Historical Love Letters
"If you are considering
writing a love letter to your sweetheart,you might
want to take a look at some of the most famous
Historical love letters of all times.I will keep
adding to this collection.Love is eternal,please
enjoy these beautiful and timeless writings of love."
Oliver Cromwell (1599 - 1658)
was the leader of the famous English rebellion
which deposed and executed King Charles I in 1649.
He united the kingdoms of England, Scotland and
Wales, ruling as chairman of the Commonwealth
until his death. Through all this upheaval, he
remained quite affectionate with his wife, whom he
had married when he was 21.
Dunbar, 4 September,1650
For my beloved Wife Elizabeth Cromwell, at the Cockpit:
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 art dearer to me than any creature; let
The Lord hath showed us an exceeding mercy: who
can tell how great it is. My weak faith hath been
upheld. I have been in my inward man marvellously
supported; though I assure thee, I grow an old
man,and feel infirmities of age marvellously
stealing upon me.Would my corruptions did as fast
decrease.Pray on my behalf in the latter respect.
The particulars of our late success Harry Vane or
Gil.Pickering will impart to thee. My love to all
dear friends.I rest thine,
The story of John Keats and Fanny Brawne is one of
literary tragedy. Keats, a leading poet of the
nineteenth century, produced such influential
works as Ode on a Grecian Urn and the epic poem,
Hyperion during his short life.
Keats met Fanny in November of 1818 and fell
instantly in love with her, to the dismay of both
her family and his contemporaries. The couple
became secretly engaged soon after. However, in
the winter of 1820 Keats became very ill. He was
diagnosed with tuberculosis.
Keat's health progressively declined and in a
final effort to save his own life, he moved to
Italy. In 1821, at the age of 25, he was laid to
rest. Buried with him, close to his heart, was an
unopened letter from Fanny.
Wednesday Morng. [Kentish Town, 1820]
My Dearest Girl,
I have been a walk this morning with a book in my
hand, but as usual I have been occupied with
nothing but you: I wish I could say in an
agreeable manner. 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 with all this devotion to you I
cannot persuade myself into any confidence of
You are to me an object intensely desirable -- the
air I breathe in a room empty of you in unhealthy.
I am not the same to you -- no -- you can wait --
you have a thousand activities -- you can be happy
without me. Any party, anything to fill up the day
has been enough.
How have you pass'd this month? Who have you
smil'd with? All this may seem savage in me. You
do no feel as I do -- you do not know what it is
to love -- one day you may -- your time is not
I cannot live without you, and not only you but
chaste you; virtuous you. The Sun rises and sets,
the day passes, and you follow the bent of your
inclination to a certain extent -- you have no
conception of the quantity of miserable feeling
that passes through me in a day -- Be serious!
Love is not a plaything -- and again do not write
unless you can do it with a crystal conscience. I
would sooner die for want of you than ---
Yours for ever
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
I have a sensation at the present moment as though
I were dissolving ....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.
John Keats (1795 - 1821) led a short but brilliant
life. At the age of 23 he met and fell in love
with Fanny Brawne, literally the girl next door.
Tragically, doctors had already diagnosed the
tuberculosis which would eventually kill him, so
their marriage became an impossibility.
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)
English Romantic poet and satirist, Byron was
brought up in poverty in Scotland. At the age of
10 he inherited his great-uncle's title and
property, and moved to Newstead Abbey, England.
Byron was educated at Harrow and later Cambridge.
Travels in Greece resulted in the sardonic poem
Childe Harold's Pilgrimage. In January 1815 he
married Annabella Milbanke, who bore him a
daughter, Augusta, and then left him. During 1818-
23, years spent with Teresa Guiccioli, he wrote
three cantos of Don Juan, a satirical romance, the
Prophecy of Dante, and four poetic dramas. Longing
to help Greece obtain independence from Turkey, he
joined their fight in December 1823, but died of
fever on April 19, 1824. Refused burial in
Westminster Abbey, he is buried with his ancestors
near Newstead Abbey.Bologna,
25 August, 1819
My dearest Teresa,
I have read this book in your garden;--my love,
you were absent, or else I could not have read it.
It is a favourite book of yours, and the writer
was a friend of mine. You will not understand
these English words, and others will not
understand them,--which is the reason I have not
scrawled them in Italian. But you will recognize
the handwriting of him who passionately loved you,
and you will divine that, over a book which was
yours, he could only think of love.
In that word, beautiful in all languages, but most
so in yours--Amor mio--is comprised my existence
here and hereafter. I feel I exist here, and I
feel I shall exist hereafter,--to what purpose you
will decide; my destiny rests with you, and you
are a woman, eighteen years of age, and two out of
a convent.I love you, and you love me,--at least,
you say so, and act as if you did so, which last
is a great consolation in all events.
But I more than love you, and cannot cease to love
you. Think of me, sometimes, when the Alps and
ocean divide us,but they never will, unless you
Lord Byron (1788 - 1824)
was one of England's most notorious womanizers. A
world-famous poet by the age of 24, he had a brief
but extremely passionate affair with Lady Caroline
Lamb.Pressured by Caroline's mother (who herself
may have harbored affections for Byron),he used
the opportunity to put an end to the relationship.
In this letter, he explains his reasoning.
My dearest Caroline,
If tears, which you saw & know I am not apt to
shed, if the agitation in which I parted from you,
agitation which you must have perceived through
the whole of this most nervous nervous affair, did
not commence till the moment of leaving you
approached, if all that I have said & done, & am
still but too ready to say & do, have not
sufficiently proved what my real feelings are &
must be ever towards you, my love,have no other
proof to offer.
God knows I wish you happy,& when I quit you, or
rather when you from a sense of duty to your
husband & mother quit me, you shall acknowledge
the truth of what I again promise & vow, that no
other in word or deed shall ever hold the place in
my affection which is & shall be most sacred to
you,till I am nothing.
I never knew till that moment, the madness of my
dearest & most beloved friend I cannot express
myself this is no time for words but I shall have
a pride, a melancholy pleasure,in suffering what
you yourself can hardly conceive for you don not
know me.I am now about to go out with a heavy
heart,because my appearing this Evening will stop
any absurd story which the events of today might
give rise to do you think now that I am cold &
stern, & artful will even others think so, will
your mother even that mother to
whom we must
indeed sacrifice much, more much more on
part, than she shall ever know or can imagine.
"Promises not to love you" ah Caroline it is past
promising but shall attribute all concessions to
the proper motive & never cease to feel all that
you have already witnessed & more than can ever be
known but to my own heart perhaps to yours May God
protect forgive & bless you ever & even more than ever.
P.S.These taunts which have driven you to this --
my dearest Caroline were it not for your mother &
the kindness of all your connections, is there
anything on earth or heaven would have made me so
happy as to have made you mine long ago? & not
less now than then,but more than ever at this time
you know I would with pleasure give up all here &
all beyond the grave for you & in refraining from
this must my motives be misunderstood ? I care not
who knows this what use is made of it it is you &
to you only that they owe
yourself,I was and
am yours, freely & most entirely,
to obey, to
honour,love & fly with you when, where, & how you
yourself might & may determine.
Henry VIII (1528)
To Anne Boleyn
My Mistress and Friend,
I and my heart put ourselves in your hands,
begging you to recommend us to your good grace and
not to let absence lessen your affection...or
myself the pang of absence is already to great,
and when I think of the increase of what I must
needs suffer it would be well nigh intolerable but
for my firm hope of your unchangeable affection...
Henry VIII (1528)
The Queen of England and
mother to Queen Mary, Catherine of Aragon (1485 - 1536)
is best known as the first of the many wives of
Henry VIII. Though he divorced her in 1533,
Catherine remained devoted to Henry until her
death in 1536, as this letter shows.
My Lord and Dear Husband,
I commend me unto you. The hour of my death
draweth fast on, and my case being such, the
tender love I owe you forceth me, with a few
words, to put you in remembrance of the health and
safeguard of your soul, which you ought to prefer
before all worldly matters, and before the care
and tendering of your own body, for the which you
have cast me into many miseries and yourself into
For my part I do pardon you all, yea, I do wish
and devoutly pray God that He will also pardon you.
For the rest I commend unto you Mary, our
daughter, beseeching you to be a good father unto
her, as I heretofore desired. I entreat you also,
on behalf of my maids, to give them marriage-
portions, which is not much, they being but three.
For all my other servants, I solicit a year's pay
more than their due, lest they should be
Lastly, do I vow, that mine eyes desire you above
To Robert Browning:
And now listen to me in turn. 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
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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
The regard and esteem you now give me, in this
letter, and which I press to my heart and bow my
head upon, is all I can take and all too
embarrassing, using all my gratitude.
- Robert Browning
August 15, 1846
I will cover you with love when next I see you,
with caresses, with
ecstasy. I want to gorge yu with all the joys of
the flesh, so that
you faint and die. I want you to be amazed by me,
and to confess to
yourself that you had never even dreamed of such
you are old, I want you to recall those few hours,
I want your dry
bones to quiver with joy when you think of
Gustave Flaubert, famous French writer, to his wife Louise Colet.
August 1, 1810
Oh My William! it is not in my power to tell thee
how I have been
affected by this dearest of all letters - it was
so unexpected - so
new a thing to see the breathing of thy inmost
heart upon paper that I
was quite overpowered, & now that I sit down to
answer thee in the
lonliness & depth of that love which unites us &
which cannot be felt
but by ourselves, I am so agitated & my eyes are
so bedimmed that I
scarely know how to proceed...
Written by Mary Wordsworth to her husband William
Wordsworth.William of course is a well known
I have something stupid and ridiculous to tell
you.I am foolishly writing to you instead of
having told you this, I do not know why,
when returning from that walk.
To-night I shall be annoyed at having done so.You
will laugh in my face, will take me for a maker of
phrases in all my relations with you
hitherto.You will show me the door and you will
think I am lying.
I am in love with you.I have been thus since the
first day I called on you.
Alfred de Musset
Alfred was a popular French poet and dramatist.
He wrote this letter to Amantine Aurore Dudevant
who was a French writer.She was later romantically
linked with Chopin.
April 25, 1898
And when I have reasoned it all out, and set metes
and bounds for your love that it may not pass, lo,
a letter from Clara, and in one sweet,
ardent, pure, Edenic page, her love overrides my
boudaries as the sea sweeps over rocks and sands
alike, crushes my barriers into dust out
of which they were builded, over whelms me with
its beauty, bewilders me with its sweetness,
charms me with its purity, and loses me in its
great shoreless immensity.
Robert Burdette, minister, to Clara Barker.They
were married the following year.
September 7, 1881
Life has become very dear to me, and I am very
glad that I love. My life and my love are
one."But you are faced with a 'no, never never'"
is your reply.My answer to that is, "Old boy, for
the present I look upon that,'no, never never' as
a block of ice which I press to my heart to
Vincent Van Gogh, famous French artist to Theo,
his brother,describing his passion for his cousin,
Kee.She never withdrew from her position of 'no,
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-91) was born in
Salzburg, the son of Leopold Mozart and Anna Maria
Pertl. From the age of five he performed all over
Europe with his sister,Maria-Anna.
By 1772 he had composed 25 symphonies and two
string quartets. He was appointed honorary concert
master to the court in Salzburg in 1774, and after
more tours--to Italy, Manneheim, and Paris--and a
spell as court organist in Salzburg (1778-80), he
moved to Vienna in 1781. Mozart wrote most of his
best work in the years that followed: 12 piano
concertos (1784-86); six quartets; and the operas
The Marriage of Figaro(1786),Don Giovanni(1787),
and Cosi Fan Tutte (1790). In 1791, the year of
the Requiem and The Magic Flute, he died of heart
failure, at age 35.
This is a portion of a letter sent to his wife Constanze
Mainz October 17, 1790
PS.--while I was writing the last page, tear after
tear fell on the paper. But I must cheer up --
catch! -- An astonishing number of kisses are
flying about --- The deuce!-- I see a whole crowd
of them! Ha! Ha!...I have just caught three-- They
are delicious!-- You can still answer this letter,
but you must address your reply to Linz, Poste
Restante-- That is the safest course. As I do not
yet know for certain whether I shall go to
Regensburg, I can't tell you anything definite.
Just write on the cover that the letter is to be
kept until called for.
Adieu--Dearest, most beloved little wife-- Take
care of your health-- and don't think of walking
into town. Do write and tell me how you like our
new quarters--Adieu.I kiss you millions of times.
Jane Clairmont to Lord Byron -- 1815
You bid me write short to you and I have much to
say. You also bade me believe that it was a fancy
which made me cherish an attachment for you. It
cannot be a fancy since you have been for the last
year the object upon which every solitary moment
led me to muse.
I do not expect you to love me, I am not worthy of
your love. I feel you are superior, yet much to my
surprise, more to my happiness, you betrayed
passions I had believed no longer alive in your bosom.
Shall I also have to ruefully experience the want
of happiness? Shall I reject it when it is
offered? I may appear to you imprudent, vicious;
my opinions detestable, my theory depraved; but
one thing, at least, time shall show you: that I
love gently and with affection, that I am
incapable of anything approaching to the feeling
of revenge or malice; I do assure you, your future
will shall be mine, and everything you shall do or
say, I shall not question.
Pietro Bembo (1470-1547) was one of the most
respected poets and scholars of his day. He was
born into an aristocratic Venetian family, and had
a brilliant career, achieving notable success in
politics, the church, and the arts. This letter
was written to Lucrezie Borgia who was the
daughter of the Spanish cardinal, Rodrigo Borgia,
later Pope Alexander VI.
Venice October 18, 1503
Eight days have passed since I parted from f.f.,
and already it is as though I had been eight years
away from her, although I can avow that not one
hour has passed without her memory which has
become such a close companion to my thoughts that
now more than ever is it the food and sustenance
of my soul; and if it should endure like this a
few days more, as seems it must, I truly believe
it will in every way have assumed the office of my
soul, and I shall then live and thrive on the
memory of her as do other men upon their souls,
and I shall have no life but in this single thought.
Let the God who so decrees do as he will, so long
as in exchange I may have as much a part of her as
shall suffice to prove the gospel of our affinity
is founded on true prophecy. Often I find myself
recalling, and with what ease, certain words
spoken to me, some on the balcony with the moon as
witness, others at that window I shall always look
upon so gladly, with all the many endearing and
gracious acts I have seen my gentle lady perform--
for all are dancing about my heart with a
tenderness so wondrous that they inflame me with a
strong desire to beg her to test the quality of my love.
For I shall never rest content until I am certain
she knows what she is able to enact in me and how
great and strong is the fire that her great worth
has kindled in my breast. The flame of true love
is a mighty force, and most of all when two
equally matched wills in two exalted minds contend
to see which loves the most, each striving to give
yet more vital proof...
It would be the greatest delight for me to see
just two lines in f.f.'s hand, yet I dare not ask
so much. May your Ladyship beseech her to perform
whatever you feel is best for me. With my heart I
kiss your Ladyship's hand, since I cannot with my
Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-
1618) was an English colonizer, courtier,
historian and explorer. He was a favorite courtier
of Queen Elizabeth I and was knighted by her in
In 1603 Raleigh was wrongly tried and convicted of
treason against the crown, having been set up by
one of his enemies in the royal court. His
sentence was immediate death. Imprisoned in the
Tower of London on what he believed was the eve of
his execution, he composed a loving farewell to
his wife, Elizabeth (not the queen).
He was not executed the following morning but
remained confined in the Tower of London until
1616, when he was released to
in search of gold for the crown. However, in 1618
he was returned to the Tower of London and
executed by the harsh hand of Queen Elizabeth
I's successor, James I.
You shall now receive (my dear wife) my last words
in these my last lines. My love I send you that
you may keep it when I am dead, and my counsel
that you may remember it when I am no more.
I would not by my will present you with sorrows
(dear Besse) let them go to the grave with me and
be buried in the dust. And seeing that it is not
God's will that I should see you any more in this
life, bear it patiently, and with a heart like thy
First, I send you all the thanks which my heart
can conceive, or my words can rehearse for your
many travails, and care taken for me, which though
they have not taken effect as you wished, yet my
you is not the less; but pay it I never shall in
Secondly, I beseech you for the love you bear me
living, do not hide your self many days, but by
your travails seek to help your miserable fortunes
and the right of your poor child. Thy mourning
cannot avail me, I am but dust...
Remember your poor child for his father's sake,
who chose you, and loved you in his happiest
times. Get those letters which I wrote to the
Lords, wherein I sued for my life; God is my
witness it was for you and yours that I desired
life, but it is true that I disdained my self for
begging of it: for know it that your son is the
son of a true man, and one who in his own respect
despiseth death and all his misshapen and ugly
I cannot write much, God he knows how hardly I
steal this time while others sleep, and it is also
time that I should separate my thoughts from the
world. Beg my dead body which living was denied
thee; and either lay it at Sherburne or in Exeter
Church, by my Father and Mother; I can say no
more, time and death call me away....
Written with the dying hand of sometimes they
Husband, but now alas overthrown. Yours that was,
but now not my own.
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