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

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

If Thou Must Love Me, Let It Be For Nought (Sonnet 14) is a sonnet written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning and was first published in her anthology collection, Sonnets from the Portuguese (1850). The poem was written for her husband and fellow poet, Robert Browning.

Browning begins the poem by stating “If thou must love me, let it be for nought” – this draws upon the concept of love for the sake of love rather than for what the other party can provide and do for their partner. She rejects the notion that one can love someone for “her smile—her look—her way” and instead argues that one must "love me for love's sake.”

The poem follows the style of a Petrarchan sonnet, with irregular use of half-rhymes. In this way, there is a strong sense of control and rigidity within the structure and flow of the poem. Further, the occasional use of enjambement reflects the breaks in the Speaker’s thoughts as she wonders how to carry on with expressing her feelings on love.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.