Yesterday we brought you news of what had been voted the greatest love letter of all time – Johnny Cash’s 1994 letter to his wife – but today we can bring you the details of the other 9 entries into the top ten greatest love letters of all time.
Again, if you’re having trouble wishing your loved one a happy Valentine’s Day, then look no further than these for inspiration. Unfortunately we’ve only got extracts from them because nobody bothered to transcribe them all, but you get the picture and there’s more than enough ammo for you to go in with here.
10. Jimi Hendrix tells his ‘little girl’ to spread her wings (date unknown)
‘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 FREE’
9. Gerald Ford reminds wife Betty Ford of his and their family’s love for her shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer (1974)
‘No written words can adequately express our deep, deep love. We know how great you are and we, the children and Dad, will try to be as strong as you. Our Faith in you and God will sustain us. Our total love for you is everlasting.’
8. Beethoven pens his love for his ‘Immortal Beloved’ whose true identity remains a mystery (1812)
‘Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, Be calm-love me-today-yesterday-what tearful longings for you-you-you-my life-my all-farewell. Oh continue to love me-never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved. Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.’
7. King Henry VIII expresses his love for Anne Boleyn (1527)
‘I beg to know expressly your intention touching the love between us. Necessity compels me to obtain this answer, having been more than a year wounded by the dart of love, and not yet sure whether I shall fail or find a place in your affection.’
6. Richard Burton tells Elizabeth Taylor of her beauty (1964)
‘My blind eyes are desperately waiting for the sight of you. You don’t realize of course, E.B., how fascinatingly beautiful you have always been, and how strangely you have acquired an added and special and dangerous loveliness.’
5. Napoleon Bonaparte sends his love to Josephine de Beauharnais (1796)
‘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.’
4. Ernest Hemingway professes his love to Marlene Dietrich (1951)
‘I can’t say how every time I ever put my arms around you I felt that I was home.’
3. John Keats tells next door neighbour Fanny Brawne he can not live without her (1819)
‘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.‘
2. Winston Churchill tells wife Clementine Churchill of his undying love (1935)
‘My darling Clemmie, in your letter from Madras you wrote some words very dear to me, about 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.’
And, of course, number one.