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Have you 'loved' anyone this much? Valentine's Day poem

Friday, February 06, 2015

When Elizabeth Barrett was being courted by Robert Browning in the 1840s, she wrote this amazing and famous poem expressing her love for him.

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 everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men might 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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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I love this poem.
    2344 days ago
    wow...I learn something new every day...cool post!
    2357 days ago
    I don't think love is for the young only. In fact I think the initial love of attraction is very different than the love of an older couple who have been through everything together, and still manage to stay together and love each other while aware of their flaws is more precious. Haven't you ever seen a couple celebrating their Golden (or whatever) Anniversary, and still looking lovingly at each other, and holding hands? Now that's love.
    2362 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/13/2015 11:58:21 AM
    I will take solace in what has been said about NOT being tormented in the afterlife...I love the idea that people flaws are wiped clean. What a comforting thought.

    Interesting that the number of people think love like expressed like this is rare except when young. Probably her situation was uniquely geared toward this. I think the combination of being a poet, a sensitive human being, and one with an illness made her prone to the dramatic aspect of life. Robert Browning was also a poet so their sensitivities were in sync I think.

    She was given the prescription of opium (much like our morphine, valium, etc.) to help with her headaches, fainting spells, and general weakness and it is widely thought it contributed to her early death. Even though her childhood was happy, her mom died when she was twenty. She grew up close to her father even though he was a controlling and possessive man who disowned ALL of his children when they married. So here she was 6 years older and ill when she met Robert. They secretly married and she became so much better that she gave birth to a son 100 years before my birth year! She was a highly esteemed poet in the 19th century.
    2365 days ago
  • BETRHO48
    emoticon I am not so sure any human is capable of the depth of love Elizabeth Barrett Browning describes.
    2366 days ago
    I agree with pretty much everything said here. I don't think many love to that level. I think young love, exemplifies that kind of love. I believe circumstances change and so do people, along with them. I believe, a change in temperaments often equals a pulling back of affection. And I sure hope no one is tormented in the afterlife, if they have been tormented here!! LOL!!
    2366 days ago
    I've alway thought that after we pass over, we are changed and our flaws are taken away, so any problems you might have had, you wouldn't have any more. But I am also sure that if you didn't want to be with someone, you wouldn't be. There's my lesson in theology for today. emoticon
    2366 days ago
    2366 days ago
    Yep I agree Sue...I think that is exactly what she meant. I hate to pose this question, but what if we don't get along with someone here, does that mean we have to deal with them up in Heaven also?!?!?! lol just joshing...I think!
    2367 days ago
    Love this poem! My husband has been gone since 2008 also. And I think the poem refers to the" love you even more after death" is when you are together again in Heaven:)
    Thanks for posting this!
    2367 days ago
    This has always been one of my favorites and put a lump in my throat. I can't say that I love my hubby more after death but just miss him till it hurts. Maybe that's why I still wear my wedding ring. One person told me it was time to move on. Not sure if I was just shocked or really hurt.

    Thanks for posting this. It brought back some beautiful memories.

    hugs....Mary Anne
    2367 days ago
    I loved my husband like that...but some daze he made me really crazy. He's been dead since 2000 and I don't think I love him "better after death" but I sure miss him!
    2368 days ago
    I am blessed to have a husband that this kind of love is giving and received.
    2368 days ago
    emoticon POEM emoticon
    2369 days ago
    Oops, posted twice. Sorry.
    2369 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/6/2015 3:07:31 PM
    It would be nice if our love had such smooth sailing, but usually it doesn't. However, this has always been my favorite poem of all time. I remember copying and sending it to my dh when he was still my fiancé. And I still have a card he sent me which had this poem on it. Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of his death, and I still love him. Thanks for posting the beautiful poem.
    2369 days ago
    That's lovely but In my opinion I doubt there's many people that feel love in that depth like indicated in the poem.
    2369 days ago
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