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When Christina Rossetti was barely 19 years old, she wrote the poem “Remember” in 1849. She is regarded as one of the best female poets of the Victorian era in the 19th century. When she was alive, many praised her writing, saying that it was “in artless art, if not in intellectual impulse, greatly Mrs. Browning’s superior.” The poet explores the themes of love, death, and response to one’s death in this well-known sonnet, “Remember.” This sonnet was composed by the author as a love letter. It discusses their relationship, her death, and how she wants him to act after she has passed away or “Gone far away into the silent land.”
About the poet
Christina Rossetti was raised as a devout Anglican and was born in London in 1830. She was well-educated and had three brothers and sisters. Her sister Maria was a well-known Dante scholar, her brother William followed her into the domains of art and literary critique, and her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti went on to become an outstanding painter and poet. She used minimal visual imagery in her poetry and centered most of her poems on a variety of issues. She is occasionally incorrectly associated with the women’s suffrage movement, although she always valued her position and thought that women’s rights and Christianity were incompatible. She was a well-known poet who lived in solitude for several years before her away in 1894.
Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land;
Christina Rossetti’s poem “Remember” has a monologue addressed to the lover in the opening quatrain. It deals with the subject of death and aims to convince her lover that he doesn’t need to remember her even after she passes away. In the opening line, the poet uses a euphemism to speak to her own passing, and he uses a metaphor to equate dying to the idea of setting off on a journey. In line 2, she employs yet another metaphor to describe the idea of perpetual existence as a “silent land” that alludes to the broken link between the living and the dead. The sonnet’s wording is so straightforward and profound that readers may immediately apply it to their own lives. This sonnet attempts to convey the idea that although death is inevitable, it must not consume those who are still alive.
When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
The speaker of Christina Rossetti’s poem “Remember” explains why her lover should keep her in mind in these two lines. He won’t be able to take her by the hand when he leaves this worldly weight behind. She is also unable to turn around halfway and return to her love. The argument is compelling but also sentimental. The speaker’s tone conveys both a feeling of realism and a fear of dying. However, the poet presents physical contact as a sign of confidence by mentioning holding hands. Additionally, the poet longs to go back when she is about to pass away since he was always there to hold her hands. On this journey, they were never by themselves. As a result, she will later be unhappy about her lonesome descent into oblivion.
Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you plann'd:
The two lines of “Remember” imply that Rossetti and her partner should have wed in order to publicly declare their love for one another. She begs him to keep the times they spent together in memory, telling him that the days after her death won’t be the same without her. It’s odd that the word “planned” is used because dying is an unanticipated journey that everyone must do at some time in their lives. Mortals can make plans for things over which they appear to have some control, but since death is absolute, it is both unmanageable and unconquerable. When death comes knocking, one must not only answer the door but also depart from her earthly home.
Only remember me; you understand It will be late to counsel then or pray.
The poem serves as a reminder that her beloved can only reflect on the past, thus there is no use in offering advice or praying afterward. Rossetti made the decision to use the word “remember” repeatedly throughout the poem to let the reader fully grasp what he is asking. Each of the four stanzas is distinguished by a single poem that uses the word “remember” in it. As has been described in other Romantic-era poetry, the narrator believes that overcoming death may be accomplished via memory. The real beauty of poetry was how the lines it contained could make one eternal.
Yet if you should forget me for a while And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
This poem, which is gentle and melodic, is read to a loved one who is dying. The poem’s volta, when the primary topics abruptly shift and the narrator accepts being forgotten by her loves, is a crucial part. Thoughts like “yet if you forgot me for a while, it would not be a terrible thing” cause her to pause near this volta, and the speaker eventually gets over her dread of being forgotten to concede that this would be the perfect circumstance for them. She worries that he would temporarily forget her and then pretend to recall her by lamenting her passing.
For if the darkness and corruption leave A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Christina uses a euphemism to describe death as corruption and gloom in her opening statement. Even though she won’t be present to see or feel her boyfriend, the poet is nonetheless delighted and worried about him. Before writing the poem, she contemplated death several times, and when she passes away, her beloved would have “A vestige of the thoughts” she once had. This sentence demonstrates the poet’s love and devotion to her beloved as well as how deeply she contemplated the ultimate before penning the poem.
Better by far you should forget and smile Than that you should remember and be sad.
Rossetti advises to “forget and smile” in “Remember.” “Better by far that you forget and smile / Than that you remember and be sad,” she continues. Here, the poet imparts advice to her beloved, telling him to go on with his life and stop dwelling on her passing. He ought to “…forget and smile…than remember and be sad.”