Sonnet XLIII, from the Portuguese

Sonnet XLIII, from the Portuguese

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 my 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 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.

— Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The Kiss by Francesco Hayez

 

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