Robert Schumann, the seventeenth century German composer and pianist is known for his enduring operas and piano pieces. He first fell in love with Clara Wieck during his early piano training under the instruction of her father, Friederich Wieck. Clara herself was a virtuoso pianist and her father was bitterly opposed to the match. Persistent to marry her, Robert went to court to seek legal consent. His love eventually won out and the couple was soon married.
How happy your last letters have made me — those since Christmas Eve! I should like to call you by all the endearing epithets, and yet I can find no lovelier word than the simple word ‘dear,’ but there is a particular way of saying it. My dear one, then, I have wept for joy to think that you are mine, and often wonder if I deserve you.
One would think that no one man’s heart and brain could stand all the things that are crowded into one day. Where do these thousands of thoughts, wishes, sorrows, joys and hopes come from? Day in, day out, the procession goes on. But how light-hearted I was yesterday and the day before! There shone out of your letters so noble a spirit, such faith, such a wealth of love!
What would I not do for love of you, my own Clara! The knights of old were better off; they could go through fire or slay dragons to win their ladies, but we of today have to content ourselves with more prosaic methods, such as smoking fewer cigars, and the like. After all, though, we can love, knights or no knights; and so, as ever, only the times change, not men’s hearts…
You cannot think how your letter has raised and strengthened me… You are splendid, and I have much more reason to be proud of you than you of me. I have made up my mind, though, to read all your wishes in your face. Then you will think, even though you don’t say it, that your Robert is a really good sort, that he is entirely yours, and he loves you more than words can say.
You shall indeed have cause to think so in the happy future. I still see you as you looked in your little cap that last evening. I still hear you call me du. Clara, I heard nothing of what you said but that du. Don’t you remember?
But I see you in many another unforgettable guise. Once you were in a black dress, going to the theatre with Emilia List; it was during our separation. I know you will not have forgotten; it is vivid with me. Another time you were walking in the Thomasgasschen with an umbrella up, and you avoided me in desperation. And yet another time, as you were putting on your hat after a concert, our eyes happened to meet, and yours were full of the old unchanging love.
I picture you in all sorts of ways, as I have seen you since. I did not look at you much, but you charmed me so immeasurably… Ah, I can never praise you enough for yourself or for your love of me, which I don’t really deserve.
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