Friday, February 13, 2009

The Breath, Smiles, And Tears Of All My Life

It's Poetry Friday and I'm kickin' it old school today! Did I say that right? Forgive me, I'm 35 and I collect butter containers. Today's poem is the famous How Do I Love Thee? poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. People smarter than me call it Sonnet from the Portuguese 43.

Elizabeth's father forbade his children to marry so she secretly wrote a collection of poems for Robert Browning during their courtship. After they were married, her father disinherited her and that collection of poems, Sonnets from the Portuguese, was eventually published. However, she was a little apprehensive about it. She thought the poems were way too personal to be published. Thankfully, her husband talked her into it. Husbands can be very persuasive sometimes.

Here's Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnet from the Portuguese 43: 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 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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  1. The perfect poem for Valentine's Day weekend. (Of course, you already know that and that's why you picked it!)

  2. beautiful poem thanks for introducing me to some new poetry:)

  3. I have always loved that poem!

  4. I always like that poem! You getting ready for Daytona? 14 more days I think...

  5. Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. You know, I've never heard the whole poem before! Just the first line!

  7. Ah, old school is good. Or whack or something totally tubular like what. ha hah ah a

  8. Your posts were missing from the front page. I had that problem once.

    Check out my first birthday bash at Custom Blog Designs. There will be a blog makeover giveaway, blogging tips, and fun!

  9. Oh I didn't know the backstory on that! Very interesting, Ali!

    Happy Valentine's Day!

  10. BIG Browning fan.

    Bet she looked good naked.

    Wait...different gal.


  11. Perfect for the day! I was reading The Raven to the boys Friday and thought of you, my poetry friend!

  12. yep to everything you say...the reason for the poems explained very graphically...well done

  13. I am ashamed to say I don't know if I have ever heard the ending to that poem before. Until now...

    Butter containers are hip...right?

  14. Big Fan of Browning, glad I wasn't shut out form my family for marrying my sweet hubby!!

  15. That poem sounds familiar. Maybe I had come across it before but just don't remember. Love is such a beautiful thing...

  16. This is one of my favorites! I used to have it memorized, just in case I needed to recite it to someone special... yeah, that never happened...

    I didn't know that little tidbit of history on EBB, and I think that is so sweet! Thanks for sharing! :)

  17. I love this poem. It is so beautiful!

  18. I love this poem... I think I would have recited it to a lover by now, if only I thought I could do it justice.

  19. I love this poem... I think I would have recited it to a lover by now, if only I thought I could do it justice.


Thanks for commenting!