All About Books - The Monday Poem: Sonnet 14-If Thou Must Love Me, Let It Be For Nought by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (March 14, 2016 Showing 1-4 of 4
How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
If Thou Must Love Me
Among all female poets of the English-speaking world in the 19th century, none was held in higher critical esteem or was more admired for the independence and courage of her views than Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Prose Home Harriet Blog. Visit Home Events Exhibitions Library. Newsletter Subscribe Give. Poetry Foundation.
Edna Pickett's sophomore English class, circa She therefore defines the nature of the love she expects the two to share. The speaker insists that her paramour love her only for the sake of love and not for any qualities that she possesses, such as her smile or the way she speaks. The speaker's tentativeness remains even as she contemplates the joy of such a love relationship. Her feeling of procrastination is all she has to shield her heart if things should later go wrong.
Unlike a Shakespearean sonnet, the Italian sonnet does not close with a couplet, but the second half of the poem gives a resolution to the first. In the case of this particular sonnet, Browning uses the second half of the sonnet to confirm the first, making it clear what her speaker desires. This sonnet type was made popular by the Italian poet, Francesco Petrarca, who lived in Italy during the s. She does not want her lover to love her for her smile or the way in which their thoughts are similar, as these things are liable to change over time. She would rather not be loved, than to lose love later in life. No matter how hard one works for love, if it is based on trite principles of 17th century relationships, such as mannerisms and looks, it will not last forever. Browning begins this sonnet by making the request that will make up the basis of this poem.
description of a starry night sky