Love Letters of Great Men
Edited by Ursula Doyle
St Martin Press, New York.
And so this compilation was born after Carrie, in a Sex and the City film, reads aloud to Big a book called Love Letters of Great Men.
Love letters of the olden days move and inspire us. They exemplify how snail mails and era of voyages can keep the love and passion despite the limitations of time and distance. It makes us rethink over how relationships progress in these times of global connectedness with instant messaging and cheap flights.
One may say it is not the love letter but the lovers that matter. The array of 'great men' also has a string of fidel and devoted men. However, not all these passionate love letters come from 'great men' in terms of fidelity and sincerity. So while I can venture to say that longingness produces wonderful love letters, I cannot venture to say that they come from the sincerest, most fidel, and most patient lovers. And they simply come from the most eloquent men.
I can also observe that there are shifts from the portrait of these 'great men' and their love affairs in accordance with the times, from the patriarchal era to the feminist era up to the war times. If this book will include present love letters, it will include emails and short messages wherein longingness will not most often result to the most eloquent words given the rush of things these days.
Well, this book is generally entertaining and can actually bring smile to our lips and warmth to our hearts. Here are the quotes that I highlighted in the hardcopy because I find them worth reviewing, repeating and sharing...
Let the love bugs spread out...
In the midst of crowds I remain in solitude. Nothing but you can lay hold of my mind, and that can lay hold of nothing but you. – William Congreve to Arabella Hunt
I still return to my wish, that I had never left Paris, and that I had kept out of reach of all other duties, except that which was so sweet, and agreeable, to fulfill, the cultivating your friendship and enjoying your society. – David Hume to Madame de Boufflers
… And truly it is not a sign two lovers are together, when they can be so impertinent as to inquire what the world does.... – Alexander Pope to Teresa Blount, 1716
It is but an hour ago that I kneeled down and swore I never would have come near you, and after saying my Lord's Prayer for the sake of the close, of not being led into temptation, out I sallied like any Christian hero, ready to take the field against the world, the flesh and the devil; not doubting but I should finally trample them all down under my feet. – Laurence Sterne to Lady Percy
You are well! You think of me! You love me. You will always love me. I believe you: now I am happy. I live again. I can talk, work, play, walk – do anything you wish. – Denis Diderot to Sophie Volland 1759
I have not so much as drunk one cup of tea without cursing the pride and ambition which force me to remain apart from the moving spirit of my life. – Napoleon Bonaparte to Josephine, 1796
I thought to have dried up my tears for ever the day I left you: but as I write this they stream again. If they did not, I think my heart would burst. – William Hazlitt to Sarah Walker
Think of me sometimes, when the Alps and ocean divide us, but they never will, unless you wish it. – Lord Byron to Countess Guiccioli, 1819
I kissed your writing over in the hope you had indulged me by leaving a trace of honey. – John Ketas to Fanny Brawne, 1819
Some of my friends here are stupefied at the savage will-power I am displaying at this moment. Ah! They do not know my darling, she whose mere image robs grief of its sting. – Honore de Balzac to Countess Ewelina Hanska
My soul flies towards you with this papers; I say to them like a crazy man, a thousand things; like a crazy man I think that they go towards you to repeat them to you; it is impossible for me to understand how these papers impregnated by me will be, in eleven days, in your hands, and why I remain here... – Honore de Balzac to Countess Ewelina Hanska, 1843
Oh! your letter has restored peace to me, your words this evening have filled me with happiness. – Victor Hugo to Adele Foucher, 1820
… But I think I was always more at ease alone than in anybody's company, till I knew thee. And now I am only myself when thou art within my reach. Thou art an unspeakably beloved woman. – Nathaniel Hawthorne to Sophia
I was thinking this morning how it came, that I, who am fond of talking and am scarcely ever out of spirits, should so entirely rest my notions of happiness on quietness, an a good deal of solitude: but I believe the explanation is very simple and I mention it because it will give you hopes, that I shall gradually grow less of a brute...I give it to you because I think you will humanize me, and soon teach me there is greater happiness than building theories and accumulating facts in silence and solitude. – Charles Darwin to Emma Wedgwood, 1839
I wanted to catch butterflies as letter-carriers to you. I wanted to send my letters first to Paris, so that you should open them with great curiousity, and then, more than surprised, would believe me in Paris. – Robert Schumann to Clara Weick, 1834
When the heart is full it may run over; but the real fullness stays within... Words can never tell you … how perfectly dear you are to me – perfectly dear to my heart and soul. – Robert Browning to Elizabeth Browning, 1846
We separated at the moment when many things were on the point of coming to our lips. All the doors between us two are not yet open. – Gustave Flaubert to George Sand, 1866.
I have now read yours over and over more times than I should like to admit. I awoke in the middle of the night and immediately lit a candle to read it a few times again.... I have just read your letter in that light and I go about murmuring, 'I have made that dignified girl commit herseld, I have, I have,' and then I vault over the sofa with exultation. – Walter Bagehot to Elizabeth Wilson, 1857.
Gathered a bouquet of new flowers, but they got spoiled. I sent you a safety-match box full of flowers last night from Leukerbad. – Mark Twain to Olivia Langdon, 1878
Pleasure hides love from us, but pain reveals it in its essence. – Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas, 1895
It would be a fine thing, just the same, in which I hardly dare believe, to pass our lives near each other, hypnotized by our dreams: your patriotic dreams, our humanitarian dream, and our scientific dream. – Pierre Curie to Marie Sklodovska, 1894
*photo from amazon.com