02/14/06 - a letter for valentine's day

In today's excerpt - a letter for Valentine's Day.  The famous 'Portuguese Letters', written in 1667-8 and first published in 1669, from Mariana Alcoforado, the daughter of a wealthy merchant being raised in a convent to the Frenchman M. de Chamilly, her first lover who had now left her:

"My life was yours from when I first saw you and I take some pleasure in sacrificing it to you.  A thousand times a day I send my every sigh to you.

"... Will I not learn that a loving heart once affected never forgets the one who quickened emotions unknown and unattainable til then?  That all its impulses belong to its first love.  That its first thoughts, its first wounds, cannot be cured or blotted.  That all these passions that offer help and that take pains to renew and content, promise feelings the heart can no longer experience?

"I will be miserable all my life; was I not thus when I saw you every day?  I died of fright that you might not be faithful.  I wanted to see you at every moment and this was not possible.  I did not live when you were at war, I was in despair not to be more beautiful or more worthy of you.

"... it seemed I did not love you enough."


Miriam Cyr


Letters of a Portuguese Nun




Copyright 2006 Myriam Cyr


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