Poetry Sunday: How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

It's Valentine's Day, so let's have a love poem. This is actually one of the most famous and also a personal favorite. It says it all really and quite succinctly.

How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Comments

  1. It is the first line alone, Dorothy, that has become so well known, but I doubt that many are familiar with even one more line. It is one of the purest and most sublime pieces of verse ever written.

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    Replies
    1. It's one of the first poems I ever remember learning and I agree with your assessment.

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  2. Happy Valentine's Day!

    You posted the perfect poem for today.

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  3. Happy Valentine's Day to you, Brian. It is the perfect poem, isn't it?

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  4. Yes, perfect! I used to know many of the lines by heart and the sentiments showed up in every love song I wrote for my husband. Funny and wondrous how the influences of reading show up in our writing later.

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    Replies
    1. The sentiments are perfectly expressed and have never been improved upon in my opinion.

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