by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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.
This sonnet may be a bit corny today, but it is one of my favorite sonnets. I happen to love sonnets, and I find this one particularly beautiful. My poor high school English Lit students get a bit sick of sonnets when I teach them British poetry. I still love this one.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- Born: 6 March 1806
- Birthplace: Durham, England
- Died: 29 June 1861