To celebrate Valentine’s Day we have compiled a list of some of the most romantic love letters by famous writers and composers. These letters perhaps go to prove there is no better way to describe your love than in a handwritten note to your loved one.
Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, 1893
“My Own Boy
Your sonnet is quite lovely, and it is a marvel that those red-roseleaf lips of yours should be made
no less for the madness of music and song than for the madness of kissing. Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry. I know Hyacinthus, whom Apollo loved so madly, was you in Greek days. Why are you alone in London, and when do you go to Salisbury? Do go there to cool your hands in the grey twilight of Gothic things, and come here whenever you like. It is a lovely place and lacks only you; but go to Salisbury first.
Always, with undying love,
Ernest Hemingway to Mary Welsh, April 16, 1945
So now I’m going out on the boat with Paxthe and Don Andres and Gregorio and stay out all day and then come in and will be sure there will be letters or a letter. And maybe there will be. If there aren’t I’ll be a sad s.o.a.b. But you know how you handle that of course? You last through until the next morning. I suppose I’d better figure on there being nothing until tomorrow night and then it won’t be so bad tonight.
Please write me Pickle. If it were a job you had to do you’d do it. It’s tough as hell without you and I’m doing it straight but I miss you so [I] could die. If anything happened to you I’d die the way an animal will die in the Zoo if something happens to his mate.
Much love my dearest Mary and know I’m not impatient. I’m just desperate.
Ludwig van Beethoven
“My angel, my all, my very self. We shall surely see each other soon; moreover, today I cannot share with you the thoughts I have had during these last few days touching my own life. If our hearts were always close together, I would have none of these.
My heart is full of so many things to say to you – ah – there are moments when I feel that speech amounts to nothing at all –Cheer up – remain my true, my only treasure, my all as I am yours. Ah, wherever I am, there you are also. Much as you love me – I love you more.
Oh God – so near! So far!
Is not our love truly a heavenly structure, and also as firm as the vault of heaven? My thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us.
I can live only wholly with you or not at all. No one else can ever possess my heart – never – never. Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves. Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together. Be calm – love me – today – yesterday – what tearful longings for you – you – you – my life – my all – farewell.
Oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.
Your faithful Ludwig”
Elizabeth Barrett Browning to her future husband, fellow poet Robert Browning.
“You have touched me more profoundly than I thought even you could have touched me – my heart was full when you came here today.
Henceforward I am yours for everything.”
Robert Browning to Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“You will only expect a few words, what will those be?
When the heart is full it may run over, but the real fullness stays within.
You asked me yesterday “if I should repent?”
Yes, my own Ba, I could with all the past were to do over again, that in it I might somewhat more, never so little more, conform in the outward homage, to the inward feeling, What I have professed, (for I have performed nothing) seems to fall short of what my first love required even, and when I think of this moment’s love…I could repent, as I say.
Words can never tell you, however, form them, transform them anyway, how perfectly dear you are to me, perfectly dear to my heart and soul.
I look back, and in every one point, every word and gesture, every letter, every silence, you have been entirely perfect to me, I would not change one word, one look.
My hope and aim are to preserve this love, not to fall from it, for which I trust to God who procured it for me, and doubtless can preserve it.
Enough now, my dearest, dearest, own Ba!
You have given me the highest, completest proof of love that ever one human being gave another. I am all gratitude, and all pride (under the proper feeling which ascribes pride to the right source) all pride that my life has been so crowned by you.
God bless you prays your very own R.”
“The passion of love has need to be productive of much delight; as where it takes thorough possession of the man, it almost unfits him for anything else.
The lover who is certain of an equal return of affection, is surely the happiest of men; but he who is a prey to the horrors of anxiety and dreaded disappointment, is a being whose situation is by no means enviable.
Of this, my present experience gives me much proof.
To me, amusement seems impertinent, and business intrusion, while you alone engross every faculty of my mind.
May I request you to drop me a line, to inform me when I may wait upon you?
For pity’s sake, do; and let me have it soon.
In the meantime allow me, in all the artless sincerity of truth, to assure you that I truly am,
My dearest Madam,
Your ardent lover and devoted humble servant”
Lord Byron to Lady Caroline Lamb
“If all that I have said and done, and am still but too ready to say and do, have not sufficiently proved what my real feelings are and must be ever towards you, my love, I have no other proof to offer.
My Dearest & Most Beloved Friend
Bless you — ever & even more than ever.
Your most attached
Is there anything on earth or heaven would have made me so happy as to have made you mine long ago? And not less now than then, but more than ever at this time you know I would with pleasure give up all here and all beyond the grave for you.
I was and am yours, freely and most entirely, to obey, to honour, love and fly with you when, where, and how you yourself might and may determine.”
James Joyce to Nora Barnacle
“You are my only love.
You have me completely in your power.
I know and feel that if I am to write anything fine and noble in the future I shall do so only by listening at the doors of your heart.
I would like to go through life side by side with you, telling you more and more until we grew to be one being together until the hour should come for us to die.”
Franz Kafka to Felice Bauer
“I belong to you; there is really no other way of expressing it, and that is not strong enough.
How could I, fool that I am, go on sitting in my office, or here at home, instead of leaping onto a train with my eyes shut and opening them only when I am with you?”
John Keats to Fanny Brawne
You fear, sometimes, I do not love you so much as you wish?
My dear Girl I love you ever and ever and without reserve.
The more I have known you the more have I lov’d. In every way – even my jealousies have been agonies of Love, in the hottest fit I ever had I would have died for you.
You are always new. The last of your kisses was ever the sweetest; the last smile the brightest; the last movement the gracefullest.
When you pass’d my window home yesterday, I was fill’d with as much admiration as if I had then seen you for the first time. Even if you did not love me I could not help an entire devotion to you: how much more deeply then must I feel for you knowing you love me.
My Mind has been the most discontented and restless one that ever was put into a body too small for it.
I never felt my Mind repose upon anything with complete and undistracted enjoyment – upon no person but you.
When you are in the room my thoughts never fly out of window: you always concentrate my whole senses.”
Count Leo Tolstoy to Valeria Arsenev
“I already love in you your beauty, but I am only beginning to love in you that which is eternal and ever precious – your heart, your soul.
Beauty one could get to know and fall in love with in one hour and cease to love it as speedily; but the soul one must learn to know.”
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