Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

If thou must love me . . .

Elizabeth Barrett Browning is one of the best-known Victorian poets. Elizabeth Barrett was born in 1806, and began writing poetry as early as age six. She contracted a lung complaint as a teen, and was sickly for the rest of her life. Her first poem was published when she was fourteen, and thereafter she continued to write poetry and essays for publication. In 1845, Barrett met Robert Browning, who admired some of her published poetry. They courted in secret, because her father wished for none of his children to marry. She was married in a private ceremony and immediately ran off to Italy with Robert Browning, where her health improved; she even had a child.

In 1850, Elizabeth Barrett Browning published Sonnets from the Portuguese, a series of 44 love poems written out of her love for her husband.

Today, I'm sharing with you the fourteenth of the sonnets, not quite as famous as number 43, which begins "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways".

Sonnet XIV
from Sonnets from the Portuguese
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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, Belovèd, 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.

*certes is a now- (and possibly even then-) archaic word meaning "certainly".

Site Meter


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 3rd, 2007 01:45 am (UTC)

Did you see my post today where I mentioned this very book??? :)
Oct. 3rd, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC)
You know, I skimmed your answers, and I know I saw it, because I remember thinking "Really? That's her one book?" But I didn't realize it had stuck quite so much.

Although to be honest, I'd intended on posting something by Christina Rossetti, and couldn't settle on anything that wasn't monstrously long.
Oct. 3rd, 2007 02:03 pm (UTC)
Kelly, can you e-mail me your snail mail address? alwayslisa at gmail dot com. S&S has offered to send some books to blog friends, and you do such great reviews. Thanks!
Oct. 3rd, 2007 05:38 am (UTC)
Yea!!! Let's hear it for non-Friday poetry!
Oct. 3rd, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC)
Sonnets in the hiz-ouse!
Oct. 3rd, 2007 03:45 pm (UTC)
Inspired by you -- I posted a love sonnet by Pablo Neruda on my LJ today =)
Oct. 3rd, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC)
I can't wait to read it!
Oct. 3rd, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)
Oh, the lovey-doveyness. It lives. It lives!
Thanks, Kelly.
Oct. 3rd, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC)
Isn't that a lovely poem?
Oct. 4th, 2007 10:22 am (UTC)
I Remember her Every March 6th
Kelly, I have long longed EBB. I love her story. I love her work. Why is she not studied with the classics? Because she wasn't a 19th century male. Dead Women Poets of the 1800s didn't get the respect they deserve until academics of our century realized the treasure trove they were missing.

Selfishly, I also love Elizabeth Barrett Browning for her birthday: March 6th. That's a-my birthday too. {}

-Pamela, who never understood what with Elizabeth's possessive father anyway... :{

Oct. 4th, 2007 12:50 pm (UTC)
Re: I Remember her Every March 6th
He was an equal-opportunity guy about marriage. He didn't want ANY of his kids (male or female) to marry. So that makes it less weird (yet more weird), no?
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

April 2018


Powered by LiveJournal.com