Most Beloved: I have been thinking, staring at this blank piece of paper, and wondering how there am I ever to say what I have in me here—not wishing to say anything at all, but just to be! I feel that I am living now only because you love me: and that my life will have run out, like this penful of ink, when that use in me is past. Not yet, Beloved, oh, not yet! Nothing is finished that we have to do and be:—hardly begun! I will not call even this "midsummer," however much it seems so: it is still only spring.
Every day your love binds me more deeply than I knew the day before: so that no day is the same now, but each one a little happier than the last. My own, you are my very own! And yet, true as that is, it is not so true as that I am your own. It is less absolute, I mean; and must be so, because I cannot very well take possession of anything when I am given over heart and soul out of my own possession: there isn't enough identity left in me, I am yours so much, so much! All this is useless to say, yet what can I say else, if I have to begin saying anything?
Could I truly be your "star and goddess," as you call me, Beloved, I would do you the service of Thetis at least (who did it for a greater than herself)—
"Bid Heaven and Earth combine their charms,
And round you early, round you late,
Briareus fold his hundred arms
To guard you from your single fate."
But I haven't got power over an eight-armed octopus even: so am merely a very helpless loving nonentity which merges itself most happily in you, and begs to be lifted to no pedestal at all, at all.
If you love me in a manner that is at all possible, you will see that "goddess" does not suit me. "Star" I would I were now, with a wide eye to carry my looks to you over this horizon which keeps you invisible. Choose one, if you will, dearest, and call it mine: and to me it shall be yours: so that when we are apart and the stars come out, our eyes may meet up at the same point in the heavens, and be "keeping company" for us among the celestial bodies—with their permission: for I have too lively a sense of their beauty not to be a little superstitious about them. Have you not felt for yourself a sort of physiognomy in the constellations,—most of them seeming benevolent and full of kind regards:—but not all? I am always glad when the Great Bear goes away from my window, fine beast though he is: he seems to growl at me! No doubt it is largely a question of names; and what's in a name? In yours, Beloved, when I speak it, more than I can compass!