“Love is the only bow on Life’s dark cloud. It is the morning and the evening star. It shines upon the babe, and sheds its radiance on the quiet tomb. It is the mother of art, inspirer of poet, patriot and philosopher. It is the air and light of every heart – builder of every home, kindler of every fire on every hearth. It was the first to dream of immortality. It fills the world with melody – for music is the voice of love. Love is the magician, the enchanter, that changes worthless things to Joy, and makes royal kings and queens of common clay. It is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart, and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon, we are less than beasts; but with it, earth is heaven, and we are gods.”
Robert G. Ingersoll was a famous orator of the 19th century, delivering lectures on religion, history, literature, etc. He is chiefly remembered today for his speeches against religion, but I took to him as a lay philosopher, a quintessential American who somehow fused the best of the 18th and 20th centuries together, preaching about love and liberty while firing broadsides against monarchy, superstition, etc. Back in 2010 I posted a brief biography about him online; a year before that I also posted a far more flowery tribute to him. I woke up with this quotation in my head, the old favorite brought to mind by Valentine’s Day.