Napoleon - Love Letters of Great Men

To Citizeness Josephine Bonaparte

April 3, 1796

I have received all your letters, but none has made me such an impression as the last. How, my beloved, can you write to me like that? Don't you think my position is cruel enought, with out adding my sorrows and crushing my spirit? What a style! What feelings you show! They are fire, and they burn my poor heart. My one and only Josephine, apart from you there is no joy; away from you, the world is a desert where I am alone and cannot open my heart. You have taken more than my soul; you are the one thought of my life. When I am tired of the worry of work, when I feel the outcome, when men annoy me, when I am ready to curse being alive, I put my hand on my heart; your portrait hangs there, I look at it, and love brings me perfect happiness, and all is miling except the time I must spend away from my mistress.

By what art have you captivated all my facilities and concentrated my whole being in you? It is a sweet friend, that will die only when I do. To live for Josephine, that is the history of my life I long. I try to come near you. Fool! I don't notice that I am going further away. How many countries separate us! How long before you will read these words, this feeble expression of a captive soul where you are queen? Oh, my adorable wife! I don't know what fate has in store for me, but if it keeps me apart from you any longer, it will be unbearable! My courage is not enough for that. Once upon a time I was proud of my courage, and sometimes I would think of the ills destiny might bring me and consider the most terrible horrors without blinking or feeling shaken. But, today the thought that my Josephine might be in trouble, that she may be ill, above the cruel, the awful thought that she may love me less blights my soul, stills my blood and makes me sad and depressed, without even the courage of rage and despair. I used often to say men cannot harm one who dies without regret; but, now, to die not loved by you, to die without knowing, would be the torment of Hell, the living image of utter desolation. I feel I am suffocating. My one companion, you whom fate has destined to travel the sorry road of life beside me, the day I lose your heart will be the day Nature loses warmth and life for me. I stop, sweet friend; my soul is sad, my body tired, my spirit oppressed. men bore me. I ought to hate them: they take me away from my heart.

I am at Port Maurice, near Ognelia; tomorrow I reach Albenga. The two armies are moving, trying to outwit each other. Victory to the cleverer. I am pleased with Beauliu; he maneuvers well and is stronger than his predecessor. I will beat him soundly, I hope. Don't be frightened. Love me like your eyes; but that is not enough: like yourself, more than yourself, than your thoughts, your life, all of you. Forgive me, dear loe, I am raving; Nature is frail when one feels deeply, when one is loved by you.


Sincere friendship to Barras, Sucy, Madame Tallien; respects to Madame Chateau-Renard; true love to Eugene, to Hortense.

Goodbye, goodbye! I shall go to bed without you, sleep without you. Let me sleep, I beg you. For several nights I have felt you in my arms; a happy dream, but it is not you.

Love Letters of Great Men