Chocolates taste great. Roses smell wonderful. But a love letter—oh! A love letter is a true gift and beautiful expression of love. We all wish to receive one and when you get them they will stay with you forever. I still have mine though I no longer have the man in my life.
So to celebrate Valentine’s day, here are three love letters from history.
Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn
In debating with myself the contents of your letters I have been put to a great agony; not knowing how to understand them, whether to my disadvantage as shown in some places, or to my advantage as in others. I beseech you now with all my heart definitely to let me know your whole mind as to the love between us; for necessity compels me to plague you for a reply, having been for more than a year now struck by the dart of love, and being uncertain either of failure or of finding a place in your heart and affection, which point has certainly kept me for some time from naming you my mistress, since if you only love me with an ordinary love the name is not appropriate to you, seeing that it stands for an uncommon position very remote from the ordinary; but if it pleases you to do the duty of a true, loyal mistress and friend, and to give yourself body and heart to me, who have been, and will be, your loyal servant (if your rigour does not forbid me), I promise you that not only the name will be due to you, but also to take you as my sole mistress, casting off all others than yourself out of mind and affection, and to serve you only; begging you to make me a complete reply to this my rude letter as to how far and in what I can trust; and if it does not please you to reply in writing, to let me know if some place where I can have it by word of mouth, the which place I will seek out with al my heart. No more for fear of wearying you. Written by the hand of him who would willingly remain your
John Keats to Fanny Brawne
My sweet Girl,
I am living to day in yesterday: I was in complete fascination all day. I feel myself at your mercy. Write me ever so few lines and tell you (for me) you will never for ever be less kind to me than yesterday—. You dazzled me.There is nothing in the world so bright and delicate. When Brown came out with that seemingly true story against me last night, I felt it would be death to me if you had ever believed it – thought against any one else I could muster up my obstinacy. Before I knew Brown could disprove it was for the moment miserable. When shall we pass a day alone? I have had a thousand kisses, for which with my whole soul I thank love–but if you should deny me the thousand and first- ‘twould put me to the proof how a great misery I could live through. If you should every carry your threat yesterday into execution–believe me ’tis not my pride, my vanity or any petty passion would torment me–really ‘twould hurt my heart–I could not bear it. I have seen Mrs. Dilke this morning; she says she will come with me any fine day.
Ah hertè mine!
Elizabeth Barrett Browning To Robert Browning
My Own Beloved, if ever you should have reason to complain of me in things voluntary and possible, all other women would have a right to tread me underfoot, I should be so vile and utterly unworthy. There is my answer to what you write yesterday of wishing to be better to me…you! What could be better than lifting me from the ground and carrying me into life and the sunshine? I was yours rather by right than by gift (yet by gift also, my beloved!); for what you have saved and renewed is surely yours. All that I am, I owe you– if I enjoy anything now and henceforth, it is through you. You know this well. Even as I, from the beginning, knew that I had no power against you…or that, I had it was for your sake.
Dearest, in the emotion and confusion of yesterday morning, there was yet room in me for one thought which was not a feeling – for I thought that, of the many, many women who have stood where I stood, and to the same end, not one of them all perhaps, not one perhaps, since that building was a church, has had reasons strong as mine, for an absolute trust and devotion towards the man she married, –not one! And then I both thought and felt, that it was only just, for them…those women who were less happy…to have the affectionate sympathy and support and presence of their nearest relations, parent or sister…which failed to me,…needing it less through being happier!