Mar. 6, 2001

Sonnet 43: How do I love thee, let me count the ways

by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

TUESDAY, 6 March 2001
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Poem: Sonnet 43 ("How do I love thee? Let me count the ways"), by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

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 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 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.

It's the birthday of novelist Gabriel García Márquez, born in Aracataca, Colombia (1928) — winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.  He's best known for his book One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), the story of a utopian city, Macondo, built by the Buendía family in the middle of a swamp.  His other novels include Love in the Time of Cholera (1985), The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975), and Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981). García Márquez owns homes in Mexico City, Barcelona, Paris, Havana, and two cities in Colombia — each house furnished almost identically, with white carpets, glass coffee tables, modern art, and identical Macintosh computers.

It's the birthday of humorist Ring (Ringgold Wilmer) Lardner, Sr., born in Niles, Michigan (1885).  A solemn man, he wrote some of the funniest short stories in the English language.  His first book, You Know Me, Al (1916), was a book of letters written by a fictitious ball player named 'Jack Keefe.' His other collections include Gullible's Travels (1917), The Big Town (1921), and Round Up (1929).  Lardner lived to be 48, dying in East Hampton, Long Island (1933).

In 1853 on this day, Giuseppe Verdi's opera La Traviata (The Strayed Woman) had its premiere in Venice.  It was based on the novel The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas the Younger.

This day in 1836 was the 13th and final day of the siege of the Alamo, in San Antonio, Texas.  After 12 days of continuous artillery bombardment, General Santa Anna's 6,000 Mexican troops stormed the mission and slaughtered the defenders, including Colonel William B. Travis and Davy Crockett.

It's the birthday of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, born in Durham, England (1806).  She fell off a horse as a child, and as a result was an invalid for much of her life. She was doted upon by her father until she was 40 years old, at which time she fell in love with the poet Robert Browning, and secretly married him.  Her father never allowed her back into his house, and returned her letters unopened.  Her intensely happy 15 years of marriage ended when she died in Browning's arms, in Florence, when she was 55.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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