I’m not much of a romantic really. I find lots of overly heartfelt things mushy rather than endearing. I avoid Valentine’s Day like the plague. And having been single for quite so long I’m starting to get rather cynical about the whole thing. But these speeches will always always melt that cold cold heart of mine.
They’re all from classics for some reason. I imagine that’s because I find romance less cringy when it’s all old fashioned. When everyone speaks in such poetic, flowery language anyway it’s more acceptable when they do it about matters of the heart.
- Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice
In vain I have struggled it will not do, my feelings will not be repressed, you must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.
Oh my god Mr Darcy. These opening lines of his proposal are my favourites of all time. Of course he undoes all his good work in the next few paragraphs when he then tells Lizzy she’s really not good enough for him. But wouldn’t you just love to have someone tell you how ‘ardently I admire and love you’? I have this vain hope that one day someone will know me well enough to propose to me using this speech (ironically of course). It’s all the more poignant thinking that Jane Austen possibly never was in love herself, yet she could imagine it so richly.
2. Cathy Earnshaw in Wuthering Heights
If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger: I should not seem a part of it.—My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I’m well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff resembles the eternal rocks beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I am Heathcliff! He’s always, always in my mind: not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself, but as my own being.
In general I have no good memories of reading this book, but I just love this speech so much. I can recite the whole thing (for no good reason). And although I don’t really believe the whole soulmate thing this speech could almost convince me they did exist. Everyone know’s the famous ‘he’s more myself than I am’ quote but this declaration from later in the chapter is, in my opinion, even more romantic.
3. Romeo in Romeo and Juliet
My life were better ended by their hate
Than death proroguèd, wanting of thy love
It would be a huge oversight if I were to write this list without any mention of Romeo and Juliet – the original and best tragic love story. Plus no one writes romance like Shakespeare.
4. Lenin in Anna Karenina
He could not be mistaken. There were no other eyes like those in the world. There was only one creature in the world who could concentrate for him all the brightness and meaning of life. It was she. It was Kitty.
Everyone talks about the Vronksy/Anna story in Anna Karenina but as I was reading it I was just as invested in the Kitty/Lenin storyline, if not more so. Plus it has a much happier ending.
5. Philip Pirrip in Great Expectations
I loved her against reason, against promise, against peace, against hope, against happiness, against all discouragement that could be.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to be loved against reason? Well possibly not as that probably involves a lot of drama but it’s still an incredibly romantic thing to say. If only Estella were more deserving of it.