Throughout the ages, there are those who are so smitten with love that they can hardly think of anything else. Their days and nights are spent in rapturous thoughts about their beloved. Here are just a few samples found through the years of historical letters that have been penned by poets, musicians, and novelists.
Ludwig van Beethoven to “My Immortal Beloved”
An unsolved mystery involves composer Ludwig van Beethoven who never married, although he seemed to have a full love life. After his death in 1827, his assistant found a passionate love letter in a hidden drawer. The mystery is that the person to whom this letter was written has never been identified, although there are several candidates.
The historical letter is to “my Immortal Beloved, Be calm—love me—today—yesterday—what tearful longings for you—you—you—my life—my all—farewell…never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved. Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.”
Speculation continues to this day about who Beethoven was writing to and whether the letter, believed to be written in 1812, was ever even sent. The most likely candidates for this historical letter appear to be Antonie Brentano, daughter of a diplomat, and Josephine Brunsvik, a countess who it was rumoured Beethoven deeply loved.
Poet John Keats to Fanny Brawne
In late 1818, John Keats moved next door to the Brawne family and met Fanny. He was immediately taken with her and soon after, they became engaged to be married. They were engaged for three years until Keats’s unfortunate death from tuberculosis in 1821. He was only 25-years old.
They never married and speculation is that although Keats was head-over-heels in love with Fanny, he did not have enough money to marry her. A letter to her that was found after her death extolled his love. He wrote:
“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 would be martyr’d for my Religion—Love is my religion—I could die for that—I could die for you…”
Country Singer Johnny Cash to His Country Singer Wife June Carter
Johnny Cash and June Carter got married in 1967, 11 years after they first met in 1956. Cash had to divorce his first wife before he could marry Carter.
On June 23, 1994, June Carter’s 65th birthday, Cash wrote her a love letter which was named by Beagle Street in 2015 as the greatest love letter ever written. In that letter, after nearly 30 years of marriage, Cash told his beloved, “You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You’re the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence.”
Zelda Fitzgerald to F. Scott Fitzgerald
The tumultuous relationship between Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald is legendary. He wrote books and short stories and struggled with alcoholism. She wrestled with mental illness for which she was hospitalised several times. Even so, the two were devoted to each other during their 20-year marriage which ended in 1940 when F. Scott died. Zelda lived until 1948 and was confined to a mental hospital. Many historical letters were exchanged between the two. Books have been written that just include their letters.
On specific letter is frequently referenced. It was in the fall of 1930. Zelda was receiving treatment in a mental health clinic in Switzerland and wrote to F. Scott, “I love you most and you ‘phoned me just because you phoned me tonight—I walked on those telephone wires for two hours after holding your love like a parasol to balance me.”