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Sonnets from the Portuguese

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  9,257 Ratings  ·  191 Reviews
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a prolific writer and reviewer in the Victorian period, and in her lifetime, her reputation as a poet was at least as great as that of her husband, poet Robert Browning. Some of her poetry has been noted in recent years for strong feminist themes, but the poems for which Elizabeth Barrett Browning is undoubtedly best know are Sonnets from the ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published August 15th 1986 by St. Martin's Press (first published 1850)
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The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotAriel by Sylvia Plath
Best Poetry Books
53rd out of 1,700 books — 1,877 voters
Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeCrime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Best Books of the 19th Century
174th out of 897 books — 4,935 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 24, 2015 Teresa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Barrett Browning escreveu estes 44 sonetos durante o namoro com o poeta Robert Browning. Neles expressa os seus sentimentos; sempre acompanhados pelos lamentos de não ser merecedora do seu amor, e pelos receios do futuro.
Para não expor publicamente a sua intimidade - e como tinham alguma semelhança com os sonetos de Luis de Camões (não sei onde mas enfim) - decidiu publicá-los com o título de Sonetos Portugueses (também ficava bem "O Fado da Desgraçadinha") para sugerir a ideia de se
Christy B
Oct 03, 2009 Christy B rated it it was amazing
Christ. I don't even know what to say, here.

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 lo
May 15, 2007 Lucy rated it liked it
Is it indeed so? If I lay here dead,
Wouldst thou miss any life in losing mine?
And would the sun for thee more coldly shine
Because of grave-dumps falling round my head?
I marveled, my Belovèd, when I read
Thy thought so in the letter. I am thine-- much to thee? Can I pour thy wine
While my hands tremble? Then my soul, instead
Of dreams of death, resumes life's lower range.
Then, love me, Love! Look on me--breathe on me!
As brighter ladies do not count it strange,
For love, to give up acres
Marts  (Thinker)
Dec 08, 2009 Marts (Thinker) rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Poetry lovers
Shelves: poetry, audio-books
I've got this in audio and thoroughly enjoyed listening. Its beautiful poetry, that 'stream of conscientiousness' flows within Browning's text.

Quote: "How do I love thee, let me count the ways, I love thee to the depth, breadth, and height, my soul can reach...." (Sonnet 43)

Dec 16, 2014 Shauna rated it really liked it
Sonnets from the Portuguese first of all, não é útil se você quer praticar o português. This book will in no way prepare you for the ordering of a galão in some Lisbon café.
In fact, "portuguese" was a pet name Browning's (secret) husband used for her. The title also refers to the sonnets of the 16th-century Portuguese poet Luís de Camões; in all these poems Elizabethe uses rhyme schemes typical of the Portuguese sonnets.
Here is one of my favourites:

If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Book Riot Community
Some of my English-major friends would probably dare to call me “lapsed.” I don’t read poetry as much as I used to, nor am I particularly drawn to the classics now that I don’t have to be. It’s even a little sad that I needed the excuse of National Poetry Month to pick up EBB again as she’s always been one of my favorites. I love the concept of this collection: sonnets she wrote, but purported to have translated from—you guessed it—the Portuguese. Just some of the loveliest love poetry you’ll ev ...more
Noran Miss Pumkin
Mar 24, 2008 Noran Miss Pumkin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Noran by: highschool teacher miss penny
Shelves: poetry
How do i count the ways i love this books.....
i give this tome of poems instead of a wedding card. i used it when i started to date my husband, to introduce him to the beauty of poetry. he is a computer geek and had never read for personal enjoyment, before meeting me. in fact, reading a passage in a 1850's journal moved to such emotion, he popped the question to me crying. i read this book at least annually.
the brides all love this instead of a card.
My ex girlfriend, Ashleigh, gave this to me years ago, before she was forced by her family to marry this guy. Long story but she sent this book to me and signed the inside.

Next to Shakespeare, this is the most bittersweet and poetic
poems of love that I have ever read.

It was said that a husband and wife team wrote these so one can only imagine how passionate their marriage was, huh?
Apr 28, 2015 Carmen rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
44 sonnets by the famous poet, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, chronicling her love for her husband, Robert Browning, from the time they met to their marriage. Of course, the most famous one is #43: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. Etc.” But there is much more than this often quoted sonnet here. A great collection to read and re-read.
Dec 07, 2015 Umnia rated it liked it
well , i HATE. the language actually , it's kinda Old , like real vintage !!
but yeah it's since the Victorian period so i'm gonna feel it not read it , and it's so deep

here is my fav :))

"The face of all the world is changed , I think ,
since first i heard the footsteps of thy soul
Move still , oh , still , beside me , as they stole
Betwixt and the dreadful outer brink
Of obvious death, where I , who thought to sink ,
Was caught up into love , and taught the whole
Of life in a new rhythm , the cup o
Debbie Robson
Oct 25, 2010 Debbie Robson rated it it was amazing
This is one of the 52 books that feature in my novel Crossing Paths: the BookCrossing novel and I chose it before I had actually read the poems (by reputation alone). I'm so glad I did make this the centrepiece of the lovers' conversations through BookCrossing. There are some wonderful poems, especially sonnets VII, XVII and XXII.
Here is the journal entry from the novel for this book:
"My Darling, this book is for you. I have had it for some time now and never found
Dec 11, 2007 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I cannot express how lovely I find this collection of poems. Well constructed and beautifully written, it is among my favorite books of all time, probably my favorite collection of poetry. I'm partial to the sonnets as I find them traditionally romantic. I guess the conservative poet in me likes the meter and rhyme. When I first read this collection I was a third-year at UVA and was in major seduction with Sylvia Plath and Virginia Woolf and glossed by this treasure. Years later, I see what I co ...more
Doua AlJber
Mar 01, 2015 Doua AlJber rated it it was amazing
How do I love thee let me count the ways, these sonnets played a major part of my transformation as person and I absolutely love it, highly recommend it to the people I love and if i ever fall in love I'm going to give the person I love this book.
Nose in a book (Kate)
There are a couple of famous poems here, most notably “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways”, and all 44 are in that vein: romantic poems addressed to a lover. They are quite overblown, in classic romantic style – declarations of love until and even beyond death, for example – but they are also very religious. And that’s where they almost lose me. I understand that for people who have faith, it’s often a big part of everything in their lives, including their romantic love, but I’m afraid I ...more
Rhonda Rae Baker
Beautiful Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways...

Robert Browning was so impressed with his wife's love sonnets that he urged her to make them public. He convinced her to share them with the world. To conceil the fact that they were love poems written for him, they came up with the nickname of "my Little Portuguese" which he called her, Sonnets from the Portuguese became the title.

These poems are beautiful beyond measure and one of my most favorite co
Feb 23, 2015 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Would it be shallow to say that one of he things I really love about reading the classics I missed in school is all of those famous quotes in context. I feel like Cap - "I recognize that reference!"
Raghad Khamees
Jun 27, 2014 Raghad Khamees rated it it was amazing
Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand
Henceforward in thy shadow. Nevermore
Alone upon the threshold of my door
Of individual life, I shall command
The uses of my soul, nor lift my hand
Serenely in the sunshine as before,
Without the sense of that which I forbore, ..
Thy touch upon the palm. The widest land
Doom takes to part us, leaves thy heart in mine
With pulses that beat double. What I do
And what I dream include thee, as the wine
Must taste of its own grapes. And when I sue
God for myself, He hear
Ann Santori
Dec 07, 2011 Ann Santori rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2011
Beautiful, but SO depressing. I can't understand (well, I can, but it's a long, feminist kind of understanding) why people read this and think, "Wow, that's love!" Barrett Browning writes into each sonnet how lucky she is to be loved -- a supposed privilege she doesn't deserve because of her invalid status and advanced age (she was six years older than Robert Browning, to whom the sonnets are written). Her entire self-worth is wrapped up in Robert's approval and that doesn't make me think "love, ...more
Jun 21, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I had not expected this collection of love poems to be so melancholic. Although a degree of self-doubt and uncertainty goes along with any lover's thoughts, the tone here is of such low self-esteem, such self-recrimination that it strikes me that the poet was suffering from depression. But through the darkness, there are sparks of hope, that maybe love will come, will be true and will rescue.

In the end, the poet is redeemed and transformed by love, but it seems to have been a close-run thing.

Jul 21, 2016 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brain Food: Ravioli
Scandal Level: pale pink
Violence: several heart throbs
Must be ___ old to read: 14
Read if you liked: Shakespeare's Sonnets
Re-readability: Every few years

Thoughts: I love these. In some ways their success in their downfall because they feel cliche to us now, but they are where the cliches' came from. While I prefer the work of her husband, Elizabeth Browning is an incredible poet and any student of English literature should be familiar with her.
Nathalia Borghi
I'm not the world's biggest fan of poetry, but I started to appreciate it reading Neil Gaiman and Walt Whitman. Elizabeth Browning is unlike both of them, she is somewhat dramatic and even though she talks about loads of things that interest me I couldn't connect with her approach. I honestly found the writing to be quite boring and I didn't think that the exaggerations and figures of speech were serving a nice purpose, just felt completely over the top.
J. Alfred
Jan 27, 2010 J. Alfred rated it it was amazing
Remember how, in the Song of Songs, love is described as "strong as death"? Barrett Browning has a sequence of sonnets that begins with Love, personified as a god, being mistaken for Death. It is out of this world good. Some interesting other stuff as well, including especially her Cry of the Human, the refrain of which is "be pitiful, oh God!"
How do I love it? Let me count the stars.
Um, there are five. Five stars.
Jul 22, 2014 Syl rated it it was amazing
This is one of the most delightful and beautiful pieces of literature ever written. These sonnets embody all the love and care a person feels for another and herself. The rhyme, the rhythm carry you away as you read them and there comes a time in which you just have to read them aloud to truly enjoy their beauty. Elizabeth Barret Browning, "The Little Portuguese", touched my heart early in my life and her story is one of my favorites. My favorite sonnets: apart form 42, there's also 21, 33, 38 a ...more
Mar 28, 2008 Kari rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Romantics!
These sonnets are really beautiful, and they are even more compelling if you know the love story of Robert and Elizabeth Barret Browning. The letters between the two poets really helps to englighten the reader to what Elizabeth Barret Browing was thinking during their courtship and what inspired her to write these awe-inspiring poems.
Aug 10, 2009 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Best when paired with a romantic novel (I chose The Time Traveler's Wife) or read after a bright, sunny day spent with someone you're in love with.
Oct 10, 2010 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I must say that I was slow to warm up to the poems and don't think I would have liked them as well without having read the Introduction first. Lovely, very personal. You can really see the path of the love affair between EBB and Robert Browning.
Carolyn F.
Dec 07, 2013 Carolyn F. rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Isn't it terrible that I've never read these poems before, especially XLIII? The forward was very informative which was good because I was starting with no knowledge beyond trivia.
Jenny Vegas
Jan 29, 2014 Jenny Vegas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Beautiful collection of poems. Romantic in the most old school, traditional kind of way.

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 chil
Nick Traynor
Mar 18, 2016 Nick Traynor rated it really liked it
Shelves: bookclublove
I really enjoyed this volume, more than I thought I would. The poems were passionate, some were romantic, and all had an intellectual depth.
Perhaps I don't have the soul for Browning's work, because it is so depressing. I cannot dedicate myself to her overpowering preoccupation with death, her low self-esteem, and her infamous status as a struggling invalid. On one hand, I'm very sympathetic to health issues. I know that being bed-ridden and afraid of what's to come is just… awful. (Aren't we still debating whether or not she was physically ill, or if this was a mental illness? Both are incredible burdens to bear.) I feel like I can ...more
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Elizabeth Barrett Browning was one of the most respected poets of the Victorian era.

Born in County Durham, the eldest of 12 children, Browning was educated at home. She wrote poetry from around the age of six and this was compiled by her mother, comprising what is now one of the largest collections extant of juvenilia by any English writer. At 15 Browning became ill, suffering from intense head an
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“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 every day'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 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.”
“Quick-loving hearts ... may quickly loathe.” 83 likes
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