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"I would walk across the desert with no shoes upon my feet,
—"Love Can Build a Bridge" - The Judds
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.
Naturally a staple of Silly Love Songs.
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.
- 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?
- 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,
- 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.
- 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
- Similarly, Vanessa Carlton - "A Thousand Miles":
You know I'd walk a thousand miles
- 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."
- Foreigner - "Feels Like the First Time":
I would climb any mountain
- Billy Ocean - "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going":
Darlin', I'll climb any mountain
- Celine 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
- Coheed and Cambria - "Wake Up" (also overlaps with Lyrical Dissonance):
I'll do anything for you
- 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
- Blink 182 - "Until the Stars Fall from the Sky":
I'll hold you all night honey
- Rick Astley - "Together Forever":
And don't you know I would move heaven and earth
- 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
- "Everything I Own" by Bread:
I'll give up my life, my heart, my home
- "Longer" by Dan Fogelberg.
Longer than there've been fishes in the ocean
- 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
- Ain't No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrel
Cause baby there
- Subverted in Meat Loaf's song "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)"
I would do anything for love
- 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
- Painful Rhyme in Bruno Mars' brokenhearted "Grenade":
I would catch a grenade for ya
- To Me You Are Everything by The Real Thing opens with:
I would take the stars out of the sky for you
- Sara Evans' "No Place that Far" IS this trope.
If I had to run
- 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?"
- 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."
- Mocked in one of Steve Patterson's comedy routines, where he says love song writers should keep their promises realistic:
I would step
- Studies have shown that those who are more deeply in love will promise the one they love anything and everything they could possibly desire based solely on the depth of their love. However, their likelihood to actually fulfill that promise (even if it's a perfectly possible one, such as accompanying them to a boring social dinner) is governed by self-control and has absolutely nothing to do with their feelings for the person who they made the promise to. This has the unfortunate result that those who are the most deeply in love will often end up promising things that they simply don't have the discipline to make good on, resulting in them being more disappointing than a more rational person who loves them less and thus makes smaller promises that they are more likely to fulfill. Love really does make you crazy!