"I would walk across the desert with no shoes upon my feet,
To share with you the last bite of bread I had to eat."
Some lovers say that they'll care for you, work hard to support you, and be there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on. But why stop there? Why not fetch the stars from the sky for you, climb the highest mountain, walk a thousand miles on broken glass just for one touch of your hand! And yes, these things are completely impractical and nobody could actually do any of them without dying
- but hey, sometimes the best way to express powerful feelings is through ridiculous exaggeration. Alternatively, you can interpret such impractical feats as metaphors for overcoming more mundane obstacles.
Other forms of hyperbole are also eligible, such as attributing supernatural properties or abilities to your lover that no person actually has, like shining/glowing, being the source of all beauty, or teaching the doves to sing.
If any "I would such and such" statements turn out to be Not Hyperbole
, back away slowly because Love Makes You Crazy and/or evil.
Naturally a staple of Silly Love Songs
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- Its A Wonderful Life:
George: What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That's a pretty good idea. I'll give you the moon, Mary.
Mary: I'll take it. Then what?
George: Well, then you could swallow it, and it'd all dissolve, see? And the moonbeams'd shoot out of your fingers and your toes, and the ends of your hair... Am I talking too much?
- Subverted in Stardust when Tristan tells his girlfriend he'll bring back a star for her... and actually goes out and finds a star - fallen to earth in the shape of a woman - and tries to bring her back. Only along the way, he falls in love with the star and ends up with her instead.
- Shakespeare in Love subverts this trope by way of Sonnet 130 (see in Literature, below) when Shakespeare tells Thomas Kent (actually Shakespeare's love Viola in disguise) about how the woman he loves has eyes like the sun, lips red as coral, a voice like music, etc. "Thomas" responds that he'd hate to be Shakespeare's lady because no real woman could actually live up to that.
- Shakespeare uses this trope a lot.
- The most obvious example is probably Romeo and Juliet. Romeo says that Juliet: 1. Is the sun. 2. Teaches the torches to burn bright. 3. Is fairer than the moon. 3. Has cheeks brighter than the stars. 4. OK, you get the idea.
- Another example is from Two Gentlemen of Verona. One of the male leads is in love with a woman named Silvia and he recites the following completely ridiculous speech which was also recited in Shakespeare in Love.
What light is light, if Silvia be not seen?
What joy is joy, if Silvia be not by?
Unless it be to think that she is by
And feed upon the shadow of perfection
Except I be by Silvia in the night,
There is no music in the nightingale;
Unless I look on Silvia in the day,
There is no day for me to look upon...
- Hell, Renaissance poetry was full of this stuff. Check out Philip Sidney's Astrophil and Stella sonnet cycle.
- Mocked by Ogden Nash:
More than a catbird hates a cat,
Or a criminal hates a clue,
Or the Axis hates the United States,
That's how much I love you....
Live Action TV
- Averted in a Flight of the Conchords episode, where Jemaine tells Bret not to write a song to his girlfriend in this style.
Jemaine: Would you actually climb the highest mountain?
- Parodied by Mystery Science Theater 3000's Tom Servo in "Creepy Girl":
All I know is that I love you! I want to shout it from the mountain tops! Uh, but, I'd have to get back down to Earth and actually CLIMB a mountain. Or they could just drop me off on a mountain. I don't care! That would be okay, because I just—need—YOU!
- Parodied in the MTV sketch comedy show The State while incorporating a Brick Joke. Earlier in the show, a teacher is telling students not to talk lightly about assassinating the president when a group of secret service agents rush in and carry her off. Later, when the cast is performing a Silly Love Song called "You Will Always Give Me A Boner", one singer sings "I would do anything for you! I'd even shoot the president!" Cue the secret service.
- Subverted in Babylon 5. Sheridan tells Delenn at one point, "I'll never leave you, Delenn, not if the whole universe stood between us." The universe does, and he doesn't.
- The Judds - "Love Can Build a Bridge", as in the page quote. In this case the next line ("I would swim out to save you in your sea of broken dreams") makes it clear that it's metaphorical.
- The Proclaimers - "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)":
But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles
To fall down at your door
- Similarly, Vanessa Carlton - "A Thousand Miles":
You know I'd walk a thousand miles
If I could just see you... tonight.
- This one is particularly unrealistic: it would require over 13 continuous days to walk a thousand miles, so she obviously wouldn't make it "tonight."
- She never says she'll walk them TO see her lover, just "if" she could. She could walk the thousand miles after.
- Foreigner - "Feels Like the First Time":
I would climb any mountain
Sail across a stormy sea
- Billy Ocean - "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going":
Darlin', I'll climb any mountain
Darlin', I'll do anything
- CÚline Dion - "Pour Que Tu M'aimes Encore" ("For You to Love Me Again"): among other things, the narrator offers to make herself queen, cast magic spells of African priests, and turn herself into gold for her ex-lover to love her again.
- Evanescence - "Anything for You":
I'll be anything for you
I'll become your earth and sky
Forever never die
I'll be everything you need
- Coheed and Cambria - "Wake Up" (also overlaps with Lyrical Dissonance):
I'll do anything for you
Kill anyone for you
Cause I'll do anything you ask me to...
- Another Coheed example: he offers to "cut the throats of babies" just for you. Aww...
- Savage Garden - "Truly Madly Deeply":
I wanna lay like this forever
Until the sky falls down over me.
- blink-182 - "Until the Stars Fall from the Sky":
I'll hold you all night honey
To the sound of the waves
Until the stars fall out of the sky
- Rick Astley - "Together Forever":
And don't you know I would move heaven and earth
To be together forever with you.
- Also weirdly inverted in "Never Gonna Give You Up", where his promises boil down to "I will commit to you exclusively and not cheat on you," and he then states "you wouldn't get this from any other guy." Kind of a low bar, there, Rick....
- Jacques Brel's "Ne me quitte pas" (Don't leave me) has a number of line about what the singer would do to keep their lover. Unlike other songs where this is considered completely romantic, this one is more about how the despair associated with losing love would make you do really desperate things. One example among many:
Moi je t'offrirai/ Des perles de pluies/ Venues de pays/ Ou il ne pleut pas
I will bring you pearls of rain from countries where there is no rain.
- "Everything I Own" by Bread:
I'll give up my life, my heart, my home
I will give everything I own
Just to have you back again
- "Longer" by Dan Fogelberg.
Longer than there've been fishes in the ocean
Higher than any bird ever flew
Longer than there've been stars up in the heavens
I've been in love with you.
Stronger than any mountain cathedral
Truer than any tree ever grew
Deeper than any forest primeval
I am in love with you.
- The premise of the "Weird Al" Yankovic song "Good Enough For Now" is subverting this trope.
You know I couldn't live a single day without you
Actually, on second thought, well, I suppose I could
And I swear I'm never gonna leave you, darlin'
At least 'till something better comes along
- Zig-Zagged in Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel:
Cause baby there
Ain't no mountain high enough
Ain't no valley low enough
Ain't no river wide enough
To keep me from getting to you babe.
- Straight example with the mountain, as there are certainly mountains high enough to be impassable. The valley gets a little weird, but if you expand your definition of "valley" to include gorges and canyons it still makes some kind of sense. But river? Really? Even the widest of rivers can be crossed by ferry.
- Subverted in Meat Loaf's song "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)"
I would do anything for love
I'd run right into hell and back
I would do anything for love
I'd never lie to you and that's a fact
And I would do anything for love
But I won't do that.
- Except the thing he won't do is fall out of love with said woman.
- Although played straight big time in "I'd Lie For You (And That's The Truth)".
Your every wish will be a wish that I will make come true
And if you want the moon I swear I'll bring it down for you
- Painful rhyme in Bruno Mars' brokenhearted "Grenade":
I would catch a grenade for ya
Throw my hand on a blade for ya
I'd jump in front of a train for ya
- To Me You Are Everything by The Real Thing opens with:
I would take the stars out of the sky for you
Stop the rain from falling if you asked me to.
I'd do anything for you
Your wish is my command
- Sara Evans' "No Place that Far" IS this trope.
If I had to run
If I had to crawl
If I had to swim a hundred rivers
Just to climb a thousand walls
Always know that I would find a way
To get to where you are
Baby, there's no place that far
- This trope's inversion is the premise of the old English folk song, Scarborough Fair. The song is about a man trying to exact impossible tasks out of a woman, telling her he'll love her if she can do these.
Tell her to make me a cambric shirt
Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
Without a stitch or needlework
And she shall be a true lover of mine.
- "I Will" by Jarah Gibson from the Soundtrack of The Room.
I will stand in the way of a bullet
I will run through a forest of flames
I will climb the highest of mountains
Just to show you I love you, I will.
- There's also the Eurovision Song Contest (2001) song "(I Would) Die For You" by Antique, Greece. Says itself, really.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal had a man claiming he'd do anything for the woman he loves, until she asks him: "Would you eat this brick?"
- And again in this one, mocking the fickleness of young love.
- Later subverted in this one, in which a man literally scales the highest mountain and swims the deepest ocean, and afterwards becomes a celebrity and loses interest in his original girlfriend.
- Revisited yet again in this one, in which his lover claims that acts like "climbing a mountain" merely make him more socially desirable ("Clearly you're hedging your bets in case things don't work out here"). She instead asks him to do something socially deplorable to prove his love.
- A subversion similar to Shakespeare's "My Mistress' Eyes are Nothing Like the Sun" is this xkcd, which starts, "You are not the light of my life."