Remember me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When youcan no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you plannd:It will be late to counsel then or pray. Yet if you should forget me for a whileAnd afterwards remember, do not grieve: For if the darkness and corruption leaveA vestige of thoughts that I once had, Better by far you should forget and smileThan that you should remember and be sad.
I chose to write my poetry criticismon the sonnet Remember by Christina Rossetti. It was written in 1849 whenRossetti was just 19 years old. She is considered to be one of the foremostwomen poets of the 19th century Victorian period. In this sonnet the themes oflove, death, and reaction to death are introduced.
Christina Rossetti was bornin London in 1830. She was the product of a wealthy family and was raised apious Calvinist. She wrote about many themes ranging from love to the seasons ofthe year. She used little visual detail in her poetry.
She let her ideas speakfor themselves. She is sometimes incorrectly associated with the womenssuffrage movement but she was happy with her place in life and furthermore saidthat Christianity and womens rights were at odds. She spent the last 15 yearsof her life in seclusion and died in 1894 a well-known poet. This sonnet,Remember, is written to a lover and is about their love, her death, andhow she wants him to react to her death.
The themes are alluded to throughoutthe poem. Lines 1-3 deal with the element of death. Lines 5 and 6 hint thatRossetti and her lover were to be married, showing their love for each other,and lines 9-14 are Rossettis instructions that her lover move on with hislife and not dwell on her death because she would rather he forget andsmilethan remember and be sad. Rossetti uses a metaphor in line 1 when shestates, Remember me when I am gone away, the metaphor being gone awayinstead of the word dead.
She uses another metaphor in line 2 where she writes,Gone far away into the silent land, using the term the silent land insteadof eternal life. The third metaphor is found in line 11, For if the darknessand corruption leave, using darkness and corruption as a metaphor for angerat her death. Rossetti does not use many symbols in her poetry but in this poemwhen she uses the term silent land for eternal life she may be referringto her Calvinist belief in predestination which John Calvin himself summarizedby saying, We call predestination God’s eternal decree, by which hedetermined within himself what he willed to become of each man. For all are notcreated in equal condition; rather, eternal life is foreordained for some,eternal damnation for others (Institutes 3. 21.
5). . She may have saidsilent land instead of heaven or hell because she did not know whicheternal life she was going to reside in. The theme and simple language worktogether with the rhyme scheme, abbaabbacddece, work together to make the sonnetpleasant-sounding. I think the beauty of this sonnet is that it is both simple,in language and word choice, and complex, in idea, at the same time withoutbeing too overwhelming to the reader.
I think the reader finds this sonneteasily applicable to his or her own lives, making it a universally likablereading. I think that Rossetti wrote this sonnet to teach all who read it thatdeath is inevitable, but it should not consume the lives of those who are leftliving. She wrote this sonnet to her lover that he should not be upset if, aftershe died, he forgot about her because she would rather know that he is happythan that he is, in a sense, dead while alive. We should all apply this messageto our lives because it is truly the best way to deal with the death of one welove.Poetry