Classic Love Poems on the Web
Love is only a click away
Some poems fall within the traditional, comparing their loves to a red rose or summer day, while others are stunningly original—Emily Dickinson describes love as an "imperial thunderbolt/That scalps your naked soul," and John Donne uses the eccentric image of a flea to woo his woman.
And while Byron celebrates the innocence of his love, the impatient Andrew Marvell warns that should his "coy mistress" wait too much longer before surrendering to him, life may pass her by: "The grave 's a fine and private place,/ But none, I think, do there embrace."
i carry your heart with me . . .
E. E. Cummings (1894–1962)"the deepest secret nobody knows . . . the wonder that's keeping the stars apart . . . i carry your heart"
Go, Lovely Rose
Edmund Waller (1606–1687)Waller's most famous poem, and one of the most famous lyric poems in English literature.
To His Coy Mistress
Andrew Marvell (1621–1678)A classic seduction poem. Why wait? " . . . at my back I always hear/ Time's wingèd chariot hurrying near"
The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám
trans. Edward Fitzgerald (1809–1883)The Persian poet's essential ingredients for romance: "A jug of wine, a loaf of bread-and thou"
Sappho (c. 600 B.C.)The great ancient Greek poet reveals how "love shakes my heart."
Again and again, however we know the landscape of love . . .
Rainer Maria Rilke (1875–1926)Lovers journey to a holy place.
Poet to His Love
Maxwell Bodenheim (1893–1954)This modern American poet likens his lover to a silver church in a forest.
O my Luve's like a red, red rose
Robert Burns (1759–1796)The best-known love poem by the famed Scottish poet.
Dorothy Parker (1893–1967)A fine example of Parker's concise, satiric style, this one's for the cynics.
Ben Jonson (1572–1637)"Drink to me only with thine eyes,/And I will pledge with mine . . . "
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593)"Come live with me and be my Love,/And we will all the pleasures prove . . . "
I Love Thee
Eliza Acton (1799–1859)" . . . as I love the calm/Of sweet, star-lighted hours!"
Love Song for Alex, 1979
Margaret Walker (1915–1998)The African-American poet serenades her "monkey-wrench man"
To His Love (Sonnet 18)
William Shakespeare (1564–1616)"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day? . . . "
To Amarantha, that she would dishevel her Hair
Richard Lovelace (1618–1658)An ode to the poet's Rapunzel.