From Country Music Legend Johnny Cash to His Wife, June Carter Cash
That’s really nice June. You’ve got a way with words and a way with me as well. The fire and excitement may be gone now that we don’t go out there and sing them anymore, but the ring of fire still burns around you and I, keeping our love hotter than a pepper sprout.
From Rock Legend Jimi Hendrix to a Girlfriend
happiness is within you….
so unlock the chains from your heart and let yourself grow—
like the sweet flower you are…..
I know the answer—
Just spread your wings and set yourself
Love to you forever
From Mexican Painter Frida Kahlo to Diego Rivera
Truth is, so great, that I wouldn’t like to speak, or sleep, or listen, or love. To feel myself trapped, with no fear of blood, outside time and magic, within your own fear, and your great anguish, and within the very beating of your heart. All this madness, if I asked it of you, I know, in your silence, there would be only confusion. I ask you for violence, in the nonsense, and you, you give me grace, your light and your warmth. I’d like to paint you, but there are no colors, because there are so many, in my confusion, the tangible form of my great love.
From American Filmmaker and Actor Orson Welles to Rita Hayworth
Dearest Angel Girl:
...I suppose most of us are lonely in this big world, but we must fall tremendously in love to find it out. The cure is the discovery of our need for company—I mean company in the very special sense we’ve come to understand since we happened to know each other—you and I. The pleasures of human experience are emptied away without that companionship—now that I’ve known it; without it joy is just an unendurable as sorrow. You are my life—my very life. Never imagine your hope approximates what you are to me. Beautiful, precious little baby—hurry up the sun! Make the days shorter till we meet. I love you, that’s all there is to it.
Your boy, Orson
From American Novelist Zelda Fitzgerald to Her Husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald
I look down the tracks and see you coming—and out of every haze & mist your darling rumpled trousers are hurrying to me—Without you, dearest dearest I couldn’t see or hear or feel or think—or live—I love you so and I’m never in all our lives going to let us be apart another night. It’s like begging for mercy of a storm or killing Beauty or growing old, without you. I want to kiss you so—and in the back where your dear hair starts and your chest—I love you—and I can’t tell you how much—To think that I’ll die without your knowing—Goofo, you’ve got to try [to] feel how much I do—how inanimate I am when you’re gone—I can’t even hate these damnable people—Nobody’s got a right to live but us—and they’re dirtying up our world and I can’t hate them because I want you so—Come Quick—Come Quick to me—Lover, Lover, Darling—Your Wife
From French Writer Anaïs Nin to Henry Miller
This is strange, Henry. Before, as soon as I came home from all sorts of places I would sit down and write in my journal. Now I want to write you, talk with you. […] I love when you say all that happens is good, it is good. I say all that happens is wonderful. For me it is all symphonic, and I am so aroused by living—god, Henry, in you alone I have found the same swelling of enthusiasm, the same quick rising of the blood, the fullness, the fullness … Before, I almost used to think there was something wrong. Everybody else seemed to have the brakes on. […] I never feel the brakes. I overflow. And when I feel your excitement about life flaring, next to mine, then it makes me dizzy.
From Writer Katherine Mansfield to Her Future Husband, John Middleton Murry
Do not imagine, because you find these lines in your private book that I have been trespassing. You know I have not—and where else shall I leave a love letter? For I long to write you a love letter tonight. You are all about me—I seem to breathe you—hear you—feel you in me and of me—What am I doing here? You are away—I have seen you in the train, at the station, driving up, sitting in the lamplight talking, greeting people—washing your hands—And I am here—in your tent—sitting at your table. There are some wallflower petals on the table and a dead match, a blue pencil and a Magdeburgische Zeitung. I am just as much at home as they.
When dusk came—flowing up the silent garden—lapping against the blind windows—my first & last terror started up—I was making some coffee in the kitchen. It was so violent, so dreadful I put down the coffee-pot—and simply ran away—ran out of the studio and up the street with my bag under one arm and a block of writing paper and a pen under the other. I felt that if I could get here & find Mrs. [illegible] I should be ‘safe’—I found her and I lighted your gas, wound up your clock—drew your curtains—& embraced your black overcoat before I sat down—frightened no longer. Do no be angry with me, Bogey—ca a ete plus forte que moi…That is why I am here.
When you came to tea this afternoon you took a brioche broke it in half & padded the inside doughy bit with two fingers. You always do that with a bun or a roll or a piece bread—It is your way—your head a little on one side the while…
—When you opened your suitcase I saw your old feltie and a French book and a comb all higgledy piggledy—“Tig. I’ve only got 3 handkerchiefs”—why should that memory be so sweet to me?...
Last night, there was a moment before you got into bed. You stood, quite naked, bending forward a little—talking. It was only for an instant. I saw you—I loved you so—loved your body with such tenderness—Ah my dear—And I am not thinking now of ‘passion.’ No, of that other thing that makes me feel that every inch of you is so precious to me. Your soft shoulders—your creamy warm skin, your ears, cold like shells are cold—your long legs and your feet that I love to clasp with my feet—the feeling of your belly—& your thin young back—Just below that bone that sticks out at the back of your neck you have a little mole. It is partly because we are so young that I feel this tenderness—I love your youth—I could not bear that it should be touched even by a cold wind if I were the Lord.
We two, you know have everything before us, and we shall do very great things—I have perfect faith in us—and so perfect is my love for you that I am, as it were, still, silent to my very soul. I want nobody but you for my lover and my friend and to nobody but you shall I be faithful.
I am yours for ever.
From Irish Writer and Poet Oscar Wilde to His Wife, Constance Wilde
Dear and Beloved, Here am I, and you at the Antipodes. O execrable facts, that keep our lips from kissing, though our souls are one. What can I tell you by letter? Alas! nothing that I would tell you. The message of the gods to each other travel not by pen and ink and indeed your bodily presence here would not make you more real: for I feel your fingers in my hair, and your cheek brushing mine. The air is full of the music of your voice, my soul and body seem no longer mine, but mingled in some exquisite ecstasy with yours. I feel incomplete without you. Ever and ever yours, Oscar.
From Russian Novelist Leo Tolstoy to His Fiancée, Valeria Arsenev
I already love in you your beauty, but I am only beginning to love in you that which is eternal and ever previous – your heat, your soul. Beauty one could get to know and fall in love with in one hour and cease to love it as speedily; but the soul one must learn to know. Believe me, nothing on earth is given without labour, even love, the most beautiful and natural of feelings.
From French Novelist Honoré de Balzac to a Fan and Eventually His Wife, Éveline Hanska
My Beloved Angel,
I am nearly mad about you, as much as one can be mad: I cannot bring together two ideas that you do not interpose yourself between them. I can no longer think of nothing but you. In spite of myself, my imagination carries me to you. I grasp you, I kiss you, I caress you, a thousand of the most amorous caresses take possession of me. As for my heart, there you will always be—very much so. I have a delicious sense of you there. But my God, what is to become of me, if you have deprived me of my reason. This is a monomania which, this morning, terrifies me. I rise up every moment saying to myself, “Come, I am going there!” Then I sit down again, moved by the sense of my obligations. There is a frightful conflict. This is not life. I have never before been like that. You have devoured everything. I feel foolish and happy as soon as I let myself think of you. I whirl round in a delicious dream in which in one instant I live a thousand years. What a horrible situation! Overcome with love, feeling love in every pore, living only for love, and seeing oneself consumed by griefs, and caught in a thousand spiders’ threads. O, my darling Eva, you did not know it. I picked up your card. It is there before me, and I talked to you as if you were there. I see you, as I did yesterday, beautiful, astonishingly beautiful. Yesterday, during the whole evening, I said to myself, “She is mine!” Ah! The angels are not as happy in Paradise as I was yesterday!
From German Composer Ludwig von Beethoven to the “Immortal Beloved”
My angel, my all, my very self.—Only a few words today, and, what is more, written in pencil (and with your pencil)—I shan’t be certain of my rooms here until tomorrow; what an unnecessary waste of time is all this—Why this profound sorrow, when necessity speaks—can our love endure without sacrifices, without our demanding everything from one another; can you alter the fact that you are not wholly mine, that I am not wholly yours?—Dear God, look at Nature in all her beauty and set your heart at rest about what must be—Love demands all, and rightly so, and thus it is for me with you, for you with me—But you forget so easily that I must live for me and for you; if we were completely united, you would feel this painful necessity just as little as I do. No doubt we shall meet soon; and today also time fails me to tell you of the thoughts which during these last few days I have been revolving about my life—If our hearts were always closely united, I would certainly entertain no such thoughts. My heart overflows with a longing to tell you so many things—Oh—there are moments when I find that speech is quite inadequate—Be cheerful—and be for ever my faithful, my only sweetheart, my all, as I am yours. The gods must send us everything else, whatever must and shall be our fate—your faithful Ludwig.
Sources: Cash from House of Cash: The Legacies of My Father, Johnny Cash; Hendrix from Fast Company; Kahlo from Thought Catalog; Welles from Reader’s Digest; Fitzgerald reprinted by permission of Harold Ober Associates Incorporated; Nin from A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller; Mansfield Courtesy of The Society of Authors as the Literary Representative of the Estate of Katherine Mansfield.