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10 Best Classic Love Poems

By Gary R. Hess. Category: Poetry
Classic love poems

Every now and then a new poem comes along which enters into the category as one of the best love poems of all-time. Of course, this is all relative. Your favorite love poem most likely isn't your best friend's or even your brother's. The only real judge of poetry is father time--outside of awards that is.

So here we are, the 10 best classic love poems (according to PoemofQuotes and acquaintances) from all our favorite classic poets.

To Helen by Edgar Allan Poe

Snippet:

Helen, thy beauty is to me
  Like those Nicean barks of yore,
That gently, o'er a perfumed sea,
  The weary, wayworn wanderer bore
  To his own native shore.

The River Merchant's Wife by Li Po

While my hair was still cut straight across my forehead 
I played about the front gate, pulling flowers. 
You came by on bamboo stilts, playing horse, 
You walked about my seat, playing with blue plums. 
And we went on living in the village of Chokan: 
Two small people, without dislike or suspicion. 
At fourteen I married My Lord you. 
I never laughed, being bashful. 
Lowering my head, I looked at the wall. 
Called to, a thousand times, I never looked back. 
At fifteen I stopped scowling, 
I desired my dust to be mingled with yours 
Forever and forever and forever. 
Why should I climb the look out? 
At sixteen you departed, 
You went into far Ku-to-en, by the river of swirling eddies, 
And you have been gone five months. 
The monkeys make sorrowful noise overhead. 
You dragged your feet when you went out. 
By the gate now, the moss is grown, the different mosses, 
Too deep to clear them away! 
The leaves fall early this autumn, in wind. 
The paired butterflies are already yellow with August 
Over the grass in the West garden; 
They hurt me. I grow older. 
If you are coming down through the narrows of the river Kiang, 
Please let me know beforehand, 
And I will come out to meet you 
  As far as Cho-fu-Sa.

In Love Song by Rainer Maria Rilke

How shall I hold on to my soul, so that
it does not touch yours? How shall I lift
it gently up over you on to other things?
I would so very much like to tuck it away
among long lost objects in the dark 
in some quiet unknown place, somewhere 
which remains motionless when your depths resound.
And yet everything which touches us, you and me,
takes us together like a single bow,
drawing out from two strings but one voice.
On which instrument are we strung?
And which violinist holds us in the hand?
O sweetest of songs.

may i feel by E. E. Cummings

Snippet:

may i feel said he
(i'll squeal said she
just once said he)
it's fun said she

A Valediction Forbidding Mourning by John Donne

Snippet:

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls, to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
"The breath goes now," and some say, "No:"

Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Young Charms by Thomas Moore

Believe me, if all those endearing young charms, 
Which I gaze on so fondly to-day 
Were to change by to-morrow, and fleet in my arms, 
Like fairy-gifts fading away, 
Thou wouldst still be adored, as this moment thou art, 
Let thy loveliness fade as it will, 
And around the dear ruin each wish of my heart 
Would entwine itself verdantly still. 
It is not while beauty and youth are thine own, 
And they cheeks unprofaned by a tear, 
That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known, 
To which time will but make thee more dear; 
No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets, 
But as truly loves on to the close, 
As the sun-flower turns on her god, when he sets, 
The same look which she turned when he rose.

Unending Love by Rabindranath Tagore

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times...
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it's age old pain,
It's ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star, piercing the darkness of time.
You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers,
Shared in the same shy sweetness of meeting,
the distressful tears of farewell,
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
The love of all man's days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours -
And the songs of every poet past and forever.

This Dream by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love, if I weep it will not matter,
   And if you laugh I shall not care;
Foolish am I to think about it,
   But it is good to feel you there.

Love, in my sleep I dreamed of waking,
   White and awful the moonlight reached
Over the floor, and somewhere, somewhere,
   There was a shutter loose, it screeched!

Swung in the wind, and no wind blowing!
   I was afraid, and turned to you,
Put out my hand to you for comfort,
   And you were gone! Cold, cold as dew,

Under my hand the moonlight lay!
   Love, if you laugh I shall not care,
But if I weep it will not matter,
   Ah, it is good to feel you there!

La Vita Nuova by Dante

Snippet:

In that book which is
My memory...

My River by Emily Dickinson

Snippet:

My river runs to thee.
Blue sea, wilt thou welcome me?
My river awaits reply.
Oh! Sea, look graciously.