Immortal love letters | Sunday Observer

Immortal love letters

1 May, 2022

Writing and reading love letters have become a dying art. Who wants to waste their time and energy in writing love letters when they can be in touch with their lovers via e-mail or smart phones? However, it is a fact that love letters can bring the much-needed romance into your life. If you can compose a readable love letter, it will be a perfect declaration of your love.

I wrote my first love letter while studying at a mixed school. I spent a long time writing and rewriting it before passing it on to my girlfriend. When I was writing my first love letter I was full up with thoughts of her. I drew a pretty cool heart on a piece of newsprint and filled the page with my genuine thoughts about her. When I met her after a few days, she looked very happy.

As I grew older I realized that most boys and girls of my generation used to send and receive love letters. Later I met several people who had never written a single love letter in their lives. They asked me the pertinent question: “What’s the point in writing love letters when we can meet and talk?” Those who have never written or received a letter have missed something which would have given them immense joy.

Breathless reading

When you receive a love letter you naturally want to see how many pages it contains or how it has ended. The first reading of a love letter can be breathless. Then you linger over each phrase and choose one that will be carried throughout the day. Those who have sent and received love letters will recall how they made an exquisite accompaniment to the dull prose of life.

English author Richard Steele used to write love letters to his future wife Mary Scurlock. In one of his letters he wrote “Madam, it is the hardest thing in the world to be in love and yet attend to business. All who speak 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?” I answered “She is exquisitely handsome.” Another desired to know when I had been last to Hampton Court. “It will be on Tuesday. Pray thee, allow me at least to kiss your hand before that day.”

When we make deposits of unconditional love, or when we live the primary laws of love, we encourage others to live the primary laws of life. When we truly love others without condition, or without strings, we help them feel secure and safe.

We make it easy for them to live the laws of life and to discover and live true to the highest and best within them. Dag Hammarskjold, former Secretary-General of the United Nations said, “It is nobler to give yourself completely to one individual than to labour diligently for the salvation of the masses.”

Nature is singing

Unlike ordinary men and women, literary men have added lustre to their love letters. American novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote to Sophia Peabody: “I wish I had the gift of making rhymes, for methinks there is poetry in my head and heart. You are a Poem. Of what sort, then? Epic? Mercy on me, No! A sonnet? No; that is too laboured and artificial. You are a sort of sweet, simple, gay, pathetic ballad, which Nature is singing, sometimes with tears, sometimes with smiles, and sometimes with intermingled smiles and tears.”

Those who write love letters know that they are dealing with a very delicate subject. As Osho says, “The higher a thing is, the more fragile it is.” You have to be very careful and cautious about love. If you do the slightest harm, the other person can become defensive. On the other hand, love can be compared to a river, always moving. In the very movement is the life of the river. The very word river shows the process, the very sound of it gives you the feeling of movement.

Love letters help the process of flowing. With every letter you send or receive, love is renewed. Walter Bagehot, the 19th century economist and journalist, wrote to Eliza Wilson: “I have read your letter over and over more times than I care to admit. It has given me more pleasure than I ever thought possible. I wish I could feel worthy of your affection, but as somebody says in Miss Austen, “I do not at all mind having what is too good for me. I go about murmuring. I have made that dignified girl commit herself, I have, I have and then I vault over the sofa with exultation.”

Love letters to spouses

Love letters are not confined to lovers. In the past many leading men and women used to write love letters to their spouses as well.

Napoleon Bonaparte wrote to his wife Josephine, “I have not spent a day without loving you. I have not spent a night without embracing you; I have not so much as drunk a single cup of tea without cursing the pride and ambition which force me to remain separated from the moving spirit of my life. I am terrified by my fantasies. One day you will love me no longer. The day when you say ‘I love you less’ will make the end of my love and the last day of my life. If my heart were base enough to love without being loved in return, I would tear it to pieces.”

You are likely to fall in love at any age. When Benjamin Franklin fell in love with Madame Brillon, he was 70 and she was 30. The 40-year age gap did not matter to them. In one of his love letters he says, “What a difference, my dear friend, between you and me! You find innumerable faults in me, whereas I see only one fault in you (but perhaps it is the fault of my glasses). I mean this avarice which leads you to seek a monopoly on all my affections, and not to allow me any for agreeable ladies of your country. Do you imagine that it is impossible for my affection to be divided without being diminished?”

Ludwig Van Beethoven’s love letter to “Immortal Beloved” is perhaps a landmark in writing love letters. The language, tone and the feelings expressed therein need no explanation. Here is the letter:

“Even in my bed ideas yearn towards you, my Immortal Beloved, here and there joyfully, then again sadly, awaiting from Fate, whether it will listen to us. I can only live, either altogether with you or not at all.

“Yes, I have determined to wander about for so long, far away, until I can fly into your arms and call myself quite at home with you, can send my soul enveloped by yours into the realm of spirits – yes, I regret, it must be. You will get over it all the more as you know my faithfulness to you; never another one can own my heart, never – never! O God, why must one go away from what one loves so, and yet my life in W as it is now is a miserable life. Your love made me the happiest and unhappiest at the same time. At my actual age I should need some continuity, sameness of life – can that exist under our circumstances? Angel, I just hear that the post goes out every day – and must close therefore so that you get the L at once. Be calm – love me – today – yesterday.

What longing in tears for you – you – my Life – my farewell. Oh, go on loving me – never doubt the faithfullest heart of your beloved.


Ever thine”

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