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A Short Analysis of Christina Rossetti’s ‘Sonnets Are Full of Love’

A little-known poem about a mother’s love

Christina Rossetti (1830-94) wrote many sonnets, so it should come as little surprise that, like Keats and Wordsworth before her, she wrote what we might call a ‘meta-sonnet’, about the virtues and values of the sonnet. Here, Rossetti focuses on the ‘first Love’ in her life, her mother.

Sonnets are full of love, and this my tome
Has many sonnets: so here now shall be
One sonnet more, a love sonnet, from me
To her whose heart is my heart’s quiet home,
To my first Love, my Mother, on whose knee
I learnt love-lore that is not troublesome;
Whose service is my special dignity,
And she my loadstar while I go and come
And so because you love me, and because
I love you, Mother, I have woven a wreath
Of rhymes wherewith to crown your honoured name: Read the rest of this entry

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A Short Analysis of Christina Rossetti’s ‘Spring’

The meaning of Rossetti’s bittersweet spring poem

‘Spring’ is not one of Christina Rossetti’s best-known poems, but it is a fine poem about springtime. Rossetti (1830-94) celebrates the new life that the spring brings, as all of the ‘hidden life’ beneath the earth ‘springs’ into action, bursting forth upon the scene. Here is ‘Spring’:

Spring

Frost-locked all the winter,
Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
What shall make their sap ascend
That they may put forth shoots?
Tips of tender green,
Leaf, or blade, or sheath;
Telling of the hidden life
That breaks forth underneath,
Life nursed in its grave by Death. Read the rest of this entry

A Short Analysis of Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’

A reading of Rossetti’s classic poem

‘Goblin Market’ is probably the most famous poem Christina Rossetti (1830-94) wrote. It’s a long narrative poem about two sisters, Lizzie and Laura, and how Laura succumbs to temptation and tastes the fruit sold by the goblins of the poem’s title. In this post, we offer a very short analysis of ‘Goblin Market’ in terms of its language, metre, meaning, and themes. This is not intended to be a comprehensive analysis, by any means – more of an introduction to one of the most critically acclaimed and widely discussed poems in all of Victorian literature. You can read Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’ here.

What is ‘Goblin Market’ about? The fruit in the poem which the goblins sell has been interpreted in various ways: critics have long seen the eroticised description of the exotic fruit as symbolic of (sexual) temptation, with Laura as the fallen woman who succumbs to masculine wiles and is ruined as a result (though she is, of course, happily married at the end of the poem). Read the rest of this entry