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July 6 1812: Beethoven's Immortal Beloved


On July 6, 1812, Ludwig van Beethoven, is in Teplitz, where he has come for the medicinal waters on the advice of his doctor. In the morning, he begins to write three love letters to a woman that he will call his "Immortal beloved." The identity of the woman that inspired passionate expressions of love remains a mystery. The letters probably were never sent. They were found among Beethoven's  papers after his death. Scholars have speculated on the identity of the Immortal beloved but no one has been able definitively to identify her. 

Beethoven had a habit of falling in love with women who were unattainable or unavailable. These women ranged from Josephine von Brunsvik, a Hungarian aristocrat; to Countess Julia Guicciardi,  who had been his student when she was 16 years old; to Therese Malfatti, who he had thought of marrying; to Amalie Sebald, who received flirtatious letters from him; and finally to Antonie Brentano, a married, philanthropist, art collector, and arts patron. The mystery continues two hundred years later. The two letters written on July 6 1812 are reproduced below. There was a further letter written on July 7 1812.
The First Letter:  

6th July, in the morning.
My angel, my everything, my very self. – only a few words today, and in pencil (with yours) - I shall not be certain of my rooms here until tomorrow – what an unnecessary waste of time - why this deep grief, where necessity speaks - can our love exist but by sacrifices, by not demanding everything. Can you change it, that you are not completely mine, that I am not completely yours? Oh God, look upon beautiful Nature and calm your mind about what must be – love demands everything and completely with good reason, that is how it is for me with you, and for you with me - only you forget too easily, that I must live for myself and for you as well, if we were wholly united, you would not feel this as painfully, just as little as I would – my journey was terrible. I did not arrive here until 4 o'clock yesterday morning. As there were few horses, the mail coach chose another route, but what a dreadful one this was! At the last stage but one I was warned not to travel at night; attempts were made to frighten me about a forest, but that only made me more eager. – I was wrong. The coach broke down on the awful road, a road without a proper surface, a country one. If the two coachmen had not been with me, I would have remained stranded on the way. Esterhazi travelled the usual road here and had the same fate with eight horses that I had with four. – Yet I did get some pleasure out of it, as I always do when I successfully overcome difficulties. – now quickly to the interior from the exterior. We will probably see each other soon, only, today I cannot convey to you my observations which I made during these few days about my life – If our hearts were always close together, I would have no such thoughts. my heart is full with so much to tell you - Oh - There are moments when I feel that language is nothing at all - cheer up - remain my faithful only darling, my everything, as I for you, the rest is up to the Gods, what must be for us and what is in store for us. –
Your faithful LUDWIG.



The Second Letter: Evening, Monday, July 6


You are suffering, my dearest creature - only now have I learned that letters must be posted very early in the morning on Mondays to Thursdays - the only days on which the mail-coach goes from here to K. - You are suffering - Ah, wherever I am, there you are also - I will arrange it with you and me that I can live with you. What a life!!! thus!!! without you - pursued by the goodness of mankind hither and thither - which I as little want to deserve as I deserve it - Humility of man towards man - it pains me - and when I consider myself in relation to the universe, what am I and what is He - whom we call the greatest - and yet - herein lies the divine in man - I weep when I reflect that you will probably not receive the first report from me until Saturday - Much as you love me - I love you more - But do not ever conceal yourself from me - good night - As I am taking the baths I must go to bed - Oh God - so near! so far! Is not our love truly a heavenly structure, and also as firm as the vault of heaven?







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