Line-by-line Analysis of ‘A Birthday’ by Christina Rossetti

A Birthday by Christina Rossetti

1-2) Christina Rossetti celebrates her state of bliss on finding the love of her life - God. The poet is unable to contain her emotions and opens the poem with a simile, comparing her heart (representing emotion) to a singing bird. Rossetti goes on to add that she feels like a bird nestling in a shoot that is succulent and nourishing.

3-4) In the next simile she compares her heart to an apple tree whose branches are laden with fruit. The word 'bent' is representative of the humbleness she experiences through her love for God.

5-6) The poet compares her heart to a little shell reflecting the colours of the rainbow as it moves gently along the calm sea-bed.

7-8) Unable to contain her joy, she uses the comparative degree “gladder” to indicate that she feels more than all these things, the reason being that her love has found her.

9) Rossetti shifts from comparison to worship. She craves to set up an alter decorated with the finest things money can buy like silk and soft feathers. (tactile imagery)

10) She declares her intention to decorate the alter with soft squirrel fur and fabric flaunting purple dyes.

11) She talks about carvings of doves, the birds of peace, and pomegranates.

12) She also mentions peacock feathers flaunting numerous eyes.

13) Rossetti also talks about decorating the alter with carvings of gold and silver grapes.

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14) She craves to worship God from a space that is rich with decorative elements such as silver fleurs-de-lys.

15) Rossetti finally declares in this curtail sonnet the reason for her joy being her rejuvenation of soul in her love for God.

16) Rossetti declares with heart full of gratitude that her love has come to her.

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