INTER UNIVERSITY PRESS Solutions for Class 10 English Chapter 8 - If Thou Must Love Me …Sonnet XIV [Poem]
Chapter 8 - If Thou Must Love Me …Sonnet XIV [Poem] Passage 1
Browning has written the poem in the form of a sonnet. The poem has two quatrains (four line stanzas) and one sestet (six line stanza). It is written in iambic pentameter. Its main theme is 'love'. Browning elevates love by praising it for the purity of the feeling that it is.
According to Browning, a woman should not merely be loved for her smile, her looks, her way of speaking or her way of thinking.
The phrase 'love's sake only' means loving a person only to nurture the feeling of love. It means giving love to someone with the aim of spreading the feeling rather than gaining something from the relation. This kind of love is unconditional and the qualities or limitations of the people involved are not measured.
Chapter 8 - If Thou Must Love Me …Sonnet XIV [Poem] Passage 2
The poet uses the words 'thou', 'thee' and 'thine' in the stanza to refer to her lover and future husband Robert Browning.
The mentioned line means love should not be based on pity. A man should not love a woman because he feels sorry for her pitiable state and wishes to wipe her tears or rid her of her woes. This kind of feeling does not draw the true character of love.
The poet objects to love based on outward appearance as she believes that physical beauty is transient and may change as time goes by. When these things change, the love which once was so desired becomes undesired or unwanted.
Chapter 8 - If Thou Must Love Me …Sonnet XIV [Poem] Passage 3
The poet says love which feeds on sympathy or pity will not last for long because a person will not need sympathy forever. When the person who once wept overcomes his or her grief, he/she will no longer need the love of the person giving him/her comfort.
The rhyme scheme of the poem is a-b-b-a/a-b-b-a/c-d-c-d-c.
Throughout the poem, the poet emphasises that though love is just an emotion, it is the only thing constant in this world. Everything that is physical changes with the passage of time. If love is based on such transitory elements, it will not survive for too long and will wither away. However, if we hold on to love for support and give it to others unconditionally, it (love) will live on forever.
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