If Thou Must Love Me, Let It Be For Nought (Sonnet 14) Background

If Thou Must Love Me, Let It Be For Nought (Sonnet 14) Background

Elizabeth Barret Browning was an English poet whose legacy considerably influenced the poetry in the decades after her, both American and English. She was a poet during the Victorian era and her work is comprised with themes of inner, psychological, conflicts and love.

“If Thou Must Love Me, Let It Be For Nought” is one of her collections of sonnets, and as the title suggests the main theme is the theme of love. The sonnet is subtitled Sonnet 14 which means it falls into the group of Shakespearean sonnets.

The speaker of the poem is a woman who asks her lover to not love her for any reason, not for appearance nor for the way she makes him feel because those things are fleeting, prone to change. She asks him to love her for the sake of love, because in that way the love might last eternally.

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