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If thou must love me, let it be for nought Summary & Analysis
by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

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“If thou must love me,” one of the sonnets that Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote for her beloved husband Robert Browning, proclaims what love is by examining what it isn’t. Real love, the poem argues, can’t really be explained. Any reason a person might give for loving someone else—beauty, intellectual connection, good times they've had together—is subject to change, because change is an inevitable part of life. The poem’s speaker thus wishes to be loved for not for any particular reason, but rather for love’s own sake. Only this kind of love, the speaker argues, can connect true lovers to eternity. The poem was published in Barrett Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese in 1850, and follows the meter, rhyme scheme, and stanza form of a Petrarchan sonnet.

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