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.
Elizabeth Barret Browning
Sonnets from the Portuguese 43
This poem was the favourite of my dear parents. It sustained them through the dark days of World War 2, when my father was fighting in Europe and then throughout their married life. It always appeared in letters and cards down through the years. When they passed away, we came across their love letters and they are now among my most treasured possessions. The poem is quoted on their gravestone.
The love they shared was in many ways unique and reflected their strong Christian beliefs. The ways they showed their love for each other and their family is a constant source of inspiration to me. I miss them each and every day of my life.
I really believe they love each other perfectly now, just as the poem says.