Editor's note: This article was originally published in 2015.
Move over Keats. Country music icon Johnny Cash wrote the greatest love letter of all time.
A British life insurance company, Beagle Street, conducted a poll to list the top 10 love letters of all time. The poll was intended to encourage more romance among its fellow Brits. The company received about 1,000 responses, and the overwhelming majority voted Johnny Cash's sweet love letter to his wife, the number one spot on the list.
The Man in Black was no stranger to heartache, and the proof is in some of his lyrics. However, he finally found the love of his life in June Carter Cash. He wrote the sincere, heartfelt letter to her on her 65th birthday. About their life together, he wrote, "Maybe sometimes take each other for granted. But once in a while, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met."
The full text:
Happy Birthday Princess,
We get old and get used to each other. We think alike. We read each others [sic] minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.
But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You're the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much. Happy Birthday Princess. - John
A spokesperson for Beagle Street stated, "We hope our research inspires people who have never written a love letter to take some time out and write down and share exactly how they feel with a loved one."
The poll indicated 38 percent of women admitted that they had never written a love letter and 46 percent declared the tradition outdated. This could explain why the entire list is comprised of letters from men to women. Letters from John Keats, Winston Churchill, and Ernest Hemingway round out the top spots on the list.
Top 10 Love Letters Of All Time
- Johnny Cash wishes wife June Carter Cash a happy 65th birthday (1994)
- Winston Churchill tells wife Clementine Churchill of his undying love (1935)
- John Keats tells next door neighbor Fanny Brawne he can not live without her (1819)
- Ernest Hemingway professes his love to Marlene Dietrich (1951)
- Napoleon Bonaparte sends his love to Josephine de Beauharnais (1796)
- Richard Burton tells Elizabeth Taylor of her beauty (1964)
- King Henry VIII expresses his love for Anne Boleyn (1527)
- Beethoven pens his love for his 'Immortal Beloved' whose true identity remains a mystery (1812)
- Gerald Ford reminds wife, Betty Ford of his and their family's love for her, shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer (1974)
- Jimi Hendrix tells his "little girl" to spread her wings (date unknown)