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If Thou Must Love Me, Let It Be for Naught by Elizabeth Barrett Browning


"If Thou Must Love Me, Let It Be for Naught" is a Petrachan sonnet that speaks of seeking love and being loved. The author wonders what a certain man loves about her and hopes that he loves her for her personality and not for her looks. The second to last line states "love me for love's sake", because she feels that love deserves to be felt in every way and not just for what's on the outside. This poem is also referred to as "Sonnet XIV".

This Petrachan sonnet is made up of fourteen lines with the rhyme scheme ABBAABBACDCDCD.


If Thou Must Love Me, Let It Be for Naught

If thou must love me, let it be for naught
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.

Published in Sonnets From the Portuguese in .

Next: When Our Two Souls Stand Up Erect and Strong
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Literary Movement
Victorian, 19th Century

Sonnet, Love, Hope

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