Home / Poems / How do I love thee? By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

How do I love thee? 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.

My Thoughts:

Quite often we initiate our romantic conversations with an “I love you” and curbs it’s down it to a“me too” response… Browning writes out an interesting poem, expressing the different ways of her love. Each line in this poem is quite deep and some are very intense…

Love surely can’t be gauged or scaled, but if she could her love extends to the immeasurable depths, breath and heights.. “I love thee to the level of every day’s, Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight” – Poet explains she loves her man, not just for a day or when passions arouses or because of a specific situation…she means..she loves him every day continuously from morning to night just as her constant beats of her heart ….perhaps her love was so effortless too.

She even converted her past painful memories and the time pondering on those..to the feelings of love for this man. Now do you remember as kids, how seriously we believed that Santa would come home to drop the gifts on Christmas…and no matter what we just couldn’t afford to be in his naughty list ..This deep-rooted.. innocent yet irrevocable kind of faith is what is the “childhood faith “the poet is trying to express here..  She re evokes that same faith to towards her love..Wow!

“I love thee with a love I seemed to lose, With my lost saints, — I love thee with the breath” – Here I think what she is meaning is that, there was a time when she believed and idolized certain leader/saints themselves/hero but lost  trust in them as she grew older. That sort of blind admiration is what she feels again for her lover… 

She remembers him during her happy moments, she remembers him even when sad tears flow by..And she wishes to love him more in her afterlife if God permits to. The last line also makes me feel – She really wanted to love her man for eternal.

I feel the poet’s love towards her man was so pure and very heavenly. She tries to explain that her love was never bounded to a humans physical limits but it was something much beyond that.

Though she wrote that – “I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise” – meaning her love was not expressed expecting any kind of applaud or appreciation…But I can’t help it –this poem it exemplary! :)

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