How Do I Love Thee?

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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 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.

Sonnet from the Portuguese XLIII

Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-61)

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