What is the mood of Songs from the Portuguese?

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Sonnets from the Portugese is a collection of poetry written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning; it was published first in 1850. The collection itself is comprised of 44 love sonnets.

The mood of the collection is tender and affectionate, as the poems were written for her husband, Robert Browning, in 1847, the year they had secretly eloped to Italy. The poems, in fact, are an account of their courtship, as they had initially faced a few difficulties—one of them being Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s father objecting to their union. In "Sonnet 43," one of the most famous poems of the collection, Elizabeth Barrett Browning reveals the depth of her love and adoration:

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

The mood of the collection is also highly intimate, as Elizabeth Barrett Browning had originally intended the poems to be a private gift to her husband—not for publishing. The collection, in fact, hints at highly personal details—such as in Sonnet 33:

Yes, call me by my pet-name! let me hear
The name I used to run at, when a child,
From innocent play, and leave the cow-slips piled

Her husband, however, likened her poetry to Shakespeare’s and convinced her to release them in print.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
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