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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

In 1844 Elizabeth Barrett's collection, Poems, was published and made her one of the most popular writers in the country. Robert Browning, an emerging poet in his own right, was so inspired by her work that he wrote to her stating,

"I love your verses with all my heart, dear Miss Barrett"



A meeting was arranged, and Robert was introduced to the frail Elizabeth on 20 May 1845. So began one of the most famous courtships in literature. At the time of her success, Elizabeth was living in her family home under the influence of a very domineering father. She also suffered from poor health and was considered an invalid.

Despite this, and the fact that she knew her father, and even her brothers, would disapprove of her friendship with the handsome and dashing Robert, she took the courageous step toward love.

Elizabeth Barrett began her love sonnets to Robert Browning immediately after their first meeting. Robert was smitten, and the couple secretly corresponded for nearly two years before Elizabeth eloped with Robert. He whisked her away to a life in Italy. Her health and her heart grew stronger. And a son was born several years later, whom they nicknamed, Pen.

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.


www.wikipedia_Elizabeth Barrett