Elizabeth

autumn (1)

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, Beloved, 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 (Sonnets from the Portuguese – 1850)
Mrs. Browning grows on you. She has also been a mighty social commentator. But here she unearths rich treasures of the heart, and amazingly so, within the sonnet form; not a straight-jacket, but a starting-point like the quilter’s frame, from which the marvelous colours develop.
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