Essay Money Or Love Lyrics

In Jonathan Lethem’s new book, “Fear of Music,” a study of the Talking Heads album by the same name and a riff on his emotional history with the band, Lethem refers to an earlier essay of his on the subject: “At the peak, in 1980 or 81, my identification was so complete that I might have wished to wear the album Fear of Music in place of my head so as to be more clearly seen by those around me.” But no sooner has he quoted himself than Lethem applies the eraser of time, deciding “Like everything I’ve ever said about Talking Heads, or about any other thing I’ve loved with such dreadful longing—there’s only a few—this looks to me completely inadequate, even in the extremeness of its claims, or especially for the extremeness of its claims.”

Lethem likes this Romantic arc—dreadful longing, the regretful revision that follows—and in Talking Heads he has the perfect subject and mirror. In the late nineteen-seventies, in primordial downtown Manhattan, the band sonified not just longing and regret (most great musicians do that), but also dread (some do that), and then—this is what made them really special—mingled the feelings in single songs, sounds, and even couplets, while never letting listeners forget they knew what they were doing.

Take the opening of “Life During Wartime,” an apocalyptic swamp-funk transmission in four-four time. In the first line, the front man David Byrne molds his plastic tenor into a paranoiac-newscaster voice to announce, “Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons”; then, in the second, he steadies it as though to disown his excitement, and, like some repentant father pointing at the family station wagon, avers, “Packed up and ready to go.” (Note, too, that reluctant collusion between the “o”s in “loaded” and “go,” which Byrne emphasizes—a dissociative gulch somewhere between assonance and rhyme.)

For Lethem, “Life During Wartime” is the band’s pinnacle, and the song is still a hell of a thing to hear. (A point about Talking Heads not often enough made: they cooked. Byrne was the funkiest white man in pop until Flea showed up.) But most of the iTunes generation has never heard it. “Fear of Music” appeared in 1979. Indeed, while Talking Heads can be detected in so much music today, from Radiohead to Vampire Weekend, years-old dust covers most of their catalogue.

For younger listeners, and for older ones who never shared Lethem’s infatuation, Talking Heads live on principally in one track: the sad, sweet “love song” titled “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody).” When was the last time you heard “Burning Down the House,” the band’s biggest single? Probably not recently. But chances are good that you’ve heard “This Must Be the Place” very recently, whether you knew it or not.

Thirty years old this year, the song has slowly but surely embedded itself in the American songbook. You can’t walk into a good bar between Williamsburg and Silver Lake without an even shot that it will come on the stereo in some iteration. Lately, it’s been covered by Arcade Fire, MGMT, and the jam band The String Cheese Incident, among others. There are books named for it. Hip brides march down the aisle to it. It’s quoted in mawkish editorials. And last year, “This Must Be the Place” was made into a movie.

This is all very improbable. “This Must Be the Place” is a love song only in spite of itself (it dispenses about as much hope as Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”), and in its time it was not a hit. Rolling Stones review of “Speaking in Tongues,” the 1983 LP on which the song appears, hazarded that the album “finally obliterates the thin line separating arty white pop music and deep black funk,” but doesn’t mention “This Must Be the Place.” Perhaps because it was the most uncharacteristic thing the band had recorded to that point.

Between 1977 and 1983, Talking Heads posted one of the great learning curves in rock history, releasing five albums, each an elaboration on the one before it. Byrne and two Rhode Island School of Design classmates, Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, had formed The Artistics with the idea of combining conceptual and performance art with popular music (their sound earned them the nickname The Autistics). Redubbed Talking Heads, they played alongside riotous groups like The Ramones in refuges from disco, like CBGBs and the Mudd Club. They were a different organism, however, incorporating elements of Motown, punk, African music, funk, and minimalism, all while gigging in collared shirts and corduroys.

Similarly, Byrne’s lyrics were a blank-verse switchboard, patching through Dada language experiments, imagist poetry, scientific literature. (To the disappointment of his engineer father, Byrne had chosen art school over Carnegie Mellon, because, he explained, the former had better graffiti in the halls.) One critic characterized his singing style as “passing on information.”

There was that current of fear in the early songs—of music, technology, animals, the air—the stuff of an Asperger diagnosis, at least. Byrne, who moved around the stage like a hasty votive offering, was a one-man rebuke not just to the Gibb brothers but also to E. M. Forster’s advice to “only connect.” (“O.K., how?” Byrne seemed to reply. “And with whom, exactly? You?”) But there was a merging current, one of childlike bafflement and delight in the world of objects and people. The band played the cosseted prodigy set loose in a decaying America. The precursor to “Fear of Music” is entitled “More Songs About Buildings and Food.”

Lester Bangs, theorizing about the band in The Village Voice in 1979, wrote “Talking Heads are the for(wo)men in charge of that section of the human remodification factory where no one wants to set these mutants careening off nightraze pathogenic highways.” Pleasingly Bangsian, but in hindsight probably wrong. Better, I think, is Lethem’s image of “four musicians using their instruments like an erector set to construct a skyline that won’t fall down before they’re finished.” (The fourth member, Jerry Harrison, dropped out of Harvard’s architecture program to join the band.)

In her memoir, Twyla Tharp, who collaborated with Byrne in 1981 and in the process became romantically involved with him, wrote that he seemed to want “to find the residue of ancient thoughts in the most up-to-date aspects of society.” His investigations sometimes turned up what Lethem calls “palliative remarks” and “lunatic optimism,” as in “Don’t Worry About the Government,” when Byrne assures himself, “Some civil servants are just like my loved ones,” as well as aperçus whose nourishing sadness calls to mind Pound and Larkin. One thinks of the former’s “The Rest” (“Lovers of beauty, starved, / Thwarted with systems”) when Byrne warns us that “Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens,” and, far more troubling, that “Girls are getting into abstract analysis.” There was a deep if partially collapsed well of wistfulness about the band, as there was in all the best No Wave and New Wave acts—the suspicion that they’d been born too late; that rock and life had run their course. “There’s a party in my mind / And I hope it never stops,” Byrne sings in “Memories Can’t Wait.”

Weymouth and Frantz were married (and still are), but Byrne lived the music’s ambivalence. Tharp describes him as “envious of all experiences,” and writes of their breakup, “The truth was we only loved being close to the mystical and the out of control.” Of all the fears expressed in his lyrics, the fear of the deadening routines of devotion may be direst. In “I’m Not In Love,” he estimated, “There’ll come a day when we won’t need love.”

Maybe, but by the nineteen-eighties anyone who was cool and left home at night loved Talking Heads. Their international tours were selling out, with members from groups as diverse a Parliament-Funkadelic and King Crimson joining up, feeling some apostolic tug. The (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKlrkBJozuc) for “Once in a Lifetime” was running nonstop on a new channel called MTV. They were at the center of a scene that for a decade had been confined to a few neighborhoods south of Fourteenth Street and now was a global commodity. Jean Michel Basquiat was at their shows. Madonna joined them on Sire Records. They pop up in Andy Warhol’s diaries.

Fans so inclined had always assumed that Byrne, like Warhol, could be taken at his sardonic word when he’d derided the America outside Manhattan—”I wouldn’t live there if you paid me,” he sneered in “The Big Country”—and the meretricious nostalgia of the eighties. As with Warhol, they were wrong. Byrne claimed in his book accompaniment to the 1986 film “True Stories” that the era’s “new patriotism” was “a trick,” and he included a list all of the people falling for it. But, he goes on, “none of them is wrong. They are setting a good example, and in this film and book I’m teaching myself to appreciate them.” For years “we have been taught not to like things. Finally somebody said it was OK to like things. This was a great relief.”

By the time of the “Speaking in Tongues” sessions, in 1982, Talking Heads was in some sense ready to come home. Or, at least, to buy one. Their fifth studio record and first of the Reagan era, it was their first to sell a million copies, the first to produce a top-ten hit (“Burning Down the House”), and the first to win a Grammy. None of which meant the album was lacking. Lethem says, “At the time, I took the release of Speaking in Tongues as Moses coming down from the mountaintop”—but there is no question that it was their most accessible album to date, thanks in large part to “This Must Be the Place,” in which the rubble is removed from the well of wistfulness and the stuff rushes forth.

The parenthetical title, “Naive Melody,” comes from the fact that the bandmates switched instruments when they composed it. Musically, it was one of the sparest arrangements they ever made. The song consists of a simple guitar-chord progression, a four-bar bass figure, and a fluty synthesizer part, repeated over and over again. The polyphony is African sounding, but also vaguely Baroque, creating an ambiance of innocence that’s augmented by the whimsical array of found-object percussion sounds (a wine bottle, scrap metal, ashtrays, a cocktail shaker, a candleholder, and a milk jug).

On first blush, the lyrics seem comparably simple. Byrne actually sings them, rather than declaiming, as he often did. In an interview, he called them “The most direct love lyrics that I’ve ever written,” and Chris Frantz added, “In a lot of the songs David’s lyrics didn’t have any personal significance for him. They were from things he heard or read. But in this case it sounded as though he really meant it.” Reviewers who took note of the song agreed. “The turmoil is finally resolved in This Must Be The Place,” wrote the Los Angeles Timess Richard Cromelin, who called it “one of the most luminous love songs rock has produced.”

And, indeed, “This Must Be The Place” can be taken as an ode to the palliative effects of companionship. “Home is where I want to be / Pick me up and turn me ’round,” Byrne begins. “I feel numb, born with a weak heart / Guess I must be having fun.” All of a moment, this narrator, who has been worrying over the boredoms of affection for a decade, is welcoming it. He may not want to examine it (“The less we say about it the better”), but he’s ready to dive in (“Make it up as we go along”). All of a moment, he is infatuated. “Hiii yo, I got plenty of time,” Byrne croons.

How had this happened? Literally enough, as it turns out. While on tour, Byrne, recently split from Tharp, had met a young Japanese-German model and actress named Adelle Lutz. By all accounts, they fell for each other immediately. They would later marry and have a daughter. Thirty years on, the effects of the song are similarly immediate. It envelopes you from the first notes, converts you before you know what’s happened. As Frantz put it: “People hear it and accept it without any kind of question.”

So much so that it immediately turned off Talking Heads purists already leery of the band’s newfound popularity. Their Underground Man had acclimatized, and they got an inkling of the innocuous fare awaiting them in the band’s latter albums, which, Lethem says, took the “bafflement and extracted all the venom from it.” In Jonathan Franzen’s novel “Strong Motion” (published in 1992, a year after Talking Heads broke up), an intense seismologist explains her graduation from music to science with the memory “I was sprayed by David Byrne’s saliva before he got blissy.”

But the song is not as blissy as it seems. The spurned purists should have listened more closely. The old anxiety is there.

“This must be the place”—it’s not a statement of certainty, is it? It’s not “This is the place.” It’s more “This is what someone said the place was.” It’s even a little desperate. “I don’t know what I’ll do if this isn’t the place.” The music, too, starts in a kind of question mark. Very unconventionally for a pop song, the lyrics don’t come in for a full minute, during which time the floating bass line doesn’t play on the roots of the guitar chords but on the fifths, lending the melody what the keyboardist Jerry Harrison calls “an uneasiness.” The whole time, we’re wondering if that propulsive sound that carried the record up to this point will return.

It doesn’t, and Byrne arrives instead, but he hasn’t gotten through the first verse before he’s trying to reassure himself he came to the right address. “It’s okay, I know nothing’s wrong,” he sings. “I love the passing of time.” The third verse begins as hopefully as the first does, with the words “Home is where I want to be,” but then a note of disappointment enters his voice, reminiscent of the newscaster-father switch in “Life During Wartime,” as he decides “But I guess I’m already there.” (Note the same non-aligned rhyme on “where” and “there.”) Already, he is bored with the idea of home. Meanwhile, the imagery—“Eyes that light up / Eyes look through you”, “You’ve got a face with a view”—is as spectral as it is numinous. All this as the E-minor chords turn the wistfulness into nostalgia, and nostalgia into a sense of loss, not for things lost, but, the listener intuits from the counterpoint horn-synth stabs in the chorus, for things never found. By the end, the comfort of love is making him think of death: “And you’ll love me til my heart stops / Love me til I’m dead.”

The dreadful longing and anticipatory regret are still there. Byrne is more at ease with them, he can even appreciate them, but he knows they’ll never go away. “This Must Be The Place has a lot of sentiment,” Lethem says, “but the thing that energizes the song is that it’s difficult to get to that sentiment.”

Still, Talking Heads emphasized the song’s sentimental aspects in the music video, which shows the band watching home movies in a living room, and in Jonathan Demme’s concert film “Stop Making Sense” (still amazing), in which Byrne sings it in the company of a standing lamp, à la Fred Astaire.

Its shadows were not lost on Oliver Stone, however, who put “This Must Be The Place” in his film “Wall Street,” in 1987. It plays over a montage sequence in which the Upper East Side apartment of the newly rich inside-trader protagonist is redecorated in risible eighties downtown-gallery style. This guy may own this garish condo, Stone is making clear, but it is not home. In choosing music for the film, Stone told me, he was faced with a conundrum: “How do you score money?” He needed a song that expressed both the character’s excitement at his success and his sinking suspicion this life wasn’t really his. “David had already done it,” Stone said.

After “Wall Street,” the song fell off the radar for a time. Then the up-and-coming singer Shawn Colvin rediscovered it. She had never been much of a Talking Heads fan during their prime, but one day she sat down and listened to “This Must Be The Place” closely. “I was just stunned,” Colvin said, not only by its sweetness, but its melancholia. She could hear in it “the perils of loving someone that much.” Colvin started performing it around the country, and included it on her 1994 release, “Cover Girl.”

By the late nineties, after the punk-inspired grunge movement had faded and musicians started going to post-punk for inspiration, “This Must Be The Place” had become a revived favorite. The owner of one of the three bars in the town where I went to college had “Speaking in Tongues” on vinyl, and he played “This Must Be The Place” at exactly the right moment—that moment between tipsy and drunk—every Saturday night.

In 2004, the as yet unheard of (in the U.S.) band Arcade Fire played a version of the song on the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Radio 3. It got a huge reaction. They recorded it as a B-side, and Byrne sang guest vocals. (He and Lutz divorced the same year.) He started appearing with them at concerts. Then The String Cheese Incident began covering it at shows; then MGMT; then Animal Liberation Orchestra; then d.j. Miles Fisher. A Talking Heads cover band called This Must Be The Band formed in Chicago.

The music writer David Bowman’s 2002 biography of Talking Heads is called “This Must Be The Place.” So is a 2008 novel published by Riverhead; and another, published in 2010, by Henry Holt (its author, Kate Racculia, told me via e-mail “One day, on an otherwise normal commute, ‘This Must Be the Place’ came on my iPod and punched me in the face”).

“I hear it everywhere,” Frantz said. The other day, he was having a hamburger at a diner in Connecticut when a electronic version of the song he didn’t know existed came on the radio. “The young people seemed to like it.”

Recently “This Must Be The Place” has appeared on the soundtracks of the self-help-book inspired dating comedy “He’s Just Not That Into You,” the crossword-puzzle documentary “Wordplay,” the marriage tragicomedy “Crazy Stupid Love,” and, of course, “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” in which it plays over the end credits—this time with less umbrage—in the company of a children’s birthday party.

Last year, Sean Penn starred in the little-seen movie “This Must Be The Place,” as an aging ex-rocker whose life seems to be somehow governed by the song. Byrne puts in a cameo, as himself. He plays the song with a full band. In the most touching scene, Penn’s character encounters a chubby little boy who begs him to play “This Must Be The Place”—by Arcade Fire. He consents, but not before informing the boy “You’re delusional, ‘This Must Be The Place’ is by Talking Heads.”

But “Lars and the Real Girl,” from 2007, employs the song to the best and most knowing effect. It comes on in the film’s crucial scene, in which Lars (Ryan Gosling) brings the life-size doll he’s been claiming is his girlfriend to a party. Rather than laugh, everyone graciously pretends she is a real person. (“The best thing is, man, she doesn’t even know how hot she is,” one partygoer says to Lars.) He feels accepted, welcomed for the first time in the story, maybe in his life. Then someone puts “Speaking in Tongues” on a record player, and lays the needle down on “This Must Be The Place.” Instead of dancing with the doll, Lars begins to dance by himself—or, rather, to sway, almost imperceptibly, his fists clenched, one arm tentatively outstretched, chin on his chest. He is holding back tears and smiling. He’s ecstatic and in agony. He’s never been so happy, or so sad. Finally, there’s a party in his mind. He doesn’t know if he wants it to stop.

Photograph courtesy of AP.

Love is a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes that ranges from interpersonal affection ("I love my mother") to pleasure ("I loved that meal"). It can refer to an emotion of a strong attraction and personal attachment. It can also be a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection—"the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another". It may also describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one's self or animals.

A[edit]

  • Love can defeat that nameless terror. Loving one another, we take the sting from death. Loving our mysterious blue planet, we resolve riddles and dissolve all enigmas in contingent bliss.
  • Mysterious love, uncertain treasure,
    Hast thou more of pain or pleasure!
    Endless torments dwell about thee:
    Yet who would live, and live without thee!
  • When love's well-timed 'tis not a fault to love;
    The strong, the brave, the virtuous, and the wise,
    Sink in the soft captivity together.
  • When love once pleads admission to our hearts,
    (In spite of all the virtue we can boast),
    The woman that deliberates is lost.
  • Love is the expansion of two natures in such fashion that each include the other, each is enriched by the other.
    Love is an echo in the feelings of a unity subsisting between two persons which is founded both on likeness and on complementary differences. Without the likeness there would be no attraction; without the challenge of the complementary differences there could not be the closer interweaving and the inextinguishable mutual interest which is the characteristic of all deeper relationships.
    • Felix Adler, Life and Destiny (1913), Section 5: Love and Marriage
  • The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
  • Love is the only thing that we can carry with us when we go, and it makes the end so easy.
  • “There is much to be known,” said Adaon, “and above all much to be loved, be it the turn of the seasons or the shape of a river pebble. Indeed, the more we find to love, the more we add to the measure of our hearts.
  • Love is the answer, but while you're waiting for the question, sex raises some pretty interesting questions.
    • Woody Allen, reported in James Robert Parish, The Hollywood Book of Love, (2003), p. 35
  • Who sings of all of Love's eternity
    Who shines so bright
    In all the songs of Love's unending spells?
    Holy lightning strikes all that's evil
    Teaching us to love for goodness sake.
    Hear the music of Love Eternal
    Teaching us to reach for goodness sake.
  • We, unaccustomed to courage
    exiles from delight
    live coiled in shells of loneliness
    until love leaves its high holy temple
    and comes into our sight
    to liberate us into life.
  • If we are bold, love strikes away the chains of fear from our souls.
  • Love costs all we are
    and will ever be.
    Yet it is only love
    which sets us free.
    A Brave and Startling Truth.
  • Σχέτλι᾽ Ἔρως, μέγα πῆμα, μέγα στύγος ἀνθρώποισιν,
    ἐκ σέθεν οὐλόμεναί τ᾽ ἔριδες στοναχαί τε γόοι τε,
    ἄλγεά τ᾽ ἄλλ᾽ ἐπὶ τοῖσιν ἀπείρονα τετρήχασιν.
    • Unconscionable Love, bane and tormentor of mankind, parent of strife, fountain of tears, source of a thousand ills.
    • Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica (3rd century BC), Book IV, lines 445–447 (tr. E. V. Rieu)
  • Whatever we do or suffer for a friend is pleasant, because love is the principal cause of pleasure.
  • Álomban és szerelemben nincs lehetetlenség.
    • In dreams and in love there are no impossibilities.
      • János Arany, as quoted in Dictionary of Quotations from Ancient and Modern, English and Foreign Sources (1893) by James Wood, p. 11
  • Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.
    • Attributed to Aristotle in Richard Alan Krieger, Civilization's Quotations: Life's Ideal (2002), p. 47, misquoting earlier reports of the quote which used "friendship" rather than "love".
  • Remember that time slurs over everything, let all deeds fade, blurs all writings and kills all memories. Exempt are only those which dig into the hearts of men by love.
    • Aristotle, Free Translation from the French version of a letter named "The Letter of Aristotle to Alexander on the Policy toward the Cities". Basis for translation: Lettre d’Aristote à Alexandre sur la politique envers les cités, Arabic text edition and translated/edited by Józef Bielawski and Marian Plezia (Warsaw: Polish Academy of Sciences, 1970), page 72
  • All our young lives we search for someone to love. Someone who makes us complete. We choose partners and change partners. We dance to a song of heartbreak and hope. All the while wondering if somewhere, somehow, there's someone perfect who might be searching for us.
  • Alas! is even love too weak
    To unlock the heart, and let it speak?
    Are even lovers powerless to reveal
    To one another what indeed they feel?

    I knew the mass of men conceal'd
    Their thoughts, for fear that if reveal'd
    They would by other men be met
    With blank indifference, or with blame reproved;
    I knew they lived and moved
    Trick'd in disguises, alien to the rest
    Of men, and alien to themselves — and yet
    The same heart beats in every human breast!
  • Ah, love, let us be true
    To one another!
    for the world, which seems
    To lie before us like a land of dreams,
    So various, so beautiful, so new,
    Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
    Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
    And we are here as on a darkling plain
    Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
    Where ignorant armies clash by night.
  • Greatness is a spiritual condition worthy to excite love, interest, and admiration; and the outward proof of possessing greatness is that we excite love, interest, and admiration.
  • What love will make you do
    All the things that we accept
    Be the things that we regret
  • The Eskimo has fifty-two names for snow because it is important to them; there ought to be as many for love.
    • Margaret Atwood, Surfacing (1972) p. 107
    • Variant: The Eskimos had 52 names for snow because it was important to them; there ought to be as many for love.
  • Hunger allows no choice
    To the citizen or the police;
    We must love one another or die.
    • W. H. Auden, September 1, 1939(1939) Lines 78-88; for a 1955 anthology text the poet changed this line to "We must love one another and die" to avoid what he regarded as a falsehood in the original.
  • Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh.
    • W. H. Auden, The Dyer's Hand, and other essays‎ (1962), p. 372
  • It is love that asks, that seeks, that knocks, that finds, and that is faithful to what it finds.
    • Augustine of Hippo, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 392
  • Once for all, then, a short precept is given thee: Love, and do what thou wilt: whether thou hold thy peace, through love hold thy peace; whether thou cry out, through love cry out; whether thou correct, through love correct; whether thou spare, through love do thou spare: let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.
  • What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.

"What sort of countenance does love have? What sort of shape does it have? What sort of height does it have? What sort of feet does it have? What sort of hands does it have? No one can say. Yet it has feet, for they lead to the Church. It has hands, for they stretch out to the poor person. It has eyes, for that is how he is in need is understood: Blessed, it says, is he who understands." Homilies on the First Epistle of John. Trans. Boniface Ramsey, Works of St. Augustine, Part III, Vol. 14 (Hyde Park, NY: New City Press, 2008), Homily 7, Para 10, p. 111.

  • Quantum in te crescit amor, tantum crescit pulchritudo; quia ipsa charitas est animae pulchritudo.
    • Beauty grows in you to the extent that love grows, because charity itself is the soul's beauty.
      • Augustine of Hippo in Homilies on the First Epistle of John Ninth Homily, §9, as translated by Boniface Ramsey (2008) Augustinian Heritage Institute
    • Variant translations:
    • Inasmuch as love grows in you, in so much beauty grows; for love is itself the beauty of the soul.
      • Ten Homilies on the First Epistle of John (1995), The Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, Ninth Homily, §9, as translated by H. Browne and J. H. Meyers
    • Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.
      • As translated in The Little Book of Bathroom Philosophy : Daily Wisdom from the Greatest Thinkers (2004) by Gregory Bergman, p. 50.
  • Nondum amabam, et amare amabam...quaerebam quid amarem, amans amare.
  • Sero te amavi, pulchritudo tam antiqua et tam nova, sero te amavi! et ecce intus eras et ego foris, et ibi te quaerebam.
    • Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient and ever new! Late have I loved you! And, behold, you were within me, and I out of myself, and there I searched for you.
      • Augustine of Hippo in Confessions (c. 397), X, 27, as translated in Theology and Discovery: Essays in honor of Karl Rahner, S.J. (1980) edited by William J. Kelly
    • Variant translations:
      • So late I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient and ever new! So late I loved you!
        • The Ethics of Modernism: Moral Ideas in Yeats, Eliot, Joyce, Woolf, and Beckett‎ (2007), by Lee Oser, p. 29
      • Too late I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient and ever new! Too late I loved you! And, behold, you were within me, and I out of myself, and there I searched for you.
        • Introduction to a Philosophy of Religion (1970) by Alice Von Hildebrand
  • Love all men, even your enemies; love them, not because they are your brothers, but that they may become your brothers. Thus you will ever burn with fraternal love, both for him who is already your brother and for your enemy, that he may by loving become your brother.
    • Augustine of Hippo in On the Mystical Body of Christ, p. 436. From The Whole Christ: The Historical Development of the Doctrine of the Mystical Body in Scripture and Tradition, 1938, 1962, Fr. Emile Mersch, S. J., (1890-1940), John R. Kelly, S.J., tr., London, Dennis Dobson LTD.
  • Choose to love whomsoever thou wilt: all else will follow. Thou mayest say, "I love only God, God the Father." Wrong! If Thou lovest Him, thou dost not love Him alone; but if thou lovest the Father, thou lovest also the Son. Or thou mayest say, "I love the Father and I love the Son, but these alone; God the Father and God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ who ascended into heaven and sitteth at the right hand of the Father, the Word by whom all things were made, the Word who was made flesh and dwelt amongst us; only these do I love." Wrong again! If thou lovest the Head, thou lovest also the members; if thou lovest not the members, neither dost thou love the Head.
    • Augustine of Hippo in On the Mystical Body of Christ, p. 438. From The Whole Christ: The Historical Development of the Doctrine of the Mystical Body in Scripture and Tradition, 1938, 1962, Fr. Emile Mersch, S. J., (1890-1940), John R. Kelly, S.J., tr., London, Dennis Dobson LTD.
  • Jim Luther Davis: Love's about sacrifice; only true measure of it... Yeah, that's love.
    • Harsh Times (2005), written by David Ayer

B[edit]

  • Happiest is he who expects no happiness from others. Love delights and glorifies in giving, not receiving. So learn to love and give, and not to expect anything from others.
    • Meher Baba, Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, The Biography of the Avatar of the Age, Meher Baba (1986) by Bhau Kalchuri, 7:2457
  • The opposite of loneliness, it's not togetherness. It is intimacy.
    • Richard Bach, The Bridge Across Forever: A Lovestory (1989), p. 184
  • If the learned and worldly-wise men of this age were to allow mankind to inhale the fragrance of fellowship and love, every understanding heart would apprehend the meaning of true liberty, and discover the secret of undisturbed peace and absolute composure.
  • It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.
    • Bahá'u'lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 250
  • Ask not of me, love, what is love?
    Ask what is good of God above;
    Ask of the great sun what is light;
    Ask what is darkness of the night;
    Ask sin of what may be forgiven;
    Ask what is happiness of heaven;
    Ask what is folly of the crowd;
    Ask what is fashion of the shroud;
    Ask what is sweetness of thy kiss;
    Ask of thyself what beauty is.
  • Could I love less, I should be happier now.
  • I cannot love as I have loved,
    And yet I know not why;
    It is the one great woe of life
    To feel all feeling die.
  • Love spends his all, and still hath store.
  • The sweetest joy, the wildest woe is love.
  • Ὥστε ὁ ἀγαπῶν τὸν πλησίον ὡς ἑαυτὸν οὐδὲν περισσότερον κέκτηται τοῦ πλησίον·
    • Those who love their neighbor as themselves possess nothing more than their neighbor.
    • Basil of Caesarea, Homily to the Rich (c. 368), in Saint Basil on Social Justice, edited and translated by C. P. Schroeder (2009), p. 43
  • ἀλλὰ μὴν φαίνῃ ἔχων κτήματα πολλά. Πόθεν ταῦτα; ἢ δῆλον ὅτι τὴν οἰκείαν ἀπόλαυσιν προτι μοτέραν τῆς τῶν πολλῶν παραμυθίας ποιούμενος. Ὅσον οὖν πλεονάζεις τῷ πλούτῳ, τοσοῦτον ἐλλείπεις τῇ ἀγάπῃ.
    • You seem to have great possessions! How else can this be, but that you have preferred your own enjoyment to the consolation of the many? For the more you abound in wealth, the more you lack in love.
    • Basil of Caesarea, Homily to the Rich (c. 368), in Saint Basil on Social Justice, edited and translated by C. P. Schroeder (2009), p. 43
  • If you say, I love you, then you have already fallen in love with language, which is already a form of break up and infidelity.
  • One's life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion.
    • Simone de Beauvoir, As quoted in Successful Aging : A Conference Report (1974) by Eric Pfeiffer, p. 142
  • Love — caritas — is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. Each person finds his good by adherence to God's plan for him, in order to realize it fully: in this plan, he finds his truth, and through adherence to this truth he becomes free (cf. Jn 8:32). To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exacting and indispensable forms of charity. Charity, in fact, “rejoices in the truth” (1 Cor 13:6).
  • Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion. Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love. It falls prey to contingent subjective emotions and opinions, the word “love” is abused and distorted, to the point where it comes to mean the opposite. Truth frees charity from the constraints of an emotionalism that deprives it of relational and social content, and of a fideism that deprives it of human and universal breathing-space.
  • Authentic love is obviously something good. When we love we become most fully human. But people often consider themselves loving when actually they are possessive or manipulative. People sometimes treat others as objects to satisfy their own needs. How easy it is to be deceived by the many voices in our society that advocate a permissive approach to sexuality, without regard for modesty, self-respect or the moral values that bring quality into human relationships! This is worship of a false god; instead of bringing life, it brings death.
    • Pope Benedict XVI, Disadvantaged Youth (18 July 2007) at World Youth Day 2008 in Australia
  • Love has a particular trait: it has a task or purpose to fulfill - to abide. By its nature, love is enduring. The Holy Spirit offers our world love that dispels uncertainty; love that overcomes the fear of betrayal; love that carries eternity within; the true love that draws us into a unity that abides!
    • Pope Benedict XVI, Youth Day Vigil (19 July 2007) at World Youth Day 2008 in Australia
  • Dear young people, we have seen that it is the Holy Spirit who brings about the wonderful communion of believers in Jesus Christ. True to his nature as giver and gift alike, he is even now working through you. Let unifying love be your measure; abiding love your challenge; self-giving love your mission!
    • Pope Benedict XVI, Youth Day Vigil (19 July 2007) at World Youth Day 2008 in Australia
  • A new generation of Christians is being called to help build a world in which God's gift of life is welcomed, respected and cherished-not rejected, feared as a threat and destroyed. A new age in which love is not greedy or self-seeking, but pure, faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity, seeking their good, radiating joy and beauty - a new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption that deaden our souls and poison our relationships.
  • Professional standards, the standards of ambition and selfishness, are always sliding downward toward expense, ostentation, and mediocrity. They tend always to narrow the ground of judgment. But amateur standards, the standards of love, are always straining upward toward the humble and the best. They enlarge the ground of judgment. The context of love is the world.
    • Wendell Berry, What Are People For? (1990), chapter The Responsibility of the Poet
  • I believe that the world was created and approved by love, that it subsists, coheres, and endures by love, and that, insofar as it is redeemable, it can be redeemed only by love.
    • Wendell Berry, Another Turn of the Crank (1996), chapter Health is Membership
  • We know enough of our own history by now to be aware that people exploit what they have merely concluded to be of value, but they defend what they love. To defend what we love we need a particularizing language, for we love what we particularly know.
    • Wendell Berry, Life Is A Miracle : An Essay Against Modern Superstition (2000)
  • Love: A temporary insanity curable by marriage or by the removal of the patient from the influences under which he incurred the disorder. This disease, like caries and many other ailments, is prevalent only among civilized races living under artificial conditions; barbarous nations breathing pure air and eating simple food enjoy immunity from its ravages. It is sometimes fatal, but more frequently to the physician than to the patient.
  • Love seeketh not itself to please,
    Nor for itself hath any care,
    But for another gives its ease,
    And builds a heaven in hell’s despair.
  • The mightiest love was granted him
    Love that does not expect to be loved.
  • Being with you and not being with you is the only way I have to measure time.
  • There is only one thing infamous in love, and that is a falsehood.
  • There is no such thing as an age for love … because the man capable of loving — in the complex and modern sense of love as a sort of ideal exaltation — never ceases to love.
    • Paul Bourget, The Age for Love (Whether or not the interview with Pierre Fauchery by "Jules Labarthe" in this short story represents an actual one by Bourget is not known.) Full text online
  • I have been thinking about our conversation and about your book, and I am afraid that I expressed myself badly yesterday. When I said that one may love and be loved at any age I ought to have added that sometimes this love comes too late. It comes when one no longer has the right to prove to the loved one how much she is loved, except by love's sacrifice.
    • Pierre Fauchery, as quoted by the character "Jules Labarthe"
    • Paul Bourget, The Age for Love (Whether or not the interview with Pierre Fauchery by "Jules Labarthe" in this short story represents an actual one by Bourget is not known.) Full text online
  • We have common cause against the night... Why love the woman who is your wife? Her nose breathes the air of a world that I know; therefore I love that nose. Her ears hear the music I might sing half the night through; therefore I love her ears. Her eyes delight in seasons of the land; and so I love those eyes. Her tongue knows quince, peach, chokecherry, mint and lime; I love to hear it speaking. Because her flesh knows heat, cold, affliction, I know fire, snow, and pain... We love what we know, we love what we are. Common cause, common cause, common cause of mouth, eye, ear, tongue, hand, nose, flesh, heart, and soul.
  • I love hiccups and I love sneezes and I love blinks and I love belches and I love gluttons. I love hair. I love bears. For me, the round. For me, the world.
  • Duty makes us do things well, but love makes us do them beautifully.
    • Phillips Brooks, as quoted in Primary Education (1916) by Elizabeth Peabody, p. 190
  • There is musick, even in the beauty and the silent note which Cupid strikes, far sweeter than the sound of an instrument.
  • If thou must love me, let it be for nought
    Except for love's sake only.
    Do not say
    "I love her for her smile — her look — her way
    Of speaking gently, — for a trick of thought
    That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
    A sense of pleasant ease on such a day" —
    For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
    Be changed, or change for thee, — and love, so wrought,
    May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
    Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry, —
    A creature might forget to weep, who fbore
    Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
    But love me for love's sake, that evermore
    Thou may'st love on, through love's eternity
    .
  • 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 everyday's
    Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
    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 would not be a rose upon the wall
    A queen might stop at, near the palace-door,
    To say to a courtier, "Pluck that rose for me,
    It's prettier than the rest." O Romney Leigh!
    I'd rather far be trodden by his foot,
    Than lie in a great queen's bosom.
  • But I love you, sir:
    And when a woman says she loves a man,
    The man must hear her, though he love her not.
  • The game of love is whatever you make it to be.
  • For life, with all it yields of joy and woe,
    And hope and fear
    (believe the aged friend),
    Is just our chance o' the prize of learning love,—
    How love might be, hath been indeed, and is.
  • Le temps, qui fortifie les amitiés, affaiblit l'amour.
    • Time, which strengthens friendship, weakens love.
    • Jean de La Bruyère, Du Coeur, ["Of the Heart" also translated as "Of the Affections"], Aphorism 4
  • L'amour qui naît subitement est le plus long à guérir.
    • Sudden love takes the longest time to be cured.
    • Jean de La Bruyère, Du Coeur, ["Of the Heart" also translated as "Of the Affections"], Aphorism 13
  • Le commencement et le déclin de l'amour se font sentir par l'embarras où l'on est de se trouver seuls.
    • We can recognize the dawn and the decline of love by the uneasiness we feel when alone together.
    • Jean de La Bruyère, Du Coeur, ["Of the Heart" also translated as "Of the Affections"], Aphorism 33
  • L'on veut faire tout le bonheur, ou si cela ne se peut ainsi, tout le malheur de ce qu'on aime.
    • One seeks to make the loved one entirely happy, or, if that cannot be, entirely wretched.
    • Jean de La Bruyère, Du Coeur, ["Of the Heart" also translated as "Of the Affections"], Aphorism 39
  • Regretter ce que l'on aime est un bien, en comparaison de vivre avec ce que l'on hait.
    • Grief at the absence of a loved one is happiness compared to life with a person one hates.
    • Jean de La Bruyère, Du Coeur, ["Of the Heart" also translated as "Of the Affections"], Aphorism 40
  • Just as a mother with her own life
    Protects her child, her only child, from harm,
    So within yourself let grow
    A boundless love for all creatures.

    Let your love flow outward through the universe,
    To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
    A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.

    Then as you stand or walk,
    Sit or lie down,
    As long as you are awake,
    Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
    Your life will bring heaven to earth.

    • Buddha Discourse on Goodwill, From the Metta Sutta, part of the Sutta Nipata, a collection of dialogues with the Buddha said to be among the oldest parts of the Pali Buddhist canon
  • Some prices are just too high, no matter how much you may want the prize. The one thing you can't trade for your heart's desire is your heart.
  • Love. What is it? Most natural painkiller what there is. LOVE.
  • And this is that Homer's golden chain, which reacheth down from heaven to earth, by which every creature is annexed, and depends on his Creator.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III, Section 1. Memb. 1. Subsec. 7
  • No cord nor cable can so forcibly draw, or hold so fast, as love can do with a twined thread.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III, Section 2. Memb. 1. Subsec. 2
  • The falling out of lovers is the renewing of love.
    • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Part III, Section 2. Terence—Andria, III. 23
  • Only tragedy allows the release
    Of love and grief never normally seen.

    I didn't want to let them see me weep,
    I didn't want to let them see me weak,
    But I know I have shown
    That I stand at the gates alone.
  • All the love, all the love,
    All the love we should have given.
    All the love, all the love,
    All the love you could have given.
    All the love...
  • Do you know what I really need?
    I need love love love love love, yeah!
  • The light
    Begin to bleed,
    Begin to breathe,
    Begin to speak.
    D'you know what?
    I love you better now.
  • Excuse me I'm sorry to bother you,
    But don't I know you?
    There's just something about you.
    Haven't we met before?

    We've been in love forever.

  • There's someone who's loved you forever but you don't know it.
    You might feel it and just not show it.
  • * I love my
    Beloved, ooh,
    All and everywhere,
    Only the fools blew it.
    You and me
    Knew life itself is
    Breathing...
  • It is love that alone gives life, and the truest life is that which we live not in ourselves but vicariously in others, and with which we have no concern. Our concern is so to order ourselves that we may be of the number of them that enter into life — although we know it not.
    • Samuel Butler, Ramblings In Cheapside (1890), First published in Universal Review (December 1890)
  • Love in your hearts as idly burns
    As fire in antique Roman urns.
  • Love is a boy by poets styl'd:
    Then spare the rod and spoil the child.
  • What mad lover ever dy'd,
    To gain a soft and gentle bride?
    Or for a lady tender-hearted,
    In purling streams or hemp departed?
  • Oh Love! young Love! bound in thy rosy band,
    Let sage or cynic prattle as he will,
    These hours, and only these, redeem Life's years of ill.
  • The cold in clime are cold in blood,
    Their love can scarce deserve the name.
  • Yes, Love indeed is light from heaven;
    A spark of that immortal fire
    With angels shared, by Allah given
    To lift from earth our low desire.
  • Why did she love him? Curious fool!—be still—
    Is human love the growth of human will?
    • Lord Byron, Lara, A Tale (1814), Canto II, Stanza 22
  • And to his eye
    There was but one beloved face on earth,
    And that was shining on him.
  • She knew she was by him beloved,—she knew
    For quickly comes such knowledge, that his heart
    Was darken'd with her shadow.
  • O! that the Desert were my dwelling place,
    With one fair Spirit for my minister,
    That I might all forget the human race,
    And, hating no one, love but only her!
  • Man's love is of man's life a thing apart,
    'Tis woman's whole existence: man may range
    The court, camp, church, the vessel, and the mart,
    Sword, gown, gain, glory, offer in exchange
    Pride, fame, ambition, to fill up his heart,
    And few there are whom these cannot estrange;
    Men have all these resources, we but one,
    To love again, and be again undone.
  • Alas! the love of women! it is known
    To be a lovely and a fearful thing.
  • In her first passion woman loves her lover;
    In all the others, all she loves is love.
God does not love that which is already in itself worthy of love, but on the contrary, that which in itself has no worth acquires worth just by becoming the object of God's love. ~ Anders Nygren
Love is the expansion of two natures in such fashion that each include the other, each is enriched by the other.
Love is an echo in the feelings of a unity subsisting between two persons which is founded both on likeness and on complementary differences. ~ Felix Adler
Love is the only thing that we can carry with us when we go, and it makes the end so easy. ~ Louisa May Alcott
What love will make you do
All the things that we accept
Be the things that we regret ~ Ashanti
Once for all, then, a short precept is given thee: Love, and do what thou wilt... ~ Augustine of Hippo
Let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good. ~ Augustine of Hippo
Since love grows within you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul. ~ Augustine of Hippo
If the learned and worldly-wise men of this age were to allow mankind to inhale the fragrance of fellowship and love, every understanding heart would apprehend the meaning of true liberty, and discover the secret of undisturbed peace and absolute composure. ~ Bahá'u'lláh
Those who love their neighbor as themselves possess nothing more than their neighbor. ~ Basil of Caesarea
Only in truth does charity shine forth, only in truth can charity be authentically lived. Truth is the light that gives meaning and value to charity. That light is both the light of reason and the light of faith, through which the intellect attains to the natural and supernatural truth of charity: it grasps its meaning as gift, acceptance, and communion. Without truth, charity degenerates into sentimentality. Love becomes an empty shell, to be filled in an arbitrary way. ~ Pope Benedict XVI
Love is not greedy or self-seeking, but pure, faithful and genuinely free, open to others, respectful of their dignity, seeking their good, radiating joy and beauty. ~ Pope Benedict XVI
Just as a mother with her own life
Protects her child, her only child, from harm,
So within yourself let grow
A boundless love for all creatures. ~ Gautama Buddha
Hatred has never stopped hatred. Only love stops hate. This is the eternal law. ~ Gautama Buddha
Let your love flow outward through the universe,
To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.
[...]
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
Your life will bring heaven to earth. ~ Gautama Buddha
What am I singing?
A song of seeds
The food of love.
Eat the music. ~ Kate Bush
We used to say
"Ah Hell, we're young"
But now we see that life is sad
And so is love. ~ Kate Bush
Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care,
But for another gives its ease,
And builds a heaven in hell’s despair. ~ William Blake
It is love that alone gives life, and the truest life is that which we live not in ourselves but vicariously in others, and with which we have no concern. ~ Samuel Butler
To live is like to love — all reason is against it, and all healthy instinct for it. ~ Samuel Butler
At the center of religion is love. I love you and I forgive you. I am like you and you are like me. I love all people. I love the world. I love creating. Everything in our life should be based on love. ~ Ray Bradbury
If everything is imperfect in this imperfect world, love is most perfect in its perfect imperfection. ~ Gunar Björnstrand
We can recognize the dawn and the decline of love by the uneasiness we feel when alone together. ~ Jean de La Bruyère
Yes, Love indeed is light from heaven;
A spark of that immortal fire
With angels shared, by Allah given
To lift from earth our low desire. ~ Lord Byron
The falling out of lovers is the renewing of love. ~ Robert Burton

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