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Saturday, March 9, 2019

Now That's Genius

“What is genius but the power of expressing a new individuality?” – Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Born this week in March in 1806, Elizabeth Barrett burst onto the British arts scene in 1844 with her first poetic volume, simply titled Poems.  Not only did it bring her great success, but it also attracted the admiration of writer Robert Browning.  Their courtship and correspondence, including the poem “How Do I Love Thee,” and marriage were carried out in secret, for fear of her father's disapproval, and as she feared, he disinherited her following their marriage.  
                                        But she went on to become one of the most admired and successful poets in the world, living with Browning in Italy until her death in 1861.   For Saturday’s Poem, here is her well-known and often-quoted sonnet,

                                     How Do I Love Thee

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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