Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Poet Appreciation: #5 Guest Poet

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 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.

Three guess on today’s most appropriate poem:

  • Nope, not Shakespeare–although it is Sonnet 43, it’s not his.
  • Nada–Dickinson has dashes, but not so much mush
  • Yup, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. And I know it’s almost cliché to have her famous Sonnet 43 as today’s poem (yes, though February was a couple of months ago, the 14th can still be a factor in choice), her love story is soooo romantic that it bears repeating–especially if you don’t know it.

ONCE upon a time, long ago, a young girl by the name of Elizabeth Barrett grew up with a very possessive and controlling father who had strange ideas about his children going off and getting married–like in “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!” Even though the young Elizabeth was pretty much imprisoned in her house by her father (shades of princess needing a prince) she became a famous poet.

One day a dashing younger man by the name of Robert Browning read one of Miss Barrett’s books of poetry and wrote her a letter. She wrote back. He wrote back. Well, before you know it they became pen pals with a serious romance brewing.

Big, bad, Dad Barrett would not let Elizabeth and Robert marry, at least he did not give his consent. So, of course Robert, a prince of a fellow, rescues the lovely princess of poetry, and they elope off to Italy. And yes, they DID live happily ever after. Big, bad, Dad Barrett never forgave them, but the Brownings remained blissfully happy in their famous marriage of pen and passion.

Now, that’s a great literary romance tale. So let’s celebrate with some good old Peanuts:

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4 thoughts on “Poet Appreciation: #5 Guest Poet

  1. Sounds a bit like a fractured fairy tale, doesn’t it? Love the Sally and Snoopy “duet.” A smile for Monday. Thanks!

  2. That’s such a romantic story, especially because he fell in love with her poetry first so in a way he dove right into her soul.

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