The author of the poem titled “How Do I Love Thee?” is Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861).

It begins, “How Do I Love Thee? Let me count the ways.”

Browning was a celebrated English poet of the Romantic Movement who wrote a number of sonnets. This one is listed as Sonnet 43.

Her poem continues to use intense imagery to express her love with the lines, “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.”

As a living testimony of the extreme measure of her love, the poem ends with the lines, “Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if / God choses, / I shall love thee better after death.”

Browning was educated at home and was versed in the classic literature including passages from the epic poem “Paradise Lost’ by John Milton and a number of Shakespearean plays- before the age of ten. By the age of 12, she had written her first “epic” poem, which consisted of four books of rhyming couplets.

Throughout her teenage years she taught herself Hebrew so she could read the Old Testament. Later her interest turned to Greek studies.

While her passion for the classics continued, she also had a passion for her Christian faith and became active in the Bible and Missionary Societies of her church.

Her later writings took on political and social themes addressing the male domination of a woman, plus the oppressive child labor mines and mills of England as well as slavery.

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