During the pandemic, Valentine’s Day will look noticeably different to previous years.
Many people in relationships will be separated by distance, or due to ongoing lockdown restrictions, while single people are also forced to put their lives on hold.
However, there are myriad ways to celebrate one of the most romantic days of the year. Take inspiration from the poets and musicians who have, through the centuries, managed to convey their affection by sending letters and notes to their loved ones, however far away they might have been.
Below are excerpts from some of the most famous love letters of all time:
1. Johnny Cash to June Carter Cash, 1994 (on June’s 65th birthday)
"Happy Birthday Princess,
We get old and get use to each other. We think alike.
We read each others minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.
But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. 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. I love you very much.
Happy Birthday Princess.
2. Beethoven to his anonymous “Immortal Beloved” in 1812
“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.”
3. Poet John Keats to Fanny Brawne in 1819
“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.”
4. Winston Churchill to his wife, Clementine Churchill, in 1935
“In your letter from Madras you wrote some words very dear to me, about my having enriched your life. I cannot tell you what pleasure this gave me, because I always feel so overwhelmingly in your debt, if there can be accounts in love.... What it has been to me to live all these years in your heart and companionship no phrases can convey.”
5. Napoleon Bonaparte to Josephine de Beauharnais in 1796
“Since I left you, I have been constantly depressed. My happiness is to be near you. Incessantly I live over in my memory your caresses, your tears, your affectionate solicitude. The charms of the incomparable Josephine kindle continually a burning and a glowing flame in my heart.”
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6. Author Ernest Hemingway to actress Marlene Dietrich in 1951
“I can’t say how every time I ever put my arms around you I felt that I was home. Nor too many things. But we were always cheerful and jokers together.”
7. Richard Burton to Elizabeth Taylor in 1964
“My blind eyes are desperately waiting for the sight of you. You don't realize of course, EB, how fascinatingly beautiful you have always been, and how strangely you have acquired an added and special and dangerous loveliness.”
8. Frida Kahlo to Diego Rivera
“Diego, my love,
Remember that once you finish the fresco we will be together forever once and for all, without arguments or anything, only to love one another.
Behave yourself and do everything that Emmy Lou tells you.
I adore you more than ever. Your girl, Frida
9. US President Gerald Ford to his wife Betty Ford in 1974
“No written words can adequately express our deep, deep love. We know how great you are and we, the children and Dad, will try to be as strong as you. Our Faith in you and God will sustain us. Our total love for you is everlasting.”
10. Emily Dickinson to Susan Huntington, 11 June 1852
“When I look around me and find myself alone, I sigh for you again; little sigh, and vain sigh, which will not bring you home.
I need you more and more, and the great world grows wider… every day you stay away — I miss my biggest heart; my own goes wandering round, and calls for Susie… Susie, forgive me Darling, for every word I say — my heart is full of you… yet when I seek to say to you something not for the world, words fail me… I shall grow more and more impatient until that dear day comes, for til now, I have only mourned for you; now I begin to hope for you.”
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