What’s not to like about the poetry from the hand of Elizabeth Barrett Browning? Her poem How do I love thee was written centuries ago, but it is still very accurate as it comes to love. You be the judge!
About the poet
Browning was born on March 6 1806 as the oldest of twelve children. She started writing when she was six(!) years old. During her puberty she became very ill and that lead to intense head and spinal pain, which she struggled with for the rest of her life. This was not all the bad news about her health. She suffered lung problems caused by tuberculosis. Her health didn’t got better due to the medicine she took for this: laudanum.
It was her cousin John Kenyon who introduced her into the literary society. This lead to the publication of her first poems in 1838. It wasn’t until 1844 that she became famous. In this year her book Poems was published. This lead to the attention of Robert Browning, with the result: a secret courtship and marriage. When her father found out, she disinherit Browning and it made the couple to decide to move to Italy. She lived there until her death in 1846.
Browning is nowadays considered as poets that made a difference, just like Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allan Poe. How do I love thee is probably her most well-known poem.
How Do I Love Thee?
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 candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love with a 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.
Check out this book below to read more about this poet (turn off your add blocker):
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