Why do we say "It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.

Well-Known Expressions

It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all


The pain of loss does not outweigh the pleasure of love.


The expression has its source in Canto 27 of In Memoriam (1850) by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

The poem is a requiem for Tennyson's friend Arthur Henry Hallam, who died suddenly of a cerebral haemorrhage in 1833. Written over 17 years, it is considered one of the great poems of the 19th century.

Earlier, in 1700, William Congreve expressed a similar sentiment in his play, The Way of the World: "Say what you will, 'tis better to be left than never to have loved."

Alphabetical list of expressions

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