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Sonnets from the Portuguese and Other Love Poems

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  652 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Excerpt from Sonnets From the Portuguese, and Other Poems
In the very heart and center of our modern world of the nineteenth century there was enacted and immortally sung one of the most exquisite love-histories of which the world has knowledge. The marriage of Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett has been well named "the most perfect example of wedded happiness in the hi
Hardcover, 120 pages
Published October 1st 1954 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 1954)
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 ·  652 ratings  ·  81 reviews

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Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 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 s
Julie Ehlers
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, classics
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
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Really enjoyed the sonnets, but the "other love poems" in this collection didn't work for me at all. A lot of the sentiments and imagery seemed very old fashioned. And love poems in general are not my thing. ...more
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
lesbian vibes

delicate, beautiful in its rhythm and sounds, intimate in its depiction of love
Erik Kalm
Mar 14, 2008 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
Rae Diaz
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To some degree this book redefined the way in which I address the passion in my heart through the english language. There's passages with jovial phrases that are addictively repeatable through the power of meter and content. for example phrases like,

"Roses gathered for a vase."
"When I sue god for myself, he hears that name of thine, and sees within my ears the tears of two."
"fling thy purple round me, till my heart will grow too close against that heart henceforth to know how it shook when alone
Feb 01, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglo-library
I don’t usually pick up poems, it’s a genre I don’t normally read because most times than not I find them confusing. However, I discovered this little book through my library. They were talking about it and reading some selected poems and a few sounded so lovely that I gave a try.
There’s a brief introduction about Elizabeth Browning, reeling you about her life and her lover. She had a rather tragic infancy, dead mother, strict father, and an illness that left her on a wheelchair. And apparently
Reader of Books
Read for Poetry month in April, barely squeezing this in at the last second. It was okay but the writing made me miss the novels of this era. It's a bit of an abrupt shift reading epic fantasies then transferring to flowery poetry.

3 ⭐ and I'm picky in what poetry I like so take this as you will.
G. Lawrence
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely. Not my favourite poet, but some stirring sonnets
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women-writers, poetry
Except for “How do I love thee …” (which I never particularly liked), I didn’t know much about Elizabeth Barrett Browning until I recently read Virginia Woolf’s little novel/biography Flush about EBB’s cocker spaniel. It softened my heart toward her, and made me want to give these a try.

Maybe it is common to have extreme reactions when reading poetry. I certainly did with these. Each poem either did nothing for me or took my breath away—nothing in between. Below are some of the breathtaking bits
Ryan Diezi
"For Mrs. Browning was a great poet, and not, as is idly and vulgarly supposed, only a great poetess. The word poetess is bad English, and it conveys a particularly bad compliment. Nothing is more remarkable about Mrs. Browning’s work than the absence of that trite and namby-pamby elegance which the last two centuries demanded from lady writers."
- G.K. Chesterton

Reputation – 3/5
In 1850, Elizabeth Barrett Browning almost became England’s first female Poet Laureate, but the spot went to Tennyson i
Venus Blancia
But before maybe the social attraction of Lang Leav and Michael Faudet, we had long surviving extraordinary love of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Robert Browning. Sonnets from the Portuguese and Other Poems is an anthology of all Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poems, the poems of her little depressed life and great love to Robert Browning that only to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach. This work I believe is entirely out of love, and I only imagine what there in the world if love ...more
Jan 14, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
yeaahhh get in to it
J.M. Hushour
Nov 17, 2014 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
Mar 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
May 16, 2015 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. ...more
I liked reading this out loud a lot, but nothing beats this recording of Sonnet 43 by Dame Judy Dench: ...more
Anna Holden
Oct 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I simply cannot say enough great things about Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Syaa R.
Dec 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
excuse me for i am gonna be all mushy with this one right here. i think i know where to place this one— my heart. reading the first few pages weren’t easy because it’s old English but after a while i could catch up the pace. i saw myself repeating some lines because i really wanted to get into it and my god wasn’t the experience fulfilling. Browning wrote this beautifully, and i feel that these were personal. i looked it up online and saw that she showed the poems to her husband only after three ...more
Isabel Rebelo
Elizabeth Barret Browning was born in the XIX century and grew up with 11 siblings, under the thumb of her very strict father, who didn't allow any of his children to marry. "Like most young girls of the time, she had no formal schooling, she shared a tutor with the brother closest to her in age, studying Latin and Greek. Elizabeth Barrett furthered her education by extensive readings in history, philosophy, and literature. She also began to compose poetry at an early age". She was chronically i ...more
For bookclub this month, we decided to read poetry by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Admittedly, poetry is difficult for me, especially older poetry - I get lost in the language, I have a hard time figuring out how to read it (do I read until I hit punctuation? do I pause at the end of each line?), and because of that, I usually struggle to understand what it is about. That said, this little book had some poems that I “got” then looked up some analysis online to check my understanding, and I surpri ...more
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, non-fiction
I love poetry, and I love journals. So... why not combine the two in a beautiful, collectible book? That's the idea I had in mind when I started this project. Thus, this hardback edition of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's poems. Part poetry book, part journal, with lovely image of a flower on each blank page for your personal quotes/writing/doodling, etc. I must say that I'm truly happy that this book went to print right before Covid 19 put almost everything on hold, so I got to see and have it in ...more
Nov 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
My second attempt (after a couple decades distance) & I still didn't finish these. I found the introduction more interesting than the actual work. I thought maybe it was because love poems aren't really my jam. However, I then recalled something I once read by a Latin poet whose name escapes me now, & I knew it wasn't the topic putting me off. My cold black heart aside, I just don't like these poems. They're not so great as they are hyped to be. While trying to get through these my eyes kept gla ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I don't read much poetry, but this collection makes me want to find everything Elizabeth Barrett Browning ever wrote. I loved this book. I recognized "How do I love thee" but didn't know any more of it or who wrote it. The first poem (The Sleep) grabbed me so completely that I intend to memorize it. I also loved her poem To Flush (her dog). Many times I find poetry too esoteric, but EBB's work is beautiful and easily understood.

If you need some joy in your life, pick up a copy of this book. It w
Kerri Anne
I unearthed this collection today while reorganizing one of our bookshelves. The cover looks like a calico curtain my grandmother used to have in her bathroom.

When I read old books of poetry I like to think about how, once upon a time, Elizabeth Barrett Browning was someone's favorite poet, even if she'll never be mine.

[Three stars for a collection that features a poem EBB wrote about her dog + a poem about what it feels to be wounded by a female friend + a poem about writing a curse.]
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry-plays, 2020
My favorite poem was the last one -- "The Forced Recruit."

Also, I want to remember these lines from "A Musical Instrument":

Sweet, sweet, sweet, O Pan !
Piercing sweet by the river !
Blinding sweet, O great god Pan !
The sun on the hill forgot to die,
And the lilies revived, and the dragon-fly
Came back to dream on the river.

Yet half a beast is the great god Pan,
To laugh as he sits by the river,
Making a poet out of a man :
The true gods sigh for the cost and pain, —
For the reed which grows nevermor
Jun 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
The book and the sonnets both begin slowly. Frankly, I was bored through much of the book. But as the book and sonnets build they become much more intriguing, the language richer or truer--less of what now seems archaic to us--and more passionate. Personally, I believe I should rate this at 2 stars but I do hover between 2 and 3 and I dislike discouraging a reader with potential interest in this work.
McKenzie Richardson
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

I really enjoyed this lovely collection of poems. Despite its age, so many of the emotions expressed still resonate today. The language used is phenomenal and the descriptions overall have the power to inspire the reader. I especially enjoyed Browning's pacing and rhyme schemes. A wonderful book of poetry.
rené lauren
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Some of these poems were beautiful and I felt them to the bottom of my heart. Others were confusing and required me to use the dictionary for a significant amount of words, which took me clear out of the poem. You win some, you lose some. :)
Oct 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful poems, especially the sonnets. Also 'To Flush, My Dog' was great and made me even more excited to read Virginia Woolf's 'Flush'. I say I've "finished" reading this which I technically have but I don't think I'll ever be finished reading these. Would really recommend. ...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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