LOVE LETTERS: HENRY VIII, KING OF ENGLAND 3

LOVE LETTERS: HENRY VIII, KING OF ENGLAND 1By turning over in my thoughts the contents of your last letters, I have put myself into a great agony, not knowing how to understand them, whether to my disadvantage as I understand them, whether to my disadvantage as I understood some others, or not; I beseech you now, with the greatest earnestness, to let me know your whole intention, as to the love between us two. For I must of necessity obtain this answer of you, having been above a whole year struck with the dart of love, and not yet sure whether I shall fail, or find a place in your heart and affection. This uncertainty has hindered me of late from naming you my mistress, since you only love me with an ordinary affection; but if you please to do the duty of a true and loyal mistress, and to give up yourself, body and heart, to me, who will be, as I have been your most loyal servant (if your rigour does not forbid me) I promise you that not only the name shall be given you, but also that I will take you for my mistress, casting off all others that are in competition with you, out of my thoughts and affection, and serving you only. I beg you to give an in tire answer to this my rude letter, that I may know on what and how far I may depend. But if it does not please you to answer me in writing, let me know some place where I may have it by word of mouth, and I will go thither with all my heart. No more for fear of tiring you. Written by the hand of him, who would willingly remain yours.

H. REX.

 

— Some Famous Love-Letters by Marjorie Bowen —

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg Australia

LOVE LETTERS: ABELARD AND HELOISE 4

LOVE LETTERS: ABELARD AND HELOISEAll men, I believe, are under a necessity of paying tribute, at some time or other, to Love, and it is vain to strive to avoid it.

I was a philosopher, yet this tyrant of the mind triumphed over all my wisdom; his darts were of greater force than all my reasoning, and with a sweet constraint he led me whither he pleased. Heaven, amidst an abundance of blessings with which I was intoxicated, threw in a heavy affliction. I became a most signal example of its vengeance; and the more unhappy, because having deprived me of the means of accomplishing my satisfaction, it left me to the fury of my criminal desires.

I will tell you, my dear friend, the particulars of my story, and leave you to judge whether I deserved so severe a correction. I had always an aversion for those light women whom it is a reproach to pursue; I was ambitious in my choice, and wished to find some obstacles, that I might surmount them with the greater glory and pleasure.

There was in Paris a young creature, (ah! Philintus!) formed in a prodigality of Nature, to show mankind a finished composition; dear Heloise! the reputed niece of one Fulbert a canon. Her wit and her beauty would have fired the dullest and most insensible heart; and her education was equally admirable. Heloise was a mistress of the most polite arts. You may easily imagine that this did not a little help to captivate me.

I saw her; I loved her; I resolved to endeavour to gain her affections.

The thirst of glory cooled immediately in my heart, and all my passions were lost in this new one. I thought of nothing but Heloise; every thing brought her image to my mind. I was pensive, restless; and my passion was so violent as to admit of no restraint.

I was always vain and presumptive; I flattered myself already with the most bewitching hopes. My reputation had spread itself every where; and could a virtuous lady resist a man that had confounded all the learned of the age? I was young;—could she show an infallibility to those vows which my heart never formed for any but herself? My person was advantageous enough and by my dress no one would have suspected me for a Doctor; and dress you know, is not a little engaging with women. Besides, I had wit enough to write a billet doux, and hoped, if ever she permitted my absent self to entertain her, she would read with pleasure those breathings of my heart.

Filled with these notions, I thought of nothing but the means to speak to her. Lovers either find or make all things easy.

By the offices of common friends I gained the acquaintance of Fulbert. And, can you believe it, Philintus? he allowed me the privilege of his table, and an apartment in his house. I paid him, indeed, a considerable sum; for persons of his character do nothing without money. But what would I not have given!

You my dear friend, know what love is; imagine then what a pleasure it must have been to a heart so inflamed as mine to be always so near the dear object of desire! I would not have exchanged my happy condition for that of the greatest monarch upon earth.

I saw Heloise, I spoke to her: each action, each confused look, told her the trouble of my soul. And she, on the other side, gave me ground to hope for every thing from her generosity.

Fulbert desired me to instruct her in philosophy; by this means I found opportunities of being in private with her and yet I was sure of all men the most timorous in declaring my passion.

As I was with her one day, alone, Charming Heloise, said I, blushing, if you know yourself, you will not be surprised with what passion you have inspired me with. Uncommon as it is, I can express it but with the common terms;—I love you, adorable Heloise! Till now I thought philosophy made us masters, of all our passions, and that it was a refuge from the storms in which weak mortals are tossed and shipwrecked; but you have destroyed my security, and broken this philosophic courage. I have despised riches; honour and its pageantries could never raise a weak thought in me; beauty alone hath fired my soul. Happy, if she who raised this passion kindly receives the declaration; but if it is an offence.

No, replied Heloise; she must be very ignorant of your merit who can be offended at your passion. But, for my own repose, I wish either that you had not made this declaration, or that I were at liberty not to suspect your sincerity.

Ah, divine Heloise, said I, flinging myself at her feet, I swear by yourself—I was going on to convince her of the truth of my passion, but heard a noise, and it was Fulbert.

There was no avoiding it, but I must do a violence to my desire, and change the discourse to some other subject. After this I found frequent opportunities to free Heloise from those suspicions which the general insincerity of men had raised in her; and she too much desired what I said were truth, not to believe it. Thus there was a most happy understanding between us.

The same house, the same love, united our persons and our desires.

How many soft moments did we pass together! We took all opportunities to express to each other our mutual affections, and were ingenious in contriving incidents which might give us a plausible occasion for meeting. Pyramus and Thisbe’s discovery of the crack in the wall was but a slight representation of our love and its sagacity. In the dead of night, when Fulbert and his domestics were in a sound sleep, we improved the time proper to the sweets of love. Not contenting ourselves, like those unfortunate loves, with giving insipid kisses to a wall, we made use of all the moments of our charming interviews.

In the place where we met we had no lions to fear, and the study of philosophy served us for a blind. But I was so far from making any advances in the sciences that I lost all my taste of them; and when I was obliged to go from the sight of my dear mistress to my philosophical exercises, it was with the utmost regret and melancholy.

Love is incapable of being concealed; a word, a look, nay silence, speaks it.

My scholars discovered it first: they saw I had no longer that vivacity thought to which all things were easy: I could now do nothing but write verses to sooth my passion. I quitted Aristotle and his dry maxims, to practise the precepts of the more ingenious Ovid. No day passed in which I did not compose amorous verses. Love was my inspiring Apollo.

My songs were spread abroad, and gained me frequent applauses. Those whom were in love as I was took a pride in learning them; and, by luckily applying my thoughts and verses, have obtained favours which, perhaps, they could not otherwise have gained. This gave our amours such an eclat, that the loves of Heloise and Abelard were the subject of all conversations.

 

– Letters of Abelard and Heloise by Pierre Bayle –

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg

LOVE LETTERS: ABELARD AND HELOISE 2

LOVE LETTERS: ABELARD AND HELOISE

It being impossible that I could live without seeing Heloise, I endeavoured to engage her servant, whose name was Agaton, in my interest. She was brown, well shaped, a person superior to the ordinary rank; her features regular, and her eyes sparkling; fit to raise love in any man whose heart was not prepossessed by another passion.

I met her alone, and intreated her to have pity on a distressed lover. She answered, she would undertake any thing to serve me, but there was a reward.—At these words I opened my purse and showed the shining metal, which lays asleep guards, forces away through rocks, and softens the hearts of the most obdurate fair.

You are mistaken, said she, smiling, and shaking her head—you do not know me. Could gold tempt me, a rich abbot takes his nightly station, and sings under my window: he offers to send me to his abbey, which, he says, is situate in the most pleasant country in the world. A courtier offers me a considerable sum of money, and assures me I need have no apprehensions; for if our amours have consequences, he will marry me to his gentleman, and give him a handsome employment. To say nothing of a young officer, who patroles about here every night, and makes his attacks after all imaginable forms. It must be Love only which could oblige him to follow me; for I have not like your great ladies, any rings or jewels to tempt him: yet, during all his siege of love, his feather and his embroidered coat have not made any breach in my heart. I shall not quickly be brought to capitulate, I am too faithful to my first conqueror—and then she looked earnestly on me.

I answered, I did not understand her discourse.

She replied, For a man of sense and gallantry you have a very slow apprehension; I am in love with you Abelard. I know you adore Heloise, I do not blame you; I desire only to enjoy the second place in your affections. I have a tender heart as well as my mistress; you may without difficulty make returns to my passion. Do not perplex yourself with unfashionable scruples; a prudent man ought to love several at the same time; if one should fail, he is not then left unprovided.

You cannot imagine, Philintus, how much I was surprised at these words. So entirely did I love Heloise that without reflecting whether Agaton spoke any thing reasonable or not, I immediately left her. When I had gone a little way from her I looked back, and saw her biting her nails in the rage of disappointment, which made me fear some fatal consequences.

She hastened to Fulbert, and told him the offer I had made her, but I suppose concealed the other part of the story. The Canon never forgave this affront. I afterwards perceived he was more deeply concerned for his niece than I at first imagined.

Let no lover hereafter follow my example, A woman rejected is an outrageous creature. Agaton was day and night at her window on purpose to keep me at a distance from her mistress, and so gave her own gallants opportunity enough to display their several abilities.

I was infinitely perplexed what course to take; at last I applied to Heloise singing-master. The shining metal, which had no effect on Agaton, charmed him; he was excellently qualified for conveying a billet with the greatest dexterity and secrecy. He delivered one of mine to Heloise, who, according to my appointment was ready at the end of a garden, the wall of which I scaled by a ladder of ropes.

I confess to you all my failings, Philintus. How would my enemies, Champeaux and Anselm, have triumphed, had they seen the redoubted philosopher in such a wretched condition?

Well—I met my soul’s joy, my Heloise.

 

 

– Letters of Abelard and Heloise by Pierre Bayle –

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg

LOVE LETTERS: PHILIP VON KOENIGSMARCK 5

Koenigsmarck to Sophia Dorothea

Verily I am overwhelmed by the tokens of love you have vouchsafed to me. I shall never be able to show you my gratitude, but shall always be your debtor. I love and I am loved. Is there any bliss approaching mine? I count myself the happiest of mortals, and even of the gods. Ah! most beautiful one! The tenderness you have shown me compels me to love you, and makes me despise the favours of good and the caprices of bad fortune. Time will bring no change in my love. I would abandon for you all ties—family, relations, women, even wife and children had I any. My passion intoxicates me. I can no longer think—words fail. I commit myself to your keeping; do with me as you will. I can scarcely keep my heart within bounds; it strives perpetually to burst away and thank you for its captivity, for it loves to be the slave of one who treats it so generously. I fear I shall lose it altogether, but as I cannot live without a heart, for pity’s sake, Madame, give me yours in return, for without one or the other I shall die. Do not put off my seeing you this evening, I beseech you. You have convinced me so deeply that you love me, that I have never loved you so much before. You have never appeared to me so altogether lovely. With crossed hands and bended knees I thank you for all you have vouchsafed unto me. Suffer me therefore to see you again to-day, and do not put me off. I should die.

The Prince went away to-day at eight o’clock. He is angry because you wished to remain with your mother. All goes wonderfully well. Farewell.

 

— Some Famous Love-Letters by Marjorie Bowen —

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg Australia

LOVE LETTERS: JUDITH-CHARLOTTE DE BIRON, COMTESSE DE BONNEVAL

I cannot forbear trying to share with you my lively sorrow—perhaps I need to console yours—but, indeed, I cannot imagine any true consolation for those who love and are separated, and so I find my only pleasure in abandoning myself to all manner of sadness.

Believe me, my dear master, I am entirely absorbed by the thought of our separation and the distance that divides us—I wish only that you would feel something of what your absence makes me suffer—but no, I would not have you realising how it is with me—for I wish to spare you the chagrin such knowledge and pity would give you. Yet I must admit that the first grief of a heart hitherto tranquil is very cruel—I feel overburdened, but I will not complain. My deep tenderness for you in some sort consoles me in my violent grief that would be insupportable if I did not recall that my present misfortune is owing to past happiness. Nay, I’ll not complain, yet my present situation is frightful—I’ll not regret the peace that preceded it because there is nothing on earth that I care about, save being loved by you.

I flatter myself that I shall always enjoy this happiness—at least I shall occupy myself with nothing but trying to please you, and I swear to you, my dear master, a fidelity as durable as my attachment is violent. I can add nothing to the force of this expression, truly not knowing how to write what I feel. My sensations are so new to me that while acknowledging their power, I cannot define them. I beg you to explain to your own heart all the embarrassment of mine and often to tell yourself that you are, of all the men in the world, the most tenderly loved.

I add to these sentiments an esteem that must fetter a love whose only merit is its purity. Do not forget, I implore you, your poor little wife, and remember that I am, even more than I have admitted, in a state that merits pity. I swear that if I were only thinking of myself, death would seem the best way out, for surely in Glory I shall always have a formidable rival—at best we shall share your heart—when Glory commands you will risk your life whether I permit or not. Reflect on that, my dear master, recalling too that my sole hope lies in your safety, that you alone can make me happy.

I can talk of nothing but myself to-day, for I think of nothing but you—all else is to me insupportable. I embrace you with all my heart and would purchase with half my life a favourable reception for this letter.

 

 

— Some Famous Love-Letters by Marjorie Bowen —

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg Australia

LOVE LETTERS: PHILIP VON KOENIGSMARCK 4

Koenigsmarck to Sophia Dorothea

The moments seem to me centuries. I cannot watch the daylight without raging. Why do not the hours shut up into moments? What would I not give for twelve o’clock to strike? Be sure to have ready de l’eau de la reine d’Hongrie, for fear my rapture may make me swoon away. What! I shall embrace to-night the loveliest of women. I shall kiss her charming mouth. I shall worship her eyes, those eyes that enslave me. I shall hear from her very lips that she loves me. I shall have the joy of embracing her knees; my tears will chase down her incomparable cheeks. I shall hold in my arms the most beautiful body in the world. Verily, Madame, I shall die of joy. But so long as I have time to tell thee that I die thy slave, I care for naught beside.

 

— Some Famous Love-Letters by Marjorie Bowen —

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg Australia

LOVE LETTERS: PHILIP VON KOENIGSMARCK 3

Koenigsmarck to Sophia Dorothea

I am the happiest man in the world. If it be true that you love me as you say, and your love will last always, where is the bliss to equal mine? I fear my joy will be too apparent, that everyone will see in my eyes it can only emanate from you. I will restrain myself as much as I can; but “when the heart is so proud the eyes play the traitor.” Your eyes, more than I dared hope, declared to me last evening the feelings of your heart. I am so overjoyed that I am hardly able to express myself. I hope to tell you this evening all I am not writing.

 

 

— Some Famous Love-Letters by Marjorie Bowen —

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg Australia

LOVE LETTERS: SIR RICHARD STEELE 3

Aug. 30, 1707.

MADAM,

I beg pardon that my paper is not [finer], but I am forc’d to write from a coffee-house where I am attending about business. There is a dirty crowd of busy faces all around me, talking politics and managing stocks; while all my ambition, all my wealth, is love! Love, which animates my heart, sweetens my humour, enlarges my soul, and affects every action of my life. ‘Tis to my lovely charmer I owe, that many noble ideas are continually affixed to my words and actions; ’tis the naturall effect of that generous passion, to create some similitude in the admirer, of the object admired. Thus, my dear, am I every day to improve from so sweet a companion. Look up, my fair one, to that Heaven which made thee such, and join with me to implore its influence on our tender innocent hours, and beseech the Author of love, to blesse the rites he has ordain’d, and mingle with our happinesse a just sense of our transient condition, and a resignation to His will, which only can regulate our minds to a steddy endeavour to please [Him and] each other. I am for ever your faithful ser’nt.

 

— Some Famous Love-Letters by Marjorie Bowen —

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg Australia

LOVE LETTERS: PHILIP VON KOENIGSMARCK 2

Koenigsmarck to Sophia Dorothea

BRUNSWICK, August 20/30.

No mortal was ever so happy as I when, on arriving here, I found your letter. I am now in your good graces, and am losing all the weak suspicions that tore my heart in twain. Do not doubt my love; God be my witness, I have never loved as I love you. Were you to see me now you would exclaim, “Is it possible that any man can be so downcast?” My dejection is wholly the result of absence from you. My noble travelling companion* could tell you of the state in which he sees me daily, though you may be sure that I hide from him the cause. You may not believe it, but on the word of a man of honour, I am often so overcome that I am near swooning away; and yesterday evening, when I was out walking, and thinking of the many days that I must pass before seeing you, I became so agitated that it brought on a palpitation of the heart, and I was obliged to return home. I know not what would have happened had not my servant brought me a cordial, and even then it was a long time before I recovered. Were it not for your dear letter, I should have utterly broken down. Your medicine is excellent for my malady; send me some oftener…I am ready to cast at your feet my life, my honour, my future, my fortune. I have forsworn all other women for you; if you doubt this, name anyone you would like me to abandon, and I will never speak to her again. Adieux emable Brune. La poste pars, il faux finir. Je vous embrasse les jenous.

[* Probably Prince Ernest Augustus, youngest son of the Duke of Hanover.]

 

 

— Some Famous Love-Letters by Marjorie Bowen —

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg Australia

LOVE LETTERS: HENRY VIII, KING OF ENGLAND 4

The approach of the time, which I have so long expected, rejoices me so much, that it seems almost ready come. However, the entire accomplishment cannot be till the two persons meet, which meeting is more desired by me than any thing in this world; for what joy can be greater upon earth, than to have the company of her who is my dearest friend? Knowing likewise that she does the same on her part, the thinking on which gives great pleasure. You may judge what an effect the presence of that person must have on me, whose absence has made a greater wound in my heart than either words or writing can express, and which nothing can cure, but her return; I beg you, dear mistress, to tell your father from me, that I desire him to hasten the appointment by two days, that he may be in court before the old term, or at farthest on the day prefixed; for otherwise I shall think, he will not do the lover’s turn, as he said he would, nor answer my expectation. No more at present, for want of time; hoping shortly that by word of mouth I shall tell you the rest of my sufferings from your absence. Written by the hand of the secretary, who wishes himself at present privately with you, and who is, and always will be,

Your royal and most assured servant,
H. no other (AB) seeks Rex.

 

— Some Famous Love-Letters by Marjorie Bowen —

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg Australia

LOVE LETTERS: BY AN ANONYMOUS ENGLISHWOMAN 2

LOVE LETTERS: BY AN ANONYMOUS ENGLISHWOMAN

Oh, Dearest: I have danced and I have danced till I am tired! I am dropping with sleep, but I must just touch you and say good-night. This was our great day of publishing, dearest, ours: all the world knows it; and all admire your choice! I was determined they should. I have been collecting scalps for you to hang at your girdle. All thought me beautiful: people who never did so before. I wanted to say to them, “Am I not beautiful? I am, am I not?” And it was not for myself I was asking this praise. Beloved, I was wearing the magic rose—what you gave me when we parted: you saying, alas, that you were not to be there. But you were! Its leaves have not dropped nor the scent of it faded. I kiss you out of the heart of it. Good-night: come to me in my first dream!

 

 

– An Englishwoman’s Love-Letters by: Anonymous –

Courtesy of Project Gutenberg

LOVE LETTERS: ABELARD AND HELOISE

LOVE LETTERS: ABELARD AND HELOISE

Love is incapable of being concealed; a word, a look, nay silence, speaks it.

My scholars discovered it first: they saw I had no longer that vivacity thought to which all things were easy: I could now do nothing but write verses to sooth my passion. I quitted Aristotle and his dry maxims, to practise the precepts of the more ingenious Ovid. No day passed in which I did not compose amorous verses. Love was my inspiring Apollo.

My songs were spread abroad, and gained me frequent applauses. Those whom were in love as I was took a pride in learning them; and, by luckily applying my thoughts and verses, have obtained favours which, perhaps, they could not otherwise have gained. This gave our amours such an eclat, that the loves of Heloise and Abelard were the subject of all conversations.

 

 

– Letters of Abelard and Heloise by Pierre Bayle –

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg

LOVE LETTERS: SIR RICHARD STEELE 2

ST. JAMES’S COFFEE-HOUSE, Sept. 1, 1707.

MADAM,

It is the hardest thing in the world to be in love, and yet attend businesse. As for me, all who speake to me find me out, and I must lock myself up, or other people will do it for me.

A gentleman asked me this morning, “What news from Lisbon?” and I answered, “She’s exquisitely handsome.” Another desir’d to know “when I had been last at Hampton-court?” I reply’d, “‘Twill be on Tuesday come se’n night.” Pr’y thee allow me at least to kiss your hand before that day, that my mind may be in some composure. Oh love!

A thousand torments dwell about thee,
Yet who would live, to live without thee?

Methinks I could write a volume to you; but all the language on earth would fail in saying how much, and with what disinterested passion, I am ever yours.

 

 

— Some Famous Love-Letters by Marjorie Bowen —

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg Australia

LOVE LETTERS: BY AN ANONYMOUS ENGLISHWOMAN

LOVE LETTERS: BY AN ANONYMOUS ENGLISHWOMAN

Oh, we two! how wonderful we seem! And to think that there have been lovers like us since the world began: and the world not able to tell us one little word of it:—not well, so as to be believed—or only along with sadness where Fate has broken up the heavens which lay over some pair of lovers. …

Even now, Beloved, I break down in trying to say how I love you. I cannot put all my joy into my words, nor all my love into my lips, nor all my life into your arms, whatever way I try. Something remains that I cannot express. Believe, dearest, that the half has not yet been spoken, neither of my love for you, nor of my trust in you,—nor of a wish that seems sad, but comes in a very tumult of happiness—the wish to die so that some unknown good may come to you out of me. …

Beloved, that I can write so to you,—think what it means; what you have made me come through in the way of love, that this, which I could not have dreamed before, comes from me with the thought of you! You told me to be still—to let you “worship”: I was to write back acceptance of all your dear words. Are you never to be at my feet, you ask. Indeed, dearest, I do not know how, for I cannot move from where I am! Do you feel where my thoughts kiss you? You would be vexed with me if I wrote it down, so I do not. And after all, some day, under a bright star of Providence, I may have gifts for you after my own mind which will allow me to grow proud. Only now all the giving comes from you. It is I who am enriched by your love, beyond knowledge of my former self. Are you changed, dearest, by anything I have done?

My heart goes to you like a tree in the wind, and all these thoughts are loose leaves that fly after you when I have to remain behind. Dear lover, what short visits yours seem! and the Mother-Aunt tells me they are most unconscionably long.—You will not pay any attention to that, please: forever let the heavens fall rather than that a hint to such foul effect should grow operative through me!

This brings you me so far as it can:—such little words off so great a body of—”liking” shall I call it? My paper stops me: it is my last sheet: I should have to go down to the library to get more—else I think I could not cease writing.

More love than I can name.—Ever, dearest, your own.

 

 

– An Englishwoman’s Love-Letters by: Anonymous –

Courtesy of Project Gutenberg

LOVE LETTERS: HENRY VIII, KING OF ENGLAND 2

TO MY MISTRESS,

Because the time seems to me very long, since I have heard from you, or concerning your health; the great affection I have for you has obliged me to send this bearer to be better informed, both of your health and pleasure, particularly because, since my last parting with you, I have been told, that you have entirely changed the opinion in which I left you, and that you would neither come to court with your mother, nor any other way; which report, if true, I cannot enough wonder at, being persuaded in my own mind, that I have never committed any offence against you; and it seems a very small return for the great love I bear you, to be kept at a distance from the person and presence of a woman in the world that I value the most; and, if you love me with as much affection as I hope you do, I am sure, the distance of our two persons would be a little uneasy to you. Though this does not belong so much to the mistress as the servant. Consider well, my mistress, how greatly your absence grieves me; I hope it is not your will that it should be so; but, if I heard for certain, that you yourself desired it, I could do no other than complain of my ill fortune, and by degrees abate my great folly; and so, for want of time, I make an end of my rude letter, desiring you to give credit to this bearer in all he will tell you from me. Written by the hand of your in tire servant.

LOVE LETTERS: PHILIP VON KOENIGSMARCK

Koenigsmarck to Sophia Dorothea

I am in the depths of despair at finding so little opportunity of speaking to you. I dare not even admire the eyes that give me life. For pity’s sake let me see you alone, that I may say four words—only four small words. Oh! how dearly it costs me to love you! But the joy of speaking to you now and then makes amends for all the pain. I shall go away to-morrow. God knows if I shall ever see you again, my life, my goddess! The thought that we may never meet more is death to me. I feel ready to plunge a dagger into my heart: but since I must live, I pray that it may be always for you.

— Some Famous Love-Letters by Marjorie Bowen —

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg Australia

LOVE LETTERS: SIR RICHARD STEELE

Richard Steele to Mary Scurlock

(Aug. 14) 1707.

MADAM,

I came to your house this night to wait on you; but you have commanded me to expect the happiness of seeing you at another time of more leisure. I am now under your own roof while I write; and that imaginary satisfaction of being so near you, tho’ not in your presence, has in it something that touches me with so tender ideas, that it is impossible for me to describe their force. All great passion makes us dumb; and the highest happiness, as well as highest grief, seizes us too violently to be expressed by our words.

You are so good as to let me know I shall have the honour of seeing you when I next come here. I will live upon that expectation, and meditate on your perfections till that happy hour. The vainest woman upon earth never saw in her glasse half the attractions which I view in you. Your air, your shape, your every glance, motion, and gesture, have such peculiar graces, that you possess my whole soul, and I know no life but in the hopes of your approbation: I know not what to say, but that I love you with the sincerest passion that ever entered the heart of man. I will make it the business of my life to find out means of convincing you that I prefer you to all that’s pleasing upon earth. I am, Madam, your most obedient, most faithful humble ser’nt.

 

— Some Famous Love-Letters by Marjorie Bowen —

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg Australia

LOVE LETTERS: ABELARD AND HELOISE 3

LOVE LETTERS: ABELARD AND HELOISEI have made it an observation, since our absence, that we are much fonder of the pictures of those we love, when they are at a great distance, than when they are near to us.

It seems to me, as if the farther they are removed their pictures grow the more finished, and acquire a greater resemblance; at least, our imagination, which perpetually figures them to us by the desire we have of seeing them again, makes us think so. By a peculiar power, Love can make that seem life itself, which, as soon as the loved object returns, is nothing but a little canvas and dead colours.

I have your picture in my room; I never pass by it without stopping to look at it; and yet when you were present with me, I scarce ever cast my eyes upon it.

If a picture, which is but a mute representation of an object, can give such pleasure, what cannot letters inspire? They have souls; they can speak; they have in them all that force which expresses the transports of the heart; they have all the fire of our passions; they can raise them as much as if the persons themselves were present; they have all the softness and delicacy of speech, and sometimes a boldness of expression even beyond it.

We may write to each other; so innocent a pleasure is not forbidden us. Let us not lose, through negligence, the only happiness which is left us, and the only one, perhaps, which the malice of our enemies can never ravish from us.

I shall read that you are my husband, and you shall see me address you as a wife. In spite of all your misfortunes, you may be what you please in your letter. Letters were first invented for comforting such solitary wretches as myself.

Having lost the substantial pleasures of seeing and possessing you, I shall in some measure compensate this loss by the satisfaction I shall find in your writing. There I shall read your most secret thoughts; I shall carry them always about me; I shall kiss them every moment: if you can be capable of any jealousy, let it be for the fond caresses I shall bestow on your letters, and envy only the happiness of those rivals.

That writing may be no trouble to you, write always to me carelessly, and without study: I had rather read the dictates of the heart than of the brain. I cannot live if you do not tell me you always love me; but that language ought to be so natural to you, that I believe you cannot speak otherwise to me without great violence to yourself.

 

 

– Letters of Abelard and Heloise by Pierre Bayle –

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg

LOVE LETTERS: SOPHIA DOROTHEA

Sophia Dorothea to Koenigsmarck

HANOVER, undated.

I spent the stillness of the night without sleeping, and all the day thinking of you, weeping over our separation. Never did a day seem so long to me; I do not know how I shall ever get reconciled to your absence. La Gouvernante* has just given me your letter; I received it with rapture. Rest assured I will do even more than I have promised, and lose no opportunity of showing you my love. If I could shut myself up while you are away and see no one, I would do so gladly, for without you everything is distasteful and wearisome. Nothing can make your absence bearable to me; I am faint with weeping. I hope to prove by my life that no woman has ever loved man as I love you, and no faithfulness will ever equal mine. In spite of every trial and all that may befall, nothing will sever me from you. Of a truth, dear one, my love will only end with my life.

[* This must have been another name for the Fräulein von Knesebeck, la Confidente.]

I was so changed and depressed to-day that even the Prince, my husband, pitied me, and said I was ill and ought to take care of myself. He is right,—I am ill; but my illness comes only from loving you, and I never wish to be cured. I have not seen anyone worth mentioning. I went to visit the Duchess (Sophia) for a little while, but returned home as soon as possible to have the joy of talking about you.* La Gazelle’s husband** came to wish me good-bye; I saw him in my chamber, and he kissed my hand.

[* i.e. with la Confidente.]
[** La Gazelle may have been Countess von Lewenhaupt (so called because of her gazelle-like eyes), whose husband was about to march With the Duke of Zell’s troops to Flanders.]

It is now eight o’clock, and I must go and pay my court. How dull I shall seem!—how stupid! I shall withdraw immediately after supper, so that I may have the pleasure of reading your letters again, the only pleasure I have while you are away. Farewell, my worshipped one. Only death will sever me from you; all human powers will never succeed. Remember all your promises, and be as constant as I will be faithful.

— Some Famous Love-Letters by Marjorie Bowen —

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg Australia

LOVE LETTERS: ABELARD AND HELOISE

LOVE LETTERS: ABELARD AND HELOISE

Riches and pomp are not the charms of love. True tenderness make us to separate the lover from all that is external to him, and setting aside his quality, fortune, and employments, consider him singly by himself.

‘Tis not love, but the desire of riches and honour, which makes women run into the embraces of an indolent husband. Ambition, not affection, forms such marriages.

I believe indeed they may be followed with some honours and advantages, but I can never think that this is the way to enjoy the pleasures of an affectionate union, nor to feel those secret and charming emotions of hearts that have long strove to be united. These martyrs of marriage pine always for large fortunes, which they think they have lost.

The wife sees husbands richer than her own, and the husband wives better portioned than his. Their interested vows occasion regret, and regret produces hatred. They soon part, or always desire it.

This restless and tormenting passion punishes them for aiming at other advantages of love than love itself.

If there is any thing which may properly be called happiness here below, I am persuaded it is in the union of two persons who love each other with perfect liberty, who are united by a secret inclination, and satisfied with each other’s merit; their hearts are full and leave no vacancy for any other passion; they enjoy perpetual tranquillity, because they enjoy content.

 

– Letters of Abelard and Heloise by Pierre Bayle –

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg

LOVE LETTERS: HENRY VIII, KING OF ENGLAND, 1

LOVE LETTERS: HENRY VIII, KING OF ENGLAND 1

MY MISTRESS AND FRIEND, I and my heart put ourselves in your hands, begging you to recommend us to your favour, and not to let absence lessen your affection to us. For it were a great pity to increase our pain, which absence alone does sufficiently, and more than I could ever have thought; bringing to my mind a point of astronomy, which is, That the farther the Moors are from us, the farther too is the sun, and yet his heat is the more scorching; so it is with our love, we are at a distance from one another, and yet it keeps its fervency, at least on my side. I hope the like on your part, assuring you that the uneasiness of absence is already too severe for me; and when I think of the continuance of that which I must of necessity suffer, it would seem intolerable to me, were it not for the firm hope I have of your unchangeable affection for me; and now, to put you sometimes in mind of it, and seeing I cannot be present in person with you, I send you the nearest thing to that possible, that is, my picture set in bracelets, with the whole device, which you know already, wishing myself in their place, when it shall please you. This from the hand of

Your servant and friend,
H. REX.

 

 

— Some Famous Love-Letters by Marjorie Bowen —

Courtesy of: Project Gutenberg Australia