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 18th century love letters and quotes 
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Post 18th century love letters and quotes
I am feeling surprisingly romantic these days so I was thinking on opening a new topic. :angel10:

I have read how in the 18th century love was often considered an illness which could even have some fatal consequences (we can see that in the Dangerous Liaisons) and as we all know marriage was an institution often completely detached from love where the economic advantages were simply more important. In one of her letters, because her twisted goals, Marquise de Merteuil is even trying to convince Madame de Volanges that marriage is better without love and I must admit she had some interesting arguments! Anyway, in the 18th century there were many subtle, elegant, romantic ways to express your love which are now often seen as pathetic. I think that, with many restriction people had (society and religion), people did felt different about love, lust and relationships, caused by that eternal conflict between feelings and duties. Of course love itself is always the same, relationships and lust, only the 18th century had some own very romantic and theatrical way of showing it.

I am interested in 18th century love quotes, letters, analysis, stories, your opinion…

I will start with these letters I have found-
(from Napoleon Bonaparte to Josephine)

Quote:
Paris, December 1795

I wake filled with thoughts of you. Your portrait and the intoxicating evening which we spent yesterday have left my senses in turmoil. Sweet, incomparable Josephine, what a strange effect you have on my heart! Are you angry? Do I see you looking sad? Are you worried?... My soul aches with sorrow, and there can be no rest for you lover; but is there still more in store for me when, yielding to the profound feelings which overwhelm me, I draw from your lips, from your heart a love which consumes me with fire? Ah! it was last night that I fully realized how false an image of you your portrait gives!

You are leaving at noon; I shall see you in three hours.

Until then, mio dolce amor, a thousand kisses; but give me none in return, for they set my blood on fire.


I love this one:

Quote:
Spring 1797
To Josephine,

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.


If someone had sent this to me, he wouldn’t have to wait long for the respond. :biggrin:
There will be more from him that’s for sure.

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Wed Nov 05, 2008 8:29 pm
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Post Re: 18th century love letters and quotes
Oh, what a lovely way to start this topic! Since I admire Napoleon, it was a real excitement to read his letters again. The first one is so famous, I think. And the other one is interesting because he says to Josephine that he detests her and in the end he writes: I hope to hold you in my arms before long, when I shall lavish upon you a million kisses, burning as the equatorial sun. Isn't it just wonderful!?Image

Here's one he wrote to Marie Walewska(it's not from 18th century, but it's nice)

Marie, my sweet Marie, my first thought is of you, my first desire is to see you again.
You will come again, won't you? You promised you would.
If you don't, the eagle will fly to you! I shall see you at dinner - our friend tells me so.
I want you to accept this bouquet: I want it to be a secret link, setting up a private understanding between us in the midst of the surrounding crowd.
We shall be able to share our thoughts, though all the world is looking on.
When my hand presses my heart, you will know that I am thinking of no one but you; and when you press your bouquet, I shall have your answer back!

Love me, my pretty one, and hold your bouquet tight!

N.


Wed Nov 05, 2008 9:35 pm
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Post Re: 18th century love letters and quotes
I think the second letter from Napoleon is quite pathetic, and sheds a good light on his true character. He almost commands Josephine to love him. No begging, no pleading, no encouragements given to elicit her affection, other than that she should obey his wishes. How miserable a view of love, as if it is an object to be demanded and given. How she must of laughed at him!

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Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:49 am
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Post Re: 18th century love letters and quotes
Christophe wrote:
I think the second letter from Napoleon is quite pathetic, and sheds a good light on his true character. He almost commands Josephine to love him. No begging, no pleading, no encouragements given to elicit her affection, other than that she should obey his wishes. How miserable a view of love, as if it is an object to be demanded and given. How she must of laughed at him!
I think the second letter from Napoleon is quite pathetic, and sheds a good light on his true character. He almost commands Josephine to love him. No begging, no pleading, no encouragements given to elicit her affection, other than that she should obey his wishes. How miserable a view of love, as if it is an object to be demanded and given. How she must of laughed at him!


Hm…I don’t think so. The thing I like about his letters is that they are honest and unique, very passionate and not so pathetic (for what I would call pathetic). Josephine would laugh at him only if she hadn’t felt the same. Knowing from what great history character these letters are, it makes his character only more interesting in a positive way.

Delilah wrote:
And the other one is interesting because he says to Josephine that he detests her and in the end he writes: I hope to hold you in my arms before long, when I shall lavish upon you a million kisses, burning as the equatorial sun. Isn't it just wonderful!?

The first one is maybe a bit pathetic for my taste but because this sudden twist I find the second really wonderful! :sun:

Quote:
Marmirolo, July 17, 1796

I have received your letter, my adorable friend. It has filled my heart with joy. I am grateful to you for the trouble you have taken to send me the news. I hope that you are better today. I am sure that you have recovered. I earnestly desire that you should ride on horseback: it cannot fail to benefit you.

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? I will send you your horse, but I hope you will soon join me. I thought that I loved you months ago, but since my separation from you I feel that I love you a thousand fold more. Each day since I knew you, have I adored you yet more and more. This proved the maxim of Bruyere, that "love comes all of a sudden," to be false. Everything in nature has its own course, and different degrees of growth.

Ah! I entreat you to permit me to see some of your faults. Be less beautiful, less gracious, less affectionate, less good, especially be not over-anxious, and never weep. Your tears rob me of reason, and inflame my blood. Believe me it is not in my power to have a single thought which is not of thee, or a wish I could not reveal to thee.

Seek repose. Quickly re-establish your health. Come and join me, that at least, before death, we may be able to say, "We were many days happy." A thousand kisses, and one even to Fortuna, notwithstanding his spitefulness.

Again, from Napoleon. In order to continue I must think about that difference between being romantic and pathetic. Maybe it is just the matter of taste, maybe repeated phrases… I’ll have a good occupation today at the college! :idea:

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Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:39 am
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Post Re: 18th century love letters and quotes
Thank you so much, Marija. Napoleon's letters belong to some of the most beautiful love letters ever written! :biggrin:


Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:53 pm
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Post Re: 18th century love letters and quotes
Well, I must admit I'm prejudiced against the man. I simply can not stand him. On the other hand, I admire Josephine because she knew how to make the best of a bad situation. She always seemed to me a bit like a "Scarlett O'Hara" character. But I don't believe she actually ever loved him in the way he wanted. Neither did Marie-Louise for that matter; both of these women were from a different class.

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"One grows accustomed to one's enemy, and by making it familiar one loses the desire to get rid of it...." Marquise de la Tour du Pin, in a letter to her friend Mme. de Duras.


Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:44 pm
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Post Re: 18th century love letters and quotes
No, I don't think either that Josephine loved him, and especially not Marie-Louise(I think she even despised him in a way). The only woman who truly loved him was Marie Walewska, so different from all of his mistresses. She really cared about him and even visited him when he was on the isle of Elba.


Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:10 pm
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Post Re: 18th century love letters and quotes
I knew your attitude was connected to the opinion you have about him. Since I find him interesting that affects the way I observe his letters and some of them I adore. I haven’t read them before (only some small parts in the biography of Josephine) so I am impressed that one great military man wrote such passionate and warm letters. I couldn't find any letter from Josephine and apparently there are two versions – that he didn’t keep them because he was not so in love after all and that her letters were very neutral and that she didn’t write to him often (that version is more likely one). I agree with you, she never loved him in the way he wanted and that is sad. With the time, after all the rumors about her, his writing style is changing too.

Here is another letter (from Napoleon). I have one more but I wouldn’t dare to post it :oops: -

Quote:
April 1796:

I have your letters of the 16th and 21st. There are many days when you don’t write. What do you do, then? No, my darling, I am not jealous, but sometimes worried. Come soon; I warn you, if you delay, you will find me ill. Fatigue and your absence are too much.
Your letters are the joy of my days, and my days of happiness are not many. Junot is bringing twenty-two flags to Paris.
You must come back with him, you understand? — hopeless sorrow, inconsolable misery, sadness without end, if I am so unhappy as to see him return alone. Adorable friend, he will see you, he will breathe in your temple; perhaps you will even grant him the unique and perfect favor of kissing your cheek, and I shall be alone and far, far away. But you are coming, aren’t you? You are going to be here beside me, in my arms, on my breast, on my mouth? Take wing and come, come!
A kiss on your heart, and one much lower down, much lower!


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote this letter to Charlotte von Stein Goethe-

Quote:
June 17, 1784

My letters will have shown you how lovely I am. I don't dine at Court, I see few people, and take my walks alone, and at every beautiful spot I wish you were there.
I can't help loving you more than is good for me; I shall feel all the happier when I see you again. I am always conscious of my nearness to you, your presence never leaves me. In you I have a measure for every woman, for everyone; in your love a measure for all that is to be. Not in the sense that the rest of the world seems obscure tome, on the contrary, your love makes it clear; I see quite clearly what men are like and what they plan, wish, do and enjoy; I don't grudge them what they have, and comparing is a secret joy to me, possessing as I do such an imperishable treasure.
You in your household must feel as I often do in my affairs; we often don't notice objects simply because we don't choose to look at them, but things acquire an interest as soon as we see clearly the way they are related to each other. For we always like to join in, and the good man takes pleasure in arranging, putting in order and furthering the right and its peaceful rule. Adieu, you whom I love a thousand times.


The second one is nice but it doesn’t affect me that much. I like few lines although. :angel3:

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Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:58 pm
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Post Re: 18th century love letters and quotes
Delilah wrote:
Thank you so much, Marija.

Nema na cemu! :rainbow:

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If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. St. Francis of Assisi


Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:06 pm
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Post Re: 18th century love letters and quotes
:D


Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:14 pm
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Post Re: 18th century love letters and quotes
No lover, if he be of good faith, and sincere, will deny he would prefer to see his mistress dead than unfaithful.
Marquis de Sade

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If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. St. Francis of Assisi


Sun Nov 09, 2008 8:28 pm
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Post Re: 18th century love letters and quotes
Dear Marja Vera, what a beautiful topic!
How come all this romanticism? :wink: Jokes apart, the letter by Napoleon that you quoted are really interesting documents of his feelings. Where did you find them? Some passages are reallly beautiful, and in general I don't find them pathetic. I think it was a different way to express one's feelings.
Today people are usually very shy about their feelings. The words "i love you" for example (at leats in Italian, I don't know whether it's different in another language) are usually felt as something very heavy. For example, even when you are in a relationship, you tend not to say it for a while, in case it could "scare" your partner. I won't hide that I don't like this. I think we should all be less scared by feelings, and in the end it's only natural that, if two persons are together, they love each other. This is just to say that today we have a very different relationship with expressing our feelings. The idea I have formed (correct me if I'm wrong) is that int eh 18th and 19th century expression of deep feelings was not seen as such a problem. In the letters that people wrote not only to thei lovers but also to their friends (with MA we have a great example of this) one finds expressions that would be really exaggerate to us. But, in the end, they're not so far from truth. Of course, sometimes they can be really too much exaggerated, because it was probably a kind of fashion; but in many cases they simply reflect the truth.
Of course, things were a bit more complex than this. As you pointed out, Marja, this outspokennes in private could coexist with a very strong public sense of propriety, and above all with economic interests that were very far from feelings. Marriage, in particular, was a very complicated matter. Have any of you read some of Jane Austen's novels? I think that, apart from being great literature (I love them!) they are also interesting documents of people's attitudes to love and marriage in English upper classes between 18th and 19th century. One seem to understand that a marriage for love was an ideal, but very often it yelded to different interests. These could also not be purely egoistic. We have to consider that, at that time, marriage was for a woman something similar to what today is finding a job, that is, acquiring a position in life. So, it was a necessity before than a choice. So one had to find the right balance between personal fondness and the perspective of a quiet and respectful lives. I'm not suprprised that someone could think marriage was better without love, becuase probably this was considered a more "rational" way to face the matter.

Sorry for this very long post, but I find the topic really interesting (as you remember Marja Vera I'm a romantic :wink: ). So I'm looking forward to having other information about love letters and so on!

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Fri Nov 28, 2008 2:19 pm
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Post Re: 18th century love letters and quotes
Thank you!

Rosalie wrote:
How come all this romanticism?

I have no idea. Something just happened. :lol:

Rosalie wrote:
Where did you find them? Some passages are reallly beautiful, and in general I don't find them pathetic.

I’ll find the web page and post it. I like some passages very much and yes, I don’t find them pathetic!

Rosalie wrote:
The words "i love you" for example (at leats in Italian, I don't know whether it's different in another language) are usually felt as something very heavy. For example, even when you are in a relationship, you tend not to say it for a while, in case it could "scare" your partner.

It is the same but I know some people who are just repeating the words in order not to hurt their partner.

Rosalie wrote:
as you remember Marja Vera I'm a romantic

I find that very nice! I am not sure what to say about me. Sometimes I find something very pathetic, sometimes not, usually it depends on the person who says it or does it! I know I don’t like to receive flowers, boring expressions, I like when someone is theatrical but unique. :angel5:


Fri Nov 28, 2008 10:58 pm
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Post Re: 18th century love letters and quotes
Marija Vera wrote:
I find that very nice! I am not sure what to say about me. Sometimes I find something very pathetic, sometimes not, usually it depends on the person who says it or does it! I know I don’t like to receive flowers, boring expressions, I like when someone is theatrical but unique. :angel5:


Yes, it's quote the same for me. I think that, in order for it not to be pathethic it mustn't be something just copied or fashionable...It should be a personal expression, or an original idea..in that case, no matter how theatrical it is, it's not pathetic!

P.S. I like receiving flowers, though :rainbow:

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Sun Nov 30, 2008 2:18 pm
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Post Re: 18th century love letters and quotes
Rosalie wrote:
P.S. I like receiving flowers, though :rainbow:


I hate it, because I receive them only when it is some special date and it’s too common. :?

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Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:05 pm
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