"Zärtliche Liebe" (Tender Love), WoO 123, or "Ich liebe dich", is a love song by Ludwig van Beethoven that was written in 1795 and first published in 1803. Beethoven was 25 years old when it was composed. The song is occasionally referred to by its first line, "Ich liebe dich, so wie du mich."
Though Alexander Thayer put the date of composition to be 1797–98 in Thayer's Life of Beethoven, recent research has found that "Zärtliche Liebe" was probably composed in 1795.1795 was a turning point in Beethoven's career, since he was starting to become noticed by nobility and his works were becoming more popular. He had lived in Vienna for two years, and had studied with composers such as Haydn.
"Zärtliche Liebe" was first published in 1803 by Johann Traeg in Vienna, one year before Beethoven's 3rd symphony. It was published along with "La partenza", WoO 124.
The lyrics are from a poem by Karl Friedrich Wilhelm Herrosee (1754–1821), a German pastor and writer. In the poem, the narrator expresses love for another, saying how their love lets them share sorrow and comfort.
Ich liebe dich, so wie du mich,
I love you as you love me,