On March 6, 1806 the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning was born. Married to the poet Robert Browning, she charts the development of their relationship in her Sonnets from the Portuguese. Her feelings of inadequacy. her fears for her life, evolve to joy in her love's return. In Sonnet XLIII she defines her love for her husband.
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 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.
Neva Herrington is a poet and former educator. She is currently working on a new book of poetry, a collection of short stories, and her memoir. Her inspiration comes from her own experience and the work of other poets.