How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1806 – 1861
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.
How do I love you?
In Imitation of Elizabeth Barrett Browning
How do I love you? Let me count the ways.
I love you to the depth and breadth and height
At the moment when the spirit does sight,
A sky with no limit , all heady and ablaze.
I love you in the most irritating moments of the days
When you forget to call and are often so late.
I love you like the spirit, shunning wrong or right.
I love thee as I want, at times just a trace.
And then with the passion I set to chase
All I want, the dreams to live, the walls to scale.
I love you with the love I seem to lose
Every time I give up those. I love you as I inhale,
the joy and pain and all in between; and, if the spirit choose,
I shall but love thee better after next cocktail.