First World War Poetry Digital Archive

How Do I Love Thee?

HOW DO I LOVE THEE? by WILFRED OWEN

I cannot woo thee as the lion his mate, With proud parade and fierce prestige of presence; Nor thy fleet fancy may I captivate With pastoral attitudes in flowery pleasance; Nor will I kneeling court thee with sedate And comfortable plans of husbandhood; Nor file before thee as a candidate.... I cannot woo thee as a lover would.

To wrest thy hand from rivals, iron-gloved, Or cheat them by a craft, I am not clever. But I do love thee even as Shakespeare loved, Most gently wild, and desperately for ever, Full-hearted, grave, and manfully in vain, With thought, high pain, and ever vaster pain.

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