Barratt Browning's love poem reaches most hearts

Elizabeth Barratt Browning has been hailed as the writer of the finest love poem in the English language for her heartfelt sonnet which begins "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways."

"How Do I Love Thee", which the Victorian poet wrote for her husband and fellow poet Robert Browning, with whom she eloped at the age of 40, was "a clear winner" of the Nation's Favourite Love Poem voted by BBC1 viewers ahead of works by Shakespeare, Yeats, Robert Burns and others. Programme editor Daisy Goodwin said she was "delighted but not surprised". "When it comes to love, women are streets ahead, poetically at least!"

It is the second year that a woman has topped the annual BBC1 Bookworm poetry poll, which follows celebrations for National Poetry Day on Thursday. Last year's award for the favourite post-war poem was won by Jenny Joseph's "Warning".