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 the pleasing
thoughts of you (which are my usuall entertainment)
when the sight of your dear letter Surpriz’d me &
raised those transports in me that could receive
no accession from anything but the sight of your
own most adored Person, & the hopes which it gave
me of seeing you so suddenly. and you may assure
yourself Dear Madam that this fortnights absence—
from you was a piece of self deniall 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
dutifull 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