Secret Love Two Centuries Away: Ludwig van Beethoven

 

It is July 6th and 7th, year 1812. Love letters, addressed to the Immortal Beloved were safely placed in a drawer, to be found, unsent, in the composer’s estate after his death.

 

immortal beloved

 

Love and longing are almost tangible in each word he puts down, and we all, familiar with love’s pains and sufferings, can relate to every single one…

“… why this deep grief, where necessity speaks – can our love exist but by sacrifices, by not demanding everything. Can you change it, that you are not completely mine, that I am not completely yours?”

And, as always in love, there is hope that keeps the love alive. With every word the object of his affection is less distant and more real…

“We will probably see each other soon, only, today I cannot convey to you my observations which I made during these few days about my life – If our hearts were always close together, I would have no such thoughts. my heart is full with so much to tell you – Oh – There are moments when I feel that language is nothing at all.”

But maybe the most loving, sincere words filled with longing and desire are kept in letter written the day after…

 

immortal beloved

 

“Good morning, on 7th July.
While still in bed my thoughts turn towards you my Immortal Beloved, now and then happy, then sad again, waiting whether fate might answer us – I can only live either wholly with you or not at all, yes I have resolved to stray about in the distance, until I can fly into your arms, and send my soul embraced by you into the realm of the Spirits – yes unfortunately it must be – you will compose yourself all the more since you know my faithfulness to you, never can another own my heart, never – never – O God why do I have to separate from someone whom I love so much, and yet my life in V[ienna] as it is now is a miserable life – Your love makes me at once most happy and most unhappy – at my age I would now need some conformity[,] regularity of my life – can this exist in our relationship? – Angel, I have just heard that the mail coach goes every day – and thus I must finish so that you may receive the letter immediately. – be patient – only through quiet contemplation of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together – Be calm; for only by calmly considering our lives can we achieve our purpose of living together.- be calm – love me – today – yesterday – What yearning with tears for you – you – you my life – my everything – farewell – oh continue to love me – never misjudge the most faithful heart of your Beloved

L.

Forever thine

Forever mine

Forever us.”

 

immortal ever mine

 

Supposedly romantic as he was, Ludwig, despite many liaisons, was unable to form a lasting attachment to one woman, and had remained single his entire life. With this fact in mind, I cannot help but wonder whether such depth of feeling, and such yearning would be possible if it had not been aimed at a person unattainable?

Is unavailability the crucial ingredient of longing so deep and intense, as if knowing that the one we are longing for is available, but not to an extent we are hoping for?

 

Beethoven

 

We’ve come a long way from mail carriages and weekly delivery – with today’s technology the most beautiful love messages are deleted – rather than kept in a drawer. Stolen in uncertainty and born out of longing and yearning, they are as ephemeral as summer dew… with the first glimpse of Sun they are gone. Yet they remain the most precious and most sincere, and, probably, the most loving of them all. There is an uncanny force in longing that makes the objects of our passions more precious, more wanted, more desired. With each hour passing the desire increases.

 

But, a romantic soul in every one of us will know… this is how love longing sounds like…

 

Love Gina Wings

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The Art of Love: Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West

Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West have met on a dinner party in 1922, dinner party then being a Bloomsbury equivalent of hipster’s house party which is nothing but booze and sex disguised by surface sophistication. What started as a work relationship – Virginia offered Vita to publish her novel with her small press – soon developed into a passionate friendship. Passionate it was, indeed… as in deeds, so in words.

Maybe the best depiction is the letter to Virginia, written on January 21, 1927…

I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia. I composed a beautiful letter to you in a sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way. You, with all your un-dumb letters, would never write so elementary a phrase as that; perhaps you wouldn’t even feel it. And yet I believe you’ll be sensible of a little gap. But you’d clothe it in so exquisite a phrase that it would lose a little of its reality. Whereas with me it is quite stark: I miss you even more than I could have believed; and I was prepared to miss you a good deal. So this letter is just really a squeal of pain. It is incredible how essential to me you have become. I suppose you are accustomed to people saying these things. Damn you, spoilt creature; I shan’t make you love me any the more by giving myself away like this – But oh my dear, I can’t be clever and stand-offish with you: I love you too much for that. Too truly. You have no idea how stand-offish I can be with people I don’t love. I have brought it to a fine art. But you have broken my defences. And I don’t really resent it.

To which Virginia passionately responds…

Look here Vita – throw over your man, and we’ll go to Hampton Court and dine on the river together and walk in the garden in the moonlight and come home late and have a bottle of wine and get tipsy, and I’ll tell you all the things I have in my head, millions, myriads – They won’t stir by day, only by dark on the river. Think of that. Throw over your man, I say, and come.

 

In this day and age it might seem even surreal, having the art of letter writing developed to that level that each word is perfectly placed to depict the depth of emotion. And that was who Virginia was, as she describes in her own words…

I love with such ferocity that it kills me when the object of my love shows by a phrase that he can escape.

Vita never escaped. In her own words, she never resented it, either. She was there to be given eternity by becoming Orlando, once described by Vita’s son Nigel as

the longest and most charming love letter in literature, in which she explores Vita, weaves her in and out of centuries, tosses her from one sex to the other, plays with her, dresses her in furs, lace and emeralds, teases her, flirts with her, drops a veil of mist around her…
 

Which leaves me breathless.
Thank you, Virginia, and thank you, Vita, for sharing your unique story of friendship, love and lust.

Love Gina Wings