Words of Love From The Past
van Beethoven (1770-1827), one of history's
most famous and mysterious composers died at the age of 57 with one
great secret. Upon his death, a love letter was found among his
possessions. It was written to an unknown woman who Beethoven simply
called his “Immortal
July 6, 1806
My angel, my all, my very self -- only a few words today and at that
with your pencil -- not till tomorrow will my lodgings be definitely
determined upon -- what a useless waste of time. Why this deep sorrow
where necessity speaks -- can our love endure except through sacrifices
-- except through not demanding everything -- can you change it that you
are not wholly mine, I not wholly thine?
Oh, God! look out into the beauties of nature and comfort yourself with
that which must be -- love demands everything and that very justly --
that it is with me so far as you are concerned, and you with
me. If we were wholly united you would feel the pain of it as little as
Now a quick change to things internal from things external. We shall
surely see each other; moreover, I cannot communicate to you the
observations I have made during the last few days touching my own life
-- if our hearts were always close together I would make none of the
kind. My heart is full of many things to say to you - Ah! -- there are
moments when I feel that speech is nothing after all -- cheer up --
remain my true, only treasure, my all as I am yours; the gods must send
us the rest that which shall be best for us.
George Gordon, Lord Byron
25 August, 1819
My dearest Teresa,
I have read this book in your
garden;--my love, you were absent, or else I could not have read it. It
is a favourite book of yours, and the writer was a friend of mine. You
will not understand these English words, and others will not understand
them,--which is the reason I have not scrawled them in Italian. But you
will recognize the handwriting of him who passionately loved you, and
you will divine that, over a book which was yours, he could only think
In that word, beautiful in all
languages, but most so in yours--Amor mio--is comprised my existence
here and hereafter. I feel I exist here, and I feel I shall exist
hereafter,--to what purpose you will decide; my destiny rests with you,
and you are a woman, eighteen years of age, and two out of a convent. I
love you, and you love me,--at least, you say so, and act as if you did
so, which last is a great consolation in all events.
But I more than love you, and cannot
cease to love you. Think of me, sometimes, when the Alps and ocean
divide us, --but they never will, unless you wish it.
To Anne Boleyn
My Mistress and
I and my heart put ourselves in your hands, begging you to recommend us
to your good grace and not to let absence lessen your affection...or
myself the pang of absence is already to great, and when I think of the
increase of what I must needs suffer it would be well nigh intolerable
but for my firm hope of your unchangeable affection...
Henry VIII (1528)
A Love Letter By Victor Hugo to
March 15, 1822
After the two delightful evenings spent
yesterday and the day before, I shall certainly not go out tonight, but
will sit here at home and write to you.
Besides, my Adele, my adorable and adored Adele, what have I not to tell
O, God! for two days, I have been asking myself every moment if such
happiness is not a dream.
It seems to me that what I feel is not of earth. I cannot yet comprehend
this cloudless heaven.
You do not yet know, Adele, to what I had resigned myself. Alas, do I
know it myself?
Because I was weak, I fancied I was calm; because I was preparing myself
for all the mad follies of despair, I thought I was courageous and
Ah! let me cast myself humbly at your feet, you who are so grand, so
tender and strong!
I had been thinking that the utmost limit of my devotion could only be
the sacrifice of my life; but you, my generous love, were ready to
sacrifice for me the repose of yours.
You have been privileged to receive every gift from nature, you have
both fortitude and tears.
Oh, Adele, do not mistake these words for blind enthusiasm - enthusiasm
for you has lasted all my life, and increased day by day.
My whole soul is yours.
If my entire existence had not been yours, the harmony of my being would
have been lost, and I must have died -- died inevitably.
These were my meditations, Adele, when the letter that was to bring me
hope of else despair arrived.
If you love me, you know what must have been my joy. What I know you may
have felt, I will not describe.
My Adele, why is there no word for this but joy? Is it because there is
no power in human speech to express such happiness?
The sudden bound from mournful resignation to infinite felicity seemed
to upset me. Even now I am still beside myself and sometimes I tremble
lest I should suddenly awaken from this dream divine.
Oh, now you are mine! At last you are mine! Soon -- in a few months,
perhaps, my angel will sleep in my arms, will awaken in my arms, will
All your thoughts at all moments, all your looks will be for me; all my
thoughts, all my moments, all my looks, will be for you!
Adieu, my angel, my beloved Adele! Adieu!
I will kiss your hair and go to bed.
Still I am far from you, but I can dream of you.
Soon perhaps you will be at my side.
Adieu; pardon the delirium of your husband who embraces you, and who
adores you, both for this life and another.
In addition to being
a brilliant military mind and feared ruler, Napoleon Bonaparte (1763 -
1821) was a prolific writer of letters. He reportedly wrote as many as
75,000 letters in his lifetime, many of them to his beautiful wife,
Josephine, both before and during their marriage. This letter, written
just prior to their 1796 wedding, shows surprising tenderness and
emotion from the future emperor.
Paris, December 1795
I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating
evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil. Sweet,
incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart! Are
you angry? Do I see you looking sad? Are you worried?... My soul aches
with sorrow, and there can be no rest for you lover; but is there still
more in store for me when, yielding to the profound feelings which
overwhelm me, I draw from your lips, from your heart a love which
consumes me with fire? Ah! it was last night that I fully realized how
false an image of you your portrait gives!
You are leaving at noon; I shall see you in three hours.
Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in
return, for they set my blood on fire.
To read more love
letters and correspondence from the past, visit The
Romantic or Internet