As I mentioned, “I am reading a book on Pietro Bembo, and since I’m still at the beginning, I spent a good part of today reading many of his letters to one of his two most well known lovers (Maria Savorgnan).”


The amazement that I feel at the infinite sweetness … born of your most sweet conversation of yesterday … I really do not know if felicity may exist down here, if it dwells along us. But if it is here, certainly it was with me yesterday and has stayed. What are kingdoms, or what are treasures, or what are lordships? I do not believe … that I would have enjoyed so much the acquisition of one thousand cities, or all the wealth of the peoples of the orient or the broad dominion of the king of France; as the dear and sweet revelation, that you made me yesterday, of your thoughts, of your joys, of your desires, and I to you of mine; the equality of our passions, the contest as to who feels them greater and more vividely, as to who loves with truer faith and with purer; the sweet proposals, the sweet sighs, the sweet flashing of the eyes, which I love so much; the sweet smiles, the sweet blushes, the sweet paling, the sweet hopes, the sweet fears. Oh, how I would like to say many things, and the tongue does not find words with which it can express them, and love with no customary term allows me to be content.

Other snippets-

Bembo begins with: “Beautiful and dear and sweet object of my thoughts…”

Maria finishes of her reply with: “O, o, o, and a kiss”

Bembo finishes with: “Love me, and a thousand times love me.”

Or: “Expect me by the end of half an hour and love me.”

(And she alse finishes letters by saying simply, “Love me.”)

Maria ending: “I am yours, yours and yours and most yours and always will be.”

I love the repetitions! They are so effusive!

But perhaps the detail that I was most delighted and enthralled with is this ending that I never see in modern correspondence, where people always say the almost bland and reverse (“I love you”).

Above is what is so great, to ask the one you are so passionately in love with to love you, always. And to beseech that a thousand times, that he will simply love you.