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Calling all literary aficionados

(37 Posts)
wideboy26 Mon 30-Jan-17 12:29:52

Tomorrow is my wedding anniversary. It will be 41 years. I've bought a card for my wife without a message because this year I'd like to include a quotation from literature or poetry about the nature of love. However, I'm stuck! I'm looking for something akin to "The quality of mercy is not strained" that reflects the depth and qualities of long term true love. I'm only looking for about 4 lines max and I've tried google and an anthology of favourite poems, but haven't found anything that hits the right note. Could anybody with a better knowledge of English literature than mine help please? All suggestions gratefully received.

almightygirl Mon 30-Jan-17 12:33:16

Have you tried or You can search for poems based on themes.

Cel982 Mon 30-Jan-17 12:40:23

Something from Sonnet 116, maybe?

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. 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;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love ’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

MagicChicken Mon 30-Jan-17 12:45:21

Thomas Campion.

There is a garden in her face
Where roses and white lilies grow
A heavenly paradise is that place
Wherein all pleasant fruits do flow.

MagicChicken Mon 30-Jan-17 12:47:26

Ben Johnson.

Drink to me only with thine eyes
And I will pledge with mine;
Or leave a kiss but in the cup,
And I'll not look for wine.

ElfingHeck Mon 30-Jan-17 12:52:08

“Marriage, which has been the bourne of so many narratives, is still a great beginning, as it was to Adam and Eve, who kept their honey-moon in Eden, but had their first little one among the thorns and thistles of the wilderness. It is still the beginning of the home epic - the gradual conquest or irremediable loss of that complete union which make the advancing years a climax, and age the harvest of sweet memories in common.”
― George Eliot, Middlemarch

ElfingHeck Mon 30-Jan-17 12:52:47

Please let us know what you choose OP! and a very happy anniversary to you both, congratulations. 41 years is a triumph smile

Allalonenow Mon 30-Jan-17 12:55:16

Robbie Burns
My love is like a red red rose

5subjectnotebook Mon 30-Jan-17 12:57:44

The Serenity Prayer

Grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference

uglyswan Mon 30-Jan-17 13:02:46

Fidelity by D.H. Lawrence

Man and woman are like the earth, that brings forth flowers
in summer, and love, but underneath is rock.

Older than flowers, older than ferns, older than foraminiferae,
older than plasm altogether is the soul underneath.

And when, throughout all the wild chaos of love
slowly a gem forms, in the ancient, once-more-molten rocks
of two human hearts, two ancient rocks,
a man's heart and a woman's,
that is the crystal of peace, the slow hard jewel of trust,
the sapphire of fidelity.

The gem of mutual peace emerging from the wild chaos of love.

DameVanillaSugar Mon 30-Jan-17 13:09:46

41 years married to me.
That's a phenomena.
Do doo dee do Dah.

Do doooo de doo.

De doo dee doo dah. De dooo de doo de do de do de doo.

(C) The Muppets/Henson.

MagicChicken Mon 30-Jan-17 13:11:45

My true love hath my heart and I have his,
By just exchange one for another given.
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss;
There never was a better bargain driven.
My true love has my heart and I have his.

Sir Philip Sydney.

ClaudiaWankleman Mon 30-Jan-17 13:12:34

A Chinese traditional poem (and one of my favourites):


I want to be your love for ever and ever,
Without break or decay.
When the hills are all flat,
The rivers are all dry.
When it thunders in winter,
When it snows in summer
When heaven and earth mingle,
Not till then will I part from you.

Other translations are no doubt available.

ithakabythesea Mon 30-Jan-17 13:13:37

Not literary, but the Regstrar where we went to sign our wedding certificate had a cross stitch picture that said 'Time alone is the measure of true love'. I have never forgotten it - over 20 years & still going strong. Congratulations.

GandolfBold Mon 30-Jan-17 13:14:35

What about the famous piece from captain corelli's mandolin. Hang on...

Tartle Mon 30-Jan-17 13:15:06

For verily love knows not ‘mine’ or ‘thine;’
With separate ‘I’ and ‘thou’ free love has done,
For one is both and both are one in love:
Rich love knows nought of ‘thine that is not mine;’
Both have the strength and both the length thereof,
Both of us, of the love which makes us one.

From I loved you first, Christina Rossetti.

GandolfBold Mon 30-Jan-17 13:16:05

MagicChicken Mon 30-Jan-17 13:20:44

So well I love thee as without thee I
Love nothing; if I might choose, I'd rather die
Than be one day debarred thy company.

Michael Drayton

CaraAspen Mon 30-Jan-17 13:30:03

Ooh! I have an excuse to post this gorgeous poem:

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 - 1861

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.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

CaraAspen Mon 30-Jan-17 13:33:47

Love this one too:

"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And too often is his gold complexion dimm'd:
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance or natures changing course untrimm'd;
By thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee."

Sonnet 18


mummyto2monkeys Mon 30-Jan-17 13:37:33

A favourite quote of mine to add to my anniversary cards of my husband, is a quote from the first Outlander book written by Diana Gabaldon.

"Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone,
I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One.
I give ye my Spirit, 'til our Life shall be Done.”

MagicChicken Mon 30-Jan-17 13:39:12

Aw. This thread is making me come over all soppy.

mummyto2monkeys Mon 30-Jan-17 13:41:46

Another beautiful quote is the Apache Wedding Blessing, I had a version of this read at my wedding.

The Apache Wedding Blessing (long version)

Now you will feel no storms, for each of you will be shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there is no loneliness, for each of you is companion to the other, You are two persons, but there is one life before you, and one home. Turn together to look at the road you traveled, to reach this---the hour of your happiness. It stretches behind you into the past. Look to the future that lies ahead. A long and winding, adventure-filled road, whose every turn means discovery, new hopes, new joys, new laughter, and a few shared tears. May happiness be your companion, May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead; And through all the years to come. Go this day to your dwelling place and enter into your days together. May your days be good and long upon the earth. Your adventure has just begun!

- See more at:

wideboy26 Mon 30-Jan-17 13:52:01

What a fabulous response! Thank you all so much. I spent a good deal of last week in google searches and my anthology of well loved poems, but nothing really expressed what I want go convey. And then I thought of mumsnet; a woman would know best which words would please another woman!

Since my original post I thought of The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, so I am perusing that too, but it's painstaking work. There is an index of subjects, but there are dozens of entries under "love". I'm looking not so much for compliments that a man would pay to a woman, more statements about the nature of love that we can both recognise from what we share and have shared for the past 41 years. And I'm only looking for a few lines, so the first sentence of Fidelity by D H Lawrence looks eminently suitable.

I'll return to The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations over a cup of tea for now, but if nothing better comes up, I may well go with uglyswan's suggestion. Thank you all again.

wideboy26 Mon 30-Jan-17 13:57:53

Ooooh - The Apache Wedding! My wife read that at our son's wedding. She rehearsed it a few times to me, but couldn't get to the end without being overcome as the words are so lovely. She was fine on the day though!

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