Love is like rich and heady wine. It can intoxicate and send lovers to a state of euphoria as Polish artist Franciszek Zmurko (1859-1910) depicted in his painting, In Rapture (pictured above). But with joy often comes tribulation and sorrow. The following are some unforgettable quotes from writers and philosophers who delved into one of the most complex human emotions.

love is a place
& through this place of
love move
(with brightness of peace)
all places

yes is a world
& in this world of
yes live
(skilfully curled)
all worlds

~ e.e. cummings

Fathers and teachers, I ponder, “What is hell?” I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love. ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky, from The Brothers Karamazov

To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.  ~ Bertrand Russell, from Marriage and Morals

What does the brain matter compared with the heart? ~ Virginia Woolf, from Mrs. Dalloway

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.

~ William Shakespeare, from Hamlet

Love, plate two from Woman, ca. 1886
Albert Besnard (French, 1849-1934)
Image courtesy of the Art Institute of Chicago

The supreme happiness of life consists in the conviction that one is loved; loved for one’s own sake–let us say rather, loved in spite of one’s self; this conviction the blind man possesses.
~ Victor Hugo, from Les Miserables

You must learn to forgive a man when he’s in love. He’s always a nuisance. ~ Rudyard Kipling from The Light that Failed

They are not wise, then, who stand forth to buffet against Love; for Love rules the gods as he will, and me. ~ Sophocles, from Trachiniae

At any rate, let us love for a while, for a year or so, you and me. That’s a form of divine drunkenness that we can all try. There are only diamonds in the whole world, diamonds and perhaps the shabby gift of disillusion. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, from The Diamond As Big As The Ritz

I believe in being warm-hearted. I believe especially in being warm-hearted in love, in fucking with a warm heart. I believe if men could fuck with warm hearts, and the women take it warm-heartedly, everything would come all right. It’s all the cold-hearted fucking that is death and idiocy. ~ D.H. Lawrence, from Lady Chatterley’s Lover

We are the zanies of sorrow. We are clowns whose hearts are broken. ~ Oscar Wilde, from De Profundis

Payaso con guitarra, 1956
Manuel Rosé (Uruguayan, 1887-1961)
Image courtesy of Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales

No human being, even the most passionately loved and passionately loving, is ever in our possession.
~ Albert Camus, from The Rebel / Part 4: Rebellion and Art

I hold this to be the highest task of a bond between two people: that each should stand guard over the solitude of the other. For, if it lies in the nature of indifference and of the crowd to recognize no solitude, then love and friendship are there for the purpose of continually providing the opportunity for solitude. And only those are the true sharings which rythmically interrupt periods of deep isolation. ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet

Two separate beings, in different circumstances, face to face in freedom and seeking justification of their existence through one another, will always live an adventure full of risk and promise. ~ Simone de Beauvoir, from The Second Sex

To love purely is to consent to distance, it is to adore the distance between ourselves and that which we love. ~ Simone Weil, from Gravity and Grace

Confuse not love with the raptures of possession, which bring the cruellest of sufferings. For, notwithstanding the general opinion, love does not cause suffering: what causes it is the sense of ownership, which is love’s opposite. ~ Antoine de Saint Exupéry, from Citadelle or The Wisdom of the Sands

Parting of Lovers: The Morning After, ca. 1765–70
Suzuki Harunobu (Japanese, 1725–1770)
Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

But O, in a minute she changed—
O do not love too long,
Or you will grow out of fashion
Like an old song.

~ William Butler Yeats, from O Do Not Love Too Long

When women love, they forgive everything, even our crimes; when they do not love, they cannot forgive anything, not even our virtues. ~ Honoré de Balzac, from The Physiology of Marriage

Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?

~ Robert Frost, from Reluctance

And ever has it been that love knows not its own depth until the hour of separation. ~ Kahlil Gibran, from The Prophet

Oh, love isn’t there to make us happy. I believe it exists to show us how much we can endure. ~ Hermann Hesse, from Peter Camenzind

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