20 May 1581
My darling… I haven’t stopped thinking of you since we met. I am imagining the moment in my head, time and time again, and thinking of your kindness after I tripped at market and dropped my basket of apples. It seems that this mistake was the perfect introduction as it established me as quirky and relatable, and I am thankful that our stars aligned in this way. I do hope to see you again.
22 May 1581
My sweet Jeremy… I am delighted to hear that I have captured your heart as well. According to your most recent letter, it would seem like I am poised to become a vessel for your artistic inspiration and growth, relegating my own interests and passions to the background. Fear not—this is quite fine with me. What simple cares of mine could possibly overshadow your destiny? Do be sure to use your affections for me to write a story or sonnet so lovely that your legacy is secured. T’would be just fine with me.
Yours and yours and yours again,
4 June 1581
Have you heard the music of The Smiths? I do believe that Thomas, William and Kingsley Smith play the finest music in town: one on a lute, one on the strings, and one singing songs that pierce the soul. They play their tunes at a pub off the beaten path. I would bet that you’ve not heard of them. But give it a try when you have the chance, my love. I do promise they will change your life.
Yours most truly,
20 June 1581
Sweet Jeremy— I am quite sorry that I haven’t written for a spell. The heat of summer has me feeling irritable and withdrawn. I’ve chopped my locks of hair a bit and taken to smoking a pipe and have hence been accused of imitating masculinity. What can I say? Sometimes I just feel like one of the fellows. After all, I’d rather have a hearty turkey leg and mead than fresh vegetables from the garden any day.
I hope you’re well and relish the day I can once again look upon your face. How wonderful to know that such a brilliant, anguished artist like yourself could ever hold affection for someone like me.
23 June 1581
I thought of you yesterday, my love, when the sky burst open and the rain began to fall. I decided to run and dance in the storm in a sudden moment of abandon. I almost hate to admit it, but I even kicked off my shoes and let my feet touch the earth. I suppose you could say that I am spontaneous and flighty and free and inspire you to someday try to live with such moments of gaiety. Anyways!
I love you and you alone for some inexplicable reason,
6 July 1581
My Jeremy, I write with terrible news. A mysterious illness has befallen me and it would appear that I won’t make it much longer. Rest assured that the tragic event of my inevitable death will only serve to create further depth for you and propel you along on your journey to greatness. There isn’t a roadmap for such occurrences, but I imagine that you will initially take some time to retreat in sadness and shirk your responsibilities, eventually accept a visit from a mutual friend to have a conversation about all the things you loved about me, and conclude that although it was horribly painful for you to lose me, the Love of your Life, it is better than having never known me at all. You will find hope in this notion and go on to create something beautiful.
It has been the privilege of my life to be loved by you for these 47 whole days.