I have a thousand images of you in an hour; all different and all coming back to the same… And we love. And we’ve got the most amazing secrets and understandings. Noel, whom I love, who is so beautiful and wonderful. I think of you eating omlette on the ground. I think of you once against a sky line: and on the hill that Sunday morning.
And that night was wonderfullest of all. The light and the shadow and quietness and the rain and the wood. And you. You are so beautiful and wonderful that I daren’t write to you… And kinder than God.
Your arms and lips and hair and shoulders and voice – you.
2 October 1911
When two souls, which have sought each other for, however long in the throng, have finally found each other …a union, fiery and pure as they themselves are… begins on earth and continues forever in heaven.
This union is love, true love, a religion, which deifies the loved one, whose life comes from devotion and passion, and for which the greatest sacrifices are the sweetest delights.
This is the love which you inspire in me… Your soul is made to love with the purity and passion of angels; but perhaps it can only love another angel, in which case I must tremble with apprehension.
But let me have this letter, containing nothing but your love; and tell me that you give me your lips, your hair, all that face that I have possessed, and tell me that we embrace – you and I!
O God, O God, when I think of it, my throat closes, my sight is troubled; my knees fail, ah, it is horrible to die, it is also horrible to love like this! What longing, what longing I have for you!
I beg you to let me have the letter I ask. I am dying.
Alfred de Musset
01 September 1834
My darling Clemmie,
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.
Time passes swiftly, but is it not joyous to see how great and growing is the treasure we have gathered together, amid the storms and stresses of so many eventful and to millions tragic and terrible years?
Your loving husband
23 January 1935
Do you know, when you have told me to think of you, I have been feeling ashamed of thinking of you so much, of thinking of only you–which is too much, perhaps.
Shall I tell you?
It seems to me, to myself, that no man was ever before to any woman what you are to me–the fullness must be in proportion, you know, to the vacancy…and only I know what was behind–the long wilderness without the blossoming rose…and the capacity for happiness, like a black gaping hole, before this silver flooding.
Is it wonderful that I should stand as in a ream, and disbelieve–not you–but my own fate?
Was ever any one taken suddenly from a lampless dungeon and placed upon the pinnacle of a mountain, without the head turning round and the heart turning faint, as mine do?
And you love me more, you say? Shall I thank you or God? Both,–indeed–and there is no possible return from me to either of you! I thank you as the unworthy may…and as we all thank God. How shall I ever prove what my heart is to you?
How will you ever see it as I feel it? I ask myself in vain. Have so much faith in me, my only beloved, as to use me simply for your own advantage and happiness, and to your own ends without a thought of any others–that is all I could ask without any disquiet as to the granting of it
May God bless you!
10 January 1846
I love you no longer; on the contrary, I detest you. You are a wretch, truly perverse, truly stupid, a real Cinderella. You never write to me at all, you do not love your husband; you know the pleasure that your letters give him yet you cannot even manage to write him half a dozen lines, dashed off in a moment!
What then do you do all day, Madame? What business is so vital that it robs you of the time to write to your faithful lover? What attachment can be stifling and pushing aside the love, the tender and constant love which you promised him? Who can this wonderful new lover be who takes up your every moment, rules your days and prevents you from devoting your attention to your husband? Beware, Josephine; one fine night the doors will be broken down and there I shall be.
In truth, I am worried, my love, to have no news from you; write me a four page letter instantly made up from those delightful words which fill my heart with emotion and joy.
I hope to hold you in my arms before long, when I shall lavish upon you a million kisses, burning as the equatorial sun.
To Fanny Brawne:
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 were dissolving…I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for religion. I have shudder’d at it – I shudder no more.
I could be martyr’d for my religion – love is my religion – I could die for that – I could die for you. My creed is love and you are its only tenet – you have ravish’d me away by a power I cannot resist.