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Sonnets from the Portuguese and Other Poems

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  354 Ratings  ·  35 Reviews
Referring to her olive-skinned complexion Robert Browning called his wife, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "his little Portuguese." It is from this nickname that the title "Sonnets from the Portuguese" is derived. Sonnets from the Portuguese, a series of love poems from Elizabeth to her husband, is combined here with a collection of 60 of her other poems.
Paperback, 104 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Digireads.com (first published January 1st 1954)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sara Steger
Sep 20, 2016 Sara Steger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bingo-2016, poetry
I love poetry, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnet XLIII is a favorite:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Think about these lines

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.


This sonnet alone makes the volume worthwhile, but there is more, of course.

Much of her writing is in bewilderment at having found love at all, of having been rescued from what she
...more
Erik Kalm
Mar 14, 2008 Erik Kalm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can I add to:

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 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
...more
Hadrian
May 13, 2015 Hadrian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, poetry
I love 43 too, but everybody quotes Sonnet 43. Here's 21:

Say over again, and yet once over again,
That thou dost love me. Though the word repeated
Should seem 'a cuckoo song,' as thou dost treat it,
Remember, never to the hill or plain,
Valley and wood, without her cuckoo-strain
Comes the fresh Spring in all her green completed.
Beloved, I, amid the darkness greeted
By a doubtful spirit-voice, in that doubt's pain,
Cry, 'Speak once more—thou lovest!' Who can fear
Too many stars, though each in heaven sha
...more
Erin
Mar 10, 2010 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book on the streets of San Francisco, Fishermans Warf in September of 2006. Funny enough, I've never sat to read it. Now I will. Oh my, beautiful, simply that, beautiful. Some struck me so deeply that I read them over and over, gleaning new emotions each and every time. Her life was bleak before love, it became bright and everlasting in love. Even as I write this I'm smiling, a playful, saucy smile that I can't seen to whipe from my lips. A beautiful collection of poems that we all ...more
William
May 16, 2015 William rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not bad. I especially liked the "other poems". Sonnets were cool, but they weren't quite as Portuguese as I'd hoped. In saying Portuguese, I mean that I wanted to be transported back to Lisboa in a very deep personal way. I probably should have saved the 75 cents and not bought the second hand copy. All the same, the poems were nice to read at the beach. I liked walking through the water with my friends a distance off not paying any attention. I liked it.
Ana Rînceanu
I liked reading this out loud a lot, but nothing beats this recording of Sonnet 43 by Dame Judy Dench: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ78X...
Anna Holden
Oct 16, 2015 Anna Holden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I simply cannot say enough great things about Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Julie Ehlers
Dec 05, 2016 Julie Ehlers rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, poetry
Some works of literature are so vital, so beautiful, that they scarcely seem dated no matter how many years have gone by. Unfortunately, that was not the case with Sonnets from the Portuguese and Other Poems, at least not for me. The language, and, frankly, some of the sentiments felt so antiquated that it was impossible for me to get much from them. Eventually the sonnets did begin to flow a little better and a few of them impressed and even moved me, but it wasn’t quite enough to redeem my rea ...more
Silvia Reis
Oct 26, 2016 Silvia Reis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love poetry and Sonnet 43 is one of my lifetime favourites. Yet, it is interesting reading the book not only for the obvious love poems and seeing that Elizabeth B. Browning was a real lady with very interesting thoughts on social and even cultural problems.

The poems dedicated to George Sands and to the Children are very modern.
Stu
Nov 30, 2013 Stu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the introductory material to this edition documents, Elizabeth Barrett Browning suffered lifelong ill health, and her physical experience profoundly colors her poetry. We do not read here of vivacious passion; for love poetry, there is very little exploration of the body or anything that could be called eroticism. Rather, the poet describes a more agape conception of love, more philosophical and measured in its description. She is best known for the worshipful sonnet 43 (“How do I love thee? ...more
fee
Mar 12, 2014 fee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
'I love her for her smile ... her look ... her way
Of speaking gently, ... for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day'
For these things in themselves, Beloved, may
Be changed, or change for thee,--and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort l
...more
Nikoline
Jul 26, 2015 Nikoline rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: poetry lovers
Recommended to Nikoline by: book club
To read Sonnets from the Portuguese and Other Poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning you need to have a strong stomach, and by that I mean that this book is cheesy love but when it is best. It can seem a bit overwhelming that words like 'darling' 'love' and 'forever' can perform in only 55 pages, 22 on kindle, but if you're looking for some great poetry about Victorian love, Elizabeth Barrett Browning would be a great place to get started.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to t
...more
Victoria Young
There are many lovely, rich pieces of verse throughout Sonnets from the Portuguese. They capture the paradoxical and alternating uncertainty and passion of a new love. I also enjoyed the poems extracted from some of EBB's other works, which have more varied themes and use a bit less of the stylisticarchaic language than the 44 sonnets.

Particular favourites were 'The Cry of the Children', XXIX 'I think of thee! -My thoughts do twine and bud', VI 'Go from me. Yet I feel that I shall stand', II 'B
...more
Jason Kirk
Feb 05, 2014 Jason Kirk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"If thou must love me, let it be for nought / Except for love's sake only." While a contemporary cynic could easily rephrase this as "No more drama" or "You don't own me," my hopeful side hears this delicious ribbon of poetry from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's classic "Sonnets from the Portuguese" as one of the most limpid lyrics to celebrate love's potential purity in all of English verse.

And there's plenty more on tap in this canonical series of love poems, which -- although they wear their age
...more
T. Renee Doty
Apr 12, 2015 T. Renee Doty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this gorgeous edition in a second-hand shop. It is absolutely beautiful! The pages are on a high quality, silky paper; the illustrations by Adolf Hallman are a bonus and enhance my reading experience.

I fell in love with the English Romantic poets when I was in high school. My English teacher spent a class period on them, but I couldn't get enough. I immediately checked out poetry collections by Wordsworth, Keats (my other favorite), Byron, ect. I even read a few by Robert Browning and th
...more
J.M. Hushour
Dec 07, 2014 J.M. Hushour rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I realize I'm in a stark minority here and am opening myself up to livid excoriation if not simple, outright literary exile and castration, but these poems are just terrible. They are bad. Even for the time, they are bad. I read a lot of poetry, especially from this time period, and these are just, well, I'll say it again, bad.
Contrite and cold, there is little original here. Browning seems to strike out on several different opposing paths, juggling faith and some sort of odd romantic trajectory
...more
Bill Keefe
Apr 24, 2016 Bill Keefe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-time-favs
I can't wish that I had read these earlier. It wouldn't make sense. But reading them now, well into life, I am well reminded of all the things I've turned away from in my life and wonder just how many could have made such an impression, had such an impact on me as these poems.

This was discovery in all its splendor! She writes so you want to read, so you beg to read, so you long to read more and more, and then again. I'd read one, then another, then read the first. I'd read them for comprehension
...more
Angélique
Apr 16, 2016 Angélique rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
3 1/2 Stars. In high school, I considered Browning one of the most interesting poets my English teacher forced me to read, so I picked up this book to see if I could still appreciate her work all these years later. While I won't be adding her to my current list of beloved poets, I can say that I enjoyed several of her poems, especially Sonnets from the Portuguese which include some of my favorite verses on love ever written. Despite the fact that her style and overly Christian writing framework ...more
Ana
Feb 28, 2016 Ana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We leave the communing of men,
The murmur of the passions,
And live alone, to live again
With endless generations:
Are we so brave?—The sea and sky
In silence lift their mirrors,
And, glassed therein, our spirits high
Recoil from their own terrors.
Be pitiful, O God!

We sit on hills our childhood wist,
Woods, hamlets, streams, beholding:
The sun strikes through the farthest mist
The city’s spire to golden:
The city’s golden spire it was,
When hope and health were strongest,
But now it is the churchyard gra
...more
Noelle VanVleet
Aug 10, 2015 Noelle VanVleet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: printed-books, poetry
This is a beautiful collection of sonnets and poems. The sonnets contain some of the most beautiful language, but the extra poems at the back of the book are funnier and more light-hearted. E.B.B. was very self-deprecating, due to her illness and probably also to her relationship with her father which strongly influenced her. I feel like her impressions of love would have been more well-rounded if she had come to a realization of how much she had to offer to Robert and that she had in fact, earn ...more
Alexis
Jan 02, 2013 Alexis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Elizabeth Browning was one of the foremost Victorian poets, and there's no question about her skill. 'Sonnets from the Portuguese' however, famous and lovely as they are, eventually become a little tiring. Let's face it, there's so many 19th century love poems about the same person one can read before getting bored. Yes, you love Robert Browning and oh how surprising and delightful, he loves you back even if you can scarcely believe it. Ok.
T.J.
Mar 22, 2011 T.J. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buffy
This is a little deeper than my usual reading but of course I don't usually read poetry. It's like walking into someones heart and taking a look at all the facets of their soul, exciting, enthralling, and still leaves you feeling uncomfortable like I just heard something I wasn't suppose to. At it's heart this is a poem to someones lover and covers all the sorrow and grief of realizing that a great love is doomed.
Emma
Barrett Browning's sonnets are beautiful and lyrical. The way they trace the course of a romance is touching and fascinating. I'm not sure what else I could add to the previous reviews which already trace the story of their creation. (My personal favourite is VII)

Her following poems are spirited and I always feel that one really gets a sense of the woman who created them. They add to the narrative of the sonnets and reveal different facets of the writer.

Rhonda Browning White
Browning's poetry touches upon romance, religion, the status of women in society, psychology, and politics. My favorite poem in the book is the first, titled "The Sleep," in which she alludes to God as the greatest Lover, in that He gives us the most perfect gift we could receive, which is peaceful rest.

Recommended to my poet friends.
Hayley
Dec 08, 2011 Hayley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
All these sonnets are beautiful & many are very profound as well. Contridictory to the common belief that the subject of each sonnet is romantic love, these poems have a fairly wide array of messages and tones. Overall, brilliant.
Lynsy
I picked this up at the library because it's mentioned in Rebel Angels by Libba Bray and wanted a break from all the denser reading I've done recently. The poems were okay, but certainly not my favorite.
Noel Joy
Feb 10, 2008 Noel Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
i love the elizabeth barrett browning's sonnet... "how do i love thee, let me count the ways..." this book was given to me as a wedding present from a friend. i pull it out when i'm missing my husband.
Jason
Jan 13, 2013 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
This was a great used book store find on our anniversary trip to Bryson City last December. I do love a good sonnet and this book is full of them. I enjoyed her other love poems as well. This is one to find in a good hardbound edition...
Joanna
These poems are directed from one lover to another with such intensity that reading them by yourself can make you feel kind of lonely.
Anne
My late-grandmother owned this book, and it is cherished by my mother. I found a copy at the local library book sale and decided to take it so that I could have a copy of my own.
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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
...more
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“What I do, and what I dream include thee, as the wine must taste of its own grapes.” 27 likes
“If I leave all for thee, wilt thou exchange
And be all to me?”
16 likes
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