Monday, March 07, 2005

Sonnets from the Portuguese, XIV

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 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.

* * *

Elizabeth Barrett Browning lived a very sad life before she met Robert Browning, so she might well have feared that he only loved her because of pity. But after they were married, her life became much happier, and then she had proof that Browning's love for her could outlast his pity. They had a long and happy marriage.

I love it when poets' stories end happily!

2 comments:

Santiago said...

But ALL poets' stories can end happily! We MUST believe this! I was once disturbed by the realization that everyone I knew or read about who dedicates his or her life to reading and writing seemed resigned to a sober and somber existence. I asked a priest: "Is it true, Monsignor, that one must be sober and dry and always a little sad if one reads books? Is this how the world is? Is it possible to be happy *and* to read books?"

His reply:

"It is possible to be happy and still read books if your source of happiness is an Event that is always present because it has configured space and time in another way, a way that corresponds to our destiny. Resignation to being 'a bit sad' is the prize for living inspired by discourses: right, left, or neos. I know what happens when right wingers and left wingers discover the Event..."

The event, of course, is what we will celebrate on the 27th. Thought you might enjoy this.

The priest, incidentally, is from Communion and Liberation, a lay movement in the same vein as Regnum Christi, which I see on your sidebar.

Sheila said...

I'm just sad that so many of my favourite poets' stories don't end happily, or their whole lives were messed up. What about Shelley? I am very fond of his poetry but his life is very . . . odd.

However, I tend to find that the poets I like best of all, and whose poems I most identify with, did lead good lives. "Out of the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks."