Love her for the Love Sake

In one of her loveliest sonnets, never written to be published, Elizabeth Barrett Browning wrote to her husband Robert Browning:

If thou must love me, let it be for naught,

Elizabeth Barrett Browning(1806-1861)

Except for love’s sake only. Do not say,

“I love her for her smile—her looks—her way

Of speaking gently—for a trick of thought

That falls in well with me, 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.

From: The Difficult Doctrine of The Love of God, D. A. Carson p. 64 Crossway Books(2000)

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