Sure, you can buy your beloved a card for Valentine’s Day. Even better, you can write him or her a note. But you’re not likely to do much better than Johnny Cash, whose 1994 love letter to wife June Carter Cash on her 66th birthday has just been voted the greatest love letter of all time.
Cash was 62 when he wrote the simple, heartfelt letter, which begins and ends with “Happy Birthday Princess,” and calls his wife “the greatest woman I ever met…the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence.” The couple had just celebrated their 26th wedding anniversary the previous March.
The poll was commissioned by the British life insurance company Beagle Street, according to the U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail. Cash’s love letter, written to June while he was in Denmark, beat out love letters from British icon Sir Winston Churchill, 19th century English romantic poet John Keats, American literary great Ernest Hemingway and others, including fellow music legends Ludwig van Beethoven and Jimi Hendrix.
Here’s Johnny Cash’s letter to June Carter Cash, in its entirety:
“Happy Birthday Princess. We got old and got 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”
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