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One of the most beautiful and moving of love poems, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnet 43 is unified behind its opening question "How Do I Love Thee?" For, the remainder of the Petrarchan sonnet answers this question with a Christina Rossetti-like "pageant" of passions that encompass both the spiritual and physical. Much like a musical composition, Barrett's sonnet crescendos with this passion of the heart and soul that finds its resolve in a transcendence beyond death itself, answering again the initial question subtly restated as "In what ways does your love affect me?”
Therefore, there is a "one and another excellence" in this encompassing of both the octave and sestet in the response to the opening question which is restated by the ending question.
Certainly, in this beautiful sonnet there is much pathos, or artistic representation that evokes emotion, even empathy. The lines
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs....
are, indeed, very moving to the reader as are these lines,
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!
If "affluent language" denotes rich language, Miss Browning's petrarchan sonnet contains much. For instance, the lines
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight
which denote the desires and necessities of the quotidian, also connote the needs of the soul in its cosmic imagery with the sun as a universal symbol of energy and life, and with candlelight as the subtleties of life and the emanations of the soul.
Truly, Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnet 43 reaches poetic perfection, absolute perfection of expression and language!
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