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How Do I Love Thee? Analysis



Author: Poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning Type: Poetry Views: 12963





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 candlelight.

I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;

I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.

I love 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.





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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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She introduces her love and then shows a positive God in saying she will love him more in the afterlife. The other part of what she is saying is where a negative God jokes about loving her lover more after and because he is gone; or, on the other hand, she will miss him more then because she is weak.

| Posted on 2013-03-04 | by a guest


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I just sent this poem to my nephew. Obviously, this is not romantic love...the words speak of unalterable love for someone, regardless of space or time--enduring and everlasting.... Although this may have been written for her lover, I feel like this encompasses so many of our loved ones who we do not want for them to forget the love we have for them. The idea in my mind, is to reiterate that someone we may not see often is still loved, loved, loved beyond their understanding.

| Posted on 2013-02-24 | by a guest


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As high school student now I can mainly use technical terms, but no matter how many terms are in the English language it is hard to pinpoint the correct ones that invoke a greater connotation. This sonnet is beautiful and it ties up all of the parts of the speakers life around this one person that she loves so dearly. The contrast strewn through out the poem makes you realize that she has given and will always give her whole self for this man and if it wasn\'t for this man she wouldn\'t really be herself. She goes from speaking of her soul- an abstract concept- and then continues directly into the symbols of the sun and candles- very basic and realistic objects. The sun and candle light give this homey, warm feeling that one can associate with the feeling of love simply because the warmth is pure and humans have an innate sense and need for warmth- as people are drawn toward love and the need for a companion. The speaker bring her love so far as to say that she loves him with the passion used with her childhood faith and it implies that she does not have that faith anymore, which almost makes her seem scorned, tattered and broken. All she wishes for is to love this man in her life and - if God will let her- in the afterlife as well.

| Posted on 2013-02-07 | by a guest


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the poet brilliantly expresses her inner love to her to-be-husband.her lively love is nothing then her next love period which will be after her death. Here, the poet asserts that she will love a lot after her death. Through the point of view of her, it will be very comfortable to love him deeply.the poet presents many way to love him but also keep a intention to love him after her life time.. It can be said that this poem has a extra power to improve her love for lover.
Hamidul Islam Ahmed
RGM x

| Posted on 2012-07-04 | by a guest


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How Do I Love Thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Sonnets have 14 lines with a specific rhyme scheme and meter. Usually iambic pentameter is common. This poetry format is originated in Sicily, Italy, in the 13th Century. Generally, the theme of a sonnet is love, or a theme related to love. Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861) wrote 44 sonnets to express the courtship between Elizabeth and her husband-to-be, poet Robert Browning. She named this series as Sonnets From the Portuguese, the title based on the pet name Robert gave her: \"my little Portugee\". While writing her sonnets, she had two types of sonnet formats as: Petrarchs Italian model and Shakespeares English model. She chose Petrarch\'s model to write her 43rd sonnet. Elizabeth and Robert, exchanged 574 letters over twenty months before they met. Elizabeths father always stood in the way and did not allow her to marry him. In 1846, the couple eloped and settled in Florence, Italy. Her father never spoke to her again. Elizabeth\'s Sonnets from the Portuguese, dedicated to her husband and written in secret before her marriage, was published in 1850.
The rhyme scheme of \"Sonnet 43\" is as follows: Lines 1 to 8ABBA, ABBA; Lines 9 to 14CD, CD, CD. Petrarchan sonnets first eight lines are called as an octave; the remaining six lines are called as a sestet. The octave presents the theme of the poem; the sestet concludes the poem and offers a solution if there is a problem or provides an answer if there is a question. In Elizabeth Browning\'s \"Sonnet 43,\" the octave draws relationship between the poet\'s love and religious and political ideals; the sestet draws relationship between the power of love she felt while writing the poem and the power of love she experienced earlier in her life. The author concludes the poem as saying that she will love her husband-to-be even more after death.
The theme is that love is not an earthly concept but an eternal, everlasting thing that lasts well beyond the cold grave. The poem is not related to how she loves or why, but just the way in which she does so; freely and purely. They had never met but they were just expressing how much they loved each other and this is one of the love poems that they shared. She defines herself with the ways she love Robert. She certainly would not be the speaker of the poem without her love, or her beloved. This actually what makes this poem very sensitive. Besides her love to Robert she actually has admiration toward him.The poem begins with a question, and answers it. In the poem, main point is the authors desire to tell us how much she loves him with all her heart. The author expresses how she adores her beloved by repeating it often. Reader shall immediately understand the greatness of the intensity of Elizabeth\'s love for her beloved. The poem contains internal rhymes that tell us Elizabeth loves Robert with every dimension of her entity. His love sustains her and that I why she needs him. We should consider the times period this was written in, when the concept of God was acknowledged as a certainty not a theory. She tells that she loves him with the blind faith of a child..It explains that she had lost believing in holy things after growing up. However, Robert has awakened her spirit in a way that she has again begun to reaffirm her belief in all the things holy. He is her savior and means the whole world to her. There is passion, excitement and spontaneity in her love. Also, she has a big hope that her love will transcend the boundaries of time, space, life and death; it will live forever. She hopes that only something as violent and destructive as death will intensify her passion.
Sonnet 43\" expresses the poets intense love for her husband-to-be, Robert Browning. So intense is her love for him, she says, that it rises to the spiritual level (Lines 3 and 4). She loves him freely, without coercion; she loves him purely, without expectation of personal gain. She even loves him with an intensity of the suffering (passion: Line 9) resembling that of Christ on the cross, and she loves him in the way that she loved saints as a child. Moreover, she expects to continue to love him after death. \"Sonnet 43\" is written in iambic pentameter .Author uses metaphors, as follows:

thee, the (Lines 1, 2, 5, 9, 12).
thee,they (Line 8)
soul, sight (Line 3)
love, level (Line 5)
quiet, candle-light (Line 6)
freely, strive, Right (Line 7)
purely, Praise (Line 8)
passion, put (Line 9)
griefs, faith (Line 10)
my, my (Line 10)
love, love (Line 11)
With, with (Line 12)
lost, love (Line 12)
lost, saints (Line 12)
Smiles, tears (Line 13) (z sound)
smiles, all, life (Line 13)
shall, love (Line 14)
but, better (Line 14)
but, better, after (Line 14)

| Posted on 2012-06-08 | by a guest


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x dshl chh;felnc h few loser loser loser u have to study english

| Posted on 2012-05-01 | by a guest


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I love this poem, since my wife died 26 months ago after 60 years together, I read it and relate to my feelings of the love I had for her, more than I knew when she was alive...except I memorised it as \'how did I love thee\' I dont try to find an understanding in the words, just the way they affect me.

| Posted on 2012-03-03 | by a guest


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smiles tears and all of my life represents that perhaps he love life is to sentimental

| Posted on 2012-01-18 | by a guest


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This poem is part of the \"Sonnets of the Portuguese\" written by Elizabeth Barret Browning. These 44 sonnets, this being the 43rd, express the courtship between Robert Browning and Elizabeth. Sonnet 43\'s purpose is to define how she feels. Robert and Elizabeth eloped together. This is not a devotional poem to God but to her husband. The theme is that love is not an earthly concept but an eternal, everlasting thing that lasts well beyond the cold grave. It is a Petrarchan sonnet and it violates many of the characteristics of the traditional form. The sonnet expresses parallelism as well as figurative language in the form of alliteration and repetition as well as imagery. This sonnet is one of the greatest LOVE poems ever written. I hope this may have helped in clearing some speculation. To the person who asked about Right- freedom was seen as man\'s god-given right. God was not a question as He or She is today but accepted without question. Most likely it refers to freedom. Praise has a religious denotation because it is in reference to pure and she begins speaking of how if God will allow her- she will love him better in the afterlife. -Beth

| Posted on 2011-12-05 | by a guest


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Personally, from reading this sonnet, I get the impression that the addressee (Robert Browning) has enabled her to find religion again. Through his love, E.B.B no longer doubts religion which she feels was the cause for her early losses (death of mother). She is demonstrating the extent to which she loves him by using extended metaphors to make her argument more powerful. Their love is true in that it conquers all: \'Smiles, tears...\'
Basically, I believe it\'s a love sonnet expressed to Robert Browning - their love is so strong, it is eternal.
Don\'t jump down my throat saying this is a wrong analysis. It\'s my interpretation, what I got from it personally, and therefore can\'t be wrong :)
For those who don\'t jump down my throat - sorry for the short rant - hope it helps :D

| Posted on 2011-10-26 | by a guest


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\"FINAL CORRECTION\"
I. Analysis of How Do I Love Thee? by: This poem focuses on love. This is how Elizabeth describes and expresses her special feelings or her love to her special someone or to her love ones. Like the first line which is “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”. It means that there are many ways on how can you show your love to others. The other one is “I love thee to the level of every days”. It’s like that you still love someone, though how moody you are. There is also “Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight”. It means to say that, she will keep on loving someone even day or night, even there is a light or none. And the part that I love most is “I shall but love thee better after death”. This means that she will love this person forever until the end of her life. These are just some analysis on how Elizabeth expresses her feelings. And the rhyme scheme of this sonnet is ABBA-ABBA-ABAB-AB. It has a 14 line poem.

| Posted on 2011-08-22 | by a guest


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This poem is a poignant and pathetic expression of love for a man not all that deserving of it. She refers to religion as something she\'s rejected or outgrown (childhood\'s faith and lost saints). She\'s transferred or reassigned religious faith to love of Browning. Using the word soul is not a declaration of faith in God. Browning was her god.

| Posted on 2011-07-31 | by a guest


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"FINAL CORRECTION"
I. Analysis of How Do I Love Thee? by: This poem focuses on love. This is how Elizabeth describes and expresses her special feelings or her love to her special someone or to her love ones. Like the first line which is “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”. It means that there are many ways on how can you show your love to others. The other one is “I love thee to the level of every days”. It’s like that you still love someone, though how moody you are. There is also “Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight”. It means to say that, she will keep on loving someone even day or night, even there is a light or none. And the part that I love most is “I shall but love thee better after death”. This means that she will love this person forever until the end of her life. These are just some analysis on how Elizabeth expresses her feelings. And the rhyme scheme of this sonnet is ABBA-ABBA-ABAB-AB. It has a 14 line poem.
-done by: Vanessa Gamboa Gatchalian
-6:48p.m. (March 05,2011 -Saturday)

| Posted on 2011-03-05 | by a guest


.: :.

\"CORRECTION\"
I. Analysis of How Do I Love Thee? by: x poem focuses on love. This is how Elizabeth describes and expresses her special feelings or her love to her special someone or to her love ones. Like the first line which is “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”. It means that there are many ways on how can you show your love to others. The other one is “I love thee to the level of every days”. It’s like that you still love someone, though how moody you are. There is also “Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight”. It means to say that, she will keep on loving someone even day or night, even there is a light or none. And the part that I love most is “I shall but love thee better after death”. This means that she will love this person forever until the end of her life. These are just some analysis on how Elizabeth expresses her feelings. And the rhyme scheme of this sonnet is ABBA-ABBA-ABAB-AB. It has a 14 line poem.
-done by: Vanessa Gamboa Gatchalian
-6:10p.m. (March 05,2011 -Saturday)

| Posted on 2011-03-05 | by a guest


.: :.

\"CORRECTION\"
I. Analysis of How Do I Love Thee? by: x poem focuses on love. This is how Elizabeth describes and expresses her special feelings or her love to her special someone or to her love ones. Like the first line which is “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”. It means that there are many ways on how can you show your love to others. The other one is “I love thee to the level of every days”. It’s like that you still love someone, though how moody you are. There is also “Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight”. It means to say that, she will keep on loving someone even day or night, even there is a light or none. And the part that I love most is “I shall but love thee better after death”. This means that she will love this person forever until the end of her life. These are just some analysis on how Elizabeth expresses her feelings. And the rhyme scheme of this sonnet is ABBA-ABBA-ABAB-AB. It has a 14 line.
-done by: Vanessa Gamboa Gatchalian
-6:05p.m. (March 05,2011 -Saturday)

| Posted on 2011-03-05 | by a guest


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II. Impression of Hoe Do I Love Thee? -by: Elizabeth
Barrett
Browning
I like the poem, not only because that it’s about love and romance. But also because of we can experience, or we are experiencing this one. There are many ways on how you can show or express your feelings. Like what Elizabeth Barrett Browning did. She is writing if what she can feel. And this poem can appreciate our feelings. Because you can relate this poem to our lives. Not only to our love life, but also to our family, other relatives and to other friends. Because we can apply the message of the poem to our beloved ones or someone. Not only by the material things that we are giving to them, which we can show our loves. But by our loves and care for them, too. By our respect, concern and kindness for them, can already show our love to them.
done by: Vanessa Gamboa Gatchalian
5:45p.m.(March 05,2011 -Saturday)

| Posted on 2011-03-05 | by a guest


.: :.

I. Analysis of How Do I Love Thee? by: Elizabeth
Barrett
Browning
This poem focuses on love. This is how Elizabeth describes and expresses her special feelings or her love to her special someone or to her love ones. Like the first line which is “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”. It means that there are many ways on how can you show your love to others. The other one is “I love thee to the level of every days”. It’s like that you still love someone, though how moody you are. There is also “Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight”. It means to say that, she will keep on loving someone even day or night, even there is a light or none. And the part that I love most is “I shall but love thee better after death”. This means that she will love this person forever until the end of her life. These are just some analysis on how Elizabeth expresses her feelings. And the rhyme scheme of this sonnet is ABBA-ABBA-ABAB-AB. It has a 14 syllables in each line.
-done by: Vanessa Gamboa Gatchalian
-5:05p.m. (March 05,2011 -Saturday)

| Posted on 2011-03-05 | by a guest


.: :.

I. Analysis of How Do I Love Thee?
This poem focuses on love. This is how Elizabeth describes and expresses her special feelings or her love to her special someone or to her love ones. Like the first line which is “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”. It means that there are many ways on how can you show your love to others. The other one is “I love thee to the level of every days”. It’s like that you still love someone, though how moody you are. There is also “Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight”. It means to say that, she will keep on loving someone even day or night, even there is a light or none. And the part that I love most is “I shall but love thee better after death”. This means that she will love this person forever until the end of her life. These are just some analysis on how Elizabeth expresses her feelings. And the rhyme scheme of this sonnet is ABBA-ABBA-ABAB-AB. It has a 14 syllables in each line.
-done by: Vanessa Gamboa Gatchalian
-5:05p.m. (March 05,2011 -Saturday)

| Posted on 2011-03-05 | by a guest


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elizabeth barret browning\'s poem focuses on how the speaker give such ways on how to explain her/his love to someone. the terms that means \"endless\" pertains to the time, or how long his/her love could remain in his/her heart though there are some difficulties like the griefs he/she happened to feel when he/she continues to love that man.

| Posted on 2011-03-02 | by a guest


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There has been much talk of taking the literally and going over and over each sentance, but that\'s not what poetry is about. Poetry is about confining something that is so great and humblings and incomprehnsible into mere words. If it makes it easier it can be full of ideals, it can be incorrect my some people perception because everything is!
Also you have to take into account the times period this was written in, when the concept of God was acknoledged as a certainty not a theory. It\'s natural for her to use such language, so when you\'re interpretating the poem, you have to do so with the authors background in mind.
Secoundly, people were saying that men aren\'t humble and we are not striving for right, but live with selfish greed instead, but if you were to re read the poem you will see, she is not saying all men have such noble qualities, but those that do, do so under these circumstances. The same circumstances as she does love. It\'s nothing to do with how she loves or why, but just the way in which she does so; freely and purely.
Alright, that\'s all I had to say on the matter. I pretty much believe the poem speaks for itself on the other aspects.
This is a lovely poem. It needn\'t be complicated nor dwell on the hardships of love, but it\'s power to bind us together and it;s overwhelming greatness. It speaks of devotion and affection in it most purest form.

| Posted on 2011-02-17 | by a guest


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Amazing to me how people can take a simple love song and make it about everything but. This poem is the beautiful song of a heart looking for that just-right match in love. ...and the idiot atheist needs to find something to believe in, not something to believe out.
-another guest.

| Posted on 2011-02-12 | by a guest


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It\'s a meaningful poem. this is the poem that I\'m going to recite in our final exam in literature. :D Luckily that I found out about this. :)

| Posted on 2011-02-03 | by a guest


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she is just expressing the love she has and it was probably hard to put it in words but she accomplished that.

| Posted on 2011-01-18 | by a guest


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I think most people on this page are misreading this poem completely. You\'ve been duped. If you put on your pessimistic athiest hats, you may see an alternate poem that doesn\'t resemble trite bubblegum vomit.
\"to the depth and breadth and height/My soul can reach\" assumes we have a soul and that it is infinate. Taken literally, the soul has no mass, volume or density, so that\'s not much love.
\"freely, as men strive for Right\" is far too ideal to work. More often than not, in capitalist societies, men strive for Personal Gain, and if it\'s Right, that\'s of second importance. Since men don\'t always do this, she doesn\'t always love.
\"purely, as they turn from Praise\" is also laughable. Men and women are rarely humble. Humility is nice, but since it is inconsistent, so is her love.
\"with my childhood faith\" could be finished with \"that I lost when I grew up and read books.\" Childhood faith is just that, naive and lost through education, just like her love. She outgrows him/her.
Finally, \"if God chose, / I shall but love thee better after death.\" is wonderful...IF you believe in God and IF you believe in a Heaven that allows for the imperfections of Love. I propose we read this as the clue to the earlier, alternate reading. When you\'re dead, you\'re dead. You can\'t love! So if \'no love\' is better than how she loves him now....That\'s pretty effin bad.

| Posted on 2011-01-13 | by a guest


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hi folks, this is poem is niether a about love nor about about emotion. .

| Posted on 2010-10-19 | by a guest


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I believe the poem is about loosing one\'s religion and finding it in another human being.

| Posted on 2010-10-07 | by a guest


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The first time I read Elizabeth\'s Sonnet 43, I was smitten. It speaks what true love really is. That being is a mixture of happiness and pain, of smiles and tears. It\'s a kind of love that knows no limits. A love to last even after death.

| Posted on 2010-10-02 | by a guest


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How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! – suggests listing. Begins with a question, and answers it.
Breadth, depth, height - measurements, she wants to tell us how much she loves him. With all the dimensions of her entity. Listing technique effectively conveys HOW MUCH she loves about him.
I love thee – anaphora. She expresses her adoration for her love by repeating it often.
Being...Ideal Grace – capitalized, religious meaning: talking about being looked upon favourably by God.
With my childhood’s faith: childhood represents innocence. Browning describes her love as innocent.
“I shall but love thee better after death” – powerful finish to the poem, Browning says that she will love this person all her life, and longer, for eternity in heaven.
By sun and candlelight – day and night.
Breath, smiles, tears, - “breath” echoes “breadth”. Again listing.
Strive for Right – as men fight for freedom
Turn from praise – humbly.

| Posted on 2010-09-27 | by a guest


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Thank you for all your observations of E.B.B poetry she definatly was in love either with a man or God or both.

| Posted on 2010-09-22 | by a guest


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i love this poem but i can\'t understand it clearly,,, can u explain it clear

| Posted on 2010-08-11 | by a guest


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It is written by a reclusive woman and is obsessive, as a result. It is beautifully painful.

| Posted on 2010-07-31 | by a guest


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i am doing a report on this poem for english. it is beautiful and expressive.it holds a deep place in my heart. i think you can interprite it in anyway u want if it has a meaning to you. i believe it is about love, and the true passion she has for this man, her life and her poetry. love conquers all no matter what the love is, if you believe and truly r passionate about something i believe this poem will guide u

| Posted on 2010-07-29 | by a guest


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the qoutes means is to be love someone and to be hhggyeye

| Posted on 2010-07-13 | by a guest


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There is no right or wrong answer in studying literature. Poems help us express emotionally our inner feelings that go aligned with that of the poet. (By J-CKW)

| Posted on 2010-06-24 | by a guest


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Sonnet 43 is the ultimate profession of love that encompasses all fields of human existence. It speaks volumes to the reader about the intensity of Elizabeth's love for her beloved. Depth, Breadth and height are internal rhymes that tell us that she loves Robert from every dimension of her entity. The love for him that she nurtures in her heart has given a goal to her life and provided reason to live. She needs him for suvival because it is their love that sustains her. She loves him just as intensely as men fighting for freedom love freedom. Her love is unadulterated by any ulterior motive or hardened by the experiences of her adult life. She loves him with the blind faith of a child. He has revived her spirit in the way that she has again begun to reaffirm her belief in saints and all things holy. This was something she had lost while growing up and Robert has brought it back. He is her savior and the centre around which her world revolves. There is excitement and passion and spontaneity in her love that are all ingredients that make for a very healthy relationship. Moreover, all her being is united with the hope thather love will transcend the boundaries of time, space, life and death; it will live to be eternal!!!

| Posted on 2010-05-27 | by a guest


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Writings from the Romantic Period actually have nothing to do with romance and love...

| Posted on 2010-05-25 | by a guest


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this isn't supposed to be romantic! This was written during Victorian period not the Romantic period! It is supposed to show how women are expanding on their own thoughts and how she was able to still love Robert Browning although her father didn't allow it. It represents the rise of women's freedom.

| Posted on 2010-05-16 | by a guest


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"I love with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith."
Here the poet expresses two thoughts: "I love with a passion put to use in my old griefs," and "I love with my childhood's faith."
If once accepts for a moment the working definition that "passion" is a combination of love and anger, the line could be autobiographical of her describing her grief at the death of her younger sister (c.1814) when she was just 8 years old, and later, the death of her beloved brother Edward (c.1840) in a sailing accident.
The poet might also be describing the intensity of her love with a passion normally reserved for those who are grieving the loss of loved ones, or perhaps the loss of her own vitality, as she was an invalid by the time she wrote these lines.
"I love with my childhood's faith," could be the poet describing the way in which she loved as being of the same character as her own childhood in which she lived with her large family in comfort and wealth, which would doubtless be accompanied by her unquestioning belief in the essential goodness of her own life, i.e. that all her needs would be taken care of, that there would always be good times, that one is loved and cared for, etc., in marked contrast to the life she was actually experiencing in adulthood.
Perhaps the poet is also saying that, although she was expressing love as an adult, the way in which she was doing so was without bitterness or cynicism as could have resulted if she had allowed her personal life experiences as an adult to intrude on the pure child-like way in which she chose to express her love.

| Posted on 2010-05-02 | by a guest


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"I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;"
Here, the poet uses the word "freely" to mean "unselfconsciously", without premeditation or ulterior motive. The poets compares they way in which she loves to men who strive for Right (capital "R") and are driven by principle and high ideals, which do not change, as opposed to romantic inclination or conscience, which are impermanent. The poet describes the way in which she loves as being like this.
"I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise." Once again, the poet describes the way in which she loves as being "purely", and she uses simile to compare her love to these same men who strive for Right and turn from Praise (capital "P"). Their pure motives in acting against their own self-interests or even self-preservation are not tarnished by the promise of praise or recognition from other men but rather, they are motivated by knowing they are doing "Right". The best way to see these men is to look at someone who runs into a burning building to save a child. Even if one desires to do so, one must consciously stifle one's instinct of self-preservation in order to risk one's life for another.
So, ultimately, with these two lines, the poet seems to be saying, "My love is unselfconscious, but it is also the product of my making a conscious decision to love, and I stand by that decision."

| Posted on 2010-05-02 | by a guest


.: :.

braptage waptage OLOLOLOL.
kwl poem, were doin it for english GCSE's, thanks for the analysis :D.
CHEERZ

| Posted on 2010-04-14 | by a guest




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