With that special day approaching, we couldn’t resist sharing the most acclaimed midlife romance we know of—the love between Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. (One of WVFC’s editors thought of using this poem for her own midlife wedding, but couldn’t read it aloud without becoming too overcome with tears.) This is also, of course, the poem that our Laura Baudo Sillerman challenged you to imitate when writing your own love poem. Either way, we challenge you  to read this without wonder.

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 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 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.

 

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