How do I love thee? by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
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.
“I have taken for a title to my remarks Mrs. Browning’s wonderful line “How do I love thee?” (Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Sonnets from the Portuguese , no. 43.) I am not going to “count the ways” this morning, but I am impressed with her choice of adverb–not when do I love thee nor where do I love thee nor why do I love thee nor why don’t you love me, but, rather, how. How do I demonstrate it, how do I reveal my true love for you? Mrs. Browning was correct. Real love is best shown in the “how,”.”
Jeffrey R. Holland (2000, February 15). “How Do I Love Thee?” BYU Devotional Address.