William Dowdswell (1760-1828) Colonel of 86th Foot, Governor of Bahamas, Commander-in-Chief of India and noted collector of engraved prints, writes this love letter to Miss Martha Rowden (1779-1874). The letter commences with an 8-line quote from Shakespeare, followed by a verse poem of 39 four-line stanzas written (and composed?) by Dowdswell. First line: ?How sweet are those scenes that are past? (no trace in Google). The manuscript continues with a dialogue of endearment towards Miss Rowsden and ends with two verse extracts from Shenstone. The letter is dated May 1802 and appears to have been written on the eve of Dowdswell?s departure to India. Dowdswell died without marrying and, according to the descendant pedigree of the Rowden family, Martha also remained single. The 1841 census finds her living on independent means and residing in Henley at the age of 60. It is nevertheless clear from his authored verse and attendant notes that Dowdswell, despite being almost twice Martha?s age at the time of writing, was quite smitten with the young lady and the letter?s survival suggests that she deemed it worthy of retaining as a keepsake.