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Sonnets from the Portuguese

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  11,418 ratings  ·  325 reviews
This beautiful book of perennially popular love poems contains all 44 poems from the Sonnets from the Portuguese series plus six additional love poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Illustrated in black and white. 64 pp.
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published November 25th 1997 by Gramercy (first published 1850)
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Piyangie
Jun 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sonnets from the Portuguese is a collection of forty-four love poems written to Robert Browning by Elizabeth Barrett Browning during their courtship. Apparently, they were not shown to him until three years after their marriage.

The poems are beautiful and lyrical verses that express love, fear, and doubts. Love came late into Miss Barrett's life, and at a time she wasn't expecting it.
She writes "Straightway I was 'ware,
So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move
Behind me, and drew me backward
...more
Duane
Elizabeth Barrett wrote these 44 love sonnets during her courtship with poet Robert Browning. After their marriage he convinced her to publish them, calling them the best English language love sonnets since Shakespeare's day.

This is sonnet XXVIII, one of my favorites:

My letters! All dead paper, mute and white!
And yet they seem alive and quivering
Against my tremulous hands which lose the string
And let them drop down on my knee tonight.
This said--He wished to have me in his sight
Once, as a friend:
...more
Christy B
Oct 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jon Nakapalau
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." - Sonnet #43 - read this with your lover...have a "How do I love thee?" poetry night...instead of the same old "movie night." ...more
Bob
I do not in the least degree possess the heart or soul of a poet. It is like an unknown language in which by luck and some slight understanding, I seem to grasp the tiniest bit of the meaning. Even then I can’t be sure it is a true understanding of the poets meaning or a bad interpretation by me.

I read this through and then like I do with plays, I found a recording and listened to it again. Listening is better than reading, but I was still out of my element and I’m glad I’m done. I will confes
...more
Inkspill
44 love sonnets by Elizabeth Barrett Browning written with Robert Browning in mind, they were secretly dating before they eloped. The most famous of the 44 is Sonnet 43:
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
...more
Lucy
XXIII
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--
But...so 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
...more
Florencia
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I
I thought once how Theocritus had sung
Of the sweet years, the dear and wished for years,
Who each one in a gracious hand appears
To bear a gift for mortals, old or young:
And, as I mused it in his antique tongue,
I saw, in gradual vision through my tears,
The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years,
Those of my own life, who by turns had flung
A shadow across me.


A couple of lines I liked; couldn't find more. All love sonnets and the natural inability to connect with them. Too much sugar for me
...more
Marts  (Thinker)
Dec 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Poetry lovers
Shelves: poetry
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)

...more
Matthew Mousseau
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
I

I thought once how Theocritus had sung
Of the sweet years, the dear and wished-for years,
Who each one in a gracious hand appears
To bear a gift for mortals, old or young:
And, as I mused it in his antique tongue,
I saw, in gradual vision through my tears,
The sweet, sad years, the melancholy years,
Those of my own life, who by turns had flung
A shadow across me. Straightway I was ’ware,
So weeping, how a mystic Shape did move
Behind me, and drew me backward by the hair;
And a voice said in mastery, while
...more
Noran Miss Pumkin
Mar 24, 2008 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.
...more
Laura
Nov 28, 2019 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gutenberg
Free download available at Project Gutenberg ...more
Katy
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As beautiful as one would expect classic poetry on love to be.
Shauna
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ex
...more
Shannon
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?
Aubrey
2.5/5

Elizabeth Barrett Browning's one of those authors whom the (patriarchal) literary establishment has a particularly unique can't-live-with-her-can't-live-without-her relationship. You're more likely to run into her contemporaneously less popular husband in today's classes; audiences who do encounter her are largely spoon fed her sonnets rather than granted the pleasure of engaging with her Aurora Leigh; and her, admittedly magnificent, Sonnet 43 is so often stolen by idolaters of the Bard th
...more
Raghad Khamees
Jun 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
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
Carmen
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Gillian Brownlee
I'm giving this 3 stars, because in Goodreads rankings, 3 stars means "I liked it!" And I did like this collection of poems. However, I was often distracted by the meter and rhyme scheme and because of that, I couldn't really appreciate the beauty of the words themselves. Maybe I'll revisit this one one day. ...more
Michael
Jun 21, 2015 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.

The
...more
Erin
Dec 03, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Debbie Robson
Oct 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
http://budurl.com/CPSaleAmazon
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
...more
Becky
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful. These fill my heart to the brim. I love her. I love these poems.

Jan. 2019:
I highly recommend reading all 44 in one sitting. I know it's a lot, but if you can manage it, it's worthwhile. These poems tell the story of her relationship with RB, and each one flows seamlessly into the next. It's incredible.
...more
Doua AlJber
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Jessica
Aug 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, poetry
What a pair of romantics. It was a delightful book for my hopeless romantic self. Definitely deserves another read, at a different time, because I found the language barrier made it difficult to comprehend some of what I read (especially the poetry).
Mounica
Feb 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 to be precise.
Jeana
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
She has written some beautiful Sonnets!
Melanie
Sep 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My father gave my mother a copy of Sonnet’s from the Portuguese when I was little—and that fascinated me. I remember asking my mother, Why? She told me she really loved Sonnet XLIII. So it was a heart touching experience to read these poems with that in mind ... knowing that they had been a love language shared by my parents. Several times I found the evocative language reminding me of how deeply and truly they loved one another. But even more than that, I found words that awakened recognition o ...more
James
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can anyone say about Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s beautiful poems that hasn’t already been said? They’re exquisite. Her 43rd sonnet is truly sublime and, despite its familiarity, has never lost its power to move me.
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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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“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.”
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“Quick-loving hearts ... may quickly loathe.” 97 likes
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