Straight from the Heart

quill and feather2

It is not only necessary to love,
it is necessary to say so.
— French proverb

There’s no better day to wallow in the agelessness of romantic emotion, perhaps no more wonderfully expressed than by some of the most exalted figures in world literature. I remembered a small treasure of a book (still in print) called Love Letters – An Anthology of Passion, which celebrates what’s now lamentably a lost art, with its colorful detailing of the amorous correspondence between an assortment of famous writers, artists (and other lesser-known personages) — complete with reproductions of the original letters, inserted into love letters coverenvelopes, seals and all. Just a handful of excerpts:

You have absorb’d me. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving.-– Poet John Keats to Fanny Brawne, October 1819

Believe me, nothing on earth is given without labour, even love, the most beautiful and natural of feelings.-– Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy to his fiancée, Valeria Arsenev, November 1856

You have lifted my very soul up into the light of your soul, and I am not ever likely to mistake it for the common daylight.-– Elizabeth Barrett to Robert Browning, August 1846

Places that are empty of you…are empty of all life…-– Painter and poet Dante Gabriel Rossetti to Jane Morris, February 1870

Only three things are infinite: the sky in its stars, the sea in its drops of water, and the heart in its tears.-– French writer Gustave Flaubert to Louise Colet, August 1846

Lofty sentiments for sure, but I’ll stray a bit from the literary luminaries and end with an entry that’s short and to the point, and charming in its simplicity. It’s a note, circa 1840, from one Prince de Joinville, a French adventurer, to an actress, Rachel Felix, on seeing her for the first time:

Where? When? How much?
Her reply:
Your place. Tonight. Free.

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