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.


  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.

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

  2. Happy Valentine's Day!

    You posted the perfect poem for today.

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

  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.

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


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