Sonnet 14 Questions and Answers
by Elizabeth Barrett Moulton

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According to the beloved, what may change the minds of the lovers in "Sonnet XIV" by Elizabeth Barrett Browning??  

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Certain emotions and thoughts, even ideas, may easily change the minds of the lovers and then love may be lost.

The speaker of Sonnet 14 by Elizabeth Barrett Browning urges the lover to not feel love for her because of the sweetness of her smile, or for her beauty, her manner of speaking, her voice, or for a special turn of thought that "falls in well" with his own. Nor should he love her out pity as she may in time weary of such pity and "forget to weep," thus losing his love. For, all these qualities are temporal and subject to change. Instead, the speaker suggests, he should love her for love's sake alone; that is, for the joy that the ideal of love brings to one's own heart, the fulfillment that genuine emotion can bring.

But love me for love’s sake, that evermore
Thou mayst love on, through love’s eternity.

The speaker desires that her lover reach to the ideal. The words of the first line--"If thou must love me"--suggest that it is fated that the lover feel the way he does. Since this is so, she urges him then to attain the highest ideal of love, and love for love's sake alone. In this way, his love can be eternal, not temporal, as when there is an object of the love.


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