip Sidney.

The passion of love generally appears to everybody but the man who feels it entirely disproportionate to the value of the object; and though love is pardoned in a certain age, because we know it is natural, having violently seized the imagination, yet it is always laughed at, because we cannot enter into it; and all serious and strong expressions of it appear ridiculous to a third person; and though a lover is good company to his mistress, he is so to nobody else.

Adam Smith.

Love is the great instrument of nature, the bond and cement of society, the spirit and spring of the universe. Love is such an affection as cannot so properly be said to be in the soul, as the soul to be in that: it is the whole nature wrapt up into one desire.

Robert South.

The soul may sooner leave off to subsist than to love; and, like the vine, it withers and dies if it has nothing to embrace.

Robert South.

An invisible hand from heaven mingles hearts and souls by strange, secret, and unaccountable conjunctions.

Robert South.

Love is like a painter, who in drawing the picture of a friend having a blemish in one eye, would picture only the other side of the face.

Robert South.

If I will obey the gospel, no distance of place, no strangeness of country, can make any man a stranger to me.

Thomas Sprat.

It is confessed that love changed often doth nothing; nay, it is nothing; for love where it is kept fixed to its first object, though it burn not, yet it warms and cherishes, so as it needs no transplantation or change of soil to make it fruitful.

Sir John Suckling.

That which we call gallantry to women seems to be the heroic virtue of private persons; and there never breathed one man who did not, in that part of his days wherein he was recommending himself to his mistress, do something beyond his ordinary course of life. As this has a very great effect even upon the most slow and common men, so, upon such as it finds qualified with virtue and merit, it shines out in proportionable degrees of excellence. It gives new grace to the most eminent accomplishments; and he who of himself has either wit, wisdom, or valour exerts each of those noble endowments, when he becomes a lover, with a certain beauty of action above what was ever observed in him before; and all who are without any one of these qualities are to be looked upon as the rabble of mankind.

Sir Richard Steele: Tatler, No. 94.

There is a kind of sympathy in souls, that fits them for each other; and we may be assured when we see two persons engaged in the warmths of a mutual affection, that there are certain qualities in both their minds which bear a resemblance to one another. A generous and constant passion in an agreeable lover, where there is not too great a disparity in other circumstances, is the greatest blessing that can befall the person beloved; and, if overlooked in one, may perhaps never be found in another.

Sir Richard Steele: Tatler, No. 185.

There is no calamity in life that falls heavier upon human nature than a disappointment in love; especially when it happens between two persons whose hearts are mutually engaged to each other. It is this distress which has given occasion to some of the finest tragedies that were ever written; and daily fills the world with melancholy, discontent, frenzy, sickness, despair, and death. I have often admired at the barbarity of parents, who so frequently interpose their authority in this grand article of life. I would fain ask Sylvia’s father, whether he thinks he can bestow a greater favour on his daughter, than to put her in the way to live happily?

Sir Richard Steele: Tatler, No. 185.

Daily experience shows us that the most rude rustic grows humane as soon as he is inspired by this passion: it gives a new grace to our manners, a new dignity to our minds, a new visage to our persons. Whether we are inclined to liberal arts, to arms, or address in our exercise, our improvement is hastened by a particular object whom we would please. Cheerfulness, gentleness, fortitude, liberality, magnificence, and all the virtues which adorn men, which inspire heroes, are most conspicuous in lovers.

Sir Richard Steele: Guardian, No. 7.

Celestial love, with the affections of good and truth, and the perceptions thence derived, and at the same time with the delights of those affections and the thoughts thence derived, may be compared to a tree with beautiful branches, leaves, and fruits: the life’s love is that tree; the branches, with the leaves, are the affections of good and truth, with their perceptions; and the fruits are the delights of the affections, with their thoughts.

Emanuel Swedenborg.

There can but two things create love, perfection and usefulness; to which answer on our part, 1. Admiration, and 2. Desire: and both these are centred in love.

Jeremy Taylor.

Consider the immensity of the divine love, expressed in all the emanations of his providence; in his creation, in his consecration of us.

Jeremy Taylor.

The experience of those profitable emanations from God most commonly are the first motive of our love; but when we once have tasted his goodness we love the spring for its own excellency; passing from considering ourselves to an union with God.

Jeremy Taylor.

The love of God makes a man chaste without the laborious acts of fasting and exterior disciplines: he reaches at glory without any other arms than those of love.

Jeremy Taylor.

Anything that is apt to disturb the world, and to alienate the affections of men from one another,… is either expressly, or by clear consequence and deduction, forbidden in the New Testament.

John Tillotson.

Nothing is difficult to love: it will make a man cross his own inclinations to pleasure them whom he loves.

John Tillotson.

No man can think it grievous who considers the pleasures and sweetness of love, and the glorious victory of overcoming evil with good, and then compares these with the restless torment and perpetual tumults of a malicious and revengeful spirit.

John Tillotson.

Lovers are in rapture at the name of their fair idol; they lavish out all their incense upon that shrine, and cannot bear the thought of admitting a blemish therein.

Dr. Isaac Watts.

Many a generous sentiment, and many a virtuous resolution, have been called forth and matured by admiration of one who may herself, perhaps, have been incapable of either. It matters not what the object is that a man aspires to be worthy of, and proposes as a model of imitation, if he does but believe it to be excellent. Moreover, all doubts of success (and they are seldom, if ever, entirely wanting) must either produce or exercise humility; and the endeavour to study another’s interests and inclinations and prefer them to one’s own may promote a habit of general benevolence which may outlast the present occasion. Everything, in short, which tends to abstract a man in any degree or in any way from self—from self-admiration and self-interest—has, so far at least, a beneficial influence on character.

Richard Whately: Annot. on Bacon’s Essay, Of Love.

By love’s delightful influence the attack of ill-humour is resisted, the violence of our passions abated, the bitter cup of affliction sweetened, all the injuries of the world alleviated, and the sweetest flowers plentifully strewed along the most thorny paths of life.

Johann Georg Ritter von Zimmermann.