Sunday, January 3, 2010

Love Letters, A Lost Form of Adoration

If there is a favourite scene in the Sex and the City movie, it would not be the gesture of Mr. Big fulfilling the promise of a giant walk-in closet for Carrie (even though that would come in as a close second). Instead, I found the idea of Mr. Big copying out love letters to Carrie sweetly touching even though he did not compose them on his own. One might say he lacks originality but I'll prefer to think that his Love for Carrie at that time could not be described in words.

I supposed I started taking notice of love letters written by well-known men to their lovers after that -- in every movie I saw, every book I read and every mention in papers as long as it was delivered in a honeyed tone. Yes, I've had love letters written to me in my younger days. Though our love is gone and we're no longer in touch, the little notes of yesteryears remained sacred and precious in a box. Though diabetically sweet in words and more so knowing that the man who loved me had such a romantic soul, it was still no comparison to the exulted adoration pinned down in words by the well-known men with the likes of John Keats and Beethoven. Reading their love letters require a strong heart because mine goes into exaggerated palpitations and feels like bursting into fireworks everytime I do (and the letters are not meant for me!). If there is a way one could possibly die from sweetness without the consumption of sugar, this would be it.

The third letter from Ludwig van Beethoven to the Immortal Beloved:
Though still in bed, 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 - Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits - Yes, unhappily it must be so - You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you. No one else can ever possess my heart - never - never - Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves. And yet my life in V is now a wretched life - Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men - At my age I need a steady, quiet life - can that be so in our connection? My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day - therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once - 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.
ever thine
ever mine
ever ours

From John Keats to Fanny Brawne:
This moment I have set myself to copy some verses out fair. I cannot proceed with any degree of content. I must write you a line or two and see if that will assist in dismissing you from my Mind for ever so short a time. Upon my Soul I can think of nothing else - The time is passed when I had power to advise and warn you again[s]t the unpromising morning of my Life - My love has made me selfish. 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. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving - I should be exquisitely miserable without the hope of soon seeing you. I should be afraid to separate myself far from you. My sweet Fanny, will your heart never change? My love, will it? I have no limit now to my love - You note came in just here - I cannot be happier away from you - 'T is richer than an Argosy of Pearles. Do not threat me even in jest. I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion - I have shudder'd at it - I shudder no more - I could be martyr'd for my Religion - Love is my religion - I could die for that - I could die for you. My Creed is Love and you are its only tenet - You have ravish'd me away by a Power I cannot resist: and yet I could resist till I saw you; and even since I have seen you I have endeavoured often "to reason against the reasons of my Love." I can do that no more - the pain would be too great - My Love is selfish - I cannot breathe without you.

I thought it was very considerate of John Keats to burn the letters Fanny Brawne gave him. Others said this was done so that she would not be compromised in the days where it would result in a terrible scandal and destroying her reputation but as usual, the idealist in me believes that the act was committed to ensure that the letters were for his eyes only.

One day, I would write a love letter too -- in that degree and magnitude.

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posted by The Merry Traveller at


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