Monday, July 17, 2006

My favourite poem...

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 ease on such a day--
For these things in themselves, Belov├Ęd, 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 cheek 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.

Sonnets from the Portuguese
Elizabeth Barret Browning


http://www.webterrace.com/browning/sonnet1.htm#xvi

8 comments:

Sarah said...

I'm not sure if I understand. You love someone for many different reasons: their personality, the way they talk, the way they smile, the way they are when they are with you! Right? so what is "love for love's sake" ? Would that be loving a person for who she is? I'm confused!

ps--I was at the bookstore today and saw the a book "200 Reasons Why A Cat is Better Than a Man" :D Was pretty cheap! The reasons were really good lol, I'll buy it tomorrow InshAllah and post a different reason each day on the forums :!!!: :D

Farsh said...

At first glance this seems to be a most curious love sonnet - one that consciously revokes the usual conventions of the genre, offering instead an abstract, almost philosophical vision of the emotion. It seems especially surprising when taken in the context of Elizabeth Barrett's love for Robert Browning, a love that gave rise to some of the most emotionally charged poetry ever written... surely a passion that deep should be expressed in words more specific than these?

To answer this question, it might be useful to look a bit more closely at the poem's compositional background. At the time of writing this poem, Elizabeth Barrett was unsure what sort of a gift her heart would make to Robert Browning since she was not young, six years an invalid, broken-spirited in guilt and sorrow... So for a long time Browning had to accede to her formula, urged in the Sonnets, that he loved her for nothing at all, just because he loved her".

Now the poem begins to make more sense - indeed, it takes on an almost heroic quality, in the way the poet denies her own feelings for the sake of the happiness of her beloved. Seen in this light, it's obvious why there are no elaborate conceits, no professions of undying love and eternal
devotion; instead, Barrett and Browning are, in Donne's marvelous words,” by a love so much refined / That [their] selves know not what it is".

widad said...

Sara, that book sounds amazing. I need to see if it's available here> :)

widad said...

The poem, I guess, is about unconditional love. The type of love our parents have for us. The type of love Allah (saw) has for us. Loving yet no expecting anything in return. Loving someone because it's them, not because of the traits they have, traits that can change.

Sarah said...

Loving someone because it's them, not because of the traits they have, traits that can change.

Confused, again. A person is who he is because of his personality--his character, personality traits, etc. These do change, yes, But people can grow out of love as these change. So to love someone for who they are IS to love them because of their personality, isn't it?

widad said...

Agreed... but... there's just something... it's kind of hard to explain. I had to yesterday after someone read this poem! :)

I suppose it is about loving someone based on who they are, not who you wish them / think them to be. About loving them totally, loving the good, perhaps ignoring the not so good. About loving somone not based on their smile, but on a deeper characteristic they have.

I get the poem, but it's hard to explain...

widad said...

I went over my post again. What can I say, :) it's such a muddle. I do get the poem, but it's so hard to explain.

Farsh said...

True Love yields such proximity that we transcend trivial materialistic matters. We reach a point where there is no other reason for loving that person except that it brings immense joy to your heart. We don’t care what they look like, how wealthy they are, what color, creed or caste they are? What matters the most at that point is their presence is sufficient for our existence... True Love :)

I've got you under my skin.
I've got you deep in the heart of me.
So deep in my heart that you're really a part of me.
I've got you under my skin.