Sonnet – Christina Rossetti

Background

Christina Rossetti was a poet of Victorian England who is now famous for her romantic and devotional poetry. Her family was into literature and painting; her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a painter and poet. Christina Rossetti modeled for his paintings. During her life time, her poetry was not considered very favorably by critics, but in twentieth century, there was a re-evaluation and her standing has gone up. Much of the romantic poetry by Christina Rossetti is in the form of sonnets.

Metaphorical inference

The poet is here trying to recall a day on which she met the person she later fell in love. At that point she was not aware of the significance of the meeting. It had seemed an ordinary sort of day with nothing to mark it as special. But now she that she has fallen in love with that person, she wishes to recall the day as it was. But she is not able to remember the sort of day it was.

Summary

The central image of this romantic sonnet is the yearning to recall the day the poet first met the person she later fell in love with. She cannot recall what season it was; it could well have been summer or winter. It was remiss of her not to have seen what was coming. Her emotions were like a tree now not in bud but sure to bloom in some summer. She calls that special day “a day of days”. But the day has gone by without leaving a trace. She desperately tries to recall the feel of the first touch but is unable to do so.

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Analysis

This is a romantic sonnet in which the poet wishes to recall the day on which she first met the man she grew to love later. She then moves on to the season when that first meeting happened. She knows not whether the season was bright or dull. It could have been summer, or could have been winter. Not to have foreseen the significance of that day was remiss of her. Her tree of love was not to bloom for a long time yet but that was the day it broke out in leaf. There is no way she can recollect it for she let it go out without leaving a trace. Just as old snow thaws without leaving a trace, the day too has no trace behind. When the first meeting took place, it meant very little but now it means so much. Not only does she want to recollect the day, she also wants to recollect the feel of his hand in hers. She wishes she could have foreseen all this.

Overall impression

Rossetti’s romantic sonnets are full of soft focus images that convey the impression of love and longing. This poem is all about wanting to recall the day of the first meeting. The poet had the day slip from memory as she had not realized its later significance.