It’s Valentine’s Day, and what better day to look at the most romantic lines in period dramas? I’ve counted down my top 10 quotes, utterly subjective and unlikely to match anyone else’s list should they make it.
In terms of the films or television episodes I’ve referenced, I’m aware that some will be quotes from the original literature or have been repeated many times over in other adaptations. These are just the adaptations where I most enjoyed the quote!
So here goes, my favourite romantic lines that elicit much sighing and swooning…
10. Thomas LeFroy in Becoming Jane (2007)
I have no money, no property, I am entirely dependent upon that bizarre old lunatic, my uncle. I cannot yet offer marriage, but you must know what I feel. Jane, I’m yours. God, I’m yours. I’m yours, heart and soul. Much good that is.
9. Jay Gatsby in The Great Gatsby (2013)
I knew that when I kissed this girl, I would be forever wed to her.
8. John Keats in Bright Star (2009)
Will you confess this in a letter? You must write immediately and do all you can to console me in it. Make it rich as draught of poppies to intoxicate me. Write the softest words and kiss them that I may at least touch my lips where yours have been.
7. Mr Knightley in Emma (2009)
My dearest Emma, for that is what you always have been and you always will be, my most beloved Emma. I cannot make speeches. If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more, but you know what I am. I have lectured you and scolded you and you have born it as no other woman would have.
6. Prince Andrei and Natasha Rostov in War & Peace (2016)
Natasha: Forgive me, I’m so sorry, forgive me.
Andrei: For what?
Natasha: For what I did.
Andrei: Natasha, I love you. I love you more, better than I did before.
5. Laszlo de Almasy in The English Patient (1996)
Every night I cut out my heart. But in the morning it was full again.
4. John Davinier and Dido Elizabeth Belle in Belle (2013)
John: No. No, that your feelings for me are so? That you would be my wife? Because – because I cannot conceive of a life without you.
Dido: I love you. For all that you are, and with all, all that I am.
3. Captain Wentworth in Persuasion (1995)
I can listen no longer in silence, I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever. I offer myself to you with a heart even more your own, than when you broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you.
2. Robbie Turner in Atonement (2007)
Dearest Cecilia, the story can resume. The one I had been planning on that evening walk. I can become again the man who once crossed the surrey park at dusk, in my best suit, swaggering on the promise of life. The man who, with the clarity of passion, made love to you in the library. The story can resume. I will return. Find you, love you, marry you and live without shame.
- Gabriel Oak in Far From The Madding Crowd (1967)
And at home by the fire, whenever you look up there I shall be, and whenever I look up, there will be you.
What do you think, do you agree with any choices? Let us know your favourite romantic quotes in the comments below!