Famous Love Poem

If Thou Must Love Me is Sonnet 14 in "Sonnets from the Portuguese," a collection of 44 love poems from Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806 – 1861) to her future husband Robert Browning. The couple married in 1846 and the collection was first published in 1850. Elizabeth was hesitant to publish the extremely personal collection, but Robert, a famous poet himself, urged her to publish them. The title suggesting that the sonnets were written by an unknown Portuguese was an attempt to give the couple some privacy.

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If Thou Must Love Me

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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 may'st love on, through love's eternity.

more Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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