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.”

More info:

A sonnet is a 14-line lyric poetry in iambic pentameter which follows a strict rhyme pattern. It also has different models or types  but the basic sonnet forms are The Italian or Petrarchan sonnet, The Spenserian and The English or Shakespearen sonnet.

How Do I Love Thee? is one of the most famous love poems taken from Sonnets From The Portuguese written by Elizabeth following Petrarch’s model. The sonnets were too personal, so she hesitated to publish them, but her then husband-to-be Robert Browning convinced her otherwise. 

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