With a Passion

I came across these today....

Sonnet XIII

And wilt thou have me fashion into speech
The love I bear thee, finding words enough,
And hold the torch out, while the winds are rough,
Between our faces, to cast light on each?—
I drop it at thy feet. I cannot teach
My hand to hold my spirits so far off
From myself—me—that I should bring thee proof
In words, of love hid in me out of reach.
Nay, let the silence of my womanhood
Commend my woman-love to thy belief,—
Seeing that I stand unwon, however wooed,
And rend the garment of my life, in brief,
By a most dauntless, voiceless fortitude,
Lest one touch of this heart convey its grief.

Sonnet 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 quiet 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 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.

Elizabeth Barret Browning

These sonnets were written in the 1840's during Elizabeth Barret's courtship to Robert Browning. The second is one of the best known love poems in the English language and needs no explanation. However, those who may not know, my old griefs refers to her sorrows of being an invalid, a recluse. Many thought Elizabeth was doomed to be an old maid, however she was rescued from a loveless existence and had life and passion breathed back into her by another romantic writer, a poet. It is a fairy-tale brought to life. (see random thoughts for my fairy tale as I wish it to be today...)

I know this will be true for me as well. My life is not over. In some ways it's beginning again.