Elizabeth Barrett Browning

(6 March 1806 – 29 June 1861 / Durham / England)

A Man's Requirements


I

Love me Sweet, with all thou art,
Feeling, thinking, seeing;
Love me in the lightest part,
Love me in full being.

II

Love me with thine open youth
In its frank surrender;
With the vowing of thy mouth,
With its silence tender.

III

Love me with thine azure eyes,
Made for earnest grantings;
Taking colour from the skies,
Can Heaven's truth be wanting?

IV

Love me with their lids, that fall
Snow-like at first meeting;
Love me with thine heart, that all
Neighbours then see beating.

V

Love me with thine hand stretched out
Freely -- open-minded:
Love me with thy loitering foot, --
Hearing one behind it.

VI

Love me with thy voice, that turns
Sudden faint above me;
Love me with thy blush that burns
When I murmur 'Love me!'

VII

Love me with thy thinking soul,
Break it to love-sighing;
Love me with thy thoughts that roll
On through living -- dying.

VIII

Love me in thy gorgeous airs,
When the world has crowned thee;
Love me, kneeling at thy prayers,
With the angels round thee.

IX

Love me pure, as muses do,
Up the woodlands shady:
Love me gaily, fast and true,
As a winsome lady.

X

Through all hopes that keep us brave,
Farther off or nigher,
Love me for the house and grave,
And for something higher.

XI

Thus, if thou wilt prove me, Dear,
Woman's love no fable,
I will love thee -- half a year --
As a man is able.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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  • Ashley Christe (10/16/2008 4:23:00 PM)

    I really enjoyed this poem because the ending hit me like a brick wall.
    Talk about unexpected. But I can feel her frustration although clever as she may be to conceal it with humor. (Report) Reply

  • Anna Pacheco (12/2/2007 12:55:00 PM)

    I agree with Giovanna viewpoint, although this poems expresses love beautifully, it is written through the eyes of a man, in 'tongue and cheek' style. The ending being simply a sad joke! lol (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Vanderburg (2/6/2007 5:52:00 PM)

    Yes, I agree that this poem is very sensual in nature and creates perceptions about love, but Isn't really clear about WHO it's talking about...

    She was merely expressing herself and her views on love... We all do that every day! However we don't always manage to do it as well as she did...

    'I will love you half a year, as a man is able' - So she's talking about how many men are controlled by lust, but this is still a poem about love... (Report) Reply

  • Santana Marasco (4/21/2006 1:47:00 PM)

    Yes don't you get it? IT'S A JOKE! She is writing this poem as if she is talking throught the mouth of a man. He says, do all these things for me and I will love you forever. The joke is that eternity is half a year for a man because men are fickle. It's not so funny when it has to be explained to you, but there you are. (Report) Reply

  • Sylva Cholakian (9/7/2005 9:39:00 PM)

    I will love thee - half a year -
    As a man is able.


    Beautiful poem, indeed!

    But, can anyone analyse this last verse? (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »

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