Elizabeth Barrett wrote these sonnets as a set of lyrical love poems to Browning before their marriage, and the numbers designate the order in which they were written. This allows the discerning reader to examine the progression of a poet’s skills. These poems were heralded as the best sonnets since Shakespeare’s death. The collection was first published in 1850 and have become classics of English literature. The flawless execution of the 44 Petrarchan-style sonnets shows a dedication to excellence on the part of the author.