Study Guide

Love Sonnet 17 What's Up With the Title?

By Pablo Neruda

What's Up With the Title?

Neruda’s poem is often referred to simply as "Love Sonnet 17," which means that it’s the seventeenth sonnet in a larger group (in this case, 100). Sometimes, however, it is referred to by its first line, "I do not love you as though you were the salt-rose, topaz." Let’s take this as the unofficial title for now. As it turns out, this first sentence explains a lot about the poem. "Love Sonnet 17" is largely the poet’s attempt to define his love for his paramour, and so he starts off by describing what it is not. His love is not a love that is focused on things like color, shape, and other external features. It is a love that is based on a deep, "hidden" beauty that not everybody can see. This hidden beauty is much more important, in the long run, and excites feelings and passions that defy description.