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Beethoven’s Letters

Prose
Beethoven’s Letters 1790-1826, Volume 1
Compiled by Ludwig von Ritter (1800-1877)
TO COUNTESS GIULIETTA GUICCIARDI
Morning, July 6, 1800.
MY ANGEL! MY ALL! MY SECOND SELF!
Only a few words to-day, written with a pencil (your own). My residence cannot be settled
till to-morrow. What a tiresome loss of time! Why this deep grief when necessity
compels?–can our love exist without sacrifices, and by refraining from desiring all
things? Can you alter the fact that you are not wholly mine, nor I wholly yours? Ah! contemplate
the beauties of Nature, and reconcile your spirit to the inevitable. Love demands
all, and has a right to do so, and thus it is I feel towards you and you towards
me; but you do not sufficiently remember that I must live both for you and for myself.
Were we wholly united, you would feel this sorrow as little as I should. My journey was
terrible. I did not arrive here till four o’clock yesterday morning, as no horses were to be
had. The drivers chose another route; but what a dreadful one it was! At the last stage I
was warned not to travel through the night, and to beware of a certain wood, but this
only incited me to go forward, and I was wrong. The carriage broke down, owing to the
execrable roads, mere deep rough country lanes, and had it not been for the postilions I
must have been left by the wayside. Esterhazy, travelling the usual road, had the same
fate with eight horses, whereas I had only four. Still I felt a certain degree of pleasure,
which I invariably do when I have happily surmounted any difficulty. But I must now
pass from the outer to the inner man. We shall, I trust, soon meet again; to-day I cannot
impart to you all the reflections I have made, during the last few days, on my life; were
our hearts closely united forever, none of these would occur to me. My heart is over-
flowing with all I have to say to you. Ah! there are moments when I find that speech is
actually nothing. Take courage! Continue to be ever my true and only love, my all! as I
am yours. The gods must ordain what is further to be and shall be!
Your faithful
LUDWIG.

Monday Evening, July 6.
You grieve! dearest of all beings! I have just heard that the letters must be sent off very
early. Mondays and Thursdays are the only days when the post goes to K. from here.
You grieve! Ah! where I am, there you are ever with me; how earnestly shall I strive to
pass my life with you, and what a life will it be!!! Whereas now!! without you!! and persecuted
by the kindness of others, which I neither deserve nor try to deserve! The servility
of man towards his fellow-man pains me, and when I regard myself as a component
part of the universe, what am I, what is he who is called the greatest?–and yet
herein are displayed the godlike feelings of humanity!–I weep in thinking that you will
receive no intelligence from me till probably Saturday. However dearly you may love
me, I love you more fondly still. Never conceal your feelings from me. Good-night! As a
patient at these baths, I must now go to rest [a few words are here effaced by Beethoven
himself]. Oh, heavens! so near, and yet so far! Is not our love a truly celestial mansion,
but firm as the vault of heaven itself?
July 7.
GOOD-MORNING!
Even before I rise, my thoughts throng to you, my immortal beloved!–sometimes full of
joy, and yet again sad, waiting to see whether Fate will hear us. I must live either wholly
with you, or not at all. Indeed I have resolved to wander far from you [see No. 13] till the
moment arrives when I can fly into your arms, and feel that they are my home, and
send forth my soul in unison with yours into the realm of spirits. Alas! it must be so! You
will take courage, for you know my fidelity. Never can another possess my heart–never,
never! Oh, heavens! Why must I fly from her I so fondly love? and yet my existence in
W. was as miserable as here. Your love made me the most happy and yet the most unhappy
of men. At my age, life requires a uniform equality; can this be found in our mutual
relations? My angel! I have this moment heard that the post goes every day, so I
must conclude, that you may get this letter the sooner. Be calm! for we can only attain
our object of living together by the calm contemplation of our existence. Continue to
love me. Yesterday, to-day, what longings for you, what tears for you! for you! for you!
my life! my all! Farewell! Oh! love me forever, and never doubt the faithful heart of your
lover, L.
Ever thine.
Ever mine.
Ever each other’s.