The Most Romantic Poetry of All Time

Want to give the gift of a romantic poem this festive season? Be inspired by our pick of romantic poetry from some of the great romantic poets.

Shakespare - Sonnet 18

Despite the world’s difficulties, love triumphs, and as we approach Christmas and the festive season, there’s never been a better time to try your hand at writing a little romantic poetry for your loved one.

If you’re experiencing writer’s block, consider borrowing a line or two from some of the most romantic poets of all time.

From William Shakespeare to Emily Dickinson to Carol Ann Duffy, great poets have helped us articulate that strange little thing called love, so we’ve compiled a list of our favorites, here is it…

1. Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare was a big fan of the original form of romantic poetry, the sonnet, which always had 14 lines and was written in iambic pentameter (a steady, bouncy rhythm of 10 syllables).

He wrote many famous sonnets, but this one, published in 1609, is one we’ve memorized.

Best part:
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate

2. She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron

This is one of Lord Byron‘s most famous works, written in 1814. The poem is said to have been written about his cousin’s wife after he was struck by her unusual beauty.

Best part:
She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright

3. Love is… by Adrien Henri

When it comes to poetry, simplicity is often the most effective. This is why we adore Adrien Henri’s perfectly articulated poem from 1968.

Best part:
Love is you and love is me
Love is a prison and love is free
Love’s what’s there when you’re away from me

4. How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

This idea of never-ending love, written for her husband, fellow poet Robert Browning, resonates as much today as it did when it was first published in 1850.

Best part:
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.

5. If You Forget Me by Pablo Naruda

This famous poem by the Chilean writer, published in the 1950s, perfectly captures the willingness to love in exchange for being loved.

Best part:
If each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

6. Love Song for Lucinda by Langston Hughes

In this poem, Hughes portrays love as dangerous and difficult, but also enchanting and all-encompassing.

Best part:
Is a ripe plum
Growing on a purple tree.
Taste it once
And the spell of its enchantment
Will never let you be.

7. The Good Morrow by John Donne

This poem, published in his 1633 collection Songs and Sonnets, refers to biblical and spiritual conceptions of love.

Best part:
Whatever dies, was not mixed equally;
If our two loves be one, or, thou and I
Love so alike, that none do slacken, none can die.

8. Hour by Carol Ann Duffy

Ex-Poet Laureate Duffy’s modern-day version, inspired by Shakespeare’s sonnets, weaves mythological references with everyday joy to capture what love is all about.

Best part:
Now. Time hates love, wants love poor
but love spins gold, gold, gold from straw.

9. That I Did Always Love by Emily Dickinson

In 1923, the rebellious young American poet – now immortalized on Apple TV as Hailee Steinfeld – wrote this unique love poem.

Best part:
I argue thee
That love is life–
And life hath Immortality–

10. To My Husband by Wendy Cope

Cope wrote this lovely modern ode to long-term, enduring love for her husband, poet Lachlan Mackinnon.

Best part:
We may not have too many years before
One disappears to the eternal yonder
And I can’t hug or touch you any more.
Yes, of course that knowledge makes us fonder.
Would I want to change things, if I could
And make us both immortal? Love, I would.

This year, give your loved one the ultimate romantic gift: a book of love poems. Here is a list of some of the best.


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