After Death

By Christina Rossetti 1830–1894 Christina Rossetti
The curtains were half drawn, the floor was swept
    And strewn with rushes, rosemary and may
Lay thick upon the bed on which I lay,
Where through the lattice ivy-shadows crept.
He leaned above me, thinking that I slept
    And could not hear him; but I heard him say,
    ‘Poor child, poor child’: and as he turned away
Came a deep silence, and I knew he wept.
He did not touch the shroud, or raise the fold
    That hid my face, or take my hand in his,
         Or ruffle the smooth pillows for my head:
         He did not love me living; but once dead
    He pitied me; and very sweet it is
To know he still is warm though I am cold.

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Poet Christina Rossetti 1830–1894

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Love, Unrequited Love, Heartache & Loss

 Christina  Rossetti

Biography

Of all Victorian women poets, posterity has been kindest to Christina Rossetti. Her poetry has never disappeared from view, and her reputation, though it suffered a decline in the first half of the twentieth century, has always been preserved to some degree. Critical interest in Rossetti’s poetry swelled in the final decades of the twentieth century, a resurgence largely impelled by the emergence of feminist criticism; much of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Unrequited Love, Heartache & Loss

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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