I've tried so many times to write,
And now I must write, for I sail next week
For Italy - Sardinia - I might
Go on to Egypt later, and the Greek Islands.
I may be several years away.
"I loved you, Lee. I wonder if I can
Explain at all what's happened? From your wealth
You gave me freely - more than any man
Has ever had - beauty, wit, youth and health
I loved you passionately; and now my wife
Is dead. One might expect a mild distress,
A briefly pensive mood. . . Instead, my life
Is shattered. . . is dissolved. . . is meaningless. . .
She whom of late I thought so little of
And saw so little, was, I find, the spring
Of all I did and felt - even of my love
Of you. . . What an insane, incredible thingl
But there it is.
"Dear Lee, this is the truth:
That any marriage founded on devotion
Though that devotion die, as mine for Ruth,
Is not a state, but a unique emotion,
Potent, unalterable - not romantic
Love, though romantic love is where it starts
Marriage begins only when those hot, frantic
Fires have finished welding human hearts.
It is not love, friendship, or partnership,
But this emotion-marriage, of a force
That when it once has held you in its grip
Nothing will free you wholly - not divorce,
Or death, for these destroy not it, but you,
As I am now destroyed.
"Beware, dear Lee,
Of a true marriage, if you are not true
Yourself - or you will be destroyed - like me."