Sonnets from the Portuguese

One of my favorite things to do on a day when I have a lot of time and no place to be is to walk aimlessly through our local used bookstore. I know it sounds silly, but the massive amounts of once treasured books makes me happy and sad all at the same time. Recently, on one of those days I was walking around the bookstore with nothing I needed in mind, when a book caught my eye. I walked over to the shelf, picked it up and read the title. “Sonnets from the Portuguese, and other Love Poems.” The author is Elizabeth Barrett Browning and it’s copyright is 1954.

book

As I found a seat on the floor of the bookstore, I opened the front cover and found this message inside:

To My Dear Sister,

May you enjoy this book in ’63 and always to bring you happiness.

This note made me smile because I knew at one time this book was a gift given for reasons I will never know, shared between sisters in a time long before mine. It also made me think of my own sister and that makes me smile too πŸ™‚ These little notes safely stored inside books, are my favorite things about used bookstores.

book2

Since today is Mother’s day I thought it would be appropriate to share one of the poems from the book. There is truly no love stronger than that of a Mother, mine has proven it time and time again.

XLII

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 quite 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 grief, 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 shallΒ  but love thee better after death.

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