Love letter from Philip Williams to Elizabeth Nalson circa 1680

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Williams-Nalson love letter

Very few Renaissance love letters have survived to the present day. The Folger acquired one such letter dated circa 1680 in 2013, in which Philip Williams (d. 1719) gushes to his future wife, Elizabeth Nalson his wishes to return to her in haste and how much he delights in seeing her letter.

To consult more in depth information concerning this letter, please view this item's Hamnet record. If you would like to view high-resolution images of this letter, please consult the LUNA digital image.


My Dearest Eliza

I was diverting my solitude with ye pleasing thoughts of you (which are my usuall entertainment) when ye sight of your dear letter surpriz’d me & raised those transports in me that could receive no accession from anything but ye sight of your own most adored Person, & ye hopes which it gave me of seeing you so suddenly. and you may assure yourself Dear Madam yt this fortnights absence—from you was a piece of self denial I could never have submitted to, had it not been imposed upon me by unavoidable necessity. but through Gods help no stop shall stay me from meeting you at Emneth tomorrow, tho if I could with any con=veniency have come to Ely tonight, I would much rather have waited on Mdm Nalson tomorrow by water to whom be pleased to give my most dutiful service & my humble service to dear Mdm Celia. I am now as at all times

(Dearest Mdam)

Your most gratefull Eternall votarie & humblest servt.

Phi: Williams