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A wry twist on a lovely poem

By Debra Dobbins

Liz is punning on Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous poem, which has a rather long name, “Sonnets from the Portuguese 43: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”

As the title suggests, the poem is one of a collection of 44 sonnets this Victorian writer penned as a tribute to a fellow poet, with whom she had more than a professional relationship.(Sonnets are poems of 14 lines that have a strict rhyme scheme; Shakespeare was also adept at composing them.)

“The poems largely chronicle the period leading up to her 1846 marriage to Robert Browning. The collection was acclaimed and popular in the poet's lifetime and it remains so today,” according to Wikipedia.

Here are the first four lines of the poem:

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.

For the full text, go to http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172998

Phoebe Anna Traquair’s illuminated copy of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Sonnets from the Portuguese: Sonnet 30”
Held by National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh and uploaded by oaktree_b
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia



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