Thursday, February 28, 2008

Poem of the Week 2/18/2008: Sonnets from the Portugese, Sonnet XIV


If thou must love me, let it be for nought
Except for love's sake only. Do not say
'I love her for her smile---her look---her way
Of speaking gently,---for a trick of thought
That falls in well with mine, and certes brought
A sense of pleasant ease on such a day'---
For these things in themselves, Belov├Ęd, may
Be changed, or change for thee,---and love, so wrought,
May be unwrought so. Neither love me for
Thine own dear pity's wiping my cheeks dry,---
A creature might forget to weep, who bore
Thy comfort long, and lose thy love thereby!
But love me for love's sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love's eternity.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

This is from a collection of some of the most famous love sonnets (How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...), written to Robert Browing, also a famous poet. The two had a long love affair in letter form, before they met and married. Delightfully 19th Century of them, and the poems are really classic love poems.

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