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  • Writer's picturePayton Tilley

The Love Letters of 'Lady' and 'H'

There is nothing quite like being bent on research for a writing project, or a personal one, and stumbling across something amazing. Which, in fact, happened to me while shuffling through famous love letters of history. I clicked a link and as I read some of the letters; who they were from, and what they spoke of - I paused when I came across a series of medieval love letters believed to have been written in the 12 century. Famous love letters, I may add.

So why the 'Lady' and 'H'? Well, the identity of the writers of these letters is not known and may never be. For in the writing, the woman only ever addressed hers to 'H'. And he only ever replied to a 'Lady'. It's like a romance and a mystery! But one man, Peter Dronke - who is the leading scholar of medieval Latin literature - believes the woman to have possibly been a well born woman who is studying away from home. And he believes the 'friend' or 'H' to be a possible past tutor or scholar that she now holds affection for.

But what do the letters actually say? Ah, each one is written in verse. Each one seems to answer unspoken questions or comments the other may have addressed. And I for one, am blown away at the way our 'Lady' writes to 'H'. In fact, her writings have been labeled bold and experimental by many scholars. But each does it's job in securing an awe for her. Here are some lines from the famous letters:

"For from the first day that I saw you I began to love you.

You penetrated my heart's inmost being forcefully,..."

"Hence no forgetting can ever wipe you from my memory, no darkness will be able to obscure you,..."

And one of the ways 'Lady' ends her letter is beyond one of the most real romantic things I have read:

"You are mine, I am yours,

of this you shall be sure.

You are locked

within my heart,

and the little key is lost,

and there within you must forever rest."

That line rendered me utterly speechless when I read it. And not unexpectedly, my mind began to weave stories and ideas from her words.

There is so much to these love letters between them, I fear I could talk about it all day. They are beautiful and could speak to us today about being faithful, true, and showing love to one another. Oh, goodness, the things history remembers so we can enjoy them and learn!


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