Letter to Countess Giulietta Guicciardi

The Austrian Countess Giulietta Guicciardi was 18 years old when Beethoven dedicated to her the piano sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor (later popularly known as Moonlight) written in 1801 and published in 1802.

The young Giulietta took piano lessons with the composer, and these texts reveal the feelings that were born between them. However, the relationship did not prosper in the face of opposition from the countess's family.

250th anniversary

Ludwig van Beethoven


July 6, 1800


Only a few words today, written with a pencil (your own). My residence cannot be settled till tomorrow. What a tiresome loss of time! Why this deep grief when necessity compels? -can our love exist without sacrifices, and by refraining from desiring all things?-. Can you alter the fact that you are not wholly mine, nor I wholly yours?

Ah! contemplate the beauties of Nature, and reconcile your spirit to the inevitable. Love demands all, and has a right to do so, and thus it is I feel towards you and you towards me; but you do not sufficiently remember that I must live both for you and for myself. Were we wholly united, you would feel this sorrow as little as I should.

My journey was terrible. I did not arrive here till four o'clock yesterday morning, as no horses were to be had. The drivers chose another route; but what a dreadful one it was! At the last stage I was warned not to travel through the night, and to beware of a certain wood, but this only incited me to go forward, and I was wrong. The carriage broke down, owing to the execrable roads, mere deep rough country lanes, and had it not been for the postilions I must have been left by the wayside. Esterhazy, travelling the usual road, had the same fate with eight horses, whereas I had only four. Still I felt a certain degree of pleasure, which I invariably do when I have happily surmounted any difficulty.

But I must now pass from the outer to the inner man. We shall, I trust, soon meet again; today I cannot impart to you all the reflections I have made, during the last few days, on my life; were our hearts closely united forever, none of these would occur to me. My heart is overflowing with all I have to say to you. Ah! there are moments when I find that speech is actually nothing. Take courage! Continue to be ever my true and only love, my all! as I am yours. The gods must ordain what is further to be and shall be!

Your faithful

July 7, 1800


Even before I rise, my thoughts throng to you, my immortal beloved! -sometimes full of joy, and yet again sad, waiting to see whether Fate will hear us-. I must live either wholly with you, or not at all. Indeed I have resolved to wander far from you till the moment arrives when I can fly into your arms, and feel that they are my home, and send forth my soul in unison with yours into the realm of spirits. Alas! it must be so! You will take courage, for you know my fidelity. Never can another possess my heart -never, never! Oh, heavens! Why must I fly from her I so fondly love? And yet my existence in W. was as miserable as here. Your love made me the most happy and yet the most unhappy of men. At my age, life requires a uniform equality; can this be found in our mutual relations? My angel! I have this moment heard that the post goes every day, so I must conclude, that you may get this letter the sooner. Be calm! for we can only attain our object of living together by the calm contemplation of our existence. Continue to love me. Yesterday, today, what longings for you, what tears for you! for you! for you! my life! my all! Farewell! Oh! love me forever, and never doubt the faithful heart of your lover, L.

Ever thine.
Ever mine.
Ever each other's.