| Quote #1
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. (1)
The important question in this poem is not whether the speaker loves her beloved or how much – it's how the love itself actually works. This is a poem that will try to dissect love by identifying all the different types of it, charting and listing them. It's almost a scientific taxonomy of love!
| Quote #2
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
It's interesting that the speaker's love for her beloved is almost exactly the same thing as her own soul. In these lines, the speaker almost creates a diagram showing how her love and her soul interact. If her soul were represented by a circle and her love by another circle, how would the two circles interact? That's right – they'd be the same. Whoa.
| Quote #3
I love thee to the level of everyday's
We often think of love as an off-the-charts wild passion, but in these lines Barrett Browning reminds us that it can also be "level." You can think of a thermometer taking the temperature of the speaker's love. It's not that she has a high fever, representing passion; she has a perfect 98.6 degree temperature, representing a healthy affection.