Comparing Three Poems on Love and Loss
'How Do I Love Thee?' by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and 'Remember' by
Christina Rossetti are both sonnets sharing the theme of Love and Loss
but approaching it from a different view. 'How Do I Love Thee' is a
Petrachian sonnet written by a famous poet of that time Elizabeth
Barrett Browning. Born in 1806, Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a
female author in the mid 1800's. 'How Do I Love Thee?' expresses the
theme of love in an undying manner. It portrays deep ethereal love
that a woman has for her lover. It uses emotive language to depict the
passion and depth of their love. 'Remember' is also a petrachian
sonnet written by Christina Rossetti. Christina Rossetti (1830-94) is
a passionate and powerful English Poet. She was a devout Anglican and
lived the last fifteen years of her life as a recluse in her home.
Many of her poems are religious, some melancholy and death-obsessed.
Possessing a spontaneous lyrical gift, she had a firm command of
traditional poetic forms. She is recognized as an important
Victorian-era poet. 'Remember' is one of her famous poems, which
portrays her writing style very well. This poem gives us the
impression of someone who is preparing her lover for her death or
departure from this world. It stresses the idea of strong love and she
wants to be remembered and not forgotten.
Both 'How Do I Love Thee?' and 'Remember' are petrachian sonnets.
Petrachian sonnets have a very distinguished structure and are
different to Shakespearean sonnets. The rhyming couplets at the end
are used to really capture the mood of the poem and keep it in strict
There is usually a noticeable difference between the first eight and
the last six lines of a petrachian sonnet but this is only visible in
one the poems. The former carries on in the same tone and manner
throughout the fourteen lines of the poems whereas there is a very
perceptible difference between the first eight and the last six lines
of the latter.
"It will be late to counsel then or pray
Yet if you should forget me for a while"
Here the definite difference is clearly visible between the first
eight and the last six lines. The first eight lines convey the poet's
emotions about how her love should carry on remembering her when she
has departed however the last six lines contradicts what has just been
written at the beginning. The poet in the poem can be seen as rather
selfish and pitiful, she is the weaker one in the relationship
therefore she should be remembered. But, in the last few lines we see
a whole new person involve and turn into a heroic but yet independent
The style also plays a vital part to the overall emotive affect of the
two poems. In Browning's unique style she begins by asking the
question, How do I love you and answers by...