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Poem for the Metre workshop

Try this poem; remember to read it aloud;
        If Thou Must Love Me
Elizabeth B. Browning  (1806 – 1861)
        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, 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 mayst love on, through love's eternity.
from Sonnets from the Portuguese, E.B. Browning (1850) 
The Portuguese in the title of the collection is not referring to Portugal, but to Elizabeth herself.  Robert Browning, the other great poet, called her “my Portuguese” because of her complexion, and this collection of poems is written about the great love she has for him and how it develops.  Great stories by the way, if you get the chance, look it up.  E B Browning’s skill is often seen as lying in the technique and craft she applied to writing.   In this sonnet she has used iambic pentameter for most of the poem;
If THOU must LOVE me, LET it BE for NOUGHT
And the syntax of the phrasing runs on into the next line which is different to the endstopped line and is called ENJAMBMENT.
This first line runs into the second and they can be read quite easily as a continuing statement;
“IF thou must love me, let it be for nought except for love's sake only.”
Ending the line as she does on the “nought” maintains the lines rhythm, puts the emphasis on the end word, which is a strong statement,  and thereby emphasises not only that word but also the rhyme which follows two lines later.
 What other comments have you about this? Does she deviate from straight iambs anywhere?

Style / type: 
Structured: Western
Editing stage: 


not seeing her deviate. what kind of rhyme scheme is this? i don't see that eternity rhymes with any other ending word

Named after 14-century Italian poet Francesco Petrarca, the Petrarchan sonnet is a 14-line poem that uses iambic pentameter (5 pairs of iambs per line) and a somewhat flexible rhyme scheme.
When I say that the rhyme scheme is somewhat flexible, I mean that the first eight lines, or octave, of a Petrarchan sonnet almost always follows the same rhyme scheme: abbaabba. A good way to remember this is to think of the Swedish pop band ABBA. The rhyme scheme of the last six lines, or sestet, of a Petrarchan sonnet varies from poem to poem. Some of the most common rhyme schemes for the sestet are cdecde, cdcdcd, cddcdd, and cddece. Of course, these aren't the only rhyme schemes available for the sestet.
If you find a 14 line poem with an octave with the abbaabba rhyme then it is likely to be an Italian Sonnet.

author comment

It obviously is a try at rhyming try and thereby the connection has to sort of slant rhyme ...consonance of y. With a splash of poetic licence.

author comment

My reading of this piece makes it predominately in iambs but with some lines of mixed metre what are your thoughts?
    If Thou Must Love Me
Elizabeth B. Browning  (1806 – 1861)
 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 BOUGHT 
 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,- 
 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.

The feet?
 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 CER)tes BOUGHT 
 A SENSE )of PLEAS)ant EASE) on SUCH) a DAY"- 
 For these THINGS) in ThemSELVES )BeLOV)ed, MAY 
Be CHANged), or CHANGE)for THEE,-) and LOVE, )so WROUGHT, 
May BE) unWROUGHT) so. NEI)ther LOVE me for    
Thine OWN) Dear PITy's) WIPing my )CHEEKS DRY,- 
A CREAT)ure MIGHT) forGET )to WEEP,) who BORE 
Thy COM)fort LONG,) and LOSE) thy LOVE ) thereBY! 
But LOVE me) for LOVE'S SAKE,)that everMORE 
Thou MAY)st LOVE on,) through LOVE'S) eTERnitY.

author comment

Glad you wrote our how you read it. When I first approached it, I thought it would have to be all di Dum di Dum di Dum. But on reading I realised after the first line, that was not the case. I thought I was getting it wrong. But seeing your post shows me I was okay to not see it in that form. I am a little confused. But it could be because its 1:15am here. I will read your last notes again. I was struggling to absorb it. Could just be my bad brain. My son is off at the moment for half term. He is back in school Monday so hoping to make better sense of it all then. I do think dialect affects how people stress words.

The way different people actually experience sound will vary a little due to pronounciation and so may actually change how the stresses fall. As you get better at really tuning into sound you may feel an extra beat (stress) that is not as strong as the others in the line but none the less is there. Or something that could be stressed in the context it is written has a slightly smaller stress.
Look at line 2
She choose to start the line with except which emphasises the ex so you go NOUGHT ......pause EXcept she could have chosen a different word like instead which would have given her di dum but she chose dum di I think to pull you of rhythm momentarily to focus on - for LOVES (Sake) the question is then does sake in this context have a weaker stress than love and only so that line when we hear it becomes
EXcept for LOVE'S sake ONly. DO not SAY
You will often find a change in metre occasionally in a piece because the poet wishes to indicate a change in emotion or to underline something the underlying rhythm of the piece will be clear poets tend to follow metre pretty much.

author comment

that makes sense, and changing the rhythm briefly helps bring more depth to the poem. It's like writing a song really I guess

Thanks for helping :)

Exactly you have it!
metre adds more music to a piece and poetry is a song with metre being the melody. Then we bring in little ripples and chords to enhance certain emotions or to highlight words. We are just concentrating on understanding the mechanics of metre but once you have that there are all sorts of ways to then use it and we see in every poem written in metre the odd variation.

author comment
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