Words of Love
February 14th is Valentine’s Day. Historically, it was a celebration of St. Valentine, the patron saint of lovers. A day marked by sending messages through letters or poems and simple gifts, such as flowers, to loved ones and secret loves. To get you into the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we thought it may be interesting to look at a famous love letter and some other famous writer’s thoughts on love.
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….
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 come….
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
John Keats (1795 – 1821), despite dying so young from tuberculosis (TB), is considered one of the greatest English poets. His works are described as true love poems. But he himself would never marry. He actually fell in love with Fanny Brawne, his neighbor, to whom this letter was written, but had already been diagnosed with TB. He felt unable to marry her knowing that she would be left a widow soon afterward. This letter was written less than one year before his death.
In the beginning, when John Keats was unsure of her feelings he was actively pushing her away. However, when he had to move to Italy for his health, they were already engaged and deeply in love on both sides. Despite that strong bond, he could not marry her and ruin her chances of finding another man to form a long term relationship. Keats wrote over three dozen love letters to Fanny Brawne, all of which she kept. Today, they are celebrated as among the most beautiful love letters ever written.
Famous Words on Love
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
- Lao Tzu
My bounty is as boundless as the sea, My love as deep; the more I give to thee, The more I have, for both are infinite.
- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of being and ideal grace.
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Young love is a flame; very pretty, often very hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. The love of the older and disciplined heart is as coals, deep-burning, unquenchable.
- Henry Ward Beecher
Age does not protect you from love. But love, to some extent, protects you from age.
- Anais Nin
Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love.
- Leo Tolstoy
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
- 1 Corinthians 13: 4 -7 (NIV) Holy Bible
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.
What are some things you do to express love for someone?
Which of the above words about love best represent the type of love that will last through time and difficulties?
Have you ever had to show love to someone unlovable (difficult to love)? How did you do it?
What does it take to truly love someone? Can you think of an example of that kind of love?