In Sonnet 43, Elizabeth Barrett Browning declares her pure, spiritual love for her man. The phrase “I love thee” appears in eight of the fourteen lines. She measures by depth and breadth and height in line two. In the Bible, God gives Moses the measurements for the new temple in the same manner. Browning is likening the love in her soul to the love of the ancient Israelites for their God. This is reinforced in line three, where she declares her love even “when feeling out of sight.” The Israelites could not see their God, yet they built the temple and worshipped Him in it. In line four, she mentions “the ends of Being and ideal Grace”. This is also a reference to divine love, indicated by the capitalization of Being and Grace. Lines five through ten give her reasons to love freely, purely and with passion.
It was a first marriage for both of them and neither seemed to carry any baggage from the past to get in the way of their happiness. She was free to love him, in spite of her father’s wishes, and let him know it. Lines eleven and twelve seem to allude to her mother, “I love thee with a love I seemed to lose/ With my lost Saints-” Browning’s mother died in 1828, and afterwards her father forbid his children to marry. Lines thirteen and fourteen, ending the sonnet, declare Browning’s faith in God, and she plans on loving her man in heaven, “better after death.” It is important to realize the biographical context of this poem. Browning had been forbidden to marry. She went against her father’s wishes, which caused him to never speak to her again. She gave up her father for this man. Her love is not merely printed on the page, but is a true emotion she believed enough in to leave her home and family over. She believes in God, and believes her love for Robert is true, pure, and spiritual.