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    sash2008 is offline Senior Member
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    Default a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    If thou must love me, let it be for nought


    a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning



    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 certs 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
    The rhyme scheme
    is ABBA ABBA CDCDCD, isn't it?

    Does the word "eternity" rhymes with "thereby" and "dry"?

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    RonBee's Avatar
    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Quote Originally Posted by sash2008 View Post
    Does the word "eternity" rhymes with "thereby" and "dry"?
    No, but it works.


  3. #3
    Monticello's Avatar
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    Default Re: a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

    Hi sash2008,

    Here the poet employs a very refined example of assonance for the last couplet of her sonnet.

    Here's a telling quote taken from the wiki entry for Assonance:
    The eponymous student of Willy Russell's Educating Rita described it as "getting the rhyme wrong".

    By "getting the rhyme wrong" on the very last word "eternity" (after being set up by the previous CDCD pattern), Browning crumbles our expectations. What subtle but powerful comment is she making here about love and eternity?

    RonBee's understatement is right on the mark: "... it works."

    As with any literary term, the real value here lies not in an ability to merely label a poet's use of assonance, but in the ability to recognize a literary technique, understand it in its context, and then catalogue it in the mind so that we may be able to reference the technique for future comparisons, if not actually put it to use in our own writing.
    Last edited by Monticello; 24-Mar-2009 at 22:34.

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