Friday, February 13, 2009

How Do I Love Thee?

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When I taught senior English in high school, I would use this sonnet for my Valentine's Day lesson. Teenagers L❤VED it. I would ask a young man to read aloud, and it never failed to produce sighs from several young ladies.

One year, a young lady said, "That was on a card! I saw it on a card!" New respect was given to Elizabeth Barret Browning when this student realized that Browning's writing was worthy of Hallmark!


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.

A bit of background: One morning in 1847, this poem was presented to her husband after breakfast. It took years of persuading from him for her to allow it to be published, along with her other works.

I wish for all of you much love today and always.

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46 comments:

April said...

I have always loved that sonnet. I can just imagine the deep sighs that those high school girls made when it was being recited! At that age, they LIVE for romance!

Have a wonderful Valentine's Day and enjoy your weekend!

♥ Kathy said...

Happy Valentine's Day Sally! ♥ ♥ ♥

Jill said...

Happy Valentines Day tomorrow! :)

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Wonderful, Sally... I have always loved the sonnet..AND I'm one to 'sigh' when hearing it read..

We're going to be gone a couple of days--celebrating Valentine's Day doing some 'waterfalling'...

Happy Valentine's Day,
Betsy

Happy To Be said...

Much love to you too Sally...Happy VD...hugs and smiles Gl♥ria

tammy said...

What a sweet post! And I'm laughing about the girl and the card. Funny.

Mrs. B. Silly said...

What a beautiful post. I wish you and Johnny a wonderful Valentine's Day!
Hugs, Bridget

bj said...

A beautiful post, sweet Sally.
I know you and your one true love will have a wonderful Valentines Day.
Me? I will be sharing the day with my Valentine and 4 grands!! :O) Doesn't get much better than that!
xo bj

Kristen said...

That is one of my favorite poems. It speaks what so many of us want to say but can't.

Melissa Wertz said...

*Sigh* it is a beautiful sonnet.

I can imagine if you chose the right young man with the right voice with a room full of teenage girls.... LOL!!! Sighs indeed. LOL!

Happy Valentines Day!

Gattina said...

I didn't know that Valentine's day was such a big feast in the States. In Belgium we don't celebrate it very much, only young couples.

Jules said...

I haven't heard or read that poem in years. thanks for sharing.

JudyBug said...

One of my very favorites. Thanks for sharing those timeless words of romance!

Needled Mom said...

What a great high school assignment. I can imagine the sighs.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Barbara H. said...

That has to be one of the most romantic poems in history.

Clif said...

I used these beautiful words many, many times in my years as a Pastor.
Thanks for reminding us of them once again. Always beautiful!

kbbryant said...

Always been a favorite!

Kathy b

Darlene said...

That is truly beautiful! Hope you have a Happy Valentine's Day!♥

ceekay said...

Isn't that sonnet beautiful. Thank you for your comment on our home...LOVE is exactly what I want people to see in our home...thank you. Happy Valentine's Day!

newlyweds said...

Happy Valentines, and that is one of my favorite poems ever. Thanks for sharing it.

Carrie said...

It has been many years since I last read that poem...It is still magnificient.

. said...

It's very nice.

Alfazema

The Quintessential Magpie said...

On our first anniversary, Mr. Magpie gave me this love poem in a book of poems. Thanks for reminding me of how much I love it, Sally!

Xo,

Sheila :-)

Charli and me said...

Dear Sally that is my favorite sonnet. I know it is meant for lovers but I posted it in a little book I gather together for my three son's. It's so beautiful! Thank you for posting this lovely sonnet today. Happy Saint Valentine's Day :>)

Diane of Crafty Passions said...

Love the sonnet so perfect for valentine !!
Happy Valentine Day to you and have a wonderful weekend.

char72 said...

This is so sweet. I wish I had had an English teacher like you. I think I would have enjoyed the subject more.
Charlotte

Heather said...

very sweet indeed. Happy Valentine's Day to you.

Killlashandra said...

Elizabeth Barrett Browning is awesome! That one of her most famous sonnets without a doubt but she has so much other wonderful work too. I've studied her several times in college literature classes and she's definitely a favorite. :)

A Hint of Home said...

Thank you for the sweet post. Love the sonnet.

Hootin' Anni said...

I majored in English Lit....all thanks to a fabulous High School English Teacher....Mrs. Sanderson was her name....I'll never forget her!!!! [many decades ago!!!]

Hope you can find time to stop by my 2nd edition of three installments of my troll collection if you haven't yet.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Homespun Simplicity said...

Beautiful! Thank you for sharing it...and HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, Sally!
Karen

Heidi Pocketbook said...

I am lol, thinking back 30 years to my Sophomore English class. I can just imagine how red-faced a couple of the guys in my class would have been to read it. That would have been so much fun! I'll bet you were one awesome teacher!

Hope you have a great weekend, Sally!

Susan said...

Have a great Valentine's day...and weekend!

Susan

Life on Bonnie Lane said...

That comment that the teen girl had about seeing the sonnet on a Hallmark card was funny. It's cool that you used it in your classes, and made the boys read it! lol Bet they enjoyed the attention the girls gave that!

I bet you were a great teacher!

Kady

Chris said...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Susie Homemaker said...

Happy Valentine's Day to you...

Warm Wishes,
Susie

Lisa Ann said...

I love that sonnet!

Dorothy said...

Hi Sally,
I enjoyed this post! Happy Valentine's Day to you! ♥ ♥ ♥

I wrote a little love poem to Jeep and it should be on my blog in the morning. We're still on our honeymoon, so I'm still into all this mushy stuff;-)

Cass said...

That sonnet -- the product of one of the most remarkable love stories -- is pretty much perfect.

Thank you for posting it, and reminding me of it.

Cass

Carla said...

Thank you for sharing this today!
Happy Valentine's day:)

Diane said...

Happy Valentine's Day Sally! ♥ Diane

Judith said...

Indeed a beautiful poem. Happy Valentines Day to you. love Judith

~♥~ Monica S said...

Now that is a good poem!

Happy Valentines day!

Monica

Elizabeth-Plain and Simple said...

This is one of my favorite poems. Thanks for sharing it and Happy Valentine's Day.

Blessings,
Elizabeth

Susan B said...

I have always loved this sonnet. My nephew was married in a small ceremony the end of December, and I read this at his wedding. It is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

LDH said...

Always a favorite poem ~ Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day!