What better way to celebrate the holiday of love than with a poignant quote from one of our favorite authors, Charles Dickens? This romantic quote comes from what is perhaps Dickens’ most acclaimed work, A Tale of Two Cities. This now-famous novel was first published in serial form in Dickens’ own literary magazine, All the Year Round, from April to November 1859.
Set in both London and Paris in the years leading up to the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities is a classic blend of Dickens’ favorite subjects: poverty, social class, romance, and coming of age. It’s a novel filled with excitement, danger, and grandiose gestures—especially the one that ends the novel. (No spoilers here, though.)
Here’s the full context of this romantic Charles Dickens quote:
“To none. No, Miss Manette, to none. If you will hear me through a very little more, all you can ever do for me is done. I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul. In my degradation I have not been so degraded but that the sight of you with your father, and of this home made such a home by you, has stirred old shadows that I thought had died out of me. Since I knew you, I have been troubled by a remorse that I thought would never reproach me again, and have heard whispers from old voices impelling me upward, that I thought were silent for ever. I have had unformed ideas of striving afresh, beginning anew, shaking off sloth and sensuality, and fighting out the abandoned fight. A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.”
If you’ve never read A Tale of Two Cities, we highly recommend it. And not just for this romantic quote, either. Like most of Dickens’ works, the entire novel is filled with quotable statements, puns, and memorable metaphors.
Plus, you can read it for free on Project Gutenberg! So snuggle up with a hot chocolate, a glass of wine, or your significant other and enjoy your Charles Dickens valentine.