if thou must love me, let it be for naught,
except for loves sake only. do not say,
‘I love her for her smile – her looks – her way
of speaking gently – for a trick of thought
tat falls in well with me, and certes brought
a sense of pleasant ease on a such a day.’
for these things, in themselves, Beloved, may
be changed, or change for thee – and love,
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 those thy love thereby!
but love me for love’s sake, that evermore
though may’st love on, through love’s eternity.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning [a sonnet written to her husband]