Elizabeth Barrett Browning: How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways

 

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 candlelight.

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.

***

(Sonnets from the Portuguese: XLIII)


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