Sunday, February 13, 2011

Vive L’Amour: Top 5 Most Romantic Poems

Top 5 Most Romantic Poems

Among the pairs of colorful, quirky or passionate lovers we meet in Random Magic, Callie and Nevermore are notable for being among the most bookish. It would be fair to say they’re the most literary lovers in the story.

Callie -- a nickname, in the book, for her full name of Calliope -- is the first and most literary of the Nine Muses, and one of her favorite places is her infinite library.

As an immortal, she’s known every author ever born and every author who ever will be, and she visits each in turn, bringing along the gift of a buoyant heart and a touch of celestial inspiration.

Her sister, Effie -- a nickname for her full name, Efterpe or Euterpe -- the Muse of music, also brings happiness and divine fire to every artist she visits.

Sometimes, too, their worlds intersect, and words inspire music, or vice versa.

In this quote from Random Magic, Effie overhears a beautiful new melody by one of her favorite houseguests in the House of the Muses -- composer Ludwig van Beethoven, who’s hard at work adapting a poem into what’s soon to become his famous Symphony No. 9:


Quote from Random Magic:

“Sweet Olympus!” Effie said suddenly.

“He’s singing.” Her ears twitched.

‘Bettler werden Fürstenbrüder / Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt’
-- ‘Beggars become princes' brothers / Where your gentle wing alights.’

Gods, it must be worse than I thought. I’m not sorry at all now, that Eros pricked himself with his own poison.

Poetic justice, isn’t it?

Serves him absolutely right, making all that mischief for poor mortals, day and night.”

She sighed deeply. “But isn’t it romantic?” (More)

More Random Magic: Browse or buy
Watch the cute book trailer: Random Magic

So, for this tour stop on Random Magic: Vive L’Amour, we’d like to share the top five most romantic poems, the sort you’d be most likely to find on the limitless shelves of Callie’s infinite library, or stacked up on a piano in one of Effie’s airy and happy studios, where music and words combine to create sheer joy.


How do I Love Thee?
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (mp3 download)

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.


I cry your mercy—pity—love!—ay, love
by John Keats

To Fanny.

I cry your mercy—pity—love!—ay, love!
Merciful love that tantalises not
One-thoughted, never-wandering, guileless love,
Unmask'd, and being seen—without a blot!
O! let me have thee whole,—all—all—be mine!
That shape, that fairness, that sweet minor zest
Of love, your kiss,—those hands, those eyes divine,
That warm, white, lucent, million-pleasured breast,—
Yourself—your soul—in pity give me all,
Withhold no atom's atom or I die,
Or living on, perhaps, your wretched thrall,
Forget, in the mist of idle misery,
Life's purposes,—the palate of my mind
Losing its gust, and my ambition blind!


Ben Whishaw as John Keats

Bright Star
by John Keats

Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature's patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.


Annabel Lee
by Edgar Allan Poe (mp3 download)

It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.

I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea:
But we loved with a love that was more than love--
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me--
Yes!--that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we--
Of many far wiser than we--
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:

For the moon never beams, without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise, but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling--my darling--my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.


The Raven
by Edgar Allan Poe (mp3 download)

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore--
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door--
"'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door--
Only this and nothing more."

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;--vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow--sorrow for the lost Lenore--
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me--filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
"'Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door--
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;--
This it is and nothing more."

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
"Sir," said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you"--here I opened wide the door;----
Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?"
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, "Lenore!"--
Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
"Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore--
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;--
'Tis the wind and nothing more!"

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door--
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door--
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
"Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore--
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!"
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning--little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blest with seeing bird above his chamber door--
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as "Nevermore."

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing further then he uttered--not a feather then he fluttered--
Till I scarcely more than muttered "Other friends have flown before--
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before."
Then the bird said "Nevermore."

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
"Doubtless," said I, "what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore--
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of 'Never--nevermore.'"

But the Raven still beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore--
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking "Nevermore."

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o'er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee--by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite--respite and nepenthe, from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!"
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil!--prophet still, if bird or devil!--
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted--
On this home by Horror haunted--tell me truly, I implore--
Is there--is there balm in Gilead?--tell me--tell me, I implore!"
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil--prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us--by that God we both adore--
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore--
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore."
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

"Be that word our sign in parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting--
"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!--quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!"
Quoth the Raven "Nevermore."

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted--nevermore!


Bonus: Sweet treat – Classic love poem

The Fair Singer
by Andrew Marvell (1621 – 1678) (mp3 download)

To make a final conquest of all me,
Love did compose so sweet an enemy...
That, while she with her eyes my heart does bind,
She with her voice might captivate my mind.

I could have fled from one but singly fair ;
My disentangled soul itself might save...
But all resistance against her is vain,
Who has the advantage both of eyes and voice...

Do you have a favorite love poem that you’d like to share for Valentine’s Day?

Feel free to share your recommendations or comments below. You can also find other cool reads about love and romance - and books, and art, and all sorts of other wonderful things - at Random Magic Tour: Vive L’Amour (Through February 14): Browse tour schedule

Queen of Hearts tour game
just collect more candy hearts
like the bonus one above and
you might win a sweet prize!
details here


* source poems and poets

* source Edgar Allan Poe Valentine Paperdoll magnet - get one for yourself

Extra! Extra! - a freebie sweet treat
Celebrate National Poetry Month with a free issue of POETRY magazine. Get your copy here.

*=** Vive L’Amour schedule **=*


  1. It's funny to think of the raven as a love poem, because we have associated it with halloween. It is one of my favorites,though.

  2. I love the poem, Bright Star by John Keats. I have watched the movie too. It was so sad!

  3. Ooh, I liked Bright Star the best, especially after reading This Miss Loves to Read's post yesterday about the top 5 historical couples. And i agree with Debbie, I never thought of the raven as a love poem. it's always seemed to me a bit creepy, like the Tell Tale Heart.

  4. The Raven by Poe is one of my all-time faves!

  5. My life closed twice before it's close and yet remains to see. if immorality unveiled a third event to me, so huge, so hopeless to conceive as these that twice befell. Parting is all we know of heaven and all we need of hell.
    Cant remember who wrote it....but I can't believe I remembered it! LOL

  6. I am not a much of poetry person..but i do enjoy the occasional ones..My favorite from these 5 is the first one by Elizabeth Browning!:D
    Happy V-day!
    spreading the love..

  7. Le sigh, I wish someone would write me poetry *looks at bf*

  8. Love them all! Especially Bright Star.

    One of my favourites is e.e. cumming's "nothing, not even the rain, has such small hands". Read it here :

  9. I love 'How do I love thee?' because I studied it in school. It's lovely.

    Another favourite is Shakespeare's sonnet-Shall I compare thee...


Imagination Designs
Images from: Lovelytocu