“A Man’s Requirements” is considered among Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s more well-known love poems. Not as popular as “How Do Love Thee?”, “A Man’s Requirements” is less religious and very direct in its delivery. An in depth analysis of “A Man’s Requirements” is a difficult task given the straightforward nature of the prose. The intentions behind and the hidden meanings within the poem are the elements that make this piece of work so significant.
On first glance, the poem seems to be what it presents itself to be: a man’s requirements from his love. However, given the fact that the author is a female, it can be argued that the poem is about what a woman wants from her love as well. The main message of “Love me” is used repeatedly. This repetition seems to symbolize the author’s pleas to her man to do so as if she is willing the message to penetrate through. Although it is written from a man’s point of view, it is easy to forget who is speaking because it paints a picture of a full and all-encompassing kind of love that anyone would want and everyone deserves. Given the issues that Elizabeth Barrett Browning was dealing with in her personal life, such as the deaths of her family members and her own ailing health, it speaks volumes of how strong and influential her relationship with her husband, Robert Browning, was to her. The strength of their love for each other was so strong that it helped to create this beautiful poem in spite of some very dire cirmumstances.
From the beginning “Love me Sweet, with all thou art/Feeling, thinking, seeing;” (ln 1-2), the need for a love involving the whole self and all senses is apparent. The poem begins with many other senses: “Love me with thine azure eyes” (ln9), “Love me with thine hands stretched out” (ln 17), “Love me with thy loitering foot” (ln 19), “Love me with thy voice, that turns” (ln 21). As “A Man’s Requirements” progresses, more ethereal elements are called upon: “Love me with thy thinking soul,” (ln 25), “Love me with thy gorgeous airs,” (ln 29), and “Love me pure, as muses do,” (ln 33). Browning creates a literary crescendo that pulls us in. Her views on love and experiences with it are clearly reflected in her words. The ways that one should love and the completeness of that love are so beautifully described in “A Man’s Requirements”. By the end ,the reader is fully invested in this love.