September 18 1814: Lord Byron’s New Existence

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On September 18 1814, Lord Byron writes to Annabella Milbanke, after having received her letter accepting his marriage proposal.

Newstead Abbev. Septr. 18th. 1814
Your letter has given me a new existence—it was unexpected—I need not say welcome—but that is a poor word to express my present feelings—and yet equal to any other—for express them adequately I cannot.—I have ever regarded you as one of the first of human beings—not merely from my own observation but that of others—as one whom it was as difficult not to love—as scarcely possible to deserve;—I know your worth—& revere your virtues as I love yourself and if every proof in my power of my full sense of what is due to you will contribute to your happiness—I shall have secured my own.

——It is in your power to render me happy—you have made me so already.—I wish to answer your letter immediately—but am at present scarcely collected enough to do it rationally—I was upon the point of leaving England without hope without fear—almost without feeling—but wished to make one effort to discover—not if I could pretend to your present affections—for to these I had given over all presumption—but whether time—and my most sincere endeavour to adopt any mode of conduct—that might lead you to think well of me—might not eventually in securing your approbation awaken your regard.——These hopes are now dearer to me than ever; dear as they have ever been;—from the moment I became acquainted my attachment has been increasing—& the very follies—give them a harsher name—with which I was beset & bewildered—the conduct to which I had recourse for forgetfulness only made recollection more lively & bitter by the comparisons it forced upon me in spite of Pride—and of Passions which might have destroyed but never deceived me.————I am going to London on some business which once over—I hope to be permitted to visit Seaham;—your father I will answer immediately & in the mean time beg you will present my best thanks & respects to him & Lady Milbanke.—Will you write to me? & permit me to assure you how faithfully I shall ever be yr most attached and obliged Sert.
[BYRON]

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