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Sonnets from the Portugese

By: Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Sonnets from the Portuguese, written ca. 1845–1846 and published first in 1850, is a collection of 44 love sonnets written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. The collection was acclaimed and popular during the poet's lifetime and it remains so.

The most famous poems from this collection are numbers 33 and 43:

Number 33

Yes, call me by my pet-name! let me hear

The name I used to run at, when a child,

From innocent play, and leave the cowslips piled,

To glance up in some face that proved me dear

With the look of its eyes. I miss the clear

Fond voices, which, being drawn and reconciled

Into the music of Heaven's undefiled,

Call me no longer. Silence on the bier,

While I call God!—So let thy mouth

Be heir to those who are now exanimate:

Gather the north flowers to complete the south,

And catch the early love up in the late!

Yes, call me by that name,—and I, in truth,

With the same heart, will answer, and not wait.

Number 43

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.


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Elizabeth Barrett Browning was an English poet of the Victorian era, popular in Britain and the United States during her lifetime.   Born in County Durham, the eldest of 11 children, Elizabeth Ba...

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