To Heartwarming, With Love... by Karen Rock

Remember the days when people wrote handwritten love letters instead of texting you emoji hearts? Yeah. I don't either. Sigh. While researching my September release, A COWBOY'S PRIDE, I perused many old time love letters to capture the kind of deep romance Harlequin Heartwarming novels are loved for. The letters were powerful. Emotional. Beautiful and even, at times, poetic. They inspired the secret communications I created between ancestors in the rival Cade and Loveland ranching families, a clandestine love affair at the heart of their one-hundred and twenty year old feud. 

I thought I'd share some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy them, too!

Edgar Allan Poe to Sarah Helen Whitman
All thoughts — all passions seem now merged in that one consuming desire — the mere wish to make you comprehend — to make you see that for which there is no human voice — the unutterable fervor of my love for you: — for so well do I know your poet-nature, oh Helen, Helen! that I feel sure if you could but look down now into the depths of my soul with your pure spiritual eyes you could not refuse to speak to me what, alas! you still resolutely have unspoken — you would love me if only for the greatness of my love. Is it not something in this cold, dreary world, to be loved? — Oh, if I could but burn into your spirit the deep — the true meaning which I attach to those three syllables underlined! — but, alas: the effort is all in vain and “I live and die unheard.”
When I spoke to you of what I felt, saying that I loved now for the first time, I did not hope you would believe or even understand me; nor can I hope to convince you now — but if, throughout some long, dark summer night, I could but have held you close, close to my heart and whispered to you the strange secrets of its passionate history, then indeed you would have seen that I have been far from attempting to deceive you in this respect. I could have shown you that it was not and could never have been in the power of any other than yourself to move me as I am now moved — to oppress me with this ineffable emotion — to surround and bathe me in this electric light, illumining and enkindling my whole nature — filling my soul with glory, with wonder, and with awe. During our walk in the cemetery I said to you, while the bitter, bitter tears sprang into my eyes —”Helen, I love now — now — for the first and only time.”

Napoleon to Josephine
"Since I left you, I have been constantly depressed. My happiness is to be near you. Incessantly I live over in my memory your caresses, your tears, your affectionate solicitude. The charms of the incomparable Josephine kindle continually a burning and a glowing flame in my heart. When, free from all solicitude, all harassing care, shall I be able to pass all my time with you, having only to love you, and to think only of the happiness of so saying, and of proving it to you?"
John Keats to Fanny Brawne
My dearest Girl,
This moment I have set myself to copy some verses out fair. I cannot proceed with any degree of content. I must write you a line or two and see if that will assist in dismissing you from my Mind for ever so short a time. Upon my Soul I can think of nothing else - The time is passed when I had power to advise and warn you again[s]t the unpromising morning of my Life - My love has made me selfish. 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 was dissolving - I should be exquisitely miserable without the hope of soon seeing you. I should be afraid to separate myself far from you. My sweet Fanny, will your heart never change? My love, will it? I have no limit now to my love - You note came in just here - I cannot be happier away from you - 'T is richer than an Argosy of Pearles. Do not threat me even in jest. 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: and yet I could resist till I saw you; and even since I have seen you I have endeavoured often "to reason against the reasons of my Love." I can do that no more - the pain would be too great - My Love is selfish - I cannot breathe without you.

Yours for ever
John Keats
Ludwig Van Beethoven to his "Immortal Beloved"
Even in bed my ideas yearn towards you, my Immortal Beloved, here and there joyfully, then again sadly, awaiting from Fate, whether it will listen to us. I can only live, either altogether with you or not at all. Yes, I have determined to wander about for so long far away, until I can fly into your arms and call myself quite at home with you, can send my soul enveloped by yours into the realm of spirits — yes, I regret, it must be. You will get over it all the more as you know my faithfulness to you; never another one can own my heart, never — never! O God, why must one go away from what one loves so, and yet my life in W. as it is now is a miserable life. Your love made me the happiest and unhappiest at the same time. At my actual age I should need some continuity, sameness of life — can that exist under our circumstances? Angel, I just hear that the post goes out every day — and must close therefore, so that you get the L. at once. Be calm — love me — today — yesterday. What longing in tears for you — You — my Life — my All — farewell. Oh, go on loving me — never doubt the faithfullest heart of your beloved
L
Ever thine.Ever mine.Ever ours.

Prince Albert to Queen Victoria
Dearest deeply loved Victoria, I need not tell you that since we left, all my thoughts have been with you at Windsor, and that your image fills my whole soul. Even in my dreams I never imagined that I should find so much love on earth. How that moment shines for me still when I was close to you, with your hand in mine. Those days flew by so quickly, but our separation will fly equally so. Ernest [my brother] wishes me to say a thousand nice things to you. With promises of unchanging love and devotion, Your ever true Albert.

Mark Twain to his future wife Olivia Langdon
Out of the depths of my happy heart wells a great tide of love and prayer for this priceless treasure that is confined to my life-long keeping.
You cannot see its intangible waves as they flow towards you, darling, but in these lines you will hear, as it were, the distant beating of the surf.

This one isn't really old, but I love Johnny Cash and it's my favorite :) 

We get old and get used to each other. We think alike. We read each others minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.
But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You’re the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much.
Happy Birthday Princess.
John

Swoon*** Which letter do you like best? Or do you have another to share? Share in the comments section to be entered to win a copy of A COWBOY'S PRIDE. Winner will be announced here tomorrow!  



Comments

  1. I love these, Karen! And also this one-- http://www.pbs.org/kenburns/civil-war/war/historical-documents/sullivan-ballou-letter/

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    1. LIZ!!! This was the most beautiful letter I've ever read. This part, especially, "But, O Sarah! If the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they loved, I shall always be near you; in the gladdest days and in the darkest nights … always, always, and if there be a soft breeze upon your cheek, it shall be my breath, as the cool air fans your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by. Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for thee, for we shall meet again …"- And then he dies in battle the next week. I'm crying like a baby. How beautiful. Thank you for sharing it!

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    2. After my mother died, we found the letters she and my father had written each other before they were married. I had never seen them happy, so it was an introduction to two people I never had the chance to know. The letters were wonderful, but bittersweet, too.

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    3. What an incredible discovery. How powerful to hear their love for one another and understand their love story... although having lost your mother, it must have felt bittersweet to read her words without her there beside you. I'm sorry for your loss, Liz.

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  2. The letters are wonderful, Karen, and a good reminder that men too, can be emotional and lyrical when speaking about love. I especially liked Keats’ line - “My Creed is love and you are its only tenet” . 50 years ago, when my husband and I were dating, we exchanged a lot of (maybe bad?) love poetry. I must rummage around for some of those, get them out for our 50th anniversary next Oct. :) Thanks for the post and all the best on this new release!

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    1. Finding those old love poems to each other sounds like the perfect way to mark your 50th anniversary! I hope you share some of them, Janice- bad or not- they are a testament to the true love and devotion you have shared these past 50+ years <3

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  3. I like Cash’s letter, Prince Albert’s and Mark Twain’s the most but they’re all great. Ah, Romantic men. Also, there’s a wonderful love letter in Ken Burns’s Civil War documentary that makes me weep and sigh. Congrats on your new book!

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    1. Liz shared the link and it made me cry, too! People think romance heroes are only found in fiction but these letters prove men can be just as romantic :)

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  4. I'm pretty much swooning now...I love seeing letters in books, and including them myself. I do I remember the days of writing letters. My mother saved some I'd written to her when my young family moved from Chicago to an island in Maine. I wish I'd saved a few love letters from that era, too. Thanks so much for sharing these.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed them, Virginia! Researching them was one of my favorite parts of writing A Cowboy's Pride- it's just a reminder that while we are writing fiction, the message of true and everlasting love is real and the hope and wish we have that everyone finds their "person", and gets their happily-ever-after :)

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  5. Napoleon to Josephine and Johnny Cash. But they are all lovely. Thanks for sharing.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

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    1. There's just something about that Johnny Cash letter... it's not as flowery as the rest, but I can just hear the feeling in it- the sense of having a long relationship with all its ups and downs and still feeling like the person you're married to is the only other person in the world for you :) Thanks so much for stopping by the blog, Lori!

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  6. I'm sorry that we don't connect with postal letters much any more. I used to write to everyone in the family, but now it's one-line texts. Can't recall if I ever wrote a love letter or received one. I did get letters from dh when he was off and gone with the Marine Corps. Wish now I'd kept those letter. Your research was cool.

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    1. Thank you so much, Roz! I wish we still wrote letters, too... We gained speed by going to email and text, but I think we lost some in content...

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  7. I found Mark Twain's especially endearing, because so much of his writing was acerbic and unsentimental. The effusiveness of all the letters is remarkable. If a man wrote to his love in the same manner today, I'm not sure if she'd believe him. Or that could be my naturally suspicious nature.

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    1. I agree! Twain's writing voice is tongue-in-cheek, light and a bit sarcastic. In this letter, the sincerity and emotion pour off the page. If I got a letter like that, my first thought would be- WOW- my second thought would be- who wrote it for you? lol. My husband of 25 years is a man of action more than words- I'm more likely to get my flower boxes planted with geraniums every year with the variety of colors and patterns he knows I love than a letter, but I still understand the sentiment :)

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  8. All I can say after reading them all is wow! They were all so wonderful to read, thank you for sharing! I used to love writing letters and really miss doing that but I still send cards for special occasions so at least I get to write in them ☺

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    1. You're so welcome! I'm glad for this blog's platform which allows me to share :) Cards are our last way to communicate in handwriting and I'm glad you keep up that tradition- I'm sure it's very special to those lucky enough to receive them from you, Kerri <3

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  9. I absolutely love the Johnny Cash one. Who knew he was so romantically in depth. Thanks for sharing them all.

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    1. There is something so simple, and real, and romantic about that Johnny Cash letter. You can just feel the sincerity in it <3 I'm so glad you enjoyed reading them!

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  10. Those are amazing, but I agree the Johnny Cash one is my favorite. I have some letters put away from a summer apart in college--I'll have to dig them out and reread one day.

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    1. You should find those college letters! I bet they're full of all the longing and missing each other that make your heart just melt :)

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  11. Keats' letter is my favorite. I have always loved him. He has a way with words. I would love my husband to write my a love letter!!!

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    1. Oh my goodness- when Keats says "Love is my religion - I could die for that - I could die for you. My Creed is Love and you are its only tenet." MELT* I'm with you on wishing for that kind of letter... but luckily my husband has other ways to show his love like always making sure my car's filled with gas- lol. And he does write the most beautiful messages on my birthday, anniversary and Valentine's Day cards. I have kept those!

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  12. they are all good to read. A COWBOY'S PRIDE by Karen Rock sounds wonderful. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

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    1. You're so welcome Emma :) I'm glad you enjoyed them!

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  13. Love them all. I do miss writing letters, I feel inspired to write one now. =)

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    1. That's how I felt while researching! I poured some of that energy into writing the letters for the book, and my husband got an extra long message in his Anniversary card this year <3

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  15. The poet that comes to me is Elizabeth Barrett Browning! Let me count the ways! I, of course, love Love Story by Erich Seagall... Love means never having to say your sorry. For a short time Doug an I couldn't be together a little over 10 years ago. We wrote often and we have saved each other's letters. We wrote our own mini story to each other. It was about a family traveling by horse wagon to the mid west. We loved writing to each other about " our family". It helped to pass the day's and month's we were apart. We got to see each other on weekends but writing sure helped . When Doug returned home we ended our "story". Then when my youngest got married we were apart for 3 weeks. I wrote often to Doug. He couldn't really write to me but we talked on the phone every day. I bet he kept those letters , too!

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    1. That’s beautiful love story, Pam! Letters were such an important part of your relationship- thank you so much for stopping by the blog and sharing with us <3

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  16. I have some family love letters. Not quite as lyrical, but wonderful to have. A few mysteries, also, in a reference in the 1915/`1916 set to it being better to burn the last couple of letters. No clue as to why. My imagination conjures any number of possibilities.

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    1. You're making the writer in me conjure all kinds of images, too! How interesting to have these documents and a mystery about your family to solve. Thanks for stopping by the blog to share :)

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  17. Thank you so much for stopping by the blog everyone! The winner of my giveaway is Pam Jones-Hamblin! Congratulations, Pam :) Please email your address to me at karenrock@live.com to claim your prize!

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