How do I love thee? Let me count the ways
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - February 13, 2018 - 12:00am

Tomorrow, February 14, is Ash Wednesday for all Catholics but also Valentine's Day for all lovers and the loveless whose hopes spring eternal. And so, I opt to advance my column on love, romance, and marriage, and will still try to add one tomorrow, because love, according to the poets, knows no boundaries or limits, save the capacity of humans to endure the pains that often come with it. Love and pain are two sides of one coin, they always come together. I dare say that one who has not yet felt the deepest pain might not have really experienced the truest love.

Poems, essays, and novels point to one intriguing conclusion; one always hurts the one he loves. Or those who love the most are often hurt the deepest. Perhaps it is why Cupid carries an arrow that pierces the heart. Think of Romeo and Juliet, a passionate kind of love that ended in death. Today, some lovers are going to take their lives together to make sure their love shall not be taken by anyone else.

The title of this column is taken from Sonnet 13, written not by William Shakespeare or Edgar Allan Poe, but by English heiress Elizabeth Barrett who married Robert Browning (sounds like the name of an automatic rifle). She was disinherited by her wealthy father who owned 10,000 acres of rich land because she married a man he did not approve of. The poem starts with a question that seeks to evaluate the scope, extent, and intensity of her love. As a manifestation of her love, Elizabeth abandoned her father, eloped with Robert, and lived in Italy where she died in her fifties.

History and literature are replete with stories of famous lovers with an equal or even more intense story. The story of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, and the Roman general Marcus Antonius was full of passion, infidelity, political intrigue, and betrayal. The romance of Napoleon Bonaparte and Josephine, was so intense that more a thousand letters were written by Napoleon, many of them after a night of passionate lovemaking. The story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII was tragic because the king was then married to a Spanish princess. But he divorced the queen and married Anne. When the Church refused to grant the divorce, Henry VIII founded the Church of England which agreed to his wishes.

Love, indeed, can be so intense that even kingdoms can be toppled, wars can erupt, and churches can be abandoned and others founded. Love can cause murders and suicides. Love does its own shares of agonies and ecstasies.

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