The poem, ‘How do I love thee’ is an iambic pentameter poem, starting with an unaccented syllable, and then an accented syllable. This is also a lyric poem as it contains a lot of emotion, sparks the readers imagination, and has a melody like that of an epigram or hymn. This is shown by the rhythm the poem has when read correctly, which is created by the use of enjambment. For example, when Elizabeth Browning writes ‘I love thee to the level of everyday’s Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.’ This sentence helps create the rhythm within the poem and creates the heartfelt, romantic atmosphere I feel that Elizabeth Browning was trying to create to express a deep and serious love of another person.
This poem is an Italian sonnet, shown by its rhyming patterns of ABBAABBACACDCD, and has a masculine rhyme, which means that the rhyming word is a one syllable word, in general, using ‘se’ and ‘th’ ending words to create an underlining theme of love and a romantic atmosphere, also creating a rhythmic and soothing pattern within the readers mind.
The poem also uses some personification when Browning writes, My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight For the ends of Being and ideal Grace’. This personification is used to create an image within the readers’ mind of her love and soul being separate to her, reaching for the loved one of their own accord. This emphasis the theme of true and undying love throughout the poem by creating love as a separate and living thing that controls her, her emotions are out of her control and she can do nothing but sit back and watch them take their course.
Browning also uses the similes ‘I love thee freely, as men strive for Right’ and ‘I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise,’ to try and compare her love to things in life that the reader can build up images of her love. This helps focus the theme of love as a living thing within the reader, rather than just a hollow emotion, thus emphasising the depth of her feelings.
Elizabeth Browning uses repetition and alliteration within the poem to gain the readers interest and to help convey to the reader the sheer depth and intensity of emotions for the loved one. She repeats the words ‘I love thee’ throughout to the poem to tie in the title with the poem and to emphasis the underlying theme of love throughout. The sounds ‘t’ and ‘th’ are also used throughout the poem to bring in a rhythmic, soothing atmosphere creating a romantic underlie throughout.