This unique anthology presents depictions of female figures in a wide range of English verse – narrative, dramatic and lyric, original and translated – from the Middle Ages to the late nineteenth century. The emphasis is on the variety of women’s reactions to the passion of love – whether joyful, idealizing, horrified, deceitful, resigned, noble, curious, or reflective. The collection juxtaposes familiar material with less well-known items, and encompasses a wide variety of tones and moods, from heroic pathos to bawdy comedy. The passages all present moments in which a woman’s thoughts are rendered, or her presence imagined, with particular dramatic vividness. The women depicted range from nobly born heroines of myth and legend to more ordinary and everyday figures. The result is a comprehensive presentation – moving, sobering and amusing by turns – of the joys, fears, hopes and disappointments of women in love.