Elizabeth Barrett Browning: 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 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.
The two words that deviate from the rather strict
here are the words Grace and faith. The first one is an assonance
among the rhyming words ways – everyday’s – Praise,
while the latter is involved in
with the words breath
– death but is also in assonance with ways – day’s – Praise
– Grace. If we examine the meaning of the text we will notice that
these two deviations from the pattern are not accidental. The whole poem is
largely based on a juxtaposition of past illusion associated with religious
zeal (faith and Grace) and the present where these false past passions are
substituted for by the more genuine passion of love. The fact that Grace and
faith are involved in assonance can therefore be interpreted as a
demonstration of their illusory and ultimately fake character.)