At Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tennessee, 1958, I studied for a degree in education and a minor in English with a focus on literature. I would have majored in English, but I needed and wanted a profession, and my strength was in teaching. I was introduced to all the great poets there. Elizabeth Barrett Browning is unforgettable. She brought all sorts of difficult situations to the table; a domineering father, her birth order, the oldest of twelve children, lung disease, brilliant writing with public recognition and a beautiful love affair and marriage to another poet, Robert Browning. The Academy of American poets has a complete and interesting biography page for the poetess. Elizabeth wrote poems dedicated to Robert, Sonnets from the Portuguese, in secret before her marriage, for her father didn’t want any of his children to marry. He discouraged the romance vigorously.
I’ve chosen a poem from Sonnets from the Portuguese for my quote. I love the idea that Elizabeth desired love for a life time. Beauty fades, pity grows old, only love for love’s sake will endure.
Sonnets From the Portuguese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning Sonnet 14
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, Belovèd, 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 mayst love on, through love’s eternity.