Elizabeth Barrett Browning

(6 March 1806 – 29 June 1861 / Durham / England)

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Sonnet 43 - How do I love thee? Let me count the ways


XLIII

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 everyday'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.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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Comments about this poem (Sonnet 43 - How do I love thee? Let me count the ways by Elizabeth Barrett Browning )

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  • Sandra Feldman (2/14/2014 12:19:00 AM)

    By far a love masterpiece of all Times and for all Times.
    Time cannot wither this immortal poem (Report) Reply

  • Ravindra Kumar (2/14/2013 1:39:00 AM)

    Praiseworthy piece of work. An expression of keen loving nature of a beloved is shown with quite justification humour. (Report) Reply

  • Sara Fielder (2/14/2012 5:27:00 AM)

    Being able to express such depth of love is unique. I pray it followed her into eternity. (Report) Reply

  • Manonton Dalan (2/14/2012 3:37:00 AM)

    i hope most of us can still say those
    words like we really mean it. happy
    valentines day, please enjoy, (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (2/14/2011 2:01:00 PM)

    There is nothing here of 'the heats which my veins fill' (Donne) . Pity the man who is loved only like this! (Report) Reply

  • Joseph Poewhit (2/14/2010 3:28:00 AM)

    Poem captures the whole circumference of her sphere of love. Goes beyond the depth of the ocean to the limitless universe (Report) Reply

  • Terence George Craddock (2/14/2010 1:36:00 AM)

    Yes I have enjoyed Elizabeth's countdown of love for many many years. I especially like how she sneaks in 'I love thee with the passion put to use' Who can resist the bold advance of such a naughty girl. Although sonnet 38 is so much more daring after the opening 'First time he kissed me, he but only kissed The fingers'. My favourite lines here?
    ‘The third upon my lips was folded down
    In perfect, purple state; since when, indeed,
    I have been proud and said, 'My love, my own.' Go girl, he really laid that one on you. However I am confused Shielda, what is this To George Sand: A Desire all about?
    ‘Self-called George Sand! whose soul, amid the lions
    Of thy tumultuous senses, moans defiance
    And answers roar for roar, as spirits can:
    I would some mild miraculous thunder ran
    Above the applauded circus, in appliance’ But secretly I do believe I know, the answer to the riddle is A Recognition, yes or no? (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (2/14/2010 1:14:00 AM)

    How can one love another one is well said in this beautiful sonnet by Elizabeth Barret! This love will indeed continue unabatedly both in sorrow and joy and also after death! Wonderful poem! (Report) Reply

  • Shiela Marie Anunciacion (11/9/2009 12:53:00 PM)

    this is one of my favorite sonnets again by Elizabeth Barrett Browning... ^_^

    this is a romantic sonnet written by elizabeth for her husband, robert, because of her great love for him....

    Elizabeth and Robert always write to each other to express their true and undying love for one another...

    and, THIS, really did it! This is one of the most popular sonnet ever to have been written and published... Every person in love could have felt connected with this piece...

    It is so beautiful that I read it ten times when I fist saw it... ^_^
    I memorized it now.. ^_^ (Report) Reply

  • Deity The Lost One (2/14/2008 10:30:00 AM)

    i love this poem so much, i posted it on my blog.
    no one can be compared to the passion that poem evokes.
    it's love at its grandest. (Report) Reply

Read all 22 comments »

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