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A Short Analysis of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘To My Mother’

A charming sonnet by Poe about mothers

Edgar Allan Poe’s mother died in 1811, when Poe was only two years old. His father had walked out the year before, so Poe became an orphan with his mother’s death. He was taken in by John and Frances Allan of Richmond, Virginia, and would live with them until he had reached adulthood, although the Allans never formally adopted him. His middle name (really a second surname) was derived from his ‘adopted’ parents. He was probably named Edgar, by the way, after Edgar in King Lear: his (biological) parents were both actors, who were starring in a production of Shakespeare’s play when their son was born. Poe wrote ‘To My Mother’ in 18

To My Mother

Because I feel that, in the Heavens above,
The angels, whispering to one another,
Can find, among their burning terms of love,
None so devotional as that of ‘Mother,’
Therefore by that dear name I long have called you –
You who are more than mother unto me,
And fill my heart of hearts, where Death installed you
In setting my Virginia’s spirit free. Read the rest of this entry

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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

A Short Analysis of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 98: ‘From you have I been absent in the spring’

The meaning of Shakespeare’s spring sonnet

From you have I been absent in the spring’ is not up there with Shakespeare’s classic opening lines, such as ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’ or even ‘How like a winter hath my absence been!’ But it’s an intriguing sonnet that deserves closer analysis, so let’s dive among the birds, flowers, and Saturn with the Bard and find out how his spring’s going.

From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud pied April dress’d in all his trim
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laugh’d and leap’d with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew;
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose; Read the rest of this entry