Valentine Poem #2

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

Do those words ring a bell? They’re a part of one of my favorite love poems from Sonnets from the Portuguese, written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The hubby likes it, too. You can listen to the poem here. Its words are below.

Browning met her husband, Robert, after he wrote to her, telling her how much he liked her poems. Elizabeth was six years older than her husband and an invalid, so she had a hard time believing that he loved her. It is from her doubts that Sonnets from the Portuguese took shape.

Elizabeth married Robert Browning in 1846. They had one son, born in 1849. Twelve years later, in 1861, Elizabeth died in her beloved’s arms.

Sonnets from the Portuguese 43: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways

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.

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