Posted by: internationalroutier | February 14, 2011

Love in the Time of the 17thC

The interwebs heartily allege, in often remarkably similar sentences, that St Valentine’s Day grew in popularity during the 17thC with people sending flowers, small gifts or handmade cards to friends and lovers alike, often anonymously. No mention of giant teddy bears though. And who the hell would send one of those to someone they profess to actually like?? [/tangential rant against weird Valentine’s traditions]

Speed dating 17thCstyle? Welcome to Hasty Courting

Love letters however, have always been popular…

King Charles I to the Queen-Consort, Henrietta Maria

Oxford, 9th of  April 1645

Dear Heart,

Though it be an uncomfortable thing to write by a slow messenger, yet all occasions of this which is now the only way of conversing with thee are so welcome to me as I shall be loth to lose any; but expect neither news or public business from me by this way of conveyance. Yet, judging thee by myself, even these nothings will not be unwelcome to thee, though I should chide thee- which I could if I would- for thy too sudden taking alarms.

I pray thee consider, since I love thee above all earthly things, and that my contentment is inseparably cojoined with thine, must not all my actions tend to serve and please thee? If thou knew what a life I lead (I speak not in terms of the common distractions), even in point of conversation, which in my mind is the chief joy or vexation of one’s life, I dare say thou wouldest pity me. For some are too wise, others too foolish, some too busy, others too reserved, many fantastic…

I confess thy company hath perhaps made me, in this, hard to be pleased, but not less to be pitied by thee, who art the only cure for this disease. The end of all is this, to desire thee to comfort me as often as thou canst with thy letters. And dost not thou think that to know particulars of thy health, and how thou spendest thy time, are pleasing subjects unto me, though hast no other business to write of?

Believe me, sweet heart, thy kindness is as necessary to comfort my heart as thy assistance is for my affairs.




Oliver Cromwell to Elizabeth Cromwell

Edinburgh, 3 May, 1651



For Elizabeth Cromwell, at the Cockpit.

My Dearest,

I could not satisfy myself to omit this post, although I have not much to write; yet  indeed I love to write to my dear, who is very much in my heart. It joys me to hear they soul prospereth; the Lord increase His favours to thee more and more. The great good thy soul can wish is, That the Lord lift upon thee the light of His countenance, which is better than life. The Lord bless all thy good counsel and example to all those about thee, and hear all thy prayers, and accept thee always.

I am glad to hear thy son and daughter are with thee. I hope thou wilt have some good opportunity of good advice to him. Present my duty to my Mother, my love to all the family. Still pray for


O. Cromwell

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