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The Love Letter: Still as Wonderful Today, as Ever Before

Love LetterJohn Keats, the renowned English poet, known for such works as Hyperion, Ode on a Grecian Urn and The Eve of St. Agnes. But Keats also poured his heart out writing for an audience of one, Fanny Brawne. Keats met Brawne in Hampstead in 1818 and very quickly found himself in love. Keats love, like his first 22 years of live, would have more than a fair share of turmoil and frustration.

Keats relationship with Brawne was kept mostly private given the scandalous inquiries of Victorian society. They secretly became engaged, but did not marry before Keat, suffering from Tuberculosis, moved to Rome on the advice of his doctors. There he died at the age of 25. It is said that he was buried with a letter from Fanny Brawne laid close to his heart.

During their two years together and while he was in Italy, Keats wrote dozens of letters to Brawne. These love letters expressed the deepest emotions of Keats desire. In 1820, a year before his death, he wrote…

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
J. Keats

The love letter is commonly viewed as the product of adolescence affection. But putting to paper the feelings we have for our spouse or companion should not be give such little value. A simple meaningful letter can open up a deeper understanding and commitment between two lovers. Ronald Reagan wrote numerous affectionate letter to Nancy, even late in his life.

Take some time to tell your love how much they mean to you in a simple letter. You don’t have to possess the talent of John Keats to say “I love you” in a meaningful way. Just share from the heart. There is something amazingly special about putting on paper the words that express your love for someone.


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