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Mar 26

Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Now here’s a lovely thing. If you know of one piece of romantic poetry, it’s probably number 52 from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portuguese. You don’t? Really? Are you sure? Well, it goes like this:

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 candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a 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.

And if you didn’t, well, you probably know the reference from either Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, or perhaps from Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown.

Anyhow, there’s a very beautiful 1904 volume available at the Internet Archive. You can have it as a PDF of full colour scans, black and white, text, or in DjVu, Kindle or Daisy format.

Download page: http://www.archive.org/details/poemsbyelizabeth00brow

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