Born in 1806 at Coxhoe Hall, Durham, England, Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a celebrated English poet of the Romantic Movement. This Sonnet is number 14 in a volume of 44 from Sonnets from the Portuguese, first published in 1850. 

Petrarchan or Italian sonnet composed of an octave (two groups of four lines), rhyming ABBAABBA, and a sestet (two groups of three lines), rhyming CDCDCD. Poemanalysis

See the poem below and my short reflection.

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.

Here Browning is asking the impossible (or is she) – to be loved for love’s sake. She is asking to not be loved for physical or intellectual attributes, which seems to be more and more difficult in the modern world, with its insistence on dating applications which assess one’s attributes. With its emphasis on eternal love, one is compelled to think about loving their significant other in heaven after death, which is devotion indeed. Browning is saying that she would rather not be loved, than to lose love later in life.  A very lovely poem indeed.