How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints, --- I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life! --- and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
Elizabeth must have read Ephesians 3:18 for the inspiration of the breadth, length, depth, and height of Jesus' love. Then there is Patrick Henry who spoke the famous words, "Gentlemen cry peace, peace, there is no peace... as for me give me liberty or give me death." The no peace duo is from scripture and was a direct quote from Jeremiah 6:13-15 and Jeremiah 8:10-12. And, likewise Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. carried his dream from Isaiah 40:4-5 where all flesh shall see "...every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places smooth."
The history books don't tell you about the Biblical influences on the classic literature. It's not a conspiracy or anything, of course. It's just that I doubt it is obvious to people who haven't read the Bible. It takes a familiarity with both literature and the Bible to see the connection.
But, the Bible inspires me, just as it has generations of Christians before me. I open the pages of the Book to find "beautiful words" to lift me in the dark moments and in the light of day. There is nothing more comforting than these words that swirl around in my head like the Autumn leaves in Fall, saturating my heart with their love. I am eternally indebted to a long line of Sunday School teachers, who like marathoners passed the torch to my hands with a smile and urged me to run. This is one thing I will take with me to the grave and beyond; God's beautiful Words.