Thursday, February 18, 2021

Historical Love Letters

By Nancy J. Farrier


Did you ever get a secret note from a boy in school? Or maybe a genuine love letter written to you by someone? February is the month of love, with Valentine’s Day and spring around the corner. I thought it would be fun to look at some famous love letters written through the ages. 


Ludwig Von Beethoven
Photo by John Karl
Stieler, Wikimedia Commons

Ludwig von Beethoven had a mystery woman, whom he referred to as his Immortal Beloved. There is speculation as to the woman’s identity, but no concrete evidence. A letter to Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved was found in his personal belongings after his death. These beautiful words speak to the love he had for this woman.


“Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, 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. Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.”



Oliver Cromwell
Photo by Charles Lucy
Wikimedia Commons

Oliver Cromwell led the English rebellion to depose and execute King Charles I in 1649. He went on to unite England, Scotland and Wales. For such a military strategist, you might be surprised at his love for his wife. A love that shows in his letters to her. Here is a snippet from a letter penned in 1650.


“My Dearest, I have not leisure to write much, but I could chide thee that in many of thy letters thou writest to me, that I should not be unmindful of thee and thy little ones. Truly, if I love thee not too well, I think I err not on the other hand much. Thou are dearer to me than any creature; let that suffice…I rest thine.”


John Keats
Internet Book Archive
Wikimedia Commons

John Keats story is more tragedy than love story. He met the love of his life, Fanny Brawne in late 1818. Their families and friends were not in favor of a match between Keats and Fanny, but the pair secretly got engaged. In 1820, Keats was very ill with tuberculosis. His health declined and in 1821, he died at the age of twenty-five. In that short time of knowing Fanny the two exchanged many letters. Keats was buried with an unopen letter from Fanny. 


Letter 1, 1820:

“My Dearest Girl, I have been a walk this morning with a book in my hand, but as usual I hae been occupied with nothing but you: I wish I could say in an agreeablemanner. I am tormented day and night. They talk of my going to Italy. ‘Tis certain I shall never recover if I am to be so long separate from you: yet will all this devotion to you I cannot persuade myself into any confidence of you…You are to me an object intensely desirable—the air I breathe in a room empty of you is unhealthy…”


Letter 2:

“To Fanny Brawne: I cannot exist without you – I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again – my life seems to stop there – I see no further. You have absorb’d me.”





Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
By Johann Nepomuck della Croce
Wikimedia Commons

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart to his wife, Constanze, written in 1790. Mozart composed twenty-five symphonies, piano concertos, and operas. His genius was music and he died young at thirty-five. But, he also wrote wonderful letters to his wife when he was away from home. Here is an excerpt.


“…while I was writing the last page, tear after tear fell on the paper. But I must cheer up…An astonishing number of kisses are flying about…I see a whole crowd of them! Ha! Ha!...I have cauht three. They are delicious!...Adieu—Dearest, most beloved little wife. Take care of your health…Adieu. I kiss you millions of times.”



Robert and Elizabeth Browning
By Thomas Buchanan Read
Wikimedia Commons

Elizabeth Barrett met Robert Browning after her read her published volume, Poems, in 1844. He wrote to her saying, “I love your verses with all my heart…” and the met secretly and married secretly since her father strongly disapproved of Browning. Their letters to one another show the great love they shared.


To Robert Browning: “And now listen to me in turn. You have touched me more profoundly that I thought even you could hae touched me – my heart was full when you came here today. Henceforward I am yours for everything…”


To Elizabeth Barrett Browning: “…would I, if I could, supplant one of any of the affections that I know to have taken root in you – that great and solemn one, for instance. I feel that if I could get myself remade, as if turned to gold, I WOULD not even then desire to become more than the mere setting to that diamond you must always wear.”


Have you had a love letter written to you that you cherish? Or, maybe a note that you’ve saved in a drawer or book of mementos. I think the line that stood out to me the most in these letters was from Beethoven’s—“Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.” What beautiful words of love. Please feel free to share your thoughts of these letters or one you may have received. I’d love to hear from you.


Nancy J Farrier is an award-winning author who lives in Southern Arizona in the Sonoran Desert. She loves the Southwest with its interesting historical past. When Nancy isn’t writing, she loves to read, do needlecraft, play with her cats, and spend time with her family. You can read more about Nancy and her books on her website:


  1. Thanks for posting. I love the line by Mozart, "An astonishing number of kisses are flying about.." So playful yet sweet.

  2. Wow this is a wonderful post. For many years my husband wrote me little love notes. And he is NOT a romantic. They were little bits of heaven from him to me. And I will always cherish them. Our son now married, will write little love notes to his wife also. He IS a romantic.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

    1. Lori, what a sweet story. How wonderful to be the recipient of those notes. I love that your son is carrying on the tradition. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Nancy, thank you for this interesting post. My husband hasn't written me many love notes, but one stands out. I had gone out of town for a business trip and discovered a card he'd stuck in my briefcase, its verse complete with a stick figure whose arms are stretched out for a hug. My husband told me his father and mother married as a result of letters they exchanged while the father served in WWII. I would love to get my hands on those for historical research, but no one knows if they still exist.

    1. Marilyn, what a sweet story. I understand what you mean about those love letters. They would be so interesting to read. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Such sweet letters with heartfelt words. Thank you for sharing, Nancy!

  5. This is such a wonderful post. My husband and I had a long distance relationship through college and wrote countless letters to each other, probably not as articulate as these, but special in their own way.