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!
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.
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