(Poem #8) Song
When I am dead, my dearest, Sing no sad songs for me; Plant thou no roses at my head, Nor shady cypress tree: Be the green grass above me With showers and dewdrops wet; And if thou wilt, remember, And if thou wilt, forget. I shall not see the shadows, I shall not feel the rain; I shall not hear the nightingale Sing on, as if in pain: And dreaming through the twilight That doth not rise nor set, Haply I may remember, And haply may forget.
A lovely if somewhat sentimental poem. Not perhaps as famous as 'Goblin Market', it is nonetheless a nice example of Rosetti's style - somewhat melancholy, and permeated by the twilit boundary between life and death, waking and sleep. It is interesting to contrast her poems with those of Thomas Hardy, who took a similar but far harsher view of death and oblivion. Biographical Note: Christina Rosetti, like her more famous brother Dante Gabriel Rosetti, belonged to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Her 'Goblin Market' was the first major success of the Brotherhood, and one she never quite equaled. Perhaps she realized that she was unable to write anything better than "Goblin Market," or perhaps her "failure" to surpass herself is explained by her turn away from poetry to children's stories and religious materials. -- David Cody, on The Victorian Web See <[broken link] http://www.stg.brown.edu/projects/hypertext/landow/victorian/crossetti/rossetti5.html> Martin